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:
- Durum wheat
- Bulgur Wheat
- Matzo (crackers)
What are the symptoms?
Many people are living with symptoms which range from mild to severe, and can include:
- mouth ulcers
- sudden or unexpected weight loss (but not in all cases)
- hair loss
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)
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 www.rawtarian.com – 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