Gluten free

Foodie Pen Pals – delivered a lovely surprise!

I don’t normally like surprises but my ‘foodie pen pals parcel’ is definitely the exception. I recently signed up via the blog ‘thisisrocksalt.com’, and when my very first parcel arrived this month I was over the moon.

IMG_1703.JPGDawn my pen pal this month sent me a lovely card outlining what she had sent which included:

Barenaked Gluten Free noodles – which were featured on Dragons Den and only have 8 calories per 100g serving.

Green and Black’s chocolate bar – when, like Dawn said, anything other than chocolate just won’t do!

Graze Popping Corn – a gluten free treat ready in 40 seconds.

Itsu – pack of three chocolate covered rice cakes, yummy!

Mini caramel syrup – this made a great addition to my camomile tea.

Thespicery – jamaicanmethirsty – a cute little pack of spices to make a refreshing Caribbean cocktail.

Thespicery – ‘Brown Down’ chicken a world kitchen recipe kit. This was my absolute favourite item and my families too. It has a shopping list on the back and an easy to follow recipe inside.

IMG_1756.JPG
This gorgeous array of food + the delicious spices = a chicken and mash dinner with a difference.

IMG_1762.JPG
The sweet, spicy chicken, sweet potato mash and herby salsa made a great combination.

IMG_1795.JPGWill be making this again….

IMG_1777.JPGAnd again…….
IMG_1801-1.JPGI also enjoyed buying the contents of the parcel that I sent to my pen pal Nikki and I hope she enjoys the goodies (Mallorcan almonds covered in gold leaf, Tabasco and popcorn flavoured jelly beans from Selfridges, Carob for baking, dried physalis berries and gluten free stars) as much as I enjoyed choosing them.

If you are in Europe and you want to join, click on the link below.

I for one can’t wait for next months foodiepenpals surprise!
Thanks again Dawn for my first parcel it was a delight.
Val

A festival in a day!

I’ve always loved the idea of going to a festival but for one reason or another never managed to get to one. On Sunday however that all changed when I got a little taste of festival life and joined 50,000 other Radio 2 listeners at the ‘Festival in a Day’ The sun shone, the atmosphere was amazing and for 10 hours we owned a patch of grass 4msq in London’s Hyde Park!

20140917-215343.jpgThe line up included Paloma Faith, Bellowhead, Kacey Musgrave, Blondie, Chrissie Hyde, Billy Ocean and ELO’s Jeff Lynne who was on stage for his first gig in 28 years. It was great seeing inhibitions disappear and everyone going back to their youth and dancing ‘like nobody was watching’ including me!

20140917-220023.jpgAs a student nutritionist I was interested to see what the quality of the food would be like and it’s fair to say I was expecting a small selection of food outlets with poor quality food. But that wasn’t the case. There were noodle and deli bars, freshly made fish and chips, delicious smelling Churros, but what I didn’t expect was to find a great little gem of a stall called ‘The Honest Carrot‘ selling lovely vegetarian, vegan and gluten free food.

20140917-125852.jpg
I went for the halloumi, falafel wrap with chilli sauce which was absolutely delicious! Fiona the owner of ‘The Honest Carrot‘ said they had been trading at all the major festival with their biggest success being the Reading festival.

20140917-125959.jpgIt was great to see tasty, nutritious food on sale, and I’m glad I don’t need to wait for my next festival to enjoy what The Honest Carrot had to offer because I can order online for delivery to my door. That said, I don’t think you can beat picnicking on a sunny day, glass of wine in hand, accompanied by great company and great music.
Happy memories.😀
Val

20140917-220539.jpg

20140917-220603.jpg

Coeliac Disease

I mentioned in an earlier post that my son has Coeliac Disease. I remember when he was first diagnosed that it all seemed so complicated, now we just take it in our stride. Over time the quality and quantity of gluten free products has increased and if I see something new we always have to give it a try.

From a nutritional perspective a diet without gluten is very healthy, the downside however is that many of the products such as gluten free bread and desserts are more expensive. 

In 2012 I attended the British Dietetic Association Research Symposium and one of the poster presentations outlining some primary research, highlighted that a basket of nutritionally balanced gluten free food cost on average £7.50 more than a standard basket of food. It was also said to costs more than the average weekly spend on food based of information from DEFRA. The presentation highlighted  that ‘own brand’ foods products were cheaper than branded gluten free foods and availability varies, especially in rural locations (Abernethy & Bannerman: 2011).

My son being diagnosed with Coeliac disease change both of our lives. My son got his health back and I changed my career path. Once I had seen first hand the massive impact diet had on my sons health and well being I was hooked, and decided to study for a degree in nutrition. My longer term goal is to become a dietitian and to help other families in similar situations to ours.

If you are not sure what Coeliac disease is – the facts from Coeliac UK are:

  • It is a lifelong autoimmune disease caused by intolerance to gluten
  • 1 in 100 people have the condition
  • Symptoms include bloating, diarrhoea, nausea, wind, constipation, tiredness, headaches, sudden weight loss, hair loss, anaemia and osteoporosis
  • Once diagnosed, it is treated by following a gluten-free diet for life

When my sons diagnosis was confirmed we went to see a dietitian at our local hospital, who was really helpful and put it all into perspective. We also joined Coeliac UK whose website is brilliant and has everything you need to know about the condition:

I’m in my second your at University and I am enjoying every minutes. My son has come to terms with his condition, he’s full of energy and is the picture of health!

Val

20140208-185803.jpg