Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity

Welcome to Your Gluten Free Life.

This blog is mainly devoted to all things celiac. But there are a significant number of people who have not been diagnosed as celiacs, but who suffer from many of the symptoms such as abdominal pain and bloating.

A new term has been developed for this complaint: non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Gluten Sensitivity means that people do not have the antibodies and intestinal damage seen in celiac disease, but these people experience many of the symptoms.

It has been estimated up to 18 million Americans, and almost 2 million Australians avoid wheat because of the side-effects they suffer when they do eat it. That’s 6 times the number of people diagnosed with celiac disease!

Right now, it’s not conclusive that it’s gluten triggering the symptoms, or something else in wheat that is doing it. One idea is FODMAPs – specific sugars such as fructose, lactose or sorbitol.

So, for now, if you experience bloating, cramps, and abdominal pain after eating wheat, I would suggest you get tested for celiac disease if you haven’t already. But, if the test comes back negative, try cutting wheat out for a while, then eat it again and see if you get the symptoms back again. If you do, you may have non-celiac gluten sensitivity.

Grilled Salmon with Cauliflower Puree

Ever since I was a child and my grandmother served up some truly awful cauliflower cheese I’ve struggled to like cauliflower. It’s one vegetable I just have not been able to love. Until now. Recently I went to a restaurant and they served me salmon on a cauliflower puree. Well! It’s the closest I’ve been in a long time to picking up my plate and licking it clean!

It was so nice I’ve learned how to make it and I’ve served it at home for dinner a few times. So now I’m sharing my recipe with you. Try it – even if you don’t like cauliflower, I reckon this is the one dish that may just change your mind. Here’s the recipe for you to follow.

Now, I think I might just see if I can learn to like cauliflower cheese again.

Image of Grilled Salmon with Cauliflower Puree

Grilled Salmon with Cauliflower Puree

Gluten Free Chocolate Self Saucing Pudding

Here in Aus it’s winter.  When I was growing up, in our house, that meant delicious hot puddings that had been passed down from my grandmothers and mother. One of the recipes I’ll share with you another day is lemon dumplings. Believe me, getting gluten free dumplings that don’t feel like a lump of play dough is difficult!

But today I want to share my chocolate self saucing pudding recipe. I’ve also included a couple of variations I like to make occasionally, especially if we’ve got guests. By adding a bit of Kirsch and some cherries, you get something like a puddingy Black Forest Cake. And everyone knows that chocolate and orange is a match made in heaven. So I also like to make a Chocolate Jaffa version of my pudding too.

So, here’s the recipe for you. Try “adulting” it up with some Kirsch or Grand Marnier for an extra taste bud tickle.

Until next week, take care and eat well.

Pulse Pasta – My new fave food

Welcome to Your Gluten Free Life

Have you tried pulse pasta? It’s my new favourite pasta. I’m trying to adopt a more Mediterranean diet, which means more pulses. By pulses I mean beans and lentils, basically.

Pulses are incredibly good for you, and they’re all gluten free so that means celiacs, and those on a gluten free diet can go berserk on them.

They’re all low in fat and sodium, and they’re a good source of iron, protein, fibre, folate, and potassium. They’re also low GI, low calorie, and cholesterol and gluten free. What’s not to love?

But pulses can take ages to cook, and they can make you fart. But, if you soak them in water with some bicarb soda (baking soda) for 4 to 8 hours, the cooking time is shortened, and the enzymes that cause flatulence are pretty much washed away. Also, soaking pulses means they are activated which means their enzymes and nutrients are better absorbed.

Anyhow – back to the main topic for this blog. I was wandering around my local grocery store recently and stumbled across pulse pasta. Apparently they’ve worked out how to use pulses to make pasta (duh!). Given it’s gluten free, and supposed to be great if you’re trying to lose weight I thought I’d give it a go.

It tastes great, and it’s really quick to cook. It also did manage to fill me up for longer so I wasn’t so inclined to raid the kitchen for a late night snack.

So, this week, my recipe for you is a combination of pulse pasta and my favourite vegetable – broccoli. This does have an Italian name, but I can’t remember it. The good thing about it is it takes no longer than 15 minutes to prepare and cook which makes it ideal for a mid-week dinner.

Image of Pulse Pasta and Broccoli

Pulse Pasta and Broccoli

Gluten Free Cornflake Biscuits

My sweet treat for you this week is my gluten free cornflake biscuits. I make these quite large, and I bake a largeish batch so I can keep them for when I want a quick snack on the weekend. Remember to use gluten free cornflakes. Normal cornflakes have malt as a sweetener, which is a no-no for us celiacs. So search out some gluten free cornflakes and knock together a batch of my Gluten Free Cornflake Biscuits for next weekend.

