You may have seen around social media that there are requests to make the gluten level in food products to 20 parts per million in order to declare them gluten free. In Australia they are currently at 5 parts per million (which to me is still too much).
Gluten Free food should be exactly that. GLUTEN FREE.
A coeliac has to eat a gluten free diet for life. Some parties say that once there food contains less than 20 ppm it will not affect a coeliac.
My body would like to tell them they are wrong. I have eaten food that is declared gluten free and has had lower than 5 ppm in it. I got sick. Kept eating. Kept getting sicker. My gastroenterologist told me to stop eating these foods. I did and what a surprise I got better.
I am fortunate is one sense in that I get sick when I have a crumb of wheat or gluten. I get sick when I eat glucose syrup from wheat, I get sick from cross contamination I am fortunate because my body is telling me when I am eating something that will make me ill.
Some coeliacs are not so fortunate. They do not get symptoms all the time. They could be ingesting gluten and not get ill straight away. Trouble is they are doing internal damage. Their insides could be getting weaker and it may not be discovered until it’s too late.
These are the people that need protecting from the new proposed level of gluten in foods before being made gluten free.
Yes I do know that us coeliac’s have different levels of tolerance. Some of you can eat glucose syrup from wheat, some of you can have the Arnott’s rice cookies. Some of you will be able to eat food that contain ‘may contain traces of wheat or gluten’ on the packet.
My question is… can you really?
One of the ‘reasons’ reported for changing the levels is so they come in line with the UK and European levels. Seriously? If they all jumped off a cliff, would we?
If the levels get changed, we are going to see higher rate of illness and goodness knows what else in the future.
If you are like me and think that the levels should not be changed. Then please sign the change.org petition here.
The opportunity arose when Nicole from Planning With Kids through Digital Parents offered other bloggers a chance to mentor them towards their first eproduct from their blog. Lucky for me, I was the blogger selected by Nicole and through the past 2 months she has been guiding me and giving advice on creating an ebook.
Gluten Free Kids has an abundance of ideas and recipes for parents of children needing to be gluten free. It’s completely family friendly and the whole family can enjoy the recipes.
However, if you do not have gluten free children then never fear, the ideas and recipes will certainly help you out. If you are a single person needing to be gluten free, then please ensure that there are plenty of recipes for you too!
Here is the Table of Contents, just click on the image to view it bigger.
The ebook has ideas and 50 recipes in total for Lunches, Dinners, Snacks, Christmas and Parties. I have also included a list of the names of the brands I use because I know that helps as well. Some of the recipes you have seen on the blog, some are brand new for the ebook.
All for the tiny price of $5.00!
If you wish to purchase it (thank you!) please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill in the form below and I’ll send you a paypal invoice, then send you the ebook once I have received payment.
If you are heading to the Digital Parents Conference, you will have the chance to see how Nicole helped me by attending her session ‘Creating Your Own Products’ . Thank you and a big thanks to Nicole for all her help, wisdom and support!
A big shout out to Liz from The Virtual Assistant for her help getting the ebook ready. Thanks so much Liz!
The number one question I get as a coeliac – what is it?
Basically it is the immune system reacting to the gluten as posion. If gluten is ingested it goes all crazy and villi in the small bowel is damaged. These little beauties help everyone asborb all the goodness and nutrients in the food we eat. If gluten damages the villi, then the nutrients won’t be taken by the body and well that’s no good for anyone.
The ONLY way to treat coeliac disease is to eat a gluten free diet. Note I capitalised the word only because it is the only way. There is no magic pill. Gluten damages the bowel and no nutrients are absorbed. Gluten is a protein that is found in wheat, barley, malt, rye, bran and oats (in Australia).
So. What happens is gluten enters the body of a coeliac? Since we are among polite company I will skim over the nasty things like the body wanting to rid of the gluten straight away (use your imagination) and other nasty things like migraines, fatigue, brain fog and that is just for starters.
