Coeliac Awareness Week 2013 – Gut Feeling Week

Gut Feeling Week logo

Gut Feeling Week

As I’m sure you know, this week is Coeliac Awareness Week 2013 and runs until this Sunday, May 19th. Coeliac UK have named it Gut Feeling Week and are focusing on the proper diagnosis of coeliac disease by encouraging more people to check their symptoms.

Their website has lots of useful information about the work they will be doing this week.

Check out some of the links below.

Is 2010 the year of the ‘gluten frees’?

Do you remember the first time you were in a restaurant and you said you were gluten free? I don’t know about you but my waitress looked at me like my head had just spun round and I’d puked up green bile. Suddenly, every visit to a restaurant or a friend’s house felt like an ordeal. ‘Oh what can you eat?’ ‘You’re so difficult to cook for!’

Well listen up people. Being gluten free is the new black. So much so that, The Daily Beast has declared it number three on their list of top ten food trends for 2010. (Number 1 and 2 being organic chocolate and coconut. Go figure.)

In fact, Globe Life declared ‘being gluten free’ as one of the top stories of last year (along with keeping your own chickens; why local produce isn’t always as good as it seems; and how we should all be eating less salt.)

So what’s happening here? Is it now uber-trendy to be gluten free?

No, not really. It does seem that people being diagnosed with coeliac disease is very much on the rise. Globe Life reports that researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota found that one in 100 people are now affected compared with only one in every 400 to 500 half a century ago.

Has modern production, processing and additives led to an increase in the disease? Or are medical professionals now recognising the disease and its debilitating affects more readily?

Either way, people following a gluten free diet will hopefully have even more choice in the coming year, whether that’s in their local restaurant or local grocery store. And that’s a good thing.

How free of gluten does a foodstuff have to be to be labelled ‘gluten free’?

If you’re following a gluten free diet you’ll be familiar with the gluten free label on foods. But how free of gluten is ‘gluten free’? Is it possible to have a product totally free of gluten?

Well, no.

In reality, foodstuffs labelled ‘gluten free’ do contain traces of gluten. But it’s in such tiny amounts it’s considered not harmful to a coeliac sufferer. For food to be labelled ‘gluten free’ it needs to have less than 20mg of gluten per kg. In other words 200 parts per million (ppm). (This applies in European Union countries only.)

Food products which contain between 20 and 100ppm can be labelled ‘very low gluten’ and these may suit sufferers who have less sensitivity to gluten. Or are able to eat gluten occasionally.

This two tier labelling system came into affect in January 2009 but manufactures have until January 2012 to comply with the law.

Don’t forget that some mainstream products like crisps (potato chips) and rice cakes are naturally gluten free although the manufacturer may not choose to label it as such. As always, remember to check the label!

Find out more about other gluten free foods.

‘Cure’ for coeliac sufferers?

An interesting article appeared in the Los Angeles Times this week.

Dr Robert Anderson, a gastroenterologist based in Melbourne, Australia, is working on a vaccine or pill to prevent or switch off a person’s reaction to gluten.

Currently there are two types of treatment being developed. One would work alongside a gluten free diet and protect sufferers from the occasional ingestion of gluten. The other would train the immune system to accept gluten and would enable a sufferer to follow a regular diet.

The first system uses enzyme therapy which breaks gluten down into tiny particles and therefore doesn’t cause inflammation of the intestine.

The second system uses immunotherapy and allows patients to eat a regular diet by stopping the immune response in the gut.

Phase 1 of the trials are due to be completed in 2010 and Anderson says that patients would receive a series of injections of the vaccine, followed by occasional maintenance doses.

Are you coeliac sufferer? How would your life be different if you could take a pill before a meal or receive regular shots to stop your reaction to gluten? Is it something you’d do?

Read the full article in the Los Angeles Times.

List of gluten free foods: all those things you CAN eat

When you’re diagnosed with coeliac (or celiac) disease, or you’ve been advised to follow a gluten free diet, it feels like everything you’ve ever enjoyed is off limits.

But there are numerous foods that are naturally gluten free (although we recommend that you always check the ingredients list.)

Check out our list of gluten free foods.


  • Fresh meat
  • Fish and shellfish
  • Poultry and game

Green and fruity

  • All fruit
  • All vegetables
  • Fresh herbs

Carbs for energy

  • Rice
  • Rice cakes
  • Rice noodles (CARE: Some rice noodles have wheat added. Always check the ingredients.)
  • Corn tortillas (CARE: Authentic corn tortillas are made without wheat or gluten. But always check the ingredients or ask your waiter.)
  • Corn chips (CARE: Authentic corn chips are made without wheat or gluten. But always check the ingredients or ask your waiter.)
  • Tapioca
  • Pulses, lentils and beans
  • Corn flakes
  • Millet flakes
  • Polenta

Flours for cooking

  • Corn flour
  • Gram flour
  • Rice flour
  • Tapioca flour
  • Soya flour
  • Buckwheat flour
  • Millet
  • Dairy
  • Eggs
  • Cheese
  • Cottage cheese (not cheese spreads)
  • Yogurt (the ones without the wheaty bits added)
  • Milk
  • Ice cream
  • Fromage frais
  • Cream

NOTE: If you’ve been recently diagnosed with coeliac disease, you could be lactose intolerant as well.

The body produces lactase which breaks down the sugars found in milk. But if your intestine is damaged by coeliac disease you may temporarily have lactase deficiency. So avoid dairy products for a while, follow a gluten free diet, allow your intestines to repair and slowly reintroduce dairy back into your diet.


  • Jam
  • Marmalade
  • Marmite
  • Black treacle
  • Honey
  • Golden syrup
  • Peanut butter

Snack attacks

  • Nuts (CARE: Some dry roasted, ‘chocolate’ coated or ‘yogurt’ coated nuts contain whet or gluten.)
  • Dried fruit (CARE: Some dried fruit coatings such as ‘chocolate’ or ‘yogurt’ contain wheat or gluten.)
  • Popcorn
  • Jelly

Cooking basics

  • Bicarbonate of soda
  • Cream of tartar
  • Coconut milk
  • Dried and fresh yeast
  • Dijon mustard
  • Horseradish sauce
  • Garlic puree
  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Tomato Puree
  • Tamari Sauce (a wheat free and gluten free soy sauce)
  • Vegetable oil
  • Sunflower oil
  • Olive oil
  • Cider vinegar
  • Wine vinegar
  • Distilled vinegar (not malt vinegar)
  • Xantham gum (add to gluten free flours to get delicious breads and pastry)


  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Herbal tea
  • Fruit juice
  • Fruit drinks (not barley water)
  • Alcoholic drinks
  • Wine
  • Champagne
  • Port
  • Sherry
  • Ciders
  • Liqueurs
  • Spirits, including whisky, are all gluten-free

Have we missed anything? Let us know.