Health Writing Round-Up

I’ve been writing away frantically for the last few weeks, which means I haven’t had as much time to dedicate to my blogs. What I thought I’d do though, is provide a health writing round up right here on A Free From Life, so you can find out what I’ve been up to.

How to convert recipes to gluten free - A Free From Life

Having a gluten intolerant child, I’m more concerned perhaps than most when it comes to worries about arsenic in rice. Most gluten free products contain rice flour and that’s why I mostly make my own things and monitor what my son eats. He loves rice milk, but I don’t give him it any more, choosing coconut milk by Koko instead (look out for added rice milk in some other dairy free alternatives). I make my own bread, but my son’s biggest love of all is pasta. He would eat it all day and everyday if I let him and prefers it to sandwiches for his lunch. I try to look for corn based pasta if I can, as he has to give up so much already and I feel sorry for him.

In the news last week though was the story that Swedish officials have warned parents against giving children rice cakes as a snack. That simple little product that we all thought of as a healthy alternative to a biscuit has raised concerns about the level of arsenic consumption in children. No doubt we will be hearing more about this as studies continue.

Debunking the FODMAP diet - A Free From Life

I looked in to the world of apps and how they can help people with food allergies and intolerances and found a number of useful ones. For me, being out for the day and not knowing where to go to eat is one of the biggest worries and having an app that can link your location with nearby establishments would be a really useful tool. Whether you need help with your shopping and cooking, managing your symptoms or you’re embarking on a FODMAP diet and need some guidance, you can download a corresponding app and have vital information at your fingertips wherever you are.

Health writing round up - A Free From Life

Whether you choose to eat gluten free (for health or medical reasons) or want to switch to being completely grain free (Paleo), you may choose to increase your protein content. Protein takes longer to digest and so can keep you fuller for longer. When you cut down or give up those carby grains, you may find you need to up your protein for that very reason. I investigated some high protein food swaps that would make healthy alternatives or additions to your diet.

Health writing round up - A Free From Life

From zero calorie noodles, to savoury ice cream and spreadable beer, quirky food is everywhere. I looked up several examples of seemingly ordinary food that’s made with unusual ingredients. These twists on the originals make for some fun and interesting products. I’m not sure I would eat all of them though!

FODMAPS and IBS - A Free From Life

I shared a personal experience of what it’s like to live with IBS. Having learned to control the symptoms over the last twenty years, it came as a shock when I had a particularly bad attack. Looking back at the events leading up to that day, though, it really shouldn’t have come as a surprise. Stress, not eating properly and indeed not eating at all, are all factors and I of all people should know that. It’s a lesson learned and a reminder not to forget about my own health when I am busy looking after the rest of my family.

Airlines traveller's guide to In-Flight Meals - A Free From Life

After a particularly stressful long haul flight that involved my son having no meals because his order was messed up, I resolved to never trust airline food again. When investigating what airlines claim to offer by way of special dietary meals, what surprises me most is the lack of flexibility. As my son can’t eat dairy OR gluten, not one seems to provide an option that caters for both. So which do I go for? A vegan meal might be an option, but will a child be likely to eat it? There are so many things to consider when ordering a special meal on a flight and I’ve heard many instances of people having terrible experiences. I can only hope that the situation improves as more people highlight these issues.

Health writing round up - A Free From Life

Last, but not least, I couldn’t finish without including a little something for the weekend. Although not health related in the slightest, these cocktails I created are a fusion of three classics: Pimms and lemonade, G & T and Mojito. Inspired by the idea that we are a divided nation when it comes to choosing our favourite, I thought why not mix them up? And why not indeed. I hope you feel inspired by this little burst of sunshine we’ve been blessed with to try one of these. I’m particularly proud of my photography work in this article, as it’s my first time using a professional camera. What a difference it makes too.

About Nicola Young

Freelance writer and copywriter

9 thoughts on “Health Writing Round-Up

  1. Hi Nicola, you should be very proud of your photography. It looks amazing! I am still struggling with mine! I’m glad I am not alone in the worry about arsenic in gluten-free food. Not sure if you saw my latest blog on it but I tried to outline the alternatives to rice to show it is possible to be gluten-free and not eat too much rice! Sorry to hear about the terrible flight situation…that is dreadful. And really interested to read about your IBS (although I couldn’t read the full article because a full screen size ad came up that I coulnd’t get rid of??!). You may or may not know that I have been suffering for 20 years too on and off. Not with the pain you describe but terrible bloating instead. I have found Symprove a great help…it is really worth looking in to…

    1. Thanks, Vicki, yes I did see your post about rice flour. I use lots of different flours when I make things at home, as I don’t like the grittiness of rice flour anyway. I’m trying to use less grains where possible now though, but I don’t think we would go completely grain free. Sorry to hear you are a long term IBS sufferer too and thanks for the tip.

  2. My kids all ate so many rice cakes as toddlers (those organix ones) so It’s worrying to read about the arsenic in rice. I do feel lucky that my kids don’t have allergies or intolerances – it must make life so much harder. fab photography and those cocktails look really tempting! xx

    1. Yes mine did too and I hate to read about things like that when you can’t change the clock back and reverse your choices. Going forward, I have to balance the gluten free diet with rice intake though. Those cocktails were very tempting, but I made them during the school day and didn’t want to turn up to school sloshed!

  3. What an interesting round up Nicola, I too get bouts of IBS and I’ve always been able to link it to my emotional state at the time. I’ve not given much thought to the food side of things so next time it happens I’ll make a note of what I’ve been eating as it will be interesting to see if there’s a food trigger too. And I just have to try marshmallow vodka and beer bread – yummy!

    1. It’s difficult to work out because there are so many potential triggers. One of mine is leaving too big a gap between eating anything and then when I do, it can be instant pain. I have to have a snack before going out for dinner, otherwise it can ruin my evening.

  4. Fascinating round-up! Several articles there I’m going to come back to when I have more time… The rice thing is really concerning, but (aside from nuts which I obviously have to avoid completely) my general mantra is never have too much of one thing! I’m hoping that will mitigate against the risks slightly – I can’t imagine cutting rice out of my diet entirely…

    1. That’s definitely the best way and I don’t think you need give up rice either. Those who eat a lot of gluten free ready-made products should watch their intake though, due to the high use of rice flour.

  5. The photos are great! I’m not good with food or eating. I’m a strict vegetarian (my kids aren’t) and I have a slight intolerance to cheese so I find special diets hard to stick to.
    It’s hard when you’re cut short for time too. Fish fingers for them, veggy fingers for me = dinner done.
    It’s a shame that places don’t cater for those with more than one allergy or intolerance. I know they can’t please everyone, but a good range of alternatives would give you the ability to mix and match to suit dietary needs.

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