Eating healthily at Latitude festival

Freshly back from a long weekend a Latitude Festival near Southwold Suffolk and unlike most festival goers  I’m feeling healthy and am not nursing a hangover! Latitude is the most laid back family friendly music and arts festival. A weekend spent chilling in the woods to bands and an array of different musicians, sunbathing at the Obelisk arena or dancing to the latest bands at the 6 music big top, listening to poetry and crying with laughter in the comedy tent plus much much more.

 

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With numerous food intolerances, festivals aren’t the easiest of venues for me. But I think its worth the effort to plan ahead and go and have a relaxing and worry free time. We normally stay at the venue either hiring a family size camper or squeezing into a VW camper van but this year due to a last minute hitch we stayed quite close by in Ipswich with friends who kindly came to our aid.

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Having Coeliac disease and Crohns disease with numerous food intolerances including onion and garlic means I have to organise my weekend with military precision. The week before the event I start baking a freezing. This year grain free fruit and cherry bread,  gluten free cheese scones, and a grain free bacon and vegetable quiche with extra cheese. I also get an order delivered from Ocado with things I can’t buy locally.

 

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This year I took two large cool bags full of ice packs one containing eggs, salad, tomatoes, spinach, fruit and the freshly made quiche. The other containing the frozen fruity bread and frozen cheese scones, unsweetend almond milk, bacon, butter and gluten free cold meats, this year it was corned beef and ham from Waitrose.

Each day I would take a small cool bag with mini ice packs that fits inside my ruck sack and a container for almond milk. If you are staying on site with a fridge with freezer compartment you can refreeze these every night. This year I was able to use our friends freezer and fridge. They kindly cleared a shelf for my food.

I can honestly say during our 3 days at the festival I was never hungry. I was however often envious and a little sad to not be able to partake in some of the delicious festival food on site, Im only human! Due to my IBD and wanting to avoid sugar, I am careful not to over do it with alcohol so over the entire weekend I had a couple of gin and tonics. If I could have found the Pimms i’m sure I would have given in to a glass.

Some good news if you are gluten intolerant, or prefer not to eat gluten is that there are plenty of stalls advertising gluten free. From amazing beef brisket and rice to paella with chicken and seafood and chicken provencale. These choices seemed free from any gluten on the stall so probably fine for Coeliacs.

I even spotted gluten free pizza ( baked onsite with gluten containing pizza ) , chips with toppings and indian cuisine. Unfortunately all these had contamination risk and with all the above contained food stuffs that I am intolerant too.

One example of having to stay vigilant is that one afternoon I went an ordered a tea from a waffle stand ( very few stalls were solely tea and coffee stands. The guy serving me was covered in flour, up his hand and arms and all over his apron. I watched as he put his gluten floury hand inside my cup and picked up a tea bag. This was one of those occasions when you just have to be bold! I explained politely that I was a coeliac and that I was intolerant to gluten, I might of even used ‘Allergic’ I cant remember , just to get my point across and asked if it was possible for someone else to serve me. They were really understanding and quickly someone else took over with a new clean cup. It caused a little conversation with my fellow customers but that is always a good way of raising awareness.

Every day I took in a slice of quiche with a green salad, a cheese scone, individual wrapped cheese cubes, fruit and the homemade fruity bread and a treat nak’d bar or gluten free biscuit. Along with the almond milk for tea and plenty of water I was well away.

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It is worth mentioning drinks at festivals. Reuseable cups are used and beer and larger is the drink of choice for most. Gluten is obviously an issue here both in the drink and in a poorly washed up cup.

There was gin and tonic on offer cider and pimms , I was able to have a couple of cheeky G & T’s . The spirits were served in a smaller reusable festival cup. Water taps are available for refilling your bottles.

