While I’m not allergic to gluten myself, I’m what I like to call a ‘gluten free sympathiser’.
As the aunty of three coeliac nieces, I guess you could say that I now speak gluten free fluently.
I remember when the gluten free regime started in our family and I was cooking for my nieces for the first time. We’re a big food family; everyone cooks and loves to eat so much that we used to joke that these kids lived in the Carbo-Castle, the land of unlimited pasta and bread and cakes – so I was a bit freaked about getting it right, to be honest.
I attempted to make a gluten-free pizza base with their favourite toppings. And it was…disastrous. I can still remember the looks on their faces when I served it – the betrayal. I followed it up with a cake that didn’t rise and some lame gluten free lollies.
NONE OF IT WAS EATEN.
There were tantrums, slamming of doors and threats of a hunger strike and to be honest at that time, I would’ve joined them just to get some peace. Gluten was the enemy and in that moment, so was I. But ultimately, it was so worth it.
Because once they stopped eating gluten, their health improved out of sight. I remember when my nieces suddenly became bouncing, happy, healthy kids again. It was amazing.
And I’m pleased to report that in time, I did manage to learn to cook a few gluten free recipes for them that didn’t involve epic tantrums (and that actually got eaten). Winning.
But while people with coeliac disease (like my nieces) have to avoid gluten for their health, there are actually many people out there who are also avoiding it by choice.