Win like Novak Djokovic

Did you know the world number one male tennis seed eats a gluten free diet?

After gaining a reputation for collapsing on court at crucial moments and having to pull out of a number of tournaments, Novak Djokovic was approached by fellow Serb Dr Igor Cetojevic back in 2010.

Whilst competing in the Davis Cup that year, Djokovic had a consultation. “Cetojevic told Djokovic to stretch out his right arm while placing his left hand on his stomach. The doctor then pushed down on Djokovic’s right arm and told him to resist the pressure. The strength Djokovic would feel in holding firm, the doctor said, was exactly what he should experience.

Next Cetojevic gave Djokovic a slice of bread. He told the bemused player not to eat it but to hold it against his stomach with his left hand while he again pushed down on his outstretched right arm. To Djokovic’s astonishment, the arm felt appreciably weaker.

It was what Cetojevic had expected. His crude test had been to discover whether Djokovic was sensitive to gluten” (Newman, 2013).

After learning of his gluten intolerance, Djokovic changed his diet dramatically. “He eliminated gluten, dairy, and tomatoes from his diet, and instead focused on eating nuts, seeds, vegetables, fish, chicken, and quinoa. The result, Djokovic says, was palpable: “I was lighter, quicker, clearer in mind and spirit … I could tell the moment I woke up each morning that I was different than I had been, maybe since childhood. I sprang out of bed, ready to tear into the day ahead.”” (Pinnock, 2015) Since changing his diet, Djokavic has gone on to win 10 titles, a runner up in 6 and the world’s number 1 seed – it looks like he eats to win.

Download his diet plan here.

 

Coeliac Awareness Week – Chat with Chloe from ilumi

This week is Coeliac Awareness Week. We had a chat with Chloe, one of our product developers here at ilumi.

Tell us a little about yourself…

Hi, I’m Chloe and I’m 23. I work in new product development of food products. I live with my fiancé Christopher in Northumberland.

What are you allergic to and when were you diagnosed? 

I have never been formally diagnosed after years of testing, but after experimenting with my diet, I found cutting out gluten to be beneficial to my symptoms.

What was eating like before you realised you had a food allergy?

If I ate a gluten-heavy meal out with friends, I found I developed severe heartburn within an hour of eating and then felt incredibly sleepy and bloated. My friends found this quite amusing as it’s usually associated with older generations or pregnancy! I would blame the rich sauce or the white wine, until this started happening more and more in every day eating situations.

What did you have to change; did you find this easy or difficult? 

I originally cut gluten out of my diet completely for around 4 months. This really did help, although it is so hard. It’s the little things that you wouldn’t automatically think have gluten in that you might eat or be accidently given. For example vinegar isn’t gluten free because it contains barley – I was aware of this but my fiancé wasn’t. You find yourself having to talk to anyone who cooks for you about it. Most people are aware of carby things like bread, pasta and cake containing gluten, but not others.

The world is definitely becoming a more gluten free friendly place, so it is getting easier.  There is now a wider range of convenient products available that aren’t overly processed, like ilumi.

What was the positive impact to how you felt after diagnosis?

After cutting out gluten, life went back to how it was before the problems started. I have more energy; I feel I can exercise again without having pain in my abdomen. I am more efficient at work, my mood has improved… Being bloated like a whale, in pain and trying to sit at a desk all day was making me very grouchy!

What are the biggest challenges you face when food shopping?

I used to regularly cook for my best friend who is a coeliac, so most of my household ingredients such as soy sauce and stock cubes are gluten free, so I’m quite used to knowing what to buy when I go shopping. Chris and I usually make everything from scratch and tend to use gluten free substitutes such as pasta that are easily found in the supermarket, and just do a straight swap.

What are the biggest challenges when cooking at home? For example, does everyone in your household eat the same thing?

