Flaxseed Bread

MIMG_0498.JPGy middle daughter, Evie (7), has serious issues with gluten (and oats!). She’s tested negative for coeliac disease, but if she has even a small amount food of bread, cake or pasta she will be doubled up in pain a few hours later. As for many people with gut issues, stress and worry are also a major factor in making the problem worse. She desperately misses London since we had to move to N. Ireland 8 months ago: our
house, her school, her friends, and most of all her Dad who still lives there.

It’s lucky that I’m a dietitian, as I’m well used to managing patients with coeliac disease and non-coeliac gluten sensitivity, but practically it can be tough to avoid gluten. Birthday parties are notoriously difficult to negotiate (what kid can’t resist a tiny bit of cake!). The availability of gluten free foods is a million times better than 10 years ago, but they can be expensive and often loaded with sugar. I like making as much of my family’s food as possible, and this bread is fab for her……….the flaxseed is brilliant for gut health and constipation, and the eggs and almonds provide terrific sources of protein. And very importantly, it’s so easy.

If you are watching your carbohydrate intake, needing gluten free, or simply want a highly nutritious healthy bread, then I highly recommend this very easy ecipe. For anyone who has tried Irish wheaten bread, this has a very similar texture.IMG_0861.JPG

Flaxseeds for dietary fiber, manganese, vitamin B1, and omega-3 healthy fats. Almonds are a source of vitamin E, copper, magnesium, and high quality protein, fiber, and phytosterols. Eggs are a very good source of high quality protein, vitamin B2, selenium, B6, B12 and minerals such as zinc, iron and copper, fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K.

There is about 1000 kcal, 54g protein, 5g carbs in the whole loaf. So if you cut 6 slices, that’s about 170kcal per slice.


Ground flaxseed – 1 cup

Ground almonds – 1/2 cup

Eggs – 4

Baking powder – 1 teaspoon


1) Beat together eggs & 3 tablespoons of water

2) Mix dry ingredients in a separate bowl: 1 cup ground flaxseedUnknown copy 9, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 cup ground almonds

3) Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, mix well. Put in a loaf tin, cook for 20 minutes at 200 degrees C.


Seriously Healthy 1 minute muffin

UnknownHigh in healthy fats and protein, low carbs.
The main ingredient in these healthy muffins is ground flaxseed. Flaxseed is a source of healthy fat, antioxidants, and fiber; rich source of micronutrients, dietary fiber, as well as manganese, vitamin B1, and the essential fatty acid omega-3.

imageModern research has found evidence to suggest that flaxseed can also help lower the risk of diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. I regularly recommend it to patients especially for constipation.

Flaxseed can be bought in most of the big supermarkets or health food images-3shops (it is the same as ground linseeds – my Mum tells me they used to put linseed oil on horses tails to make them healthy and shiny)

Add a little bit of honey/maple syrup/agave nectar/sweetener/raisins if you like (they can be a little bland without any sweetness!)

Nutrition info: 320 kcal, 1g carbohydrate, 16g protein

  • 1/4 cup flaxseed
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon light vegetable oil, such as olive oil
  • optional sweetener of choice (1/2 teaspoon sugar/honey etc)
In a coffee mug, stir together 1/4 cup of flax meal, 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder, sugar/honey/sweetener if using and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. Be sure to use a coffee mug, not a cup.
  2. Add 1 egg and 1 tsp. of oil to the dry ingredients and mix well.
  3. Microwave the mug for 45 to 60 seconds.
  4. Pop the muffin out of the mug and enjoy.

Eat on the run, or serve with a high protein yogurt and berries.


Medical News Today article on Benefits of flaxseed

Super Simple Smoothie

Here’s a super healthy smoothie using REAL food……a complete breakfast containing protein, antioxidants, calcium, vitamin C and soluble fibre. Nutritionally, this is an incredible combination of ingredients. It’s also an easy way to get fruit in to kids!

Unknown-2IDShot_90x90-2Shop bought smoothies tend to be very high in fruit juice, and therefore high sugar.

150ml milk (normal cow’s/Lactofree/almond/rice milk etc.)

1 tablespoons natural yogurt e.g. Total is high in protein

1 banana/handful of oats

Low fat, high protein yogurt

Low fat, high protein yogurt

handful frozen berries

dollop of honey

Whizz the lot up and serve!

Beetroot & Carrot Super Bowl

Here’s a humdinger of a veggie dish which will pack in the nutrients and can give measurable health benefits. Beetroot is one of the latest trendy foods to hit the headlines….research imageshows that it contains nitrate (a good thing!) which reduces blood pressure and may increase athletic endurance. Carrots provide beta carotene, pumpkin and sunflower seeds are optional, but add a fabulous texture to the recipe, not to mention healthy fats and protein. Drizzle with some olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice for a bit of zing!