So not eating gluten is very important for a person with diagnosed Coeliac Disease. Because if gives our body’s a chance to absorb those lovely nutrients that we all need to live a healthy life. So what happen’s if you don’t follow a gluten free diet or you are not diagnosed?
Here I think it is important to quote Coeliac Australia:
A number of serious health consequences can result if the condition is not diagnosed and treated properly.
Ok – so exactly what are those serious health consequences?
Again, I am quoting Coeliac Australia:
The long term consequences of coeliac disease are related to poor nutrition and malabsorption of nutrients. Untreated, coeliac disease can lead to chronic poor health, osteoporosis, infertility, miscarriage, depression and dental enamel defects. There is also a small, but real, increased risk of certain forms of cancer such as lymphoma of the small bowel.
So between you and me, if you had Coeliac Disease, would you eat gluten? If so, really?
And another question: If a loved one had Coeliac Disease would you knowingly give them gluten even if they showed no outward symptoms? If so, why on earth would you?
Meshel Laurie – I am looking at you.(that link takes you to twitter, read her feed to see what she did to her poor MIL and how she reacts)
I am linking to a blog hop, ‘Our Food Challenges’. Feel free to join in if you wish!
PS If you are newly diagnosed, see my post “10 Tips to Get you Started being Gluten Free“
Gluten Free News – Wheatfree.com.au, Celiac Awareness Month, Gluten Free Eating Directory, Nut Free Bars
Gluten Free news I have discovered from things I have read as well as news releases I have received.
A new online store has opened just for us gluten free and wheat free folk. Wheatfree.com.au is chook full of all the products we need.
Celiac Awareness Month
May is Celiac Awareness Month in the USA. How lucky they get a whole month! The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness has some great things in store including a round of posts by some wonderful gluten free bloggers. Something those of us not in America can enjoy, see here for the details.
(as a side note, celiac is spelt without the ‘o’ in America and Canada, if I am talking about USA based celiac related news I will spell it the way they spell it.)
Gluten Free Eating Directory
I have just discovered that this fabulous website now has an app to make it even easier to discover new products and businesses. Even better is that they have one for iPhone and Android! And its free!
Nut Free Bars
Like many schools and day care centres across Australia, my son’s school has declared it to be a nut free zone. My son takes this very seriously (as he should!) and reads every label before I put it into his lunch and even with products that have a ‘may contains’ statement we don’t put it into his lunchbox. This is why nut free bars are fantastic, I have found 2 gluten free nut free bars on the market, Freedom Foods and Food for Health.
Have you got any gluten free news?
I am not sure if you have noticed but my little side bar over there has expanded by one in the last month. I am delighted to announce that Live Free Gluten Free has become a Nellbe Gluten Free advertiser. I am very lucky!
Live Free Gluten Free also sent me a couple of their products to give a whirl in the kitchen.
First up, Live Free Gluten Free Chicken Seasoning. It was as simple as egging and crumbing some chicken, into the pan it went, cooked it and served it up.
The hubby and boys loved it. Actually I should say, LOVED it. They all declared it the best chicken I have ever made them.
The other product I tried out was the Live Free Gluten Free Pastry Mix. This was also simple to use as you just added butter then some water, stirred with a knife and hey presto! Gluten Free Pastry to roll out and cook with!
Yes it is that easy folks. Now Robyn the founder/creator of these mixes recommended blind baking the pastry once you roll it out and pop it into your dish ready for the filling. I did for my quiche as that was the bigger one but not the little apple pies I made.
For the quiche, I just mixed 2 eggs, some cream, milk, fetta, pumpkin, sundried tomatoes and grated cheese in a bowl and mixed then popped into the pastry shell and cooked it in the oven until it set. It was delicious!
Then I just rolled out little pastries to fit muffin tins, four of them was all I had enough pastry for. Then filled with apple and popped a little cover on it, brushed with milk and sprinkled a little sugar. Baked in a moderate oven until the tops browned. These were really yummy too.
My quiche and apple pies do look a little rustic, thats because my 2 year old sous chef took off with my rolling pin giggling with glee halfway through me rolling it so I ended up spreading the pastry with my hands. It seemed to work as well.
