Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Ensure your Christmas feasts do not leave anyone out!

With at least nine million people at risk of an adverse reaction to their Christmas dinner Genius Foods, the UK’s leading gluten-free brand, and Lactofree®, the UK’s only lactose-free dairy range have teamed up to ensure everyone can enjoy a delicious festive feast.

As many as one in 100 people in the UK are gluten intolerant and research also shows that up to 15% of people in the UK are estimated to be lactose intolerant. Considering there are over 60 million people in the UK, that is a lot of Christmas dinner guests with intolerances!

Lucinda Bruce-Gardyne, founder of Genius Foods and author of ‘How to Cook for Food Allergies’ said: "Cooking for people with intolerances can be a confusing and daunting task but we have put together some recipes to make sure everyone is catered for. Even if you aren’t lactose or gluten intolerant cutting them out is not dangerous to your health. Some people find that just cutting down on these ingredients can actually make them feel less bloated and more energetic, which following a Christmas dinner is almost unheard of!"

But shopping for these dinner guests can seem daunting. Sian Porter, Consultant Dietitian offers a few top tips for surviving Christmas with a lactose or gluten intolerance:

“When in the supermarket you should take extra time to read food labels – especially as some items such as mince pies are only eaten seasonally, you may be unfamiliar with their ingredients. These often contain both lactose and gluten, derived from dairy and wheat, barley or rye respectively. However, there are gluten free mince pies available. If treating yourself to a creamy homemade desert make it with lactose free dairy to ensure you can all experience the delights of Christmas without the worry of paying for it afterwards.”

“If you’re lucky enough to have Christmas lunch made for you, make sure that the cook knows in plenty of time what foods might contain lactose or gluten as well or suggest that you will bring an alternative for everyone to try.”

Both lactose and gluten intolerances share symptoms such as bloating, diarrhoea, sickness and cramps. In fact, many intolerances are misdiagnosed and as a result, 38 per cent of people who think they suffer from IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) might in fact be lactose intolerant. It is also thought that between 50 per cent to 90 per cent of gluten-intolerance (coeliac disease) cases are either undiagnosed or misdiagnosed as IBS. So you may find yourself catering for those who don’t even realise they have an intolerance – happy tummy’s all round!

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