Diet Information

This website is a resource for many dietary restrictions. I have used a combination of codes to indicate which diets are suitable for the recipe eg D Diabetic, GF Gluten Free. Below is a guide to each of these diets.

The reason for diets is numerous, being medical or food allergy or intolerance, religious practice of as a food choice for health, environmental or sociological reasons. For all diets care with cooking is very important. Attention to detail is required because in some people, tiny quantities can cause potentially life-threatening allergic reactions within seconds or minutes of eating the food.

The simple rules when diet cooking are;

  • to have a knowledge of ingredients and labelling,
  • to communicate with your guests to ensure you have all the relevant information.
  • Initially a few hints regarding cooking for diets.

Cooking Guide

  1. Discuss with your guest their specific requirements before heading to the kitchen.
  2. Confirm the suitability of what you propose to cook as there are ‘many variations on a theme’ when considering diets. Ask about specifics for example of check does the DF Dairy Free diet avoid butter (eg biscuits), cream (eg soup) cheese (eg in a sauce); and does the V Vegetarian diet include cheese (rennet in most cheese is from animal gut).
  3. Check all food labels to ensure suitability.
  4. Train and supervise any kitchen staff to ensure the correct ingredients are used, that staff are not taking ‘short cuts’ and that there is no cross-contamination in the kitchen in particular, eg no wheat within miles of a gluten free meal, the cooking utensils are only used for gluten free cooking and nuts are prepared in a different area
  5. Train your waiting staff to ensure they understand the importance of special diet, they know the basic requirements for the diets, they will ask when in doubt, and are clear and confident in communicating requests to the kitchen.

D  Diabetic

The dietary guidelines for a diabetic diet are very similar to those recommended for a healthy lifestyle: eat less sugar (refined sugars) and fat, include more fruit and vegetables and eat moderate amounts of meat, fish, milk and dairy. (All of course dependent on what you consider more, less and ‘moderate’)

Some people with diabetes have a strict diet plan, while others select food from a general menu. One rule does not fit all, so catering for diabetics (as with other diets) requires you to talk with your guest, to ensure you provide a delicious meal that they will be comfortable with and enjoy.

The initial, easy steps, for a diabetic diet, are to minimise sweetened food and to provide regular healthy snacks. The recipes I have listed as suitable for diabetics contain very little refined sugar (for cakes, less than 1 tsp sugar per serve) and are low in fat. In a small selection of desserts and baked goods I have used sugar substitutes.

In a diabetic diet the terms sugars and carbohydrates can be confusing. ‘Carbohydrate’ refers to unprocessed sugars, which are included in a diabetic diet in moderate amounts at each meal. These are found in bread, rice, pasta, fruit, starchy vegetables, milk, yoghurt and legumes (when these foods are very processed eg white bread and fruit juice the carbohydrate is metabolised like simple sugars. The general rule is the less processing the better) ‘Sugars’ are refined carbohydrates/sugars eg. table sugar, fructose (as powder or juice), honey, glucose, corn syrup, malt. Some diabetics include these in small amounts.

Artificial Sugars are used in baking and processed foods to provide sweetening:
     Nutritive Sweeteners/Polyols: sorbitol, maltitol, xylitol, isomalt and mannitol. They are sweeter than sugar and are suitable in small amounts. It is particularly useful as a sugar substitute in baking.
     Non-nutritive sweeteners: saccharine, sucralose, aspartame and acesufame potassium and cyclamate, have virtually no calories and are suitable for diabetics.
They are used in sugar free, low calorie drinks, hot drinks and desserts. In tablet, liquid and granulated form the trade name of the sweeteners includes Canderel, Hermesetas or Sweetex.
     Stevia, Steviol Glycoside (sugarleaf extract), is a natural sweetner made from a herb. It is used as a replacement for many artificial sweetners and is available in powder form.

The recipes I have identified as suitable for a diabetic diet are:

                     Low/moderate in fat
                     Healthy snack options
                     Low in refined sugar (less than 1 tsp sugar per serve). In a small selection of desserts and baked goods I have used sugar substitutes.

More information is available from your regional Diabetic Association. Details are available through; www.idf.org/regions


DF  Dairy Free

A Milk Free/Dairy Free diet excludes ALL dairy products; cow, sheep, goat and buffalo products.

