Monday, May 11, 2009

Plum sauce

Can't have tomatoes? Then Barker's Plum sauce is just the thing - gluten free, it can be used for dipping and more or less in place of tomato sauce. We even tried gluten free pizza at the weekend with the savoury plum sauce as a base. Good on Barkers!

Just about all of their products are gluten free - and they are very good at limiting the additives and junk.

Why no interest here in new zealand regarding additives?

When there moves in Europe to ban some of the food additives, I thought more would happen here. Now my eldest has started school it is really intersting to see what sort of food goes into the lunches. I hear lots of parents complaining about what their kids will eat - namely that their diet is somewhat limited. I rarely hear of other parents of the 5's and unders saying how they love their fruit and veges and are keen on hummus and the like.

Here it is still very easy to buy additive laden foods that masquerade as healthy foods for kids. I really did think that manufacturers would take a bit of notice what was happening in the UK. To be honest, some did and changed sugar levels, swapped to natural colourings etc - but there was no big public outcry.

Parents who borrow my copy of 'they are what you feed them' which is so well researched and readable - and now very dog-eared - are amazed at what is in the food that they feed their kids - but find it very daunting when everything in the pantry seems to have 'forbidden nasties'.

I actually look back at the days when we only had to contend with a few e-numbers as bliss. Now my husband and younger daughter have gluten intolerance, etc etc.

Food that is fresh tastes better. As for the kids - they love going to the orchard and picking which apples to have, tastings at the cheese shop and helping with the baking. It's just the simple things which are so much pleasure.

Friday, October 3, 2008

We keep losing foods - are lectins the reason?

Annabelle now has a problem with quite a few foods. Going out to a restaurant is quite an issue as she can't really eat any of the food and I have to take some with me - and a lot of places don't like it.

Issues now are: gluten, oats, A1 cheese, yoghurt and milk, almonds, cashews, tomatoes, capsicums, avocados, eggplant, potatoes, soybean oil, oranges.

Even going for a quick bite to eat is a nightmare. "Is it gluten free? Yes? lovely - Is it almond free and potato flour free? great. How about Cheese...?" And so the list goes on.

Oranges are the latest nasty food. The other day I had ordered her the only thing on the menu - a fresh fruit salad - made sure there was no yoghurt or cream - forgot about the oranges. There were three tiny pieces buried under some apple. And she ate them before I realised. Stomach pain, bloated tummy and several bouts of diarrhoea later I felt terribly guilty. I should start carrying a list.

Friday, May 2, 2008


Here's some advice - and please correct me if I am wrong:

Replacing dairy - there are many ways to get dairy. If A1 milk (normal for many countries) is a problem - then try A2 - human milk, goats milk and specific types of cows are A2. Annabelle has no problem with A2 cows milk but gets chronic diarrhoea and stomach cramps with any type of A1 - milk, cheese, cream or yoghurt. Milk can be replaced in recipes by other liquids. Rice milk is low in many nutrients. Soy milk is not the answer - as it interferes with thyroid function, other nutrient absorption- particularly iron, and has other health concerns - not which the least is affecting blood clotting ability! However available calcium can be found in oranges, bok choy, broccoli, almonds, dates...

Wheat flour replacements - usually taste gritty, leave a sour aftertaste and are expensive! So unless it is ground almonds (packs a protein and calcium punch) then don't bother! Many foods were never designed to have anything to do with wheat flour.
- fish cakes
-steak and chips
-beef stew
-omelet and salad
-lamb shanks with veges and mashed potato
-grilled salmon, new potatoes and light veges
-prawn and pea risotto
-pumpkin soup.....

...the list is really very long.

Tasting good without soy - use other spices and fresh herbs. Just season well.

Make the most of what you CAN eat - I buy whole free range chickens - use them for roast dinners and curries for the leftovers and then make a soup from the carcass. No waste. No additives. A NZ$15 free range chicken does our family of four for a roast dinner, cold cuts with chips and salad, leftovers make curry (just add cheap rice!) and then soup. Far cheaper than buying mince or $21/ kg chicken breast!

Lycopene - is a micronutrient - abundant in tomatoes. Which Dave and Annabelle can't have. It is also in watermelon, peaches, nectarines...

Fibre - a big argument with taking out bread and wheat from the diet is that fibre may be a problem. Well a lot of people I know eat white bread -and there isn't a huge amount of fibre in that. But apples, avocado, kiwi fruit, orange, peas, sweet potatoes - are all good sources of fibre. They also contain potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, selenium.... as well as a whole host of vitamins. If you want to know more check out this great site.