Now I didn’t give you any set quantities for this as I made 2 things out of one batch of pastry. The 700g packet of pastry mix makes 3 lots I think. You can make a myriad of things with this, pies, sausage rolls, quiches, tarts, its so versatile and it is not crumbly at all.
Or… you can be lucky right here and win a LFGF Starter Pack! That is one each of the 700g mixes, Chicken Seasoning, Pastry Mix and Bread Mix!
Here are the giveaway details:
- Prize is 1 x 700g LFGF Chicken Seasoning, 1 x 700g LFGF Pastry Mix and 1 x LFGF Bread Mix, total RRP $42
- To enter, please leave a comment and tell me your favourite gluten free dish (or if you are entering for a loved one – what their favourite gluten free dish is)
- One entry per person
- Australian Postal Address Only
- Entries close midnight AEDT 25th March 2012
- Entries will be judged by me on creativity, no correspondance will be entered into
In further celebration of Coeliac Awareness Week I thought it would be a great time to share my top coeliac posts.
- Frequently Asked Gluten Free Questions – where I answer the important questions like ‘Is there gluten in vegemite?’
- 10 Tips to get you started being Gluten Free – you have just been diagnosed – now what happens?
- Gluten Free Recipes – the place to go to check out my recipes, all listed on the one page.
- Gluten Free Back to School Lunches – not just for the kids!
- Gluten Free Chocolate – ah yes there is such a thing – find out who makes it!
- and lastly, Gluten Free Celebrations, is a page where I share my posts I do around birthdays and Christmas.
Are you celebrating Coeliac Awareness Week?
There is one thing I love about a particular week in March. It is Coeliac Awareness Week and the supermarkets generally have some great specials on gluten free products. This year thankfully they haven’t let me down and have some gluten free specials, I thought I would share them with you!
On sale 7th – 13th March 2012 – link to catalogue
- Patties Gluten Free Meat Pies 2 pack – $6
- Bayview Gluten Free Crumbed Chicken Nuggets – $7
- Livwell Gluten Free White Rolls 4 Pack – $6
- Freedom Foods Free From Gluten Free Wraps – $4
- Basco Gluten Free Cake Mix – $2.80
- Mamee Rice Sticks Cheese – $4.55
- Organ Itsy Bitsy Bears Biscuits – $3
- Go Natural Nut Delight Bars 5 pack – $3.85
- Vege Chips 2 for $5
- Freedom Foods Berry Good Morning Cereal – $5.20 plus 20% off the whole Freedom Foods cereal range
on sale Wednesday 7th March 2012 – link to catalogue
- 1/2 Price Basco Range
- Mamee Rice Sticks Cheese – $4.99
- Kidscare Rice Wheels $4.19 (I doubt these will be on the shelf due to the recent recall)
- 20% off Freedom Foods cereal range
- Vege Cheese Twists 6 pack 2 for $8
- 20% off Orgran Kids Biscuit Range
- 25% off macro Gluten Free Biscuit Range
- macro Organic Vegetable Chips $3.39
- mini macro popcorn 10 pack $3.99
- macro Gluten Free Banana Bread Mix $3.49
- macro Gluten Free Buttermilk Pancake Mix $2.48
- macro Gluten Free Potato Chips $1.99
- macro Gluten Free Pizza Dough Mix $2.50
- I was at Woolworths today and noticed Melinda’s Gluten Free Goodies range was also on sale – perfect for her competition, also both Orgran and White Wings Gluten Free Flours
on sale from 14th March 2012 – link to catalogue
Aldi’s Has No Gluten, Wheat or Dairy Range include
- Pasta $2.99
- Falafel Mix $2.99
- Rice Crumbs $2.99
- Mini Crackers (Classic Cheese or Grated Parmesan) $3.99
- Sticky Date Pudding Mix $3.49
- Bread Mix $2.99
- Plain Flour and Self Raising Flour $2.79 ea
- Pancake Mix (Honey Cinnamon or Banana) $3.49
- Sweet William Chocolate 100g $2.49
- Chick Pea Crisps Sour Cream and Chives or BBQ $1.99
- Potato Grills Sea Salt or Saucy BBQ $1.99
- Fresh Life Gluten Free Museli $5.99
Anyone else come across some gluten free specials?
