Gluten free, cow’s milk free rose pancakes for the breakfast diva!

Make these for a special occasion – gluten and cow’s milk free pancakes with an extra special flair for a birthday or wedding breakfast, of in fact you can make them plain for a tasty cooked alternative to kick start the day. I was asked to review an almond flour by a manufacturer Sukrin who donated the flour for the review. I liked the flour, it was tasty and worked well for the recipe. For other manufacturer recommendations such as suitable for low carbohydrate and paleo diets, this may well be the case, however I don’t advocate removing the carbohydrate totally from from your diet or having a very low intake of carbohydrate for healthy people – carbohydrate is food for the brain and fibre containing (or wholegrain) carbohydrates are prebiotic, food for your gut bacteria. If you are having gut symptoms changing your types of carbohydrate may be a better option that stopping eating carbohydrate altogether – just ensure you have a medical diagnosis first before making any changes to your diet and request a referral to a dietitian! We do now know that changes to diet can affect the variety and number of gut bacteria that live in your digestive tract and we do not yet know what the effects  low carbohydrate diets have on long term digestive health. Our gut bacteria help with producing vitamin K and produce short chain fatty acids which help to keep the tract healthy. Most dietary changes Dietitians advocate are to identify a particular food intolerance culprit – this not only has benefits in reducing symptoms, but also means you can continue to have as varied a diet as possible.

You can taste the almond in these pancakes and they are very filling. Please also note whilst these pancakes are free of gluten and cow’s milk they are not suitable for the exclusion phase of the Low FODMAP diet in large amounts, almonds should be eaten in small amounts only (almond – as nuts – less than 10 at any one time.)


3 eggs

100g of almond flour

2 or 3 dessert spoons of rose syrup

200ml of hazelnut milk

a few drops of food colouring and edible gold glitter if you really want a decadent treat!

Spray oil to fry.

Mix the eggs into the almond flour, add the syrup and nut milk to the mixture then add the the food colour. Spray oil into the pan and using a piping bag pipe swirls of the mix into the pan and fry until the base is cooked and then finish the cooking in an oven at gas mark six for 5-10 minutes.


Gluten free bourbon cream biscuits



2 egg yolks

160 g of gluten-free plain flour

120 g margarine

180 g of golden castor sugar

2 heaped dessert spoons of gluten-free cocoa powder

90 g of plain chocolate – gluten-free

30 g of low-fat mascarpone


Cream together the margarine and sugar.

Add egg slowly and beat (if mix starts to curdle add some flour.)

Sieve dry ingredients and add slowly to the biscuit batter, this should be slightly dry to allow shaping.

For filling – melt chocolate and add mascarpone to it to make a stiff mix – stick biscuits together with cream filling.

Use gluten-free flour containing rice flour as this gives the biscuits a nice crunchy texture. Eat one as a treat – you can freeze them if you wish! 🙂

Gluten free bread woes?

The one anxiety people have when they are diagnosed with coeliac disease is the bread. People complain about the texture, the taste, the fact that sandwiches ‘are just not the same’, the slices are too small and they struggle with choices at lunchtime. In my experience most people find a solution to the bread ‘problem’ and this can be achieved by trying all different types, most

companies will allow you to sample the products. Free From shows are ideal venues to visit as most companies exhibit and will allow you to taste. It can be argued that the popularity of the gluten-free diet as a lifestyle choice is not ideal, but one thing is for sure, choices for gluten-free foods are improving all the time. Although free market competition and following price reductions due to market competition does not seem to have followed with the increasing choice available.

The fresh breads that are marketed are good options and if you can tolerate codex wheat (wheat that has had the gluten removed) but you may need to have freezer storage as if these are ordered on prescription (for people with coeliac disease only) they are delivered in larger batches. Try to choose ones with added fibre or seeds to increase wholegrain options in your diet. Some breads can be freshened by warming in an oven or microwave – this is usually stated on the packet and some versions have humectants (an additive that holds on to water) added to keep them moist, such as psyllium husk flour, which can also act as a bulking laxative! Useful for most people but you might want to limit the amount of these types of bread if you have irritable bowel syndrome and you suffer from diarrhoea and bloating.

lunch day 2

Most types of bread are available in gluten-free varieties, such as baguettes, rolls, fruit loaf, pita and naan, a new wrap has even been introduced recently. If you use artesian bread outlets or farmers markets, please ensure contamination with gluten has been avoided and the seller is aware that spelt flour is not gluten-free. One clear problem with the gluten-free bread is that the slices are often smaller – but do be cautious as these slices may contain the same calories as a standard sized loaf. Those people who have weight management requirements need to review the labels when choosing bread as sometimes ingredients that are used to improve the texture increase the calories the bread contains. Some of the more common breads and there fat and calorie contents are below.

