I’m not coeliac, but I know someone who is. Actually, I know multiple people who are coeliac (it can be up to 1 in 100) and have a legitimate reason not to eat gluten as their bodies can’t digest it. I also know many, many more that have decided that for whatever dubious reason, they think it’s healthier not to eat gluten, or gluten free diets are great for weight loss. My first group of friends, with no hope of getting off their restrictive diets until a cure is found for coeliac disease, can’t believe the second group exist. I don’t understand it either, as it suggests to me a fundamental misunderstanding of nutrition. Sure, you might lose weight on a GF diet – but it’s not from the lack of gluten, it’s because you’re restricted from eating nearly all the glorious bread, cakes, pasta and other treats available in the world!
Personally I’m a carb-o-holic so I’m thankful every day that I don’t have to eat gluten free all the time. However, I really enjoy the challenge of cooking lovely goodies for my coeliac friends. And when the results are as delicious and easy as the friands below, I’m pretty sure a GF diet wouldn’t work for weight loss. Just try and stop at one of these!
Berry Friands (Gluten Free) – adapted from a recipe by AWW
- ½ cup gluten free plain flour (just all-purpose GF from the supermarket. If you don’t need to make these gluten free, normal plain flour works fine)
- 1½ cups icing sugar, sifted (make sure it’s GF by reading the packet’s small print if necessary – some icing sugars have cornflour containing wheat starch in them)
- 1 cup almond meal (you can buy almond meal in 125g packets, just throw in the whole one)
- 6 egg whites, beaten to soft peaks
- 150g butter (melted)
- 150g fresh or frozen berries (last time I used a punnet of fresh strawberries, halved – the time before, blueberries. The recipe is quite forgiving!)
Preheat oven to 180°C. Lightly grease a 12-hole friand tin.
Sift the flour and icing sugar into a large mixing bowl. Stir in almond meal and melted butter. Lighten the mixture a bit by dolloping in one spoonful of the egg whites, and fold it in – this makes it less heavy on the rest of the egg whites when you dump them in. Do that next and fold in the rest of the egg whites.
Divide mixture among prepared pans and top each one with 5-7 berries, poking some in a bit and leaving some closer to the surface.
Bake 25 minutes until cooked and golden brown (a skewer should come out clean).
Once again these were tested on my work audience (my equivalent of the AWW test kitchen, I suppose), and feedback was, “the best yet”. Nom nom!
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Switching to a gluten-free diet is a big change and, like anything new, it takes some getting used to. You may initially feel deprived by the diet’s restrictions. However, try to stay positive and focus on all the foods you can eat. You may also be pleasantly surprised to realize how many gluten-free products, such as bread and pasta, are now available. Many specialty grocery stores sell gluten-free foods. If you can’t find them in your area, check with a celiac support group or go online. ‘
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