About 4% of the Irish population are coeliacs, which is a relatively high rate by European standards. People with coeliac disease are unable to digest gluten, a type of protein found in certain grains. As well as being unable to digest gluten, they may often suffer from a range of other ailments including ongoing or severe digestive complaints.
Gluten is found in a number of grains, including wheat, oats, barley and rye. However, I have noticed, in my nutrition clinic, many people suffer from digestive complaints as a result of eating wheat only (i.e. they are not coeliac) and are choosing to reduce or exclude it from their diet. Although it is possible to have a gluten free healthy diet, it is important to increase gluten free grains to ensure you are getting all the nutrients you need.
Many of whose who experience difficulty digesting wheat or gluten are simply cutting these foods out and not replacing them with other grains.
Coeliacs can eat a variety of other grains, including rice, corn, quinoa, millet, buckwheat and amaranth but what I notice is that people tend to be nervous trying out different grains. They are relatively easy to cook and simply need to be washed well and simmered in double the amount of water to the grain. You can buy gluten free flours, such as brown rice flour or you can even make your own flour by grinding nuts as I do below.
Gluten Free Apple Pancakes
1 teaspoon of oil
1oz buckwheat flour
1oz cashews (ground in a food processor)
½ teaspoon Royal baking powder (gluten free)
1 small egg
3 fl oz soya milk (or other milk)
1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
3 drops of vanilla essence (optional)
1 small apple (grated)
Sieve flour and baking powder into a bowl and add ground cashews.
Hand whisk the egg, milk, cinnamon and vanilla in a measuring jug and add apple.
Add to the flour and stir well, adding a dash of water.
Heat your frying pan to quite hot.
Put oil into the pan and wipe gently with kitchen roll.
Pour in 2 tablespoons of the mixture and use the back of a spoon to round the mixture evenly.
Leave for a minute or so, when bubbles start popping through the mixture, flip over and cook on other side for another minute.
Place in a warmed oven while you cook the others.
Serve with natural yogurt and maple syrup