16 June 2014

My lifestyle choice is not to be ill

My local Tesco now has a whole aisle full of gluten-free, wheat-free and dairy-free products.  I should be rejoicing, but, somehow, cannot bring myself to do so.

Firstly, thank you Tesco - I'm really am pleased and impressed that there's such an amazing range of products there.  There's some fabulous stuff, and it's all really tempting.  However, it's so prohibitively expensive that I can't afford to buy most of it, so I came away with just one  bag of lentil chips, just to see what they were like.  They were lovely, incidentally, but at £1.49 a packet, I'm afraid I won't be buying any more.  I have got used to doing without, because I simply don't have that sort of disposable income for 'unnecessaries'.

The thing which really got my goat, though, was that the aisle and the associated promotion has 'Lifestyle' emblazoned all over it.


Are you implying that my allergy is some sort of lifestyle 'choice'?

It is a lifestyle choice that I 'choose' to eat products which won't make me very ill?  Coeliac Disease, wheat alleriges, lactose intolerance, dairy allergies, etc. are not a lifestyle 'choice' - they are sometimes life-threatening, and I find it extremely patronising to label it as a lifestyle, as though sufferers are faddy children who will grow out of it.

Perhaps this perception of it being a choice rather than a necessity is part of the reason why these products are so expensive.  Yes, I am aware that there are higher costs in producing allergen-free products, but £3 for a gluten-free loaf as opposed to 75p for a normal loaf is just ridiculous, particularly as 1 in 3 gluten-free loaves are utterly unuseable because they fall apart or have massive holes in the middle.  This photograph shows one loaf, exactly as it came out of the bag.  I'd say it was very expensive bird-food, except that when I threw it out, the birds wouldn't eat it.

I've all but given up on ready-made gluten-free products now.  It's far cheaper either to  make my own, or do without.  Usually the latter.