As I mentioned in my previous post, Coeliac Awareness Week is next week, 13th – 20th March 2012. I shared a Gluten Free Fish Tacos Recipe.
Thanks to Coles and Coeliac Australia I can also share another wonderful recipe with you. And this recipe is not just wonderful, it is amazing. It really is. I am not a pastry maker as gluten free pastry is traditionally hard to work with because it is so crumbly. This pastry is not crumbly in the slightest, it is amazing to work with and I made a sweet and savoury dish from the one batch of pastry and it was delicious.
Gluten Free Apple and Blueberry Tarts
- 250g cream cheese
- 225g butter, softened
- 220g (1 cup) rice flour
- 200g (1 cup) potato flour
- 2 teaspoons xanthan gum
- 300g blueberries (frozen are fine)
- 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cut into 1 cm cubes
- 1 tablespoon gluten free cornflour
- 1/4 cup caster sugar
- 1 egg white, beaten lightly
- Combine cream cheese and butter in a bowl, stir until smooth. Add sifted flours and xanthan gum. Mix well. Chill dough for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Grease 8 muffin pans and line with strips of baking paper hanging over the edges (to help lift tarts out)
- Roll out the chilled pastry on a surface lightly dusted with potato flour until 3 mm thick. Cut out 8 x 10 cm rounds. Line the muffin pans with the pastry. Cut out 8 x 8cm rounds to fit the tops.
- If using frozen berries, thaw and drain well. Mix together the blueberries, apple, cornflour and sugar.
- Spoon the berry/apple mixture into the pastry cases and brush tops with a little egg white. Sprinkle a little extra caster sugar on top. Bake about 40 minutes or until golden.
- Dust with gluten free icing sugar if desired. Can also be made as one big tart.
And as I mentioned before, I made a savoury dish with the leftover over pastry. I made Gluten Free Mini Quiches. I quickly whipped up a couple of eggs, dash milk, some grated cheese, chopped cherry tomatoes and poured them into tart cases. I didn’t bother with the tops.
As you can see they are rustic but oh my they were delicious.
I married into a big family. Lots of siblings, nieces, nephews which also means lots of birthdays and celebrations. Ever since being diagnosed as a coeliac (9 years ago) I have dreaded 99% of them.
If it is my husbands or one of my children’s own celebration then I can cater it and make all the food gluten free.
If it is another family member then we all generally get invited to have take away at someone’s house or go out to a restaurant. There is one particular event coming up this weekend that I am not looking forward to. We have been invited to go to a restaurant for lunch. This particular restaurant does not do gluten free. But we have to go. Now what do I do?
Eat before hand. Yes I get to try and make sure I have a big breakfast or a super duper early lunch so I am not hungry when I go. No big deal right?
Well it is really. Even if I am not hungry or looking after the runaway toddler, I still miss out. Imagine a big table full of people, they all get their meals. You hear comments like, ‘Oh I am starving. Mmm that looks good, mmm that smells good, mmm that tastes good.’ They are all eating away, enjoying this food that was cooked for them.
And there is you. You can see it. You can smell it. But you can’t eat it. Then they bring out the cake. You sing Happy Birthday. They cut it up. You can’t eat that either.
Am I being selfish? Perhaps. Out of 20 people why should I be the one to be looked after right? People really shouldn’t have to think about what poor Janelle can or can’t eat when they choose a restaurant.
Finally they all clear the plates, everyone says good bye and drives off. I drive away with an empty feeling inside no amount of gluten free cake or chocolate can fill up bought with love on the way home by your understanding husband.
Tears may escape.
You never get used to being the odd one out. Doesn’t matter how much food you eat beforehand or how many times you have been to a restaurant and have left without ever eating anything.
Do you go to somewhere you know you can’t eat anything where everyone else can?