Guest Post: 10 Health Benefits Of Tomato Juice

Tomatoes are incredibly good for you

Health experts consider raw tomato juice as a super food because it contains Vitamin A, Vitamin K and B vitamins as well as minerals including iron, phosphorus, and magnesium. Thus, consuming tomato juice daily gives you the opportunity to reap all the health benefits that all those vitamins and minerals have to offer.

  1. Reduces the risks of developing cancer

    Aside from the vitamins and minerals, tomato juice also contains high levels of antioxidants that fight and helps prevent cancer formation. According to studies, the lycopene content of tomato can fight different types of cancer like lung cancer, colon cancer, pancreatic cancer, and breast cancer.

  2. Promotes cardiovascular and heart health

    Tomato juice contains high amounts of vitamin B6, potassium, and folate that can lower the homocysteine level. Homocysteine is a compound that can damage the blood vessels and eventually causes heart disease. By integrating tomato juice in your diet, the blockages in the blood vessels will be reduced because of its fiber content.

  3. Strengthens the teeth and bones

    The vitamin C and K present in tomato juice help to make the teeth and bones strong just like calcium. Vitamin K is essential for bone health and the protein osteocalcin depends on vitamin K that plays significant role in preserving the calcium inside the bones.

  4. Improves the immune system

    Consuming tomato juice regularly can boost the immune system because of the vitamin A, C and copper content. It makes your body defenses strong, thus helping to prevent diseases from developing.

  5. Aids in weight loss

    Tomatoes are low in sodium but high in fiber. The fiber makes you feel full and satiated, thus avoids binge eating. Likewise, the water content of tomatoes keeps you hydrated; that’s why hunger is prevented. Consuming a glass of tomato juice prior to eating a meal makes you eat less. Therefore, if you want to lose weight you should include tomato juice in your diet.

  6. Eliminates free radicals

    Tomato juice helps to detoxify your body and flush out free radicals because tomato juice contains natural sulfur and chlorine that helps the kidneys and liver to function properly. Likewise, the sulfur protects the two organs from infections. Once the free radicals are removed, you will feel younger and more energetic.

  7. Healthier skin and hair

    The vitamin K present in tomato juice makes the hair stronger, shinier, and healthier. If you have dandruff or itchy scalp, you can apply the tomato juice into your hair and scalp after shampooing just like a conditioner.

    Likewise, studies showed that regular intake of tomato juice improves skin health, reducing acne formation and dark spots. It also protects the skin cells from damage caused by UV rays and other environmental elements. It prevents tanning and discoloration as well as regulating the production of sebum.

  8. Improves digestion and bowel movement

    Tomatoes are rich in fiber that plays important role in proper digestion and bowel movement. It also supports a healthy liver and prevents constipation. People who are experiencing irregular bowel movement should consider drinking tomato juice regularly.

  9. Helps you see better

    Vitamin A is essential for better eye sight. It helps the retinas to process visual information and send them to the brain. There are thousands of international units of vitamin A present in tomatoes to prevent eye diseases like blindness.

  10. Prevents high cholesterol level

    If you want to regulate your cholesterol level, the best thing to do is to consume tomato juice. The fiber content breaks down the bad cholesterol or LDL in your body. Likewise, the Vitamin B3 or niacin stabilizes the cholesterol.

To enjoy the health benefits of tomato juice listed above, you should make your own tomato juice at home rather than buying tomato juice in supermarkets. There’s no need to worry about drinking tomato juice regularly because it does not pose side effects. However, if your uric acid level us high, avoid tomato juice as it can aggravate the condition.

About the author

Mounota Rahman is a dietitian and writing regularly at She believes that food has healing powers and eating good food is the best way to lose weight. Mounota would like to share her knowledge and experience with the world. When she is not working, she loves to cook healthy food, watch movies, travel, workout, and read Bengali literature.

Please note that publication of guest posts does not imply endorsement.

