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WELLfed - Nourishing communities through food and connections

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We work really hard to help all our Learners understand that eating a gluten-free diet doesn't need to be boring, difficult or expensive. 

WELLfed has been offering food-based adult education within our community in eastern Porirua since 2016. They offer free cooking courses, with a focus on using fresh, seasonal produce and simple, nutritious recipes to create males the whole whānau can enjoy. In the last two years, they have had an increased number of Learners who are gluten free, and some who have coeliac disease. Their team has embraced this challenge to ensure they offer these Learners a safe and inclusive space, staying true to the vision of the WELLfed programme - that everyone has choices, resources and skills for living well.

At the start of their time with us, some Learners who had been told they should be eating gluten free have mentioned that, for a variety of reasons, they do still eat gluten. Our team help those Learners understand why avoiding gluten is important and how they can do it on a budget, using straightforward ingredients, equipment and skills. Each Learner receives a pack of pantry basics and for those who are gluten free we ensure all products in them are safe.

We also supply basic equipment to fill the gaps Learners may have in their kitchen setups, so Learners can replicate our recipes at home. At the end of each class, we share kai with our Learners. To avoid confusion or anyone missing out we have started making the meals gluten free. By doing this, everyone gets to taste gluten-free food and realise that it can be just as tasty and easy to make as gluten-containing meals.

Most of their recipes are quite simple to make so swapping to gluten-free ingredients has worked well. But there are some we are still experimenting with to find out what works best - with some disasters!

WELLFed is focused on making sure we can provide Learners with suitable, affordable substitutes for all gluten-containing ingredients.

Our team and Learners are the best judges of our recipes! So far, feedback indicates our Celebration Brownie and our self-saucing chocolate pudding, which can also be made in a slow cooker, turned out really well with a direct substitution of a standard gluten-free flour mix. We are still working on a variation for our focaccia recipe!

A favourite GF recipe is Corn Fritters! We use beaten egg whites to add air and help avoid the heaviness that can result from using Gluten Free flour mixes.

To make these light and fluffy fritters, mix 1 cup of GF flour, 1 tablespoon of baking powder, 1 egg yolk (reserve the white), a pinch of salt, ½ cup of milk, and 1 can of creamed corn in a large bowl. Once the mix is fully combined, fold in the beaten/whisked egg white. Then fry spoonfuls of the batter over medium/low heat until golden and crispy on each side. These delicious fritters are best served warm, paired with a fresh salad and sweet chilli mayonnaise. On the off chance, there are any leftovers, they are fantastic for lunchboxes!

The staff at WELL Fed recently completed the GF Foof Safety Training  (GFFS) training certificate prepared by Coeliac NZ and commented

"The GFFS training was insightful and a great reassurance that our processes were in line with recommendations, and gave us the extra confidence to ensure our coeliac and gluten-free Learners were being given the correct information and guidance."

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