now browsing by category
latest news on products and nutrition from Mulberry Tree Fine Foods
Quinoa flour is a bit of a newcomer but is already proving to be a popular choice amongst those in the know. For those navigating the world of gluten-free cooking, getting to grips with gluten-free flour can sometimes be a daunting task. Packed with all the goodness of quinoa, this flour is a game-changer for those on a gluten-free diet. In this post, we will explore everything you need to know about this fantastic flour alternative. And, for good measure, throw in some tips about how to use it in your favourite recipes.
Introducing Quinoa Flour
Quinoa may be absolutely everywhere but it turns out that it also happens to make a surprisingly good gluten-free flour. Quinoa flour, made from quinoa grain, is rising in popularity due to its excellent nutritional profile and gluten-free credentials. Made by grinding whole quinoa grains into a fine powder, it has a subtle, nutty flavour and can be used as a direct substitute for wheat flour in many recipes. Its versatility makes it an essential ingredient in gluten-free baking, allowing for the creation of delicious, nutrient-dense food items that cater to the needs of gluten-sensitive and health-conscious individuals alike.
Organic quinoa flour
Organic quinoa flour, as the name suggests, is derived from organically grown quinoa grains. This means they are cultivated without the use of synthetic pesticides, or fertilizers, and are non-GMO, ensuring you get the purest form of this nutritious superfood. By choosing organic quinoa flour, you are not only making a healthier choice for your body but also supporting sustainable farming practices that benefit our environment.
The Nutritional Value of Quinoa Flour
You don’t need us to tell you that quinoa is really really good for you, but just in case here’s a recap.
Rich in Protein
Quinoa flour stands out in the world of gluten-free alternatives primarily due to its high protein content. Quinoa is in fact made up of 22% protein. Unlike many other actual grains, quinoa is a complete protein, which simply means it contains all nine of the essential amino acids. Pretty exceptional for a plant-based protein! Each serving provides a substantial amount of protein, making it an excellent choice for vegetarians, vegans, or anyone looking to add more plant-based protein to their diet. Unlike traditional grain flours, this high protein content also contributes to the feeling of fullness, making meals more satisfying and aiding in weight management.
This powerful little pseudo-grain is a particularly potent source of the amino acid lysine, which aids in tissue repair.
Vitamins and Minerals
Quinoa flour is not only protein-rich but packed with a variety of essential vitamins and minerals. It contains significant amounts of B vitamins, a wide spectrum of E vitamins, plus a host of minerals including iron, magnesium, potassium, and calcium. A rich source of silica, it can help keep skin strong and elastic. It also has powerful antioxidant properties provided by the E vitamins and flavonoids that appear in high concentrations.
Omega-3 and Fatty acids
Also rich in essential fatty acids, and particularly anti-inflammatory omega-3s, quinoa flour is a rich source of oleic acid which is thought to help lower LDL cholesterol.
A fantastic source of dietary fibre. Fibre not only keeps everything moving along nicely but also helps to control blood sugar levels by slowing the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream. Plus, high-fibre foods like quinoa flour can help to manage weight by promoting a feeling of fullness and reducing overall calorie intake. So, not only does it provide a gluten-free, protein-packed alternative to traditional flours, but can also contribute to digestive health, blood sugar control, and weight management with its high fibre content.
And of course, one of the best things about quinoa is that it is gluten-free.
Is Quinoa Low-Carb?
Quinoa is often thought to be a great choice for those following a low-carb diet. Yet it is important to understand that while quinoa is lower in carbs than some types of grains, it is not strictly a low-carb food. A cup of cooked quinoa contains around 40 grams of carbs, which is more than the daily intake suggested by some low-carb diets. That being said, it’s a complex carbohydrate, which means it digests slower than simple carbs and offers sustained energy without causing a rapid spike in blood sugar. Therefore, while not a low-carb food in the strictest sense, it can still be a healthier choice compared to many other grains and is enjoyed by many people following a balanced, healthy diet.
Cooking and Baking with Quinoa Flour
So, while it is good to know just how nutritional this stuff is, what we really want to know is how to cook with it. Right? We will be looking at these things in more detail over time, but here’s a quick overview to get you started.
The basics of cooking and baking with quinoa flour
In the realm of gluten-free flour, quinoa flour is high in protein and has a high absorption rate. If you remember from our in-depth guide to using gluten-free flours, these flours can be grouped into two categories. These are protein flours and starches. High protein flours often have more pronounced flavours than starches but they do lend strength and elasticity to a bake. Starches, on the other hand, contribute little in the way of flavour yet they add a fluffy light texture to the heavier protein flours.
Just as some quinoa can be slightly bitter, but not all, the same goes for its flour. Again, the flavour can range from profoundly earthy to pleasingly nutty.
As with most gluten-free flours, this flour is best used alongside other varieties to get the best balance between texture and flavour for your particular recipe needs. That said, your choice of flour will depend very much on what you are making, so there are times when you can directly substitute for all-purpose wheat flour.
Substituting quinoa flour in recipes
Getting to grips with using gluten-free flour is always a bit of a baptism by fire. Recipes and suggestions should be used as a guideline only, largely because such flours can be wholly unpredictable. There is nothing more frustrating than a tried and tested recipe that does not deliver results.
There will be some cases where it is safer to begin with a 1:1 substitution for wheat flour than others. Remember that the protein content makes it denser, and also means it will absorb more water. Gluten is required to build strength, elasticity, and structure into a bake so it is really important in bread making yet can lead to toughness in a pastry. Cakes need little in the way of gluten, yet also require a certain amount of bulk and fluffiness.
And then there is flavour. Quinoa flour has a pronounced flavour. If you find that it tends towards bitterness, then it can be toasted in a moderate oven for about 10 to 15 minutes before cooling and using. So, whilst you may not want to make a delicate Victoria sponge with quinoa flour, it could be perfect for that parmesan pastry you have in mind. Or a more robustly flavoured banana muffin.
