My 'Week Without Wheat'

Monday, 3 June 2013

Coeliac disease (pronounced see-liac, ) is a condition which leaves the bearer with adverse reaction to gluten, and means they are unable to digest it. 
Gluten is found in wheat, barley and rye and Coealiac Disease means that eating gluten damages the lining of the small intestine. 

Coeliac disease affects 1 in  every 100 people, however only 10-15% are diagnosed. 

The symptoms of coeliac disease vary from  each person and can range from very mild to severe. These can include;
  • diarrhoea, excessive wind/constipation
  • recurrent stomach pain, cramping or bloating
  • tiredness and/or headaches
  • weight loss (but not in all cases)
  • mouth ulcers
  • tooth enamel problems
If you believe you may have Coeliac Disease, Please Visit Your Doctor for advice and help!

Since January I have been taking steps to not only change my weight and body, but to forever change my whole outlook on a healthy, happy, clean lifestyle, including Daily exercise and preparing healthy meals and snacks from scratch with clean ingredients daily! Not Just Faddy diets!
One of my Biggest inspirations during this time has been my dear friend Catherine. She Has a fantastic instagram account full of tips, motivation and inspiration which you can visit here to help with your lifestyle transformation!

Catherine was diagnosed with Coeliacs disease almost 3 years ago (December 2010) and has since been living a gluten free lifestyle. 
To Be honest I didn't know much about The Gluten Free Lifestyle - it was something I had heard about but never really looked into much. So when Catherine set me the challenge to have a 'wheat-free week' to raise awareness of the Coeliac condition I was very excited and jumped at the opportunity!

My Wheat free week was a full week in which I was to follow the gluten free/Coeliac lifestyle - something which proved to be difficult at times but overall was very eye-opening and fun!

I visited my Local Tesco to pick up a few gluten free items which I could make my weeks meals with - but I never realised what a limited selection there would be waiting for me and how costly some of it was! 
There were items such as chocolate bars, bread, pasta sauces - items I never even realised contained gluten. 
And that's when it all became very real - how much preparation and for-thought I would need just to plan a days worth of meals!

During my wheat free week I did not want to stray too much from my healthy eating but I spotted a couple of 'snack' items that I wanted to try to see the difference from the regular versions!

I Bought some 'Mrs Crimbles' cheese bites - These were 80p per bag from 'Holland&Barrat' and they were delicious! I really wouldn't mind eating these all the time and I wouldn't have noticed the difference if I were unaware that they were a Gluten Free product!

I also tried out some Tesco 'FreeFrom' double chocolate chip cookies - Costing £1.50 for 8. These were a naughty buy but they were also very tasty (reminded me of an oat cookie!) and once again I wouldn't mind eating these in place of regular cookies! I Let my Fiance taste one and, although he wasn't as pleased as me, he said he liked them too!

Meal Times were a different story - it was never as easy as opening a packet, I had to plan in advance what I would be making and make sure I had suitable gluten free products.

One of my favourite meals was one which Catherine recommended to me - a Pork stirfry;

The recipe ingredients were;

4 Pork Chops (be careful of bones and remove the fat) - i cut these into cubes
2 Tsp Cumin Seeds
1 Tsp Corriander
2 tsp coconut oil (divided)
1 red onion - sliced thin
Bell peppers (red, yellow and green or whichever you have available just one colour would work)
2 cloves of garlic
1 can of chopped tomatoes or 2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp chilli flakes (i left this out as i am not a fan of spicy foods)
2 tsp honey
1 Can of sweetcorn
1/2 cup of chicken stock
1 tsp oregano
Pepper and salt to taste
Sesame seeds
Courgette/zucchini thin slices
I also used some Gluten Free Noodles and added some Green Beans

1) Place half the oil in a frying pan, cook the pork in a frying pan 3 minutes - sprinkle with the coriander and cumin seeds. Then set the pork aside.
2)Put the remaining oil in a wok, and fry the onion, peppers and garlic (About 3-4 minutes)
3)Stir in the tomatoes, chilli flakes and honey. Stir fry for 2 minutes
4) Stir in sweetcorn, stock, courgette, oregano, pepper and salt (1 minute)
5) Add pork and bring to the boil, once boiled reduce heat and leave to simmer for (5-10 minutes or until pork is cooked through - depends on the thickness of the pork)
6) To serve plate rice or noodles, then the pork stir fry on top
7) Sprinkle sesame seeds and coriander for presentation.

This recipe tasted amazing and was only 200 calories per serving! It was so flavorful and delicious and filling, I plan to make this once a week!