Guest Post: 7 Foods Your Teeth Will Thank You For Eating

We all have a pretty clear image of what foods are bad for your teeth. Steer away from fizzy juice, take a break with the caramel chews, and cut out the coffee. We’re sure none of these are news to you.

However, what a lot of people forget to mention is that there are lots of foods that will help you maintain a good healthy oral hygiene.

In this guest blog, we’ll have a look at 7 superfoods that are great for your teeth. They help keep your teeth strong, fight off cavities, keep your breath fresh, and the last but certainly not least – they are pretty damn tasty!


Strawberries truly are a super berry, and oh my are they tasty.

The red juicy berry is filled with antioxidants and packed with vitamin C. And not only are they healthy, they naturally exfoliate your mouth and help remove tartar.

So next time you’re wanting a sugary snack, or you’re looking through the cupboards for that piece of chocolate that you know is there – think strawberries instead.


First let’s get one thing straight, when we say tea – we’re referring to black and green teas, not your sugar boasted breakfast tea. The two kinds of tea contain a compound called polyphenols. Polyphenols helps slow the growth of bacteria, which ultimately means fewer cavities.

Researchers at University of Illinois found that in their tea-riffic study, people who rinsed black tea for one minute, ten times a day, had less plaque compared to people who rinsed with water.

Now, rinsing your mouth in tea ten times a day might seem a little over the top, maybe cut back the coffee and carbonated drinks and brew some tea instead.


As with tea, we’re talking about the natural kind of yogurt – no sugars added.

Natural yogurt and yogurt with no added sugar is full of calcium and protein, both of which help your teeth stay healthy.

Helping to create a healthy balance in your mouth as well as in your tummy, yogurt is a great addition to your diet.


Perhaps you’re surprised to see almonds on the list? It’s no secret that we were.

The chewy nuts are great for your oral hygiene. Boasted with calcium and protein, and low in sugar – the nuts offer all the benefits that yogurt does but are a little more versatile.

Oh and not to mention they’re yummy, and provide a great midday snack!

Sugar-free gum

As you chew gum, you produce more saliva. The increased saliva production brings the pH balance back to normal quicker.

On top of speeding up your pH recuperation after meals and acidic drinks, a piece of gum can be a refreshing touch and maybe even keep you awake if you’re struggling with post- lunch blues.


Drinking water regularly throughout the day doesn’t just keep you hydrated and healthy, but it helps wash away food from in between your teeth.

It’s most likely no surprise to you that water works miracles, but do yourself a favour and fill that re-usable bottle and make sure you get your ~1.5 litres at least a day.

Water will keep you hydrated and improve your oral health.


Last but not least, celery. People often have a love/hate relationship with this strangely textured veg.

While celery isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, there’s no denying the positive effects that the green sticks bring to the table.

The stringy strands that make up celery work a little like a toothbrush. They help scrape the food off your teeth, get in between your tight dentures and just generally help keep your oral hygiene in tip top shape.

About the author

Buttercup 7 Day Dental is a dentist located in Glasgow’s West End. Buttercup was founded in 2011 by Gerwyn and Angela Rowlands with the aim of creating a clinic where patients would feel safe and relaxed. At Buttercup, our finest mission is to end our patients’ dentist fear and provide them with a high quality service.

Please note that publication of guest posts does not imply endorsement.

Master of Disguise: How Gluten Hides Where You Least Expect It

Previously published on 100% Gluten Free

It's no easy task finding gluten free mainstream products

It’s no easy task finding gluten free mainstream products

It can sometimes be difficult to spot the gluten hiding in your supermarket. It’s almost as if the food manufacturers are conspiring against us – they wouldn’t do that, surely?

You may find this list a bit depressing, or you can look on it as a challenge!

Here’s a list of 14 places you might not expect to find gluten:

  • Sausages contain breadcrumbs (the bread is one of the ways in which the texture of the sausage is obtained, without including an unacceptably high proportion of fat), except the most high class variety of butcher’s sausage, and even in this case it’s quite likely.
  • Burgers, grillsteaks and similar products generally also include bread or other wheat products in the mixture.
  • Crab sticks and prawnies seem to be made entirely of fish, but if you check the label you will find wheat flour or modified starch listed in the ingredients.
  • Some drinks contain gluten as a thickener, to provide ‘body’.
  • Wheat flour may be a hidden ingredient in ice cream, ketchup, mayonnaise and instant coffee.