So our advice is to begin with a 1:1 ratio in recipes where it may seem appropriate. Like a pastry or a muffin. If you find it too dry, then use a little less flour, or a touch more liquid.
Sauces and batters rely more on the liquid content of the recipe. So substitute your flour slowly, gradually adding more until you reach the desired consistency.
Tips for cooking and baking with quinoa flour
- Test small batches first: Before using quinoa flour in large quantities, consider trying it in smaller recipes. This allows you to understand its unique characteristics and adjust your main recipe accordingly.
- Blend with other flours: Quinoa flour alone may not suit all recipes. Try blending it with other gluten-free flours to create a balance of flavour and texture.
- Adjust liquid levels: Quinoa flour tends to absorb more liquid than wheat flour. Keep an eye on your batter or dough and be prepared to add extra liquid if it seems too dry.
- Store properly: Keep your quinoa flour in an airtight container in a cool, dark place. Proper storage preserves the flour’s taste and extends its shelf life.
- Cooked quinoa flour: If the flavour of quinoa flour is too strong, try toasting it in the oven for 10-15 minutes before cooling and using. This can help to reduce bitterness.
- Use in savoury recipes: Quinoa flour can be a wonderful addition to savoury recipes like flatbreads, pizza dough, or pasta, where its unique flavour can shine.
- Healthy baking: Use quinoa flour in recipes where health is a priority. It is protein-rich and offers a nutritious alternative to traditional flour.
Quinoa flour in bread-making
It’s a whole other subject, but the protein content of quinoa flour makes it an excellent contender in the gluten-free bread stakes. It will need to be used alongside other flours though so we will explore this more fully at a later date.
To sum up, it would certainly seem that even for those without gluten-related disorders, quinoa flour offers a change of pace from traditional flours, allowing for experimentation with diverse, nutrient-rich alternatives in the kitchen.
This article was reproduced on this site with permission from operafoods.com.au the “Gluten Free Flour Suppliers”.
See original article:- Why Quinoa Flour is Your New Gluten-Free Go-To
Gluten free pasta can be a bit of a hit and miss affair. But with a bit of know how and a really good basic sauce you will wonder why you never made the switch sooner.
Next to bread, pasta must be the most missed menu item when going gluten-free. Possible the quickest and easiest meal to put together on the planet, as well as satisfying and cheap to make, pasta has earned its place in our recipe repertoire. But what happens when you decide to give up gluten; what on earth will fill that gaping pasta shaped hole?
What is gluten free pasta made from?
Again, it is the very qualities of wheat and its resident gluten that make pasta the success that it is. A lot of commercial gluten-free pasta is made from corn, and whilst it does hold its shape and texture well, the proliferation of corn in gluten free products is leading it into the same difficult territory as modern wheat.
But there are alternatives, and the eating quality of gluten-free pasta has come a long way. As we saw in our article on gluten free flours, quinoa and rice have significant amounts of protein that make them robust enough to make pasta, and sorghum is also ideal.
There are now completely grain free pasta options available too.
The trick with gluten free pasta is careful cooking. The timing on the manufacturer label may not be entirely accurate so you may want to be flexible with this. Nobody wants overcooked gluey pasta, but gluten free pasta is far less forgiving than the wheat variety.
Cook your gluten free pasta in a large pan with plenty of room, and lots of salt in the water. Keep it over a high heat on a rolling boil. Once the pasta begins to soften, keep checking it every few minutes. As it approaches the almost done stage, keep checking more frequently. You want to drain it before you think it is ready, when it is still a little firm. Then, drain it quickly, toss it in hot sauce, and serve immediately.
Great pasta needs great sauce
A great sauce can change the way you look at pasta forever. Once you go down the road of gluten free, chances are that you will start scrutinising the food that you eat more and more. Food and ingredients that once were perfectly acceptable are suddenly unveiled as the chemical concoctions that they really are. The answer? Make it yourself.
The basic tomato sauce could not be simpler. Made from just a handful of ingredients, it is a prime example of letting simplicity shine. Make a big batch and freeze it in portions to use as a base for your pasta sauces, or just as a sauce in its own right. It is also an excellent starting point for maximising flavour in stews and braises, and any other tomato based dishes.
The best basic tomato sauce recipe
A good tomato sauce should be all about the tomatoes. Onions add sweetness and acidity, whilst the sundried tomatoes are there for texture. The oil makes it glossy and rich. Interestingly if your sauce is bitter at the end of cooking, as tomato sauce often is, try adding more salt not the usually suggested pinch of sugar. Add the salt a pinch at a time until you can taste the sauce has rounded out. You will end up with a far better balanced and complex savoury sauce than if you added a pinch of sugar.
1 x onion, chopped
2 x cloves garlic, whole
2 x bay leaves
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp flaked sea salt
2 tbsp organic tomato paste
150g organic sundried tomatoes, chopped
- Place a large saucepan over a medium low heat and add half of the olive oil.
- Add the onions with the salt, garlic and bay leaves. Cook gently, stirring occasionally until softened yet not browned.
- Add the tomato puree and stir for a few minutes.
- Add the sundried tomatoes and the passata, along with the rest of the oil. Fill the passata bottle with water and add this too.
- Bring to a simmer and then lower the heat (probably as low as it is will go) so the sauce very gently bubbles.
- Simmer the sauce this way for at least an hour.
- When the sauce it ready, the liquid will have reduced by about a third and you can see the change in the texture. Instead of simmering, the bubbles start to form craters that pop and start making a mess of your hob.
- Batch up into portions and freeze.
