Psychologies Magazine

Foods that are ‘free from’ have become a nutrition minefield.

I see many clients who have eliminated lots of healthy foods in favour of what they think might be better for them, on the basis of a biased article of seductive marketing.

It’s easy to mistake a gluten-free loaf or dairy-free chocolate bar for a healthier option

But consider what’s being put in to replace what’s being taken out – often sugar and syrups, processed flour, emulsifiers and refined vegetable fats. Essentially, you need to ask yourself why you’re cutting out food from your diet in the first place. If you are coeliac (and cannot eat gluten) or have a serious food allergy your GP can diagnose this. This is different to what is defined as a food intolerance or sensitivity. That’s not to say you shouldn’t address a potential intolerance, particularly if it’s causing bloating, nausea and skin allergies, but do ensure you work with someone who knows their stuff before you cut out any foods completely.

Often, those who think they can’t eat gluten are fine with other grains, such as spelt, millet, oats and rye – and just need to avoid wheat. Most often, an intolerance or sensitivity is not a life-long aversion, but simply brought on by overdoing a single food-group. Eating too much of anything can cause reactions and once you slowly re-introduce it after a period of time (usually at least 6 weeks) you may be able to tolerate it without any discomfort. Everything in moderation is key.


  • To make 2 litres of Brazil nut milk, you will need a nut milk bag and a large jug
  • Put 1 cup of Brazil nuts, 1 date (optional) and 5 cups of water into a blender and pulse on high for 1 minute or until fully blended.
  • Strain through a nut milk bag into the jug
  • Pour the milk back into the blender, then add 1 vanilla pod (or 1/4 teaspoon vanilla powder) and a pinch of sea salt and blend again
  • Put into a sealable container and store in the fridge for up to three days