Don't mention it
It's been a very strange few weeks, and I didn't really want to write about the word that is regrettably and reluctantly on so many lips. I'm sick to the back teeth of hearing about it if I'm honest, but I guess it's comparable to me banging on about the other C-Word to non-GF folk. Sorry about that.
Anywho, here's a slightly different slant on it all. I am a frontline worker, in the NHS. I am trying to keep my patients and their families safe and well, but it isn't easy to do this with conviction during what is a very confusing time for everyone involved. With this in mind, I thought this week's edition could touch upon the very specific confusion for a community of people I am pretty familiar with.
So you have a chronic immune-suppressing illness, Covid-19 creeps incessantly into the fore of everyday life, and you're not wholly sure whether you should be worried about it or not. We're aware of the existing complications of coeliac disease for the body; in my case, the nutrition deficiencies, the spontaneous fatigue, the thinning hair, ulcers and aching joints, but the new threat in our midst, what does it mean for us?
Well, we no longer fit the criteria for at risk, and there seems to be little evidence about the long-term effects of falling ill with the virus, but there have been some interesting events unfolding in the gluten free world. We have seen shelves emptied in record time - with many non-gluten free-ers choosing the only remaining Free From products when they don't have a dietary need. The take away options are in high demand, meaning choice has reduced considerably. People aren't thinking about preference or upholding safe actions to prevent cross contamination - the majority of the population feel they need food, and they need it now. Stock replenishment isn't meeting the rate of sales, and there's the pressure to eat well - not just what you can get your hands on.
One thing that has been so positive about the Gluten Free community amongst the lock down, is the constant stream of new recipe ideas, the "Ready Steady Cook" approach to using what's gathering dust in the depths of your cupboards, and the companies cropping up with mail-order GF treats. The latter has been a particular silver lining amongst this overall shower of poop we have found ourselves in. Pollards Chocolates in Leeds, Wheat Free Bakery Direct in Fife, Sarnies in Keighley, and Fresh Farm Deliveries in Oxenhope have been keeping my tummy very happy lately - I implore you to give them a go if you are in the catchment area. There is plenty going on nationally, these are just some of my favourites that cater for my postcode. Whats more, there has been no push to reduce the ever-growing alcohol habit that I, amongst others, have found myself in the thick of. It's all been very jovial, and inspirational, and a welcome break from the daily and often overbearing Covid newsfeed.
In our house, we have instilled the attitude of "f* it, the world is coming to an end" to our food and drink choices, which has resulted in some very interesting dishes! Add the token couple of glasses of wine to the mix, and we're convinced we're Michelin starred chefs. Thank goodness our wonderful local pub The Golden Fleece, Oakworth has started offering exceedingly good takeout, with GF batter being used as standard. We had a 'Stay At Home' date night, made special with two delicious courses arriving in a brown paper bag, and a fridge-sourced salad cream garnish. Donning the comfies immediately for apres-dinner sofa times made the gluttony slightly more manageable.
And in conclusion...
While we remain on a massive, ongoing learning curve with this new life we are living, all we can do is keep fed watered and active, help others where we can, be resourceful, and most of all, find the silver linings. Having less haste, and more time to be mindful with what we are doing - including eating, has to be good for our digestion and our wellbeing. I don't think I'll view health and it's place in the world in the same way again, but let's hope that whatever we do learn from this pandemic can be used positively.