Gluten free Banana and Pecan bread

Inspired by a recipe for Banana and walnut bread recipe here, I had a go at making something similar using my favourite nuts, Pecans! This recipe is grain, dairy and gluten free


Banana and pecan bread tastes amazing with a little butter or dairy free spread on top while still warm, Mmmmm!


3 small bananas or 2 large ( ripe) mashed

3 eggs

110 g ground almonds ( almond flour )

70g pecans which i roasted in the oven for about 5 mins with a little coconut oil and ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 generous tbsp honey ( I used raw honey )


Pre heat oven 200c

put pecans, cinnamon and a little melted coconut oil on a baking tray in hot oven for 5 mins ( this is not essential you can just use pecans as they are.


mix ground almonds and bicarb of soda together

beat eggs, add honey and mashed bananas


remove pecans from the oven

use a rolling pins to roughly break up pecans


add to mixture



pour into lined square cake tin 8in


bake for 20 mins at 200c


remove when cooked and cool on wire rack


cut into squares and serve with butter or on its own.



Blueberry and coconut slices

I have Deb from an Aussie with Crohns to thank for this delicious recipe. Her recipe is specific carbohydrate diet friendly and grain free, so perfect for coeliacs and those who are intolerant to gluten.


A biscuit type base and a golden coconut topping, sandwiched together by a berry jam cut into squares. I chose to make a blueberry jam, again a recipe from @anaussiew


Firstly I made homemade blueberry jam using this recipe




I was really pleased with the jam, surprisingly sweet.

I combined the ground almonds and coconut flour


then added the beaten egg ,coconut oil and honey and mixed together


I tipped the mixture into a lined 8inch square tin


and pressed it down.

this went in the oven for 5 mins

While it was in the oven I made the topping

combining desiccated coconut honey and egg.


I spread a layer of the sugar free jam over the newly baked base


then added the coconut topping and baked for a further 25 mins


It was very tough leaving it to cool as it looked delicious.

Finally it was completely cooled and I moved it onto a cutting board and sliced into squares


The berry and coconut slices stayed together quite well, I was impressed!

A very pretty treat, perfect for afternoon tea.


With just a small amount of honey this treat is really quite low sugar. Perfect for a special occasion.

Here is the recipe for Berry and Coconut slices from anaussiewithcrohns , I hope you enjoy them as much as we have.


Check out the other  SCD and Paleo recipes from 

My review of Rizopia organic brown rice pasta

Recently I was sent some new gluten free brown rice pasta to review,  Rizopia was Winner of a Free From award 2013 for gluten free pasta, I was keen to try it.

The pasta is free from Gluten, Wheat, Egg, Milk, Corn and Nuts an impressive start!

I was sent a variety of pastas including Lasagne. Penne, Fettuccine,

Shaped pasta for children called Fantasia (with fun shapes like fish, hearts, bicycles, footballs )



Spaghetti and Elbow ( macaroni )


Gluten free Pasta has always been a favourite in my house  but recently due to the fact that I am trying to live grain free I had rather forgotten to buy it for the family. They were very happy to have it back on the menu.

First we tried the Fusilli, they were very impressed. We liked the texture and flavour. This pasta does need a good rinse with boiling water when drained, because it is made from rice and was quite starchy.



I served with a savoury mince sauce covered in grated cheese



Next we tried the Penne, I decided to make my men folk a pasta bake using a homemade bolognese sauce.


This was a winner with my family



If these two pasta’s are anything to go by the family will love all of the varieties of pasta from Rizopia.

I am looking forward to making some macaroni cheese using the Elbow pasta



Rizopia is produced in Toronto in Canada and is currently available to buy from Ocado and Amazon RRP £3.99 for 500g

Here is Rizopia website

follow on Twitter here @rizopia 

and Facebook Rizopia

This Pasta is available to registered Coeliacs on the NHS

Recipe ideas from Rizopia here

From IBS to IBD my story on World IBD day

My story is definitely a story of hope, hope for a healthy future symptom free. A bold statement I know, but a positive attitude is a very good place to start.



On April 9th this year I went to see my Gastro specialist to receive the results of my endoscopy, colonoscopy and MRI . The results were not what I had expected, rather than Coeliac Disease, he announced that I had Crohns disease an Inflammatory Bowel Disease, He reeled off the medication I would be offered and sent me away to do my own ‘homework’. With a second appointment booked for this August.

