Gluten Free Diet

Gluten is a protein found in some grains, mainly wheat. It has been found that many people have a sensitivity to gluten. Wheat is the most common source of this sensitivity, but the gluten in rye can also be a problem for some. Oats have very little gluten and can usually be tolerated.

Many diverse conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, tissue swelling, premenstrual syndrome, fatigue, thought disorders, mental disturbances, joint and muscle aches and pains clear up when wheat is excluded from the diet. Coeliac disease or gluten enteropathy occurs when even a very small exposure to gluten stimulates an extreme allergic reaction in the gut causing inflammation, erosion of the intestinal lining and malabsorption.

Wheat contributes carbohydrate, protein, vitamins (particularly the “B” group), minerals and fibre to the diet. In the average diet wheat can provide up to 1/6 of the daily protein, usually in the form of bread. This can easily be replaced by other protein such as that in fish, eggs, nuts and beans. The fibre can be replaced by eating oats and increasing the intake of fresh raw vegetables and fruit. “B” vitamins can be supplemented by nutritional yeast.

Foods to Avoid

  • Bread (brown or white).
  • Cakes, cookies, muffins, pastries and other bakery products.
  • Pasta (including spaghetti, macaroni, etc.).
  • Instant desserts.
  • Pizza base.
  • Thickened sauces.
  • Anything with bread crumbs.
  • Stuffing.

It is important to look at labels of manufactured food and if they contain any of the following ingredients then avoid them:

  • Whole wheat or whole grain
  • Rusk
  • Wheat flour
  • Wheat germ
  • Wheat starch
  • Wheatbran or bran
  • Wheat protein
  • Flour
  • Edible starch
  • Starch
  • Food starch
  • Thickening
  • Cornflour (cornstarch)- often mixed with wheat

Now for the good news!

Many delicious breads and cakes can be made at home using wheat flour substitutes, namely: soya flour, ground rice flour, gram flour (ground chick peas), cornflour, buckwheat flour, rice flour.

The following is a standard recipe for brown bread. It makes a slightly heavy but very edible loaf.

Flour

4 oz (100 g) soya flour
1 lb 2 oz (500 g) ground brown rice
3 oz (75 g) yellow split pea flour
2 tbsp dried pectin
2 oz (50 g) ground almonds

Mix all ingredients and store in an airtight container in the fridge for use as required.

Bread

7 1/4 oz. (210 g) brown bread flour (as above)
2 heaping tsp dried yeast granules
9 fl oz (250 g) warm water
1 heaping tsp raw cane sugar
3 pinches sea salt
1 tbsp sunflower oil

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).
  2. Sprinkle the yeast granules into the warm water. Add sugar, and stir.
  3. Leave until yeast softens (a few minutes).
  4. Put flour in a bowl with the sea salt and oil. Mix.
  5. Stir the yeast and pour onto the flour, and mix to a smooth batter.
  6. Grease a 7 1/4 x 3 ½ x 2 1/4 inch loaf pan with oil, and dust with ground rice.
  7. Spoon dough into pan and put straight into preheated oven on the top rack. *
  8. Bake for one hour until well risen, brown and crusty.
  9. Turn out onto wire rack and cool before slicing.

Foods to eat

These ready made products may be included in your gluten-free diet:

  • Oat cakes (if not acutely allergic)
  • Rice cakes
  • Gluten-free bread
  • Gluten-free muesli
  • Gluten-free cookies
  • Wheat-free pasta

Cooking of Grains

GRAINS AND USES CUPS OF WATER/ 1 CUP RAW GRAIN TIME (mins) MAKES (CUPS)
Buckwheat groats (roasted)
Also called Kasha. Use in knishes and
stuffed cabbage; flour used in pancakes, waffles, crepes.
Sprouts well.
2 20 2
Cornmeal
Yellow, white. Use in muffins, polenta, tortillas, cornbread
3 15-20 2
Millet
Toast lightly before cooking to enhance
the flavor. Use alone or in soups, stews, casseroles. Sprouts
well.
2 20-30 2 1/2
Oats
Rolled/flaked/oatmeal, oat flour. Use as
cereal, baby food; in soups, stews. Soak
coarse oatmeal (steel cut oats) overnight.
2 10 2
Rice
Many varieties. Use brown rice alone,
or add to soups, stews, casseroles,
salads, puddings, stuffing.
  • Long grain
  • Short grain
  • Rice cream
2
2
3
35-45
30-40
25
2
24
Quinoa
An ancient grain from the Andes. Very
complete protein. Excellent hot or cold. Be sure to rinse well
before cooking to avoid bitterness.
To
cover
15-20 2

Spelt, Kamut and Teff are ancient strains of wheat which may be tolerated by people with mild allergies.

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