My 5 Favourite Healthy Desserts

Since starting my nutrition training I have been trying to create alternative healthy desserts, that are more nutritious than your traditional biscuit or slice of cake. I also want them to contain less sugar, fat and calories and be a good source of micronutrients.

At the start of my course I looked at eating behaviour, namely, why do we eat the way we do and looked at the typical habits that lead to weight gain. One of the most reoccurring habits that my clients have is that they always have a sweet “dessert” after their main evening meal, as it was the norm as a child.

Interestingly most of our eating behaviour stems from our childhood and what we saw our parents do.

If you were one of the many children that would be rewarded with a dessert after clearing your plate, then you more than likely have two habits that have followed you into adult life:

  1. You always crave a sweet after your main meal
  2. You always clear your plate regardless how hungry you are

These are two habits that I have myself, which I am trying to get out the habit of. I am doing this by serving myself smaller portions keeping within the recommendation of the British Nutrition Foundation, so when I do clear my plate I am in fact eating less and I am only having a dessert when I still feel hungry rather than every day because it is the norm!

This also the advice I would give my clients as well as other specific pointers depending on the reasons and triggers of their habits.

To help those of you who are looking for alternative healthier desserts I have selected my top 5 to provide you with a selection to choose from. Remember before you have one of these desserts stop and think, “Am I hungry?”. Try to get into the habit of eating only when you’re hungry rather than when you are bored, stressed or simply following a routine.

Enjoy!

1. Banana Bread

This a favourite of mine, perfect as a pre or post workout snack and a slice also makes for a healthy dessert. This recipe is refined sugar-free using the sweetener stevia as a replacement, which is lower in calories and much sweeter than sugar so you don’t need to use much in recipes. The full recipe can be found here.

2. Strawberry Crumble

By making individual crumbles in ramekins you remove the temptation to eat more than one serving, as you would more than likely eat a lot more if you made a larger one that is meant to be shared. Another behaviour we are all guilty of is the phrase eyes bigger than belly, this is when due to the sensory cues of food (taste, texture, appearance, sound etc) you are tempted to eat more than you would otherwise need to satisfy your hunger. This is one of the reasons that supermarkets release the smell of freshly baked bread at the entrance of shops as it makes the consumer buy more, subconsciously they are already being tempted by the smell of food. For a similar reason you should never shop on an empty stomach as all your cues will be heightened because you feel hungry you will believe you can eat more and everything will be more appealing. The full recipe can be found here.

strawberry crumble

3. Peanut Butter Cocoa Milkshake

Inspired by my fiancé’s love of peanut butter based milkshakes from Shakeaway and my fondness of smoothies! This even has cocoa powder in it for the chocoholics out there trying to lead a more nutritious healthier lifestyle without giving up chocolate. Again as with most of my recipes, this popped into my head and I simply had to try it. I am sure you will be happy I did, the full recipe can be found here.

4. Strawberry Brownies

This recipe came about from my valentines menu, as this year I decided instead of going out I would prepare James a three-course meal of his favourite foods. Chocolate brownies happen to be one of his favourite desserts and he doesn’t love strawberries. Although annoyingly they seem to put the price of strawberries up over valentines. These brownies are really tasty and he couldn’t even tell the difference! If you aren’t a fan of strawberries don’t worry I have also tried this recipe with orange segments and raspberries and they both worked just as well. The full recipe can be found here. Below I have pictured the raspberry variation, simply substitute the 150g of strawberries for raspberries keeping the rest of the recipe the same.

5. Chocolate Chip Muffins

The recipe is from my original e-book, as you may have realised by now I am an absolute lover of all things chocolate! These muffins contain no refined sugar and are ideal individual portion size. Another thing I have come to learn is that over time individual portion sizes of something as ‘innocent’ as a muffin has almost doubled in size, greatly contributing to the growing western obesity rates. My muffins are an appropriate snack size and prevent you from eating more calories, fat, sugar and salt than you thought. Some muffins from high street cafes have been shown to contain anything from 300-600 calories despite being marketed as healthy using whole grain flours and fruit, but what they fail to mention is that they are loaded with sugar and often more surprisingly sodium. These muffins contain approximately 88 calories depending on the brand of dairy-free milk and chocolate chips used. The full recipe can be found here.

Low Fodmap Breakfast Ideas

Variety is key to stopping the low FODMAP diet becoming monotonous, boring and depressing.

Yes, we have to be strict with our ingredients and portion sizes, but it’s time to think outside the box.

I have done all the hard work for you and chosen 15 different breakfast ideas in the hope it will inspire you to try something new using the ingredients you know you can tolerate and get you excited about food again!

It is great practice to alternate between savoury and sweet breakfasts throughout the week. This helps to keep your metabolism quick, as it is constantly guessing what’s coming next and there is no routine.

When you eat the same foods day in day out your metabolism can become sluggish and slow down, leading to weight gain.

Another reason to alternate is to keep it exciting for you as the consumer, by randomly selecting one of these 15 choices each day you will be helping your metabolism and your body by having a nutritional start to the day.

These are all packed full of energy, so perfect to keep you feeling full for longer and help you get the most out of your mornings!

