Driving me crackers

You are what you eat

Homemade and healthy

I had just returned after walking the dog and happened to catch something on BBC Radio Devons, afternoon programme that grabbed my attention.

A lady, born in Appledore, North Devon, now living in Canada was describing the larger individuals on this planet as ” Butterballs on legs “. Her words conjured up various mental images in my head, maybe the most amusing being a Mathews Butterball turkey – others are available -. The shape of this frozen lump of Xmas fowl with tiny arms and legs attached was reminiscent of many bodies seen on our streets today. How and why have they got to this stage? We all know we have to eat less and move more, but it’s not just a question of how much we stuff into our mouths it’s also the quality of the food and drink we consume that matters.

I quite agree with Boris Johnson’s statement regarding the state of the nation’s eating habits, especially in the light of the pandemic. We need to keep ourselves healthy and fit in order for our bodies to function efficiently and assist our immune systems in the fight against disease. I have always been an advocate of healthy eating and home-cooked, natural food, however, getting the message across is a difficult thing to achieve. Maybe the only way to make the general public see sense is to put a “Butterball” tax on all unhealthy, processed foods & drinks.

What drives me crackers, is crackers. A quick perusal of the savoury biscuit section in the Super Market the other day revealed that the second ingredient, after flour in any of the well-known makes of crackers is SUGAR. Why? To entice you into eating more, that’s why. Sugar is as addictive as nicotine and we all know what’s been said about that. Moving on to another aisle I am confronted with Sauces and Dressings. Barbeque, Tomato, Sriracha, Ceasar, Chilli you name it, the second ingredient after water, this time is SUGAR. apart from the fact that they are not just heavy on the hips, they are heavy on your purse as well.

Dietary No no’s

Making your own food, does not need to involve long complicated recipes or mounds of pots and pans to wash up. With a few simple ingredients you can produce, healthy tasty meals which are not swamped with sugar, salt and processed ingredients all added to give them taste and get you addicted.

Sugar laden dipping sauce

From the ingredients label on this sauce bottle, you can see that its main ingredient is water! what comes next SUGAR. This dipping sauce only contains 2% chilli & 1% garlic. That means that 97% of this bottle contains nothing that is actually good for you, or nutritious.

You can make yourself a perfectly delicious, quick dipping sauce, by finely chopping a 2 fresh chilli’s – remove the seeds if you don’t like heat – mix with 1 crushed clove of garlic, add 2 Tbspns Tomato Ketchup – contains SUGAR. mix well & thin with a little water, or red wine vinegar, if liked. To make a marinade simply omit the water adding 2 Tbspns oil & 1 tspn red wine vinegar. Brush onto chicken, fish, pork etc before cooking. A recipe for a spicy chilli chutney can also be found on this website.

Next time you are shopping, read the labels to find out exactly what you are eating. Help yourself to get and stay healthy, you will find you save money and you will feel more healthy. If you are a gardener you may like Love your Lettuce and other healthy recipes to be found on this site.

The rest is up to you. Stay Safe and Healthy.

Bread, a Low fodmap Diet no no?

The one thing I would miss on a Low Fodmap Diet would be bread. I love bread, any type of bread. It is said that bread is the staff of life & for me, its certainly true. I am not talking sliced white, wholemeal or fluffy processed baps, I’m talking rustic, nutty granary bread baked by a local baker [I hate the term Artisan] or home made, not the mass produced items, found in Supermarkets. Give me a metre of a proper french stick, a large lump of Sourdough or a Stilton & Walnut Loaf, together with some tangy cheese or home made pate with a side of olives, some crunchy homegrown lettuce, ripe juicy tomatoes & I am in heaven. Of course, I would also like a large glass of red or white, depending on the season, to wash it all down.