I was in a state of shock. All my symptoms pointed to Coeliac disease in fact I had most symptoms on the list and had removed gluten from my diet about 4 years ago. Since then I still had occasional stomach cramps , nausea brain fog , anaemia etc due to new intolerances that had started appearing . Firstly yeast ( vinegar wine etc ) then onions and recently garlic. All due, I would say to having a Leaky Gut.

Let me take you back to the beginning 1978, I moved with my family to Hastings. It meant I had to move senior school after just making friends and settling into the school, and live in a very different part of the country. In fact the lovely county of East Sussex England by the seaside. Sadly for me a nervous shy young girl this was an incredibly stressful experience and from the day we moved I started to have symptoms a loss of appetite , stomach cramps and an excessive fatigue. My senior school years were very tough, I now know why!  Poor concentration and feeling unwell and very tired led to me not achieving the results I should have done. A diet full of gluten, sugar etc like every other teenager in the late 70’s early 80’s . Obviously not helping the situation, but hindsight is a great thing isn’t it.

My weight plummeted, weighing around 6 stone my parents took me to a doctor who brushed it off saying she’s a fussy eater let her have what she fancies. Which of course was lots and lots of gluten, sometimes 6 slices of white processed bread at a time. Due to my low weight , looking back I definitely looked anorexic ( and for I while recently wondered if that had been what it was ) I did not start my periods to the age of 19 making me very different from all my female peer group. I continued to be quiet and shy and family became more and more concerned about me. I had, by this time become very interested in healthy food , baking and cooking and had gone to college to study catering. After a year on this course my symptoms continued to worsen making the physical part of my course impossible.

I left and started working in a Children’s Nursery, became qualified, loved the job and started eating better. Met and married my husband Tim and had two beautiful healthy sons. Still continuing to have symptoms which became worse when I started to drink alcohol at the age of about 28. Visited doctors many times always given the diagnoses of *IBS  ( irritable bowel syndrome ) told to eat more roughage, whole grain bread etc and sent home with peppermint capsules. My symptoms were definitely at there worse. I remember begging my husband to finish me off ( a little dramatic I know ) but the pain was unbearable. At that point we should of gone to A & E but we never did, we just had no idea what to do.

This continued until about 7 years ago when I read something about a wheat free diet and how it helped people with my symptoms , I tried this but with no real improvement. Then a few years back I started tweeting and in a short space time heard about a gluten free diet and I started to follow that. Very quickly I was having less symptoms and the more knowledge I gained the less symptoms I began to have. Less tiredness more energy less stomach cramps and nausea. I had never felt better .

Keen to pass on what I had learnt I started a WordPress blog Fabulously Free From. Where I write about what I bake gluten free and other free from recipes etc. In doing so I have learnt a vast amount about Coeliac disease, it was like a light bulb going on . Everything I read sounded like me I recognised my symptoms in many of the Coeliac tweeter on Twitter and things Coeliac bloggers were writing.


Unfortunately for me, by this time I had been living gluten free for about 4 years and apart from occasionally being ‘glutened’ from cross contamination, gluten was a distant memory.

I went back to the GP armed with a greater knowledge and was told they would do a Coeliac blood test. Sadly I knew this would come back negative but the doctor was adamant . As expected it came back negative. I booked to see a different doctor and to my great joy he took on board everything I said and referred me to a local Gastro specialist at our local hospital. It was a huge step forward!

After meeting with the specialist I was booked in for colonoscopy and endoscopy on the same evening. I have to admit I was incredible nervous at the prospect of going into hospital. Apart from having my 2 boys I had never spent a day in hospital. My Church family were an incredible support to me at this time and I most definitely felt the results of there prayerful support. I walked in that day feeling calm and almost excited about the prospect of getting to the bottom of my problems, no pun intended.


Me, straight after the procedures

The evening went as well as it could have done but came home really none the wiser. I was told that my Gastro wanted to do an MRI as the procedures were not conclusive.  The day came for my MRI to be performed at a local private hospital. This was one of the worst experiences I have ever had. I was left for a very long time in a thin gown in a corridor with nothing on my feet. I became very cold very quickly and by the time I went for the MRI I was shivering uncontrollable. Anyway many blankets later and a 45 min scan (which I found fine) I was sent home.