  • You often find gluten in low fat versions of products, to make them seem less watery (for example, yoghurt, soft cheese or mayonnaise).
  • Pre-packed grated cheese is coated in flour or modified starch to stop it from sticking together in the packet – this includes the cheese sold with jacket potatoes in takeaways, unless they grate their own (but most don’t).
  • Obviously, anything coated in batter or breadcrumbs contains gluten in the coating. This makes almost every fish product out of bounds for the gluten intolerant, as the ones that aren’t coated are usually packaged in a sauce thickened with flour.
  • Monosodium glutamate, known to Chinese cooks as ‘taste powder’ or ‘ve-tsin’ is manufactured with gluten. This ingredient is very frequently included in factory-prepared goods, but may not be listed on the label – or merely described as a ‘flavor enhancer’.
  • Soy sauce is almost always made by fermenting soy beans and wheat together, so contains gluten.
  • Although wheat germ does not itself contain gluten, because of the process of separation employed in manufacture, it is likely that a small amount of gluten will be present in wheat germ sold in the stores.
  • Malt and malt extract are derived from wheat, and can be a hidden source of gluten. This is sometimes listed as maltase or malto-dextrin.
  • Any alcoholic drink made from grain – beer or whisky, for example, contains gluten.
  • Even medicines may contain gluten, used as a thickener or a binder.

I offer a wide range of food for special diets in my online shop.

Can’t Eat Gluten, Can’t Eat Lactose. What CAN I Eat?

photo by Carsten Schertzer

photo by Carsten Schertzer

More and more people are suddenly finding themselves either unable to handle gluten in their diets, or unable to handle lactose, or both.

It is a known fact that most animals can’t handle cows milk, and that it is quite bad for adult humans to drink, so why is so much of our food dairy based?

For someone who isn’t allergic to lactose, just intolerant and therefore I can handle some dairy products, it’s much easier just to suffer a little discomfort now and then, rather than change your diet. At least, that is what I thought for quite some time, as there really isn’t much out there for a lactose-intolerant person to eat.

What I didn’t know is that I was making myself much worse by continually eating dairy products such as cheese or yoghurt. I noticed a huge change in my health when I stopped eating these products, my asthma was seriously improving, my hay fever was much better and I generally felt much healthier.

However, after only a short time of not eating these products, I felt the cravings and sadly I gave in to them. Dairy products are surprisingly addictive, so once you start eating even a little cheese, you start wanting more. My friend started to notice the change in my health again and politely advised me that I really ought to stop eating dairy products and possibly try a short stint on a gluten free diet.

I decided to pay attention to her and as I was living with her at the time, I was able to live gluten free easily, because she is intolerant to it. Almost right away I noticed a huge difference in my health and wellbeing and I thought to myself, “Is there a connection between the two products?”

I started to ask around my friends and soon found that where one was allergic or intolerant to lactose, they were also intolerant to gluten, at least those who were aware of it were. So I started to look around on the internet and found that my friend had been correct. It is common for celiacs (those intolerant or allergic to gluten) to also have problems with lactose intolerance. I started then thinking, how many people out there are actually aware of this connection, because until my friend pointed it out I had absolutely no idea of this.

So what CAN I Eat?

This is a very good question, and one that sprang almost instantly to my mind. I thought “Wait, how am I supposed to live if I can’t eat gluten or lactose. So many products contain either one or both.” So I began shopping around and straight away noticed how restricted I was in the way of things I could actually eat or buy.

Sure, there are supermarkets that sell a range of “free from” products, but either they taste disgusting or are far too expensive. So, yet again I decided to skip the new diet and go back to my old ways of eating, purely because I was too lazy to actually check the labels or be inventive with food.

