Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: To Avoid Gluten or Not?

Tuesday Tip: To Avoid Gluten or Not? 🍞

Do you really need to avoid gluten? For the majority of us the answer is no! It’s pretty trendy right now to ditch carbs and specifically to ditch gluten but should we really be doing that?

For 1% of population who suffer from Coeliac disease gluten is a major problem. It’s is an autoimmune response which causes the body to attack the protein in gluten, ‘gliadin’. These attacks damage the villi lining the small intestine preventing normal nutrient absorption. It’s a serious condition; sufferers experience severe stomach problems and may be in extreme pain. It’s not a ‘bit of bloating’. It’s diagnosed with a blood test, and you’d know if you had it! In a further 3 – 5% of the population there may be some level of intolerance to gluten resulting in stomach upsets. That leaves 95% of us with no issues whatsoever.

Gluten is a compound with a large surface area so it takes longer to be digested. This means you could be suffering problems from simply eating too fast and not chewing properly, so try chewing 15 times per mouthful to keep the enzymes working in your mouth, so that some of the digestive process can start before food even reaches the stomach.

People often complain that bread, pizza or pasta etc are making them bloated and that as a result they avoid gluten at all costs. But don’t be too quick to blame gluten. It’s not uncommon for these foods to make you bloat. The cause of this bloating is not the gluten, but actually water retention as a result of the short-chain carbs in wheat-based foods. So combat this by going for complex carbs – wholegrains, wholewheat breads etc and ensure you’re drinking lots of water. And if you do think you’re reacting after eating meals like pasta or pizza, then it’s probably far less likely to be the gluten and more likely to be the fatty cheese, roasted onions and rich toppings and sauces causing the problem – not the pizza base or pasta itself.

If you think giving up gluten will give you an energy boost,I’m afraid you’ll be wrong. Recent studies show that going gluten-free, when you don’t need increases tiredness and fatigue. Gluten-containing foods also provide a range of other nutrients we need so cutting it out you can cause more probs. Instead chose foods full of slow release carbs e.g. wholewheat pasta and bread, and lots of fruit and veg.

So before you diagnose yourself with a gluten sensitivity and drop all wheat, spelt, rye, barley etc perhaps stop and have a think. What is actually happening? Sure maybe you’re bloating after certain foods or meals but you’ve probably been eating gluten your whole life right? So why would you suddenly be intolerant of it? You weren’t ten years ago…. If you really feel like you react to gluten then speak to your Dr asap and arrange a proper test, otherwise enjoy a wide variety of foods that you like to eat!

Happy Tuesday 🤗

Xxx

Recipes

Asian Veggie Mince and Rice Bowl

This is a meal I used to have regularly when I was working in South-east Asia and so I thought I’d recreate it.

This makes a fab dinner or lunch, and can be modified if you don’t have all the sauces available (I’ve added some alternatives below). It serves approx 4-5 and comes in at around 367 cals per portion.

I’ve used a vegetarian mince but you could also use pork, turkey, chicken mince etc (but that will increase the cals)

You will need:

200g Rice (I used brown basmati)

400g Vegetarian mince (I used the meatless farm co, just use one pack – brands vary from 300 – 500g )

1 medium red onion

1 bunch spring onions (save some for garnish)

1-2 cloves garlic

3 tbsp sweet soy sauce (kecap manis) (or 1 tbsp brown sugar if you don’t have it)

5 tbsp light soy sauce

3 tbsp black bean sauce (or fish sauce or Worcestershire sauce if not)

1-2 tsp chopped mint, and some for garnish

Start by cooking the rice to your liking.

Chop the onions and garlic. Heat up a little oil in a wok and add the onions and garlic and sauté them.

Once they’ve softened add the spring onions.

Once browned add the mince, breaking it up as you go and cook until it starts to brown.

Add the sauces and keep the heat high to reduce the liquid quickly and almost caramelise the mince. Add the chopped mint and stir well.

Have a taste now and if you want to you can add a little more of the sauces – different brands have slightly different strengths.

Finally add the cooked rice and mix it in well And heat through.

Serve with some fresh mint and chopped spring onions!

Enjoy!

🙂

Xx

Recipes

Munchie buster! Cocoa-orange balls!

These are a perfect snack if you want something chocolatey but a little more filling. You can use orange zest or natural orange flavouring – whichever (or both if you like it really orangey). You can also leave out the orange altogether and just have them plain chocolate. They are around 158 cals per ball, but it very much depends how large you make them of course! This recipe makes approx ten.

IMG_7965

You will need:

175g cashews

200g Medjool dates, pitted

20g rasins

30g cocoa powder (plus a little extra for rolling)

Zest of 1 orange or natural orange flavouring

 

Pop the cashews food processor and pulse until they’re in small pieces.

Add the rest of the ingredients to the processor and pulse until you have a sticky dough.

It’s very sticky at the moment so scoop it out into some cling film and pop in the freezer for around 20 mins.

Once it’s a little firmer, remove and roll into small balls. Roll the balls in cocoa powder and then store in the fridge in an airtight container.

Enjoy 🙂

xx

Recipes

Courgette, leek and spinach soup

The clocks have gone back and it’s chilly out there today, so it’s definitely soup season!

This is a quick, easy, light soup for these cooler days. It is ridiculously low calorie – at around 100 cals a bowl (less if you leave the goats cheese out)! I made a massive batch as we had an over-grown courgette (basically a marrow) that I wanted to use up so it made over ten servings but the amounts below will make at least 5-6 portions.

You will need:

500g Courgettes

250g Leeks

400g Spinach

75g Soft Goat’s cheese (optional)

500ml strong vegetable stock

Mixed herbs, salt and pepper to taste

Slice the leeks thinly and pop in a large pan over a low heat and allow to soften.

Chop the courgettes thinly too and then add them to the pan and allow to cook through for around 5 mins with the lid on.

Add the stock and herbs and cook for a further 5-10 mins. If your vegetable stock isn’t very strong it’s worth adding an extra stock cube too.

Add the spinach and stir thoroughly, and then cook through for 3-5 mins.

Remove from the heat and allow to cool for 5 mins and then blend thoroughly.

Add salt and pepper to taste and then, if you’re using it, add the goat’s cheese and blend again to combine.

Serve immediately or you can keep it in the fridge or freezer for handy lunches or dinners in the week!

Enjoy 🙂

Xx

Recipes

Mushroom and Tomato Tofu Scramble

This is a great easy lunch, light dinner or brekkie option. It’s filling, high protein and low fat and so easy and quick to make. You can use any veg you like – I often put pepper and courgette in if I have it.

This makes a large serving at approx 245 cals or a smaller (enough for lunch) serving at only 123 cals! You can keep leftovers in the fridge to be re heated the following day. Best served on toast – either a nice bit of sourdough or if want to save on cals go for one of the sandwich ‘thins’ at only 100 cals per thin.

Tofu only tastes as good as the herbs and spices it’s cooked in so adjust these to your taste.

You will need:

1 packet of Silken tofu (approx 350g)

100g Mushrooms

100g tomatoes

Spices and herbs to taste. I used :

Worcestershire sauce

Paprika

Mixed herbs

Cayenne pepper

Salt

Pepper

Chop the mushrooms and tomatoes. Add a little oil to a frying pan and cook the mushrooms until starting to brown.

Add the tomatoes and cook them down.

Open the tofu and drain off any obvious liquid, then add to the pan and break it up with a spatula.

Add all the spices and herbs and cook through.

Continue to cook for a couple of minutes and then serve on a piece of toast!

Enjoy 🙂

XX