05 | Understanding Labeling and Gluten Free Claims in Canada 06 | A Foodie’s Guide to Gluten-Free Dining 08 | Gluten Free Ingredients: The Good, The Not-So-Good, and The Bad 15 | The Brain on Gluten 26 | Surprise, Contains Gluten 28 | Which Cosmetics are Gluten Free? 32 | Get Gluten Out: New Level Household Cleaning Tips 34 | Preparing for college – gluten free style 36 | Grain Fed Beef: Potential Concern for Celiacs? 38 | Top 3 Tips For Fearless Gluten Free Travelling 40 | The Connection Between Gluten-Sensitivity & Mental Health Issues 44 | May Contain Wheat 96 | Why is Gluten Free Food So Expensive? 98 | 6 Positive Aspects of a Celiac Disease Diagnosis 100 | Eating your Vitamins on a Gluten-Free Diet: 102 | How to Keep your Gluten Free Child Safe and Included at School 104 | Helping Kids Understand Celiac Disease 106 | Honey: gluten-free nectar of the gods?
Gut Health: 19 | Maintaining a Thriving Gut Microbiome, Celiac Style 22 | Effects of Antibiotics on the Gut 24 | Gut Flora and How to Improve Your Gut Health
2018 Product of the Year
16 | Gluten-Free Flatbreads
54 | Baked Goods & Pastries, non-bread
17 | Rice & Chicken Pancake (for Breakfast)
60 | Breads
42 | Decadent Double Chocolate Cookies
66 | Charcuterie Items
46 | Asian Noodle Salad in a Jar
72 | Health and Wellness
47 | Gluten-Free Orange Almond Cakes
78 | Pantry Items
48 | Squash and Apple Soup
84 | Prepared Food
107 | Amaranth & Rice Porridge
90 | Snack Foods
www.myGlutenFreeCanada.ca GLUTEN-FREE CANADA | WINTER 2018
CT OF THE Y DU E
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Crispier crust. More flavourful sauce. WAY more cheese!
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Understanding Labeling and Gluten Free Claims in Canada Ali J. Chernoff, BSc., R.D. REGISTERED DIETITIAN AND NUTRITION CONSULTANT WWW.NUTRITIONATITSBEST.COM WWW.GOODFOODBABY.COM
I cringe when I hear my friends discussing fad diets. Diets are a touchy subject and everyone has an opinion on diets, but what is the truth? The answer is often difficult to discern. Diet advice is everywhere, yet most of the popular diet books are not based on scientific evidence: rather, they are based on the often unscientific and well marketed opinions of the authors. Nothing is positive regarding diets. The first three letters of diet is die! Each person has unique needs. If, however, you do diet, you must realize that a diet is a lifestyle change and not a quick fix. If dieters believe it is a quick fix, then they won’t stick with it. There are also food trends, with some being good and some being not so good. For example, being gluten-free. Gluten-free is much healthier, right? That depends on a number of factors, including necessity, ingredients, and your overall meal plan. If you have an autoimmune disease called Celiac Disease, then you have no choice but to live a gluten-free lifestyle. Some studies show that if you have inflammatory issues then a gluten free diet may help reduce that inflammation; however, you still need to be healthy
whilst doing it. One simple solution is to use brown rice instead of white rice; if you don’t like the taste of brown rice, then try short grain brown rice or wild rice. They have the same nutrients, are less gritty, and actually tasty! If you are gluten-free, then avoid the following ingredients: durum, semolina, spelt, kamut, einkorn, faro, rye, barley, and triticale and look for words like hydrolyzed plant or vegetable protein. You can, however, enjoy quinoa, oats and buckwheat. If you purchase readymade gluten-free products, then be sure to look for brown rice flour and other mixed whole flour. In addition, look at the label and note the type and amount of fat. Many of said products are made up mostly of white rice flour, butter, sugar, and salt. Just because it is glutenfree, does not make it healthy! Read the food labels and use healthy gluten-free ingredients to maintain a healthy glutenfree meal plan! Do your own research by reading scientific journals or magazine articles that are written by health care professionals, based on unbiased scientific evidence and, subsequently, discuss the pros and cons with your dietitian. ◆
Enjoy your food, enjoy your life!