1. Omelette

An omelette can be as simple or complex as you like. I love experimenting with different low FODMAP toppings. For the one picture below I used peppers, kale, homemade green pesto, bacon lardons, spring onion (greens) and spinach.

My basic omelette recipe can be found here: Spring Vegetable Omelette.

Omelettes are also great to enjoy for lunch or a lighter dinner.

2. Nutribix

This is a quick breakfast that can be ready in minutes. I make Nutribix extra tasty by adding low FODMAP berries such as strawberries, blueberries and raspberries and lots of almond milk.

3. Tomato & Egg Bake

I love this breakfast on a weekend when you have more time to prepare and cook it. It is perfect for families and to share with your loved ones.

I like to keep my egg nice and runny and dunk gluten-free toast into the egg yoke.. yum! My recipe can be found here: Tomato & Egg Bake.

4. Low FODMAP granola

I have found it near on impossible to find shop bought low FODMAP granola, so I have created my own. You could use my recipe or your favourite low FODMAP granola recipes

My recipe is for a chocolate and raspberry variety and it is perfect for anyone that has a sweet tooth and is a bit of a chocoholic like me!

Don’t worry despite the chocolate it is still nutritionally good for you, containing no cholesterol, low sodium and no refined sugar. It is also high in manganese and antioxidants. The recipe can be found here:  Chocolate Raspberry Granola.

5. Breakfast protein confetti (AKA scrambled egg and bacon)

This came about completely by chance when I ran out of almond milk, I had no sweet options for breakfast and I saw a few eggs on the side and had a little bit of leftover bacon from my pasta the previous night.

Normally to make a scrambled egg I would use milk, however, for this confetti, I simply used an egg without oil or milk and scrambled it in a non-stick frying pan on medium heat.

At the same time, I fried the bacon lardons. I then topped with a few spring onion greens and fresh parsley and served with a slice of gluten free toast.

Check the gluten free toast is also low FODMAP and that there are no hidden FODMAPs!

6. Orange & blueberry buckwheat pancakes

This recipe is taken from my festive favourites e-book inspired by the humble orange traditionally received in Christmas stockings.

These pancakes can, however, be enjoyed anytime of the year! The recipe is very simple and relatively quick to make, although I suggest this is a recipe for the weekends just so you don’t rush them and can savour them properly.

The recipe can be found here: Orange & Blueberry Buckwheat Pancakes.

7. Crustless Quiche

This is another recipe to enjoy at the weekend when you have more time, as it takes a while to cook, but the preparation is simple and relatively quick.

This can also be enjoyed as a lunch or light dinner.

It is packed full of protein and depending which low FODMAP vegetables you include it can be very high in certain vitamins and minerals, especially iron if you choose spinach and kale!

My recipe can be found here: Crustless Quiche. I make a large quiche that serves 4, eat one portion and then freeze the remaining portions for another day as a light dinner or lunch.

8. Porridge

This is my typical go to breakfast when I am in rush and need some energy before an early morning training session.

I will make it with a splash of almond milk and 30g oats. I microwave for 2 minutes on high then top with fresh low FODMAP berries.

If standard porridge isn’t your thing, you can also make an overnight version using low FODMAP yoghurt of your choice with 30g of oats and your favourite low FODMAP fruits.

Layer in a mason jar first the oats, then the yoghurt then the fruit and repeat until all the ingredients are used up, using only a small amount at a time you should aim for between 6-8 layers.

Remember to stick to Monash app guidelines for portion sizes of fruit. Check your chosen yoghurt and milk for hidden FODMAPs.

9. Savoury muffins

The perfect grab and go breakfast, make these on a Sunday afternoon, for a quick savoury breakfast or snack throughout the week.

They are really tasty and highly nutritious.

Despite their size, they help to keep you full for longer as they are high in fibre and contain hidden vegetables which create their moist, soft texture. The recipe can be found here: Breakfast Savoury Muffins.

10. Smoothie

I love smoothies there are so many varieties you can make and they are super easy, quick and the perfect grab and go breakfast.

I like making mine in the morning and then taking it to training and having a post workout breakfast. Alternatively, you could also take it to work and have it as a mid morning snack at around 11 am.

I will soon be doing another post on my top 10 smoothie recipes but for now here is my favourite!

To make as pictured below simply mix bite size pieces of 1 banana, 35g mixed low FODMAP berries (I use a mix of strawberries, blueberries and raspberries), 1 Tsp linseed, 1-2tbsp oats (if tolerated) and then fill almond milk to the max line on the smoothie maker (note not a blender!). Then blend for 30sec-1min in pulses or until smooth with no visible lumps.

11. Egg Cups

These are great fun for kids and liven up your standard fried egg and toast.

They require no oil or added fat and are so simple and quick to make.

Again it is best to leave these to a weekend or a morning you have a little bit more time to cook them. I like mine runny, so I can dunk my gluten free toast.

The recipe can be found here: Egg Cups.

For a lower carb option swap the gluten free toast for 50g wilted spinach per serving.

eggcups

12. Corn flakes

I cannot take credit for this one but a box of your standard gluten free corn flakes are perfect with low FODMAP milk and low FODMAP fruit.

