Dairy free … why?

There are many reasons one would choose a dairy free, or in general a free from, lifestyle; the fact that is a fad should not be one of them. Figuring out I have inflammatory arthritis was a result of visiting a osteopaths, physiotherapist, podiatrist, orthopedic surgeon AND a rheumatologist.  The lovely rheumatologist was the one who diagnosed me with inflammatory arthritis not google. It is because of her suggestion that I follow a dairy free lifestyle … mainly because the alternative was immune suppressants. Not at all ideal.

What were my symptoms like before I went dairy free?

  • I could not fully extend my right arm
  • If I drove too long I could not unclench my hands
  • I could not bring my knees passed 90 degrees and before I had no issue to bring them to my bottom
  • I could not walk properly, sometimes my knee would slide
  • I had the knee version of cankles
  • And I had cankles

I stopped running, horse riding and even swimming was difficult. In the beginning I thought that this was damage from running especially after I completed my first marathon. Except it did not heal. So of course you visit professionals to try to figure out what is wrong with your body.

Then I was diagnosed and went dairy free, and in the beginning gluten free, as many people with  inflammatory arthritis have adverse reactions to both dairy and gluten. Here is a short article on gluten free diets and arthritis. Going dairy free was such a relief for me. Inflammatory arthritis it just happens; it is an autoimmune disease. When I was younger, even just three years ago, I had no noticeable symptoms. But in the summer/autumn of 2014 my problems started and a year after that I was diagnosed and was able to manage my symptoms with a dairy free lifestyle.

Sooo what should you take away from this? If something is bothering you visit a medical professional. Try to keep track of your symptoms as this can help in diagnosing you. Most of all listen to your body.

Are you also dairy free? Let me know your reason for doing so. Have a great moo-less day.

Matcha Chia Seed Pudding

Shout out to @heidi_jones_coaching for mentioning using matcha powder in chia seeds. I thought I would give it a try and came up with the below. You can also use cocoa powder if you are looking for a chocolate fix or any other powdered spice for a flavour change.

Recipe

1/4 cup chia seeds

1 1/3 cup coconut milk

1 tsp matcha powder

Add to a jar and shake to blend. Place in fridge and shake again in 10-15 minutes as the seeds will have settled. Leave over night or at least a couple of hours.

For sweetness I add 1/2 tsp maple sugar 1 tsp vanilla extract with seeds Extras

A base of chopped bananas (1/2 banana per serving)

Chopped roasted almonds and coconut flakes with a smattering of pomegranate seeds topped it.

Serves two

Chocolate Nicecream

I scream, you scream, we all scream for #nicecream seriously though, how easy is this recipe? Simple ingredients, antioxident rich and delicious! This recipe is great for using up ripe bananas or sneaking in your daily fruit requirement. And let’s be honest it is also significantly less expensive than the free from icecreams here in Dubai. AED47 for a small tub? No thanks.

Recipe

3 ripe bananas, frozen

3 heaping tbsp cocoa powder

1 tsp honey, can omit if vegan

2 tsp vanilla extract with seeds

Blend all together until smooth add in

1 tbsp cocoa nibs

1/2 cup chopped, roasted almonds Blend together. Can keep in a sealed container in the freezer for two weeks. Serve with your favourite topping or as is. Enjoy!

Serves 4-6

Diet Fads – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

South Beach, Atkins, Paleo, Keto, that weird maple syrup, lemon and cayenne pepper drink diet all seem to make their rounds. The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center defines a fad diet as:

“A fad diet is a diet that promises quick weight loss through what is usually an unhealthy and unbalanced diet.

Fad diets are targeted at people who want to lose weight quickly without exercise.

Some fad diets claim that they make you lose fat, but it’s really water weight you’re losing.

Fad diets that are restricted to certain foods may work, but most are boring or unappealing. This can make them difficult to follow on a long-term basis. And some fad diets can actually be harmful to your health.”

Most sources will refer to fad diets in similar language to UPMC.

You should always seek the advice of a medical professional. But it is also important to note that in most countries dietitian is a protected title whereas nutritionist is not. Of course always check what your jurisdiction is regulating. For those who do not have dietary restrictions, or have figured out how to eat around those restrictions, it is good to have a food plate as a reference.

Below I have added the Healthy Eating Plate from Harvard University. Why do I like this over the food pyramid and others? It adds water consumption and exercise as part of the healthy eating plate. The food pyramid excludes this. In my university nutrition class we had to do a one week food diary, nobody included water as a part of their food diary and as a result we were all docked points. This taught us a lesson; water consumption is just as important as food consumption and it should be linked. The Healthy Eating Plate is also less vague than the previously used food pyramid and makes a difference between the types of oils, vegetables, grains and meat products. Check out the Harvard site for more info.

So what can you take away from this? Speak with a professional. If something is too good to be true it probably is. Eat healthily and drink water!

