Unexplained Rise in the Incidence of Celiac Disease

Welcome to Your Gluten Free Life

When I was growing up, Celiac Disease seemed to be almost unknown. I know it was a battle for my mother to convince our doctor that I had anything wrong. It took a real battle for her to get me diagnosed. Over the years the medical community seems to have dramatically increased their understanding of celiac disease. This has led to a lot more people being diagnosed with this complaint.

However, there seems to have been an unexplained rise in celiac disease since the 1950’s. Usually, the prevalence of celiac disease in the community is rated at about 1% of the population. However, an analysis of 20 years worth of data tracking the development of the disease in at risk children found that the actual prevalence was more like 3%.

It has also been shown that there has been a significant increase in antibodies associated with celiac disease in the general US population since the 1950’s. Sweden, also, experienced what is now referred to as a celiac epidemic in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. One study estimated that as many as 3 percent of children born at the height of the epidemic had developed celiac disease by the age of 12, though rates dropped back down to just over 2 percent for children born in 1997.

One of the concerns for the medical community is that the increase of celiac disease to 3% of the population means it is now a relatively common disease. But they cannot explain why the increase has occurred. One theory is that there has been a significant increase in the amount of gluten being consumed. People now eat much more wheat products such as breads, cakes etc. as compared to previous communities who relied more on meat and vegetables.

Authorities are now looking to examine both the cause of the increase, and what is triggering celiac disease in people general in more detail. In the meantime, if you’d like to read the article I did, you can find it here.

Your Sunday Lunch

Image of Gluten Free Pastie

Gluten Free Pastie

Last Sunday I was hunting around for something reasonably easy and healthy for lunch. I had an urge for something hot and tasty, but didn’t want to go to the effort of creating puff pastry. So I dragged out one of my old cookbooks, and had a stab at adapting flaky pastry. I have to say I was very pleased with the result, and it inspired me to make some pasties.

When I was at school I used to love pasties. Hot, spicy and tasty. But I haven’t had them in years. Now I’ve made them once, I reckon I’ll definitely be making them again though!

If you’d like to give them a go, then the recipe is here.

And your Sweet  Treat for the Week

I love lemons. I love the flavours and how they can be used for both sweet and savoury dishes. We have a lemon tree here and I regularly raid it for some fruit to use in some of my dishes.

This slice is one I put together sometimes when I have friends coming over for lunch or afternoon tea. It takes a while to make so it’s not one you can throw together in a hurry. But, trust me, the time spent is worth it.

While this recipe is reasonably sweet, you can pump up the lemon in the lemon butter if you like it more tangy like I do.

So, without further ado, I give you my recipe for Lemon Coconut Slice.

Gluten Free Lemon Coconut Slice

Gluten Free Lemon Coconut Slice

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Until next week, take care and eat well

 

 

 

Celiac Disease – Differences in symptoms in adults and children

Welcome to Your Gluten Free Life

A lot of people are not aware that celiac disease presents differently in children and adults.

The most common signs of celiac disease in adults are diarrhea, tiredness and weight loss. They may also have bloating, pain in the abdomen, constipation and vomiting. But more than half of people suffering from celiac disease may actually have a range of different symptoms including:

  • Anemia
  • Loss of bone density or softening of the bone
  • Itchy, blistery skin rash
  • damaged tooth enamel
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Headaches
  • Numbness and tingling in the feet and hands
  • Problems with balance
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Joint pain
  • Acid reflux and heartburn.

Before I went on a gluten free diet, I got really bad mouth ulcers. I never realised they were due to the gluten in my diet. It was only after I stopped the wheat and my ulcers went away that I made the connection

Celiac Symptoms in Children

Children under 2 have a quite different set of symptoms. They may show any, or all of these:

  • Vomiting
  • Chronic diarrhea
  • Swollen belly
  • Failure to thrive
  • Poor appetite
  • Muscle wasting.

Children Older than 2 may have the following symptoms:

  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Weight loss
  • Irritability
  • Short stature
  • Delayed puberty
  • ADHD
  • Learning difficulties
  • Headaches
  • Lack of muscle coordination
  • Seizures

If your children or if you know someone whose child is showing any of the symptoms above, I suggest you get them to have the child tested for celiac disease. If their GP dismisses this request, then their parents should either insist, or ask to see another doctor who would be more open to testing their child. Don’t let them go off wheat until the testing is done, or the result will come back as negative.

Nidos de Arroz con Huevo

Image of Huevos Con Arroz

Huevos Con Arroz

Sunday nights are a lazy night for us. We like to make a nice, simple dinner and put our feet up watching TV, and mentally preparing for the week ahead. We generally have some sort of egg dish because they’re just so versatile and easy to do. One of my favourites at the moment are these Nidos de Arroz con Huevo.

They’re quick and easy to make and surprisingly filling. I knock up a couple of them and we settle down for the evening.

Bundt Cake

The headline image on my website has a picture of a feast of cakes I made once for an afternoon tea. The centrepiece of the image is a Bundt cake. This cake derives from a traditional European cake called a Gugelhupf. But the Bundt cake name was actually registered by an American company in the 1950’s when they started producing Bundt cake pans.

There is no set recipe for Bundt cakes, the main characteristic is the central “chimney” that leaves a central hole in the middle of the cake. Generally they have a baked in filling, but are left un-iced. They are usually sprinkled with icing sugar or drizzle glazed.

My version here has a struesel swirl in the middle of it. You can also use chocolate, strawberry or any other filling.

