Guest blog by Dr Eva Detko, PhD
Being Gluten and Dairy-free Is Easier Than You Think
When I first discovered I had problems with gluten and dairy, I felt like my world was about to end. I was completely overwhelmed. All those things I could not have. I did not think I could manage that.
May I add that this was seventeen years ago when the awareness of this sort of issues, or any resources, were virtually non-existent. In a way, that discovery was what sparked my interest in nutrition and food preparation. Seventeen years later, I have quite a different outlook. I believe that being gluten and dairy-free gives people a great opportunity to expand their diet and explore different foods and flavours. You can definitely eat well and enjoy your food. And most importantly, you are free of nasty symptoms that interfere with your life. What is there not to like?
How My Diet Was Affecting Me
Back in those days when gluten and dairy were a big part of my diet, I felt awful, yet apparently there was nothing wrong with me. Not what anybody at the time would consider medically valid anyway. I suffered with chronic sore throats, sinusitis, persistent cough, fatigue, water retention, digestive disturbances (constant bloating and cramping), headaches, mood swings, and skin problems. Yet, my test results kept coming back with a note: “no action required”.
Wrong. There was most certainly a need to take some action. Within a week of changing my diet, all the symptoms eased off, and eventually disappeared.
As a nutritional therapist, I work with people with special dietary requirements across the entire sensitivity spectrum. It is great to see how some people transform their health and their lives by making those dietary adjustments. The most challenging thing for most people is the transition into the gluten and dairy-free world, but once they have made that transition it becomes their new way of living.
Change Doesn’t Have to be Hard
Replacing wheat and gluten in the diet is actually quite easy as there are so many substitutes. For example, there are so many wheat and gluten-free flours out there: quinoa, amaranth, almond, hazelnut, coconut, rice, tapioca, potato, buckwheat, corn, teff, carob, millet, chickpea, sorghum (also known as jowar flour), or gluten-free oat flour.
Of course it is important to be aware of the differences in tastes, textures, absorbency, etc. in order to achieve the desired results. Having said that, there are some pre-mixed flours, available from supermarkets, which work really well.
Admittedly, replacing dairy in recipes is a bit more challenging, particularly if you do not want to use soya. When it comes to substituting milk, you can use rice, almond, coconut or hazelnut milk. You can also buy coconut or rice cream. To substitute butter I use coconut oil and creamed coconut. I use Lucy Bee coconut oil exclusively because I genuinely believe that it is the best coconut oil product we have on the UK market. You can also use nut butters but they tend to have a much stronger taste so it depends on a recipe whether it is a good idea to use them or not.
Enjoying Great Tasting Foods
I am extremely passionate about creating wheat, gluten, dairy and refined sugar-free food that tastes and looks amazing. I also want to get the message out there that making delicious food that is free from those ingredients is easier than people often think, so there is really no need to feel deprived or overwhelmed.
To prove my point, I would like to share with everyone a recipe out of my new cookbook: “Gluten-free, Wheat-free, Dairy-free & Refined Sugar-free Christmas Treats from Around the World”1. Using Lucy Bee coconut oil of course!
Gluten-free, Wheat-free, Dairy-free, Soya-free & Refined Sugar-free Mince Pies
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes (preparation only: 30-35 minutes)
Yield: 12 pies
200g (7 oz) self-raising gluten-free flour
1 large egg
50 ml (2 fl oz) Lucy Bee Coconut Oil
1 tbsp. runny honey
pinch of salt
8 servings stevia (1 serving = 1 tsp sugar = 5 g sugar)
6 tbs water
150g (5½ oz) mixed dried fruit
1 Bramley apple (peeled and grated)
30 ml (1 fl oz) Lucy Bee Coconut Oil
1 tbsp. runny honey
2 tbsp. brandy (optional)
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. allspice
½ tsp. ground cloves
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
20 servings stevia (1 serving = 1 tsp sugar = 5 g sugar)
grated zest of a large orange
Additional: sunflower oil spray; dusting of flour
- To make the mincemeat, mix all the mincemeat ingredients thoroughly (it is recommended to make your mincemeat a few days or even weeks in advance to give the flavours time to work well together but this is not essential to the success of this recipe).
- Pre-heat oven to gas mark 5 (190°C / 375°F).
- To make the pastry combine all the pastry ingredients thoroughly (leave a bit of the egg for brushing), knead for a few minutes (add water gradually as you may need slightly more or slightly less depending on the type of flour you are using), and refrigerate for 10 minutes.
- Roll out the pastry thinly on a non-stick surface (use a dusting of flour if needed), cut out 12 circles (approx. 6½ cm in diameter / 2½ in), and place in a muffin tray (for small size muffins) coated with sunflower spray and a dusting of flour.
- Prick the bases of the circles with a fork and blind bake for 7-8 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and fill with mincemeat.
- Use the rest of the pastry to cover the mincemeat (cut out stars or other shapes) and brush with rest of the egg (beaten).
- Bake the pies for 15-20 minutes until golden-brown.
- Consume within 48 hours (store in an air-tight container), or freeze.
Dr Eva started her therapy training 16 years ago. Over the years, she has successfully supported people with food allergies and intolerances, weight problems, depression, anxiety, compromised immune function, as well as digestive, skin and cardiovascular conditions. Dr Eva’s training in the field of human physiology and nutritional sciences includes a doctorate degree in Physiology, Biochemistry and Nutrition, as well as a Master of Science degree in Human Nutrition. She is also trained in clinical and medical hypnotherapy, and is a Master Practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Psychology.
For more information and resources, visit: www.dr-eva.com
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