Try to choose products that have no added sugar for a healthier breakfast. Also, make sure there are no hidden FODMAPs!

13. Breakfast pizza

Inspired by my love of pizza, adapted to be suitable for breakfast or lunch.

This recipe is taken from my daily healing e-book and the full recipe can be found here: Breakfast Pizza.

You adapt this to be vegetarian by omitting the bacon topping.

14. Banana & Dark Chocolate Bread

This is another fantastic simple, quick grab and go breakfast bake this on Sunday and have a slice for breakfast or as a nutritious high energy snack!

Not only does this make a yummy breakfast it can also make a delicious dessert with a scoop of dairy free ice-cream.

15. Gluten free toast

It might sound boring but you could have any low FODMAP toppings on toast, favourites on mine our dairy free cheese and tomato slices, strawberry jam, peanut butter and banana slices. It is another very quick breakfast that you can make in minutes.

What are your favourite breakfasts?

Comment below!

Pancake Day!

Happy pancake day everyone!

The best way to avoid an IBS flare up is to make your own pancakes, that way you know exactly what you are eating and can avoid all the hidden FODMAPs. Hidden FODMAPs to avoid are honey, agave nectar, most artificial sweeteners especially if they end in -ol and of course high FODMAP fruit.

Pure stevia extract is fine to use as a sugar replacement providing it doesn’t contain xylitol, mannitol or sorbitol or any other high FODMAP ingredients.

My favourite toppings are melted dark chocolate, banana and low FODMAP berries.

Today I am sharing with you 7 ideas for pancake inspiration, featuring some of my favourite bloggers and online recipe sources. Simply click the links to access their websites for the full recipes. I have chosen predominantly sweet pancake recipes but included one savoury to show you that it is possible to do both.

Enjoy!

1) My Orange & Blueberry Pancakes

These are really healthy and good for you containing buckwheat which is a great source of fibre, the added fruits in the mixture also make it different and that little bit special.

2)  Brownie Batter Pancakes by Chocolate Covered Katie

For the chocolate lovers out there! Who better than Chocolate Covered Katie! To make this low FODMAP use gluten-free flour, oil instead of applesauce and lactose-free or dairy-free milk. I think this stack looks beautiful and I am a huge fan of her recipes!

3) Classic American pancakes by Louisa from cooklowfodmap.com

Louisa is a FODMAP specialist registered dietician and has lots of yummy low FODMAP recipes on her website!

4) Blueberry pancakes with blueberry sauce by IBS Sano.

I absolutely love blueberries and this stack looks heavenly! It just had to be in my favourite 10 low FODMAP pancakes. This website also features a lot of IBS friendly recipes suitable for the low FODMAP diet!

5) Carrot cake pancakes by Phoebe at Feed me Phoebe.

To make this low FODMAP use almond milk instead of milk, dairy free butter or oil for frying and omit the yoghurt topping. These are delicious I really love carrot cake so having it in the form of pancakes is genius!

6) Classic British pancakes with lemon & sugar by BBC Good Food

To make these low FODMAP use almond milk instead of normal milk and dairy free butter to fry. Do not use agave nectar (very high FODMAP), instead use the classic combination of a pinch of caster sugar and a squeeze of lemon.

7) Savoury pancakes by Cooking with Nothing

This recipe is already low FODMAP but if you need to make it dairy-free try replacing the feta with dairy-free cheese or omitting altogether.

Tomorrow marks the start of Lent.

Are you giving anything up?

I’d love to hear from you, comment below.

LA Tavernetta, Southampton Review

La Tavernetta based in Southampton city centre is an authentic Italian Restaurant, that offers the best gluten free pizza I have ever had the pleasure to taste.

Located just a two-minute walk from the Guildhall or a short five-minute walk from Southampton Central Station and The Mayflower Theatre.

It is the perfect place to enjoy some traditional Italian food if you are ever visiting the area. I visited the restaurant on Thursday 12th November at around 8 pm with 6 of my friends, 3 of which like myself are gluten free due to medical conditions.

The restaurant was very easy to find and the staff were friendly and welcoming.

They offer gluten free pizza and pasta as mains and were even able to make gluten free garlic bread for my brother and friend who are also gluten free, which wasn’t even on the menu!

The service was very good and the food once ordered came relatively quickly. Every one of my friends said how delicious the food was and in particular, all of those eating gluten free were very impressed. I had the Hawaiian gluten free pizza, which I knew would be low FODMAP as it contained mozzarella, ham and pineapple.

You may not know this but most cheese is low in lactose so suitable on a low FODMAP diet as it will not trigger an IBS attack.

I didn’t realise this myself until recently after a consultation with my NHS dietician, previously I had been strictly dairy free, thinking dairy was the problem.

20151112_204708_20151117095548228

This photo doesn’t really do the pizza justice as the lighting was very dark to create an ambient mood in the restaurant.

Due to the shape of the pizza, you can tell it was freshly made and it tasted out of this world, seriously yummy!

I strongly recommend you visit this restaurant for the pizza alone, unfortunately I can’t comment on the pasta as all three of us eating gluten free chose to have the gluten free pizza.

