Sea Buckthorn Oil, omega 7 and the unspeakable issues of the menopause

I have recently come to appreciate the benefits of Sea Buckthorn Oil, have you heard of it? No neither had I, nor had my mother. Why this uniquely cleaver little oil is not more widely acclaimed I’m not sure, so I delved a little deeper into it’s history and qualities. Here is what I discovered.

What is Sea Buckthorn oil?

Sea Buckthorn is found in Asia and Europe. It was used by Tibetan and Mongolians more than one thousand years ago as a medicinal ingredient. You can never underestimate those Tibetans can you? The interesting feature of the Sea Buckthorn berry is that it contains omegas 3, 6, 7 and 9 – jackpot!! The omega 7 is the interesting one, palmitoleic acid, in which Sea Buckthorn is exceptionally rich. Palmitoleic acid is rerely found in plants so this is a rare quality possessed by Sea Buckthorn. As if that was not enough, sea buckthorn is also rich in natural antioxidants (tocopherols, tocotrienols, carotenoids) and plant sterols.

What are the benefits of Sea Buckthorn Oil?

This may sound good so far, but why should we get excited about omega 7?

Omega 7 may help to maintain the natural lubrication of mucous membranes of the vaginal tract during the menopause. Its soothing action may help maintain natural lubrication of mucous membranes not only in the vaginal tract but also in the mouth, eyes and digestive tract.  Like skin, mucus plays an important part in protecting the internal organs. Mucous membranes line much of our internal systems and mucous can be a route into our bodies for harmful substances and bacteria, so healthy and strong mucous membranes are important for general health. Sea Buckthorn oil is said to be good for mouth ulcers too though I have never tried it.

Why should we get excited about antioxidants and plant sterols?

The antioxidants in sea buckthorn oil help prevent free radical damage to cell membranes. Free radical damage is the damage to our systems by waste products in our bodies which are produced by oxidation, yes just breathing. Our breathing and general existence produces bi-products which “attack and age” our bodies. Anti-oxidants help to subdue the wear and tear we experience through this oxidation so they are a valuable nutrient to include in our diets.

What about the plant sterols found in Sea Buckthorn Oil, is that of any benefit? Yes,  plant sterols are known to be of benefit to cholesterol management and our metabolism.

Where can I buy Sea Buckthorn Oil?

Pharma Nord Sea Buckthorn oil comes in both 60 vege caps and 150 vege caps sizes and is also present in the Higher Nature Essential Omegas mix of omegas 3,6,7,9 available in 30 caps, 90 caps and 180 caps.


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2010 Free From Food Awards

The shortlist of Free From Products which are being considered by Foods Matter for the 2010 Free From Food Awards has now been released.

What an excellent initiative the Free From Awards are, they have helped give the special diet foods industry recognition that did not previously exist.  The list of foods being considered includes a wide variety of excellent products which really illustrates how the ‘free from’ market is growing and maturing.  Free from is being acknowledged by manufacturers and retailers alike and the selection  embraces products from a much wider sphere than just the baked goods historically at the centre of the ‘free from’ market.

The full list is  below separated into several categories.

Innovation Award

Against the Grain chocolate and orange cookies
Antony Worrall Thompson stock cubes
Asda gluten-free fusilli
Cake Angels cup cakes
Dietary Specials frozen sausage rolls
Gluten Free Kitchen brown bread rolls
Gluten Free Kitchen egg-free carrot cake
Hares’ Moor Curry kits
Hale & Hearty gluten-free bread mix
Hale & Hearty gluten-free falafel mix
Hale & Hearty gluten-free pasta
Isabel’s cheese bread mix
Livwell English muffins
Lovemore Free From Foods gluten-free pastry
Peace of Cake – cake selection
Sainsbury’s Bombay potatoes
Sainsbury’s caramelised onion rolls
Sainsbury’s chilli con carne
Sainsbury’s gingerbread slices
Sainsbury’s Korma sauce
Sweet Freedom

1. Animal (not cow)’s milk, butter, yogurt and ice cream

Delamere Dairy whole goat milk
Lactofree lactose reduced cow’s milk
Laverstoke Park buffalo milk
St Helen’s Farm whole goat milk
St Helen’s goat butter
Styles strawberry sheep’s milk dessert
Styles vanilla bean sheeps’ milk dessert
Tesco whole goat milk

2. Plant (soya, rice,oat, nut, potato) ‘milk’, spread, yoghurt, cheese and ice cream

B’Nice non dairy rice cream – strawberry
Biona Organic Olive spread
BoojaBooja Stuff in a tub – hunky punky chocolate
BoojaBooja Stuff in a tub – smiling vanilla m’gorilla
BoojaBooja Stuff in a tub – maple and pecan
Cheezly Greek style
Oatly Oat cream

Pure Soya spread
Sainsbury’s organic olive spread
Sojasun raspberry passion soya alternative to yogurt
Swedish Glace Neopolitan
Tofutti Creamy smooth original
Tofutti Mozzarella style
Tofutti non dairy frozen dessert – chocolate
Worthenshaw’s coconice strawberry frozen desert (in stock soon…!)

