Why broth? Because it doesn’t release opioid molecules across your gut when you are on a lovely beach holiday – hooray!

So we are having a family getaway at some pretty amazing beaches in the far north. Cooking good food on the go is a bit of a challenge when you have a dairy-free girl (or any kind of sensitive gut issue to cater for).

 Otaio Bay, Urupukapuka Island

Otaio Bay, Urupukapuka Island

What better to eat with our kai moana than a salad; and a blob of hot, buttery mashed potatoes? Turns out you can leave out the butter and milk, and replace them with a good splash of bone broth to make a dairy-free version. I also added a spoonful of this lovely miso paste (soybeans, water, slake salt and koji seed - but many misos contain wheat, so you have to do some label-checking if you have sensitivities) for a more intense flavour.

The mashies were a rich, savoury hit of delisciousness!

So what does all that have to do with opioid molecules?

Well it turns out that A1 milk (the most commonly available commercial milk), and wheat-based products (like bread and pasta) release molecules called ‘food opioids’ which cross the gut barrier and reach the nervous system. A dose of morphine (a pharmaceutical opioid known for its pain-relieving qualities) is lovely if you have just had a particularly painful operation, but a chronic low dose of ‘morphine’ infusion from our daily bread/milk may not be quite so good for us.

While many people appear to be able to tolerate these molecules, there are lots of people who don’t do well on wheat, or A1 diary products. A complex interaction of individual genetics and gut bacteria populations will inevitably mean that some people can chow down on bread and butter every day and still function fairly normally, but others will be better off avoiding these foods. Food opioids have been associated with a host of issues including schizophrenia, autism, diabetes, and various other inflammatory disorders.

So if your doctor, dietician or health professional has suggested that you try a DF, GF (diary-free, gluten(wheat)-free) diet – it’s not all bad news - broth could be your new best friend!

Now I just need to figure out how to incorporate it into a New Years Eve cocktail. Any ideas?

Happy New Year everyone!