As a nutritionist, dietitian and trained chef, I can show you how to make delicious, appetizing meals that ensure you get the most from the foods you eat.
There’s nothing quite like the anticipation as the first spears of English asparagus appear in the supermarket and grocers in May. Usually an expensive luxury when it’s forced and flown in from abroad, this wonderful veg instead becomes an affordable treat. I love it lightly steamed and served with mayonnaise. This is also the month for pink and zingy rhubarb, which is growing aplenty in my garden right now. This weekend I made a big pot of it, stewed in orange juice with a little grated orange rind. It’s delicious served with dollops of Greek-style or coconut yoghurt for breakfast or pudding.
More than organic food, seasonal produce always has a place in my kitchen. Personally, I can’t justify the environmental impact or the expense of growing an organic carrot on the other side of the world and then flying it thousands of air miles to a supermarket. Buying seasonally means you can prioritise local, fresh food instead. The quicker it’s harvested and the fewer miles it must travel to your table, the more nutrients your fruit and vegetables will retain, which means you get maximum nourishment from your meals (although frozen foods that are picked and packed in minutes are a great economical option, too). If you can grow your own produce, even better. A pot or two of fresh herbs on the kitchen windowsill, or a strawberry pot on the patio, will give you seasonality at your fingertips.
Eating with the seasons is a complex issue, as it can be hard to decipher what’s truly at its peak in any month and what’s just on offer. Buying British is a good guide, and helps to support our growers. Even in these isles that can mean a long growing season for some crops, as farms in Scotland and the North will have a later harvest time than those in the South of the country. You can always take a look at my website for a list of the vegetables, fruit, herbs, nuts, meat and fish that are growing and at their best in spring, summer, autumn and winter.
Why not try these spring seasonal treats right now to take you through May and into June? They’re packed with antioxidants and nutrients:
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Any tips on food dumping? I'm finding it totally unpredictable when it comes to late dumping syndrome. Early dumping syndrome for me is caused by too much sugar, I learned that very early after hospital discharge, so have avoided sugar and early dumping syndrome. However with late dumping syndrome, what I have been eating regularly without any problems unpredictably causes me to feel faint, weak and sometimes bloated. I can be incapacitated for a couple of hours and often as I feel I am recovering I start sweating buckets and feel weak. Once I have a biscuit with about 6 grams of sugar content, 20 minutes later I feel fine. I have no idea what foods are going to cause it or when it might happen, I am not eating often for fear that what I have will make me ill. I have no confidence in returning to work as I have to drive a lot and it's all sub contract work which would cause major problems if I cancelled on the day, due to the unpredictably caused by eating. Anything I have researched and information from my GP suggests that it is totally unpredictable. I find it so debilitating and frustrating, although it may seem trivial compared to what some people are going through it's not a great quality of life because of the unpredictably. I had an Ivor Lewis surgery last October. Help!
I am so glad you have got in touch. I know from looking after many patients with both early and late dumping that it can have a significant impact on your confidence. Have you tried keeping a food diary, recording what you eat, how much of it, and how it makes you feel? A note on your fridge can be enough. Doing this for a couple of weeks may help you to notice patterns and triggers. It also helps to take away some of the stress of trying to remember everything.
You have already started to make some inroads by looking at the sugary foods in your diet. These can be real triggers for dumping syndromes of all types, so I would continue to stay away from the high GI foods. It's also worth increasing the amount of protein and fats in your diet, as protein-rich foods, such as eggs, fish and chicken can sometimes sit more comfortably and be less likely to cause dumping symptoms, especially if you partner them with a little fat. Try drizzling a piece of baked fish, such as salmon, with olive oil before you eat it, or make a smoked trout and dill paté, and serve with a thin rye crispbread, as the oils and proteins within the paté help to stabilize blood sugar levels.
I'd also suggest you cut out tea and coffee and anything containing caffeine, as from my experience these can be troublesome if you have dumping syndrome. Instead, try some herbal infusions like fresh ginger, mint, fennel or lemon verbena tea.Have sips throughout a meal to avoid too large a volume of liquid exacerbating the problem even more.
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