Though I didn’t eat dairy, I still ate bread and cakes and things that contained gluten. I soon began to regret my decision and started to suffer terrible burning pains in my throat and other unmentionable symptoms. I thought “Hey, the research is right… I had better stop eating this stuff” and I did.

Now I am finding that my health is dramatically improving, my joints don’t hurt as much and so many things have changed now I have cut both products out of my diet. Don’t be disheartened, there are plenty of foods out there that you can eat, trust me.

More and more people are becoming aware of the growing food intolerances in children and adults and many companies have started selling their “free from” products in supermarkets. If you experience symptoms such as: bloating, nausea, abdominal pain, tiredness, diarrhea, to name just a few, then it may be worthwhile checking to see if you suffer from gluten intolerance.

If you are gluten intolerant, then it may be worth leaving out dairy products, too. You will be amazed at how healthy you feel in just a short time, trust me. Even if you aren’t found to be allergic by your doctor, I would advise just leaving out gluten and dairy for a week or so and see how you feel afterwards. You might be surprised by the results.

[Editor’s note] I offer a wide range of food for special diets in my online shop.

Can I include fibre in a gluten free diet?

Fibre-rich breakfast. Choose gluten free granola

Fibre-rich breakfast. Choose gluten free granola

To keep your digestive system working properly and avoid constipation, it’s important to include fibre in your diet. There are also studies that show increasing fibre intake reduces the risk of various types of cancer and other serious health problems such as ischaemic heart disease.

When people talk about including fibre (or “roughage” as my grandad used to call it) in their diet, they are mostly thinking of wheat bran – proprietary products such as All Bran, Sultana Bran and Weetabix are often recommended by GPs, along with wholegrain bread. But what if you’re trying to exclude gluten from your diet? Are there any other sources of fibre available?

In fact, despite the overwhelming attention paid to wheat bran as a source of fibre, there are many other sources available, many of which are actually better. Fibre is found in plant stems, roots, leaves, pods and seeds. Rice bran or soy bran is probably the easiest like-for-like substitute for wheat bran, but you can get your fibre from peas and beans, nuts or dried fruit, and many fruits and vegetables.

Some sources are fairly obvious. For example, celery is very noticeably fibrous, particularly the older outer stems.

Sources of fibre suitable for the gluten intolerant include:

  • psyllium husks, chia seeds, African mango, fructooligosaccharides (commonly called FOS)
  • rice (brown or white, though the brown has a greater fibre content) and rice products, rice bran
  • possibly oats (although these may also cause symptoms in some people) and oat bran. Make sure you buy oats/oat bran with a gluten free label, meaning it was processed in a gluten free facility
  • pulses/legumes: baked beans, broad beans, butter beans, French beans, haricot beans, runner beans, soya beans, soya bran, lentils, peas
  • salad and stirfry vegetables: beansprouts, beetroot, celery, cucumber (with the skin on), lettuce, peppers, radishes, spring onions, tomatoes, watercress
  • green vegetables: broccoli, Brussels sprouts, sprout tops, spring greens, spinach
  • root vegetables: beetroot, carrots, maca root (usually sold as a powder), parsnips, potatoes (especially if eaten with their skins), swede, turnips
  • other vegetables: cauliflower, leeks, mushrooms, parsley, sweetcorn, courgettes (zucchini) with the skin on
  • crisps (especially if prepared with the skin left on)
  • fruit: apples, apricots (fresh or dried), avocado pears, bananas, blackberries, blueberries, cherries, blackcurrants, cherries, cranberries, gooseberries, goji berries, grapes, grapefruit, huckleberries, lemons, lucuma (usually sold as a powder), melon, oranges, passion fruit, peaches (fresh or dried), pears, pineapple, plums, pomegranites, raspberries, strawberries, currants, dates, figs (fresh or dried), prunes, raisins and sultanas

So, can you include fibre in a gluten free diet? Yes, yes, and yes again.

