It’s been three weeks, two days and forty-five minutes since I was diagnosed with coeliac disease.
For 22 glorious years I meandered through life eating whatever I wanted, fuelling my body with all kinds of gluten-rich delights. Pizza, pasta, cake, pastry, bread – you name it and, if it contains gluten, I’m probably its number one fan.
Naturally when I received the news that I could never have gluten again (not even on a cheeky cheat day!) I was devastated.
For those of you who don’t know, coeliac disease is when the body can’t process gluten – a protein found in wheat, rye, barley, malt and other delicious staples. Coeliacs who eat gluten risk small bowel damage and other health risks down the track.
Basically, it ruins everything. Similarly, being diagnosed coeliac felt like it had ruined my entire life.
As you might have gathered, I love food. No, more than that. I would consider eating one of my favourite activities, and mealtime, my favourite part of the day. When friends want to catch up, we go for pizza, or dinner, or coffee and cake, or brunch – pancakes anyone?
A couple of times recently, I’ve strapped on my gluten-free shoes and gone out for burgers with friends. At the counter, there comes the inevitable moment when I’m forced to ask “can I have that on a gluten free bun please?” To which the response is “is that an allergy or preference?”
Are you serious? Why would I choose this life?!
In the midst of my food-centred world crashing down around me, I realised that I’m not the only one out there. So, I’ve decided to share my experiences in the hope that I can help out a fellow coeliac living in denial.
I’ve decided to make an effort with this new forced diet; I will embrace a gluten-free lifestyle and see where it takes me. I’m going to find alternatives to wheat flour and other ingredients and I am going to learn to live with this disease. Or I will fail miserably, but either way, you can follow my journey.
In an effort to embrace this all-new, gluten free me I thought I’d experiment by trialling a few of my favourite foods gluten free. First up – pancakes.
I decided to start out with this recipe from George Eats. After following her religiously on Instagram for the last two years, I was thrilled to finally have an excuse to try one of her creations.
Using almond meal, banana, eggs and almond butter, George promised me deliciously light and fluffy pancakes. Why not give it a go, I thought.
I whipped up a fresh batch of these GF treats for my housemate and I to share. We were excited about the health factor and the fact that they seemed to resemble ‘normal’ pancakes when we cooked them.
Taste wise we were pleasantly surprised… These weren’t the sub-par gluten free alternatives I have come to know and honestly, they tasted like regular banana pancakes.
We decided they were a little dry on their own so we topped them with yoghurt and voila – my housemate gave them an 8/10. I settled on a 7/10 – they probably needed some more exciting toppings and the almond meal made them a little gritty. But overall, it was a success.
They were simple, easy and pretty tasty. If all gluten-free alternatives are like this, things might not be as dire as I first thought.