Bread, is one of the things I found, caused me great discomfort. A pair of jeans would feel quite comfortable, until I ate some bread. One slice of toast in the morning would have me thinking I had put on half a kilo in 5 mins. So, I decided to experiment with my own recipe Spelt bread. Although Spelt is not Gluten Free, it is lower in Gluten than other flours, due to the fact that it has a different molecular make up, to the gluten contained in modern wheat. Spelt is higher in fibre than most forms of wheat, its naturally occurring gluten is more water soluble, is degraded by heat & easily broken down, by the kneading action of bread making, which makes it easier to digest.

gluten, linseeds, low foodmap, bread, spelt
Home made Low Gluten Spelt & Rye Rolls

Although not suitable for Celiacs, I have found this bread, which I now make every day, is perfect for me. In addition Spelt has more vitamins than wholewheat flour. I vary the changes with this bread to which I also add a vegetable, carrot one day or beetroot the next. Seeds are another favourite.

As well as bread I also make my own pastry with Spelt & Rye flours. Pastry is very easy to make in a food processor or mixer. It takes about the same amount of time, that it takes to fight your way into a shop bought packet of pastry. You can make up a large batch of pastry, weigh it into portions & freeze. You can be sure that your homemade pastry or bread is full of natural ingredients & does not contain any additives, preservatives or large amounts of sugar and salt.

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A vegetarian feast

As I have said in a previous blog Food, what can I eat. You have to experiment & discover what is right for you. If you cook healthy home made food from fresh natural ingredients, you can be sure you are not intolerant to the vast array of “extras” which are added to today’s unnaturally processed foods. But, that’s another story.

Low Fodmap diet, Food avoidance

The low FodMap diet & food avoidance. To be honest this is quite a mine field, as the foods which cause problems in some of us, may not cause discomfort in others.  I have also found, I may be able to eat some foods for a period of time & then POW it comes back & bites me on the bum, quite literally, well not bites, but causes my rear end & tum great discomfort.

For instance, take the luscious avocado, one of the foods the Low FodMap diet suggests one avoids, or at least, consumes only a small amount. [1/4 is recommended]. For years I have happily eaten these, without any ill effects, whole avocados, not just a quarter, but recently my gut is saying NO.  Who knows, in a few weeks, I may be able to tolerate them again, but for the time being, I shall live without one of my favourite foods. As I have mentioned before, this diet is a process of elimination, with nothing appearing to be a constant.

Onions are another food avoidance which the Low FodMap diet pin points. I, personally found brown onions were very problem causing, along with garlic. However, after experimenting, red onions, being milder in taste, proved to be OK causing me no IBS symptoms. Onions & garlic along with chives & leeks belong to the Lily family & are noted for the sulphur compounds they contain.  These vegetables become sweeter when they are cooked. I have not been able to find a garlic substitute, as yet, but in my recipe below, adding some well chosen spices give a tasty kick to a simple soup.

Below is my recipe for a lovely green soup, with a good depth of flavour. The soup can be served hot, but is equally flavoursome served cold. If you can tolerate dairy, stir in a spoonful of natural Greek Yoghurt & decorate with chives.   Enjoy.

Potato & Spinach Soup.  Gluten Free, Dairy Free. V. Low Fodmap.  Serves 4.

2. Tbspns Rapeseed Oil

1, Red Onion, peeled & finely chopped.

1 Stick of Celery, finely sliced.

Carrot, chopped

1 Red Chilli, Chopped

250g Bag Fresh Spinach, Washed

1 Tspn Fenugreek seeds

1 Tspn Ground Corriander

Seasoning.

1/2 Tspn Fresh Grated Nutmeg

1.5 Ltrs Homemade Veg Stock.   (If using a commercial stock cube of powder make sure it does not contain powdered onion or garlic).

METHOD.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan, add the veg, except the spinach & cook covered, until the veg is soft. about 10mins.

Add the Fenugreek & Corriander, fry, uncovered for a further 5 mins.

Add the spinach & pour over the stock. Bring to the boil & simmer for 30 mins or until the veg are tender.  Blitz with a hand blender, add nutmeg & adjust seasoning.

Serve with some homemade Rye & Spelt rolls, sprinkled with Linseeds.

gluten, linseeds, low foodmap, bread, spelt
Home made Low Gluten Spelt & Rye Rolls

Thank you for reading. In my next blog I will be exploring homemade V processed foods in a Low FodMap diet.