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Top tips for shopping with allergies


When it comes to living with food allergies, how our food is labelled can be a tricky issue.

Here in Europe, we’re exceptionally lucky that these 14 major allergens must now always be highlighted in ingredients lists:

  • dairy
  • egg
  • peanuts
  • tree nuts: almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, cashew nuts, pecan nuts, Brazil nuts, pistachios and macadamia nuts
  • soya
  • gluten-containing grains: wheat, barley, rye, spelt, kamut and oats*
  • fish
  • molluscs
  • crustaceans
  • celery
  • mustard
  • sulphites
  • sesame
  • lupin

This makes it easier to see at a glance if a product contains something that you or your child is allergic to (and also makes food shopping quicker than it used to be – in the past, we’d spend ages poring over each ingredient list trying to spot obscurely named allergens!).

“MAY CONTAIN” STATEMENTS

We do, however, still have one bugbear when it comes to allergen labelling: the increasing use of “may contain” statements. You know the sort – a packet of biscuits that says “may contain traces of nuts” or “not suitable for nut allergy sufferers due to manufacturing processes”. While these warnings may appear to be helpful, in fact, they really limit the choice that allergy sufferers have.

Sometimes the risk of allergen contamination is major (for example, where shared production lines are used), but the risk can also be negligible (for example, no nuts are used on the premises or anywhere in the supply chain, but there’s a small chance an employee has eaten a peanut butter sandwich in the canteen). There is no way for a food allergy sufferer to distinguish between these levels of risk, so they end up avoiding an awful lot of things that may, in fact, be suitable for them to eat.

Many manufacturers will include a “may contain” statement to cover themselves even if the risk of cross-contamination is very small. We prefer statements which give some form of explanation: for example, “made in a factory that doesn’t handle nuts but cannot guarantee nut-free” or “made in a factory that handles nuts” as this extra information is useful in determining the level of risk.

HOME COOKING

A great way to be sure that your food is free from allergens is to buy the individual ingredients yourself and cook at home. Try our chicken casserole, which is free from the 14 major allergens – a very warming and filling dish that’s easy to make. You can either use fresh stock (this recipe is perfect, but just remember to leave out the celery if you’re allergic to it), or alternatively you can use a stock cube – just be sure to check the label carefully for allergens first.

FREE-FROM FOODS

There are almost limitless possibilities if you cook your own food from scratch, even if you do suffer from multiple food allergies. However, it’s also very convenient to be able to buy off-the-shelf products.

OUR TOP TIPS FOR ALLERGY SUFFERERS

Food shopping with food allergies can be confusing, but it really doesn’t have to be a chore. Just bear in mind these top tips that we’ve learnt over the years to help make your weekly shop that little bit simpler:

  1. Shop around. There are loads of great “free-from” products out there, as well as great ingredients like gluten-free flour and dairy-free chocolate. Supermarkets now have a good range and shopping online gives you even more options.
  2. Watch out for delis and bakeries. According to legislation, they don’t need to list all ingredients (as is the case with pre-packed food) but they do need to highlight allergens in a product or clearly signpost where you can find the information. In our experience, this isn’t always clear, so it’s worth checking with a member of staff. It’s also worth noting that the risk of cross-contamination of allergens in delis and bakeries is high because the food is loose.
  3. Contact manufacturers. If in doubt about ingredients used in a product, or if it carries statements suggesting it may contain traces of allergens, the best way to be sure is to ask the manufacturer directly.
  4. Check for product recalls. These are sometimes issued if products are found to be contaminated with an allergen or have been incorrectly labelled.
  5. Talk to your doctor. As with all things allergy-related, you and your doctor (or your child’s doctor) need to determine the severity of the allergy and balance this with the risk of eating certain foods.

We are very grateful for the recent changes in European legislation around food allergen labelling – they’ve made our shopping trips much easier. We hope that this, along with our tips above, will help make things easier for you too, particularly if you or your child has been recently diagnosed with a food allergy.

