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Gluten-Free Brownie Recipe

Living gluten-free doesn’t have to mean eating brownie-free and to prove it; we’ve got an easy gluten-free chocolate brownie recipe for you to sink your teeth into. These brownies should come out with a crinkly top, chewy edges and, of course, a deliciously gooey centre.

Gluten-Free Brownie Stats

Calories Per Serving – 515

  • Fat – 33g
  • Carbs – 45g
  • Sugar – 37g
  • Fibre – 4g
  • Protein – 7g
  • Preparation Time – 20 Minutes
  • Baking Time – 40 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 300g golden caster sugar
  • 250g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 250g unsalted butter, cubed, (with extra for baking tray)
  • 150g milk chocolate, cut roughly into chunks
  • 100g gluten-free plain flour sieved
  • 60g cocoa powder
  • 4 large eggs
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract or paste
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to gas mark 4/180C/160C fan. Grease a 30 x 20cm non-stick baking tray with butter, and line the base with baking paper.
  2. Next, fill a small saucepan a third full with water, bring to a simmer and then place a snug-fitting heatproof bowl on top.
  3. Add the butter and chocolate to your saucepan, and gently melt over low heat. Remember to stir occasionally, and be careful not to let it burn to the bottom. Take it off the heat and leave to cool for a little while.
  4. Beat the eggs and sugar together using an electric whisk for around 8-10 mins (or until it’s thick enough to leave a trail).
  5. Gently fold through the vanilla and cooled melted chocolate, followed by the flour, salt, and cocoa. Lastly, fold through the chocolate chunks before pouring the batter into your lined tray.
  6. Then place the tray in the centre of your oven, and bake for 30-35 mins.
  7. Leave them to cool in the tin before cutting into 12 squares, ready to serve.

5 foods to avoid when going gluten free

It can feel a bit daunting to embark on the adventure that is a gluten-free diet. Once you start paying attention you realise just how common it is and how much gluten we consume in a typical western diet. It’s not all bad news though. If you follow a few simple rules and take on a more wholefoods-oriented diet, you’ll soon be wondering how you ever ate any different. Here are a few foods you should be avoiding if you’ve discovered you have a gluten intolerance;

Avoid these if you have Gluten Intolerance

The majority of baked goods

This is probably the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of a gluten-free diet. Most traditional baked goods contain gluten to some degree due to the flours used in baking them. Your best bet is to avoid baked goods entirely, from bread to cookies to cakes. This is a blessing in disguise really, as you’ll be avoiding a lot of sugary and fattening foods by doing this, steering you towards healthier options.

Cereals

A lot of cereals have wheat or oats as primary ingredients in them, so unless you know a specific brand that’s gluten-free (and not replacing those ingredients with other, equally damaging items) you’re better off avoiding cereals or risk triggering your gluten intolerance. A good alternative is to make your own granola from gluten-free oats. That way you can fully control what goes into your morning gruel.

Wheat-based Pasta

What-based pasta becomes a no-no on a gluten free diet too. You can seek out gluten-free alternatives, but we recommend having rice or potatoes as your starch of choice to make things easier and be certain you’re free from gluten (in case of any nasty product recalls!).

Pre-packaged Convenience Foods

This one can be tough on many of us. But completely eliminating pre-packaged snacks from your diet will not only help you avoid gluten, but I will also force you to shift your eating habits to healthier, wholefoods. Having less processed junk in your system will have you Feeling like a spring chicken.

Most of the Gluten-Free Aisle

Speaking of processed foods, ignore the ‘free from foods’ aisle like the plague. The vast majority of those snacks and staples are rampant with highly processed ingredients. It’s the only way they manage to mimic their gluten-inclusive cousins. Most snacks that disguise themselves as ‘healthy’ in those aisles are jam-packed with sugar or nutritionally bankrupt carbohydrates.

Whether you’re avoiding gluten due to coeliac disease, a gluten intolerance, or just because, it’s not nearly as challenging as it may first seem. In fact, the hardest part is probably the social pressure that often comes with any change in diet. If you di suspect a food intolerance though, it might not be caused by gluten, and you’ll be able to deal with the intolerance much sooner if you undertake a scientifically backed intolerance test.

Do You Have Gluten Intolerance?

With whole aisles dedicated to “Free-From” foods, it’s become apparent that people are looking to understand their body’s more fully. Over the last decade, a movement has been quietly taking place where people are taking allergy and intolerance tests to identify foods that are adversely affecting their health. Gluten intolerance is one of the most common, with many people realising that foods containing gluten cause them a lot of problems. But how do you know if you have a gluten intolerance? When is it time to take an intolerance test?