I think breakfast is one of the biggest challenges – I used to eat cereal or toast but gluten free bread is higher in calories so I don’t eat it. I have found that the gap in calorific content between gluten containing products and gluten free is closing over time though. Sometimes I end up skipping breakfast or just eating a banana if I don’t have time for gluten free oats.  Chris is quite accommodating and will eat what I’m eating to save making two meals, but I do find it challenging when he is eating eat bread and cake…

How is eating out, where are the best places to go?

Chinese is often a no go. Spanish is normally good as I can eat the rice and potato dishes, but have to be cautious of chorizo. Indian is usually fine. Italian can be tricky but more and more places now offer gluten free pasta. I remember a few years back I had to take my own!

Are there any other day to day challenges that you have not already mentioned?

My work involves a lot of tasting. There are certain situations where I do have to have a small mouthful of gluten containing product to be able to review it – I find that in small quantities, gluten doesn’t tend to affect me too much. However, if I have to do a large tasting session, it does and I become sluggish in the afternoon when my stomach is in pain.

What are your go to products/brands that make life easier?

Gluten free oats and bars such as Eat Natural are great for breakfast. I’m also a big fan of Nature’s Store chocolate rice cakes. Tesco also have a good range of own label gluten free products.

 

Coeliac Awareness Week – Chat with Ann from PERK!ER

This week is Coeliac Awareness Week. We had a chat with Ann, co-founder and director at PERK!ER.

Tell us a little about yourself…
I’m Ann, co-founder of PERK!ER with my partner Steve. Our brand name is a mash-up of our surnames Perkins and Turner! We live and work together – it’s a perky partnership!

What are you allergic to and when were you diagnosed?
I’m intolerant to both gluten and dairy; I was diagnosed with the gluten in July 2009 and diagnosed dairy intolerant at the end of 2014.

What was eating like before you realised you had a food allergy?
Looking back I was subconsciously reducing the gluten and dairy in my diet before diagnosis. I ate a lot more salad and vegetables than pasta and bread, for example. I was never really that keen on cheese, cream or milk either, even as a kid. However, I was eating some gluten and dairy pretty much every day. I might have had a splash of milk in my tea, a bit of chocolate, some bread or breakfast cereal, so they were constantly causing me health issues without me even realising. It took me a long time to work out they were the culprits!

What did you have to change; did you find this easy or difficult?
Before when I was eating a little bit of gluten and dairy, I had some health issues and often didn’t feel great, so I actually found it easy to avoid gluten and then dairy. It makes me feel so much better, I feel like myself on a good day every day! Because of this, I would never ever knowingly eat it again.

Finding food that tastes great, is good value and healthy has been challenging for me at times. Eating out is the hardest now – I don’t miss anything at home as I’ve changed my diet to be naturally gluten and dairy free and found new foods and recipes that both Steve and I love.

What was the positive impact to how you felt after diagnosis?
There have been a number of positive impacts for me since diagnosis. Firstly, energy – I feel so much more energized! Before diagnosis I used to get to the end of the week and feel so exhausted. I can now think more clearly, whereas before I had some times when I felt ‘foggy’. I also no longer suffer with severe abdominal pains, like knives going into your guts (yuk!) and headaches – it’s a huge relief.

What are the biggest challenges you face when food shopping?
The hardest time is when I’m on the go. I’m often travelling on business and want to grab a quick, fresh lunch. I find the choice in convenience stores and motorway services really poor, which means I need to carry food around with me most of the time… My bag is always full with plenty of PERK!ER Quinoa bars!

Another challenge is label checking. Every shopping trip I have to read the back of packets to make sure anything new is safe to eat and that the recipes of old favourite’s haven’t changed.

What are the biggest challenges when cooking at home? For example, does everyone in your household eat the same thing?
We pretty much are a dairy and gluten free household now. When we have family and friends over it is always completely gluten and dairy free, but they never notice. In fact, most of the time friends and family ask for the recipes!

How is eating out, where are the best places to go?
For a quick lunch Pod is brilliant. For a longer lunch or dinner my fave’s are Las Iguana’s & Wahaca, and there’s a great Indian and some nice country pubs near us too.

