Have you been diagnosed with a gluten sensitivity but would still like to indulge yourself with some tasty desserts during Easter? We have some suggestions for you. But first of all, what is gluten intolerance and how do you know you have it?
Gluten intolerances fall into two categories: the more severe celiac disease, and a less severe non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS). Individuals with a gluten intolerance can suffer from a wide range of symptoms affecting the gastrointestinal system and beyond, depending on the diagnosis. The symptoms can overlap, making it difficult for sufferers to determine which one of these conditions they suffer from. It's important to remember that the aforementioned intolerances have different long-term effects on the body (so speak to your doctor), but for the purposes of this blog, we will focus on non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS).
How to diagnose a gluten sensitivity?
Celiac disease is often suspected based on genetic or blood tests, and is usually confirmed with a small bowel biopsy. However, there are no tests or biomarkers for non-celiac gluten sensitivity. The best way to diagnose this type of gluten sensitivity is to first rule out celiac disease and a wheat allergy; if these conditions are ruled out, and yet symptoms improve on a gluten-free diet, a gluten sensitivity may be diagnosed.
Which symptoms should you look out for?
Someone who may be suffering from a gluten sensitivity will develop symptoms after consuming foods containing wheat, barley, or rye. They may include, but are not limited to:
- Mental fatigue aka “brain fog”
- Bloating, gas and abdominal pain
- A general feeling of being unwell
Is it treatable?
A gluten-free diet is recommended - excluding all wheat, barley and rye products and any foods which could be contaminated with gluten such as oats, bread, cookies, biscuits, pasta, semolina-based products, couscous and some beers. It can also be hidden in everyday products such as seasonings, sauces, pre-made soups, canned foods and a variety of spices, so get into the habit of reading labels.
Now that everybody is all caught up on the jargon, we have some recipes that are safe for you to enjoy this Easter season. Now try these desserts and share with your family:
Healthy Chocolate Truffle
1 medium Avocado, blended until smooth
80 g Chocolate, extra dark, melted
½ tsp Vanilla, extract
¼ tsp Cinnamon, ground
1 tsp Xylitol
2 Tbsp Cocoa powder
- Pour the melted chocolate over the blended avocado and mix well.
- Add the vanilla, cinnamon and xylitol and combine well. There should be no clumps.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 30 - 60 minutes until the mixture is cooled and hardened.
- Remove from the fridge, and scoop and roll into 12 balls.
- Roll the balls in cocoa powder and serve.
Nutritional Information (per truffle):
Energy: 290 kJ (69 calories)
Healthy chocolate bark
(Makes 10 servings)
100g Dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
100g White chocolate
2 tsp Coconut oil
50g Dried cranberries
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Microwave the dark chocolate and 1 tsp of coconut oil for 30-60 seconds, stirring every 10 seconds until melted.
- Mix in half of the nuts and dried fruit, and pour into the prepared baking sheet.
- Microwave the white chocolate and 1 tsp of coconut oil for 30-60 seconds, stirring every 10 seconds until melted.
- Drizzle the white chocolate over the dark chocolate and using a toothpick, make swirling patterns.
- Scatter the rest of the nuts and dried fruit over the chocolate bark, and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- Once cooled, break into approximately 10 ‘shards’ and enjoy!
Nutritional Information (per serving):
Energy: 731 kJ (175 calories)
We wish you and yours an amazing Easter weekend. Happy baking!