What Is Gluten?

Gluten is a group of proteins that is found exclusively in grains and is the primary component in flour that makes it sticky when water is added. It works to bind dough and give it the elastic texture before baking. It also helps with rising and contributes to the texture of the final baked product.

What’s The Problem With Gluten?

There are a growing number of scientists who think that gluten may actually be a problematic food for the MAJORITY of the population. However, currently, the generally accepted rule is that most people can tolerate gluten just fine. The problems come where there is gluten intolerance or coeliac disease.

Gluten Intolerance

Gluten intolerance is less severe than coeliac disease but can still have a significant adverse effect on your day-to-day life. Symptoms of gluten intolerance include diarrhoea, stomach pain, tiredness, and bloating. To identify a gluten intolerance, you can take an intolerance test.

Coeliac Disease

Believed to affect 0.7-1% of the population, Coeliac Disease is a lifelong condition which manifests in several life-affecting symptoms. These include tissue damage within the small intestines, severe weight loss, diarrhoea, constant fatigue and anaemia. Coeliac has to be managed sufficiently to avoid increased risk of many diseases, including diabetes.

Gluten Foods & Gluten-Free Alternatives

Aisles are now dedicated to gluten-free foods

Unfortunately for those with gluten intolerance and coeliac disease, some of the most popular foods contain gluten. Pizza, bread, beer, cakes & pasta are just some of the foods that are rich in gluten. The increasing awareness of the prevalence of gluten intolerance has led to many of the big food manufacturers producing gluten-free versions of your favourite foods. From pizza to beer, pretty much every food containing gluten has been given a gluten-free makeover.

Identifying A Gluten Intolerance

The best way to identify a gluten intolerance when you realise you’re experiencing the above symptoms when eating gluten-based foods is via an intolerance test. By taking an intolerance test, you can confirm your suspicions or discover whether it is another food that is causing you problems.

What They Don’t Tell You About The Gluten-Free Diet

With estimates of 1 in 100 people worldwide living with celiac disease and many more suffering some form of gluten intolerance, the gluten-free diet is becoming increasingly popular as a health optimisation tool. However, it is also gaining traction as a weight loss diet.

Here we look at how getting this diet wrong can actually lead to weight gain.

Gluten Intolerance

A lot is still unknown about gluten intolerance or sensitivity, but anecdotal reports have shown many people experiencing an improvement in negative symptoms. Symptoms associated with gluten intolerance include:

  • Bloating
  • Diarrhoea
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Fatigue

In the quest for relief of these life-altering symptoms, many have turned to gluten as a potential causing factor. You can assess your tolerance for gluten with one of our tests and, if you discover you do have sensitivities, we offer full support in undertaking an elimination diet.

Going Gluten-Free

Given that gluten intolerance restricts your access to foods traditionally considered unhealthy; breads, processed foods and starchy carbohydrates, you’d expect that a welcome side effect of your condition would be weight loss.

But this isn’t necessarily always the case. The rapid growth of the gluten-free market has led manufacturers to replace all of your favourite foods with gluten-free alternatives. In their quest to achieve foods that taste just as good as the originals, some have turned to sugars and fats in excessive quantities.

Gluten-free Pizza -a cheesy, stringy godsend

There are also considerations to be made about the gluten-free ingredients that are used in baking and cooking. White rice flour, whilst gluten-free, can induce a dramatic rise in blood sugar and contain very little nutritional value.

So, gluten-free foods aren’t as they seem right? Well, no.

Doing Gluten-Free Right

Going gluten-free should be seen as an opportunity to move to a whole foods led diet. Fresh fruit and vegetables are all gluten-free and contain a lot of the vitamins and minerals required to maintain a healthy lifestyle. It’s important to note, however, that processed fruits are not necessarily gluten intolerance friendly.

Fresh meats are also suitable for those living with a gluten intolerance. A fantastic source of protein, the building blocks of muscle, they’re also incredibly satiating and help you to avoid the temptation of the foods that aggravate your gluten intolerance. Be careful of processed meats, however, as they are likely NOT gluten-free.

Whole fruit and vegetables – gluten-free so fill your boots.

Going gluten-free can lead to a total lifestyle revolution. It affords you the opportunity to explore a wealth of foods and also learn or develop cooking skills and even create your own recipes.

