Frequently Asked Questions

Gluten is found in wheat, rye, barley and triticale (a wheat & rye hybrid grain) and most foods derived from these grains. Oats do not contain gluten but do contain a protein to which some coeliacs are also sensitive.

Furthermore, oats are contaminated by other grains, mainly wheat and barley, during harvesting and storage and are therefore not recommended in the gluten-free diet.

If you suffer with abdominal bloating or pain, nausea, vomiting or a change in bowel habits you should visit your doctor for investigation. The symptoms of Coeliac Disease vary enormously and individuals require careful testing for diagnosis. Non-Coeliac Gluten Intolerance also requires a gluten-free diet and requires a lengthy process of elimination to determine its existence; it often runs in families.

Most importantly you should see your doctor if you experience any prolonged and uncomfortable abdominal symptoms.

One of the first skills you will need to learn is how to accurately read food labels. Australia and New Zealand’s mandatory food labelling laws are some of the best in the world and they make choosing gluten-free foods and ingredients relatively straight forward and simple. Once you can confidently indentify what is gluten-free then the rest of the process begins to fall into place. Is it gluten-free? An A-Z of things gluten-free is an excellent handy reference to have on hand as you learn to navigate your way through the gluten-free world.

There are lots of options but they do require a little more planning and effort than a pie and burger from the corner shop.

Here are a few ideas:-
Gluten-free bread sandwiches with your choice of fillings; bake or purchase a loaf of gluten-free bread, slice it then freeze it and then simply thaw it as you need it.
Salad with canned fish or gluten-free cold meats, etc.; the list is endless.

Of course if your wife is a keen cook she could bake meat pies made with gluten-free pastry; make a quantity and freeze them.

It is gluten-free: Delicious recipes for everyone to enjoy will give you and your family a sound recipe base upon which you can build your own collection of gluten-free recipes.

Once you get the idea of the gluten-free diet you will find your choices are really not so limited and the other guys may even start envying your lunches!

For now ignore the jibes and keep well.

Glutinous rice is favoured in Asian cooking because it is easier to eat with chopsticks. It is a variety of rice and is therefore gluten-free and suitable to use. The word ‘glutinous’ means gluey and sticky; it does not mean containing gluten.

Yes it will harm your friend; don’t do it!

Gluten seriously damages the lining of the small intestine (gut) in people with Coeliac Disease but it may not always be obvious; some people have very minor symptoms.

Nevertheless a small amount of gluten will do harm.

Use 100% corn cornflour in your gravy instead of wheat flour; it is available at the supermarket and is a very good replacement for wheat flour whenever you need a thickener in cooking.

Non-Coeliac Gluten Intolerance is a medically recognised condition whereby individuals do not tolerate gluten in their diet for reasons that are yet to be determined; it appears sometimes to run in families. It may also be determined by the quantities of gluten consumed. Symptoms are similar to Coeliac Disease but there is no damage to the gut.

Many of these people choose a gluten-free diet to feel well and improve their quality of life.

The lament of everyone on the gluten-free diet - they want decent bread! Tastes vary and some people really do like the supermarket brands. But you can bake your own bread by using a bread machine or making free form loaves with some of the new mixes now available. If you use a bread machine it does not need to have gluten-free cycle but you may have to experiment to achieve your ideal loaf. For a lighter more commercial style of bread with a crisp crust and soft texture, try some of the new bread mixes.

Keep experimenting until you find a loaf that’s perfect for you; you certainly don’t have to put-up with second best.

Asian and Indian grocers and health food stores usually stock these items; the Asian and Indian grocers will be significantly cheaper and will sell these flours in large quantities too.

How about Japanese, Indian or perhaps there is a good pub nearby that serves steak..?

Keep your choices fresh and simple: meat, fish or poultry served with roast vegetables or salad. Talk with the staff and discuss your needs. It will be trial and error but you will eventually find a place you can rely upon to accommodate your needs. It’s difficult for the hospitality industry too. Share with them why the gluten-free diet is so important for you; with education comes understanding and eventually change. Indeed many restaurants and cafes now indicate gluten-free dishes on their menu.

Because I blend my own flour mixes as each recipe requires, if there are any ingredients you cannot tolerate simply replace them with one of the other flours in the mix.

For example:

White Rice Flour, Brown Rice Flour and Soy Flour -use the same measure of White Rice Flour instead of Soy Flour or alternatively you can replace the Soy Flour with wholegrain Maize Flour or Sorghum Flour.

White Rice Flour, Brown Rice Flour and Almond Meal – use the same measure of White Rice Flour in place of the Almond Meal if there is a nut allergy.

By replacing ingredients there will obviously be a difference in taste and texture but not to the detriment of the flavour.

Use White Rice Flour and add 1 tablespoon of fine rice bran per 100G of flour.

Note: Never use Brown Rice Flour in place of White Rice Flour in a recipe as the end result will be dry and brittle. Brown Rice Flour requires more fluid to give a good result.

Cows’ milk can be replaced with soy, oat or almond milk but you may have to alter the recipe’s sweetness as these alternative ‘milks’ can be quite sweet. Butter can be replaced with canola oil or rice bran oil or a non-dairy margarine. Use ½ cup oil to 125G butter.

Not all recipes will work quite as well, particularly without butter. And obviously the taste and texture will vary too. Experiment.

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