————–Energy per Slice/per 100g (Kcal)              Fat Content per slice/per 100g (g)

Juvela Fibre Fresh                           73/229                                                     1.3/4.2

Glutafin Select Fibre Fresh             88/252                                                     2.2/6.1

Genius brown original                      82/304                                                    3.8/14.3

Warburtons Brown                           73/229                                                    2.2/6.1

Yes You Can (fibre)                          83/221                                                    1.4/3.7

Wellfoods (fibre)                               –/216                                                     –/2.3

Ener-G (rice brown loaf)                  –/334                                                     –/15

Fria Fiber                                            83/265                                                   2.1/7.0

Barkat Brown                                      –/221                                                   — /3.2

Dietary Specials                                68.5/249                                                 1.7/6.2

Biona rice brown bread                       –/200                                                  –/2.0

Asda Brown                                            86/234                                                1.2/3.3

Sainsbury’s Brown  (slice = 36g)         86/302                                                3.6/12.5

Tesco Brown                                         105/285                                                3.1/8.6

Only two of the above products would be classed as a low fat product if you go by grams of fat per 1oog only, but this is complicated, as slices are different thicknesses and sizes and calorie content is also important. Concentrating on the fat level might not be that helpful (and the calorie content of the rest of the diet too is clearly important – it’s no good complaining about the calorie content of the bread, if you consume lots of gluten free cake, biscuits and pastries!) Those examples above without per slice options may be unsliced, therefore the calorie content depends on how generous you are, thin slices or ‘door stop’ slices, as my Lancashire family would describe. Some companies are now producing loaves that have larger slices to address the issue of small slices, but again caution might need to be taken for those who struggle to maintain a healthy weight.

gluten free bread loaf 3 4-23-12 w

As can be seen above we now have lots of options for choices for bread – so those who are newly diagnosed should ideally try each version to see which they prefer, this choice can be as different as chalk and cheese! You can make your own using breadmakers and baking by hand, mixes are available to help and they are usually very good in my experience. Making your own can take some time to get used too but home-made can taste much nicer – you could add dried fruit, a source of iron and fibre. Other options are gluten-free crackers and crispbreads, good options for lunchtime and eating away from home. Toasting the bread can also make the bread more tolerable for some.

If you are following the Low FODMAP diet ensure you check ingredients.

If you have any tips for people please share!

No funding or free samples were provided to faciliate writing of this post.

Simply Gluten Free and Dairy Free – Grace Cheetham

SimplyGluten_Nov12This book is a useful addition to the bookshelves of anyone who has a requirement to follow either a dairy free, lactose free and gluten-free diet or both. However despite the name of this book it contains some recipes for a number of different food allergies or intolerances identified by symbols at the side of each recipe, the symbol key is at the front of the book. The gluten-free symbol does include wheat free so the recipes are suitable for those people needing to follow a wheat free diet, although this is not clear from the title of the book. For those coeliacs amongst my readers the book has the endorsement of Coeliac UK, meaning that the recipes are guaranteed gluten-free (as long as you use the listed gluten-free ingredients of course!) Healthy eating recipes are included and the pictures certainly make you want to try some of the dishes as they look fresh and colourful and Grace injects some personality into the chapters by writing a small introduction to each and hints and tips are included throughout. Most of the recipes are not easily identifiable as ‘free from’ by anyone who wouldn’t be aware, making the recipes useful for the whole family. Treats are not forgotten, also very important to include occasionally in the diet for those people who have to exclude certain foods. It is perhaps better to wait till you have identified your intolerances if you are being treated with the Low FODMAP diet before you think about buying the book as the recipes do contain a number of high FODMAP foods, but these types of foods are generally healthy for those people who don’t have Irritable Bowel Syndrome or types of gut inflammation such as crohn’s or Colitis. For Low FODMAP followers you should only consider these recipes if you only have lactose intolerance and/or need to avoid gluten or wheat and you are fine with all other types of high FODMAP foods. The recipes I tried worked well and the book is nicely presented and not too expensive, so perhaps think about the book as a nice birthday or Christmas present for your friends or relatives with free from needs. Or buy it yourself and treat your friends to some baked goods – even better!”

The book was provided by the author for this review


‘G’ day – day one on gluten free diet.