Quick and Easy Meals without Gluten

Steak and salad is an easy and nutritious gluten free meal

Steak and salad is an easy and nutritious gluten free meal Photo by 4028mdk09 – Own work

Someone asked me, “how do i keep my meals easy/simple but without gluten?” Sounds like an easy question, doesn’t it? But if you’re gluten intolerant, you will know it’s not so simple.

In the past, I used to keep some ready meals for when I was in a hurry or too tired to cook, but most of them are off the menu now – apart from the ones I never liked! Pizza, pies and ordinary pasta are also out. I do keep some Orgran rice and corn pasta in the cupboard, which tastes fine, and is as easy to cook as any other pasta. It goes nicely with a bolonaise or tomato and onion sauce, and is also fine with just butter, parmesan and lots of black pepper.

In my kitchen cupboard, I have a packet or two of Corn Thins, in place of bread. These are really tasty, come in various different types (you can get them in brown rice and multigrain varieties as well), and have the advantage that they don’t squeak when you eat them, unlike rice crackers. They also have a taste – so far as I am concerned, rice crackers taste of nothing at all. Corn Thins are good with butter and cold meat, or jam, or honey – anything you would have put in a sandwich – though the fillings are best used as toppings, as trying to eat them in pairs with something in between is very difficult.

Most of the time, when I’m looking for something quick to eat for a main meal, I follow the sort of menus recommended by Dr Atkins (not because I’m trying to lose weight, but because cutting out carbs is similar to cutting out gluten). So this means something like a piece of chicken or a chop or steak, cooked under the grill or in the oven, or even fried. But no coating, unless you’ve bought in something gluten free (Orgran do gluten free breadcrumbs in Rice or Corn varieties).

I also like a grilled mackerel. I get the fishmonger to gut the fish and take the head off, but leave it whole. When I get it home, I open the fish out flat with the skin side up and run the handle of a knife hard along the backbone, then I turn it over and the bones come out fairly easily. A quick wash under the tap and then I put it under the grill with a knob of butter and a squeeze of lemon in the middle, where the bone has left a sort of valley. It only takes about 10-15 minutes to cook, and doesn’t need to be turned over, though I keep brushing the butter and lemon over every now and then.

To accompany the meal, ordinary fresh or frozen vegetables cooked in the normal way are fine, or a nice mixed salad. Unlike real Atkins dieters, I eat carbohydrate with my food, so long as it’s not gluten-based. I like saute potatoes or mash sometimes, and for a real treat, some mushrooms go really well with a bit of fried steak, and can be cooked in the pan at the same time.

If I don’t feel like meat, I might have a jacket baked potato, egg mayonnaise and mixed salad maybe with some shrimp (prawns). This is a very quick meal. I start by putting the eggs on, then when they are cooked I put them into cold water, leaving them to sit for a while, and put the potato in the microwave. As it cooks, I prepare the salad and put it on the plate, peel the eggs, and mash them up with some mayonnaise. Then I put the halved potato on the salad, top with the egg mayonnaise and shrimp and it’s ready. Another thing that goes well with salad is ham slices rolled up and filled with cottage cheese, maybe with a few bits of chopped celery mixed with the cheese filling.

In the winter, one of my favourite lunches is a chunky lentil soup. I put some lentils, some cooking bacon or a ham bone and a few carrots and one or two leeks sliced up (if I’ve no leeks, I cut a couple of onions into quarters instead) into a saucepan, cover with water and a lid, bring to the boil and turn down to a simmer. It only takes 20-30 minutes, and then I eat it. If you prefer it smooth, blend it after it has finished cooking, but I like it just as it is. The occasional bit of leek or bacon makes it more interesting.

I live on my own, so I don’t spend a lot of time in the kitchen. It’s really only when I make a curry (which will do me for 3 days) that I spend a lot of time cooking. For this, I chop a couple of onions, one or two cloves of garlic and half a dozen chilli peppers, fry them gently in a little melted ghee (clarified butter) or oil with about half a tablespoonful of garam masala. When they are soft, I add 2 or 3 chicken portions or the diced meat from a cooked turkey leg, or some diced shoulder lamb, 1 or 2 aubergines (eggplants) sliced about half an inch thick and 1 or 2 sweet peppers, deseeded and cut into chunks (I like these vegetables in curry, as they go quite soft and make a good base). I push everything down and cover with as little water as I can get away with and add in a stock cube and some salt, bring to the boil and cover tightly.