* While oats don’t actually contain gluten themselves, their production process is such that they are almost always contaminated with gluten. It is possible to buy gluten-free oats.


7 days of allergy-free meals

This article includes recipes from a mother with children who are allergic to some, but not all, of the top eight food allergens. Many of her recipes do use soy, so we recommend that all parents should be mindful about reading food labels to make sure the meal is safe for your child to eat. National food allergy guidelines recommend avoidance of products with potential cross-contamination of foods that may contain allergens. Since food labels frequently change, it is important for parents to read the label every time a product is purchased. See our tips for reading food labels here.


Wheat Allergy Tips

Wheat, the most common grain in America, contains several types of protein that can activate an immune response in people who have an allergy to it. It differs from having a gluten sensitivity, which includes wheat and other cereal grains with gluten protein (barley, rye, and small quantities in oats).

Even though a wheat allergy is different from having gluten sensitivity, Chelsea Lincoln, recipe specialist from Bob's Red Mill, suggests gravitating toward gluten-free products and recipes. "All gluten-free products are wheat-free," explains Lincoln.

Foods/products to avoid:

  • Breads, crackers, and other baked goods that contain wheat (rye bread and cornbread typically contain some wheat)
  • Most breakfast cereals
  • All pasta and noodles made from wheat
  • Any fried or baked meat or vegetable coated with flour or breadcrumbs, cracker crumbs, or panko crumbs
  • Any meat dish or mixture or filling containing flour, bread crumbs, cracker crumbs, cereal, or other forms of wheat (includes most sausages, hot dogs and cold cuts).
  • Sauces, soups, and gravies thickened with flour
  • Salad dressing thickened with flour or other forms of wheat
  • Pancakes, waffles, and fritters
  • Beer
  • Imitation meat and seafood (imitation crabmeat) products that contain wheat flour
  • Hot dogs (some brands contain wheat as an ingredient)
  • Some ice creams (wheat is an ingredient in some brands of ice cream.)

Continued

Ingredients on label to watch for:

  • Wheat (bran, germ, gluten, malt, sprouts)
  • Flour (all types such as all-purpose, bread, cake, durum, graham, high gluten, pastry, stone ground, whole wheat, etc.)
  • Wheat germ or wheat starch
  • Wheat grass
  • Whole-wheat berries
  • Bran
  • Bread crumbs
  • Bulgur
  • Club wheat
  • Couscous
  • Cracker meal
  • Durum farina
  • Einkorn, emmer, seitan, or kamut (mostly relatives to wheat)
  • Modified food starch
  • Graham flour
  • Farina
  • Spelt
  • Semolina (refined durum wheat)
  • Pasta
  • Matzoh and matzo meal
  • Triticale (combination of wheat and rye)
  • Vital gluten
  • The following ingredients may contain wheat protein: flavoring, hydrolyzed protein, soy sauce, starch such as modified starch, vegetable starch, wheat starch, and surimi.

Substitutes for wheat in recipes:

  • For breads, rolls, muffins, brownies, etc., substitute barley flour as long as your allergy is to wheat and not gluten. It performs the best of the alternative flours because it's one of the few grains, besides wheat, that contributes some gluten, notes Lincoln. Some stores also sell gluten-free baking flour, which can be used for making everything from cakes and cookies to breads and muffins.
  • Substitute wheat-free pastas for noodles called for in recipes. Made from a variety of grains including quinoa, corn, potato, rice, and beans, wheat-free pastas are widely available in stores.
  • Eliminate the breadcrumbs in recipes like casseroles, fried chicken, eggplant parmesan, or meat loaf and use shredded parmesan, crumbled wheat-free crackers, or cornmeal (depending on the recipe).
  • For sauces and gravies, thicken the mixture with cornstarch, potato starch, or tapioca starch.
  • For sauces, gravies, or creamy dressing, thicken and blend the mixture with pureed soft or silken tofu.
  • For pancakes/waffles, use flour from other grains such as oat flour, rice flour, or barley flour.
  • Instead of beer in recipes, substitute apple juice or wine.