A Foodie’s Guide to Gluten-Free Dining Rachel Hunt Raise your hand if you’re a self-proclaimed foodie! If you answered yes then we have at least one thing in common. One of my favourite social activities is to explore new restaurants and cuisines with friends. I am such a food lover and I enjoy celebrating and supporting the local businesses. About 5 years ago things got a little tricky for me when I discovered I had to go gluten-free. First of all learning what and where I could (or rather couldn’t) eat was daunting. My social life was bound to take a hit. The first 6 months were the toughest as I adjusted to this new way of life, and educated my friends and family over and over about what was safe for me to consume. With time, it also became easier and I was able to navigate the world of restaurants more confidently. I credit a series of mishaps, disappointments and trials with my ability to dine out on a regular basis and avoid the gluten. I outline 5 tips that aim to guide and empower you to take charge of your gluten-free life, not the other way around.
2. TALK THE TALK You should be able to explain your dietary need with ease. This should be the first thing reiterated upon arrival so that your server can take this into consideration when you are ordering and when they are sending the order to the kitchen staff. It is equally as important that you ask the right questions. This means inquiring about dedicated ingredients, utensils, cutting boards, fryers, grills, etc. By taking yourself seriously, so will the establishment. 3. IT’S OK TO SAY NO If for whatever reason you don’t feel comfortable with the service or food, it is your right to stand up for yourself! You can return a dish if you’re not confident and request that they remake it if you are skeptical. I have been that person, and at first I was overly apologetic and felt bad, but now I won’t think twice if it means I dine stress-free. Dining out shouldn’t be a gamble, and if it is then you have to speak out.
1. MAKE THE CALL
4. COMMUNITY KNOWS BEST
Don’t just “hope for the best,” pick up the phone, shoot an email or slide into their DM’s to check in advance what their gluten-free options are. It’s far better to be aware going into the situation than arrive to disappointing news. Walk in with confidence and excitement!
Utilize your local community! Join online groups or forums, use social media hashtags, and connect with your gluten-free squad any way you can for recommendations and referrals. I do this often and everyone is so willing to lend a helping hand and offer his or her warranted two cents! I have discovered some incredible gems this way.
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5. ENJOY THE RIDE At the end of the day, we should be able to dine out, have a good time, and leave satisfied. Steps 1 through 4 have helped me for the past 5 years. I use them as checkpoints for a worry-free experience, even when red flags arise (because we all know they will). Some restaurants will be more accommodating and knowledgeable than others, but itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not to say you have to be limited. Fuel your appetite with confidence! â&#x2014;&#x2020;
Gluten Free Ingredients: The Good, the Not-So-Good, and the Bad Danielle Dewar In the ever-expanding world of gluten free foods, not all ingredients are created equal. This is especially true for gluten free flours and binding agents. As a gluten free food blogger with a health focus, I strive to only incorporate nutritious ingredients into my recipes whenever possible. I’m frequently shocked and dismayed by the ingredient lists for popular gluten free commercial food products -- even the ones that claim to be healthy. A loaf of bread made mostly of corn starch? Typical. Instead of wasting my dollars on these products, I opt to make my own staple foods from scratch. I share my recipes on my blog so others can learn how to do the same. For those of you reading this article who want to live a healthy gluten free lifestyle, I will attempt to guide you towards better products, and hopefully inspire you to make your own food more often.
To start, let’s take a look at some of the healthiest gluten free foods available, and how you can incorporate them into your diet.
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QUINOA You probably have quinoa in your cupboard right now. It’s another pseudo-grain seed that’s packed with protein. It is available in its whole food state in a few different varieties (brown, black, white, and Royal which is a mix of the three), and is sometimes sold steamed and flattened into flakes that are ideal for use as a hot breakfast cereal, with a similar texture to oats. You can also get it as a flour, but it can be pricey. It is neutralish tasting with a bitter aftertaste that can be difficult to mask in sweet pastry recipes. It’s excellent for savoury dishes. The flour and cereal creates a pretty good texture in baking, comparable to wheat and oats. The flour is great for savoury things like pizza crust, and sweet pastries where there is a strong flavour to mask its bitterness -from strongly flavoured cakes (ie/ chocolate or coffee) to chocolate cookies. It needs a binder to hold together. I often bake with a combination of buckwheat flour and quinoa flour.