When it comes to the boil I turn it down to a simmer and put my brown rice on to cook (1 cup rice to little bit over 2 cups of water, plus some salt). When that comes to the boil, I turn that down to the lowest flame I can get, and cover it. I keep checking the rice every 10 minutes or so, without stirring. About 10 minutes before I want to eat, I put 2 or 3 carrots into the curry, cut into chunks, as I like them to be fairly crisp. When I think all the water has gone, I use a fork to push the rice to one side to check, and when the bottom of the pan is dry, my dinner is ready.

I don’t usually thicken the curry sauce, but if I did I would use 1-2 tablespoonfuls of rice flour beaten into the gravy over a high heat. If I have any coriander (cilantro), I chop up a handful and stir it into the curry just before serving. Though it’s quite a lot of work, I only have to cook one day in 3 with this dinner, so I don’t mind.

For me, I find this approach to eating gluten free works well, and is quick, easy and hassle-free.

I’m going gluten-free – what can I eat?

Previously published on 100% Gluten Free

Photo by James Petts

Photo by James Petts

Good question.

It would be easier to say what you can’t eat!

But the question is, what can you eat. So let’s start there.

Well, for a start, obviously you can eat meat, poultry and game. That’s unprocessed meat. Avoid burgers, sausages, grillsteaks and similar items, as they almost always contain filler which is wheat based (though the highest quality may be gluten free – check the label for anything like wheat, flour, starch, and in particular monosodium glutamate).

If you like gravy, ketchup or sauce with your meat, take care. These products are almost always made with flour. Gravy granules and powders might be thickened with cornflour, because it mixes with boiling water more quickly than wheat flour, but you do need to check, particularly with the cheaper varieties. Soya sauce (except for the gluten free variety) is also off the menu, because the soya beans are fermented with wheat.

Next on the list: fruit, raw or cooked, but without thickened sauces (custard may be ok, check the label to make sure any thickening is either corn or egg based). You can also have cream, but not if it’s squirty cream containing starch to thicken it.

Vegetables are usually pretty safe. Potatoes, green vegetables and roots are almost always served without any thickening added. Again, if it’s a processed product, check the label! Watch out for coatings and fillers in frozen potato products. If you use packet mash, read the label carefully, best go for the top quality brands.

Salad prepared by your own sweet hands is great. Prepared salads are also fine, so long as you don’t use any dressing packed with it, unless you first check the label to make sure there is no wheat flour, unspecified starch or monosodium glutamate in it. Dressings you buy to put on your salad need to be checked as well. Good quality mayonnaise should be fine – Hellman’s for example – but be careful of low fat varieties of anything, as thickener is often added to make up for the lost viscosity of the oil they removed, and this is usually based on some variant of flour.

Milk, cheese and yoghurt should be fine – but again, be careful of the low fat varieties, for the reasons already mentioned. Also, don’t buy grated cheese, unless you see the deli grate it in front of you, as the pre-packaged variety is coated in – you guessed it – flour.

You can eat gluten-free bread and cakes, but these are mostly ridiculously expensive, and not very nice. A good substitute are Corn Thins from Real Foods Pty, an Australian company. They have a page on their site listing stockists around the world, including major supermarket chains. Alternatively, if you don’t mind eating food that squeaks, you can eat rice cakes. Kallo do a chocolate coated rice cake that is probably very nice, but as I do object to my food squeaking, I haven’t tried them.

As far as takeaways go, you can eat Indian food, but not the breads and chapattis. Poppadoms are fine, though. You need to check that they don’t use any thickening in their food (apart from chickpea or lentil flour), or ask them to make you a version without.

