As mentioned in our previous blog, Christmas is a time for luxurious food, but what about healthy indulgence? How can we cater for everyone, including those with serious allergies and IBS?
It seems that the worlds population is becoming more allergic to food, and the rise in allergies in recent decades has been particularly noticeable in the West. Food allergy now affects about 7% of children in the UK and 9% of those in Australia. Across Europe, 2% of adults have food allergies.
More than 4 million people in the UK suffer from IBS (Irritable Bowl Syndrome), which is a chronic disease, causing among other symptoms, severe abdominal pain. Research shows that up to 86% of people who follow a low FODMAP diet notice a significant improvement in symptoms.
These life-threatening reactions to food can cause families great anxiety and stress, and can become a huge burden when it comes to dealing with dietary restrictions. I have to deal with my own severe allergies, so I know how important it is for others’ to be aware of my intolerances.
What is a low FODMAP diet?
The diet originated in Australia, and has been adapted for the UK by researchers at Kings College London. FODMAP stands for; fermentable
oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols, which are more commonly known as carbohydrates.
In essence, FODMAPs are different carbohydrates found in a wide range of foods including onions, garlic, mushrooms, apples, lentils, rye and milk. These sugars are poorly absorbed and pass through the small intestine and enter the colon, where they are fermented by bacteria.
Due to the fact that not everyone has a problem with every FODMAP and different types of FODMAPs trigger symptoms in some and not in others; following a FODMAP diet is not for everyone, and should only be followed in consultation and guidance from a dietitian and/or GP.
(For more information: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/what-low-fodmap-diet).
How can you ensure you are catering for all of your guests and visitors during the Christmas festivities?
Please remember to ask your guests or visitors if they suffer from any food allergies or intolerances when you are planning meals for the festivities. The last thing you want is someone feeling disappointed because they can’t eat what’s on offer, or more importantly, are putting their life at risk by eating something that could cause an anaphylactic shock.
If you feel unsure how to proceed ask the guest who is affected. If they live with these conditions every day they will have useful tips, advice and recipe ideas for you. They may even bring some dishes along for everyone to try. If they offer, say yes. Make them feel a special part of the process and not an ‘outsider’.
Important things to know prior to preparing your festive meals:
- Check with your guests what their specific dietary requirements are ie. Allergies etc.
- If a guest does have a serious allergy, ensure that there is no cross-contamination of ingredients or utensils.
- Are there foods that the guest cannot tolerate even in the same room? E.g nuts.
- Find alternative ingredients, especially for those people who are on a low FODMAP diet.
- Source ingredients that are suitable for vegans, vegetarians, coeliacs
Having dietary requirements does not mean that the food should lose its appeal or taste. Garnish food with colourful fruits and berries that compliment the festive season.
Our range of baking mixes is a healthier way to indulge, being high in fibre, gluten free, vegan, dairy free and organic.
Also explore the recipes on our website where there is a range of tasty ideas for you to make, using our baking mixes and super foods alongside fruits.
Create that extra festive feel by adding Christmas spices to the mixes, such as cinnamon, mixed spice, orange and cloves.
Indulge in a colourful, tasty and healthy Christmas!