I can’t wait to revisit this restaurant and try other things on their menu! They even said they would be happy for us to phone up and collect a pizza for takeaway.

We were all very impressed with the food and will definitely be back soon especially to try out some of their themed nights! 2-4-1 pizza & pasta from Sunday to Thursday and Wednesday steak night.

La Tavernetta Menu

They only use the freshest quality ingredients. (V) indicates vegetarian option.  All pasta is cooked al dente.  Most pasta dishes are available gluten-free. They also offer daily specials which aren’t listed below.

If you have visited this restaurant before I’d love to hear your feedback and comments. If there are any other restaurants you would like me to review please let me know, I am happy to try them and report back.

UPDATE – January 2018

I revisited this restaurant in January 2018 and their gluten-free pizzas are still the best around! This time I opted for the Giardiniera Pizza (V) which contained mozzarella, tomato sauce, aubergines, peppers, courgettes, feta and rocket. It was very yummy. Even better though was the price an absolute bargain of 6.95 for a normal size pizza just because it was lunch time, although this was not advertised it was a really pleasant surprise when it came round to paying. I will definitely be back again soon!

Dining in Manchester

On Friday 9th October 2015 we began the rather long journey to Manchester for the Rugby World Cup, England vs Uruguay match.

There we stayed in a Travelodge for two nights whilst exploring what Manchester had to offer.

Whilst there I discovered a fantastic gluten free restaurant called MCR 42, which had lots of dairy free options too.

Then on Sunday, we went to Chester Zoo, which I discovered catered gluten free also!

Travelodge

From my previous experience of Travelodge’s I knew it would be unlikely that they would cater gluten free, so I needed to be prepared and pack extras.

So I packed some gluten free rolls enough for 1 each day at breakfast, a carton of long life dairy free milk that didn’t need refrigerating and a small tub of dry gluten free cereal.

In their English breakfast buffet the eggs, bacon, beans, tomato and mushrooms are gluten free but the egg contains milk. As I had been prepared I didn’t have a problem eating breakfast; I had a bacon sandwich both days with a bowl of my cereal and milk.

I even managed to keep it low FODMAP opting to avoid the beans and mushrooms. Had I been travelling alone I would have opted to not have the breakfast and pay for the bed only.

As all Travelodge’s vary, I suggest you call the branch prior to your visit to discuss any dietary requirements you may have and ensure they can cater for you.

MCR 42

This was a very stylish restaurant with an extensive gluten-free menu, there was so much that I wanted to try!

If only I lived closer to Manchester this would become my regular eat out!

Maybe Southampton will catch up soon and offer a solely gluten-free restaurant. The waitress and staff there were brilliant, the menu was clearly labelled and very easy to understand.

I had the burger titled little piggy which was a delicious pulled pork burger served with crisp skinny chips and homemade coleslaw!

James chose the Bangkok Burger which was a Thai inspired crab and cod burger with sweet chilli sauce, which he had with sweet potato fries and homemade coleslaw.

For dessert, we shared the blueberry polenta cake, which was the only gluten and dairy free dessert available.

It was incredible if only they could share the recipe I’d love to recreate it at home!

If you are ever visiting Manchester this place is a must to dine at! Their cocktails were also good and they do 2-for-1 all day every day at the moment!

Little Piggy Burger (pulled pork)

Thai Burger

June’s Pavilion, Chester Zoo

Whilst we were in Manchester we had to visit Chester Zoo, known arguably as one of the best zoos in the UK for its array of rare and exotic species.

It was a fantastic day out and made even better by a stress-free dining experience. I tried out their gluten free pizza pictured below without cheese to make it dairy free.

I have to say despite its bland appearance it was packed full of flavour and really tasty, the base was brilliant. Overall I was very impressed!

A member of staff also informed me that they had gluten free sandwiches, chips, fish, baked potatoes, pasta and salad available on request.

Although had I never asked I would have thought there was nothing I could eat, as it was poorly advertised and there were no labels as gluten-free.

The member of staff was very helpful and the staff cooking and preparing my pizza used separate utensils and a tin foil baking sheet to avoid cross-contamination.

Dining in Malta

My boyfriend organised a mystery holiday to Malta last week.

For those of you that don’t know this is a small European island in the Mediterranean Sea south of Italy.

As always when I go travelling, I was a little apprehensive about what I would be able to eat, but was pleasantly surprised!

The food is strongly influenced by Italy so there were a lot of Italian restaurants, most of which served gluten free pasta & pizza.

The weather was wonderful, gorgeous sunshine and very hot! I really enjoyed the holiday as there was no stress in finding places to dine and the country was great with lots of culture, history and scenic places.

We stayed at the Corinthia Hotel St. Georges Bay for 5 days from the 15th-20th October 2015. During my holiday I had the pleasure to try out gluten-free pizza, pasta, bread, Maltese food and even managed to find a slice of cake in a local bakery!

In the main tourist areas, I would always find several gluten free restaurants to choose from. Although one thing I will say is that in Malta they don’t appear to know what a jacket or baked potato is, so nearly everything is served with fries, even salads!