Continued

Lincoln warns that recipes made with the wheat-free and gluten-free flour tend to be a bit drier, not rise as much, and have a more crumbly texture. She recommends adding a little xanthan gum to these recipes to help the bread products rise and hold together better. Bob's Red Mill recommends the following amounts of xanthan gum for gluten-free baking:

  • For cookies: add 1/4 teaspoon per cup of flour
  • For cakes and pancakes: add 1/2 teaspoon per cup of flour
  • For muffins and quick breads: add 3/4 teaspoon per cup of flour
  • For breads: add 1 to 1-1/2 teaspoons per cup of flour
  • Pizza dough: add 2 teaspoons per cup of flour

Reasons to Consider a Raw Food Diet for Your Dog

Even with all of those things to consider, there are still a lot of reasons you may want to give your dog a raw food diet and make it yourself. Some of the most popular reasons include the following, some of which we have already touched on:

  • The ability to adjust to your dog’s dietary needs or allergies
  • The ability to adapt recipes as your dog passes through various life stages
  • The ability to control all of the ingredients, including the quality of the source
  • The ability to take advantage of bulk buying or sales
  • Not having to worry about recalls from dog food manufacturers
  • The knowledge that you reduced your environmental impact

Additionally, a raw food diet can be associated with the following benefits for your pup:

  • Firmer stools
  • Reduced allergy symptoms
  • Improved dental health
  • Weight management
  • More muscular build
  • Healthier skin
  • Healthier coat
  • Improved digestion
  • Reduced odor


Shop Smarter: Savvy Grocery Shopping Tips from Mary Abbott Hess

Confused by all the choices at the supermarket? I had the chance to speak with dietitian Mary Abbott Hess, author of The Pocket Supermarket Guide. Her savvy supermarket shopping tips will have you reaching for healthier choices during your next trip to the market, and saving money too.

As a consumer, it is important to understand how to interpret a food label. First, look at the serving size. All nutrient values and calories are based on an amount of food which is frequently quite small. Next, look at key nutrients to see if it has good amounts of protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Also, look for reasonable amounts of fat, sugar and sodium. Lastly, check the ingredient list for whole grains and limit foods with various forms of corn syrup, saturated fats (including partially hydrogenated oils) or sodium sources.

There are many tips throughout the Pocket Supermarket Guide but 3 that yield big savings are:

  • Check newspapers and flyers for sales and 2-for-1 specials and include those foods on your shopping list
  • Find bargains on the top and bottom shelves because name brands (at higher prices) often are at eye level
  • Clip coupons for foods you use and sign up for store discount shopping cards

Yes. Most stores have fresh produce, fresh meat, poultry, eggs and seafood, dairy products and baked goods including breads around the perimeter of the store. Processed, canned and packaged foods are typically located in the central aisles. Sure, you will need some items from the center of the store but shopping mostly at the perimeter generally keeps you in the territory of healthier food options.

Food marketers create a "halo of health" for many foods that are not particularly healthful. Some of these are organic candy and snacks, which usually have as much sugar, fat and salt as those without organic ingredients highly sweetened granola products fat-free salad dressings that contain lots of sodium and/or sweeteners wheat bread that does not have whole wheat as the first (main) ingredient beverages "made with real juice" that have only a small amounts of real juice and lots of sugared water.

It's hard to limit it to five since there are so many great healthful foods. The most basic foods in each of the food groups of MyPlate should be most of the shopping list. To start with, I’d recommend:

  1. Legumes
  2. Fresh or frozen (unbreaded) fish and seafood
  3. Fat free or low-fat milk or yogurt
  4. Whole grains including cereals and breads
  5. Plenty of deep green, orange and red fruits and vegetables

Avoid or limit soda and other highly sugared beverages, anything fried (like chips, fried chicken, doughnuts), high-fat sausages and other foods that are high in saturated fat. In addition, steer clear of prepared mixes and packaged products that have very high amounts of sodium per serving. Check the percent daily value (%DV) and if it is over 33% (1/3 of the days recommended amount), think twice.