During this last year I have done even more research into fixing my insides using healhy eating and reducing stress. After almost 30 in childcare I reluctantly gave in my letter of resignation to my place of work. A wonderful children’s nursery where I had worked on and off for about 19 years , but unfortunately full of gluten in many forms ( snack time, play dough, packed lunches, staff biscuits )

I also started following the Specific carbohydrate diet, removing all alcohol and all refined sugar and most fructose. I had started to read many accounts of people with stomach and bowel disorders ranging from Inflammatory bowel disease to Coeliac Disease and other autoimmune disease. I immediately felt the benefits No bloating what so ever and no other symptoms, this was exciting stuff!

I’m not saying I found this easy but because I am very anti drugs I wanted to do everything in my power to give myself a fighting chance , along with the power of prayer I believe I have seen a vast improvement in my health.

This brings me back to April 9th this year, My results showed no sign of Coeliac disease, but the Gastro specialist agreed that if I had been free of gluten for 4 years then it wouldn’t show up and the positive thing was that there was no visible signs when doing the endoscopy. This was good news being gluten free was obviously helping. The results from the MRI and colonoscopy showed some damage in my bowel, My husband came with me to take notes as I knew I wouldn’t take information in. He wrote down terminal ileitis and sub set crohns terminal ilium . Whatever that means!  We were not even given correct spelling or even a simple leaflet about the disease. I hope this is not most people’s experience.

I was really disappointed and a little shocked to hear this. Felt a little like I was free falling and at this point would have liked to have spoken to a specialist nurse who would of had time to explain things.

I went home and couldn’t bring myself to look up Crohns disease. My Cousin and Uncle had Ulcerative colitis ( which I had mentioned to my GP a few years ago ) and have had a very tough time, quite honestly I was terrified. Then a wise Twitter friend reminded me that I had only been given a new label and that nothing had changed and actually I was beginning to manage it well and there was no reason why this shouldn’t continue. I really needed to hear that!

I still cant bring myself to do much research as everything I find sounds nothing like me. I have never experienced any bowel problems, which seem to be a big issue with Crohns disease. Maybe I am fortunate to have a mild case and hence that could be why. Or maybe having Coeliac disease for so many years I have now got a Leaky Gut and Crohns symptoms. I’m no doctor so I haven’t a clue.

What I do know is that I have never felt better. Bags of energy, no bloating, constant healthy weight, no cramps or nausea and I never feel hungry. The Specific carbohydrate diet has been a revelation going grain free is not easy and leaving out cows milk was tough. I also make sure my diet is not only low carb but high fat ( good fats including coconut oil and cheese etc ) But there are so many positives and so much delicious food I can still eat I am going to continue with it and see what happens next.


I hope this has been of some help to others with similar symptoms .

Here’s to a healthy future, eating well and enjoying life to its fullest.


For more information @crohnscolitisuk


Specific carbohydrate diet info

A grain free, sugar free and gluten free diet  Free from many complex carbohydrates like potatoes.

The diet was first developed by a New York physician Dr Stanley Haas

Books to read – Breaking the vicious cycle: intestinal health through diet

cooking for Specific carbohydrate diet by Erica Kerwien





SCD Food list 

*IBS  Irritable bowel syndrome is Not Inflammatory bowel disease  – It is a common condition of the digestive system


Grain free Cheese scones

Inspired by finding a recipe from an Aussie with Crohns  for grain free #SCD English scones I thought I would have a go at making a grain free traditional english cheese scone. Check out more Specific carbohydrate diet recipes on

Click here for An Aussie with Crohns Blog #SCD #Paleo

I’m very pleased to say they turned out well and tasted great ,


Here is the recipe

Grain free Cheese scones

makes 6

1 1/2 cups Almond flour

1/8 cup coconut flour

1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1/4 cup butter or coconut oil

1 heaped cup of a good strong cheese

1/4 cup Almond milk

1 large egg

good pinch of salt

(optional extra for herby scones 2 tsp mixed herbs or herbes de provence )


Pre heat oven 180c


Put ground almonds, coconut flour and bicarbonate of soda in a bowl


add butter or coconut oil and rub into the flour

add grated cheese and salt


beat egg

add egg and almond milk

mix together

the mixture is quite wet

handle carefully


dust surface with almond flour ( ground almonds )

flatten slightly with your hand

cut out 6 cheese scones

put on a lined baking sheet


bake in pre heated oven 180c for 15 mins


cool on a wire rack


add butter and enjoy!