Whilst I was away on holiday I tried to dine low FODMAP where possible but had difficulty with this due to chefs preparing sauces prior to service.I did, however, manage to successful stay gluten and dairy free which is great, as it meant I didn’t lose any time through illness! Below I have highlighted my favourite places to eat.

I did, however, manage to successfully stay gluten and dairy free which is great, as it meant I didn’t lose any time through illness! Below I have highlighted my favourite places to eat.

Corinthia Hotel St. Georges Bay

The staff were very knowledgeable and I was immediately put at ease.

At the hotel, we had the buffet breakfast every day, which was fantastic as there was so much choice!They had gluten free bread available on request, which I could have with a poached, boiled or fried egg.They offered soya milk so I could have gluten-free cereal. I used my own which I brought from home, as I always take some with me now just in case there is nothing suitable for me to eat at breakfast.

They offered soya milk so I could have gluten-free cereal. I used my own which I brought from home, as I always take some with me now just in case there is nothing suitable for me to eat at breakfast.

There were also bacon, beans, tomatoes and mushrooms available, as well as an omelette station, continental section and pastry/pancake station, although the latter wasn’t suitable for me.

The members of staff were very helpful and the chef would always walk me around the buffet explaining what I could and couldn’t eat if there was anything that I fancied they would do their best to make it especially.

We also went to their evening buffet one night and their Sunday lunch buffet. Both times the food was exceptional the first time they cooked gluten-free tomato pasta for me and a salmon, broccoli and chip main.

Unfortunately, the only thing I couldn’t eat were the desserts but they always produced a fresh fruit platter at the end of the meal, so I didn’t feel left out!

However, the chef did say if I knew when we were going to be dining at the hotel that he would happily make a dessert for me, but would need a prior warning so he could ensure there would be no cross contamination and time allocated.

Due to our busy schedule, we never knew where we would eat from day to day, so I never had the opportunity to try out the desserts at the hotel. The Oasis bar by the pools also served good food and again they could amend the menu to cater for my dietary requirements.

Ciappetti, Mdina

Located in the old capital of Mdina was this cute little walled Italian restaurant.

The menu was advertised outside the entrance and in clear bold letters it said: “We cater for a gluten-free diet, just ask”.

There were also some other restaurants in Mdina that offered gluten-free but their menu choices seemed more limited and when I queried the staff I didn’t feel at ease to eat there.

However, this restaurant really impressed us!

The staff knew about cross contamination and when I explained that I was dairy and gluten free she replied no problem showing me what I could eat from the menu. I stated initially what I fancied but she feared that may be bland with no flavour, so kindly suggested an alternative.

As she had been so helpful choosing a main, we asked her recommendation on the starter and she said to choose the traditional Maltese platter for two which we had already been eyeing up.

I was also served complimentary gluten free bread so I didn’t feel left out. The food was delicious with so much flavour and I would definitely visit there again if I was ever passing!

Peppi’s, Sliema

This was a small café, restaurant on the seafront which had tremendous views looking out from the balcony.

I tried their gluten free pizza which I have to say may have just been one of the best gluten-free pizzas I have ever tasted!

I choose my own toppings to avoid cheese, onion and mushroom and was really pleased with the result. The only issue was that the food took a long time to cook and the service was very slow, so when it did arrive I was very hungry, so forgot to take a picture before diving in!

They also offered gluten-free pasta and salads.

The Cake Box, Mosta

This was a small bakery which offered gluten free cakes, and they even had one that was gluten and dairy free that I could try.

The cake was a little dry for my liking, but I was impressed they offered cakes that I could eat and overall it wasn’t bad. I would have liked to have visited it again on a different day to see if the cake selection changed daily and to try out a few more of their options.

The Italian Job, St Julian’s

This was a lovely Italian restaurant on Level 2 Baystreet Complex, a huge shopping mall in St Julian’s.

They offered gluten free pasta, pizza and bread, as well as a lot of the meat and seafood dishes being adaptable to cater gluten free.

I had the rib eye steak main which was very tender, yummy and well presented. Everyone agreed the food was delicious and that we will definitely return to the restaurant in the future!

Their pizzas looked incredible, so I will have to return to try out their gluten free seafood pizza. Yum!

Buddhamann, Corinthia St George’s Hotel

We really liked the look of the menu so on the off chance I thought I’d ask whether they were able to cater gluten free.

To my delight they could, the choices were limited but the food that I did try was exceptional! We had a gluten-free sashimi platter, to begin with, to share and then both had the king prawn Malai curry as our main.

The food was very high quality and presented beautifully. The waitress was very helpful informing me what I could eat and recommending meals we should try.

I would definitely visit this restaurant again, it is pricey but the food is worth the money!

The only negative is that the portions are tiny, as with all fine dining, so expect to feel hungry unless you have all three courses.

There is seating available with great views of St George’s Bay and it is a very romantic setting dining on the balcony.

Disclaimer

As management and chefs change all the time please contact each restaurant to check they still offer gluten and dairy free options before arriving. This information was accurate as of the 15th-20th October 2015.

There were also many more gluten-free restaurants that I didn’t get the opportunity to try due to our short stay.

If you visit or know of any other good gluten/dairy free restaurants in Malta please post them below so everyone can enjoy them.

Thanks for reading!