Can Wearing a Mask Relieve Seasonal Allergies?

January through April in Southwest Florida is peak tree pollen season, with trees like oaks flowering more than ever—and producing clouds of yellow pollen. This year seems worse than most, with yellow dust currently covering our cars, sidewalks and homes. Our area also gets more rainfall than usual in spring, which washes the pollen out of the air for a day or two—but with rain comes other allergens like mold.

Tree pollen is measured in particles per cubic meter of air. The average amount is about 50 pollen grains per cubic meter, but at a peak, which is in the air right now, is about 15,000 particles per cubic meter. Dr. Roger Danziger, an allergist, says these particles are microscopic, you can't usually see them, but you are walking into them all day long.

If you are someone who is polysensitized, or has multiple allergies, this time of year can be difficult. We asked Danziger and fellow allergist Dr. Jennifer Fergeson to share tips for getting relief.

Can wearing a mask help with allergies?

"The typical cotton mask does not block the microscopic allergy particles like pollen or mold spores as well," says Danziger. "But the more restrictive masks, like KN95s might help a little more." Danziger says that the microscopic size of pollen particles floating in the air could still pass through a thin cloth mask. The thicker the fabric, the more protection potential.

Fergeson, of Windom Allergy, Asthma and Sinus in Sarasota, believes that wearing any kind of mask can reduce symptoms, along with wearing sunglasses to protect your eyes. "We've recommended mask-wearing to those who are strongly effected, even before the pandemic. We also suggest keeping the windows and doors of your home closed as much as possible," says Fergeson. "In general, if you are covering your nose, mouth and eyes, the main entrances for pollen irritation, you are reducing symptoms."

What else can provide relief?

Both Danziger and Fergeson recommend steroidal nasal sprays as the first line of defense for pollen allergies. Using sprays like Flonase or Nasocourt daily for the entirety of pollen season can relieve most symptoms. Most people experience significant relief within five to seven days of daily use. Fergeson suggests cleaning the nasal cavities with pure saline solution prior to using nasal spray, to help the steroid stick to the nasal lining more effectively. Sprays will help will runny nose, sneezing, itchy and watery eyes and post nasal drip symptoms.

What if you have more than a runny nose and itchy, watery eyes?

"Topical or oral decongestants work well for those experiencing sinus pressure, headaches and clogged ears," says Fergeson. "You should start to feel relief within minutes of use but should be used with caution due to the risk for rebound nasal congestion with excessive use."

What are the differences between Covid-19 symptoms and allergy symptoms?

"This was a big concern for people, especially when the pandemic first became widespread in our area," says Fergeson. "But the hallmark symptoms of Covid have included fever, body aches, sinus pressure and loss of taste and smell. Fever and body aches are never an allergy symptom."

Can these steroidal treatments break down your immune system?

"Many patients and parents of children have been concerned about using steroids and the effect it could have on their immune system, especially during this time," says Danziger. "But they will not break down their immune system if they are using it as prescribed."

Are there other tips for relieving allergy symptoms?

Danziger suggests checking your AC system yearly, go around your house with a flashlight to check for water damage causing mold, wash sheets and fabrics in hot water to rid of dust mites and use a dust mite-proof cover on your mattress, which can also help reduce pollen, too. Using an air filter works well, too, and changing and showering as soon as you come from outside, will help rid of pollen.

If you are unsure whether you have Covid-19, the flu, the common cold or allergies, it is always beneficial to seek the advice of a medical professional and allergy specialist.


Flour

Replacing flour for a wheat allergy or for celiac disease generally requires more than one flour, as there isn't a simple one-to-one substitute for all-purpose flour (or for other wheat flours, like whole wheat flour, cake flour, or pastry flour).

Fortunately, multiple manufacturers make gluten-free baking mixes that can serve as one-to-one replacements for wheat flour. Cup 4 Cup gluten-free flour is one good blend, and brands like King Arthur, Pamela's, and Bob's Red Mill all produce gluten-free baking mixes. You can learn about the properties of different flour in Using Wheat-Free Flours.