Harvard Food Plate

Copyright © 2011, Harvard University. For more information about The Healthy Eating Plate, please see The Nutrition Source, Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, http://www.thenutritionsource.org, and Harvard Health Publications, http://www.health.harvard.edu.

Berry Good Smoothie

Pretty in pink and heart healthy. Wishing a happy mother’s day to all mums, grandmums and mother figures out there. I don’t live even close to my own mum so I will be sure to call her. Ps, you are welcome for the pun. I know there are dad jokes but are there mum jokes? We must investigate. Happy mother’s day to the funny mummies, yummy mummies and the all around awesome mummies.

Recipe

1 cup mixed berries

1 cup pineapple, diced

1/2 banana

3 tbsp old fashioned oats

1 tbsp linseed, ground

1/3 cup water, depends on your desired consistency

Blend all ingredients together. Do not over blend. I decorated with pumpkin seeds, roasted coconut and watermelon hearts. Serves two.

Bejeweled Celery Salad

How could you not want to gobble up a jewel toned salad topped with amazing pomegranate seeds. Bejeweled salads are the future. Yummy!

Recipe

3 medium stalks celery, finely sliced with the leaves on

1/2 yellow pepper, chopped

1/8 red onion, chopped

Mix all together and add a simple olive oil and vinegar dressing (I do a 3:1 ratio) and threw in a herb mix. Garnish with pomegranate seeds et voila. A refreshing summer salad. This would also go well with roasted chicken or baked salmon if you want some protein with your meal.

Serves 2 as a starter or 1 for a main

Hummus for days

Snack time for champions! Hummus is my favourite easy to make super nutritious dip.

Recipe

1 can chickpeas, drained and “washed”

1 large garlic clove, crushed

2 tbsp tahini

3 tbsp olive oil

1/2 lemon, juiced

1/3 cup water, more or less depending on desired consistency

Salt and pepper to taste

Blend it all up until smooth and serve with julienned veggies, flatbread and olives. Hummus can also be made the day ahead.I find hummus from the day before has time to absorb more flavour. Yummy!

Simple + Refreshing Tuna Salad

This is not your ordinary dripping in mayo and egg bits tuna salad. This is a bright, crisp take on the housewife’s staple.

300 g light tuna, drained (usually about 2 small tins)

1 cup chopped cherry tomatoes, I quartered mine

1/2 cup finely chopped red onion

1/2 cup finely chopped celery leaves or stalks

1/2 can chickpeas, check that they do not have sugar added (I also rinse them with water)

2 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice, I like mine with pulp

2 tbsp olive oil

1/2 tbsp mayonnaise, can also be omitted

salt and pepper to taste

Combined all the ingredients and stir gently. Garnish with a celery stalk or leaves. Celery leaves are edible and super delicious. Don’t throw them away. Chop them up and use them in your salads or green smoothies. They have a lovely fresh taste and are of course easier to eat than a normal celery stalk. If you do not want a half can of chickpeas laying around just add the whole can. No issue. Or as we say in Dubai “mafi mushkilla”.

Serves 4.

Matcha Rice Krispies Squares

Matcha Rice Krispies Squares for the Dubai long weekend.

Recipe:

6 cups rice krispies

10 ounze pack plain marshmallows

3 tsp margarine, coconut oil or butter

3 tsp matcha powder

Melt the margarine in a large size sauce pan on middle high heat, add in the marshmallows once the marshmallows have melted stir in the matcha powder until well combined. Combine the marshmallow mix with the rice krispies and then press into a greased form and let cool. Once cool cut into individual portions and store in an airtight container for up to 10 days (it goes without saying the area should be cool and out of direct sunlight).

You can either leave it like this or dip the squares in dark chocolate for a naughty treat … because rice krispies themselves are clearly not naughty enough 😉

Note: Kellogg’s Rice Krispies contain malt which do not make them gluten free. If you will be serving rice krispies to someone who is celiac you need to buy rice krispies which are gluten free.

Enjoy!

Eat the rainbow!

When it comes to eating healthy the most important thing is to eat the rainbow! I love a wide variety of fruits and vegetables as they provide a wide variety of macro and micro nutrients, fibre and loads of vitamins. Plus they taste good.Below shows a variety of what I will buy in the week. I have a mix of fresh and frozen produce and I also like using eggs as a source of protein and dates for a sweet snack. Living in the UAE means we have a wide variety of lovely dates. Of course I have a small pantry at home which includes milled flax seeds, old fashioned oats, and some gluten free pastas. I also enjoy cooking with olive oil and I always have a variety of spices and fresh pepper at home. I try to prepare my lunch at home as this will allow me to control what I am eating but if I am unable to do so like like heading to So Salad in JLT as they have a great variety of bases, tops and salad sauces.

So remember eat the rainbow! Keep it colourful, keep it fresh and keep it healthy.

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