The variety of music, comedy, theatre etc is incredible and you can never get around everything. My highlights were Chilli Gonzalez and the kaiser quartet , Badly Drawn Boy, Soak, Songhoy blues, Naomi Shelton and the gospel queens ,Years and Years, Catfish and the bottlemen, José Gonzalez and Lianne La Havas. I Missed out on seeing Leon Bridges as he clashed with other bands and we couldn’t get in to Stornoway’s set but listened outside.

 

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Comedy standouts were Alan Davies, Jason Manford and Shappi Khorsandi

Gareth Malone brought together festival goers to create a choir that sang on the sunday lunch time spot at the Obelisk ( main open arena )

Thanks to @dansmythphoto Withay.co.uk  for some great music recommendations

Sunday saw a visit from Hemsley and Hemsley to the Literature tent. I was fortunate to arrive early and picked a great spot up the front. Jasmine and Melissa talked about their food philosophy and their book and I was in total agreement with what they said. Lots of up to date information on good fat, the importance of bone broth and avoiding processed food, food high in sugar and avoiding grains etc. Generally enthusing the audience and inspiring us all to take a good look at what we were eating. Also how we could make favourite meals more healthy. It was good to hear Jasmine and Melissa talk about digestion and chewing and the ladies even talked about learning more about ‘what is a healthy poo’. and getting your digestion on track.

 

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I can recommend the book they have written together with 150 recipes. I have made many of the recipes over the last few months already but feel even more inspired to continue making more. click here for website and book details Hemsley Hemsley

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You can catch Jasmine and Melissa Hemsley again this year at The Big Feastival  where they will be talking and demonstrating, along with Deliciously Ella and others passionate about healthy eating.

Maybe you will consider a Festival next year or go along to The Big Feastival especially the Healthy Living Zone 28th – 30th August 

Hoping to be at The Big Feastival myself, maybe see you there!

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My review of The art of eating well by Hemsley Hemsley < click here

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Recovering from an uncomfy tum!

I sit here clutching a hot mint tea recovering from 14hrs of stomach pains and nausea. It never gets any easier does it! For me this was a much longer attack than usual. I think its always worse when you can’t work out what has caused it. I was diagnosed with Crohns disease last year but my symptoms are more similar to Coeliac disease which I cannot be tested for ( have been gluten free for over 5 years and am very ill If I am accidentally glutened ) These days I only seem to have symptoms like this when I eat out, usually due to cross contamination.

This time I think it was kicked off by my strong Iron tablets ( Ferrous Gluconate 300mg ) that I am taking for Anaemia. I have to bury it in a big evening meal and maybe I didn’t eat enough. The tablets are helping my symptoms of anaemia so I must continue to take them although I will now take a couple of days out to give my sore insides time to heal.

For me after an attack my weight just drops off so quickly, I have to make sure I eat little and often and avoid grains and other foods that cause inflammation.

Today I am going to make myself some chicken broth in the hopes that it will be a gentle introduction to eating again and healing my insides. I would love to hear from you if you have any ideas for food for tummy recovery. I am determined to learn to make beef bone broth which I could freeze and have ready for such a day as today.

Chicken broth

First roast a free range chicken with thyme

Strip the chicken of all the flesh

put the cooked chicken carcass in a large saucepan with the juices from the roasting tray add some hot water to your roasting tray to make sure you get all the juices.

simmer for about 1/2 hr or so

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pass broth through a sieve

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serve

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or for a light chicken soup add some of the cooked chicken and some finely diced celery and courgette fried. Then using a hand blender , blend until smooth.

season to taste

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I’m pleased to say after a bowl of broth and an afternoon trip to the cinema I’m feeling fighting fit!

Heres to a healthy tummy!

 

 

 

Grain free crackers

I was in search of a simple grain free cracker to have with cheese that I could make easily and would store well. Shop bought gluten free crackers often contain yeast or onion powder so no good for me. There are lots of grain free recipes online and also in my many grain free recipe books I have in my kitchen , I tested a few variations out and this combination worked well. These little square crackers are tasty and are a good accompaniment to cheese .

These crackers are egg free, yeast free and dairy free too.

