Love Your Gut Blog
Monday, May 13th, 2013
This week we are showing our support and raising awareness of Coeliac Awareness Week.
Coeliac disease is a common digestive health issue, causing inflammation and damage to the small intestine. It is an autoimmune disease in which individuals have an adverse reaction to gluten
Gluten is a protein found in wheat (e.g. spelt, couscous, bran), rye, barley and oats. Those who have coeliac disease should avoid sources of gluten such as bread, pasta, breakfast cereals, flour, cakes and biscuits.
At first cooking and eating gluten-free foods can often seem overwhelming and frustrating, however, there are a range of naturally gluten-free foods (including; rice, potatoes, corn, pulses, meat, fish, fruit & vegetables) and gluten-free substitute foods (pasta, breads, biscuits) which are available in the shops.
To celebrate Coeliac Awareness Week try this delicious bread and butter gluten-free pudding:
Gluten-free Apricot and Almond Bread & Butter Pudding
Cook for 35-40 minutes
8 slices of gluten-free sliced white bread, crusts left on
75g (3oz) salted butter, softened
200ml (7fl oz.) whole milk
100ml (3½fl oz.) double cream
4 tbsp. apricot jam
1 tbsp. Demerara sugar
1 tbsp. flaked almonds
- Preheat the oven to gas 4, 180°C, fan 160°C and grease an 18cm (7in) by 23cm (9in) baking dish.
- Generously butter the bread on both sides, then form into sandwiches and cut into triangle quarters. Arrange these quarters neatly in the dish so that they are overlapping each other.
- Whisk the milk, cream, eggs and apricot jam together thoroughly. Pour the mixture over the buttered bread and scatter with the Demerara sugar. Place in the oven for 30 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and scatter over the flaked almonds before baking the pudding for a further 5 to 10 minutes, or until the topping is golden brown.
For further information and support on Coeliac disease visit http://www.coeliac.org.uk/
Monday, May 6th, 2013
With the weather heating up it is important that we make certain considerations when it comes to hydration. When the temperature rises, the body will attempt to cool itself down by sweating. However, this can lead to dehydration. Along with water loss, there will also be a loss of salts (electrolytes) which are essential for our health and play vital roles in the body, such as supporting nerve and muscle function.
While exercise can contribute to fluid loss, even basic tasks such as shopping or gardening, during the summer months, can lead to dehydration. If exercising, sip on sports drinks which will help to rehydrate as well as replace electrolytes lost. However, do remember that while hydrating, sports drinks are still high in sugar and therefore should be limited if there is little exercise taking place. Also, remember to watch alcohol and caffeine intake as these are both dehydrating.
Don’t forget we also lose water when we sweat and urinate – so even on a chilly day it is important that we consume adequate amounts of water. Signs of dehydration can include; headaches, dark-coloured urine, reduced energy and constipation.
The Department of Health recommends that we drink about 1.2 litres of fluid every day. The healthiest way to reach this target is with water. However, other options such as milk, fruit juices, smoothies, squashes and herbal teas are a few great other options to help contribute to these daily guidelines.
Wednesday, April 24th, 2013
Nutrition and Exercise
Well done to all who ran the 33rd London Marathon on Sunday! Running is a fantastic form of exercise that can have great benefits for the body. However, the amount of excise required for a marathon can have significant health implication. While moderate exercise has been shown to increase the ability of the immune system, prolonged and intensive exercise can cause temporary depression of it. This can lead to an increased susceptibility to infections, such as upper respiratory tract infections. Gastrointestinal symptoms are also common complaints experienced during long runs, with symptoms such as bloating, nausea, vomiting and faecal incontinence often resulting. This can be due to a number of reasons such as reduced blood flow to the gut, anxiety and poor nutrition.
Below are a few tips for fuelling your body during periods of intense exercise:
- Always consume a varied well-balanced diet to ensure sufficient intake of vitamins and minerals as well as fats, carbohydrates and proteins.
- Consumption of sufficient fluids is essential during exercise to prevent dehydration and to compensate for mineral loss. Fluids should be consumed prior, during and after. Choose a sports drink which will help fuel the body and replace lost salts. Also, make sure to avoid alcohol as this dehydrates the body.
- Following exercise try to consume a small amount of carbohydrate as soon as possible to help replenish the body. Bananas or fruit juice are great options.
Anyone undertaking any large amount of exercise may benefit from consulting a nutritionist.
Monday, April 15th, 2013
This week, Margaret Thatcher’s funeral procession will make its way through the streets of London. Despite the strong political divide that surrounds her 11½ years as Prime Minister, the love she had for politics and her husband Dennis can never be debated.
Baroness Thatcher, without fail, would wake up and cook Dennis his breakfast every single morning. This got us thinking here at Love Your Gut, in memory of Margaret; let’s prepare breakfast that will help you to Love Your Gut!
When preparing your breakfast, remember that fibre is an important part of a healthy diet. It keeps everything moving through your digestive system and helps achieve optimal bowel movements. Try to choose wholegrain or brown bread if you enjoy toast in the morning.
To start you day with a high fibre boost choose porridge or a whole grain cereal. To make your porridge/cereal tastier try sprinkling some blueberries or sliced banana (our favourite!) over the top, this will also help to achieve your 5 A DAY!
Keeping hydrated is also an important dietary factor to ensure a healthy gut, so wash your breakfast down with a glass (250ml) of water to ensure your body remains hydrated, you could also try herbal teas or diluted fruit juice.
Here are a few options to try out;
- 40g Porridge made with 250ml semi-skimmed milk. Topped with ½ chopped banana and a handful of blueberries
- 45g Muesli made with 100g natural yogurt and add some prunes or raisins.
- 1 wholegrain bagel topped with cream cheese and strawberries
- 2 poached eggs served on a slice of whole grain toast (and a thin spread of butter)
Monday, April 8th, 2013
Eaten too much chocolate recently?
For many, the long Easter weekend meant excessive indulging in CHOCOLATE, and as we all too easily know, sugar can be very addictive. While we all love a treat sometimes, frequent and regular consumption of sugar laden foods can lead to serious health implications such as obesity, diabetes type II and heart disease. Over the last few centuries the consumption of sugar has dramatically risen. High fat and high sugar foods are notoriously low in fibre and therefore provide little support to healthy bowel movements. As well as being a high energy dense food and placing strain on the pancreas and liver, sugar can also disrupt the natural balance of the gut microbiota.
Below are a few tips to help reduce sugar consumption:
- Dilute fruit juices with water.
- Use sparking water with a fruit squash or a squeeze of lemon instead of a ‘typical’ canned fizzy drink.
- Read labels – the ‘traffic light’ system is used on a lot of products to highlight when sugar is in excessive amounts.
- Replace sugar added to cereals with fresh fruit.
- Make the right choices at meal times. Breakfasts can often be full of hidden sugar. Stick to a whole-bran or whole-wheat product, or try eggs with wholegrain toast.
- Be aware of hidden calories. A lot of low fat products often make up for taste by adding large amounts of sugar. Lots of products such as soups, salad dressings and sauces can contain a lot of hidden sugars.
- Reduce alcohol consumption. Not only is alcohol high in calories, but it is often mixed with high calorie drinks. Furthermore, alcohol can lead to peaks and troths in blood sugar levels which can contribute to unhealthy eating patterns.