To discover whether you have gluten intolerance and would benefit from a shift to a gluten-free lifestyle, take one of our tests. Following your results, we offer full support in completing an elimination diet to optimise your health moving forward.

Preparing for a marathon whilst suffering from intolerances

‘Lifelab Testing’ have been following Chris’ story ever since he came to us and told us that he wanted to be healthier in himself. He believed he was suffering from food allergies and intolerances which were stopping him from becoming a runner. Gluten intolerance is one of the things he had identified.

Chris has participated in the London half marathon this year, as well as some 10K runs and events across Derbyshire. He felt that his intolerances and allergies were holding him back.

Chris took a complete intolerance test, as well as a basic allergy test, as he wanted to be in full fitness. Take a read below of how Chris utilised his Lifelab Testing results to complete his running goals, and become a lot happier and healthier.

‘So, how have I ended up running in three long-distance races this year, having never really done one before? Well, I now feel like I am at the peak of my fitness. I have always been a keen runner, but lethargy and a bloated stomach have always let me down.

I’ve been running for a while in the gym and around my local village, and I did find it quite fun. I sometimes do it with my friends but often on my own. I always felt though that there was something holding me back, and I believed it was gluten intolerance. I timed myself a few times and could feel myself improving, but not in the way that you would expect when I was training so hard.

Despite enjoying my runs, I felt fatigued beforehand and had to use up all my effort and energy into becoming the best and going on a run. I was encouraged but I needed more. I needed to take a food intolerance test to see if I was suffering from gluten intolerance, as my intolerance symptoms kept cropping up every time I ate.

I did my research (a quick type in google) and Lifelab Testing was the most appealing intolerance test I could find. There were others I considered but Lifelab was for me. I ordered my test from Lifelab Testing and the package actually arrived the following day, I was shocked.

In trying to complete the test, I had to find the help of my partner, but this was not too bad and is expected. It was pain-free but I wanted to make sure my vile was perfect. It is so important to identify a gluten intolerance, and I was determined to get it right.

I couldn’t believe how easy the intolerance test was to do! I thought this was easy, and so I went online and purchased a Basic allergy test as well. I would receive my results within 5-7 days, which was completely fine although I wanted to get running immediately. Even sending off my sample gave me the boost I needed.

Low and behold, when my results arrived, I was right! Gluten was one of the main intolerances listed, and it all fit! I spoke to one of the nutritional therapists on offer, and I cut gluten out of my diet completely. I lost a load of weight and actually felt more motivated than ever.

Since taking the intolerance test, I have signed up for three more races because I now feel confident that I can. I chat to all of my friends about it and have encouraged them to start running. I also advised my lazy friends (a few) that they needed to see what they were intolerant to. Those who hated getting up for work are now feeling a lot better!’

The Complete Intolerance test is exactly what I needed to be happier. I will go into more detail about my Allergy test one day, but for now, gluten intolerance is not holding me back, thanks to Lifelab Testing. I cannot speak highly enough of the Lifelab team!

Gluten or Wheat Intolerance?

One area of nutrition, which often leads to head scratching and confusion for many people, is that of gluten intolerance and how this relates to wheat intolerance. Common questions include; what is gluten, which foods would you find it in, what’s the difference between gluten and wheat intolerance and what does a gluten or wheat intolerance test entail?

What is Gluten?

Gluten is the name given to the protein in a number of grains such as wheat (including wheat varieties such as spelt, kamut, faro, durum, bulgar, semolina), rye, barley, and oats. The name gluten comes from the Latin word for ‘glue’. It gives the dough its elasticity, prevents crumbling and as such plays a vital role in the production of baked goods. Most commonly you would find gluten in bread products, pasta, biscuits, crackers, cereals, beer but also in sauces or processed meat products as a thickener.

Gluten Versus Wheat Intolerance

Gluten intolerance and wheat intolerance are different conditions but obviously cross over with one another, which is where the confusion often comes in. Additionally, the symptoms experienced, although highly individual, can be very similar such as bloating, cramps, diarrhoea, constipation, fatigue, sometimes headaches and a general sense of malaise.

Gluten intolerance means an intolerance to all grains containing gluten; wheat and wheat varieties, rye, barley, and oats. Whereas wheat intolerance is an intolerance just to wheat and wheat varieties, not the other gluten-containing grains. So, as you can imagine being gluten intolerant can be far more limiting than wheat intolerance.

