Being diagnosed with coeliac disease can be devastating, with the key to preventing symptoms lying in adopting a new lifelong diet which may be different to what you’re used to. If you’re depressed at the thought of giving up beer or your favourite takeaway pizza, you’re not alone. The good news is that living with coeliac disease is far different to how it was 10 or even 5 years ago, with many fantastic gluten free alternatives available in shops and restaurants. As part of Coeliac Disease Awareness Week (9-15 May), we’ve put together 10 of the best gluten free alternatives to help you adjust to your new diet.
1. Swap BEER for CIDER or GLUTEN-FREE BEER
Beer and lager is one of the things coeliac disease sufferers find the hardest to live without. As most beers are made using wheat, it can be difficult to find an appetising alternative. If you like to enjoy a pint of beer at the end of a long day, you could make the easy switch to cider with plenty of different varieties for you to choose from. Alternatively, an abundance of gluten-free beers have been launched as part of the craft beer phenomenon. An article recently published in the Telegraph has a guide to some of the best if you’re keen to give them a go.
2. Swap PIZZA for GLUTEN FREE-PIZZA
The good news is that you don’t have to cut pizza out of your diet, you just need to change your base. The gluten-free pizzas of five years ago were small and biscuit-like in texture, but now there are many different ways you can enjoy your favourite pizza. Many supermarkets offer pre-prepared pizzas whilst your favourite pizza restaurants such as Dominos and Pizza Express also offer gluten-free varieties of their pizza selections.
3. Swap EGG NOODLES for RICE NOODLES
A stir fry is a quick, healthy dish to prepare which helps you pack in the vegetables alongside tasty noodles. Whilst egg noodles are off the menu for coeliacs, rice noodles make a tasty alternative! You can either opt for Singapore style noodles which are thin (also called vermicelli), whilst ribbon-like, Thai-style noodles are readily available in large packs from Asian supermarkets or from the World Foods section of your local supermarket. It’s a very small change which you’ll barely even notice.
4. Swap STORE BOUGT SAUCE for HOMEMADE SAUCE
It’s important to check the ingredients list of everything you buy, as unfortunately this is when you’ll discover that many packet and jar sauces actually contain gluten. Making your own cooking sauces for pasta, curries or casseroles is a great way to enjoy delicious, gluten-free sauces which are also low in sugar, salt and fat and can be made in large batches and frozen for use whenever you need them. You can use cornflour to thicken them without worrying about gluten.
5. Swap BREAD for GLUTEN-FREE BREAD
Bread is a staple for many of us, but if you’re on a gluten-free diet, bread made from wheat flour should be avoided. If you can’t live without bread however, there are gluten-free varieties available which have improved greatly in size and texture over the years. It’s worth bearing in mind that gluten-free bread tends to be expensive, so you might want to keep buying them for special occasions, or invest in a bread maker and make your own bread using gluten-free flour.
6. Swap CAKES for FLOURLESS PUDDINGS AND SOUFFLES
We all love a sweet treat now and then so if you’re looking to enjoy a chocolate dessert, there are many things you can enjoy which omit flour and therefore gluten as a key ingredient. Soufflés, molten cakes, puddings and even some chocolate log recipes at Christmas are made without gluten so you can still satisfy your sweet tooth if you want to.
7. Swap PASTA for SPIRALIZED VEGETABLES
A bowl of delicious pasta can make a great comfort dish, but will be a source of misery for coeliacs. The “spiralizing craze” works in your favour, providing you with a much healthier alternative to pasta which will be less starchy and cause you less bloating too. You can buy a spiralizer machine or most supermarkets now sell pre-packaged spiralled vegetables for you to have with your favourite pasta topping. From courgettes to butternut squash and even carrots, there are plenty of options available to you.
Getting creative with your food is the best way to enjoy a gluten-free diet. Making simple switches as well as being more willing to cook your meals from scratch means you can still enjoy plenty of your favourites, whilst eating more healthily too. Find out more about coeliac disease from the NHS website and find out how you can take part in Coeliac Awareness Week here.