3 Tips to Eating well for Gut health this Christmas

Christmas & family gatherings can be the most challenging time for people with food intolerances and allergies—or even just for those of us trying to eat a little better. Not only is it a time of excess to celebrate with friends and family, but it is also the time when foods are prepared communally—and let’s face it, ‘traditional Christmas food’ (in the western world) is far from healthy. At best, it’s just eating too much delicious roast veggies (if that’s possible), and at worst, it’s rice pudding eating competitions and an extra 5kg.

Food is central to life and eating together—whether it be brunch with friends, family meals, ice cream and popcorn in front of a movie, or the Christmas feast, food is a way to bond, share, and care for each other. Making the change due to health issues or living with allergies that require you to eat differently can be isolating, alienating, attract unwanted attention and teasing, or leave you hungry. Even though eating differently (whether it be dairyfree, glutenfree, cane sugar free, vegetarian, vegan, free range only, or nut free) can mean that you feel physically better, with less headaches, body aches, clearer skin, or even healthier weight, it can be emotionally challenging when everyone around you is sharing in something you would rather not eat. It can also be hard if you’re away from the comfort of your fridge and pantry at home.

So, here are my holiday survival tips.

#1. Prepare. Come with snacks for when everyone else is having cheese and crackers. Don’t be caught out. Make sure you always have something ready to go in case non-allergy-friendly dinner is dished up. The worst thing is to be caught hungry surrounded by people who are eating.

#2. Replace! Choose your favourite dish, the one Christmas dish you just ‘can’t live without’, and make an allergy friendly version. Make it edible—something that everyone can eat!

#3. ….and bring extra! No doubt your friends and family will be curious about what you eat, and they’re probably going to want to try whatever amazing dish you whip up. While it can be an additional load on the preparation to make extra to share, this can pay great dividends in allowing others to experience that food can still tasty delicious when it’s different. Instead of an argument about the validity of various food choices, it’s often better to just focus on eating delicious food. Opening the door for others to explore eating for their own health as well can allow for a sense of connection & understanding that would otherwise be missing.

You never know, next time someone else might bring food that’s ‘Edible’!

For gut health specifics including supplements for healing, dietary changes, meal sizes, chewing and more, as well as body-friendly food inspiration, see ‘Edible’ by Angela Flack http://www.ediblethebook.com.

Real food: Goje Frozen Yoghurt

This year I had the absolute pleasure of stumbling across a new and absolutely darling store popped up in Yarraville, Melbourne. I had a chance to chat with the young owners, Jelena & Goran (21 & 27, respectively) about their experience setting up their own business, working in the food industry and really focussing on good, wholesome food. Here’s what they said.

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 What motivated you to start your own frozen yoghurt store?
Basically our background was nothing to do with yogurt. Goran is in Supply Chain Management and I was in my final year in Science with a major in physiology. We eat really well 80% of the time and have a really active, well balanced, healthy lifestyle—I like long distance running and Goran is a cycling enthusiast. Even when we have our weak moments we still eat wholesome, real food and nothing overly processed.
That said, from time to time, you still feel like a really nice treat but don’t want it to be a chemical nightmare. When we found out about how frozen yogurt is made—powder (with 30+ ingredients) mixed with milk, or sometimes just water—we were astounded! There’s no regulation about what people can label as natural—and there’s no regulation about what people can label as ‘frozen yogurt’! As long as there’s a culture in these powders it’s still classified as yogurt but it’s definitely not a fermented, wholefood.
We really wanted to give consumers an option to have frozen yogurt that is honest, guilt free, and goes back to the traditional way of making yogurt. At the time we had no idea—but we’re actually the first in Australia to make frozen yogurt the way we do.
We also wanted to use more wholesome, less processed sugars i.e raw sugar, panela, stevia (whole green leaf) & rice malt syrup.

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What has been most challenging thing about running your own business?
We’re a single store and making yogurt on a small scale is ridiculously expensive. Culturing times vary between 10-17 hours depending on the milk we use, so  it’s labour intensive. We use real quality milks—proper farm milk, inside out almond milk, and quality thai coconut cream to make our coconut milk (this minimises ingredients compared to a store bought coconut milk). Because it’s not a mass produced chemical powder, other retailers can sell at a much cheaper price point. Ultimately, we’d be pricing a bit higher but need to stay competitive. Logistically also getting fresh yogurt deliveries can be a lot harder. It’s funny that the less ingredients you use the more expensive it is!
What is the biggest lesson you have learned? 

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It’s been surprising for us to realise how disconnected people are from their food.  I’ll often see mums posting on the community page about an unlimited cup of a powdered frozen yogurt for a set price and how great the offer is without thinking maybe as to why they can offer it so cheaply. The machines really desensitize people from what they’re consuming for sure.

 
What is the most rewarding thing about running Goje?

I guess the most rewarding thing is really just being proud to sell a product we believe in. Not a lot of people get that kind of opportunity—so I’m pretty thankful. It’s also really nice when I get customer feedback about how they can taste the quality and just how it tastes real. Just makes sense to me to flavour with real fruit and use real ingredients.

