Coeliac disease: what can I eat?

28 January 2016 - by Kieran Lamont

Flourless cake

Coeliac disease is a genetic digestive condition that affects the body's ability to digest gluten normally.

Gluten is found in cereal grains such as wheat, barley and rye and is present in many popular foods. The disease remains incurable, yet very much manageable through dietary adjustments.

Tasty alternatives

Upon diagnosis of this disease, you would be forgiven for thinking that it would mean sacrificing many of your favourite foods. However, thanks to a range of tasty alternatives, this doesn’t have to be the case.

Many specialist food shops offer a whole range of gluten free products; this is made possible by various forms of gluten free flour, which comes from rice, buckwheat or tapioca and can all be used to make carbohydrate rich foods such as bread and pasta. Rice contains no gluten, meaning dishes such as risotto, curries and paella are all generally fine, although it is always worth reading the label of ready-made meals.

Coeliac disease and alcohol

To prevent this disease from affecting your social life, it is important to also note which alcoholic beverages are safe for consumption and those that are not. Beer often contains one or more of the 3 trigger grains, so unless a beer is marketed as gluten free, it is most definitely one to avoid. Many spirits are produced with potato starch, making them gluten free, although it is always recommended to double check the label to be sure. Furthermore, wine lovers would be pleased to note that all wine, champagne and prosecco are all entirely free of gluten.

Whilst many would see a diagnosis of this condition as purely negative, it can often have the capacity to inspire healthier eating, through the promotion of meat, fish, vegetables and lentils. It can also promote home cooking and food knowledge, both of which can be beneficial to your life. Below is a delicious recipe to prove it doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom!

Flourless chocolate and espresso cake


450g of dark chocolate

225g brown sugar

100g white cane sugar

200ml of coffee (equivalent of 4 shots plus water)

220g butter

2 tablespoons of cocoa powder

6 eggs

1 tablespoon of bourbon vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 175 ºC
  2. Line a cake tin with buttered parchment paper.
  3. Blitz the broken up chocolate and sugar in a blender and slowly pour the coffee through the blender spout to melt the chocolate, producing a smooth and silky base for your cake.
  4. Continue to blend and add the butter, eggs and vanilla extract until there are no lumps.
  5. Then pour the mixture into the baking tin and bake for 60 minutes at 175ºC, checking fairly regularly.
  6. Once the cake is cooked and fully cooled down, you can either finish with chocolate sauce or icing powder, or topped with fresh fruit.


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