With a bitter-sweet flavour profile, buckwheat is available as whole buckwheat groats, toasted kasha, flattened and steamed cereal flakes, sandy grits, and flour. The groats can be prepared like any whole grain, but it’s important to note that buckwheat is actually not a grain -- it’s a pseudo-grain seed. This just means that it behaves like a grain, without being a grain. As a result, it is suitable for people on grainfree diets. The flour is traditionally used for sweet and savoury crepes from France called crepes Breton. The flour is also an excellent ingredient for hearty breads, and is relatively undetectable when used in small quantities in sweet baked goods. A major plus is that it doesn’t need a binder in baking to hold together. It’s also a good source of plant based protein.
White rice is often regarded as the unhealthy version of brown rice because it is stripped of its protective bran hull that contains fiber and nutrients. Scientific studies have shown little to no evidence of it being significantly less healthy than brown rice. The fiber amounts are actually almost the same, and many people prefer the taste and texture of white rice over brown. It contains lower levels of arsenic than other rice varieties. I personally prefer brown rice because of its nuttiness, and I’m a bit of a hippy, but the choice is yours to make. It can be used in the same ways as brown rice and brown rice flour, but will yield a lighter texture and colour, and will have a less pronounced rice flavour. The flour needs a binder when used for baked goods if it is used alone.
BROWN, BLACK AND RED RICE Brown rice is an excellent grain for savoury dishes -- especially Asian and Italian dishes. Its flour is a great staple item for gluten free baking. It’s perfect for crumbly things, like cookies and pie crust, as it creates light and delicate baked goods, without the bitterness of some gluten free flours. It needs a binder in baking. For sweet baked goods, I love combining it with arrowroot flour -another healthy gluten free ingredient, and natural binder. The downside of rice, and some other grains, is arsenic. High levels of arsenic have been detected in rice and its byproducts because of contaminated water where it is grown. If you’re concerned, avoid brown rice and other whole grain rice varieties as their arsenic levels are higher than white rice. If you eat a lot of rice, you can address the issue by cooking it in too much clean water, once tender dump the excess water and rinse in more clean water to strip away a lot of the arsenic as it is water soluble.
ARROWROOT STARCH Arrowroot starch is my favourite healthy binder and thickener. Derived from a root vegetable called Arrowroot, it works as a great binder for baking. It is the only refined starch, that I am aware of, that is great for digestion. It is a good addition to rice flour based pastry recipes that tend to fall apart easily. It’s also a healthy swap for cornstarch. A mix of rice flour and arrowroot is brilliant for shortbread style cookies. COCONUT FLOUR This flour yields very dense baked goods if it is not paired with eggs or egg replacers to lighten it and bind it. It is very high in fiber, and has a slightly sweet flavour that lends itself to sweet pastries. It can be very difficult to digest. I personally do not like it, and rarely use it as it has really upset my stomach in the past.
ALMOND FLOUR Almond flour (finely ground almonds) is excellent for dense cakes and brownies. It has a nutty-sweet flavour thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s perfect for desserts. Almonds are a common allergen -- so be careful who you serve it to. This flour needs a binder (like eggs, flax-eggs, or mashed banana) to avoid falling to pieces in baked goods.
PSYLLIUM HUSK Psyllium husk is found in some gluten free breads because it is an excellent binder in baked goods. It is good for the digestive system because it is high in fiber, a prebiotic (something that feeds good bacteria in your gut), it promotes regularity, and can even ease constipation. If you are using it in your own baking, look for organic whenever possible as non-organic psyllium is heavily treated with pesticides. A little goes a long way.