Barkat gluten-free waffle cones

3. Gluten-free breads and bread mixes

Beiker – Sandwich bread mix
Genius white bread
Glebe Farm – seeded brown bread mix
Dietary Specials – Fresh multi-seeded loaf
Gluten Free Kitchen – seeded loaf
Juvela – Fresh brown bread
Livwell – tear drop flat breads
Mrs Crimbles fresh white bread
Proceli – Brown seeded rolls
Tesco – pitta bread

4. Gluten-free pasta

Dietary Specials penne
Doves Farm brown rice spaghetti
Farabella cannelloni
Gluten Out tortellini
Juvela spaghetti
Juvela tagliatelli
Orgran multigrain fusilli with amaranth
Rizopia organic brown rice fusilli
Rizopia organic brown rice spaghetti
Tesco fusilli
Tesco spaghetti

5. Gluten-free pizza bases/mixes and pastry/pastry mixes

GFree rich shortcrust pastry
Glutafin multipurpose white mix – pastry
Gluten Free Kitchen shortcrust pastry
Juvela pizza base
Juvela white mix – pastry
Store Cupboard pizza base with rosemary
Tarte Maison ready to use pastry cases
Wellfoods pizza base

6. Gluten-free savoury pies, flans and ready meals

Brumby’s chicken and mushroom pie
Clive’s Pies – Aloo gobi
Clive’s Pies – Lentil and olive
Dietary Specials tagliatelle with bacon and mushrooms
Dietary Specials thin and crispy pepperoni pizza
Dietary Specials deep pan mozzarella and tomato
Intolerable Food Company green Thai vegetable curry
It’s a Free World fragrant Thai chicken curry
Sainsbury’s chicken Kiev
Sainsbury’s beef lasagne
Young’s Gluten free fish fingers

7. Gluten-free savoury biscuits and snacks

Barkat pretzels
Eskal pretzels
Glutafin crackers
Les Pain des Fleurs crunchy chestnut toast
Mrs Crimbles cheese crackers with sun-dried tomatoes
Nairns oatcakes
Nairns mini rough oatcakes
Paterson’s oatcakes
Trufree pretzels
Village Bakery oatcakes
Village Bakery seedy oatcakes

8. Gluten-free scones, sweet tarts, Bakewells, cake bars etc

Asda fruit teacakes
Asda chocolate brownies
Christine’s Puddings scones
Gluten Free Kitchen fruit scones
Honeybuns Heathcliff brownie
Honeyrose ultimate oat bar flapjack
Honeyrose pecan maple syrup flapjack
It’s Nut Free chocolate chip flapjack
It’s Nut Free refrigerator cake
Livwell sultana scones
Lovemore Free From Foods chocolate brownies
Mrs Crimble’s Bakewell slices
Orgran raspberry fruit filled biscuits
Tarte Maison Bakewell tart
Village Bakery chocolate orange brownies
Waitrose almond tart

9. Gluten-free sweet biscuits and cookies

Asda Belgian milk chocolate wafers
Baker’s Delight FreeTime
Eskal vanilla tea biscuits
Glutafin gran biscotti
Glutafin shortbread
Glutafin custard creams
Honeybuns honeyed apple cookies
Lazy Day Foods chocolate gingers
Lovemore Free From Foods chocolate chip cookies
Orgran dinosaur whole fruit cookies
Morrisons caramel shortbread
Mrs Crimbles’ chocolate macaroons
Prewetts ginger cookies
Prewetts jammy wheels
Prewetts sultana and apple cookies
Trubitz raison cookies
Trufree chocolate chip cookies
Waitrose cranberry and orange cookies

10. Gluten-free cakes, muffins, brownies and mixes
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Asda almond slices
Beiker cup cakes
Droppa & Droppa Victoria sponge
Droppa & Droppa fruit cake
Glutafin – white mix
Gluten Free Goodies Victoria sponge
Gluten Free Goodies carrot cake
Gluten Free Kitchen ginger cake
Gluten Free Kitchen Victoria sponge
Healthy Cake Company lemon and coconut cake
Honeyrose Victoria sponge
Livwell Victoria sponge
Marks & Spencer cherry and chocolate cake
Morrison’s fruit cake slices
Pure Flavour lemon and vanilla sponge
Tesco Victoria sponge
Trubitz Victoria Sponge
Winona’s Midnight Sin

11. Gluten-free puddings, sweet pies, desserts, cheesecake

Barkat pancake mix
Christine’s Puddings chocolate pudding
Christine’s Puddings sticky toffee puddings
Gluten Free Goodies syrup sponge
Hunter’s sticky toffee puddings
Hunter’s chocolate fudge pudding
Intolerable Foods blueberry and almond tart
Intolerable Foods pecan and toffee tart
Lifestyle pecan tart
Mama Cucina strawberry cheesecake
Mama Cucina mango and passion fruit cheesecake
Morrison’s treacle tart
Morrison’s pancake mix
Mrs Crimble’s pancake mix
OK Foods treacle tart
Orgran apple and cinnamon pancake mix
Provamel vanilla dessert