 

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Recipe- 

200g  of ground almonds

1 tbsp sesame seeds

1 tbsp poppy seeds

pinch of  salt

1 tbsp ground flax seed and 3 tbsp water mixed together and left for a few minutes

1 tbsp olive oil

( you could try using other spices or seeds )

 

Method-

pre heat oven 170c

mix the ground flax seed and water together and put to one side

mix the salt, ground almonds and all the seeds together

 

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add the olive oil and the flax seed mixture

 

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stir to form a dough

bring together with your hands

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place a piece of grease proof paper on your work surface

divide the dough in to two halves

put one half of the dough onto the paper and put a second piece of grease proof on the top

roll out with a rolling pin, not too thin

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remove the top piece of grease proof

using a pizza cutter, cut the dough into squares but leave as one piece

 

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put the grease proof paper complete with the crackers on to a baking sheet

repeat with the second piece of dough

pop the two trays in to a pre heated oven 170c

bake for 15 mins

they will start to turn golden brown on the edges

 

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cool for 15mins, the crackers will be ready to separate

store in an air tight container

Enjoy with cheese, butter or your favourite topping

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Grain free chicken nuggets

Today I thought I would have a go at making grain free chicken nuggets, they were a great success! I think children would love them too.

 

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Grain free chicken nuggets-

serves 2 people

2 Free range chicken breasts or boneless thighs

1 whisked egg

1/2 cup of ground almonds

1 tbsp ground flaxseeds

salt/pepper

( you could add additional spices or herbs )

method-

mix ground almonds and ground flaxseeds together

add salt and pepper,

in a separate bowl, whisk an egg

 

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cut chicken into small strips or cubes

dip the chicken in the egg

then roll in the dried ingredients

heat a frying pan and add coconut oil or duck fat

carefully add the coated chicken pieces

 

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fry both sides until cooked

cut one in half to check they are fully cooked

they should be golden in colour

 

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drain on kitchen roll

 

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Enjoy with a salad or homemade chips

delicious with homemade guacamole ( in a food processor put 2 halves of a de stoned ripe avocado + small bunch of fresh coriander and a drizzle of olive oil, blitz )

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they would be delicious in a >grain free wrap< too!

 

One year on, living with Crohns disease

A year ago I was preparing for my evening procedures at Ashtead hospital . Finally I had a Gastro specialist who had sent me for a endoscopy and a colonoscopy after over 30 years of various symptoms including bloating, weight loss, anaemia, joint pain, tiredness, brain fog, sickness, extreme stomach pain. Until now I had never been taken seriously by any doctor ( and I had seen plenty over the years ) About 6 years ago I started to suspect I had a wheat intolerance, after reading more it appeared I could have Coeliac disease I was extremely intolerant to gluten even the tiniest crumb which could set my symptoms off and I could continue to be unwell for days and weeks after a glutening episode. My Gastro specialist agreed that it sounded like I had classic Coeliac history and arranged for me to have the tests as a blood test could now not be used due to the lack of gluten in my diet for so long.

The preparation itself was not a nice experience but I was eager to finally get a diagnoses. All went well and I was home by late evening. I was told that Crohns disease was suspected but a follow up visit to Gatwick hospital was needed for an MRI scan. I used the weeks that followed to read everything I could on healing a leaky gut and inflamed bowels. I started by cutting all grains from my diet and removing cows milk. This wasn’t always possible but I made every effort to keep to this diet.

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I looked at FODMAP and Specific carbohydrate diet and saw from fellow bloggers how their health had improved by following these.

I have now been following as much as possible the Specific carbohydrate diet particularly focusing on no grains, no cows milk and very low sugar , no refined sugar. I am thrilled to say that I have had a dramatic improvement in my health especially the lack of bloating and my only problems have come if I have eaten out and been glutened. Even these symptoms are far less than they used to be. My stomach has never been so flat . The only area where there has been little or no improvement is with anaemia. I still suffer badly and have to take very strong iron tablets from time to time. I imagine this is because it takes many years for our bodies to heal after so many years of eating the wrong food causing a leaky gut. Due to my autoimmune diseases and leaky gut I am also intolerant to yeast, onion, garlic and more recently I haven’t been able to tolerate paprika.

