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Pack A Picnic – Anti-Candida and Gluten-Free!

Fri 28th Jul, 2017 - 10:54am by Emma Cockrell

The summer is in full swing, and if you can skip the showers, a picnic is an enjoyable way to pass time with with children, friends or family. Whether it is at the beach, a park, the countryside, the back garden, or a favourite nostalgic spot, getting outside into a relaxing environment can actually bring us physical benefit.

Benefits of Getting Outside

A 2013 Review by Gladwell et al, titled The great outdoors: how a green exercise environment can benefit all, looks into the effect that being outdoors can have on both physical and mental health.

To summarise, outdoor natural environments may provide some of the best all-round health benefits by increasing physical activity levels with lower levels of perceived exertion, altering physiological functioning including stress reduction, restoring mental fatigue, and improving mood and self-esteem and perceived health. Thus, exercise within green spaces and the great outdoors may be a useful natural medicine … to address health challenges facing developed countries.

Do Something that Makes You Smile!

A picnic out, in a peaceful environment, can be restorative, taking you out of the day-today rush, enabling you to return to routine feeling refreshed and revived. With our fast-paced lifestyles, taking some Time Out is vital in supporting our taxed adrenal glands in dealing with the stress-response. One lecturer I heard on Adrenal Health said, “Make sure you do something that makes you smile every day!” Help yourself to reduce the sting of stress, and find things to do to make you smile and relax! A picnic just may be one such activity – as long as you go prepared for any weather – with blankets, coats and umbrellas!

Anti-Candida Picnic Ideas

But what can I eat on a picnic? Being on the Anti-Candida diet doesn’t have to close the door on packed lunches. Not using bread for sandwiches just means we need to give a little more thought to meals. For the easiest lunch pot ever, chop some salad and top with humus or tinned fish and some pumpkin seeds. If you want to get a little more creative, the next few blogs will list some recipe ideas which can be used cold for picnics, packed school/work lunches, or warm as evening dinners. They are all quick and simple, and can be made in advance and stored for a few days in the fridge.

Lamb Kofte

  • Finely chop a medium onion and stir into about 400g lamb mince.
  • Add herbs and spices to taste – I like 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary and half a teaspoon of ground cinnamon to provide a Middle Eastern flavour.
  • Add some black pepper and an egg.
  • Gently mould around skewers (I break wooden skewers in half and make small kebabs –easier to store, cook, freeze and add to pack lunches etc). Alternatively make into meatballs or little burgers.
  • Bake in a medium oven (about 180 degrees Celsius) for about 25-30 minutes until cooked.
  • Serve with a mixed salad and roasted butternut squash, or allow to cool for packed lunches.
  • To freeze, store in an air-tight container and use within 3 months.

Baked Onion Bhajis

  • Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius
  • Cut 5 medium/large onions in half, and then into slices 1/2 cm thick
  • Sweat off the onions in extra virgin olive oil over a medium heat
  • When onions are translucent add:
    • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
    • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • Stir well and remove from the heat
  • Add a tablespoon of tomato puree and stir
  • Mix in 5 heaped tablespoons of chick pea flour (gram flour) and stir well.
  • Add a little water if necessary to obtain a moist but firm batter
  • Place dessertspoons of the mixture on the lined baking sheet and flatten slightly. Drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil
  • Bake for 20-30 minutes until firm.
  • Can be frozen

Crisp Salad with Roast Vegetables

Adding some roasted or griddled vegetables to the humble lettuce leaf can transform a salad. Try tossing roasted butternut squash, tomatoes, peppers, courgettes or red onions into some mixed salad leaves. This can either be served straight from the oven as a warm salad, or allow to cool for a mediterranean-type salad. For this meal I simply placed 1cm thick onion rings on an electric griddle, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and cooked until golden and soft.