12. Dairy/gluten-free chocolate and snack bars

Billy Goat Stuff half solid egg
Billy Goat Stuff 35% white chocolate
BoojaBooja champagne truffles
BoojaBooja Around midnight expresso truffles
BoojaBooja ginger wine truffles
BoojaBooja hazelnut crunch truffles
Bounce spirulina ginseng
Conscious sesame chews
D & D chocolate Easter egg
Dietary Needs Direct chocolate Easter egg
Fruitus fruit bites with blackberry
Fruitus chewy apricot bites
Kinnerton luxury chocolate bar
No Nuts Just Chocolate… 74% dark chocolate
Orgran fruit filled apricot bar
Orinoco coco minty munch bar
Plamil rum and raisin chocolate
Raw Living Be the Change

13. Dairy/gluten-free Christmas foods

Asda gf,wf Xmas pudding
Barkat gf,wf Xmas pudding
Coop nf, gf, wf Xmas pudding
Droppa & Droppa mince pies
Droppa & Droppa Xmas cake
Especially Delicious Xmas cupcakes
Gluten Free Goodies mince pies
Healthy Cake Company Xmas cake
It’s Nut Free mincemeat
M & S gf Xmas pudding
The Right Ingredient Xmas cake
The Right Ingredient boozy choc brownies
Trubitz mince pies
Trubitz Xmas pie

14. Nut-free in all the tastings

Coop nut-free, gluten-free, wheat-free Xmas pudding
It’s Nut Free mincemeat
No Nuts Just Chocolate… 74% dark chocolate
Orgran dinosaur cookies
Orgran multi-grain spirals with amaranth
Proceli bread rolls
Trubitz Xmas pie
Trubitz raisin cookies
Young’s fish fingers

15. Gluten-free beer

Estrall Damm – Estella Daura
Green’s – Premium Pils
Green’s – Premium Golden ABV
Hambleton Ales – GFA-ABV
La Zaragozana – Ambar Celiacos
St Peter’s Brewery – G-Free
Wold Top Brewery – Against the Grain

Read more about the Free From Food Awards

The biscuit song – gluten free and ever so nice

Everyone has their favourite food, some people are mad about tea, some people love chocolate and then there are those people who go crazy over a biscuit…

I present my evidence with Exhibit A: The Ode to Biscuits which features some startling songs about biscuits. Here’s an example: (sung to the tune of American Pie)

Bye, bye Biscuit maker guy, made his biscuits kinda heavy and they always was high an them good ol’ boys were eating biscuits of rye singin if this’ll be the day that they’re dry, then this’ll be the day that I’ll die.

Did you write the recipe of love and do you have faith in God above, to bake them biscuits so, and do you believe in biscuits n’ rolls, can they save your mortal soul and can you teach me how to bake em real slow? Well I know that you’re in love with him cuz I saw you bakin them with him, you both threw off your shoes and I love those biscuits and blues. I was a lonely teenage cookin punk with a white apron and a pick up truck but I knew I was out of luck, the day, the biscuit maker, died. I started singin…

Copywrited to Ben Griffiths ©2005

I don’t know what Don McLean would think of that. He might complain Ben was Killing Him Softly With His Song (it’s a little known fact that Don McLean performance was the inspiration behind that original track). But what I do know is that most Ceoliacs when they taste biscuits can lament ‘The Day the Biscuit Died’. Gluten free biscuits have a tendency to be dry and chalky, crumbly and tasteless. It’s a really hard thing to get right.

That’s where Doves come in. They’re already well known for the organic flour they do and they are also one of the UK’s best known producers of gluten free flour (as well as and gluten free pasta, cereals and baking products) and now biscuits.

They’ve actually been making Gluten-Free cookies for a while but recently brought out some new flavours and I doubt most people would be able to tell the difference.

Of course, I had to do a bit of taste testing:

  • The Lemon Zest Cookies have a lovely zingy taste, with a texture similar to ginger nut biscuits though thankfully less hard.
  • The Chocolate Chip Cookie has that classic choc-chip cookie character: they’re small, delightful and moreish.
  • The Ginger Hazelnut Cookie was possibly my favourite with a great crunch experience and a flavour that fills the mouth.
  • The Double Chocolate Cookie is a deeply rich mouthful which easily leaves you wanting more.
  • The Hazelnut Cookie with A Hint of Orange is moist and tangy, but for me needed to be a bit more fruity.
  • They all dunk really well and, while there is still a hint of a grainy texture, I truly believe anyone who didn’t know would enjoy these for what they are: distinctively premium biscuits – something to sing and dance about I’d say.