I was finally sent for an MRI scan and this confirmed Crohns disease an autoimmune disease. I have had no final confirmation on whether I have Coeliac disease as my endoscopy didn’t show up any damage. After eating gluten free for many years now I was thrilled that I had no noticeable damage hopefully due to my new diet . But because of the violent symptoms I display after having gluten/ cross contamination with gluten, I won’t be adding it back to my diet anytime soon.

I have had to take this SCD in stages as its really tough. I am now trying to remove white potatoes and sweet potato from my diet, not easy ! Rice was also incredibly difficult to live without. I am not a huge fan of cauliflower which is the go to alternative. I’m just taking it a week at a time. I am so thankful for ground almonds  and coconut flour and for unsweetend almond milk. I have also stopped drinking any alcohol except the very odd special occasion. It all sounds like a very depressing way to live but when the only other option is medication, to me its a no brainer. I hate taking anything even paracetomol, Every time I visit my Gastro specialist he offers me medication. Which seems strange to me as I have no symptoms! He is definitely struggling to believe that my diet is helping me but I am determined to show him that for someone like me with low level symptoms of Crohns disease It is possible to control and possibly heal myself using healthy fresh food. Our home is completely gluten free and since we made this change I have not been ill eating at home. Even the Dog eats grain free, and she has never looked healthier!

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I have also found that eating high healthy fat ( coconut oil, avocado,  butter, cheese, etc ) and low carbohydrates keeps me feeling full for longer. Breakfast every day always consists of 2 free range eggs with either bacon , salmon or I make a veggie omelette using spinach etc. Grain free pancakes make a nice alternative too, or just nuts granola.

Lunch tends to be homemade soup, salads with cheese, ham, chicken etc or a grain free wrap with delicious fillings, and a piece of whole fruit.

Evening meal is good quality local meat or fish/seafood  with lots of different veggies and I tend to now use butternut squash instead of potato.

I have the odd cube of very dark gluten free chocolate or some cubes of cheese, fruit or nuts to snack on.

I tend to drink still or sparkling water and the occasional cup of tea with unsweetend almond milk or camomile tea.

If you are interested in helping your symptoms check out @anaussiewithcrohns and @deliciouslyella both have used a healthy diet to improve their health.

My hope is that one day in the future I may be able to reintroduce some foods back into my diet , I am being realistic and know after over 30 years of symptoms this probably won’t be any time soon.

My family have been my biggest supporters. Living gluten free at home and eating out only at places where Mum can eat safely is a big ask. I am very fortunate that my family are grown up as I can see how difficult this could be with young children. My faith has also kept me strong and knowing that I am not dealing with this disease alone is a great comfort to me.

 

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This is still very much a learning journey. Baking is now far more challenging, every time I successfully make a grain free alternative to a favourite bake I am thrilled. I hope to continue to share these recipes with you. More recipe books are appearing on the shelves of book shops with grain free, low sugar recipes and I will continue to seek out the best to share with you.

Fellow tweeter @gfcuppatea recently said to me ” nothing tastes as good as Good Health”  and this is so very true I’m going to try and remember this when I’m craving something yummy I know will affect my health adversely.

If you are travelling on the same autoimmune disease journey as me  I would love to hear from you. Have you improved your health by changing your diet?

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Review of natures health box online store

I have been using Natures health box for a long while now as my go to gluten free and health food online store. I have always been very happy with the service and quick delivery. Recently I was asked by them to review a few of the products that they stock. I was sent Sukrin bread mix, The Primal kitchen coconut and macadamia nut paleo bar, Lucy’s chocolate chip biscuits, Easy bean chickpea crisp bread and a Sukrin cake mix.