Nasal Rinses

While nasal rinses won't eliminate your allergic reactions, they can certainly provide some temporary relief from all the sniffles and congestion.

Neti Pot

The classic neti pot is great to flush out debris and mucus from your nasal cavity. Just fill it up with lukewarm water &mdash make sure the water is distilled or sterilized &mdash and add some salt to make your own salt water solution. Tilt your head sideways over the sink and have the spout of the pot pour the solution through your nose. It's a little messy, but it may do the trick. Another alternative to the neti pot is a nasal squeeze bottle.

Nävage Nasal Irrigation

If you want something that's less messy, a Nävage nose cleaner might be a better experience for you. Instead of pushing saline solution up your nose, this machine "pulls" it through one nostril, through the back of your nose and out the other nostril to flush and collect all of the yuck.


Be a Better Host: Cooking for Guests with Food Allergies

Navigating the holiday table when you have gluten, dairy or nut allergies can be stressful, but as a host, you can make simple changes to your menu so you can please everyone on your guest list.

Dairy-rich eggnog, gluten-laden sugar cookies and gingerbread and nutty pecan pie — these classic holiday foods can all mean disaster for guests with food allergies. With a little creativity, you can effortlessly tweak your traditional holiday menu into an allergy-friendly spread. From appetizers to desserts, these helpful hints will make your holiday affair one to remember — for everyone at your holiday table.

Appetizers
Offer a variety of tasty, crowd-pleasing appetizer alternatives to cheese and crackers . Here’s a quick holiday-appetizer idea you can make with easy-to-find ingredients: Set out rice crackers with a variety of toppings: chutney, hummus (which is naturally gluten free), olives and roasted red peppers or sunflower seed butter.

Get creative with gluten-free grains such as quinoa and rice. Quinoa-stuffed mushrooms are a great stand-in to bread-stuffed mushrooms. Fill mushroom caps with protein-packed quinoa and you have a nutritious and delicious spin to a traditional crowd favorite. Your guests will never know they're eating gluten-free!

For a spread that’s both appealing to the eyes and the belly, arrange a platter of nuts and seeds with an assortment of dried fruits (figs are particularly decadent for the holidays) that guests can nibble on throughout the evening.

Side Dishes
Veggies make for the perfect naturally allergy-free side dish to serve at your holiday table. Roast, steam, smash or sauté your favorite vegetables. Drizzling a combination of whisked balsamic and Dijon mustard to any veggie adds a delightfully simple flavor. For an alternative to a classic side dish like mashed potatoes, make a batch of mashed sweet potatoes instead. Add chopped apples and freshly-squeezed orange juice in place of butter. Or for the creamy taste everyone craves, use a splash of coconut milk in any of your veggie mashes instead of dairy, soy or nut milks.

Root vegetables like carrots and parsnips make a great addition to your turkey table. Simply chop into French fry-like shapes, drizzle with olive oil and a dash of nutmeg, sea salt and pepper. Spread on a baking sheet to roast in the oven at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes or until crispy. Don’t forget about cauliflower: This veggie can be chopped into florets and tossed with turmeric, rosemary, balsamic vinegar and olive oil and roasted for an aromatic and hearty side dish toss the cauliflower with gluten-free pasta for an allergy-friendly, vegetarian main dish.

Looking for a soothing, warm-you-up dish? Soup is a great accompaniment to any holiday meal serve warm butternut squash or pumpkin soup, leek or sweet potato soup with croutons made from gluten-free bread or polenta baked until crisp.

Creating a gluten-free and dairy-free dressing is easier than you think try using a combination of apple cider vinegar, brown rice, quinoa, dried cranberries, roasted vegetables such as carrots and celery and fresh herbs.

What about a gluten-free gravy option? Combine cornstarch or arrowroot with water and chicken stock to make a silky, gluten-free gravy, the perfect topping for your juicy turkey and mashed potatoes.

And for all of you who love a good green bean casserole, my favorite allergy-free substitution is to use coconut milk instead of the usual cream, soy or nut milks.

