As we approach Coeliac Awareness Week, which takes place from the 8th – 14th May, it’s the perfect time for me to shout a little louder about a subject that is very close to my heart; gluten-free.
So how do you know if you are intolerant to gluten? If you suffer from an afternoon slump, often feel bloated, uncomfortable, irritable and lacking in energy without understanding why, there is a high chance that gluten is not agreeing with you. Too many people accept these symptoms, without looking at the cause and seeking alternative options. If this sounds familiar, I would thoroughly recommend that you get tested.
Gluten is hidden in a number of foods, many of which may surprise you. You might have ditched the lunchtime sandwich and now opt for sushi as a healthy alternative, but every time you dip that California roll into a dish of soy sauce, you’re eating gluten. Try Tamari soy sauce, which is naturally gluten-free.
Time to lose the stigma
Unfortunately, there is still a stigma attached to the whole concept, with a common belief that anything gluten-free is bland and tasteless; a large proportion of the UK population believe that it isn’t for them, perhaps based on a bad experience from eating a dry cake, or a dense slice of bread.
I have a passion to change this belief, as it’s not only incredibly far from reality, but switching to gluten-free can be a simple, yet life-changing decision, if you’re prepared to give it a go. If you are reading this, I have your attention, so that’s a start!
Through years of experience in creating, teaching and writing about gluten-free food, I love nothing more than sharing my knowledge to educate and encourage more people to opt for this healthier way of life. Many of my recipes are dairy-free and use minimal refined sugar, as I find delicious alternatives that are nutritional and naturally gluten-free.
A simple lifestyle change can make a big difference to your health
I do all of the hard work so that you don’t have to; as a chef I can achieve results. I am a bit of a perfectionist, so I won’t publish a recipe or serve a dish until it is the very best I can create; it may take me 10 attempts to reach this stage. I am constantly learning and the journey from an initial idea, to perfecting the recipe challenges and excites me, with one goal; to bring delicious gluten-free food to your table that is simple for you to prepare, kind to your body and absolute bliss for you to eat.
With my knowledge and patience, I do the necessary market research to find ingredients that are widely available, and I am mindful not to introduce too many foods that you may be unfamiliar with. Yes, some of the ingredients might be a little more expensive, but you really do get what you pay for. Choosing this way of life gives you peace of mind that you are nourishing your body, to give you sustained energy throughout the day, as well as long-term health. You will also find that the ingredients used in my recipes will keep you full and satisfied for longer, so that you won’t actually need to eat as much. In my experience, the better I eat, the less I eat.
The taste test
The quality and choice of naturally gluten-free ingredients has improved to such an extent, that I can guarantee in a blindfolded taste test, you would not know the difference between standard wheat pasta and a brand I use, Garofalo pasta, which is made from ingredients such as corn, rice and quinoa. As another example, I use millet flour in baking as an alternative to the standard cheaper wheat flour. The difference? You can eat those favourite dishes you would usually enjoy, eliminating the bloated and sluggish feeling afterwards.
So, if you have been advised to switch to a gluten free lifestyle, just give one of my recipes a go; your body and your taste buds will thank you for it!