Are there any other day to day challenges that you have not already mentioned?
My family are brilliant – my niece is also gluten free so we all understand about allergen control, but sometimes it’s hard for some friends to cater for me. They want to know for sure they are providing food that’s gluten and dairy free, which can be stressful for them unfortunately. I find it is always worth offering to talk through any concerns they have, bring something to help or cooking a pudding to help take some of the stress away.

What are your go to products/brands that make life easier?
I have quite a few…
• Of course, PERK!ER! Delicious and super-healthy quinoa bars and sprouted bars are firm favourites.
• BFree pitta breads and chia seed wraps are utterly amazing!
• I love almond milk in my tea, so Alpro is a go to brand for me
• Amisa buckwheat crackers are great to take out or have with a salad to add a crunch
• Good Food Company for delicious gluten free and vegan falafels
• Ilumi Spicy Harira Soup
• Explore Asia do a fab range of black bean and edame bean noodles
• Cauldron for tofu, delish grilled with peri-peri spice!
• I love spice so I always have some Nando’s sauces and a cupboard of spices from peri-peri, chipotle, jerk, and herbs to add flavour to veg and protein
• We eat lots of veg and a couple of times a week I’ll roast courgettes, butternut squash, peppers and sweet potatoes with some herbs and spices and have them in the fridge to add to our lunches. Being organized as much as possible definitely helps!

You can find PERK!ER Fruit Berry porridge in our online shop

For more delicious gluten, wheat and dairy free goodies, visit http://perkier.co.uk/, follow on Twitter @Perkierfoods or Instagram, or like on Facebook!

Allergy Awareness Week – Sarah’s Story

For Allergy Awareness Week, we asked around the ilumi office for members of staff to tell us their allergen story. First up, we spoke to Sarah…

Hi, I’m Sarah. I work in Customer Services here at ilumi. I’m 24 and live with my partner and little girl, Olivia. I was diagnosed with a serious nut allergy aged 6, as well as a mild allergy to milk and strawberries. More recently, I also found out I am mildly allergic to wheat.

Before I was diagnosed, myself and my parents were unaware I had a nut allergy as it was not something I was given to eat. I then had a severe reaction when I did eat them. Blood tests also showed I was mildly allergic to strawberries and milk, I but hadn’t noticed any symptoms. My wheat allergy was only diagnosed after I had my daughter. I became very ill with numerous problems, and this was something that showed up in a test I had.

Because my wheat, milk and strawberry allergies are very mild, I continue to eat them unless I’m under the weather. I find that if I’m ill I am much more susceptible to having a flare up with them. My nut allergy is a different story, as I now have my daughter as well as myself to think about. Olivia also has a nut allergy, so for both our safety, I don’t allow anything in my home that is contaminated with nuts. When I first met my partner 6 years ago, he loved KP Nuts and Snickers, but that soon stopped! He’s got used to it now and realises the importance of making sure Olivia and I are safe. I find shopping quite easy as I have been allergic pretty much my whole life. The only thing I have to watch out for is takeaways. Sometimes Chinese takeaways cook things in nut oil, so I have to check or only use ones I know don’t use nut oils.

When eating out, we usually stick to the same places and don’t have any issues, however there have been times where things have changed on menus and the restaurant haven’t said anything. We often go to Harvester and in the past whenever I visited I always ordered the same burger. One particular time, they had changed meat supplier and not updated the menu. The updated burger had spices in it which caused me to have a severe reaction. Luckily I had my tablets with me. If I hadn’t, an ambulance would have had to have been called. I find restaurants don’t really make it clear when something on their menu has changed, which does make it difficult at times.

Although having a nut allergy can be challenging, my diagnosis and especially my daughter’s diagnosis have made me really aware of how to deal with our nut allergy’s. I am now very knowledgeable on what signs to look out for and how to deal with any situation quickly. In a way this also makes me worry, as when I leave Olivia with other people I have to hope that they pick up on any symptoms as quickly as I can! Being allergic myself makes it easier to see if there is anything wrong with Olivia and I can also pass on what I know to her.