A Lactose Free diet excludes only the milk sugar, ie the lactose, found in the whey, the liquid of the milk. The fat and protein in cheese and butter are usually ok as they contain only very small quantities of lactose. The tolerance of cream, ice cream, and soft cheese varies between individuals and small quantities of these products may be tolerated with no adverse reactions. Similarly Lactose Free milk, which is becoming more widely available is usually suitable for people with a lactose intolerance.

I have not distinguished between these diets. DF refers indicates there is NO dairy products. Clarify with your guest their particular needs and include butter and cheese where suitable. It would be disappointing to exclude foods unnecessarily.

Foods to avoid for dairy free:

  • Milk powder, milk solids (cow, sheep, goat and buffalo);
  • Yoghurt, Buttermilk, Fromage frais;
  • Cheese, Quark, curds, whey;
  • Butter, Margarine (unless milk free), Ghee;
  • Cream, Ice cream;
  • Milk chocolate;
  • Processed Foods that contain Lactic Acid (E270), Casein/Caseinates, Lacto and Lacta (mean milk), frequently found in processed meats, soups, salad dressing and biscuits;
  • Simplese, Opta (fat replacers).

Notes: Some people with dairy allergy and lactose intolerance can tolerate sheep, goats, camel and or buffalo milk. My DF recipes do not include dairy from any source.
                 Food Labelled ‘Dairy Free’ only applies to cow’s milk, not to other animal milks. Read labelling carefully.



EF  Egg Free

All recipes coded EF are free of eggs.

Always check food labels to ensure they contain not egg (“ovo…”, refers to egg)

                     Baked Goods;
                     Sauces, eg Hollandaise and Bearnaise;
                     Batter and Crumbed Foods;
                     Burgers and Sausages;
                     Pasta and Noodles.



F  Fodmap (IBS)

FODMAP is an acronym used to describe a number of indigestible sugars (carbohydrates), Fermentable Oligo-Di-Monosaccharides and Polyols. Restricting the consumption of foods containing these sugars often relieves the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and other functional gastrointestinal disorders

These sugars are found in unexpected groups of foods and people respond differently to different foods in variable quantity. The recipes identified as suitable for a FODMAP diet exclude most of the foods that may be ‘a culprit’. Your guest will inform you what their particular restrictions are do not be surprised by the variability.

Fodmap foods to avoid:

  • Fructose (short-chain carbohydrates)- certain fruits (apple, peaches, watermelon), agave, honey, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS),
  • Oligosaccharides (Fructans and Inulin) – Artichokes (globe)and jerusalem), Garlic (in large amounts), Leek, Onion (brown, white, spanish, onion powder), Spring Onion (white part), Shallots, Chicory, Wheat (in large amounts), Rye (in large amounts), Barley (in large amounts),
    (Galactans) – beans and legumes (chick peas, kidney beans and soya etc), and lentils,

  • Disaccharides (lactose) – milk, icecream, custard, dairy desserts, condensed and evaporated milk, milk powder, yoghurt, soft unripened cheeses (eg. ricotta, cottage, cream, marscarpone);
  • Monosaccharides (excess Fructose) – honey, high fructose corn syrup, apples, apricots, avocado, cherries, mango, mushrooms, nectarines, pear, plums, prunes, watermelon;
  • And
  • Polyols – stone fruits such as avocado, apricots, cherries, nectarines, peaches, plums, and alternative sweeteners Sorbitol (420), Mannitol (421), Xylitol (967), Maltitol (965) and Isomalt (953).

The original source of research identifying this condition, described as FODMAP was Sue Shepherd. http://shepherdworks.com.au/

More detailed information of this diet can be obtained as a booklet or app @ www.med.monash.edu/cecs/gastro/fodmap/


GF  Gluten Free

Gluten Free diet is the diet for Coeliac disease. Coeliac Disease is an autoimmune triggered by eating gluten from the cereals wheat, rye and barley (some Coeliacs are also sensitive to oats). It must be avoided completely, not even a trace in foods, so great care must be taken to avoid cross contamination in cooking areas.
To ensure safety I would recommend that you do not cook GF food where wheat has been used in the past 24 hours.