Matching your pasta to your sauce
Long thin pasta types need nothing more than a slick of sauce so the above tomato sauce works great just as it. Chunky pasta types like penne work well with a chunky sauce so here you can get creative and use your basic tomato sauce as a base. Try heating it in a shallow saucepan, and adding a can of tuna, a handful of mussels and a few olives. Finish with an extra slick of oil and a handful of chopped fresh parsley. Or why not fry off some chopped peppers and mushrooms before adding a portion of your basic sauce? These are just two ways that you can build on the basic sauce, and get great pasta every time!
Explore our range of gluten-free groceries, available to order online. Why not buy in bulk to take advantage of wholesale prices?
One of the easiest introductions to gluten-free baking is the brownie. Why? Because your classic squidgy soft brownie contains very little flour. And what little flour is there, is to create bulk and solidity rather than harness the properties of gluten.
Gluten free baking and healthy baking are two separate issues and, although they often merge, in this article we will explore purely the gluten free aspect of making brownies and leave the rest of the ingredients as they would be in a classic brownie.
Choosing the right gluten-free flour
We talked a lot about choosing the right flour in our article on gluten free flours, so let’s recap that information to figure out what kind of flour we want for our gluten free brownie.
A brownie recipe contains anywhere between 10% to 15% flour. It is folded in very gently right at the end for two very good reasons. One, so as to keep the air that is incorporated by whisking sugar and eggs. Two, so as not to OVERWORK THE GLUTEN. That bit is important, it gives us a good clue that using gluten free flour may work in our favour.
So, the flour in our brownie is there to add solidity and stability to our mixture of whisked eggs and sugar, plus the melted chocolate and butter. It is the eggs and the sugar that give most of the structure to our brownie. The final texture is as much to do with the baking time as it is the ingredients themselves.
Because right now what we are doing is trying to replicate our classic brownie as closely as possible by simply switching out wheat for something without gluten, we can ignore all the flours that might bring in interesting flavour. Quinoa flour, or buckwheat flour, could add some interesting flavour to our flavour profile, but really what we are looking for is that same neutral base that we get with wheat flour.
Also, because we are not trying to replicate any of the properties of gluten, we don’t need to look at the higher protein flours that we would need to use in breadmaking.
All of this tells us that the best thing to use will be one of neutral tasting gluten free flour blends. Let’s use this one…
Gluten free flour blend
200g white rice flour
40g potato starch
20g tapioca flour
The thing we need to watch out for with gluten free brownies is that they remain moist. One of the pressure points of gluten free baking is that gluten free flours can absorb a lot of liquid, resulting in a dry, crumbly bake.
How to Make Brownies
Before we move on to our gluten free brownie recipe, let’s first consider some of the ins and outs of making classic brownies.
Other than a deep chocolatey taste, a brownie is all about texture. Words like fudgy, squidgy, and chewy spring to mind. The temperature of the oven and the length of the bake make a big difference here, but it is also about the ratios of ingredients.
Keep the flour content low
The first consideration is keeping that flour to an absolute minimum. Too much flour (gluten free or otherwise) is what makes a brownie cakey.
Choose the right chocolate
The chocolate that you use is important. Use the best quality chocolate that you can afford. Most people will tell you to use 70% cocoa content chocolate. Yet you need to bear in mind that chocolate also contains sugar. Using a dark dark chocolate may require more sugar in the recipe. If you alter the cocoa content of the chocolate that you use then this will impact the amount of sugar that you need. So it is a play off between chocolate intensity and sugar. The amount of chocolate will also affect the solidity of the final bake.
Sugar in a brownie is important. Obviously you do not want it to be too sweet. You do however want that classic brownie cracked top and a structure that will hold up with the minimum amount of flour.
Use unsalted good quality butter
The amount of butter that goes into your brownie is also important. If you think about butter being solid at room temperature, and also think about the solid slow melting texture of a chocolate ganache (which is made from chocolate and butter) then you see how butter contributes to that final fudgy texture. Use unsalted, good quality butter.
So the perfect brownie is all about getting the ideal ratios of just four ingredients; chocolate, butter (wet ingredients) flour and sugar (dry ingredients).
It is also about finding a happy medium of temperature. Baking at a lower temperature of 160C allows the inside to set and become fudgy without drying out the outside. On the other hand, baking at a higher temperature creates that all important crackly crust. The issue with drying on the outside is that it starts to enter cakey territory at the edges. We aim to hit the sweet spot of both these scenarios, beginning at a lower temperature for most of the bake, with a boost nearer the end to create the crust.
Recipe for gluten free brownie
The recipe we have come up with for our gluten free brownie aims to be solid, yet not cakey, and fudgy rather than squidgy.
150g 50% chocolate
75g 70% chocolate
150g unsalted butter
3 large eggs
225g caster sugar
90g gluten free flour blend (see above)
20g cocoa powder
- Grease and line a 20cm square baking pan.
- Pre heat the oven to 160C.
- Place the butter in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and melt.
- Turn off the heat, remove the bowl, and stir in the chocolate until it melts. It should melt in the heat of the butter, but if not just put the bowl back over the hot water.
- Leave aside to cool.
- Using an electric beater at high speed (free standing or handheld) whisk the eggs and sugar together for about 7 minutes or until they triple in volume and become pale and fluffy. Whisk in the chocolate mixture at a slower speed until combined.
- Very gently, fold in the flour, salt, and cocoa powder until just combined.
- Pour the batter into your prepared tin and bake on the centre shelf for 15 minutes at 160C, then turn up the heat to 180C and bake for a further 8 minutes. When you insert a skewer, it should come out with just a little of the mixture sticking to it.
- Leave to cool completely in the tin, before turning out and slicing. It is best left overnight in the fridge before eating, in order to let the slightly sandy texture of the rice flour settle down.
