LIVING with coeliac disease is harder during the holiday season than any other time of year.
You've got to keep an eye on everything you eat.
Ham has gluten in it, roasts are fine until someone drenches it in gravy, and forget that backyard barbecue, because the sausages, bread and half the mayonnaises and sauces all have gluten in them.
But there is a way through that minefield of inappropriate foods.
Robyn Jeffers, who has coeliac disease, agreed that adhering to a strict gluten-free diet was tough at this time of year.
"It's the parties hosted by individuals and that's where it gets tricky," she said.
"You might be given a fruit platter and you'll get tired of that after a while.
"Gluten is in so many hidden products you wouldn't think of. I can't believe some mayonnaises have wheat in them."
Mrs Jeffers gets through the holiday season by baking a lot of her own goods - something she recommends to anyone who has to follow a gluten-free diet.
"You pick up lots of things and learn a lot along the way," she said.
"When I was first diagnosed, gluten-free food was not that readily available. If I wanted something I usually had to make it."
Just recently her husband's store Jeffers' Market in Maroochydore and Yandina held its Christmas party.
They had only one rule: all food had to be gluten-free.
"A couple of staff members are coeliac, also," she said.
"We had gluten-free sausages, steak and chicken and ham, a whole lot of salads and delicious sticky gluten-free desserts, which was the best bit.
"We had about 80 people and they all loved it."
Mrs Jeffers said living a gluten-free diet was usually not too hard on the Coast.
"We're really good here, one of the best places to live for gluten-free food because so many places are aware," she said.
"You can go to restaurants and they're really on to the whole gluten-free thing.
"I've been to Sydney and took us an hour to find a place to eat."
Coeliac disease affects about one-in-100 Australians.
However, 75% remain undiagnosed, meaning that about 160,000 Australians have coeliac disease but don't yet know it.
JEFFERS' MARKET SHORTBREAD RECIPE
90g fine rice flour
50g gluten-free cornflour
60g butter chilled and diced
30g caster sugar
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
Combine the flours, sugar and xanthan gum.
Rub the chilled butter into the flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
Then form into small balls and bake in a moderate oven for 10-15 minutes.
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