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COVID-19 - Panic buying food and Gastroparesis

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Thu 26th Mar 2020
Blog Categories: Health | My Coronavirus Story | All / Filter

Imagine if you went into a normally stocked supermarket and couldn't eat most of the things in the shop? What would your life be like, and what would you do if shops had empty shelves, and limited what you could buy?

A ridiculous question you may think. But not for me. For 30 years I've had several rare & restrictive conditions, which affect my life. A by product is my having Gastroparesis, meaning I can't digest food properly, along with separate food allergies. This causes me significant problems in eating food, and, when it goes wrong, a lot of pain and discomfort.

There is no cure but am fortunate that I've seen the top specialists in the country. The solution is an incredibly restricted diet, and eat in a variety of things every 2-3 hours. Note: this doesn't make me a sick person however, we are all different and this is just me.

Impact on diet

The result is that I can't eat most things sold in food shops, or health shops, and have to eat a variety of what I can, in small quantities throughout the day, ensuring I focus on nutrition over taste and variety. For me, however, it is quite normal, you may think it odd, but it doesn't bother me. There are more important things in life, and I just get on with it - I'm quite used to it.

Eating out is an experience, if I am lucky there is perhaps one item on the menu I can eat, although I usually have to ask for things to be left off it. I'm sometimes given food that would be regarded as substandard by others - like the meal I had that was one huge lettuce cut in half with a little bacon sprinkled on it.

Note the 'Free From' aisle isn't much help, contains a few things that I will have, but others that I could contain so much sugar etc. that they aren't nutritious and I don't eat them.

What happens when other panic buy

There are two effects. Firstly things that are a crucial part of my diet - such as gluten free oats, nuts, seeds and rice milk (that I make my muesli from, eaten twice a day) go out of stock. On the oats, is this because gluten free people are panic buying, or is it that people will buy any oats they can get, and buy gluten free even if they don't need it? Isn't that like taking other peoples medication even if you don't use it yourself? Whatever the reason, it is hard to replace that with something else - partly to 'fill me', but also for nutrition.

The same applies to my rice milk - I can't tolerate soya. Not great on all the nuts in larger quantities and whilst I could try it, given the issues it could create, why should I bother? Would you routinely eat something that makes you unwell?

Secondly the supermarkets limit buying to say 3 of any item. Great for larger items, but if want 3 carrots I'm a bit stuck, because there are a number of vegetables that I can't eat. Therefore to say I can only have 3 of the few items I can eat is a bit of a nonsense - I can't buy 2 of lots of different things, sometimes I need more than 3 of an item in a week - such as rice milk.

Note I'm aware of the difference in gluten in oats and flour, but I need what are referred to as 'gluten free' oats which I refer to here for simplicities sake.

I always have extra food in stock

Having said this, I always have extra food in stock - just in case of any natural availability of items, and for things like Brexit. I don't horde though - I just have extra in, eat that up and restock it at the same time, so am always buying what I eat, with a buffer in case something is unavailable. Short term panic buying, and sort term non-availability, doesn't bother me. Longer term availability do bother me, but if it hasn't happened then I'm not going to concern myself over it.

We're growing our own food

We have grown our some of our own food in the past, but have been too busy at times too. We'll grow some more this spring and summer to help supplement our diet.


Sometimes things are hard in life and sometimes how we react to them is as important as what has happened. I'm not in the least bit bothered by the different diet I have, it is just something that I have accepted.

Short term panic buying I can cope with, but I do hope that people will realise that their cupboards are full now and eat up and don't buy quite as much otherwise in the longer term this will cause me a problem. But I'm a resourceful and creative person, and will think of something. You have to when life is like it is for me.

Tags: coronavirus,corvid19,pandemic

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All text, images and illustrations © Copyright David Rodgers 2020 unless stated otherwise. No copying in part or whole without written permission.


All articles made are based on my own personal experience, and may not be suitable for everyone. They are not to be taken as formal advice; always seek personal professional advice before doing anything, especially if it is health related, or might affect your health.

Where links are provided to external sites, I am not responsible for the content of these sites.

All content is believed to be correct at time of writing, but policies and prices change over time, and this article is not updated to reflect this. Double check all facts before making any decisions.

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