This week Chef Martin Anderson discusses the trendiness of self-diagnosing yourself as a coeliac, and how this impacts people who struggle with the disease.
You may have seen on Facebook the article about the popular cafe in Dublin that asked ceoliacs to provide a doctors note to prove they had the condition, some say they went too far but many agreed with them, the owners were more or less were just fed up with self diagnosed coeliacs.
I know there is going to be a backlash from this article but I’m big enough and ugly enough to take it on the chin, firstly lets begin by saying I’m not a nutritionist, I’m not a dietician, I’m not a food scientist and I’m not a doctor but in saying that I am a chef and I know what goes into the food I serve everyday.
To class a food as gluten free not only can it not contain gluten but it must also be produced in a gluten free environment, yes, at Sonder we serve flourless options, but to say your food is gluten free you really have to be a gluten free producer.
Anyway there are at least 15 other allergens as well, nuts & shellfish being the most popular. Did you know some folk are allergic to celery & mustard? Not many of you asking if there is celery in the soup!
There has been a massive rise in gluten intolerance over the last few years and in my experience the majority of folk are self diagnosed, lifestyle choices come and go and that’s a fact, bread is out, almond & coconut milk is in, cut out butter … eat more butter! The big trend in America now is putting knobs of butter into your coffee … how’s that for a bit of marketing genius! Sales of butter have gone through the roof , maybe you are a felxitarion; a self diagnosed vegetarian that eats meat if it looks tasty on the menu, what’s that all about ?
We all know that eating more fruits & vegetables is good for you … let’s eat them raw, no wait, I only eat organic… unless the other vegetables are cheaper! No wait, steam the broccoli lightly, no wait juice them first, no wait don’t wash them that’s better for you, sometimes you just can’t win or wait for the next crazy or fad to come along.
I remember years ago when coeliacs had no choice, the odd loaf of bread on the supermarket shelf was gluten free, you had to sell a kidney to afford it too.
Now there are isles of products dedicated to the coeliac disorder, the best I’ve seen is gluten free eggs, how can an egg not be gluten free? Do you think the chicken didn’t lay the egg beside a bag of flour? Or maybe the chicken wasn’t fed breadcrumbs… ah that’s it!
Sometimes common sense has to take over and let the real coeliacs have the gluten free food, yes by all means have your healthy option , cut out your carbs if you wish but stop making such a big deal out if it when it comes to your starter or main course and then fall flat into a big wedge of chocolate fudge cake afterwards, where is your gluten intolerance now? No beer either did you know that?
For the real coeliacs and gluten intolerant folks I’m delighted that there is such a range of food available now for you all, chefs have really stepped up their game and tried to make themselves more aware and have designed menu choices to suit your needs; please forgive us if we make the odd mistake we are trying our best.
Here is a bit of information on coeliac disease;
The symptoms of coeliac disease vary from person to person and can range from very mild to severe. Symptoms of eating gluten, or being ‘glutened’, include diarrhoea, stomach pains and lethargy. The reaction is not the same as an allergic reaction and does not cause anaphylactic shock. The symptoms may last from a few hours to a few days.
Coeliac disease is known as a ‘multi system’ disorder – symptoms can affect any area of the body. Symptoms differ between individuals in terms of type and severity.
>Severe or occasional diarrhoea, excessive wind and/or constipation
>Persistent or unexplained gastrointestinal symptoms, such as nausea and vomiting
>Recurrent stomach pain, cramping or bloating
>Any combination of iron, vitamin B12 or folic acid deficiency
>Sudden or unexpected weight loss (but not in all cases)
>Hair loss (alopecia)
>Skin rash (dermatitis herpetiformis)
>Tooth enamel problems
>Neurological (nerve) problems such as ataxia (poor muscle coordination) and neuropathy (numbness and tingling in the hands and feet)
If you suffer from any of the symptoms listed, you could have coeliac disease. The first step for diagnosis is to discuss your concerns with your GP. Do not remove gluten from your diet until you are diagnosed by a healthcare professional.
Now how’s that for a list, this is what real coeliacs suffer from on a daily basis!
So the next time you request a gluten free option have a long hard think about what you’re going to have for dessert… I’ll be watching you!
This week’s recipe is for a simple bread and yep it doesn’t use gluten!
Corn and yogurt bread
Also called Indian meal bread , they used to feed the chickens Indian meal … gluten free eggs for definite !
You will need;
>Greased Lasagna dish or well greased roasting tray .
>300g of corn meal/Indian meal.
>100g of gluten free flour .
>Salt & cracked black pepper to season
>1 egg beaten.
>2 tsp of gluten free baking powder.
>600mls of fat free yogurt.
>Pre-heat your oven to 200c
>Sieve the baking powder and the gluten free flour together.
>Add the corn meal and season with salt & pepper .
>Beat the egg and yogurt together and add to the dry mix, blend well and pour into the prepared cooking tray .
>Bake until risen and golden, approximately 30 minutes.
>Cut into squares, cool and serve.
>You may add chilli flakes or dried herbs if you wish to the mix before cooking to give an extra flavour .