Ingredients list: 3 raw beetroots, 3 raw carrots, handful of pumpkin/sunflower seeds, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 lemon.

  1. Peel and grate the carrots and beetroot.image
  2. Mix together
  3. Add pumpkins sunflower seeds, a few tablespoons of olive oil and the juice of a lemon.

Don’t be alarmed if your wee has a red tinge, this happens to about 10% of people! The colour pigment called betalaine is absorbed by your intestine and excreted in your urine.


We all know that we need to be upping our veg intake, ideally aiming for about half of your plate. If time isn’t on your side, it can seem easier to grab a ready prepared ‘salad’ from the shops e.g. Coleslaw. Here’s one from my local supermarket that is mostly cabbage and oil, with only 14% carrot.


Cabbage (47%), Rapeseed Oil, Carrot (14%), Water, Double Cream (Cows’ Milk) (3%), Sugar, Onion (2%), Pasteurised Barn Egg, Spirit Vinegar, White Wine Vinegar, Salt, Stabilisers: Guar Gum, Xanthan Gum; Acidity Regulator: Sodium Acetate; Mustard Seed.


Having grown up on my granny’s homemade coleslaw (usually served with lasagne and garlic bread!) to me, the shop bought stuff is massively inferior with an overrepresentation of cabbage. These days, I’ve adapted The Granny’s recipe to make it a bit healthier…………..the dressing is made with light mayonnaise or humous, natural yoghurt and a splash of vinegar.

When I need something incredibly quick, this is an easy way to get a super serving of veg. I’ll have it with some pumpkin/sunflower seeds (good fats) and for protein I add a few spoonfuls of left over chilli, or a tin of tuna.

Here’s the recipe, it literally takes about 2 minutes:

about 1/4 white or red cabbage grated


Coleslaw – lovely colours!

2 grated carrots

1 tablespoon light mayonnaise/humus

1 tablespoon natural yogurt

1 teaspoon white wine vinegar (optional)

No nonsense. Just mix it all together.

10 Meals for Kids

You know how it goes, in the morning you think to yourself, “What will I give them for their tea tonight”, but ignore the situation because you’ve all day to come up with some inspiration. Before you know it, it’s 2 o’clock, the school run is in an hour, and you’ve got to get to the shops before you pick them up.

So I’m darting through Sainsbury’s mentally checking off the daily things we need……milk, fruit, veg, oats, bread etc. But what for dinner?? If I was a proper mother I would have a meal plan for the week, and order everything on line for a scheduled home delivery. It think that’s what a successful mum does? I KNOW that I should, but I just can. not. do. it.

What you feed your family doesn’t have to be exotic or exciting. I think that we convince ourselves that to be a good parent, we’ve got to produce amazing meals ‘designed’ by celebrity chefs.

You know what? I don’t have the time or the energy to play ‘hunt the ingredient’ from the imagelocal Thai supermarket, and certainly don’t have the funds to make Wholefoods my local. Chia seeds are all very well, but excruciatingly expensive (£20/kg), and wholegrain rice is almost as nutritious (£1/kg). The scientific evidence shows, that what you feed your children has a fundamental effect on their development and health. However, I can achieve this from my local supermarket, with a shopping list that I won’t have to remortgage the house for.

As long as you use the basic equation of carbohydrate, protein and veg for a meal, you can’t go far wrong. If you can tick the boxes for wholegrain carbs, calcium, iron and omega 3s you’re doing a stirling job.

Here’s my list of the meals that I give my children (9, 6 and 3). All three of them have their own quirks and ‘challenges’ when it comes to mealtimes and food preferences. I pretty much ignore them, the less drama the better (that’s a whole other post!)

Carbohydrates: Pasta, rice, potatoes, fajita wraps, breadimage

Protein: chicken, beef mince, cheese, eggs, fish fingers, sausages, lentils, baked beans, turkey

Veg: carrots, peppers, onions, peas, broccoli, baked beans. I also use my basic tomato sauce/soup recipe about 3 times a week for bolognaise, in shepherds pie and with meatballs.

  • meatballs & pasta
  • spaghetti bolognaise



  • shepherd’s pie
  • fish fingers, mash potato, carrots
  • sausages, jacket potato, baked beans
  • jacket potato, beans, cheese
  • jacket potato, tuna & sweetcorn mayo, red pepper slices
  • rice, broccoli, chicken (slow cooked), gravy
  • Pasta & sausage bake: pasta, tomato sauce, chopped up sausages
  • Chicken Fajitas – chicken breasts, onion, red peppers, fajita mix and wraps

Sometimes I will literally throw together anything from the basic equation of carbs, protein and veg, eg. left over rice from the fridge, a tin of baked beans and grated cheese (I was a little surprised that they ate this quite happily, they must have been VERY hungry!) If ‘incentives’ are required for making a good effort to eat the meal, stickers may be offered. If one of them claims to be full up when I know that they probably aren’t, I just say, “oh well, you’ll have no room for custard then.” That usually does the trick (that or a little dollop of tomato ketchup).