Image of Gluten Free Bundt Cake

Gluten Free Bundt Cake

Until next week, take care and eat well

 

 

No Soup, Salad Instead

Welcome to Your Gluten Free Life.

I know it’s Winter here in Australia, but I love a good salad any time of the year. And you lucky folk in the Northern Hemisphere are just starting your summer. So the salad I’ve got this week will be ideal for you. Read on for more.

A Diet for PCOS and Insulin Resistance

One of my subscribers (Sheenah P. – this is for you) asked me to research a diet for women who suffer for polycystic ovary syndrome. Now, before you blokes all go “Erk! An article about women’s stuff!”, this condition affects an awful number of women. So the chances are, if you don’t know someone with it now, you probably will in the future.

Now, this website is devoted to all things wheat and gluten free, and I don’t want to muddy the waters, but I will provide some guidance for those who suffer from PCOS because this article also affects people with insulin resistance and/or wheat intolerance.

This cause of PCOS is not well known, and is thought to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Symptoms include irregular periods, acne, and obesity. Women with PCOS can also find it very difficult to become pregnant.

While most of the treatments for PCOS are medical such as hormone treatment, it is important to address the tendency to obesity. One common issue is insulin resistance. Read on those of you with weight issues who have been warned by your doctor that you are in danger of developing Type 2 Diabetes.

The best way to deal with insulin resistance is to adopt a diet that is relatively high in protein and low in carbohydrates. For those of you who have heard of it, a modified version of the Keto Diet is recommended. But don’t use the Keto Diet as it’s very high in fats and that is a problem for insulin resistance too.

Avoid wheat and gluten as much as possible. If you must eat rice, make it brown rice, not white. Eat lots of fruit and vegetables,  and good healthy proteins such as oily fish (salmon or tuna), eggs, cheese and nuts. The quinoa salad on this blog post is an ideal recipe for someone with PCOS or insulin resistance. Quinoa and amaranth are great as they are high in protein and low in carbohydrates.

If you know someone with PCOS or insulin resistance keep an eye on this blog. I will be shortly announcing a new site where I will provide information and recipes ideally suited for those of you with either (or both) of these conditions.

Quinoa Salad

In the meantime, let’s move on to this weeks recipes. As I mentioned I regularly make quinoa salad for lunch. It’s so quick and easy to do, and my partner likes it as much as I do. Quinoa really is a super food. As well as being very high in protein, it also contains a complete range of amino acids, and is low carbohydrate and (of course!) gluten free.

Feel free to chop and change the salad veggies depending on what’s in season, and what takes your fancy.

Flourless Orange Marmalade Cake

My sweet treat this week is a variation on the classic Orange Almond cake. Instead of flour, this uses almond meal instead. And, to step it up a notch, dress it up with delicious cream flavoured with orange marmalade. Check out the recipe here.

Image of Flourless Orange Marmalade Cake

Flourless Orange Marmalade Cake

 

Until next week, take care and eat well.

 

 

Autistic Children and the Gluten Free Diet

Welcome to Your Gluten Free Life.

A few years ago, I read somewhere that some parents of autistic children reported that a gluten and/or casein free diet helped with some of the symptoms of autism. Specifically, they reported improvements in communication, cognitive, motor, verbal and social skills.

Based on the early studies, some autism support websites suggested that parents remove gluten and casein (milk products) from their autistic children’s diets.

However, A new study in Pediatrics assessed the current research on these types of nutritional interventions and determined that the actual outcomes are inconclusive. Many of the trials had a significant risk of bias in them. The trials included a total of 732 children and investigated the benefits of supplements, variations of the gluten-free and/or casein-free diet and other dietary treatments. The interventions lasted from a week to two years.

The trials did not yield enough evidence to draw any conclusions about the benefits of eliminating gluten or casein from children’s diets. No changes occurred in autistic children’s behavior or in their gastrointestinal symptoms when they consumed a food containing gluten or casein after being on one of these diets.

The conclusion of the peer reviews was that there was little evidence to support the effectiveness of nutritional supplements or the gluten-free, casein-free diet for improving Autism Spectrum Disorder  symptoms. They suggest parents should discuss any major changes to children’s diets with their health-care provider or Autism Support providers before implementing.

Potato and Leek Soup

In keeping with my soupy theme of the last few weeks, I’ve provided my recipe here for Potato and Leek Soup. I love this soup – thick, creamy and very tasty. I dug some potatoes from my garden today but ran out of time to make this yummy dish today, so it’s definitely on the menu for tomorrow’s lunch.

Lamingtons

Lamingtons are an Australian Classic.  Apparently, they are believed to have been created by accident by a maid-servant to Lord Lamington, the eighth Governor of Queensland. The maid-servant accidentally dropped some sponge cake into some melted chocolate. Lord Lamington did not believe in waste so he suggested that the cake should be dipped in coconut to cover the chocolate and avoid messy fingers.

Now, lamingtons are made for fund-raisers and special occasions all over Australia. Many years ago, I ran a business that overlooked a religious charitable organisation. Once a month, they would have a major lamington making frenzy. If it was fine, they would line up trestle tables outside, and everyone would line up to create a production line, with some cutting, some dunking, and some rolling the cake in coconut. In a couple of hours, they would create several hundred lamingtons to sell to raise funds.

I baked these lamingtons last Australia Day (January 26) to acknowledge a great Australian classic on the day we celebrate all things Australian. Just to make them even more irresistible I filled them with butter cream and home-made strawberry jam.

Try them some time when you want to indulge in a sweet treat.

Image of Gluten Free Lamingtons

Gluten Free Lamingtons

 

 

 

Until next week, take care and eat well.