The Main Course
Ready for allergy-free meats to take center stage this year? When selecting poultry, ham, lamb, fish, pork and even tofu, make sure they are free of any marinade or presoaked sauce, as these could contain allergens. Instead, use olive oil and fresh herbs such as sage, rosemary, thyme, marjoram along with fresh lemon, orange and grapefruit juice and their zest to add flavor. You can easily create an herb rub for your holiday turkey by combining honey with fresh herbs, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Be sure to carefully read labels to ensure your meat or meat alternatives do not contain additives as they may create a reaction among guests with allergies.

Desserts
There are plenty of ways to satisfy your sweet tooth this year without having to worry about food allergies, and without sacrificing taste. Focus on in-season fruits like apples, pears or cranberries to create fresh fruit crumbles, cobblers and crisps — gluten-free granola makes an easy topping for fruit seasoned with cinnamon, nutmeg or pumpkin pie spice.

Pumpkin pie is a staple Thanksgiving dessert you can easily create a homemade crust for this holiday must-have with crumbled gluten-free crackers or cereal such as Crunchmaster's Cinnamon & Sugar Grammy Crisps or Attune Foods' Erewhon Buckwheat & Hemp cereal. Pumpkin muffins are a surefire hit, too (if you need a store-bought gluten-free fix, Udi’s muffins are delicious). If you’re making your own, try using tapioca starch and canned pumpkin to create a moist consistency.

Some helpful tips to keep in mind for allergy-free baking: Instead of using eggs, try mixing chia seeds with a little water. 1 egg = 3 tablespoons warm water and 1 tablespoon white chia seed meal mix together and let sit for 5 minutes to thicken before using.

For chocolate lovers, an allergy-free version of chocolate mousse is always a crowd-pleaser whip coconut milk with cocoa and add mashed avocado — use a mixer, or if your avocado is quite ripe, mash it by hand to create a light, whipped consistency. Plain fruit makes for an easy dessert serve fresh pineapple, apples and berries with melted allergy-free chocolate chips from for a fondue-style treat or bake cored apples with cinnamon, dairy-free butter and a dash of allspice. You can create a fun kid-friendly dessert by whipping up your own ice cream waffle sundaes by using gluten-free frozen waffles topped with coconut milk “ice cream,” hot fudge and unsweetened coconut flakes.

Leftovers
What’s the best part about holiday meals? Leftovers! Use turkey, gluten-free stuffing and cranberry sauce to make lunchtime burritos by rolling them in gluten-free tortillas. Top gluten-free pizza dough with chopped turkey, sliced apples and a drizzle of cranberry sauce for a post-Thanksgiving pizza. Shred turkey and add it to frittatas or pile it onto gluten-free toast or bagels with lettuce, tomato, avocado and mustard to make a hearty sandwich. You can even put leftover roasted turkey in the food processor along with fresh arugula, sea salt and pepper for a new spin on a savory spreadable pate you can enjoy with crackers and crudités. Leftovers don’t just have to be reserved for lunch or dinner. How about using your Thanksgiving food for breakfast? Take leftover sweet potatoes or canned pumpkin and combine with gluten-free oatmeal for a spiced-up and naturally sweet hot cereal.

Don’t let your allergies stop you from gobbling up the meals that make your holidays a delicious occasion. No matter the course, crowd or allergy concerns, these foolproof recipes ideas will keep you worry-free this holiday season, it just takes a little prep and planning. Remember, the holidays are about enjoying time and bonding over food with those you love. What better way to do so by preparing an allergy-free feast that will be impossible to forget?


Best Anti-inflammatory Recipes

If you look around the blog, you will find recipes that are so full of nourishing ingredients. These anti inflammatory recipes are so delicious but healthy too. Here I share with you some of my picks.

1. HUMMUS - Is loaded with plant protein, dietary fiber that helps with growth of healthy gut bacteria and production of short chain fatty acids, healthy fats and an excellent source of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients. It is gluten-free, nut-free and dairy-free, so is suitable for those with allergies and intolerances.