Until next week, take care and eat well.


It’s all about mushrooms this week

Welcome to Your Gluten Free Life.

I was racking my brains for something easy and delicious for dinner last night. I usually try to cook something special for dinner on Saturday nights because it’s my one night I usually have time to cook something different.

As I’m a vegetarian, mushrooms are an important part of my diet, and I realised I hadn’t made a mushroom tart for a long time. So that was last night’s dinner.

Mushrooms are a really good addition to anyone’s diet, not just vegetarians. I have to confess, when I was a kid, I really didn’t like them. I’m not sure when I did start liking them, but now I rely on them to boost my nutritional intake.

As a celiac, as well as being vegetarian, it can sometimes be a struggle to make sure I’m getting all the nutrition I should be. Mushrooms are ideal: they’re cholesterol free, fat free, low calorie and very low in sodium (salt to you and me!). Along with that they’re high in B vitamins, including riboflavin, niacin, and pantothenic acid, which help to provide energy by breaking down proteins, fats and carbohydrates. B vitamins also play an important role in the nervous system.

  • Pantothenic acid helps with the production of hormones and also plays an important role in the nervous system.
  • Riboflavin helps maintain healthy red blood cells.
  • Niacin promotes healthy skin and makes sure the digestive and nervous systems function properly.

They also contain selenium, copper and potassium, as well as being high in beta-glucans. Selenium and beta-glucans are great for boosting your immunity, and protect your cells from the damage that chronic diseases and conditions like celiac can do to your body.

Gluten Free Mushroom Tart

With all that in mind, I regularly include mushrooms in my diet. Either grilled with eggs and tomato for breakfast, or in something like my delicious mushroom tart. It’s actually quite quick to make, and contains garlic and onions as well as mushrooms, so you’ll get all the benefits of those two prebiotics as well as the mushroom goodies.

Image of Gluten Free Mushroom Tart

Gluten Free Mushroom Tart

Give it a go for dinner some time this week.

Gluten Free Custard Tarts

I don’t know about you, but I always seem to make too much pastry when I make a tart. This time I used the leftover dough to bake some little pastry blinds for future use. I was going to freeze them, but then got inspired to make some custard tarts instead.

My partner loves custard tarts and buys them from the local supermarket regularly. I often look at them longingly and wish I could have some. So I decided – how hard can they be? I pretty much remembered how to make baked custard so I used the little pastry shells I baked last night and filled them with custard mix and bunged them in the oven. They worked a treat so I had one with lunch today. I don’t think they’ll freeze so I guess I’ll have to eat the others over the next few days. What a shame! You have no idea how much I suffer for the sake of this blog!

Go on – give them a go. You too can have custard tarts for a snack, or for desert.

Until next week, take care and eat well.

Image of Gluten Free Custard Tart

Gluten Free Custard Tart

I’m late this week, Honey

Welcome to Your Gluten Free Life

I’m running late with my blog this week. It’s been a super busy week, but here I am. And it’s a honey themed blog. If you remember, last week I said I was fixing my dad’s PC. The hard drive had died and I spent a week doing my best to resurrect it. In the end I admitted defeat and did a clean install to a new disk.

Anyway – I finally got it all done and made the trek up to his place to return it to him. While we were up in that neck of the woods we went to a honey shop to buy some honey wholesale. My partner and I run a holiday cottage, and we provide little jars of jam, marmalade and jarrah honey. Normally the honey is quite expensive so I was hoping to be able to buy it wholesale and save us a bit of money.

Interestingly, I was listening to a podcast a couple of weeks ago where Sydney University here in Australia had done some research and shown that all honey is prebiotic. Prebiotics promote the growth of good bacteria in your gut, and a lot of veggies are prebiotic. But now they’ve discovered that honey is prebiotic, and jarrah honey, produced here in Western Australia, is especially high in prebiotics.

New Zealand and Australia have a variety of honey called Manuka which is very high in anti-microbial activity. Tests with these honeys successfully killed all bad bacteria, including the so-called antibiotic resistant “super-bugs”. Now, jarrah honey has been shown to be even more potent anti-microbial properties than manuka honey. It’s considered to be one of the most “active” honey’s in the world.

My partner and I have a drink of apple cider vinegar and honey every morning. After my research, I’ve decided I’ll be making it with jarrah honey in future.

In celebration of all things honey this week, both my recipes for you show you the versatility of honey.

Honey Prawns

When looking for savoury recipes that use honey, I came across lots using chicken, and lots of honey roasted vegetables. But I remember having honey prawns years ago and loved them. I had pretty much forgotten about them until I was searching for inspiration. I thought you might also like to have a go at making these for dinner one night. As well as being delicious, this is super quick to make.