So maybe people need to examine the food they dish up to their kids. Where is the potassium, the B12, the fibre, the available calcium? At least now I know if a nutrient is low. After all I now know that potassium is essential for heart health - but too much can damage kidneys. Selenium is essential for a healthy brain. And everyone knows about iron.

It's a balancing act - but if you are reading this and still reaching for the frozen manufactured meat, oven chips (I haven't even mentioned salicylites) with a dollop of tomato ketchup on the side - then think of putting vitamins, minerals, protein, good fat, carbs... on the plate.


Food and nutrition is so important

I have been doing load of research since my last post. First an update:
Hubby is now dairy and gluten and soy free. But not celiac. He had the blood and stool test - and then a biopsy - which you can read about on his own blog . Annabelle had the tests too - but the results were negative even though she has a rash, stomach cramps and diarrhoea to boot if she has a hint of gluten!

Katie continues to react to any azo dyes and we stay as additive free as possible. Though she is fine with the gluten and dairy and soy.

So I have spent a lot of time examining tests, reactions and recipes. I am becoming quite an expert on the protein content of certain foods - and the potassium, sodium etc. And where to get lycopene if you can't eat tomatoes - like two in my family can't.

It made me realise that you really are what you eat. And some people can eat what they like without any effect. And others can't. I have read a lot of books and don't hold with the blood type theory. Though interestingly my husband is AB-. We are now busy looking at lectins and the possibility that him and daughter #2 have a lectin intolerance with most families. So he is on a strict diet and we are challenging him every few days with a new food for signs of intolerance.

Anyway there is a lot out there on the web about foods. But not a huge amount about lectin intolerance. It is a very new field. Meanwhile I shall be carefully balancing nutrition whilst waiting for the hospital dietitian's appointment. It's a good job I aren't working at the moment as I have time to research replacement foods.

I have also been looking at 'additive free' type blogs and I am a bit disappointed. I feel very behind - but we have been doing this for three years now and I thought there would be a lot of info out there. No-one seems to be talking nutrition. Disappointing.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Wine and beer

Love them! Although I prefer my drinks additive free I do understand that sulphites are part of the wine making process. Here in New Zealand we have some incredible wine makers (some just up the road from here) and are renowned for the whites - sav blanc, chardonnay... But even these seem to have added sulphites.

However the fantastic news is that Steinlager have brought out 'steinlager pure' - additive free and just totally delicious. Apparently the company can't keep up with demand.

I wonder what will happen when the first winery announces 'no added sulphite white wine...?"

Saturday, February 9, 2008


Well the reason for no posting is that we have just found out (and are still going through the process) that husband and bub (now 16 months) are celiac. Wow that came as a shock! And so we have been plunged into the world of no gluten. Or A1 dairy. And it is either very easy and incredibly unpapatable - or very hard and delicious. I bake even more than I did before.

The funny thing is that it is soooo complicated. It is not enough to read the ingredients list on a packet and use or discard, you actually have to have an understanding of the food industry practices, constituent ingredients and e numbers. So for a start I didn't know that most icing sugar contained gluten. Look at the ingredients: sugar. No mention of wheat or anything. But it is there - a free flow agent - that is part of the manufacturing process - so doesn't have to be declared. So lollies (sweets, candies...) are out - unless you are 100% certain that they are gluten free. This isn't actually a big deal in our house as most contain artificial colourings...

Rice flour doesn't taste nice. And potato flour is pretty bad too. And the idea of sticking things together with gum that don't naturally emulsify? Why even go there? I have borrowed one book after another about wheat free, celiac cooking, eating right - but they all seem to list ingredients that contain those additives (again) or gums or 4 types of flour and extra eggs, producing some eggy monstrosity.

So why do it? We now eat more fruit and veges than we did even before. And eat wonderful eggs (free range from open air chooks) and they are great! Bread has been replaced by rice and potatoes. Well not literally. It's just that no matter what sort of bread we have tried (home baked, store bought, gluten free bakery...) it's just not nice. And as you know we like nice bread. But who said bread HAD to be a part of the diet? We did without for a good few thousand years...

A1 milk has ben replaced by A2 - goats cheese occasionally and did you know that you can get A2 cows milk? Cakes work with cornflour or cocoa or ground nuts. And they taste GOOD! Fatless sponge with cornflour has been around for years - with fruit spread in the centre... YUM!
Biscuits made with eggs and almonds - no rice flour or potato flour here. And NO ADDITIVES!

No take-aways now. So it actually works out cheaper than it did before. I have had lots of celiacs recommend rice cakes to us - you know the crispy things - but most are flavoured - we occasionally have plain. We eat more things now. Lunch is hard. And so is breakfast but we are slowly getting there. It's a good job the kids like fruit!