To complicate it further there are two types of gluten intolerance: coeliac and non-coeliac [2, 3]. And the two are completely different in how they manifest and their potential overall impact on health.

Coeliac Disease

Coeliac disease is a condition where the body attacks its own cells following the ingestion of gluten. This results in small intestine becoming damaged and prevents nutrients from being absorbed. The condition affects roughly 1% of the UK population with incidence shown to have increased fivefold over the last 25 years [1].

Symptoms include;

  • Abdominal pain
  • Indigestion
  • Constipation
  • Bloating
  • Flatulence
  • Vomiting (usually only in children)

Gluten and Wheat Intolerance

Non-coeliac gluten intolerance is completely different to coeliac disease. Its far less threatening but is still a digestive issue. The difference is that it doesn’t result in a mutiny of cells, just digestive-related symptoms and discomfort. The symptoms of non-coeliac gluten intolerance and wheat intolerance are nigh identical with the only way to tell the two apart for certain being through blood sample testing.

Intolerance symptoms can include;

  • Bloating
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhoea
  • Fatigue
  • Migraines
  • Skin rashes & Eczema
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea

Testing for Wheat and gluten intolerance

Understanding the presence of either of these conditions is the first step towards making changes. It can be done through an IgG gluten or wheat intolerance test, which is a blood sample test identifying the presence of IgG antibodies created against gluten or wheat [4]. This type of testing will not show the presence or lack of coeliac disease.

Diagnosing Coeliac disease

To identify the presence of this autoimmune condition blood tests for IgA and IgA tissue transglutaminase (tTG) must be carried out. Potentially followed by a biopsy to determine how much damage has been made so far. Patients are encouraged not to begin a gluten free diet until a diagnosis has been made, this is especially important for the blood testing.  

Tailoring Your Diet

If you do find yourself having to cut out gluten or wheat after completing a gluten or wheat intolerance test do not despair! The range of products available in supermarkets is extensive and growing all the time and restaurants and cafes are also offering more and more options to those who need to avoid gluten or wheat.

Those diagnosed with coeliac disease MUST avoid glute, or else they can become very ill. But those who are simply gluten intolerant should avoid gluten containing foods to avoid symptoms. Where possible, choosing products which are naturally gluten-free or wheat-free in place of processed ‘free from’ products, is the best way forward.

On a gluten-free diet, grains such as corn, rice, millet, sorghum, amaranth, buckwheat, and quinoa are all excellent choices. For those who are wheat free, you can also add rye, barley and spelt to the party. Grains that contain gluten include wheat, rye, barley and triticale.

Wheat and Gluten Free Alternatives

Avoiding wheat is much simpler compared to avoiding gluten. The list of foods made with wheat is still quite extensive and avoiding this ingredient can prove challenging for some.  

Gluten and Wheat free alternatives include;

  • Potatoes
  • Rice
  • Gluten-free Bread
  • Fresh Vegetables

Avoiding wheat and gluten can be difficult if you rely on a lot of pre-packaged goods such as sauces and snack bars. The simplest solution to this is to make the majority of your meals from scratch. Not only will it help you avoid both wheat and gluten completely, it can offer various health benefits such as lower salt and sugar intake, more nutritionally dense meals and less accidentally ingested ingredients.

Final Thoughts

It’s not all bad news though. Having to avoid gluten or wheat does force you to avoid baked goods – which most of us would agree is a bonus in terms of looking after our health.

References

 [1] Catassi C, Gatti S, Fasano A. The new epidemiology of celiac disease. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2014 59 Suppl 1:S7-9. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24979197 [Accessed 27 Feb. 2020].

[2] Barbaro, M.R., Cremon, C., Stanghellini, V. and Barbara, G. (2018). Recent advances in understanding non-celiac gluten sensitivity. F1000Research, 7, p.1631. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6182669/ [Accessed 27 Feb. 2020].

‌[3] Igbinedion, S.O., Ansari, J., Vasikaran, A., Gavins, F.N., Jordan, P., Boktor, M. and Alexander, J.S. (2017). Non-celiac gluten sensitivity: All wheat attack is not celiac. World Journal of Gastroenterology, [online] 23(40), pp.7201–7210. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5677194/ [Accessed 27 Feb. 2020].

‌[4] Lin, S., Yang, X., Xing, Y., Wang, X. and Li, Y. (2019). The Clinical Application Value of Multiple Combination Food Intolerance Testing. Iranian journal of public health, [online] 48(6), pp.1068–1073. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31341848 [Accessed 27 Feb. 2020].