Happy Baking



follow @anaussiewc  on Twitter


Gluten free quick seeded bread mix from Food by Helen

Food by Helen kindly sent me a new bread mix to try and review. The best thing about this quick seeded bread mix for me is that it is not only gluten free but yeast free too. My family love Helen’s other bread mixes especially Brilliant Bread mix ( white )


This was probably the easiest bread mix I have ever used.

Firstly you beat an egg in a mixing bowl



Then add melted butter and milk or non dairy milk ( I used unsweetened almond milk )


open the mix packet and pour in to the mixing bowl


mix together thoroughly and pour into greased loaf tin


pop in a pre heated oven 200 c

for 40-45 mins


This mix costs £2.49 which I think is a very fair price


This is one of the nicest gluten free breads I have tasted, light with a crusty outside and soft, almost chewy inside. Just like I remember regular bread tasted.

My husband, a gluten eater just gave it a big thumbs up and polished off two slices of My bread!


Available from Food by Helen website

follow on Twitter @foodbyhelen



Do you feel uncomfortable and bloated or have other unexplained symptoms after eating Gluten?

Today sees the start of Coeliac awareness week. 1 in 100 people have Coeliac disease , but only about 15% have been properly diagnosed. That are a lot of people with unexplained symptoms. If you or a member of your family is one of them, make an appointment today!

Now this is a subject I am passionate about as I have many of the symptoms of the disease, but cannot be tested properly as I have not eaten gluten for 5 years. My Gastro specialist said I had a ‘classic Coeliac history’, But he and I were not happy for me to attempt to put gluten back in my diet as my symptoms were so severe. I am still anaemic and on iron tablets and am slightly under weight. When I am ‘glutened’ the weight just falls off me.

I remember having symptoms from the age of about 12 when we moved home to a new area and I had to change schools etc. It was a very stressful time for me.

When I do accidentally eat gluten through cross contamination I become very ill and the symptoms last for many weeks. I will probably never have a definite diagnoses. But I will now always follow a gluten free diet.

I recently however have been diagnosed with Crohns disease an inflammatory bowel disease ( after an endoscopy and colonoscopy ) but recognise less of the symptoms of this disease in me.

From what I understand Gluten comes from the Latin Gluten “glue”  a mixture of two proteins gliadin and glutenin found in cereal grains wheat inc spelt also barley and rye, and oats through cross contamination.

Some Coeliacs are intolerant to all oats even gluten free oats.

Gluten is found in flour, bread, pastry, biscuits,cakes, cereals, many pre prepared meals and hidden in so many other things including drinks. Always check labels.

I feel very strongly that if you are suffering from any of the following symptoms ( list taken from Coeliac UK website ) Don’t take Gluten out of your diet  make an appointment with your GP , to rule out Coeliac disease

Severe or occasional diarrhoea, bloating, recurrent stomach pains, cramping, constipation, sickness, loss of appetite, weight loss, nausea, Excessive wind

Tiredness and or head aches,  Brain fog ( not feeling sharp )

Tooth enamel problems

Joint and or bone pain

Skin rash (dermatitis herpetiformis )


Mouth ulcers

Repeated miscarriages

Nerve problems such as ataxia ( poor muscle coordination ) and neuropathy ( numbness and tingling in hands and feet )

Iron, vitamin B12 or Folic acid deficiency

Hair loss


Depression, Anxiety, Mood swings

Liver abnormalities

Amennorrhoea ( lack of periods in women  )

Coeliac Disease is a life long autoimmune disease causing damage to the lining of the small intestine. Causing a range of mild to severe symptoms.


From my own experience many years ago I had severe tiredness, brain fog, weight loss, anaemia, stomach cramps, nausea, joint pain and later fertility problems I was told I had IBS and given no advice.

Removing Gluten and other food intolerances from my diet has made an enormous difference to my health.