  • 1. Check all food labels. Products that contains cereal must be labelled “gluten free” ;
  • 2. Be vigilant in the kitchen, ‘wheat flies’. Ensure:
  •                  the surfaces are cleaned immediately prior to GF cooking;
                     use separate pans, boards, baking dishes and utensils for GF cooking;
                     use fresh butter, margarine, jams and chutney in both the kitchen and at the table (knives and spoons can cross contaminate);
                     the grill should be cleaned thoroughly (cover it with fresh foil to prevent contamination), use a separate toaster;
                     oil for GF fried food must be fresh (never used for gluten products).

      Gluten-containing Grains
    • Wheat (all varieties, including Spelt, Durum, Kumut, Faro and Dinkel, Triticale, Bulgar, Couscous, Semolina and derivatives of these products, eg Malt, Bran, Wheatgerm, Cereal Binder/Filler, Modified Starch);
    • Barley (including beer);
    • Rye;
    • Oats.
      Gluten in Commercial Products

    Gluten is sneaky and is found in many products you may not suspect. This list will help you become more aware and help with checking labels for gluten in food.

    • Baking powder;
    • Beer, Ale, Stout, Lager;
    • Breakfast cereals;
    • Bottled sauces, Gravy, Salad dressings, many Condiments,eg chutney and pickles, Yeast extract spreads, eg Promite, Marmite;
    • Bread, breadcrumbs/coatings; Chapatis, Poppadams, Naans;
    • Cheese spread/dips, Taramasalata;
    • Confectionary;
    • Cornflakes, Cornflour, Corn tortillas (unless GF);
    • Curry powders, Monosodium Glutamate, Stock cubes;
    • Falvoured potato chips, Roasted nuts;
    • Instant hot drinks, Canned and dried soups;
    • Oatcakes, Pancakes/Waffles;
    • Pasta or Noodles (unless specified);
    • Pitta Bread, Pizza, Cakes, Buns, Muffins, Scones, Pastry and all Baked Goods (unless specified GF);
    • Ready Meals, Stuffing, Sausages, Processed Meats.


      Gluten Free Grains and Starches
    • Arrowroot;
    • Buckwheat;
    • Corn/Maize, Polenta (check Cornflour );
    • Gluten-free flour mixes that are commercially available;
    • Lentil/legume/pea (besan, urad, gram flour);
    • Millet;
    • Potato starch and flour;
    • Quinoa;
    • Rice (all forms, even ‘glutinous’);
    • Sago;
    • Sorghum;
    • Soy;
    • Tapioca/cassava;
    • Teff

    • Xanthan Gum – is added, in very small quantities, in some baking (particularly bread) to improve the texture and shelf life. It is often corn-based so may not be suitable for those with a corn allergy.

    Contact your local Coeliac Society for information on the availability of gluten free foods in your area: http://www.glutenfreepassport.com/allergy-gluten-free-travel/celiac-allergy-groups/


    LC Low Calorie

    Following a Low Calorie diet is to eat fewer calories than your body needs.

    There is so much information about weight loss diets: some demand you eat super-foods; others claim to be the breakthrough in dieting; and some require the costly purchase of weight loss supplements. The reality is there are no shortcuts.

    I am not promoting any particular approach; the recipes do not count calories, nor is any particular food avoided. Instead the recipes, coded as LC Low Calorie, are healthy and are lower in fat and sugars, and therefore lower in calories, than most similar dishes. Eaten in moderation you will reduce your calorie intake, continue to enjoy the pleasure of food while cooking and eating the same meal as friends and family.


    When making healthy food choices you do need to eat smaller quantities of food. This is not to suggest you eat ‘bird’ size serves, you must satisfy your hunger or you shall over-eat later. If you are active you will need to eat more than when you have a more leisurely day. And remember even healthy food should be eated in moderation, it too has calories.

    For individuals following the Weight Watchers “Simple Start” program, you will find that most of the recipes marked Low Calorie will be a suitable and tasty choice to include in your plan.

    If you are preparing Low Calorie options for a party or a hotel; provide a range of foods. This should include a variety of fruit, vegetables and salad choices, without oily dressings, from which guests can select the type and quantity they think is appropriate. Like all diets there are many interpretations.