- The brownie will keep in an airtight container for up to a week, in or out of the fridge. It is particularly good eaten straight from the fridge, and the texture improves with age.
This article was reproduced on this site with permission from operafoods.com.au the “Gluten Free ingredients Suppliers”.
See original article:- How to Make Gluten-Free Brownies
Gluten in grains. It is fairly straightforward right? By now we understand which grains contain gluten, which are gluten-free, and which are not even grains at all. Yet it turns out that it is not that simple, and that things are never quite what they seem.
In this article we delve deeper into the subject of gluten in grains and consider why, for many, going completely grain-free may be the answer.
The gluten-free gold standard
Once was a time when gluten-free wasn’t actually a thing for most of us. Unless blighted by coeliac disease or a severe allergy to wheat, we could quite happily have our cake and eat it.
For those who suffered from the consequences of eating wheat and associated glutens, it was necessary to follow a gluten-free diet. Which back in the day was a lot less complicated. Gluten-free alternatives were available, yet nowhere near as widespread as they are today.
The market for gluten-free foods (as oppose to naturally gluten-free produce) came about in response to greater demand from the coeliac community. The entire body of gluten-free literature and law was defined by the specifics of coeliac disease. Which is great. When it comes to the question of allergens, people need to understand the severity of such a disease.
What triggers coeliac disease?
It is widely accepted that a coeliac reaction is triggered by the gluten proteins in the Triticeae family of grains; wheat, barley and rye. Specifically, the storage proteins known as prolamines, and glutelins. The chemistry is complex, as chemistry tends to be, but it also involves levels of particular amino acids, including glutamine and proline.
The point here is that in many (most) countries the measurements that allow foods to be labelled as gluten-free are based upon these specific proteins, in accordance with the lowest levels that may trigger a coeliac response. So far, so good.
Gluten in grains
But here’s the thing. There is gluten in ALL grains. Part of the unique genetic make-up that defines a true cereal grain is the presence of prolamines. Those gluten storage proteins which help the seed to sprout.
In wheat, it is gliadin. In barley, it is hordein. In rye, it is secalin. In oats, it is avenin. In rice, it is orzenin. In maize, it is zein. And in sorghum, it is kaferin.
In theory, although the jury is still out on oats, other than the proteins in wheat, barley, and rye, none of these trigger a reaction in those with coeliac disease. Which is why rice, oats, maize, and sorghum, are all designated gluten-free. EVEN THOUGH they do actually all contain gluten proteins.
Can the gluten in all grains cause a reaction?
It must first be said that there are many good things about grains. We have no intention of vilifying any food and if you are considering eliminating any foods from your diet then it should be with good reason. Nutrition is rarely straightforward and there are times when the benefits can outweigh the risks. Careful consideration is key.
But yes, the gluten in all grains has the potential to cause a reaction. Each type is different, just as we are all different. Rice, for instance is considered to be the most benign grain of all. Yet some people do have an inflammatory reaction. Corn, alongside rice, finds its way into most gluten-free alternative foods such as pasta or bread, yet has a high protein content that has been shown to trigger sensitivities in a huge number of people.
It is now understood that what may be safe for many coeliacs, can indeed trigger a response in those with a gluten allergy, or sensitivity. And that the reasons that people seek out information, or gluten-free products, may not necessarily be confined to our current definitions and understanding.
This article was reproduced on this site with permission from operafoods.com.au the “Gluten Free Cereals Manufacturer”.
See original article:- Gluten in Grains. Could Grain-Free be the Answer for Many?
Is rice gluten free? The quick answer to that is yes it is!
Rice as a gluten free ingredient
Following a gluten free diet made up of nothing but fresh natural ingredients is pretty straightforward. Most problems arise when you stray beyond this into the realm of packaged and processed foods. Seemingly simple items may turn out to contain wheat in the ingredients, or at the very least come with the possibility of cross contamination. It has, for instance, become almost impossible to buy frozen chips without gluten as they are now invariably coated in some form of wheat.
Thankfully, many companies are now becoming more savvy about this and are using rice flour in their products instead of wheat.
Then there is cooking. Making a meal from scratch with a limited array of ingredients is not always easy. Suddenly, the simplest of things are off the menu and you need to rethink your entire recipe. Many of the sauces and condiments that we use to add flavour actually involve wheat somewhere in their processing.
Did it occur to you, for instance, that not all vinegar is safe for a gluten free diet? Luckily, rice vinegar is gluten free, and is far sweeter and less acrid than other types.
Gluten free pasta is much more palatable than it once was. Also made from rice, along with corn, some brands are almost indistinguishable from its wheat based cousins.
Rice noodles are the base of many authentic Asian dishes in their own right, but they also make a great gluten free alternative to wheat based carbs.
Gluten proteins in rice
Although rice is officially considered gluten free it does contain certain proteins that may trigger sensitivities in a small percentage of individuals. Rice passes the gluten threshold that is considered safe for coeliacs yet, as we discovered with oats, it does contain something known as prolamines. These proteins are are one of the types found in gluten and are known to cause sensitivity in some people.
This does bring into question the current definition of gluten free, and we may find that to be completely gluten free involves eliminating grains altogether.
But for most of us, rice is the ideal gluten free option. It can be used as a wheat substitute in a number of ways, making a gluten free diet more accessible to all.
This article was reproduced on this site with permission from operafoods.com.au the “Gluten Free Cereal manufacturers and distributors”.
See original article:- Is Rice Gluten Free?
Gluten free food. It’s everywhere right? Following a gluten free diet might look straightforward yet in reality is far from it. Ask any coeliac how difficult and restricting a diet that eliminates gluten can truly be and they will likely tell you that they wouldn’t wish it on anyone.
So what’s the deal with the whole gluten free thing?
What is gluten-free?
