Special Dietary Needs

Food sensitivities include both food allergies and food intolerances. A food allergy involves the immune system and is an abnormal response to a harmless food e.g. peanut, milk, and egg.

A food intolerance however doesn’t involve the immune system and is described as an adverse reaction to food e.g. lactose intolerance, gluten intolerance. Food allergies are considered more serious than intolerances although both can cause unpleasant symptoms. Follow our Feel Good guide for your special dietary needs.

Gluten Free

People with coeliac disease have a permanent intolerance to gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye and barley. Some people are sensitive to the protein found in oats too. The disease is often diagnosed with a simple blood test. Those with a positive diagnosis must follow a gluten free diet for life. However those who are sensitive to gluten may reap the benefits from removing it also.

Lactose intolerance

Lactose is a naturally occurring sugar in milk and milk products. When we eat milk-based products our body produces lactase, an enzyme which breaks down lactose in the body so we can digest milk. Some people don’t produce enough lactase and are described as having lactose intolerance. Symptoms of lactose intolerance include bloating, wind, diarrhea, cramps, nausea and sometimes vomiting.
The main concern if avoiding dairy is to ensure you are getting enough calcium in the diet. Poor calcium and protein intake may result in osteoporosis. However most lactose-free dairy alternatives are fortified with calcium therefore have similar amounts of calcium to dairy. So swapping to lactose free milk will help you meet your daily calcium requirements. Other non-dairy sources of calcium include tinned fish, calcium fortified orange juice, dark green vegetables and tofu. If you are concerned about your calcium intake you can always take a supplement.


Diabetes mellitus is a condition where there is either a lack of or ineffective insulin production. Insulin is a hormone that acts like a key to open the doors into the body’s cells. When the door is open, glucose (sugar) can enter the cell to provide the body with energy. However, in diabetes, as there is an issue with the production insulin, the glucose levels in the blood levels rise too high. Therefore, diabetes is diagnosed by high blood glucose levels.
There are two distinct types of diabetes, Type 1 and Type 2.
Type 1

Type 1 diabetes is less common (approximately 14,000 of the total diabetes population in Ireland) and usually develops in the young. It is an autoimmune disease where the body’s own immune system destroys the insulin-making cells (beta-cells) of the pancreas. People with Type 1 diabetes must inject insulin into their body regularly.

Type 2

Type 2 diabetes is more common and usually develops slowly in adulthood. The majority of people with Type 2 diabetes are overweight or obese. It is progressive and can be treated with diet and exercise. However, if blood glucose levels are not controlled, medications and/or insulin injections are required.


Organic food has never been so readily available! But what does it mean and does it make it better for you?

The word “organic” refers to the way farmers grow and process foods like fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy and meat. ‘Organic’ farmers follow strict guidelines and don’t use chemical fertilisers or artificial pesticides. For example, they will only use products that are certified as organic or may even used traditional crop rotation systems. In fact, they undergo a thorough inspection every year to receive a licence to sell organic produce.

Organic farming also prioritises sustainable production practices and farming methods that are considered respectful of the countryside and of animals. The organic farming practices are designed to reduce pollution and to conserve both soil and water.

All pre-packaged organic food products in Europe, which meet particular standards, carry the “Euro-Leaf” EU organic logo. However, you may not find this logo on unpackaged food, so if in doubt, just ask!

There have been many years of research on organic food and its potential health benefits…. But so far there is not enough convincing evidence of any significant health benefits to consuming organic food. Nonetheless, there are several reasons that consumers may prefer to buy and eat organic produce. Therefore if your reasons for eating organic are ethical and not nutritional, this will be of no concern. The decision is yours!

Gluten Free Recipe

Gluten Free Pasta Nicoise Salad

Ingredients Shopping List
150g Kelkin Gluten Free penne pasta
1 tin of tuna in brine
4-5 anchovies
1 hard-boiled egg (cut into 4)
A handful of steamed green beans
1 green pepper sliced
30g black olives
Cook the gluten free pasta as per the pack instructions and then add a little drizzle of olive oil.
While the pasta is cooking, prepare your vegetables.
Drain the tuna and olives.
Once the pasta has cooled mix in the tuna, green pepper,green beans and black olives.
Then divide the mixture between two bowls.
Place the anchovies and egg on top of the pasta salads and serve with salad dressing.