Its Coeliac and Gluten Awareness week from 9th to 15th May and Coeliac UK wants to reach the half a million people living in the UK with undiagnosed coeliac disease in the UK.

Their aim is to halve the length of time to confirm a diagnosis, which is currently on average, 13 years, and reduce misdiagnosis of IBS by 50%.

So listen out on the radio and TV and read the papers to hear more about Coeliac Awareness Week

What is Coeliac disease?

  • Coeliac disease is a lifelong autoimmune disease caused by intolerance to gluten.
  • When a person with Coelia Disease eats any foods containing gluten their immune system reacts by damaging the lining of the small intestine.
  • This can cause problems with the absorption of important minerals and vitamins from food
  • 1 in 100 people have the condition but currently only 24% of those who have the disease have a diagnosis.

What is gluten?

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye and some Coeliacs may also be intolerant to oats.

You will also need to exclude:

  • Spelt
  • Durum wheat
  • Bulgur Wheat
  • Couscous
  • Kamut
  • Matzo (crackers)
  • Sempolina

What are the symptoms?

Many people are living with symptoms which range from mild to severe, and can include:

  • Bloating
  • Diarrhoea
  • Nausea
  • Wind
  • Constipation
  • Tiredness
  • mouth ulcers
  • sudden or unexpected weight loss (but not in all cases)
  • hair loss
  • anaemia

 What if you have some of these symptoms?

  • It is important NOT to exclude Gluten from your diet until you have had blood tests. Unfortunately this may mean having to put up with symptoms for a while longer but gluten needs to be present in the diet for the best chance of getting a definite result.
  • Firstly, go to see your GP who will take a simple blood test to check for antibodies. These can indicate coeliac disease. However, it’s possible to have a negative test and yet still have coeliac disease.

How is it treated?

  • Coeliacs have to follow a gluten free diet for life
  • Fortunately there are lots of foods that can be eaten and all supermarkets now carry gluten free ranges
  • Many chain restaurants also offer gluten free choices (check with each individual restaurant)

Recipe Alert!

I have seen many clients who suffer from Coeliac Disease and/or gluten intolerance and often the foods they miss most are bread and cakes or sweet treats for snacking.

So, here is a recipe for a gluten free snack which I have adapted from – a great website with lots of inspiring raw food recipes most of which are suitable for those staying away from gluten.  Please be aware that these do contain sugars although I have reduced the amount in the original recipe.

Cinnamon Raisin ‘cookies’ (original recipe)


355 ml almonds or ground almonds
60 ml honey or agave nectar
10 ml pure vanilla extract
60 ml coconut oil
15 ml cinnamon
a pinch of  sea salt
120 ml raisins – reserve!


  • Place almonds in food processor if using whole. Process until very fine – slightly coarser than flour.
  • Place “almond flour” into large bowl. Add everything else except raisins. Stir with spoon until well combined, resembling cookie dough.
  • Add raisins and stir again until will distributed.
  • Place bowl in fridge for one hour. Once refrigerated for one hour, mold into cookie shapes. Serve immediately.
  • Store leftover cookies in refrigerator. Cookies are best served right out of fridge, otherwise they will crumble. (I keep mine in a box in the freezer and eat them straight from there)

I have adapted this recipe in the following way:

  • I used ground almonds – much quicker
  • Reduce the cinnamon to 10ml – I find this enough to give a good flavour
  • I used maple syrup or good quality runny honey but only 30ml – because these snacks are very sweet you can reduce the sugar without affecting the flavour
  • I added 2 x tablespoons of gluten free porridge oats (if tolerated) or buckwheat flakes (naturally gluten free) – adds more complex fibre and some B vitamins
  • I added 1 heaped tablespoon Carley’s Raw mixed seed butter – helps to cut through the sweetness and adds beneficial fats and protein
  • I rolled them in dessicated coconut to finish – adds at bit of texture and flavour