Gluten free, fairly obviously, means without gluten. Gluten is the collective term given to a group of proteins that are found within wheat and some other grains. Mixed with water they form a glue like substance that gives structure and elasticity to many of our favourite foods, such as bread and pasta.
The term gluten free usually applies to foods, but is also relevant in all manner of products including drinks, medicines and toiletries. Wheat, it seems, is EVERYWHERE.
Some people react badly to gluten.
1.Coeliac disease is an autoimmune disorder in which gluten triggers an immune response that damages the intestinal lining.
2.Gluten sensitivity shows up in symptoms such as abdominal pain, diarrhoea, and bloating, yet there is no damage to the intestinal lining and although the immune system may be involved is not considered an autoimmune disorder.
3. A wheat allergy is where the body creates an antibody to the glutens in wheat that triggers an immune response.
The solution is a gluten free diet.
Others choose to ‘go gluten free’ as they feel it to be beneficial to their overall health and feeling of wellbeing.
The gluten free diet.
The best gluten free diet is one made up of only fresh natural gluten free foods. Not only is it the healthiest way to eat, but is also the most cost effective. Yet for most of us this is neither practical nor desirable. A huge proportion of the foods we eat are processed. This may conjure up a diet of TV dinners, but any ingredient that is more than one step removed from its natural state has undergone some form of processing.
Unless food is labelled as gluten free, there is the possibility of some form of gluten contamination. It is this fact alone that makes following a gluten free diet way more complicated that it may seem at first glance.
Foods with gluten
There are only a handful of foods (ingredients, really) that actually contain gluten, and they are all cereal grains.
Oats also contain gluten, and not just through contamination, but do not always trigger an immune response. Read our article about gluten in oats.
There are also several forms of wheat that you may come across. These include –
Semolina is also made from wheat.
Naturally gluten free foods
Most unprocessed foods are gluten free. This includes –
- fruits and vegetables
- beans and legumes
- nuts and seeds
- eggs and dairy
- meat, fish and poultry
With the exception of cereals and grains, that’s all the major food groups right there. Yet building a diet without grains is surprisingly hard. Not to mention that the nutrition they provide is a vital part of our diet. So here’s some gluten free alternatives –
You can find out more in our guide to gluten free grains.
But even if you cook everything that passes your lips, from scratch, keeping your diet entirely gluten free is a minefield.
Gluten in foods
Some foods with gluten are really obvious. Bread, or biscuits, and pasta all spring to mind. Then there are those foods that are only obvious when you think about it. Granola, or muesli, for example. After that, the list gets more and more obscure. From the wheat used in the production of soy sauce, down to the wheat derivative used as filler in your everyday painkiller, chances are that somewhere in the chain wheat may have been involved.
And that’s before the possibility of cross contamination, or derivatives of derivatives. Yeap, some things contain things that contain things that contain things that were made of wheat. Luckily, even the smallest of obscurities should show up on the label. Not everything does, but we are getting better and better at traceability and allergen labelling.
So where does the gluten in our food come from?
- Prepared foods or products that have gluten containing ingredients.
- Food that has been prepared or processed in an area that also prepares or processes foods that contain gluten (cross contamination).
Here are just a few examples of foods that often contain gluten –
- breakfast cereal
- lollies and sweets
- plant-based meats/fish
- processed meat
- salad dressing
- soft drinks
- packet rice mixes
- potato crisps and snacks
- ready to roast chicken
Choosing gluten free products
Choosing the gluten free products that are right for you involves an understanding of two key things.
- Your own levels of gluten sensitivity.
- How foods are labelled.
Some people, regardless of their specific issues with gluten, are more sensitive than others. Some, for instance, will be triggered by the specific glutens in oats whilst another may not. There are those with coeliac disease who may react to a threshold of gluten below the recommended amount in gluten free products. Certain additives derived from wheat yet not labelled as allergens may be fine for many people yet not for others.
The first rule of gluten free food is ALWAYS CHECK THE LABEL.
Allergen labelling and gluten free foods
There are two levels of labelling in gluten free foods.
The first is certified gluten free. Foods that are labelled as gluten free have to meet a certain standard and are (by law) measured for the amount of gluten they contain. This is measured by parts per million and the exact number varies country to country.
The Australian standard is pretty strict. To be recognised as gluten free the food must contain no more than 3 parts per million (ppm) of gluten. There is another level allowed by Australian law and this is ‘low gluten’ which can be between 3 and 200ppm. If you visit another country, then food labelled as gluten free may be up to 20ppm, which although considered safe for most coeliacs, this is not always the case.
The second is for those foods that are not certified as gluten-free, yet may not have not gluten-containing ingredients. Most of these foods will carry a disclaimer that they may have been contaminated with trace amounts of all allergens, including gluten. Allergens are present in bold in the ingredients list, and will appear as the ingredient (wheat, barley, rye, triticale) not as gluten. The more parts involved in a food processing chain, the higher the likelihood of gluten contamination.
Gaining gluten free certification is an expensive process that may be out of reach for many companies, so bear this in mind and factor in your own particular sensitivities when making your choices.
Hidden gluten in products
There is a third level of label deciphering that concerns hidden gluten. Whilst most components on the ingredients label will have their own separate allergens listed, there are still some sources that slip through the net. Certain additives will have wheat derivatives that do not show up on an ingredients or allergens list. The best thing to do is familiarise yourself with these using a reputable resource such as the coeliac society.
Gluten free food products
We mentioned before that some gluten free foods are more obvious than others. The most obvious category, and possibly the most missed when on a gluten free diet, are the traditional wheat products of bread, cakes and cookies.
Gluten free cookies
The category of breakfast cereals get slightly trickier. Cornflakes are made of corn, right? Well, yes they are but unless they are certified as gluten free then there may well be gluten involved somewhere. Then there’s muesli and granola which often have as many wheat flakes as they do oats. And speaking of oats, there is no such thing as gluten free oats in Australia because oats have particular gluten proteins that can trigger gluten sensitivity.