    LF Low Fat

    Low fat cooking requires low fat ingredients and using minimal fat in cooking

                       Trim all fat from meat and skin from chicken;
                       Do not include processed meats;
                       Do not add butter/margarine to vegetables;
                       Avoid deep frying;
                       Avoid rich, creamy sauces;
                       Avoid rich cakes and biscuits;
                       No oily salad dressing or mayonnaise.

    Information on food labelling and fat is @ http://browsersgrazers.com/hints-tips/food-labelling/


    NF Nut Free

    Great care MUST be taken, nut allergies can be life threatening.

    Check with your guest which nuts they are allergic to. Peanut (groundnut) allergy is the most common although other nuts including almonds, cashews, pecans, walnuts, pecan nuts, macadamia, pine nuts, sesame seeds may also create allergy reactions. NF recipes are free of all nuts. They may include coconut (a fruit) and sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds which are rarely an allergen.

    Kitchen practice must be particular to avoid cross contamination. More information @ http://browsersgrazers.com/hints-tips/pantry/

    Food Labelling for nuts is thorough. Nuts will be listed in the ingredient list and ‘may contain nuts’ on the label if it has been prepared in an area where nuts are present. Because nut alleries are so severe I would suggest you avoid the following foods unless labelled “nut free”.

                     Biscuits, cakes and pastries, cereal bars and muesli and chocolate desserts;
                     Vegetable oils (unless they specify oils present)
                     Hydrolysed plant and vegetable protein (may be nut protein)
                     Natural flavourings (may be from nuts)
                     Vegetarian meals and burgers
                     Asian and Middle Eastern dishes.


    Common nut-containing foods (that you may not think about)


                     Pesto, Satay, other sauces eg curry sauce;
                     Marzipan, Praline, Nougat and Frangipane;
                     Waldorf Salad;
                     Hummus, any dishes containing Tahini;
                     Amaretto and Frangelico.


    P Paleo

    Paleolithic/Primal Diet is a variation on a low carb/carbohydrate diet. A low carb diet excludes all food containing carbohydrates (grains, legumes, fruits, starchy vegetables, nuts, seeds and dairy). The Paleo Diet includes fruits and nuts.

                       Includes: meat, fish, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds
                       Excludes: grains, legumes, root vegetables, dairy products, salt, refined sugar and processed oils and all processed foods

    Some relaxed versions of the diet may include low-fat dairy products and root vegetables.


    R Raw

    A Raw Food Diet, includes food that is uncooked, unprocessed and often organic. Interpretations of this diet vary widely from being raw vegetarians or raw vegans to raw omnivores (eating meat and fish as carpaccio and sashimi). All styles of this diet eat food that has not been heated over 40C (104F).


    The recipes I have included as “R Raw” are for a Raw Vegan diet because this is the largest group eating a Raw food diet. There is a growing interest in this eating style, it is usually , though not always, used as a significant component of the diet, rather than the complete diet being Raw. I have not provide a complete range of choices but have included tasty examples. I shall extend the options if there is an interest.


    V Vegetarian

    A Vegetarian V diet avoids meat, meat products (including gelatin and rennet) and fish but most include egg and diary products. There are variations on the vegetarian diet and a ‘flexible vegetarian’ (alos known as a ‘flexitarian’) may eat fish, gelatin and/or rennet.


    My experience is that many vegetarians will eat cheese (with rennet, from the animal gut) though they often avoid gelatin. In my “V” follows this guidance (including cheese but avoiding gelatin).


    Vg Vegan

    A Vegan Vg diet excludes all animal products. The difference to a vegetarian diet is that a vegans does not eat eggs, dairy products, or honey.
    Suitable substitutes in a vegan diet:

                       Egg replacer is available in the frozen section of many supermarkets
                       Rennet-free cheese, includes Kosher cheese
                       Aspic to replace gelatin

    Check all food labels as some unexpected products are not suitable for a vegan eg many quorn (soya bean) products contain egg white


    Diets Not Coded

    Not all diets are specifically identified in my recipes. However, here are some hints to help you select suitable recipes and ingredients for other fairly common diets.


    Halal

    Halal diet refers to the dietary restrictions, a religious custom/practice, of Muslims. The basic guidelines are outlined, but like all diets there are variations so discuss with your guests what their particular diet includes.
                     Avoid pork, and all blood and blood products
                     Avoid alcohol in all cooking. It may be the suspension of flavourings, eg vanilla
                     Halal meat, is included, and refers to the slaughtering which must be according to Halal protocol.