Gluten-Free Pizza Review – Who is the Best?

Before I was diagnosed I used to absolutely love pizza, it would be a regular takeout option and a cheap convenient meal when I was a student.

But then I was diagnosed with a gluten intolerance, at the time there were no gluten-free pizzas available on the UK market and you’d never dream of them being on restaurant menus.

I honestly thought I’d never been able to have pizza again.

Two years passed after my diagnosis before gluten free pizza bases became available in UK and 3 years until they were available to purchase at restaurants and takeaways.

I am really impressed with the range of supermarkets, restaurants and takeaways that offer pizza nowadays!

It has come on leaps and bounds since I was first diagnosed.

Today I am going to be sharing with you some of my past pizza experiences and discuss the pros and cons of each…

To date, I have tried gluten free pizza in 5 different varieties: Domino’s, DS Bonta D’ Italia, Pizza Express, Pizza Hut and Tesco’s own base.

Domino’s

This used to be my favourite pizza takeaway choice pre-diagnosis and it was the first gluten-free takeaway pizza I had.

I remember it so well as I was incredibly excited, just being able to have a pizza takeaway with all of my housemates was a great feeling.

For just once I felt normal and that I could be included with everyone else, as I am sure everyone will agree that having dietary restrictions can really prohibit you from eating socially.

Back at the time, I had not discovered my dairy intolerance or IBS so I had a Texas BBQ with the gluten free base, which is chicken, bacon, peppers and red onion with a BBQ sauce and mozzarella cheese.

I remember it being a strange texture and not like any pizza I’d had before but it was delicious and I was just so happy to be eating pizza.

But since I have gone back, I actually think that Pizza Hut is the better choice for a takeaway gluten-free pizza as I prefer the texture.

I found Domino’s too doughy in comparison, as it is quick thick and almost deep pan in texture.

The gluten-free bases at Dominos are a reasonable size unlike some other gluten-free bases, shame on you Tesco.

Domino’s are also very good and often include gluten-free pizza in their deals namely their buy one get one free available on a collection and buy one get one-half price available on delivery.

The local branch I use has amazing customer service and even delivered to me when I was in the hospital! Hospital food is awful and I fancied pizza, it happens to the best of us.

The delivery guy came up to my ward and everything!

Overall I would give Domino’s 4 out of 5 stars as they taste great, I just prefer thin and crispy bases even pre-diagnosis I never was a fan of the deep pan bases.

Unfortunately, the photo I took isn’t that great as it was an evening order and the lighting in the house wasn’t very good, but you can see there were a lot of toppings and overall I was impressed with the appearance.

The photo doesn’t really do the pizza justice.

Another good thing about Domino’s is that they are very consistent, as their pizzas nearly always look the same, so you can guarantee what you are going to get.

Please note for those of you that are dairy free as stated above the pizza pictured did have cheese on, as it was previous to my dairy intolerance diagnosis.

Schar Bonta D’Italia – formerly DS

This was the first frozen gluten-free pizza to enter supermarkets and I last ate one around one and a half years year ago.

So again this was before I was diagnosed dairy intolerant which is unfortunately why I can no longer eat it.

Before I went dairy free this pizza was one of my favourites, I used to always get it before a night out as a cheap and quick meal to eat.

The texture was fantastic it actually tasted like pizza, thin and crispy just how I like them!

I recently saw the company now Schar is producing a lactose and gluten free margarita pizza now which is available in Waitrose frozen section and Ocado online store.

As I can no longer eat this pizza I have no choice but to give it 3 out of 5 stars, if only they could make it dairy free.

Pizza Express

I have visited Pizza Express two times and I am very impressed with their gluten and dairy free menu choices.

I visited Pizza Express first at Port Solent around a year ago and March earlier this year I had the pleasure of visiting the Falmouth Pizza Express.

Both not only had outstanding views but also served exceptional food.

In Falmouth the waiter was brilliant, I believe he had a food intolerance or allergy himself, so he was very aware of what I could and couldn’t eat and very attentive.

After much deliberation as there was so much choice, I went for the Polo Ad Astra which was chicken, sweet peppadew peppers, red onions, tomato, cajun spices and garlic oil without the cheese to be dairy free.

As you will spot a lot of those ingredients are high FODMAP but this is before I even knew what FODMAP was, as at the time I hadn’t been diagnosed with IBS.

The pizza despite the lack of cheese was delicious and probably up there with the best gluten free pizza’s I have tasted.

One thing that really stuck out to me was that I was presented with my own pizza cutter, which was such a relief as often this is where the cross contamination happens!

The restaurant was also accredited by Coeliac UK.

I can’t wait to go back, so for that reason, I have to give them 4 out of 5 stars the customer service and quality of food were just brilliant!

My only negative is that there wasn’t a lot of toppings and the pizza looked quite bare but it did make it up in the flavour which was incredible.

Despite the negatives, I would definitely recommend visiting Pizza Express.

If only they could open up a takeaway service, maybe something they should consider in the future at present they only offer a takeaway service if you collect.