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Easy bean crispbread – are my very favourite type of cracker and are a staple in my pantry and in my holiday emergency food pack.

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Lovely simply with cheese or butter

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or topped with your favourite spread. I had lacto free cream cheese and smoked salmon.

Sukrin sunflower and pumpkin seed bread mix – wheat , gluten, sugar and yeast free

Easy to make and very delicious. The loaf is simple to make and bake and the bread is very tasty one of the best yeast and gluten free bread mixes I have tried. My only negative is that at £6.19  its not cheap! would recommend if you miss a homemade style wholegrain loaf . Here is my review for pictures and more information  Sukrin bread mix

Lucys chocolate chip A new product to me I was interested to try them. I was impressed with these biscuits they have a good crunch and are very sweet and taste like a a regular biscuit . Yet they are gluten free, milk free, egg free, tree nut free and peanut free and vegan  so good  for those with multiple allergies. They do contain cane sugar so if like me you avoid refined sugar they are not ones to chose.

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The Primal kitchen coconut and macadamia Paleo bar –  This bar has a subtle sweet flavour which comes from dates and the texture has tiny pieces of macadamia nut and coconut. These bars are not crumbly and are perfect emergency bars to keep in your bag.  Here is my review of all the bars The Primal Kitchen paleo bars  

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Sukrin cake mixthis mix is gluten free. I was interested to try this cake mix as it is one I haven’t tried before. You simply add water, eggs and water and pop in an 8 inch tin . There are ideas on the side of the box to add your own flavour. I chose to make the lemon cake by adding the juice and zest of one lemon.

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It certainly was easy to make and the result was good. The family liked the cake, but I wasn’t impressed with the flavour. This mix is made using sesame flour and corn flour.

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Not cheap at £7.39

 

My regular order from Natures health box  is_

Lucy Bee raw organic fair trade Coconut oil At £16.89 for 2 jars ( february offer ),

I cannot recommend this coconut oil enough I use a massive amount of this good healthy oil, I sometimes bake with it for dairy free, I fry with it , roast with it and use it as a moisturiser sometimes. fantastic stuff!

 

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BonPom original cacao powder ,

  Raw honey,  

 The Primal kitchen Paleo bars ,                

 UGG Foods mixes, 

 Easy bean crispbread ,

  Tiana coconut flour , 

Doves Farm Baking powder

 

You can follow Natures health box @natureshbox

Website is www.natureshealthbox.co.uk

 

 

 

My review of Against all Grain by Danielle Walker

I recently purchased Against the Grain, I am always on the look out for grain free ideas and Paleo recipes . This recipe book is huge with over 150 recipes from breakfast ideas to main meals and grain free bakes. Most ingredients are easy to obtain , Coconut aminos I think is the other ingredient so far that I haven’t come across before.

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Recently I had ago at making the n’oatmeal raisin cookies these turned out to be extremely popular with the family and only lasted a day!

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The recipe was simple and easy to follow , the cookies were soft and chewy and very delicious

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I also made the Banana mouse pancakes, These tasted just like pancakes I would expect to be served in the States with lashings of maple syrup. Really hard to believe they are both gluten and grain free!

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There are ideas as alternatives to potato for instance mashed cauliflower and as an alternative to rice coconut – lime ‘rice’ using cauliflower .

 

Danielle Walker is the creator of a popular Paleo food blog. Having been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease at 22 ( Ulcerative Colitis ) and unable to alleviate her symptoms by conventional medicine  , Danielle removed grains, lactose, legumes, and refined sugar from her diet and has virtually eliminated all her ailments. Having Crohns disease myself I can completely identify with Danielle and try to eat grain free and cows milk free also avoiding refined sugar.

I purchased my copy of Against all grain from Amazon for £20.30 this is a soft back recipe book .

I look forward to trying out lots more of these recipes very soon.

You can follow Danielle @againstallgrain Twitter

AGAINSTALLGRAIN – Instagram

Againstallgrain.com – Website