I also made a gluten free lasagne - I have always loved lasagne but before January I used to make it the unhealthy way - from jars! Making it from scratch is so much more delicious, healthy and rewarding.
I took this gluten free lasagne recipe from the Tesco Real Food website (here);

350g Lean Minced Beef  (10% fat or less)
1 Large onion peeled and finely chopped
1 clove garlic peeled and crushed
600g chopped tomatoes
2-3 Tbsp tomato puree
1 Tsp thyme
1 Tsp Sage
1 Tsp Oregano
1 Tsp rosemary
Pinch pepper

For the White Sauce;
Tesco 'Free From' lasagne sheets
3/4 Pint skimmed Milk
1 bay leaf
30g butter (I used coconut oil instead)
25g Gluten Free Plain Flour
40g Parmesan Cheese, finely Grated
** I also added some mushrooms and a can of sweetcorn


1. Pre-heat oven to 200°C, 180°C fan, 350°F, gas 4.
2. Place mince, onion and garlic in a pan and fry, stirring until the beef is browned with no trace of pink.
3.Stir in the tomatoes, tomato puree, herbs, mushrooms, sweetcorn and pepper, cook through.
4. Boil the lasagne sheets (follow instructions on the packet.)
5.For the sauce, bring the milk to the boil with the bayleaf. Take off the heat and leave to infuse for 10-15 minutes. Add the butter and flour. Whisking constantly, bring slowly to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes until thickened and smooth.
6.In an ovenproof dish, layer the meat mixture, lasagne sheets and white sauce, meat, lasagne and sauce. Then sprinke with the cheese.
7.Cook in pre-heated oven for 30-40 minutes. 
You could serve this with some vine tomatoes or some gluten free garlic bread.


Lunch time was also difficult as it was hard to prepare suitable meals around my daytime plans but visited a few gluten free websites and got some ideas!

This Chicken and pesto open toastie, adapted from the 'Genius' website (here) was my favourite;

I used some Warburtons gluten free rolls (from Tesco) as I didn't have any gluten free bread handy;

The ingredients I used were;
Green Pesto
Sliced Roast Chiken
Half fat Mozzarella
Sesame Seeds
Golden Linseed (good for digestion)

.I cut the roll in half and toasted it lightly under the grill
.I then removed it and spread with pesto
.Thinly Sliced the mozzarella and layered on top of the pesto
.Then layered on some chicken
.Sprinkled with the seeds
.Returned under the grill for about 3 minutes

This was so yummy and although the gluten free bread was a little dry the pesto and mozzarella made it perfect!

Breakfast was also tricky as it wasn't as easy as opening a box of cereal (gluten free cereal was available in tesco but I wanted to really make healthy choices so I opted not to buy any);

Here are some of my Favourites'

Cinnamon and vanilla Gluten Free pancakes with Banana, Kiwi and fat free natural yogurt
Gluten Free Waffles with Strawberries, BlueBerries and a Drizzle of golden syrup.
Nutmeg Gluten Free Pancakes with kiwi Blue berries and a Drizzle of Golden Syrup.

Vanilla Gluten Free Waffles with Blueberries and Orange.
Gluten Free Cinnamon Rolled Oats with almonds, raisins and sultanas.
Gluten Free Waffles with Grapes and a drizzle of chocolate sauce .

** All of my waffles and pancakes were made with artificial sweeteners in place of sugars**

I also made some of my own snacks which were creative, fun and yummy!

Apple crisps were one of my favourites!
I visited My local farm shop and picked up a couple of fresh apples.
I cored these and sliced them very thinly.
I placed them on a baking sheet and sprinkled them with a mix of cinnamon and artificial sweetener.
I cooked them in the oven on gas mark 1 for 30 minutes - turning over and dusting half way through!

These were delicious! Crispy on the outside and soft and fruity on the inside!

I also snacked on a lot of fruit through out the week and made some mini rolled oat bowls with dairy free chocolate buttons and strawberries!

My gluten free week was so much fun but was definitely an eye-opener - It really made me appreciate how much freedom and choice I have in my usual diet and lifestyle.
I really loved cooking all my own food from scratch and learning about how different ingredients can affect and enhance your body in different ways!

After a week of gluten free foods I feel so much better - more alert, much more energy and I am much less bloated! I would recommend this to anyone - just give it a try for a week - you will really notice the difference in yourself! I am Going to try to have a gluten free week out of each month to remind me how lucky I am and also to make sure I don't forget to eat all those greens!

Catherine is currently putting together her very own Gluten free recipe E-Book - keep an eye on her Instagram page for when it becomes available! 

I Hope all my lovely readers will give the 'week without wheat' challenge a try! Please Let Me Know how it goes for you all!

1 comment:

  1. This is brilliant Emma. Thank you so much for taking part I am glad you enjoyed it! It gets easier with time as you get more use to what you can and can't have :) <3 xxx