LENTIL AND LEGUME FLOURS Bean and legume flours, like garbanzo flour and lentil flour, are high in protein and fairly versatile in terms of texture. They are used a lot in gluten free pastas, crackers and chips these days, but you wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t see them in desserts too often because they tend to have a distinctly beany taste. They are very good for savoury recipes like Indian-style crepes. Chickpea flour, in particular, is a favourite of mine because it creates great texture that is similar to wheat in baking. You can downplay its beany taste by adding strong flavours to it -- like chocolate and coffee. It is also used to prepare tasty alternatives to eggs for vegan omelettes, quiches and scrambles.
SORGHUM FLOUR Sorghum flour is found in a lot of gluten free flour mixes because it tastes sweet and yields a nice and light texture in baked goods. It is high in fiber and nutrients, but it can be difficult to digest for some people.
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THE NOT-SO-GOOD As I mentioned earlier, I am often saddened to find many of the following ingredients as the main players in commercial gluten free foods. If you read ingredients lists, you will find them a lot, often as the primary ingredients for gluten free breads, cakes, pastas and more. I am not trying to vilify these ingredients -- in small doses I think most of them are okay for consumption. The issue I have is that most gluten free companies are using them as their main ingredients in order to achieve wheat-like texture and springiness that just isn’t that natural in gluten free baking. That toast you’re eating may be surprisingly wheatlike, but it’s mostly made of highly refined starches that can lead to digestive upset -so not something you want to be eating on a regular basis. Not to mention that most people go gluten free these days because of digestive issues, so what’s the point!
TAPIOCA STARCH Tapioca starch is used heavily in so many gluten free products. It is often the first ingredient (meaning that it is the ingredient used in the largest quantity) for breads and baked goods. To me this is very problematic because it is low in protein and nutrients, highly refined, and almost 100% starch. Depending on where it is sourced, it can contain a dangerously high amount of heavy metals. It is known to cause upset stomach, bloating and nausea in some people, and people with latex allergies and sensitivities may react poorly to it as it is from the latex family. It is used often as a binder in many commercial products, and as a principle ingredient in many gluten free baking mixes for its ability to create soft and pillowy-textured baked goods.
POTATO STARCH Potato starch is not as commonly found as tapioca starch, but it has similar uses and issues.
CORNMEAL, CORNSTARCH, AND CORN FLOUR I aim to avoid GMO corn products whenever possible because corn is a common allergen, and non-organic corn is sprayed with lots of pesticides. Avoiding non-organic corn when you’re gluten free is almost impossible if you eat commercial gluten free products. This is because GMO cornstarch, corn flour and cornmeal are used a lot. The reason is simple: they are cheap and plentiful, and yield wheat-like texture. If you’re going to eat corn products, organic non-GMO corn is your best option. Corn itself is not the devil -- it is high in fiber, and high in antioxidants.
SOYBEAN FLOUR Soybean flour is showing up more and more lately, especially in gluten free products from major food producers. It is a top choice for them because it is cheap and readily available. It is starting to be used in many gluten free baking mixes as well. The issues around it are tied to soy in general. Soy is an over-produced crop that is sprayed heavily with pesticides. Most of the soy we eat is GMO. It has phytoestrogen properties meaning it is able to increase estrogen levels in our bodies, and is capable of throwing off our natural hormone balance. It is a top 5 allergen. I never consume products which contain soy because I have a soy allergy. 11
THE BAD GUAR GUM / GELLAN GUM Guar gum is unhealthy when consumed in large amounts, but is usually only used in minimal amounts to enhance the texture of gluten free baked goods, or to thicken liquids. You will find it in viscous products like coconut milk, where it is used as an emulsifier and stabilizer, and even in beauty products like body lotion. It is known to be a potential gut irritant, especially for many people with gluten intolerance, yet is found in almost all gluten free commercial products. I avoid it because it gives me a stomach ache. XANTHAN GUM Similar to guar gum, xanthan gum is used as a binder/thickener to enhance the texture of baked goods. It is often added to baking mixes and is used as a thickener for commercial sauces, dressings and liquids. It can cause intestinal gas and bloating. People exposed to the powder can experience flu-like symptoms, nose and throat irritation, and lung problems. Xanthan gum is what’s referred to as a bulk-forming laxative. This means it binds to water and expands, helping to push waste through the digestive tract. It is best to avoid using it if you suffer from nausea, vomiting, appendicitis, hard stools that are difficult to pass (due to fecal impaction), narrowing or blockage of your intestine, or undiagnosed stomach pain. The worst complication for xanthan gum might be that xanthan gum decreases blood sugar by decreasing the absorption of sugars from food. This can be troublesome for Diabetics on medication, as their blood sugar might become dangerously low.