    Halal foods are meat products made from meat slaughtered using Halal protocol. The foods include gelatin, lecithin (also available from soya or egg), rennet, shortening (available from vegetable source)


    Kosher

    Kosher diet is based on the religious dietary customs of Jewish people. The diet varies with climate and culture, so it is important to discuss with your guest their restrictions with the cooking and consumption of meat and dairy The general principles are:
                     Avoid- pig, horse, rabbit
                     Avoid – shellfish and ‘scavenger’ fish, eg flounder
                     All meat must be slaughtered according to a particular protocol, similar to Halal
                     Dairy foods must not be eaten in the same meal as meat or poultry. Non Dairy milk (soya, rice and nut milks) are parev and can be consumed with all meals
                     Dairy and meat must be prepared using separate utensils
                     Eggs, fruits, vegetables and grains may be eaten with dairy or meat. They are referred to as Parev Foods


    Lactose Intolerance

    See DF Dairy Free above.


    Low Carb

    The “Low Carb” (carbohydrate), often referred called the Atkins of Dukan diet avoids all carbohydrates – bread, rice, pasta, starchy vegetables, fruits (berries often acceptable), legumes nuts, milk and yoghurt and sugar products.
    The P Paleo Diet, identified in my recipes is similar. The major difference being that it includes fruits and nuts. If you are following a Low Carb Diet I suggest you use the “P” Paleo as your guide and adapt is as necessary.


    Seafood/Fish Free

    An allergy to seafood can be life threatening. Check what the specific allergy is to, which shellfish and or fish.


    Check food labelling:
                     Potato chips and flavoured savoury biscuits.
                     Worcester sauce (contains anchovy)
                     Fish sauce (may include anchovy)
                     Savoury seasonings and sauces


    Soya Free

    Avoiding soya in kitchen is not difficult. However, vigilance with food labelling is essential. In particular check labelling for soya flour in baked goods and those listed below:
                     Baked goods and breads
                     Edamame (young soya beans), yuba, okarar, and natto (all asian soya products)
                     Canned tuna in oil
                     Hydrolysed vegetable and plant protein
                     Margarine, Vegetable oil (ensure it specifies oil type)
                     Natural and artificial flavouring
                     Soya milk, tofu and tempeh
                     Soya sauce, tamari, miso, shoyu (check Worcester sauce, BBQ sauce and mayonnaise)
                     Textured vegetable protein TVP
                     Vegetable gum


    Sulphite Free

    A sulphite allergy/sensitivity has various symptoms the most dangerous being breathing difficulties (many asthmatics are sensitive to sulphites). Check with your guest what their restrictions are. Sulphites are widely used as a preservative in food manufacturing and will not be listed if in very small quantities, less than 10 parts per million (ppm). Check food labelling and use of fresh products (avoiding pickled foods) to minimise the use of sulphites.


    Food Codes for Suphite are:
                     220 Sulphur dioxide
                     221 Sodium sulphite
                     222 Sodium bisulphite
                     223 Sodium metabisulphite
                     224 Potassium metabisulphite
                     225 Potassium sulphite
                     228 Potassium bisulphite

    In particular check;
                     Cordials, Jams,
                     Dried Fruits and Vegetables, Pre-Peeled                  Vegetables
                     Dried Herbs and Spices
                     Juices and concentrates
                     Low Calorie products containing
                     Processed Meats
                     Sugar Syrups
                     Vinegar, Pickles and Chutney
                     Wine, Champagne and Beer


    Wheat Free

    All GF, Gluten Free and F, Fodmap recipes are Wheat Free. These diets may be a little more restrictive than necessary, eg no oats, barley or rye in the gluten free diet and a restriciton of many fruits and vegetables in the fodmap diet. However, you can selecitviely use the guide to avoid wheat and find suitable substitutes.


    Yeast Free

    Yeast is a raising agent widely used in baking. The term Yeast Free is rather vague when used as a diet restriction so enquire what needs to be avoided.

    Usually it refers to avoiding:
                     bread (use sour dough or baking powder eg soda bread)
                     Beer and Cider.

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