Day one – the gluten-free challenge – how is it going? Well fine actually – I have done good so far, but less than 24 hours in so perhaps that isn’t too surprising. Nearly had one mishap this morning though, or what would be classed in the health service as ‘a near miss incident!’ My alarm clock decided to ring VERY early – I don’t know why, this woke me up, disturbed my sleep and when I eventually managed to drag my body out of bed and go down for breakfast, I reached in the cupboard and took out the box of cereal that is too high in barley malt – poured a bowl – then realised. Had to put the cereal back in the box and get a new bowl. Opened the gluten-free cereal and had that with skimmed milk, a handful of raisins and two tablespoons of gluten-free cherry yoghurt – nice!

The picture above was my lunch consisting of

1/2 packet of brown rice fine noodles – pour on boiling water till soft, then drain and cool.

2 inch slice of cucumber – cut lengthways

100g prawns

2 sticks of celery – cut lengthways

2 radishes (for colour)

2 tablespoons of gluten-free sweet chilli

Mix well

I had this with 1 apple and 1 banana.

Waiting now for my evening meal of jacket spud and gluten-free baked beans – yum!

Last night I emailed the hotel and requested a gluten-free breakfast – they were very fast in responding, but I also need to ask them to bring my breakfast separately should it be a free for all buffet – breadcrumbs included! 😦

This is what I requested – we will see what happens, although it might be difficult to tell if some contamination has occurred 😉 but this is no different to what some people will experience.

Dear Sir/Madam
I have a reservation on the 17th and 18th of May and I am sending this email to request a gluten-free option for breakfast, if you would be so kind to provide this. This is required because of coeliac disease and consuming gluten can make me ill, should you need more information on how to provide a gluten-free diet please check the following link, which will take you to coeliac UK’s website where you can find further information. It is important that any contamination with gluten during preparation and cooking is avoided, this can sometimes be a problem. I am more than happy to answer any questions, or check foods for you, should this be needed.
If you can’t provide a gluten-free option I will bring my own cereal, so please let me know if this request is problematic.
Thank you
Tummy rumbling now – need my meal
Will blog again tomorrow!

A dietitian’s reflection on following a gluten free diet

Copyright (c) 2012 Jules_GastroRD.
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document
under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.3
or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation;
with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts.
A copy of the license is included in the section entitled “GNU
Free Documentation License”

When I initially became involved in treating people with coeliac disease I decided that it would be good to try to follow the gluten-free diet to see what the problems were, this post is a copy of my reflection and was originally written in 2009 – some of the issues I experienced will not have been made any easier in the current economic climate. I feel the need to share this with you – I may try to persuade you to continue following your gluten-free diet to ensure optimum health, but I do appreciate this is no mean feat to achieve!

I REALLY like bread and my favourite meal of the day is breakfast when I have a bowl of cornflakes (what??? a dietitian not eating a fibre based breakkie? – let me assure you, I do eat plenty of fibre :-).) I have some experience of changing my breakfast cereal for unnamed brands to try to save money and I have to say I failed miserably, as many brands fail to keep their texture once in milk and often taste very bland. I therefore eat a certain very well-known brand of cornflakes. As such I was not looking forward to the experience of having to change, but I felt it was worthwhile.

I began by purchasing the prescription breads, rolls, pitta breads and some breakfast cereal. I cut the rolls without refreshing them and they just crumbled and were unusable, so I learned very quickly to refresh bread before doing anything with it. The homemade bread in the bread maker was significantly better than pre made bread (as the latter was powdery and not helped by the fact that I do not generally use any spread on my bread.) I could also add seeds and dried fruit to this to increase the fibre content, as I have also learned that despite the flour being marketed as fibre based the levels are still lower than the equivalent wholemeal bread I normally consume.  Regardless of consuming in excess of five portions of fruit & vegetables a day and plenty of fluids, this diet resulted in constipation, so as you can probably imagine – I was not a happy bunny (with stools to match!)