Soup Toppings

Soup is often seen as a boring lunch time meal, but with these soup toppings, it doesn’t have to be! Here are some of our favourite ideas and recipes for soup toppings.

Ideas

A simple way to top your soup is with yogurt. Greek yogurt is tangy, milky and cooling and is great for balancing dishes. A dollop can add richness, body and a fatty contrast to soup. It can cool a spicy soup or brighten up a puree.

Another really easy way to top your soup is by using toasted nuts or seeds. Sprinkle almonds on top of a creamy garlic soup to add crunch!

Or if you’re feeling more adventurous, how about poached eggs? They can add extra protein to a simple soup. You can cook them by plopping them in while your soup heats up, and go well with bean stews and garlic-rich broths.

Ideas from 9 Toppings to Make Your Soup Pop. Visit the article for more!

If you’re feeling more adventurous and fancy cooking up your own, how about making…

Spicy Pumpkin Seeds

These are great on top of a soup but also double as a tasty snack to have in your lunch box.

You will need…

  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds, cleaned
  • 1 tsp. canola oil (rapeseed)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cumin
  • Pinch of ground cinnamon

Method

Set the oven temperature to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a bowl, stir together the pumpkin seeds and canola oil. In another bowl, stir together the salt, cayenne, cumin and cinnamon. Add the pumpkin seeds to the spice mixture and stir to coat.

Spread the seeds in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet and bake, stirring once, until golden brown, for 10 to 12 minutes.

From Pumpkin Soup with Spicy Pumpkin Seeds


 

Croutons

A more classic soup topping is the humble crouton (gluten free of course). To make your own…

You will need…

  • 2 cups cubed gluten-free bread
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter or olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried herbs
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder, optional
  • Kosher salt

Method

To make croutons in the oven. Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 170/325 °F/gas mark 3.

In small bowl, toss together bread and melted butter/oil. All bread cubes should be lightly coated with butter/oil. Add more butter/oil, if needed. Add dried herbs, garlic powder and a light sprinkling of kosher salt. Toss. Each bread cube should be lightly coated with herbs.

Spread cubes on an 18×13-inch baking sheet. Arrange cubes in one layer.Bake for 10 minutes. Remove pan from oven. Toss cubes and return to the oven. Bake until croutons are crispy and golden brown, about five minutes. Remove croutons from oven and allow to cool.

To make croutons in a skillet. Follow step two above. Heat one teaspoon butter or oil in a medium (10-inch) non-stick skillet over medium high heat until butter is melted and bubbling or until oil is shimmering. Add bread cubes. Toast, stirring occasionally, until croutons are toasted. Remove from pan and allow to cool.

From Gluten Free Tuesday: How to Make Croutons

Selected ilumi soups are currently on buy one get one half price, so get topping!

Free From Easter Product Review

With Easter just around the corner, we got together some of the ilumi team to try some of the free from hot cross buns and Easter eggs that are currently on the market.

First up, the hot cross buns. We taste tested from Asda, Sainsbury’s, M&S and Waitrose.

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Asda Chosen by You Free From Hot Cross Buns: £2 for 4

The first thing that stood out to us on the Asda hot cross buns was the packaging. They have gone down a really fun route, rather than the usual boring free from! The hot cross buns were very fruity and had a good flavour, but best of all, an excellent texture that was soft and light.

Sainsbury’s Free From Hot Cross Buns: £2 for 4

The Sainsbury’s hot cross bun didn’t fair as well as the Asda. They had a good flavour but not as strong and a much heavier, doughy texture.

M&S Made Without Wheat Hot Cross Buns: £2.20 for 2

We were expecting good things from the look of the M&S hot cross buns, they were so full of fruit! However, on tasting, we were really disappointed. They lacked flavour and had a dense and rubbery texture. They also didn’t offer value for money with only 2 in the pack vs everyone else in the market.