Gluten free granola
And then there are lollies. Surely a handful of gummies is safe? Possibly not. The way that even the most seemingly benign of lollies is processed means that they can not be considered as certified gluten free.
Gluten free lollies
In a nutshell, so to speak, there is more to gluten free food than meets the eye. As much art, as it is science, it involves understanding your own body and keeping track of triggers and symptoms. Finding your way around food labelling is the key to success, and gaining as much knowledge as you possibly can about how our food is produced.
For those of you with severe gluten sensitivity then seeking out certified gluten free products is probably the safest way forward. You may need to shop around to find all the products that suit you.
You can explore our range of gluten free groceries on our online wholesale store.
This article was reproduced on this site with permission from operafoods.com.au the “Gluten free products manufacturer”.
See original article:- An Introduction to Gluten free Food
Gluten is the name given to a family of proteins found in grains. These grains each contain different gluten proteins; known structurally as prolamins. It is these prolamins, and their particular composition, that can trigger the allergic response or sensitivity associated with gluten.
Does grain free mean gluten free?
But if gluten comes from grains, surely it follows that eliminating grains from your diet automatically means it is gluten free. Unfortunately it is not that simple.
For a start, not all grains contain gluten. There are many choices when it comes to gluten free grains.
Gluten contamination – hidden gluten
But wheat is everywhere. It can be processed in the same place as your gluten free grains. In which case, cross contamination may occur. For the coeliac, the merest trace of gluten is enough to trigger a painful reaction. If your gluten free product does not state that has been certified gluten free, then there is every chance it has come into contact with gluten at some stage of its journey.
Wheat may be an unexpected ingredient. Just because you would not expect a product to have wheat in its ingredients does not mean it has been made without wheat. So always check the label.
Then there are wheat derivatives, or wheat that has cross contaminated the ingredients of the ingredients. Sometimes the gluten won’t even be on the label.
A product that is certified gluten free will have been tested for gluten levels within the product and passed a certain benchmark. If it isn’t labelled gluten-free then there is every chance that gluten lurks somewhere.
Are oats gluten free?
And then there are oats. A point of confusion if ever there was one. Here’s the thing: oats have a very low level of gluten content, but are NOT technically Gluten Free. So in Australia oats cannot be marketed as gluten free. Strangely, in Europe, and in the USA, oats can be labelled as gluten free if they have not been cross contaminated by any traces of wheat or other potential sources of gluten.
But oats do contain prolamins. They are generally considered to be safe for those with gluten intolerance, but they are there and oats are NOT safe for coeliacs . You can find out more about the oat gluten avenin in our article ‘Gluten Free Oats Dont Exist’.
Which grains are gluten free?
When it comes to gluten-free grains there are many options. As standalone ingredients they provide great gluten free alternatives, yet rising demand has made gluten free products far more widely available. This means that you may find these grains listed on ingredients labels and it is always helpful to be able to identify them.
Is rice gluten free?
Yes, rice is gluten free. Brown rice is more nutritionally dense than white rice, yet white rice is important staple food that provides a cheap source of carbohydrate and protein. The husk of brown rice contains essential fatty acids that can help lower cholesterol, as well as fibre. Brown rice is a rich source of minerals, including magnesium which has been shown to help regulate blood sugar levels. Don’t forget other types of rice such as wild rice and red rice. They are both gluten free, and have impressive nutritional credentials.
Is quinoa gluten free?
Yes, quinoa is gluten free. Quinoa is not strictly a cereal grain, yet we group it amongst grains nonetheless. Regarded as a bit of a superfood, quinoa is not only packed with protein but contains all the essential amino acids, which is not unheard of but quite rare in the plant world. A great source of heart healthy omega-3 which is known to reduce LDL cholesterol, quinoa is also abundant in vitamin E and other antioxidant compounds. There are two types of quinoa; red and white. Red quinoa is a good source of anthocyanins, the antioxidant pigments that give red colour to plants.
Is buckwheat gluten free?
Yes, buckwheat is gluten free. Another grain that is not a true cereal, buckwheat (like rice) is is great for blood sugar control. A source of slow release carbohydrates, it also contains the duo of magnesium and manganese that regulate blood sugar levels. Buckwheat is also a rich source of fibre as well as essential amino acids. Another heart healthy gluten free grain, it is full of antioxidant phytonutrients. To prepare buckwheat, boil it like rice. It can also be sprouted and eaten raw.
Is maize gluten free?
Yes, maize is gluten free. Maize, also known as corn or sweetcorn, is actually a true cereal. Because we eat it in its fresh form, it is easy to think of it as a vegetable, but it is one of the world’s most abundant cereal grains. A gluten-free grain at that. In terms of the gluten question, think cornflour (and its variation masa harina) and corn flakes. Traditional stoneground masa harina, as oppose to the white powder we thicken gravy with, retains its rich nutrient content; including many B vitamins. Fresh sweetcorn contains soluble fibre that helps regulate blood sugar and also carotenoids that support eye health. And of course; popcorn.
Is millet gluten free?
Yes, millet is gluten free. Millet is a true cereal grain. A globally important food source, and not just for budgies, it is said to be one of the most easily digestible and least allergenic grains available. Rich in minerals and vitamins, high in protein, and a great source of fibre, millet may just be one of the most overlooked gluten free grains there is. It also contains tryptophan, the amino acid found in turkey and lettuce that helps promote restful sleep. Millet is sold as grains that can be soaked or roasted before boiling, and also as a flour. It can be sprouted for eating raw. And like many grains it can be popped or puffed.
Is sorghum gluten free?
