*(see note at end). Breakfast has long been my favourite meal of the day and I loved porridge, bran flakes, granola, weetabix, mini shredded wheats, muesli and the occasional sugar laden novelty cereal so much than I often used to snack on it straight from the box. To suddenly have to ban them all from my cupboards was very hard and for a few weeks I mourned their absence and was at a loss of what to eat in their place. However, as I have fast been learning a gluten free diet is not so much about denying yourself certain foods, but finding suitable substitutions.
After a bit of internet searching I discovered a sort of wholesome/natural foods warehouse called (ironically) Daily Bread Co-Operative, which said they specialised in foods for special diets. It was a bit of a trek away but I was only too eager to make the trip if it meant browsing food isles could become enjoyable again.
It turned out to be a fantastic place filled with all sorts of fruits, nuts, seeds and grains, including some I had never seen before but were gluten free! Buckwheat puffs anyone? I returned home with two big bags full of suitable breakfast grains and immediately set about creating a muesli mix.
Here are the things I bought and used to make my muesli mix for anyone who’s interested.
Buckwheat puffs – Look like tiny mottled popcorn puffs with a similar texture. They have a toasted nutty flavour
Millet puffs – Tiny beads of popcorn like puffs. Sweet and mellow flavour
Brown rice flakes – Very thin, crisp and brittle flakes. Slightly tacky and chewy when wet but add great crispness when mixed with other things
Millet – Tiny balls of millet, crisp and crunchy
Millet flakes – Similar to very finely ground oats. Quite powdery but add a nice creaminess when mixed with other things
Linseeds/Flaxseeds – Don’t really add flavour but packed with essential fatty acids and omega 3 – must be crushed before eating to release their nutritious oils
Dried apple rings – Soft, slightly chewy and sweet with a great apple flavour
Dried apricots – Very sweet, sticky and incredibly fruity. Great flavour
Raisins – We all know what raisins taste like!
Eating my first bowlful was such an enjoyable experience. It contained the varied combination of sweet, nutty, crisp, crunchy and chewy that I had been craving. Some of the grains were a little bitter on their own, but when eaten with yoghurt and a drizzle of honey it was delicious!
I decided to make just a small batch at first as this would allow me to create a new mix each week to keep things interesting. The amounts below may seem very small but the puffed grains are incredibly light meaning you get a lot of them for your weight. I might try baking some with honey and nuts next time to create more of a granola style mix. Hurrah for exciting cereal again - the worlds my buckwheat puff!
Gluten Free Muesli
30g buckwheat puffs
20g millet puffs
30g brown rice flakes
40g millet flakes
40g dried apple
30g dried apricots
50g ground linseed/flaxseed (keep separate and sprinkle over each serving before eating)
Weight out all the flakes, grains and puffs and toss together in an airtight container. Finely chop and dried apple and apricots until they are the same size as the raisins. Mix in all the fruit to the grains.
Grind the linseed in a small food processor until the seeds are cracked and broken (don’t overdo it or it will start to form a mushy paste). Store the crushed linseed in a separate container.
Serve with sliced fresh fruit, milk or yoghurt and a drizzle of honey. Sprinkle a teaspoonful of the crushed linseeds over your bowl of muesli before eating. (It falls to the bottom if mixed with everything else)
Makes enough for 4-6 servings
* Note about oats
Some people may wonder why I can’t have porridge on my gluten free diet. It is true that oats are gluten free but many oats are milled using the same machines as wheat, meaning there is a high risk they have been contaminated with gluten making them unsafe to eat. You can buy oats that are guaranteed to be milled away from gluten grains and these are often labelled as ‘pure oats.’ However, until my gut has fully recovered and I’m back to full health I have been advised to avoid all oat products as some coealics are unable to tolerate the protein in oats as well as gluten proteins so I have to avoid them for now too. (I hope I’m not one of these people and that I can eat oats in the future!)