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Ultimately the slow food/real food movement will come down to educating consumers about their food. That’s when we’ll begin to see a real shift towards wholesome, nourishing foods.

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I absolutely loved the dairy-free and naturally sweetened frozen yoghurt options! A real godsend for vegans, people with food intolerances or anyone looking to enjoy a treat while still eating well! The real food toppings were a far cry from what’s available at cold rock, that’s for sure. I’d love to see a Goje everywhere!

~Angela

 You can see more about Goje on their facebook and instagram below.

https://www.facebook.com/gojefrozenyogurt

http://instagram.com/gojefrozenyogurt 

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Edible: Now in Print!

Edible: Plant-based, Dairy-free, Gluten-free, Naturally Sweetened Wholefoods. By Angela Flack.

As of November 2014, Edible: The book is now in print and available for purchase from ediblethebook.com. 426 pages, full-colour recipes, referenced to journal articles. We ran crowdfunding via kickstarter Sept-Oct of the year, which was eventually quite successful, and I completed many of the book deliveries in person through November and December. Membership of the Facebook recipe & discussion group is growing, and feedback is good so far—it’s very rewarding to see Edible embraced by people from all walks of life! I’ve now begun work on the cooking videos ordered through the kickstarter and will be uploading these in the coming weeks (are you subscribed to the youtube channel?).

Edible is now stocked in over 30 stores up & down the East coast of Australia (for stockists, click here). In the coming months the Edi-van will be hitting the road, so keep an eye out for us! Join the mailing list for information on upcoming events in a town near you.

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Hope to see you soon!

Angela.

Literary Criticism

Yo! Long time no talk. In preparation for the publication of ‘Edible’ (plant-based, gluten-free, naturally sweetened, wholefoods!) I have been reading widely. And I mean, really widely. I have delved into the majority of the popular diets books, including D’adamo’s ‘Eat right for your type’ and Dr Atkins heart-stopping ketosis brilliance, and spent some time making out with ‘Healing with Wholefoods’ (Paul Pitchford) and ‘Eat to Live’ (Joel Fuhrman)… plus all the related sciencey literature along the way. Which brings us to now.

Page 125 of ’80/10/10′, a book by Dr Douglas Graham, an advocate of a raw, plant-based diet low in fat. He states that the saturated fat in coconut oil is artery clogging, which he then links to a scientific article. As a blessed individual with a university education, I have the luxury of accessing said article, in it’s entireity, via my university library. I read the whole thing. Nowhere does it say anything about artery clogging by coconut oil. The conclusion states ‘the results demonstrated the potential beneficiary effect of virgin coconut oil in lowering lipid levels in serum and tissues and LDL oxidation by physiological oxidants.’ Blood fat reduced, bad cholestrol less oxidised. So, uh, what?

Unfortunately 80/10/10 contains many of such, what I would consider ‘minor misdemeanors of fact’ or ‘creative exercising of poetic licence’. None concerned me as much as this one. Making counter-culture and anti-mainstream claims is wonderful, in my opinion. And noone knows anything for sure, really. The deeper you go down the rabbit hole, the deeper it gets. But presenting health claims as apparently supported by scientific literature, when the said literature says the exact opposite, is gross negligence. I would have liked to say so myself to Dr. Graham, but google didn’t know his contact details. Anyone?

I’m off to double and triple check my references, kids. Happy eating & Happy everything!

~AngelaImage

UPDATE. Page 153. ‘In spite of what we are told, consuming protein will not assist in the muscle building process’. Is that true? I’m not sure. The supporting ‘reference’ has nothing to add on the matter. 😐

Pumpkin Scones

nom nom nom.

1 1/4 C brown rice flour
2/3 cup arrowroot flour
1 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon celtic sea salt
3/4 C organic kent puree (quarter, remove seeds, bake in some water until soft)
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 1/2 tbsp honey

Mix it all together, bake 15min @ 200°c, leave to sit.

Served here with cinnamon nuttelex and orange date marmelade.

Everybody love parfait

It’s been a busy few weeks.

Lots of cooking, lots of travelling, lots of trial and error. Lots of smoothies, and lots of strange new ingredients that the jury is still out on.

Apparently spirulina in a glass of water is the limit to my healthy-hippyness. Shudder.

Exploring Sydney has resulted in some new favourite haunts, like Dr Earth in Newtown and Nourishing Quarter in Surry Hills. I have tasted the best vegan cheesecake and rosewater flan of my life in the past two weeks, and both were naturally sweetened. Winning.

Finally back into my own kitchen, like coming home. Nothing like a decent cook-sesh to straighten me out.


Berry Crumble.


Kanten (a macrobiotic jelly).


Parfait! Everybody love parfait. (Kanten layered with banana custard and tofu cream).


Sticky-date with caramel sauce.

Three desserts and three sauces later, and I’m trying to figure out why I feel slightly nauseous.

White kumera & pea curry FOOD to balance it out, as found here.

My friends are wonderful cooks, and when they tell me about their dinners I wonder why I am the one posting things online. It is a strange habit, but one that makes me happy.

And we could all do with more of what makes us happy. 🙂