These days you should be given a simple blood test by your GP to check for antibodies, these can indicate Coeliac disease Do not remove Gluten from your diet

You will then be referred to a Gastroenterologist for a gut biopsy Continue to eat Gluten

For me, this process took 30 years! Fortunately things have moved on and GP’s are far more aware of symptoms.

I found that keeping a food, drink and symptoms diary helped me to find out what was causing my problems. It also could be useful to show your Doctor.

It would also be good for Coeliacs and those with Inflammatory bowel disease who continue to have some symptoms after gluten is removed. I for example am intolerant to yeast ( vinegar, wine ) onions , garlic and  paprika. These now give me similar symptoms.

Here is a printable food and symptoms sheet for you to print off

Remember to write everything done on your sheet including snacks and drinks


Click on link and print PDF

food and symptoms diary <


More information about Coeliac disease twitter @coeliac_uk

Coeliac UK


I also found out a lot of information about the disease following fellow Coeliacs on Twitter

follow me @nels3 Gluten free Helen

I am currently finding out more about ‘Leaky Gut’ Intestinal permeability Which seems to be linked with Coeliac disease , Crohns disease, Colitis etc

I try to avoid all grains and refined sugar to help heal my gut as well as taking good bacteria.

Follow Specific carbohydrate diet – @scdlifestyle

Follow Dr Josh Axe on Facebook website




My experiences of cutting sugar from our diet

This morning I listened to Dr John Briffa talking to Chris Evans on radio 2 , I turned over from radio 1 to give it a listen as the subject was Sugar, and whether we should be eating it in the quantities we do these days. Now this is a subject I have been following now for about a year. I have bought books to read on the subject and looked at lots of pieces on the internet, all leading me to the conclusion that it would be best for my family and I to remove as much sugar as we possible could from our diets. The family have come on board with this, which has made the decision much easier.

I dont want to get into the scientific stuff about sugar, there is plenty of information about now, that you can read up on to make your own judgments. But what I found is lacking is, once you have made the decision to change, Where do you go from there!

We all need some ideas that are achievable.

We all have busy lives and have got into certain habits and ways of thinking and living and its hard to change. Let alone the fact that for many of us sugar is highly addictive.

So I thought I would share our story as a family, and how cutting the sugar has worked for us.

Firstly breakfasts, In our house, that used to be a quick bowl of cereal or porridge or a fruit flavoured yoghurt with granola. washed down with a glass of fruit juice usually orange. one of your five a day!

Now we have switched to eggs every morning usually two each with a good quality bacon or smoked salmon or a veggie or cheese omelette. We also love homemade pancakes with berries.


If we are in more of a rush we will have toast or full fat greek yoghurt with no added sugar with seasonal berries and homemade low sugar or no sugar granola. I even sometimes make savoury breakfast muffins for a treat. Porridge is still a good option if it has no hidden sugar or dried fruit and you top it with double cream or a dusting of cinnamon. Avoid dried fruit in general as all the moisture has been removed leaving the sugar. Best to have a piece of whole fruit. Raisins etc are a big no no a real shock to find out.


Now we have stopped buying fresh fruit juices or smoothies instead have a glass of water, coffee or tea without sugar and have fruit in its entirety as then the body can deal with the fructose because it also has fibre too.  That was a hard change for the family but if its not in the fridge they find something else to drink.

We tend to keep our carbohydrate intake low but include lots of good fats such as butter, cheese, coconut oil etc to fill us up.

On to lunch, for most of the family lunch has to be a packed meal at work. a high protein and fat salad with chicken, fish or eggs. usually with some cheese and plenty of vegetables. The family sometimes still have bread, but only occasionally as this has hidden sugar too.

At home it is far easier to use wonderful things like avocado , seafood or make homemade pasta from courgette topped with grated cheese or a creamy sauce made from double cream. Homemade soups are delicious and healthy too.


Avoiding that sweet thing after your savoury lunch is tough especially to start with, it has become a habit for us all. But I was amazed how quickly that fades if you eat enough savoury high fat, low carb food for your lunch. I now find a pear or slice of watermelon a real treat. I actually get excited about buying fruit,  because I know its a treat.

Cans of drink also tend to make an appearance at this time of the day . Giving us that sugar rush for the start of the afternoon. We no longer buy them, instead water or teas and coffee are on offer. Fruit juice and fizzy and squash drinks have a very high level of sugar and best avoided completely .

