Sending away for gluten free samples
Before Tamsin’s diagnosis I’d been chatting to a friend of mine who has an overactive thyroid. I’d thought that might have been Tamsin’s problem and I was keen to learn as much about it as I could (the general pattern here is that I think I know what’s what and then realise I’m actually at square one!). It turned out that her young daughter has an overactive thyroid as well, and coeliac disease on top of that, poor little thing. My friend was chatting about her daughter’s symptoms and suddenly I realised Tamsin was more likely to be coeliac – for once I actually was right and was prepared when the doctor told us this is what it was.
This friend of mine has been a fount of knowledge. Something she recommended was sending away to the main gluten-free food companies for gluten free samples. She said that the boxes were very generous and well worth obtaining. About 10 days ago the boxes started arriving and we were blown away! I was a little naïve at first and didn’t realise that these companies supply the prescription foods so of course they have a vested interested in coeliacs testing their foods and deciding they want them on precription but even so, the sample sizes were huge and have made a real difference to Tamsin over the last couple of weeks. Big boxes full of goodies arriving was just what she needed in the aftermath of her diagnosis.
There was so much food that I had to clear out and rearrange the pantry so make space for it, but I needed to do it anyway so it just spurred me on. Both boxes contained information on how many units each food represents, which is vital to know, plus prescription order forms and recipe books. As gluten free baking is so different from what I’m used to, I find the recipe books very handy. Who doesn’t love a recipe book?
The first gluten free samples to arrive were from Glutafin. The box is very big and sturdy and contained masses of food. Pasta, pizza, bread, cereal, crackers, the list goes on. The pizza bases were especially welcome as we’d ordered just two at first. Tamsin’s happy to throw herself a pizza together so we’ll up her prescription of those – she doesn’t need to restrict herself to a night when we’re having pizza as a family meal.
The crackers were also a revelation. She loves them so we’re going to try to get those on prescription (wish me luck, the way that’s going). She liked the cereals but the cornflakes are a bit light nutritionally so we won’t bother with those on prescription, they’ll be a treat I’ll buy her from time to time. Overall the Glutafin box was a big success.
Later the same day the Juvela box arrived. This wasn’t quite as bountiful but ever mindful of what really matters, Tamsin much preferred the colour scheme of the packaging. She really enjoyed the fibre flakes from that box so we’ll try to get those on prescription. It was helpful to have boxes of white mix and brown mix. They sound pretty unappetising but for general cooking they’ll be very helpful. Tamsin’s taking Food Tech GCSE, somewhat ironically, so they’ll come in handy there.
We received bread separately from Juvela. Although we’ve waited weeks for rolls, we’re up to our ears in bread. I’ve split some of the loaves in half and frozen them like that, so that we don’t risk a loaf going mouldy, as one did this week.
We received some bumf and couple of vouchersfrom Schar. I used one of the vouchers today to buy Tamsin some chocolate fingers so she has something treaty to eat when her friends are over tomorrow. I have a couple of smaller vouchers that I’ll use at some point.
With the help of these gluten free samples I’ve managed to avoid buying horrendously expensive foods for Tamsin, but I doubt that will last. Despite the clear marketing opportunity, it’s been great for Tamsin to try these foods. We knew the initial prescription was a bit of a guess and we’d have been unlikely to choose some of these foods if Tamsin hadn’t had them put under her nose. Wish us luck getting them prescribed!