Yes, sorghum is gluten free. Sorghum belongs to the same family as the millets, and is sometimes used (and even sold) interchangeably. It shares a nutritional profile with millet.
So, what grains do have gluten in them?
The gluten containing grains have all been part of the breadmaking repertoire for centuries. Barley and rye were being used long before it was discovered that wheat had particular properties that made it the ideal grain for baking. And THE staple food. It was advances in farming, processing, and manufacturing, that eventually rendered it unrecognisable, as well as possibly the most widely used commodity on Earth.
Is barley gluten free?
Barley does contain gluten proteins, known as hordeins. Barley is still unsuitable for those with gluten issues yet is considered to be far lower in gluten than wheat. It has a number of nutritional benefits, beyond a high fibre content, and is thought to support healthy gut bacteria. Some of the fibre content of barley is soluble, so it helps to maintain steady blood sugar levels and lower LDL cholesterol. Barley can be used as other grains, but is particularly beneficial when sprouted. Barleygrass is full of green goodness and antioxidants.
Is rye gluten free?
Rye also contains gluten, with prolamins known as secalins. Like barley it is not suitable for those with gluten issues, but does have lower levels of gluten than wheat. Rye is particularly good at controlling blood sugar levels and regulating the appetite. A nutrient dense, albeit gluten containing grain, rye has high levels of minerals, vitamins and antioxidant compounds.
Strictly speaking, most grains are ancient as they have been around since man first started cultivating crops. Many of the grains we now see as commonplace but until a few years ago were largely unheard of have been part of traditional diets for thousands of years.
But it is our mistrust of modern wheat that led us to seek out alternative grains. Even rye and barley, which both contain gluten, have seen an upsurge in popularity. Many believe that the huge rise in gluten intolerance can be attributed to the protein content of modern mass produced wheat. And it is this that has placed grains such as sorghum and buckwheat so firmly on the mainstream table.
Yet when we talk about ancient grains, what we are generally referring to is particular types of wheat. The wheat that we now cultivate bears little resemblance to the wheat that we once grew. Our efforts to increase yield and provide resistant crops have resulted in a plant that has a very different DNA to earlier strains of wheat. Modern wheat is shown to have far more gluten proteins in its genetic structure, and many feel that this is causing the rise of gluten sensitivity.
Ancient forms of wheat do contain gluten, yet the molecular structure is different to that of modern wheat.
Is spelt gluten free?
Spelt does contain gluten. An ancient variety of wheat, spelt is more robust and harder to refine than wheat. It contains more soluble fibre than modern wheat and is efficient at controlling blood sugar and lowering LDL cholesterol levels. Spelt has more protein than standard wheat and is a rich source of B vitamins and minerals. The grains can be cooked like rice and other wholegrains, and is readily available as flour. Even with its gluten content, spelt is more easily digestible than modern wheat.
Explore our full range of gluten free products, available to buy in bulk online.
This article was reproduced on this site with permission from operafoods.com.au the “Healthy Cereal Bulk Wholesalers”.
See original article:- Gluten Free Grains Guide
Hinterland Bircher Muesli by Mulberry Tree is regarded as a healthy cereal that is ideal for porridge or bircher style of breakfasts. This healthy cereal will keep one individual sustained throughout the day. Hinterland bircher muesli is made up of high standard ingredients. Hinterland bircher muesli has superior texture and better taste as it contains considerable volumes and high-quality ingredients.
Hinterland bircher muesli can be eaten with milk, almond milk, fruits, berries and yogurt. A low sugar cereal, as it contains no added sugar, sweeteners, colours and other artificial preservatives. It has no bleached flour.
The ingredients of hinterland bircher muesli are organic rolled oats, triticale, rice bran, dates, dried apricots, raisin, pistachio, pepitas, hazelnut kernels, coconut flakes, dried pineapples, linseeds, dried currants, cinnamon. Hinterland bircher muesli is packed in zip lock bags which makes convenient and comfortable for the users.
Visit our site for more information. Book your favourite product now and get online discounts.
We all know that choosing a low sugar cereal is one of the best ways to enjoy a healthy breakfast. But what is sugar exactly, and why is it so bad for you?
What is sugar?
Sucrose is a sugar molecule found in all plants. Via the mechanism of photosynthesis, plants use the energy of the sun to make sucrose from carbon dioxide and water. It is the basis of all plant life.
So, all plants contain at least a little sugar. Sugar cane and sugar beet are the richest sources and we have extracted it commercially for centuries.
There are three simple sugar molecules. These are glucose, fructose, and galactose. More complex sugars are made by linking these simple sugars together. Sucrose is made from glucose and fructose. Lactose, the sugar in milk, is made up of glucose and galactose.
Most carbohydrate foods can be broken down into glucose, which is the unit of fuel for the human body. The basis of human life, if you like.
Why is sugar bad for you then?
A healthy lifestyle is consistently proved to be one based on moderation but the problems with sugar start when we eat too much. And that is really easy to do, especially when we are surrounded by overly processed foods. Sugar is everywhere, some of it more obvious than others, and breakfast cereals are one of the foods constantly under fire.
The biggest issue around sugar consumption is weight gain caused by excess calories. Which in turn can trigger a whole host of health problems.
How much sugar should we eat per day?
The recommended daily amount for sugar is less than 10% of total calorie intake. For a diet of 2000 kcal, that’s no more than 200 kcal from sugar per day. Which is roughly 50g sugar. You can already see how easily that equation fails to match up in terms of the average daily diet.
How much sugar is in breakfast cereal?
A lot of breakfast cereal is highly processed, made from refined grains, loaded with sugar and completely devoid of fibre. A sugar hit, straight to the bloodstream. But this is not limited to frosted flakes or cookie crunchies. Many breakfast cereals that are marketed as healthy, or wholegrain, are still overladen with sugar and little else. Some breakfast cereals contain as much as 40% sugar. With portion sizes above average, you can eat your daily sugar allowance before the day has even begun.