Snacks I now find I have lost the need to snack , but to begin with I was armed with almonds or other plain nuts to nibble on. Cubes of cheese work well too.

Dinner Now my family come home famished from a day at work and up until a year ago I would have made sure there was some kind of pudding on offer.Which would have been high in sugar. These days we eat a good wholesome meal, again high in protein ,good fat and healthy vegetables and low in carbohydrates like pasta, white rice and potatoes. Instead using more cauliflower, cabbage, courgettes etc and usually we don’t feel the need for anything else. When we do we will have a couple of chunks of dark chocolate I eat 85% the family prefer 70% this still all contains sugar but very little and because it is so dark you can only eat a square or two. Fresh fruit is also available or full fat greek yoghurt. For special occasions I still make low sugar or no sugar puddings. Water is on the table to drink and the family still enjoy the odd glass of red wine.

Late night snack I turn to a cube of parmesan or a few macadamia nuts which feel very indulgent.

The easiest thing for me was avoiding sugar filled drinks I have never been a huge fan of soda, fizzy drinks . We don’t have sugar in our hot drinks and I have learnt to enjoy a camomile tea too.

I did used to love a gin and tonic, but after realising how much sugar was in the tonic I’ve stopped and now find it much to sweet.

I continue to find grabbing a snack quite hard if i’m out as I am gluten intolerant and usually the only option for me is cake. I treated myself to an old favourite at the weekend and with the first bite I realised I just couldn’t eat it anymore. It honestly tasted like a mouthful of granulated sugar. I tend to be very prepared now and take a banana or apple or nuts out for emergency food.

This all might sound like eating in our house is no fun anymore. I honestly think if you asked the family they would say we eat very well and they all now really enjoyed the homemade low or no sugar things we have on offer. The granola is a big favourite as are the chocolate profiteroles made with dark chocolate and no added sugar. Great for special occasions.



I still use fresh fruit in my baking especially bananas and apples because once in a while it is still nice to have a treat and I use fruit instead of granulated sugar. This is still a form of sugar, but we only eat in moderation on special occasions.

I also occasionally use raw honey this is still sugar and I use only occasionally and in moderation. Our tastes buds have changed so much that very little is needed anyway.

I also use powdered dextrose which is good in cakes and is free from fructose.

I really hope this has been of some help to you. It really can be done without too much change. Its mainly changing how you feel about sugar. Get reading. I urge you! There is so much information out there, explaining the dangers behind sugar.

I will include a list of books and people to follow. I wish I had this information when my children were younger so that I could have put this into practise along time ago. But that isn’t possible, so we are doing the best we can now to be as healthy as possible.

All the best, You and your family Can do it!



Dr John Briffa @drbriffa

Action on Sugar @actiononsugar

Sarah Wilson @_sarahwilson_

I Quit Sugar @iquitsugar

The Sugar breakup @thesugarbreakup

David Gillespie @gillespie

Sugar free me @beadlealison

Sam Feltham @samfeltham



Sweet Poison why sugar makes you fat by David Gillespie

The Sweet Poison Quit Plan by David Gillespie

Pure, white and deadly by John Yudkin

Low carb high fat

Christine Cronau @christinecronau

Sam Feltham @samfeltham 

More recipe ideas on my blog

or follow me on Twitter @nels3 gluten free Helen


Fed up

Sugar is killing us

Sugar hiding in plain sight – Robert Lustig




Grain free Banana bread

I found myself today with rather too many over ripe bananas. After searching the internet I found this quick and easy banana bread recipe using almond and coconut flour. The recipe is here from and completely gluten free.


I have slightly changed the recipe

I used 3 bananas 300g

and only 1 tbsp of honey/ brown rice syrup

2 tbsp coconut oil ( instead of olive oil)


Mix together dry ingredients in one bowl


and wet ingredients in another



Mix together well

I used a lined square tin 8x8in which meant it was cooked in 35mins


Delicious cut in to squares on its own, or spread with butter

I found the banana loaf had a lovely texture and quite sweet enough.


Makes a delicious quick breakfast or afternoon treat.

Happy Baking!

Lots more recipes on

follow on Twitter @comfybelly