I am a Coeliac and I was diagnosed in February 2016. I had unknowingly suffered with the symptoms of the disease for most of my life – mouth ulcers. I had them for years and years, I grew up with them – hundreds of them at a time sometimes! Typically, coeliacs show symptoms in the way of diarrhoea, bloating, sickness and vitamin deficiencies so I was misdiagnosed for potentially 20 years of my life! It is estimated that 75% of coeliacs are currently living undiagnosed.
I always ate well going into adulthood – I always thought it was important to understand what my body needed in the way of nutrition and since my diagnosis this really made me focus on the world of food. I have developed a real interest in what purpose each food group provides to my body and I wanted to share my personal experience day-to-day with you with my gluten-free journey to provide some ‘food-spiration’. Enjoy : – )
When living with coeliac disease, it is important to maintain a gluten-free diet. It has become much easier as a coeliac over the years as there are now huge offerings in supermarkets to cater for the gluten-free diet – however at a cost!
As there isn’t a great amount of competition amongst companies who are offering gluten-free products, the manufacturers are able to charge whatever they feel necessary for the gluten-free products they have to offer.
The average price for a decent quality loaf of gluten-free bread is £3 – at least three times the price of an ordinary loaf of bread! This is mirrored within the sale of pastas, sauces, meats, cookies,
biscuits, breakfast cereals as these are also much more expensive than the ordinary alternatives.
Not only do the gluten-free products cost normally three-four times the price of the ordinary products, they tend not to be as tasty and the majority of the time they contain added sugars/fats/salts to preserve the items and to help with the taste meaning they are not very good for keeping up the right balance in a diet.
As a result, I have started to follow a gluten-free diet by cooking with naturally gluten-free foods.
Typically, by avoiding gluten, it involves avoiding carbohydrate rich foods such as pastas and breads.
Carbohydrates are essential to a balanced diet and we cannot function without them. Wheat is also a key source of fibre within a diet and we need fibre in a diet to maintain a healthy digestive system – so by avoiding gluten, it is important to replace these carbohydrate and fibre rich foods with other alternatives.
Rice, quinoa, buck wheat and potatoes are a few examples of naturally gluten-free carbohydrates that can replace pastas, bread and cous cous. To keep fibre levels up, flaxseed, chia seed, nuts, fruits and beans are fitting examples to take advantage of from day-to-day.
Since I was diagnosed with coeliac disease in February 2016, my cooking abilities have improved substantially along with my understanding of nutritional content of foods that I am able to consume.
I have developed a real interest in foods including the purpose of each food group within the body. I hope my gluten free journey provides inspiration and support to fellow coeliac sufferers.