2. TABOULI - Is packed with fiber, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats. It has the antioxidant and flavonoid rich parsley, the fiber in bulgur wheat, the polyphenols of olive oil, the lycopene in tomatoes and plenty of phytochemicals. All of these nutrients together can be cancer protective, immune boosting and promote good health.

3. BARLEY PORRIDGE WITH BLUEBERRIES - The antioxidant rich blueberries and walnuts are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, phytonutrients, antioxidants and known for anti-inflammatory potential.

4. CREAMY LEEK AVOCADO SOUP - Avocados contain the phytochemicals lutein and zeaxanthin, which are important for eye health and they are a good source of omega-3 fats. Leeks are a good source of heart healthy flavonoids and antioxidant polyphenols.

5. DATE AVOCADO CHOCOLATE TRUFFLES - Dates are a rich source of phytochemicals such as phenolics, carotenoids, flavonoids and procyanidins: compounds that are known for several health promoting benefits. Avocados are a delicious source of phytochemicals and other nutrients.

6. MANGO CHIA SMOOTHIE BOWL - Mangoes are rich sources of vitamin A and vitamin C. The beta carotene (which converts to vitamin A) is known to be protective against cancer. They are a good source of zeaxanthin, an antioxidant credited with lowering the risk of age related macular degeneration. Chia seeds are super nutritious and an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants.

7. HOMEMADE TEA BLEND - The best thing is that you will not need to use added sugar, as the dried fruits will release their sweetness. White tea is rich in polyphenols with antioxidant properties. Perhaps more antioxidant potential than even green tea!

8. MULBERRY MARZIPAN CANDY - There is a version here that uses only dried fruit (dates, apricots), almonds, flavors and spices. A sweet treat with no refined sugar.

9. ADVIEH (SPICE MIX) - Apart from enhancing the taste of recipes, spices come with a lot of health benefits. They are often rich sources of antioxidants, polyphenols and other phytonutrients that have health promoting properties.

10. PAN SEARED FISH WITH TAMARIND SAUCE - Use cold water fatty fish such as Salmon, Herring, Tuna, Sardines, Mackerel etc. that are great sources of long chain omega 3 fatty acids.

11. NOODLE SOUP WITH BEANS AND HERBS - The amazing nutrition potential of this soup lies in the variety of beans, herbs, spices and stock used to prepare it. And it is loaded with goodness from a variety of plant foods - anti-inflammatory phytochemicals and antioxidants.

12. PERSIAN ZUCCHINI FRITTATA - Zucchini is low in calories and carbohydrates. And high in free radical fighting nutrients such as vitamin C and manganese. Then it is good for eye health as it is a good source of the carotenoids – lutein and zeaxanthin.

13. MEDITERRANEAN RED LENTIL SOUP - Studies have shown that red lentils have maximum concentration of phenolic compounds and with strongest antioxidant activity compared to other varieties of lentils. And quinoa is a good source of antioxidants.

14. SPICED LENTIL SALAD WITH AVOCADO - Lentils being a plant food, are a source of phytochemicals and considered to be beneficial in lowering the risk of obesity and heart disease.

15. SPICY CAULIFLOWER RICE WITH FARRO - Cauliflower is a pretty nutrient dense vegetable - low in calories and a good source of antioxidants, phytochemicals, fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin B-6, folate and potassium. Farro is an excellent source of fiber, protein, magnesium, zinc, B vitamins and iron.


Make Kitchen Shelves Accessible

Eric Audras / Getty Images

Your kitchen shelves should be easily accessible so that you don't strain your muscles and hurt painful joints when trying to reach dishes or cookware. The best design is pullout shelves which allow you to access kitchen items stored in the back with ease. If you don't have that option, at least make sure you have your shelves set up conveniently. Have your most commonly used items closest to where you use them. Have infrequently used items stored farther away or higher on the shelves. Make sure kitchen items are not stacked precariously so that they can fall as you reach for them. Set up your kitchen with safety in mind and convenience too.