GLUTEN FREE OR NOT GLUTEN FREE, THAT IS THE QUESTION

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By Jo Rittey

 

Despite only one in 70 Australians having been diagnosed with coeliac disease, many people choose to be gluten free, in many cases, for the wrong reasons. In light of this, Accredited Practicing Dietitian and nutritionist, Geraldine Georgeou advises Australians not to regard gluten free as simply another meal preference alongside vegan and vegetarian. It is actually a specially prescribed diet that should only be followed on the advice of a qualified expert.

 

Geraldine says: “There is misunderstanding of the role of gluten free diets and many people are choosing to eat gluten free food unnecessarily in the quest to avoid carbs and/or possibly following the rules of Paleo. Some view gluten as ‘poison,’ which is simply not true. Our body is very sophisticated and wheat is a great source of low GI carbohydrates, fuel and fibre. Eating gluten free is normally for a medical condition and is definitely not an occasional diet.”

 

However, Geraldine does add that there are a small group of people without coeliac disease who do benefit from eliminating gluten from their diet, “Working together with an Accredited Practising Dietitian, some individuals may require a gluten-free diet as part of a low FODMAP (a group of carbohydrates that are poorly absorbed) diet to help manage irritable bowel symptoms. Wheat contains both gluten and fructan, and by choosing gluten free foods a person can help eliminate the fructans from their diet. Some people can be diagnosed as a Non-coeliac Gluten Intolerant which means they can too benefit from a gluten-free diet but this needs to be carefully ascertained with your medical practitioner, gastro specialist and Accredited Practising Dietitian.”

 

But for those living with coeliac disease, the smallest trace of gluten can cause serious health complications both in the present and the future. For a long time it was difficult for these people to eat out, but nowadays most food vendors have gluten free options and it is even possible to have the meals delivered to your door.

 

To help those living with coeliac disease, Menulog has analysed 7500 restaurants Australia-wide to curate the best options for great tasting, gluten free meals. There are numerous venues in the northside that cater for those who need to eat gluten free. Here are just a few of them.

 

Thai: Baan Thai Cuisine

Where: Coburg

Top Gluten Free Dish: Red Duck Curry. Thai-style red curried duck with lychees, tomatoes, pineapple, vegetables and basil.

 

Thai: Lemongrass Restaurant

Where: Carlton

Top gluten free dish: Massanam / Roast Lamb Shanks in Classic Massaman Peanut Curry with gluten free prawn and egg fried rice

 

Lebanese: Brunswick Mezza Bar & Grill

Where: Brunswick

Top Gluten Free Dish: Moussaka. Baked eggplant with roasted potato and zucchini, chickpeas, onion, with our roasted tomato and garlic sauce, topped with goat’s feta.

 

Pizza: La Sera Woodfire Pizzeria

Where: Fitzroy North

Top Gluten Free Dish: Calabrese Pizza (GF base). Tomato, mozzarella, hot salami, spicy sausage, capsicum, mushrooms, caramelised onion, chilli, fresh basil.

 

Caribbean: The Voodoo Jerk Truck

Where: Fitzroy

Top Gluten Free Dish: Jerk Spiced Pork Ribs. Grilled jerk spiced ribs with mint yoghurt, salsa and corn bread.

 

Vegetarian: Madame K’s Vegetarian

Where: Fitzroy

Top Gluten Free Dish: Panang Curry.  Medium creamy red curry with coconut milk, fried tofu, chickpeas and green beans garnished with kaffir lime leaves and basil served with Jasmine/brown rice.

 

Italian: Eat Pizza

Where: North Melbourne

Top gluten free dish: Gluten free medium Satay Chicken pizza – satay sauce, mozzarella, chicken breast fillet, roast red capsicum, cashews, coriander, spring onion, sesame seeds

 

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Jo has an exotic (kiwi) accent, loves good food and wine and has just a touch of the required culinary cynicism when it comes to the misuse of apostrophes and the hype over kale.

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