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by Christine Bailey

This article has been cross-posted from www.christinebailey.co.uk.

The festive season can be a tricky time if you suffer with allergies or coeliac disease If you are avoiding gluten for example you may feel that you’re missing out.  Whether its office buffets, parties, eating out or simply coping with food served on Christmas Day you need to be savvy about what you can and cannot eat. Thankfully more and more companies are providing a great range of gluten free options and many of the seasonal foods around Christmas time are of course naturally gluten free (think cranberries, nuts, Brussels sprouts etc). However you may need to check how they have been prepared and cooked.

Party Tips
If you’ve been invited to a party the best option is to take some allergy free goodies with you. We have a great selection of treats in our recipe pages or you can simply take healthy dips, crudities, nuts and salads with you. If you’re making your own mince pies remember to check the ingredients in shop bought mincemeat as some contain gluten.

Homemade blinis or crackers / breads are a delicious option as a canapé or starter or breakfast option and can be topped with a wide range of ingredients such as smoked salmon, prawns, avocado, roast beef and horseradish or Christmas chutney. Bags of nuts and seeds and dried fruit are easy healthy options that make ideal hassle free party snacks. Watch the crisps especially flavoured varieties as they often contain gluten. Bags of vegetable crisps and fruit crisps or freeze dried fruits and vegetables are typically gluten and dairy free.

Christmas Drinks
If you like your beer thankfully there are many gluten free varieties now available. Mulled wine is a popular party favourite or for a creamy option make up your own Egg Nog style drink using almond milk blended with nuts, banana and dates for a healthy dairy free option.  Have a look at our drinks pages for inspiration. Another great tip is to make a protein shake and drink before going out – the protein helps stabilise your blood sugar so you are not starving making it less likely you will over indulge.

Those Little Extras
Often its those little extras that can catch us out when going gluten free – gravy may be thickened with flour. Stuffing is often ladened with wheat flour and starch. Potatoes may be tossed in flour before roasting and some sausages contain wheat starch. You can make your own gravy by thickening with cornflour or arrowroot and for extra flavour add a spoonful of redcurrant jelly. Bread sauce is easily made with gluten free bread and almond milk or coconut cream if you want it to be dairy free as well.

For stuffing, simply follow your favourite recipe and substitute ground nuts or use quinoa or millet instead of bread.

Sweet Endings
Again there are many gluten free Christmas puddings available but you can also make your own by using gluten free flours, ground almonds and / or gluten free bread. You don’t need to use suet in puddings either – butter, coconut butter or a dairy free spread can be used instead.  Try my chocolate gingerbread cake recipe for a delicious alternative to Christmas cake or why not make up your own healthier truffles or chocolates.

Getting Prepared
If you’re new to cooking allergy free find a wealth of gluten free, raw, paleo recipes on my website which are all suitable for gluten free diets. Many of these can be made in advance and frozen or stored for a later time.  Seeded bread is a fabulous standby healthy protein rich bread option. Make up a batch of granola too – perfect for breakfast but also healthy snacking.

If you’re looking for new inspiration why not book yourself onto one of our cookery days. If you have children then get them cooking and enjoying healthy food with our hands on cookery day.

SuperchargedGreen

 

Christine Bailey
The Supercharged Green Juice & Smoothie Diet
Available in January 2016.
Preorder from Amazon now.

 

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This article has been cross-posted from www.christinebailey.co.uk .

Your gut really is the gateway to good health. When your gut is dysfunctional it can result in a wide range of health conditions. One topic which is widely discussed in gastroenterology research as well as the field of immunology is ‘leaky gut’ or ‘intestinal permeability’. But what exactly is it?

The lining of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract is composed of small epithelial cells that lie side-by-side each other forming tight junctions. These tight junctions act as a barrier between the interior of the body (blood/circulatory system) and the exterior of the body (the lumen of the GI tract). Under healthy conditions, our gut permits the absorption of vital nutrients from the gut lumen while presenting a barrier against the passage of harmful substances into the body.

A leaky gut arises when there is an increase in permeability of the intestinal mucosa that in turn leads to the increased absorption of intestinally derived endotoxins, antigens and inflammatory mediators. Gluten for example is known to cause the gut cells to release zonulin, a protein that can break apart tight junctions in the intestinal lining. Other factors including infections, medications, toxins, stress and age can also cause these tight junctions to break apart. When the epithelial cells and junctions start to break down it allows the passage of toxins through and between the cells into the blood. These foreign molecules may include undigested food molecules, toxins or bacteria. As a result our immune system is activated to eliminate or destroy these unwelcome molecules. This activation of the immune system leads to an inflammatory response and can lead to a wide range of signs, symptoms and health conditions.

This can lead to long term health consequences. In fact increased gut permeability has been linked with symptoms far from the gut including autoimmune conditions, depression, arthritis, diabetes and other conditions in which a pro inflammatory state continues.

Healing a leaky gut is one of the most important things you can do to restore overall health and vitality and I discuss in detail how to do this in my new book: The Gut Health Diet Plan.

When the gut becomes damaged instead of being a source of nourishment it becomes the source and gateway of toxicity and inflammation. Research has shown that intestinal permeability is associated with a range of health conditions not just IBS type symptoms. For example systemic inflammation, allergic reactions such as eczema, asthma or hayfever and progression of autoimmune conditions. By restoring the health and function of the gut, you prevent potential invaders from passing into the bloodstream where they can evoke inflammation locally in your gut but also systemically throughout your body.

Signs of leaky gut include:

  • IBS symptoms: bloating, constipation, abdominal pain, diarrhoea
  • Asthma, eczema, seasonal allergies
  • Hormonal imbalances, PMS
  • Autoimmune conditions e.g coeliac disease, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, hashimotos
  • Chronic fatigue / Fibromyalgia
  • Mood disorders, depression
  • Candida overgrowth
  • Food allergies
  • Inflammation in the body
  • Skin conditions e.g acne, psoriasis

Damage to the gut lining may occur for a variety of reasons including gut infections, sensitivity to certain foods (particularly gluten and dairy), oxidative damage, medications, stress, alcohol, smoking, nutritional deficiencies and poor diet. Therefore identifying key food triggers is also an important step in supporting long term healing. However healing the gut requires more than simple removal of known allergenic foods. It needs nourishment with nutrient dense and specific healing foods – this is why I have written the Gut Health Book to provide you with delicious, nourishing recipes to restore gut health.

GutHealingDietPlan_final

Christine Bailey
The Gut Health Diet Plan
It will be published in 2016. Pre order your copy on Amazon.

 

 

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