Really good choc chip biscuits…and why it’s great they are wheat free

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If you can’t tolerate wheat, are vegan or lactose intolerant I have the biscuit for you.

This little gems tick all the boxes – chewy with crispy edges, sweet and nutty.  Just because you have some dietary issues doesn’t mean you have to miss out.

These are not sin free – there’s sugar and chocolate and other wicked things but we all crave a treat now and then and these are so good.

Wheat has become a contentious topic. Lots of people find they cannot tolerate wheat without some nasty side effects like reduced nutrient absorption, bloating, pain, intestinal aggravation and headaches. For those living with Coeliac Disease it’s a total game changer.

About 50 years ago some serious modifications occurred to mass produced wheat making it a shorter, tougher grain. It certainly helped solve some issues of demand but left us with a grain that is much harder to digest and one that contains introduced proteins that were never originally there. Few of us have the enzymes necessary to break it down and this can lead to a situation where bloating and intestinal upset, inflammation, overactive immune responses and blood sugar spikes wreak havoc in our bodies.

If you are dealing with any autoimmune disease such as Hashimoto’s or Graves Disease, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, lupus or inflammatory bowel disorders you should stay well away from wheat. It is not your friend and is, in fact, feeding the immune storm driving your condition.

On a happier note – CHOC CHIP BISCUITS !!!!   There are lots of options in this recipe so tweak it to suit your own situation, choices or tastes.

Makes about 40 biscuits

2 eggs or 2 tablespoons of flax seed meal mixed with 100mls of water.
125gr butter, vegan butter or coconut oil
1/2 cup nut butter – I use almond
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup caster or coconut sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon each of bicarb soda and baking powder
2 cups of raw or roasted almonds
2 cups gluten free oats
2 teaspoons good quality salt
1 cup chocolate chips ( you could swap this for raisins, cranberries, nuts, crystallised ginger etc)

Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Mix together flax seed meal and water if using.

In a food processor blend the almonds till they become a fine meal. Pour into large mixing bowl. Process oats in same way to make oat flour. Mix in baking powder, bicarb and salt.

In a separate bowl use electric mixer to blend together butter and and nut butter. Add in sugars and vanilla and beat for a couple of minutes. Add in flax seed mixture or eggs and mix till combined.

Mix together wet and dry ingredients then stir in chocolate chips. The mixture should be a bit sticky – if it’s too dry add a splash of milk.

Roll heaped teaspoons into balls and place on baking trays leaving plenty of room for spreading. Bake for 14-18 minutes at 180 degrees. Allow to cool on trays before moving to cooling racks.

If you don’t need 40 biscuits all at once you can roll mixture into balls and freeze. When ready to cook let them thaw for an hour or so then cook at usual.

 

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Allergies, asthma and eczema ….

Allergy, Asthma and Eczema ….

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Anyone else noticed lately how many people are suffering with allergies, asthma and eczema ? They often go hand in hand and it’s common to see families who share these immune problems. So why does this happen ?
The immune system is a complex system that protects us against disease. The main function of the immune system is to recognize the difference between our normal cells and invading, potentially harmful things like viruses, bacteria and parasites.

Our immune system is complex and uses lots of ways to keep pathogens out. One of these methods is the adaptive immune system where white blood cells make antibodies against invaders so the immune system can recognise the pathogen and quickly eliminate it in the future. Others cells are responsible for actively killing the pathogen.

We also have Th1 and Th2 cells. Th1 cells work to eliminate invaders within our cells (viruses). Th2 cells aim to destroy pathogens that occur outside our cells (bacteria and pathogens). Th1 cells and Th2 cells create different reactions which triggers different effects in the body. They create signals which tell other cells in our immune system how to react and what to do.

A healthy immune system can easily switch back and forth between Th1 and Th2. An unhealthy immune system can get stuck in one of these responses – leading to an imbalance in Th1 and Th2 actions.

Most people in the developed world get stuck in a Th2 response. This is because our bodies are not exposed to as many parasites and bacteria as in the past. An immune system without an invader to fight can become active in an unhealthy way overreacting to substances which really aren’t harmful at all e.g. pollen, dust. When Th2 becomes switched on it activates symptoms we know as allergies. For some people this can become severe, leading to asthma, eczema, and anaphylactic reactions.

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Much of the balancing of the Th1/Th2 response occurs in pregnancy and early infancy. Once the immune system gets stuck in an abnormal pattern we have a harder time correcting it. This is why asthma, eczema and allergies often strike first when we are young. Treatments that aim to balance the Th1/Th2 ratio can take a while to work so it’s important to stick with it to see results.

How can I help to balance my immune system?
Probiotics. Probiotics are good bacteria that live in us. Most adults have about 3-5 kilos of bacteria in our digestive system. The clincher is making sure they are the right type. There are specific strains of probiotic for different health issues so taking something you pick up at the chemist or pharmacy may not be very effective. Probiotic bacteria alter Th2 reaction to a healthier level. They also stimulate the immune system in the gut.

Fish oil reduces inflammation and reduces allergic response.

Vitamin A, in combination with vitamin D, is helpful in turning off inflammatory immune responses and balances the Th1 and Th2 levels.

Herbs which are anti-inflammatory or immune modulating can be hugely helpful. There are lots of options for herbal formulations to alter your Th1/Th2 ratio and manage your symptoms including liquorice, pirella and astragalus.

Autoimmune diseases….

Autoimmune diseases are becoming more and more common. Some commonly known autoimmune disorders include eczema, psoriasis, vitiligo, hay fever, thyroid diseases, MS, Crohn’s disease and IBS.

Autoimmune response occurs when there is a loss of discrimination between the body’s own cells and foreign cells. The body cannot recognise it’s own cells and attacks leading to an ongoing and often severe inflammatory response. This response is mediated via T- Helper cells which are the cells which drive our immune system’s actions. Two types of T Helper cells exist – TH1 and TH2, and they direct either cell driven or antibody immune responses.

Autoimmune disease can generally be categorised by their TH1 or TH2 drivers.

Some examples of  TH1 dominant diseases / disorders include : rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, Type 1 diabetes, psoriasis, Crohns disease, Hashimotos disease (low thyroid function), vitiligo, Parkinson’s disease.

Some examples of TH2 dominant conditions include : allergies, eczema, hayfever, asthma, Graves disease (hyperthyroidism) and IBS.

The good news is that there are plenty of herbs and supplements which can calm the inappropriate immune response, reduce the inflammation and help you feel well again.

Call today to see how I can help you.