Waitrose Love Life Gluten Free Hot Cross Buns: £2.49 for 4

The Waitrose product seemed unbalanced, with some parts of the hot cross bun having loads of fruit and flavour, and other parts having hardly any. The texture was fairly good, but lacked spice.

Overall Winner

Our clear winner was Asda due to it’s great flavour and texture, the packaging also made it really appealing. We think in a blind taste test it could pass as ‘the real thing!’

We then tried some Easter eggs and cookies.

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The tried and tested products were available in Asda and Sainsbury’s and were a mix of brand and own label.

Celtic Chocolate’s Free From Easter Egg – Found in Sainsbury’s for £3.50

From the packaging, we didn’t have high hopes for this product, however we were pleasantly surprised! The dark chocolate had a fab flavour and wasn’t too bitter. The mint discs that come with the egg were also lovely.

Moo Free From Easter Egg – Found in Sainsbury’s for £4

Another nicely packaged product. On first glance, we thought the product looked good, as the chocolate had a nice shine to it. On tasting, it was ok, similar to cheaper milk chocolate, however left a sour after taste.

Sainsbury’s Free From White Chocolate Egg – £2.50

Dairy free white chocolate is always going to be hard to make, as milk is the main ingredient. We think it was a shame Sainsbury’s went down the free-from packaging route, because it was a perfect size for a smaller Easter gift. It had a very plastic and chemical taste that was very unpleasant. Nobody went back for seconds…

Choices Milk Chocolate Bunny – Found in Sainsbury’s for £1

This looked really cute and was also great for a smaller Easter treat. We found the texture really creamy and it had a nice milk chocolate flavour that wasn’t too sweet.

Choice White Chocolate Bunny – Found in Sainsbury’s for £1

After tasting the other white chocolate product, this was better, but still not great. We’d recommend sticking with the milk chocolate bunny!

Asda Free From Hot Cross Cookies – £1.30

These biscuits had a nice flavour, but perhaps a bit too much almond for some tastes. The texture was soft and chewy. Overall, OK.

Asda Free From Easter Egg with Choc Orange Discs – £3

Again, Asda had packaged this really nicely, and it looked more like a standard Easter egg than something from the free-from aisle. The egg was creamy and not too sweet, but the real heroes were the chocolate orange disks that came with it – amazing!

Asda Free From Easter Egg with Choc Buttons – £3

We were expecting this to taste the same as the previous egg we had tried, but it actually had a different flavour that was much sweeter and not as enjoyable.

Overall Winner

Again, Asda nailed it with their Free From Egg with Choc Orange Discs. It felt like a ‘real’ Easter egg with the seasonal packaging and inclusion of the discs.

Beef with pak choi, mushrooms and noodles – GF noodle recipe

It’s Noodle Month, so why not try this delicious recipe including tender beef and meaty wild mushrooms.

You will need…

  • 75 g thin rice noodles
  • 115 g quality beef sirloin
  • olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • sea salt
  • ½ red onion , finely sliced
  • 1 thumb-sized piece fresh ginger , peeled and finely sliced
  • 1 fresh red chilli , deseeded and finely sliced
  • 1 small handful shiitake and oyster mushrooms , brushed clean and torn up
  • 200 ml organic chicken stock
  • 1 pak choi , quartered

Method

  1. Boil the kettle and soak the noodles in the boiling water according to the packet instructions. Meanwhile, rub the beef with olive oil, sprinkle with the cumin and a small pinch of salt and rub all over.
  2. Place in a really hot frying pan and sear on all sides. Add the onion, ginger and chilli and cook for a couple of minutes, then add the mushrooms, stock and pak choi.
  3. Drain the noodles and add them to the pan. Stir around, and correct the seasoning. Slice up the beef and serve the noodles and pak choi in a big bowl, with the beef slices on top. Pour over the broth from the pan.

 

From jamieoliver.com
Read more at http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/beef-recipes/beef-with-pak-choi-mushrooms-and-noodles/#VhtO8oTjoDocKrdG.99