My embarrassing middle-class allergy

Some people are born with unfortunate allergies, others develop them later on in life. Both are very annoying, but arguably the most infuriating variety are the ones you create for yourself (not on purpose, obviously. That’d be insane.). Typically, my embarrassing middle-class allergy falls into this category. Confused? Don’t worry, I’ll explain and hopefully you can avoid this shameful fate for yourself.

Last year, I developed a rather unpleasant allergy to a very popular healthy food. I’d never had any real issues with food before (other than eating too much of it), so it came as a rather nasty surprised when I figured out what was causing the horrible stomach cramps and intense vomiting sessions. The culprit?

QUINOA.

Quinoa. Quinoa. How pathetic and embarrassing is that? Even as I write this, I cringe. When I’ve been forced to admit to it in public, I can see the look of judgement in people’s eyes. I can almost hear them thinking, “Ohh, poor little princess can’t have her quinoa! I wonder if she’s allergic to caviar too?”

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No quinoa for me, thanks.

Regardless of how ridiculous it is (and I know it really is), the fact remains that it can be physically very painful. There are definitely worse allergies out there and I am comparatively very lucky, but it’s still not much fun. This delicious protein-rich “wonder grain” went from being my best dinner time friend to my sworn enemy, and it didn’t happen over night. My intolerance to the little buggers came as a result of eating it a lot (several times a week) and not washing it properly. Who knew that those instructions to thoroughly wash it on the packets and on numerous websites were meant to be taken seriously? It turns out if you don’t rinse it really really well before you cook and eat it, the saponin – the natural oily residual on the grain – can build up in your system and lead to pure agony at any time. Hooray! I only found this out after stumbling across this blog post from Embracing the Absurd, which was a big help as there’s very little information out there about this.

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I even made quinoa bread, ffs.

I’m writing this blog post for two reasons: the first is to encourage all you quinoa fans out there to wash the hell out of those damn grains before consumption, and the second is because as of next month, it’s been a year since I last ate the stuff. Apparently if you wait a year, you should be able to eat the food again. The question is – is it worth it? I’ve read a few articles about how the increased popularity of quinoa has put intense economical pressures on countries that farm it, such as Bolivia, and shockingly, I’ve managed to survive without it in my diet. I really like bulgar wheat and cous cous, which work just as well. No grain, no pain?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, so please share your thoughts in the comments. Thank you!

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4 Items That Can Make You Healthier

Let’s be honest: most of the time, being healthy is not convenient. If you fancy a quick snack at work or need to grab breakfast on the go, you often have to settle for whatever’s on offer at your local shop and usually, it’s crap.

The best way to avoid this situation is simple – BE PREPARED. But how, dammit?

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Fortunately, there are a number of wonderful items available to help make the whole process easier. Here are four things that have helped me to be healthier on a day-to-day basis, and hopefully they can help you too. They’re all affordable too – hooray!

1. Blender Bottle GoStak – starting from £9.00
So simple, and yet so bloody clever. I stock up on bags of nuts, seeds, dried fruit etc., and fill each of the little interlocking jars so that I have my snacks for the day ahead. This way not only do I have tasty treats to hand at all times, but I’m also able to make sure I don’t overindulge. I could quite easily inhale a whole bag of cashews in one sitting but with my handy GoStak, I have just enough to keep me going. BOOM.

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My GoStak in action

2. Water Infuser Bottle – starting from £6.99
If you find drinking or even enjoying water a struggle, why not try infusing it with good stuff? Lemon, strawberry, cucumber – whatever you want! It all tastes amazing in water-y form. Just chop up your chosen fruit or veg, pop it into the little cage, fill the bottle with water and leave it in the fridge overnight. In the morning, drink up and delight in your delicious refreshment.

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Water Bottle Infuser

3. Vacu Vin Banana Guard – £2.49
I love bananas, but I do not like bruised ones. This handy guard allows me to transport my banana in safety, free of any nasty black marks. There are a few varieties of guard available, but I like this as it accommodates any shape banana. There’s a sentence I never thought I’d type.

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Banana guard

4. A blender with a portable cup – starting from £19.99
When I’m in a rush in the mornings, I love a good smoothie or shake for breakfast as it’s a quick way to get fruit inside my body. Now it’s even easier thanks to blenders that come with portable travel bottles or cups! I started off with this Breville bargain, but my bearded man kindly upgraded me to a NutriNinja last year and it’s brilliant. Here’s me enjoying a shake on my way to work. Look how big my hand looks!

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My NutriNinja bottle and I

So, there we have it! What handy items help make you healthier?