A Recipe to Celebrate Coeliac Awareness Week!

Fatigue, bloating of the belly, painful joints, fluid retention, low immunity, headaches, depression… Does this sound like you?

These are just some of the symptoms of coeliac disease, which is estimated to affect 1 in 100 people, of whom 75% remain undiagnosed. Coeliac disease is a condition where the body has an autoimmune response to gluten, which is found in wheat, barley and rye. Continuing to consume gluten damages the lining of the intestine, having a ripple-effect on health as the digestive system’s ability to absorb nutrients from food is compromised. The autoimmune response to gluten has also been linked to thyroid problems such as Hashimoto’s Disease.

If you have experienced these symptoms persistently, it is worth getting tested. I spent years suffering from “chronic fatigue syndrome” and developed a thyroid goitre, which I believe may not have happened if I had been aware of coeliac disease earlier in life.

Realising that gluten doesn’t agree with you leads to the need to re-examine one’s diet. Wheat products, including bread and pasta, are out. Cakes must change forever. A whole world of high-priced, packaged “gluten-free” substitutes of dubious quality await in the super-market. Recipes for cakes which taste a little like “real” cakes but inevitably disappoint abound.

I am thriving in gluten-free mode for two reasons.

I’m Asian

Sorry to play the race-card, people, but when you are used to buying rice in 25kg bags, not being able to eat bread doesn’t seem like such a big deal. Incorporating Asian dishes into your diet means you will be eating real food that is naturally cooked without gluten, not second-rate gluten-free versions of the original. As well as rice, we have rice noodles, and a huge array of desserts made from fruits, sticky-rice, coconut, and sweetly-sticky tapioca starch.

I love to cook and eat at home

There is nothing worse than going out, ordering your meals, waiting for them to come to the table, only to realise that you could have done better yourself in your own kitchen, for a fraction of the price. I love to cook at home, and this gives me the ability to ensure I know what’s going into my food, and ensure that it doesn’t contain gluten.

…and in that spirit, I have a Nigella Lawson recipe to share. I almost feel guilty for sharing it with you, as I’m aware that there will be some people reading this who are on a fat-loss journey, and this isn’t going to help much with that. But if any of you are avoiding gluten like me, you will love this cake. No more sub-standard gluten-free consolation prizes for us! This is a flour-less cake, which derives its rich, fudgy texture from melted chocolate and butter, eggs, and almond meal. To add a little grown-up pizazz, it’s accompanied by a cream laced with tequila, orange-liqueur and fresh lime.



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