Monday, May 23rd, 2011
So we are approaching the last week of May already; doesn’t time fly? But the great news for many of us is that we’re now getting in to festival season!
There are festivals taking place all over the UK and Europe in June, which is great for all the lovers of music and culture out there…but don’t forget that many of the elements of a festival (lack of sleep; changes in diet; availability – or otherwise! – of decent toilet facilities) can play havoc with the digestive system – and therefore overall health.
So this year, follow our mini festival ‘survival guide’ and enjoy the carnival atmosphere whilst maintaining good gut health:
- Burgers, sausages, kebabs and similar greasy foods are not going to please your stomach so try to find a healthier option where possible. Fatty foods are not great for your digestive system so why not try a healthy alternative; what about falafel in pitta bread with salad? You may be surprised to discover that there are healthy food options available at most major festivals.
- As you are more than likely to be on the go from one band to another, take some snacks that you can easily fit in your bag such as fruit or cereal bars. Both are great for snacking on throughout the day, and will help eliminate the need for unhealthy snacks such as greasy chips!
- Know your limits with alcohol. Excessive alcohol irritates the stomach, so it can lead to nausea, cramps, abdominal pain and diarrhoea. Try alternating alcohol with soft drinks and make sure you set yourself a limit.
- Make sure you take your own tissues, toilet roll, wet wipes and antibacterial hand wash – those regular festival-goers amongst you know the toilet cubicles can be a real breeding ground for germs!
- Help prepare your digestive system for the festival experience by taking extra care over your diet before you head off. A number of ‘festival factors’ such as dehydration, inactivity and differences in eating habits can upset the gut flora, so ensure you eat as healthily as possible in the run up to and during the festival – see the Good Gut Food page for more information and top tips.
Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Monday, May 16th, 2011
Following on from our recent post about lunch breaks, we have received a number of requests for healthy lunch suggestions – and we’re always happy to help if we can!
It can often be hard to keep lunch ideas at work interesting, appealing and healthy, so why not try some of the ideas below to add some excitement into your lunch box:
- Wholemeal pita bread filled with ½ avocado, strips of crunchy lettuce and crisp red and yellow Romano peppers.
- Pasta salad: cooked small shell pasta with diced cucumber, red and yellow peppers, halved cherry tomatoes, sweetcorn, roughly torn fresh basil and chive drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Optional extra – add torn pieces of roast chicken.
- Vegetable couscous salad (this can be eaten warmed or chilled): sautéed onions, garlic, chickpeas (tinned), orange and red peppers, courgettes and chopped parsley.
- Roast chicken strips with a handful of mixed salad wrapped in a wholemeal wrap.
- Rocket, green bean and avocado crunchy salad: Handful of rocket, ½ diced avocado, chopped green beans, celery, sliced cold new potatoes with diced crispy bacon.
- Seeded bagel topped with flaked salmon and a handful of mixed salad leaves.
If you’re still feeling a bit peckish have a small pot of low fat yogurt, some oat cakes or a slice of fruit loaf with your lunch. Many people find they need something to keep them going between meals – but instead of snacking on sweets or biscuits, have some fruit, seeds or unsalted nuts. Snacking on fruit can be a great way to help you reach your recommended five daily portions of fruit and veg. Fresh, frozen, tinned, canned or dried versions can all contribute.
Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011
Hope everyone enjoyed the weather (and of course the wedding!) last weekend. It’s really starting to feel like summer now, and it seems barbecue season is starting early in celebration of the unexpected sunshine!
However, much as we all love them, it’s an unfortunate fact that the barbecue itself – and other food and preparation associated with it – can be a haven for the germs responsible for the dreaded food poisoning. So to avoid upsetting your digestive system this summer, follow these top tips for good food – and good gut health!
- Be prepared: Allow plenty of time for the barbecue to get going before starting to cook food. Wait until the charcoal is glowing red, with a grey surface.
- Wash up: Always wash hands thoroughly, especially before preparing food. Also wash surfaces before starting any food preparation.
- Get cooking! Cook food evenly, ensuring that everything on the barbecue is completely cooked and piping hot all the way through. Meat should not have any pink bits. Take particular care with chicken: wings and drumsticks can take a while to cook all the way through.
- Chill out: Typical barbecue accompaniments such as dips and mayonnaise can be a haven for unfriendly bacteria if left out uncovered in the warm air. Keep food in the fridge until it is ready to be eaten.
- Cover up. If you have prepared a buffet of food, keep it covered whenever possible to prevent flies transferring germs onto it. Remember that one housefly can carry hoards of bacteria!
- Nice rice: Don’t leave rice dishes out in the heat for too long, and never re-heat in the oven or microwave – the bacterium B cereus can thrive in such dishes and can cause stomach upsets.