5 Tips for good gluten free menu’s

Breakfast at The Conservation Hut

 Australia Day we added a couple of days leave creating a long weekend and headed up to the Blue Mountains. Being strictly gluten free I did some research before I left and came up with an impressive list of options. Unfortunately the definition of gluten free varied widely. So here are some tips for aspiring cafes and restaurants.
1. Having gluten free bread available is nice but it doesn’t make for gluten free options . We particularly enjoyed the gluten free high tea at the Hydro Majestic because we got to enjoy lots of delicious options which were all gluten free. They even toasted the bread which is essential when you are dealing with gluten free bread. A particular highlight was a raspberry macaroon served with fresh raspberries. Just wish they could sort out the gluten free scones – there are some great options around and they are an essential part of a high tea. Also just remember if you do provide gluten free bread then be careful about cross contamination with food handling.

2. Provide real gluten free options. At Anonymous Cafe at Blackheath the gluten free breakfast options included gluten free toast, spiced pumpkin loaf and a gluten free muesli. The spiced pumpkin loaf was served with marscopone and jam and was a delicious option.

Gluten free at the Hydro Majestic

3. Remember people who are gluten free often have multiple intolerances including dairy and egg so ideally include options which don’t double down on the intolerances. Great breakfast options could include adding a vegetable hash with optional inclusions such as salmon, egg or bacon. The Conservation Hut at Wentworth Falls offered a smoked trout hash with a poached egg and was happy to leave it off when requested.

4. Educate your staff about your menu’s. At one restaurant which will not be named I was asked by one waitress whether potatoes were gluten free? She then advised that only two of the main courses were options but subsequently a different staff member then told me that everything could be made gluten free. This was a bit misleading as it turned out they removed the portion of the meal that required gluten. For dessert it was actually the crumble part of the peach and apple crumble and it would have been nice to know that half the dessert would not be included. Its so easy to make gluten free crumble mix – any mix of almond meal, brown sugar, quinoa or rice flakes would work well.

By contrast we also enjoyed dinner at Vesta‘s in Blackhealth where the waitress not only could tell you what was possible in terms of gluten free but provided options such as flaxseed crisp to enjoy with the pate on the charcuterie board. The small board made a good sized entree between two people and included a pate and a terrine as well as some meats and excellent pickled vegetables.

5. Mark the menu with the gluten free and other options, such as vegetarian. This means when you search menu’s its easy to see if there are real gluten free options and quickly identify what they are. The Ori Cafe¬†at Springwood and Papadino’s¬†at Katoomba both have well marked menu’s with a good range of options. The night we ate at Papadino’s the specials board even included a gluten free gnocchi. It was served with a Napolitana sauce which was quite garlicky but also delicious.

Christine Pope is a Nutritionist and Homeopath who practices at Elemental Health at St Ives. If you need help managing food intolerances or just some good restaurant recommendations you can make an appointment on 8084 0081 or book online .

 

 

 

 

 

Arriving in great shape

The worst thing in the world when you start a holiday is getting sick. You just spent thousands getting to your destination and now you have to deal with being sick, missing out on part of your holiday and even dealing with a doctor in a language you don’t speak. So what can you do to avoid this?

First up don’t work right up to the second you get on the plane. You are setting yourself up for a lovely adrenal crash when you land, depressing your immune system so you can’t resist the bugs that were on the plane or in the airport. You are going on holidays and they need to cope when you are gone – coach them with some baby steps the weeks before your trip so that its all running smoothly and you can enjoy your break.

Support your immune system assiduously before the trip. Ideally look at a minimum a good quality probiotic for at least a month, plus if you are prone to colds and flu think about some form of immune support in the form of Echinacea, Vitamin C and Zinc. If its really your adrenals that are struggling then consider some ginsengs such as Withania which provides gentle support. Again start at least a month before travelling to really build up your adrenals.

Book your flights so that you start relaxed. By this I mean rather than getting a 6am flight because its cheapest, travel at 10 or 11am when its more relaxed and you can enjoy a slow start to the day. Treat the travel as part of the holiday and make it a relaxed experience. If you are doing Europe in economy think about breaking it overnight to sleep flat in a real bed and make it easier on your body. Alternatively book a massage once you arrive to really start your holiday in the best frame of mind.

Then on the plane work on barrier support. Try a nasal spray with saline and essential oils to keep mucous membranes functioning and bugs at bay. This is also good if you are prone to difficulties with ears on takeoffs or landings as it will help keep the passages clear. Stay well hydrated even if you have to get out to the toilet every few hours – moving around will help you feel better at the other end anyway.

My favourite homeopathic combination for long trips is a dose of Oscillococinum and Hepar Sulph on each leg of the flight. Oscillococinum is marketed as Flu Stop in Europe and its a great preventative if you are prone to catching those type of bugs. Better still it can be used as treatment if you do get a bug so it covers a few bases.

Christine Pope is a Homeopath and Nutritionist who practices at Elemental Health, St Ives and can be contacted on 8084 0081 for appointments. Her travel bug has been curtailed of recent years due to a busy work schedule but she is planning a trip to New Zealand in January.