Another takeaway style that you can go for is Chinese – no noodles, apart from rice noodles (sometimes called Singapore hot noodles), and ask them to leave out the “taste powder” (monosodium glutamate). I’m afraid fortune cookies are off the menu as well, although there’s nothing to stop you reading the contents and throwing the cookie away! Like I said earlier, soya sauce must be the gluten free variety, so get them to leave it out and add it yourself at home.

All drinks except for whisky, beer, and malted drinks like Ovaltine, Milo and Horlicks should be fine, but avoid the cheaper varieties of instant coffee, as flour is sometimes used as a filler.

So there you are, a pretty good selection of gluten-free foods you can eat to your heart’s content.

Bon Appetit!

What is gluten intolerance?


photo by Ines Hegedus-Garcia

Gluten intolerance affects a large proportion of the population. Yet many people who may be affected aren’t even sure what it is. This article sets out to explain what gluten intolerance is, how it can affect you, and, just as important, what it is not.

Let’s start by looking at what gluten intolerance is not. This may seem an odd place to start, but many people, even among the medical profession (who should know better) think that when people say they are gluten intolerant they mean they have an allergy to gluten.

Gluten intolerance is not an allergy. Neither are other forms of food intolerance. An allergy involves the immune system. Food intolerances do not. That does not mean that they cannot cause severe illness, just that they are not fixable by anti-histamines or other drugs, and that it’s extremely unlikely that a mouthful of pasta will result in you keeling over instantly (I bet that’s a relief). Unlike an allergy, food intolerance is caused by an inability to absorb or process a particular food correctly, leading to a buildup of certain toxins, which are damaging, but not generally immediately fatal.

So now we’ve got that out of the way, we can look at what gluten intolerance actually is. What it means is that the body is unable to deal with food containing gluten, and because of this it reacts in ways that range from uncomfortable to crippling, and even life-threatening if the cause is not removed.

The problem is that, barring some parts of Asia, almost all of us eat large quantities of gluten every day, day in and day out, and we have done since we started eating “proper” solid food. So if your body is not able to cope with gluten, every day, several times a day, it comes up against this irritant, and over time the situation becomes more and more intolerable.

The most extreme form of gluten intolerance is celiac disease. This is a dangerous disease, and sufferers must avoid all gluten altogether. Unfortunately, although there is a test available, it is not always completely accurate, so there may be people suffering from celiac disease who have not been diagnosed as such.

The rest of us, thankfully, will just get irritable bowel, aches and pains, depression or if we are unlucky, obesity. This is bad enough, for sure. Still, these problems go away if you eliminate gluten (if that’s what’s causing them), whereas celiac disease doesn’t.

Since there are no accurate tests available for gluten intolerance, you need to discover whether you are intolerant or not by experiment. If you suspect you may be, please see my article “How can you find out if you are gluten intolerant?” to learn how to go about this.

Now you know what gluten intolerance is, next time someone says it’s an allergy, you will be able to put them right!

I offer a wide range of food for special diets in my online shop.

Is clean eating right for you?

Ideal meal by volume

An ideal meal for clean eating would comprise 60% fruit and vegetables, 20% protein and 20% complex carbohydrate, estimating roughly by volume.

Clean eating is a fairly new idea which seems to have spread across the world like wildfire. But what does it mean? In fact, although the term clean eating may be new, much of the thinking behind it has been advocated by health experts for many years – since the 1960s at the very least.

Conventional nutrition science espoused since the 1950s is turned on its head in some ways, but people in the alternative sector mostly realised these were wrong-headed long ago. It’s good to see this brought out into the open, though.

Clean eating defined

Most aspects of clean eating are fairly normal parts of a healthy diet. The biggest major innovation is the recommendation to eat five or six small meals a day, instead of the usual three larger ones. Some people may find this difficult to fit in with their working lives, but you shouldn’t let this put you off the whole concept. If you can’t split your eating times up like this, it’s not a roadblock, you can still eat the right foods.

The main idea that should guide you is eliminating highly processed foods like ready meals and junk food including take out burgers and pizza. There’s nothing to stop you from making clean versions of these products at home, of course.

