WITH an estimated 75% of Australians with coeliac disease remaining undiagnosed, spreading awareness about this illness has never been more important, according to Gluten Free Grain Free cookbook author Tania Hubbard.
Having been diagnosed with the disease herself several years ago and speaking in the lead-up to Coeliac Awareness Week this week, Tania knows only too well how critical it is to increase the public understanding of the disease.
A self-confessed foodie and Sunshine Coast café owner, Tania said she believed that it was vital for people to listen to their bodies and, if they believed they were suffering with coeliac disease, to visit their GP.
"It is an easily manageable disease and with timely diagnosis and a healthy gluten-free diet, you can prevent and even reverse many of the problems that accompany the illness," Tania said.
After spending the most part of her life "door-hopping'' from doctor to doctor, trying to find the cause of her ongoing migraines, chronic fatigue and repeated bouts of pneumonia, Tania was diagnosed in 2003 with an intolerance to a protein found in grains.
"Since I was diagnosed, my life has changed dramatically. I eliminated grains from my diet and all my symptoms disappeared," Tania said.
The Coeliac Society of Australia says coeliac disease affects one in every 100 Australians, not including those with wheat and grain intolerances, and a further 160,000 remain undiagnosed.
Tania's condition turned out to be a blessing in disguise, helping her realise her talent and passion for food, which led her to write her own cookbook, Gluten Free Grain Free - food we love.
"I was determined to continue enjoying food, despite my illness and restrictive diet, so I set to developing my own gluten and grain-free recipes," Tania said.
Her cookbook is packed with more than 150 pages of mouth-watering recipes, information about stocking a gluten and grain-free pantry, label reading and much more.
"My cookbook is all about helping people understand and enjoy gluten and grain-free living," she said.
"My food isn't just for coeliacs and those with grain intolerances.
"It's for everyone and anyone who wants to enjoy nutritious and wholesome cooking that tastes great.
"Food has turned my life around and I thoroughly enjoy helping others on their path to healthy eating."
Tania will be appearing at the Gluten-Free Food Expo on May 11 and 12 at the RNA Showgrounds in Brisbane, where she will be doing a cooking demonstration that focuses on vegetarian gluten-free on a budget.
Gluten Free Grain Free - food we love is available for purchase from Husk & Honey Café in Nambour, and retails at $37.50.
It is also available online at glutenfreegrainfree.com.au where you will also find information about Tania, Husk & Honey and the bake@home range.