Update January 2018 – Pizza Express are now available for home baking in Tesco’s freshGiardiniera (V)
Mozzarella, tomato sauce, aubergines, peppers, courgettes, feta and rocketizza/passta aisle. This now gives them a 5 out 5 I couldn’t fault their home bake pizza and so convenient for a quick meal.

Pizza Hut

I am really impressed with Pizza Hut, as a child, I used to love Pizza Hut’s all you can eat lunchtime buffets and I would regularly visit with my family or friends when we went into town.

Their gluten-free pizza doesn’t disappoint either it has a wonderful texture, fairly similar to the pizza I remembered pre-diagnosis and I think it is super & delicious!

I prefer this takeaway option to Domino’s and love it so much I am known personally by my local branch.

I always order the same thing gluten-free Texan BBQ without the cheese and sometimes if I am really lucky they add extras such as peppers or parsley as they feel sorry for me that I can’t eat the cheese but still have to pay the same price.

They always pile high the toppings, going that extra bit to satisfy their customers and the food really is delicious!

All three of my family who is gluten free would choose Pizza Hut over Domino’s, so no surprise I am giving them 5 out of 5! I don’t think they should change anything their gluten free pizza tastes good, has a great texture and are a good size.

The price is also reasonable and on par with other takeaways.

My only suggestion would be to look into sourcing dairy free cheese, which also opens them up to the vegan market, but I understand that may take time and not be feasible.

Tesco’s

Tesco offers a gluten free base in their food cupboard section and they also offer a number of gluten free frozen pizzas.

Unfortunately, their frozen pizzas are not suitable for me as they contain cheese (dairy), but my mum has them regularly and highly rates them.

If dairy isn’t an issue it may be worth checking out the BBQ chicken one, which is my mums favourite.

The bases which are gluten and dairy free, however, I really like and at least once or twice a month I will treat myself to one and enjoy designing my own pizza.

They are thin and crispy with a quite soft texture, but I think they are very nice and really delicious when piled high with toppings.

One of my only criticism is that they are tiny, I mean stupidly small I have to eat two!

So they should seriously look into producing bigger ones.

The beauty about gluten free bases for me is that I can add my own low FODMAP toppings and violife dairy free cheese.

Pictured below are the Tesco gluten free bases, which I then topped to make one BBQ chicken and the other sweet chilli chicken.

I give Tesco’s 4 out of 5 stars as the pizzas are great, they just need to be bigger so please look

into this.

So my winner is Pizza Hut and Pizza Express. Thank you for offering delicious gluten and dairy free pizzas to takeaway and eat in your restaurants!!

Companies please note there is a huge gap in the market for gluten and dairy free pizzas and as food intolerances and allergies are becoming increasingly more common it is maybe something you should consider.

Equally providing your pizza bases don’t contain egg this would also open you up to the vegan market.

I’d love to know your views on which gluten free pizza is your favourite.

Do you agree with me that Pizza Hut and Pizza Express is the best or do you have a different favourite?

LANEWAY COFFEE, LEE-ON-SOLENT REVIEW

One weekend when James and I were visiting Lee-on-Solent we discovered a little café called Laneway Coffee.

My usual expectation when I enter a café is for them to have nothing gluten and dairy free on their menu apart from the usual jacket potato without butter or to end up with some boring salad.

So you can imagine my delight and amazement to discover this was a café that not only had gluten free sandwiches, salads and jacket potatoes but also freshly baked cakes.

I took a copy of the menu which you can see below, although it is a little blurry you can roughly read the prices and what was available.

After much deliberation, after all, I am not use to so much choice, I decided to have the salad of the day, which I have to say was very impressive and delicious.

It was massive as you can see below and very tasty!

I certainly wasn’t expecting it to be that big or have so many different things.

I loved the fact the salad dressing was homemade and that everything was gluten and dairy free!

And for once I felt full and satisfied after eating a salad that wasn’t prepared by myself.

Despite feeling very full by this point!

I had to try their wonderful selection of gluten free cakes which I was told were baked freshly in the café.

There were many gluten free cakes available to choose from on the day as the photo below shows and even 3 cakes were gluten and dairy free, an apple and sultana pie, bakewell tart and lemon loaf.

As many of you may know apple and sultanas are unfortunately high FODMAP and especially in my case cause IBS flare ups so I had to give the pie a miss, but I did order one Bakewell tart (left) and one lemon loaf (right).

James ordered a gluten free carrot cake (middle).

All the cakes looked very appealing, were delicious, light and fluffy!

The bakewell tart had a soft crumbly pastry and a tasty filling.

I can’t fault anything we had there and can’t wait to go back and try some of their other gluten and dairy free cakes!

The prices of the cakes were also very reasonable as you can see from the menu and there was also breakfast options available in the morning which I thought was a lovely addition.

The amount of times I have been caught out trying to find a gluten and dairy free breakfast and I always end up having fresh fruit whilst everyone around me enjoys an English fry up or a side of toast!

I also couldn’t help but notice they were hosting a gluten free evening with a full three course dinner but unfortunately I was unavailable to attend.

Although I am sure it would have been very popular among the gluten free community as those type of events are few and far and if my experience at lunch was anything to go on, I have no doubt it would have served sensational food.