I decided to purchase everything that I used to see what difference it made, the diet is very expensive and Coeliac UK surveys suggest that it adds ten pounds to a shopping bill (don’t forget this was written in 2009) despite foods being available on prescription, as food prices have increased since then, this data is probably now a conservative estimate. This may result in people with coeliac disease not purchasing gluten free foods and this is particularly relevant at the moment, as many people are managing on very tight budgets. One issue that did vex was that many foods in the dietary allergy section of the supermarkets are expensive, often ORGANIC (this is a luxury lifestyle choice in my view, and might pander to those who manipulate their diet by choice, and not medically evidenced/diagnosed as required, often these individuals can afford to spend more on their diet. Although – why shouldn’t people with Coeliac Disease have a choice of organic you may ask? – that’s fine, as long as there are also standard alternatives available.) The problem is, when newly diagnosed coeliac, and not used to using the Coeliac UK food directory, people will obviously choose foods that are easily identifiable, as they must have something to eat. This may well be in these specialist sections in the supermarket where 1/ not everything may well be gluten-free, as the section is for all food intolerances (still need to use the gluten free food directory) and 2/ cheaper gluten free versions might be available in the rest of the store (again looking at the directory will help.) I found the most time effective way of doing this is to write the usually consumed foods on a list and to either do a search on the Coeliac UK online food directory, or match the foods from the directory in the store that is used, prior to visiting the supermarket.

Initially my breakfast was a huge disappointment, the first cereal I purchased was an organic gluten free cereal flakes that was at the allergy section of the supermarket, it was extremely expensive, and as I normally consume a large bowl it only lasted five days. Reducing the portion size resulted in hunger so I then had to add a slice of gluten free toast and jam. This cereal tasted good, but I obviously couldn’t afford to continue using this. The same supermarket had cornflakes available in their own brand range, in the directory, and much cheaper, but only available in the cereal section – not the free from section, clearly to the supermarkets advantage. Another organic and expensive (arrgh!) cereal was then used (larger packet for same price as the first option), this did not go soggy, but tasted like cardboard, and it went straight in the bin. I sometimes eat porridge, so my next foray into trying to find a suitable breakfast was to make some GF porridge (not made with gluten-free oats – remember people newly diagnosed are asked to avoid GF oats initially,) the really weird thing was that the rice based cereal smelled and looked like porridge when it was being prepared and the rice flakes kept their texture well. It was just a bit disappointing as the porridge didn’t quite have the mouth feel of normal porridge, (I also HAD (??) to add some maple syrup as a treat, as by this stage I felt mildly irritated that I was not able to eat my usual diet, resulting in an increase in calories!). The most agreeable breakfast solution was toast and jam, but this obviously reduced my milk consumption, an important source of calcium and a good learning point.

Another thing I have learned was when I ran out of bread and did not have enough for my lunch I resorted to unhealthy snacks (crisps) that I knew were suitable, as the salad I had prepared did not satisfy my appetite. The options to choose when eating out are less. I also incorrectly assumed that I would lose weight as the portions of the gluten free foods were smaller, I had assumed that weight gain post diagnosis was as a result of better absorption of nutrients. But shock, horror, the smaller portion sizes OFTEN CONTAIN THE SAME CALORIES!!! People might eat more portions of the bread, increasing calories consumed and need to be informed of this. This realisation was more than a bit of a shock and was one of the causes of my relapse into eating a gluten based diet. I lasted on the diet about three weeks, it was a very emotional time, I felt deprived, was constipated, poor, possibly gaining weight (didn’t weight myself) and generally very, very grumpy. I now know that it can take time to get used to the diet and the free samples are very useful to identify which foods are tolerated best. The emotions involved cannot be underestimated and as this diet needs to be permanently adhered to it is probably one of the most difficult life changes to make. Even more difficult than weight reduction, as a few changes at a time can make a difference with managing weight, I’m not suggesting that managing ones weight is EASY, far from it. More difficult than stopping smoking or drinking alcohol, as this can be stopped completely and again I’m not underestimating the problems people have changing these aspects of their lifestyle – but coeliacs still need to EAT! Patients that are symptom free will not feel a strong compulsion to change, and if young, slight increased risk of cancer and osteoporosis, may not be a strong a enough deterrent. I also realised it is very important to help people in clinic to identify their own symptoms to help them to move to a position of making changes some symptoms are sometimes unrecognised, such as tiredness and bloating. I have now gained so much respect for those people who follow the diet and following the diet placed me in a much better position to help by improving my knowledge. I am still going to continue to try foods, it is important that I do, as I have found good bread and cereal, but not follow the diet 100%, as not being diagnosed as Coeliac, I am extremely fortunate to be able to choose!

How my practice has changed – I have now increased my knowledge of the gluten-free diet and probably just as important I have some idea of the difficulties experienced by patients that are newly diagnosed, this has informed my practice and I can now give more detailed information to patients. I have joined Coeliac UK and find their website very useful to have on the screen in clinic and I can download information for patients directly. This also gives them the idea that joining would be useful as all the information is available to them.

I hope you appreciate my honesty in this reflection and I would also strongly advise any new gastro Dietitian to follow the diet as there is no better learning experience.