What’s on the menu

Aside from changing the number of meals you have a day, the focus is on following a diet of unprocessed or minimally processed foods: fresh or frozen fruit and vegetables, nuts, legumes (peas, beans and lentils), whole grains and pasta, organic wherever possible and free range eggs. This means, for example, that butter is preferred over factory-produced substitutes and margarine.

Unlike some diets, both red and white meat is included if you wish, but try to avoid factory produced meat – go for organic if you can afford it, and definitely avoid meat from animals raised with hormones. Wild is best, but unless you live in Alaska you probably can’t get this most of the time; pastured/outdoor-reared is an acceptable substitute.

Use healthy fats and oils like coconut oil, olive oil, butter or ghee for frying; avocado oil, olive oil, sesame oil or walnut oil for dressings (mixed with apple cider vinegar or fresh lemon, lime or orange juice). Avoid soya oil, rapeseed (canola) oil and generic vegetable oil.

If you eat dairy products, choose full fat, organic milk, cheese, yoghurt etc. preferably from grass fed cows. If you prefer, unsweetened dairy milk like plain almond, rice or coconut milks without additives are OK, too. Soy milk is all right occasionally, but not in large quantities due to its effects on hormone levels.

Try to eat about 60% fruit and veg, 20% protein and 20% carbs by volume (see image top right).

Clean eating isn’t rocket science, but it might give you a boost just the same. You’ll find a wide range of clean foods in my online store.

Allergy? Food intolerance? What’s in a name?

A healthy meal - but can you eat it?

A healthy meal – but can you eat it?

Lots of people think that allergy and food intolerance are just two expressions meaning the same thing. This even includes some Doctors! In fact, there is a big difference.

There is one thing allergies and food intolerances have in common: both can cause physical reactions, ranging from mild to severe. But that’s pretty much where the similarity ends.

So what is the difference? It should become clear as soon as I give you the definitions.

An allergy is a physical reaction which is triggered by the immune system whenever a particular substance comes into contact with, or is ingested (eaten) by a susceptible individual. This includes the infamous peanut allergy, amongst others. Because the immune system is involved, a blood test can be used to test for an allergy.

A food intolerance is an inability to absorb or digest certain types of food, leading to a buildup of toxins which cause effects ranging from the inability to absorb other foods through to headaches, and many other possible symptoms. It does not involve the immune system, so it is difficult to devise a test, particularly as different individuals may react in different ways. In fact, the only test I know of for anything that might be described as food intolerance is the one given to test for celiac disease, and even this is not entirely accurate.

You might think there is little point in making the distinction. So what if the immune system is involved? It’s up to the doctors to do the diagnosis – they must know what they are doing.

If only life were that simple.

It’s sad, but the medical profession is so wedded to their little test tubes that many of them deny that food intolerance exists, because, they cannot detect a reaction. Others are happy to take your money for spurious tests that will not detect anything, for example:

  • Skin test: The classic test for immune response. Good for discovering if you have an allergy, but useless for pinpointing intolerance.
  • Tongue test: A modification of the skin test, again only suitable for discovering allergies, rather than food intolerance.
  • RAST test (radioallergosorbent test): A blood test. Another test suitable for testing for allergies, but not for intolerance.
  • Cytotoxic test: Attractive in theory, but disappointing in practice. Do not take this test as the results are unreliable, with many false positives.
  • Hair test: A test for mineral deficiencies offered as a way of diagnosing possible food intolerance. However, there does not seem to be any link between mineral deficiency and food intolerance!
  • Blood mineral analysis: Again, mineral levels are tested, but the link between mineral deficiencies and any food intolerance has not been demonstrated.
  • Blood (antibody) test: Any food antibodies found in the blood will demonstrate a food allergy. However, no antibody does not equal no food intolerance.

None of these tests are of any value in finding out if you are food intolerant or not. The only reliable way of discovering what, if any, food intolerances you may have is by means of an exclusion diet. A food diary can also be helpful.

I offer a wide range of food for special diets in my online shop.