The staff were very knowledgeable and made me feel completely at ease, which I usually find near on impossible when eating out, as the slightest cross contamination and I can be bed bound for a week with horrendous stabbing stomach pains and nausea unable to eat anything until it runs its course.

So a huge thumbs up as I felt fine and left a very happy young lady! 

I would strongly recommend this café so if you are ever in the area make sure to pop in!

They are just off the beach on the high street.

For more information you can follow this link to their official website.

I hope you enjoyed reading this review and found it useful.
 

A WELL DESERVED 5 STARS FOR LANEWAY COFFEE, LEE-ON-SOLENT

KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK!

lemon & cucumber infused water

It is important to keep your body hydrated and in shape.

Drinking water is just one way of doing this and when combined with regular exercise and eating healthy, weight loss can be achieved.

However, drinking plain water can be considered boring when compared to other drinks available such as squash or fizzy drinks which often have more flavour.

Diet fizzy drinks at first glance sound great but generally anything “diet” or “low fat” are usually full of nasty chemicals and lots of unhealthy sugar alternatives namely aspartame or sorbitol, which have been known to trigger IBS symptoms causing bloating, stomach cramps and ironically sugar and salt cravings.

Squash is the next best alternative to water but it still adds unnecessary sugar to your diet.

But be cautious with sugar free squashes as again they often contain nasty sugar alternatives that can trigger bloating and stomach cramps.

So what can you drink?

I suggest trying out some of my homemade infused water recipes this post focuses on lemon and cucumber infused water.

So I will share these two examples with you today.

There are loads of varieties to try and it is a great way of getting nutrients and vitamins in your body, whilst staying hydrated and preventing water retention.

Water retention is one of the most common reasons people can feel bloated and struggle to loose weight.

It is important to drink at least 2-3 litres of water a day as a general guideline, but it depends how active you are and what you have eaten that day as to what your body individually requires.

The health benefits of lemon water

Lemon water is great for a body detox and cleanse, I have it every morning as part of my breakfast routine.

There are 7 scientifically proven health benefits:

  1. Lowers blood pressure
  2. Reduces phlegm in the body
  3. High in potassium
  4. Alkalises your body reducing the chance of cold and flu viruses
  5. Helps your bowels to function properly, preventing constipation
  6. Relieves bloating
  7. Aids digestion

How much lemon should I use? How often should I drink it?

It is very important to use the correct quantity of lemon in your water, otherwise, you may suffer negative impacts such as fatigue and headaches as the detoxification can occur too rapidly causing you discomfort.

Half a lemon is recommended for people weighing under 150lbs (68kg) and a whole lemon for anyone over 150lbs per day.

It is advised you drink twice a day so a person under 150lbs like me could have quarter of a lemon in their water for breakfast and then the other quarter in the evening.

Does the water need to be hot?

The water should be at room temperature and preferably filtered water (I use a Brita water filter) for a more purer taste.

If the lemon water is too hot the health benefits are destroyed and too cold the digestive benefits are hindered.

Cucumber water

Cucumber is great as it is naturally very high in water (over 95%), this allows the nutrients and health properties to seep into your water more easily resulting in maximum benefits for you!

Put 2 to 3 cucumber slices in a glass of room temperature water with a sprig of mint and ice if desired.

Mint has health benefits too such as clearer skin, better digestion and some studies say it evens whitens your teeth.

Health benefits of cucumber water

  1. Quick and effective hydration
  2. High in potassium and magnesium so it lowers your blood pressure
  3. Contains Vitamin A
  4. Aids digestion as it is high in fibre
  5. Clears your skin
  6. Reduces puffy eyes
  7. Reduces acne

You will glow from the inside out, so ditch fizzy diet drinks and upgrade to water.

Your body will thank you!

GDPR Policy

If you attend our classes, Catherine from Flex Yourself Fit will collect data from you on a Health Form.

This is data that is necessary so that we know any health issues that could affect your ability in class, which enables us to keep you safe. It is also needed to validate Flex Yourself Fit’s insurance.

All health forms although initially starting on paper, will be securely transferred and stored electronically on a secure password protected computer, compliant with GPDR policy. Only Catherine has access to this data. The paper copies will be shredded and disposed of immediately as soon as the data is transferred to the electronic system.

Your contact details and personal information are not shared with anyone else and we do not share email lists or sell your data.

We give you the option to like and/or follow any of our social media platforms and you can undo this opting out at any point using the social media platform by unfollowing or unliking us.

We ask you for consent to be contacted by ourselves by personal email, text, phone, Facebook chat or WhatsApp in order that we may communicate messages about classes and class logistics, should anything change last minute and we need to inform you urgently.

We will never contact you for marketting purposes using your personal contact details, instead this will be carried out on social media platforms for which you can decide to follow and like, and therefore have the right and freedom to opt out of by unfollowing.

You have the right to opt out of any communications at any time, simply send us a message and we will remove you from our database system.

If you decide to stop classes with us, we will keep your details in case you decide to return to us. We will retain this data for 1 year.

For as long as you continue classes with us we will retain your data so we can communicate with you as above about classes and logistics, until you decide to stop classes or wish to opt out of any communication.

If you would like us to erase your data at any time you have that right.