Low sugar cereals
The standard advice for eating a healthy breakfast continues to go along the lines of some cereal, some milk, and some fruit. These groups of foods continue to show up, for a number of reasons, as the best way to start your day. There are plenty of low sugar cereals out there. A good granola, for instance, will be filled with healthy wholegrains, nuts, fruit and seeds. There will be some form of sweetness in there, such as honey, which is there to bind the ingredients as much as add sweetness. Be on the lookout for premium cereals – not all premium muesli or granola will be a low sugar cereal.
Aim for cereals with a high fibre content of 3% or more, and less than 5g sugar.
All of our healthy breakfast cereals are low in sugar, and packed full of the good stuff.
Natural sugar substitutes
As we have seen, when it comes to our metabolism sugar is pretty much sugar. Well, glucose. Sure, fructose and galactose are metabolised slightly different but you get the point. But the story does not end there. Natural sugar substitutes such as honey, date syrup, or coconut sugar all deliver far more nutrients than the empty calories of table sugar. Many of them taste sweeter than sugar, so less is used.
And sugar comes in different packages. As we have seen, it is present in all plants. But when you eat the plant, rather than extract the sucrose, you get everything else that goes with it. Water, fibre, vitamins and minerals. A little fat even. Fruit really is nature’s sweetener.
There are a few other things that taste sweet, without delivering a dose of glucose. Vanilla is a natural sweetener that just envelops everything in a comforting hug. Cinnamon is another one.
Is honey better than sugar?
Honey has so many virtues that it does not even deserve to be compared to table sugar. In terms of calories and the effect it has on metabolism, then yes it behaves in the same way as sugar. You still need to stick within the healthy eating guidelines for sugar consumption. But do you want empty calories, like those in sugar, or do you want a dose of micronutrients along with your glucose?
This article was reproduced on this site only with permission from parent co. operafoods.com.au the “Gourmet Online Wholesale Grocer”.
See original article here:- Make the Switch to Low Sugar Cereal
Are oats suitable for those on a gluten-free diet?
Most of us, at some point or another, have been told that oats are a gluten-free grain but, as they are often processed with grains that contain gluten, they cannot be considered suitable for a gluten-free diet. But that is not the whole story.
Before asking if oats are gluten-free, we first need to take a closer look at gluten…
What is gluten?
Gluten is the collective name we give to two types of protein that are found in wheat and other grains. These are prolamins and glutelins. Together, these proteins form a glue-like substance when flour and water are mixed.
It is the prolamins within the gluten that are most likely to cause sensitivity. The most common ones are gliadins in wheat, secalins in rye, and hordeins in barley. Oats also contain a prolamin protein. It is called avenin.
The structure of gluten varies amongst grains. It is why bread made with wheat flour is different to bread made only with rye, or barley. The structure of the prolamins also varies. This explains why some people may find wheat more inflammatory than other grains that contain gluten.
Are oats gluten-free?
So, do oats contain gluten? Strictly speaking, as they contain both glutelins and prolamins, yes they do. But the portion of the proteins that can cause allergy or sensitivity is far less than in wheat or other gluten containing grains, and their composition is somewhat different.
Are oats suitable for a gluten-free diet?
Avenin may, but not necessarily, cause a reaction in those with gluten intolerance or coeliac disease. If you do experience sensitivity to oats it may be specific to avenin, it may be triggered by contamination from other grains, or it may be both.
Cross contamination of gluten proteins can occur when oats are grown, transported, or processed, with other gluten containing grains. Oats that are labelled gluten-free have been tested and are certified free of gluten contamination. The tests however only measure for gliadin, secalin, or hordein. They do not include avenin. Here in Australia there is no gluten-free labelling for oats but they can be packaged as certified wheat-free.
Oats are an excellent source of nutrition and should not be dismissed lightly. An intolerance to avenin alone is not particularly common, so most people are fine with certified wheat-free oats.
What grains are gluten-free?
Although not all true grains, sorghum, quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth, teff, corn and rice are all gluten-free.
Because of our strict labelling laws, if you buy gluten-free granola in Australia it should not contain oats. Oats is not technically gluten free and products sold as gluten free oats in Australia are breaking the law. (Oats, which is very low in gluten, is allowed to be sold as “Gluten Free” in the USA for example, but that does not help Coeliacs.)
That doesn’t make it any less delicious though. A lot of gluten-free granola is made with puffed grains such as rice or buckwheat, and crunchy nuggets of quinoa.
Should you Eat Gluten Free Products.
For most people the answer is a definite no. “The reality is, for most people, there is no benefit to gluten free products and in fact it may be to their detriment. Health professionals don’t like people to consume gluten-free product unless it is necessary. Because 98 percent of people simply don’t have gluten issues.” [from an article by Opera Foods 2017. “Misconceptions about Gluten Free Products“]
Whole grains, including the gluten grains wheat, barley rye and especially oats are loaded with nutrition and fibre and are health promoting. They are linked to reduced risk of: cancer, diabetes, obesity, coronary heart disease, and other chronic diseases. The fact is, a gluten free diet could be harmful.
Grain-free breakfast cereal
There are times when you want go further than gluten-free and need a grain-free breakfast cereal. Also you probably want a low sugar cereal breakfast. It isn’t easy to satisfy the sweet, milky, crispy crunch that only cereal and milk can give but the right combo of fruit, nuts and seeds can hit the spot.
So, although oats may be off the menu for some of us, there are still plenty of options when it comes to gluten-free granola or even grain-free cereal.
Check out our article on ‘what is a healthy breakfast‘ and find out why wholegrain cereal is the heart of a healthy breakfast.