The holiday season and the parties in the run up to Christmas can be a total minefield for coeliacs and those with gluten intolerance. Whether it is a cocktail party or an office Christmas lunch, there are lots potential hurdles. But if you plan ahead, you can still have as much fun as everybody else.
I've discovered some intriguing guilt-free desserts such as paleo brownies, vanilla cupcakes that actually contain cannellini beans, and a new variation on the traditional blueberry muffin. The greatest discovery, though, was a new flour that I now consider one of my very favourites. It's low GI (glycemic) and gluten-free: coconut flour.
Tabbouleh, a traditional Middle Eastern dish, offers dense nutrition and bold, delicious flavors. For the millions of people avoiding wheat, however, tabbouleh's inclusion of bulgur spoils the fun. Omitting the bulgur is an option, but swapping in germinated almonds is far more interesting. We'll get to the recipe, but first let's briefly give wheat the benefit of the doubt.
Here's a personal question. Have you ever been constipated for a week? How about for up to 4 days on a regular (oh the irony) basis? I have. And it's horrible. Admittedly, this isn't the nicest or most popular of discussions, but it's something that has recently led to me making a lifestyle change. To put it bluntly, I had no choice...
I'm now on a plant based, gluten free, sugar free, high nutrient, anti-inflammatory, juice infused, smoothie obsessed, rotation diet. I very rarely eat anything out of a packet (even if it fulfils my diet criteria), and I spend most of my daily energy on preparing my food. I have slip ups (it's normal when you make such dramatic changes), but I know that what I'm doing is right for my body.
I thought the sauce looked suspiciously glutenous so I asked him to check again with the chef. He returned and asked, "How allergic ARE you?" I looked at him and declared, a little poker faced white lie, "I will start vomiting profusely in the middle of your restaurant" at which point he admitted, "Yes, it's got flour in it". Sometimes you have to push to get the answers you need.
Recently we experimented with going gluten-free for a month. The good news is that really it wasn't as difficult as you'd think. By approaching it from a 'let's focus on what we can eat' mindset, there are so many clever options that don't include gluten or rely on expensive commercial 'gluten-free' substitutes.