Coeliac awareness week – Mrs Green takes the challenge

Browse main article categories

coeliac-disease-wheatThere is a saying I love and try hard to live by which says don’t judge a man until you’ve walked two moons in his moccasins.

It basically means don’t judge or criticise others because you don’t actually know what anyone else is going through.

I’m not always mindful of it, but I try my best.

Next week we ALL have a chance to walk in someone else’s shoes by supporting Coeliac awareness week.

The week runs from 14th – 20th May and you’re invited to take part in a gluten free challenge for the week.

Apparently, people with coeliac disease have a hard time eating out as many restaurants and cafes do not cater for, or understand the condition.

People with coeliac disease are so intolerant to gluten (found in wheat, barley and rye), that eating it damages the lining of the small intestine which is responsible for absorbing nutrition from the food you eat. Minor symptoms include nausea, pain and tiredness, but major symptoms include iron, vitamin B12 and folic acid deficiency, osteoporosis and neurological problems. In some cases, weight loss can be so dramatic the person becomes completely debilitated.

Do you reckon you could live without gluten for a week? It means cutting out bread, cakes and biscuits made from wheat, saying no to museli and scouring ingredients labels for information. I know at Chez Green we reach for toast when we’re in a hurry and I eat ryvita like there is no tomorrow…

And what about eating out; do you fancy trying to find a snack bar that doesn’t base everything on sandwiches or baguettes? I guess jacket potatoes would do for a lunchtime snack but what about a full meal – pasta is out as are many sauces that are thickened with wheat flour. But it’s not only that; even if you find gluten-free foods there are risks of cross contamination from other lines which needs to be taken into account; for example in a fish and chip shop everything is fried in the same oil.

Other things to think about – vinegar; malt vinegar is made from barley. Beer, larger, stout and ale contain gluten. Mustard is often thickened with wheat flour. Soy Sauce contains wheat. So you see, you really need to start reading ingredients labels and not make any assumptions!

For inspiration you can download this gluten free recipe planner. I have a bag of millet that I’ve not yet used so I’m going to try that. I’ll also be eating more rice and jacket potatoes I guess and I believe oats are ok, so porrage is still good! I think Little Miss Green will find it the most difficult, she LOVES wheat, adores any type of bread, will eat pasta plain from the saucepan and loves my home baking.

What about you – do you think you could live without gluten for a week? Are you willing to help raise awareness for people who live with coeliac disease?


  1. Lucy on May 11, 2012 at 5:36 am

    Here’s a super yummy gluten free chocolate cake from my baking blog to help you on your way!

  2. Mairi Stones on May 13, 2012 at 8:20 am

    It is a challenge indeed for all the reasons you say, and yet entirely doable!

    My daughter was gluten free for about 7 years, which prepared me for when I too went that way. Until very recently I have been gluten free for about 18 months. Its not coeliac but a need to sort out my digestion, and maybe intolerances, we’ll see.
    Yes it’s hard and yes I sometimes feel like I miss out, but on the whole I manage well. Oats by the way are out unless they are gluten free, it’s not that they themselves have gluten but unless confirmed as gluten free they contain traces of gluten. That was big breakthrough for me when gluten free oatcakes and oats became available.
    Anyway I learned that trying to replicate was a waste of time, you cannot make nice gluten free bread, though there are some passable commercial varieties available now. Coeliac should be able to get this on prescription though.
    I gave up and settled for oatcakes, and a flat bread. Here’s the recipe:

    Gluten, Yeast and Sugar Free Flat Bread
    1 cup brown rice flakes
    1 cup buckwheat flakes
    4 cups water
    pinch salt

    2 eggs or egg replacer
    a little oil
    approx 450g gluten free flour ( preferably brown)
    4 rounded tsp gluten free baking powder

    Make a thick porridge with flakes water and salt. Allow to cool completely.

    Mix in eggs, oil and baking powder and half the flour.
    ( I mix the egg replacer, baking powder and flour together first, also add any spices, nuts,seeds, sun dried tomatoes, olives etc at this stage)

    Gradually add more flour till you have a soft dough, firm enough to roll out, not too sticky, like pastry dough.

    Weight out portions of approx 85g and roll into balls.

    Roll out into pitta bread shape and place on oiled baking tray. Don’t roll too flat or they end up hard and biscuit like.(I’ve tried different shapes, fat bread sticks great)

    Brush tops with oil if you want, ( I sprinkle on rock salt, pepper, herbs etc at this stage if desired).

    Baked at 180C for 20-25 mins.

    Cool on wire racks. makes about 16-18 flat breads. They have a little crust and are a bit doughy.

    Can be frozen and quickly defrosted in the toaster. Lovely with nut butter and banana slices.

    Thanks to the unknown inventor, they are great!

  3. CelloMom on May 16, 2012 at 4:04 pm

    There is a silver lining: some things are much easier to make without gluten!
    My bread is a mix of various GF flour, add water, yeast and honey, stir it up, tip it into the pan, and that’s it. No kneading required.
    Also, white sauces are much easier to make with corn starch, which _never_ clumps. I now make the smoothest sauces and soups.

    Going out is trickier, but you learn to pick your way around the menu. Store-bought GF stuff is not just expensive, it’s often laced with all kinds of additives that you’d rather not ingest. So I end up making a lot of things from scratch. Advantage: if I don’t make the cookie, I don’t get to eat it. Makes self-control much simpler.

    That is, until we get to the UK and face the GF isle at the Waitrose.

  4. Mrs Green on May 20, 2012 at 3:43 pm

    @Lucy: fab – thanks Lucy!

    @Mairi Stones: thanks for such a useful comment, delicious recipe and for telling me about oats; I did indeed take a look at my box of oats after reading your comment and saw that they contain gluten…

    @CelloMom: No knead bread; now that piques my interest! I’ve seen some of the GF stuff in the stores and it does look rather unappetising; I’d rather go without or get creative in the kitchen 😉

Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors

Or try our Site map and Tags

Featured posts

Five natural ways to cure Seasonal Affective Disorder SAD

In Northern Europe, around 12 million people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Symptoms range from mild such as feeling a little…

Basic natural household cleaning kit

You’ve all been waiting patiently to begin making your own household cleaners. You know some of the nasties you want to avoid…

A natural homemade recipe for cough syrup using thyme, garlic, honey and sage.

Mother Nature bestows so many gifts upon us, providing all we could ever need for a long and healthy life; foods to…