If I’m feeling like Top Mom, we’ll chat about how runner beans make you run fast, carrots help you to see in the dark, and cheese gives you strong bones and healthy teeth for tBVeKHQ8IIAA8KIg.jpg-thumbhe tooth fairy. And the Incredible Hulk just LOVES broccoli, don’t you know? I never make them clear their plate, I’m happy if they have made a decent effort, and aren’t messing about at the table.

Pudding is usually natural yogurt or custard with stewed apple/frozen berries, or frozen
banana whizzed up in the blender with yogurt.

I’m not saying this will work for every family and child. It is what works for me, and hopefully for them.

Can what you eat cure your acne?

Something I see occasionally in my clinic is clients with spots. And it’s not usually teenagers, it’s more likely to be women in their 30s and 40s. I’ve even had one lady in her 60s who suffered from cystic acne on her chin, not bad enough for a dermatology referral, but none the less, unpleasant to put up with. My clients have usually been suffering for years, and while their GP or dermatologist may be sympathetic, the prescribed treatments offered have not provided a long term solution.

As an acne suffer myself from the age of 14, I spent 20 years wondering when I’d Roaccutane - a last resort‘grow out’ of it. Every medication in the BNF (the doctor’s prescribing bible) has been given to me, from benzyl peroxide cream to the liver toxic Roaccutane. Each would help for a while, but the spots always returned. It was evident that the root cause was not being treated. I was always told by GPs, dermatologists and even dietitian colleagues that there was no relationship between acne and diet.

What does the research show? The outdated opinion that acne is not related to diet comes from a 1969 study looking at the effect of chocolate on acne, in which the inappropriate conclusion was drawn that, as chocolate did not appear to affect acne, neither did any dietary factor. However, there is growing evidence from more recent studies supporting the relationship between diet and acne. In particular a high glycaemic index diet and dairy have been implicated. There is also emerging medical evidence and a growing number of clinicians acknowledging that up to 10% of the population may have a gluten intolerance, despite testing negative for coeliac disease. Gluten intolerance can manifest in skin conditions. There is also interesting new research looking at gut bacteria, and it’s role in inflammation and immunity.

What causes acne? Acne is caused by a combination of hormones and inflammation. Women with polycystic ovary syndrome are particularly susceptible. A diet high in refined carbohydrates (sugar, white bread, white rice, biscuits, sweets, pastries etc.), low in fruit and vegetables, and low in essential fatty acids may have a negative effect on hormones, and may also contribute to inflammation. This is where the role of good/bad bacteria in the gut becomes interesting. A poor diet affects the complex flora in the digestive tract resulting in an overgrowth of the bad, which may ultimately have many effects outside of the gut, including spotty skin.

For years, I have followed a very healthy diet including lots of veg, fruit, whole grains, healthy fats, low sugar etc. however, still suffered with acne. In desperation, 2 years ago I thought I would have nothing to lose by trying a gluten free diet. With in a few weeks the spots had cleared. The ‘gold standard’ way togenius46_460 challenge the intolerance is to reintroduce the food. I have done this twice, once on holiday in Morocco where breakfast was almost completely bread products, and in Ireland where I wasn’t going to offend my husband’s Granny by turning down her scones! The result? With in about 3 days I had horrible spots which took about a month each time to clear up.

Everyone is different and there is no magical ‘one diet fits all’. For me, gluten is my trigger, however, this will not be the case for all. For some of my clients, just cutting out the refined carbs and increasing the good fats is enough to see 100608182647-largeimprovements. A change in diet can take time to show in the skin. Some people see a difference in a few days, for some it may take a few months.

My recommendations:

  • avoid refined carbohydrates, change to wholegrains
  • have a good intake of vegetables and fruit (at least 5 portions a day)
  • take a daily fish oil supplement containing 500mg DHA & EPA
  • include healthy fats e.g. nuts and seeds, olive oil, avocados
  • consider a trial exclusion of dairy
  • consider a trial exclusion of gluten
  • consider a probiotic supplement

If you don’t feel confident with changing your diet or choosing a probiotic, seek the advice of a dietitian to guide you. Cutting out food groups such as dairy, can leave you lacking in important nutrients. A dietitian can also help you with the practical aspects of applying the recommendations to your current diet and lifestyle. For example, what to buy in Pret a Manger or Starbucks, how to incorporate more veg, how to go gluten free.