Image of Honey Prawns

Honey Prawns

Jump over here to find my recipe for Honey Prawns and give them a go for dinner tomorrow night.

Gluten Free Bee Sting Cake

This cake is a gluten free variation on the traditional Bienenstich Cake, so named because of the honey glaze on, and in, the cake. Before raising agents were discovered, yeast was commonly used to raise cakes. As you know, gluten free flours work differently with yeast so I had to play with this recipe a bit to make it work properly. One trick I’ve found is to bake gluten free cakes and breads a a lower temperature, and for longer than those made with wheat flour.

While this recipe looks a bit complicated, it’s actually not. It takes a while because you need to make sure each step cools down completely before moving on to the next stage, but the time is worth it.

Make the time to make my gluten free bee sting cake next weekend and you’ll be glad you did.

Image of Gluten Free Bee Sting Cake

Gluten Free Bee Sting Cake

Until next week, take care and eat well.

Migraines, Disk Drives and Cinnamon Scrolls

Welcome to Your Gluten Free Life

It’s been a mixture of good and frustrating this week. I’ve helped someone make a start on the gluten free path to see if it helps her migraines, I’ve spent the week trying to fix the hard disk drive in my father’s PC and I made some delicious cinnamon scrolls. As you can see, a mixed bag!

Celiac Disease and Migraines

A friend of a friend has been plagued by migraines that are getting steadily worse. Having suffered from them for many years, I know how bad they can get. Based on some research I had already done, I suggested she tried giving up gluten for a while to see if it helped.

I know I have said in the past that people shouldn’t just give up gluten without being tested for sensitivity first, but (given how bad her headaches are getting) it might just be worthwhile her giving it a go to see if if helps.

There has been some research showing a strong link between celiac disease and migraines. Some research was done in 2012 to test the prevalence of migraines in people with celiac disease or irritable bowel syndrome. For those of you with insomnia, or with a penchant for reading scholarly articles, the article I read is here.  For the rest of you, the article described how 502 people: 188 with celiac disease, 111 with IBS, 25 with gluten sensitivity, and 178 controls were surveyed for the incidence of migraines.

Those with celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, and IBS all had a significantly higher prevalence of migraine headaches compared with controls. Seventy-two percent of people with celiac disease graded their migraine as severe, compared with 30% of IBS sufferers, 60% of  people with gluten sensitivity, and 50% of the control subjects.

A number of other websites suggest that avoiding gluten can minimise the occurrence and severity of migraines. So, for people who suffer from really bad, recurring migraines deciding to give the gluten free diet a go might just help.

Damned Disk Drives!

My other life (when I’m not cooking up gluten free goodies) is in IT. I’ve worked in computing for years, but the last few years has been mainly in management rather than hands on. But that hasn’t stopped me offering to help where I can when family and friends find themselves in difficulties. The drama for this week has been my father’s PC which is starting to get hard disk errors.

Rashly, I thought it would be an easy fix to just clone the drive onto a new one, whack the new drive in the PC and boom! Off you go.

Silly me! Several days later and I’m still arguing with the blasted thing. Windows just refuses to boot from the cloned drive. Foolishly, today I decided to re-clone and start again. And, wouldn’t you believe it, now the damned thing won’t clone. So, I turned the whole thing off and went and made some cinnamon scrolls instead. At least I can get them to work!

Cinnamon Scrolls

I’ve always wondered how to get scrolls out of gluten free yeast dough. If you’ve baked gluten free bread or rolls you will know the dough is very sticky.Not quite a batter, but close to it. So I wondered how on earth you would shape scrolls and cut the dough.

Thanks to the wonders of the internet, the answer is cling film and dental floss. It turns out, if you put your dough between two sheets of cling film, you can push or roll it out beautifully. Then you use the cling film to get the dough to roll up, and use the dental floss to cut the resulting sausage of dough into portions.

It works a treat! If you would like to check out my recipe and follow the instructions to get your own crunchy topped, soft cinnamon scrolls click here.

Image of Cinnamon Scrolls

Cinnamon Scrolls

Gluten Free Cannelloni

Your savoury dish for this week is gluten free cannelloni. I use commercial cannelloni tubes for this, but you could make gluten free crepes and use those instead if you prefer.

This recipe is for my friend Sue. She used to regularly ask me for a decent vegetarian lasagna recipe. I know this one is cannelloni, but you can use the spinach and cheese filling in layers between gluten free lasagne as well.

So, Sue, this recipe is for you – finally!

Until next week, take care and eat well.