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This article is not meant to scare anyone away from commercial gluten free products, but knowledge is power. I hope this will inspire you to experiment in your own gluten free kitchen, incorporating more real food into your diet. Being gluten free can be healthy, and you don’t have to rely on foods with not-so-good-for-you ingredients. ◆
Banana chips made from juicy bananas. Sweet potato fries made from ripe sweet potatoes. Vegan Nut-Free Msg-Free Sulphite-Free
use code #GFSHOW20 to save 20% on OHNATURALS.COM Aslo available at:
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The Brain on Gluten Rika Mansingh, RD
REGISTERED DIETITIAN B.SC.DIETETICS(UNP), PG.DIP.DIET(UKZN), DCEP(CA) AUTHOR OF ‘THE EMPOWERED MIND DIET EQUATION’
The term “gluten free” is now exploding – we come across numerous gluten free items while doing grocery shopping and many restaurants have now revamped their menus with an array of gluten free options to choose from. So what is gluten and what is all the hype around going gluten free? The word gluten comes from Latin, meaning ‘Glue’ and indicating its sticky nature. Gluten is an insoluble, sticky protein, often difficult to digest. It consists of two proteins (glutenin and gliadin) and is found in grains such wheat, barley and rye. When we think of “Gluten free” we often associate it with Celiac disease where gluten is completely eliminated from the diet to avoid unpleasant symptoms and complications of the disease. Celiac disease is an inherited disease in which gluten may cause inflammation of the lining of the small intestine. This can lead to gastrointestinal discomfort, nutrient malabsorption and bone loss. A gluten free diet is also recommended for people with wheat allergy. New research in the area of gluten sensitivity is surfacing, indicating that gluten may cause symptoms in a large population of people who do not have Celiac disease or wheat allergy. The term “Non Celiac Gluten Sensitivity’ has come into the forefront where one would experience symptoms such as bloating, problems with digestion, fatigue, headaches and joint pain after gluten is consumed, without actually having an allergy to wheat and in the absence of Celiac disease. Gluten has been known for its numerous
gastrointestinal side effects including bloating and digestive disturbances. It has also been linked to a ‘foggy’ state of mind and recent research is now focusing on the effects of gluten consumption on the brain. The stickiness of gluten makes it difficult to digest and partially digested gluten forms proteins called gliadorphins (also known as gluteomorphins). It is said that these gluteomorphins react with opium receptors in the brain mimicking the effects of opiate drugs like morphine and heroin. These gluteomorphin compounds also affect the temporal lobe area of the brain associated with speech and hearing comprehension. No wonder, after eating a heavy gluten containing meal one would feel tired and lethargic, have headaches, reduced mental clarity and inability to focus in a cloudy, dull, ‘brain fog’ state. Improperly digested gluten can also trigger the immune system and cause inflammation in the gut. The gut and brain communicate with each other via the gut brain axis and inflammation in the gut has now been linked to inflammation in the brain with symptoms of lethargy, fatigue, anxiety, depression and other behavioral and mental problems. What you eat and the ecosystem of your gut determines how both your gut and brain will function. So what is the verdict? Gluten impacts our mind far more than previously thought. When it comes to healthy eating; variety, moderation and balance is key but if you’re mindful about what you eat - your brain will thank you. Dietary intervention from a Registered Dietitian can help you Eat Well to Feel Well. ◆
For more information visit www.rikadiet4wellness.com or contact email@example.com. 15
Gluten-Free Flatbreads Amanda Li
These flatbreads are nice and flexible, so go ahead, stuff and roll with chicken, veggies, hummus, avocado, and sprouts!
2. Add the remaining ingredients and mix until a dough forms. Divide the dough into 3 pieces. Grab one of the pieces of dough and place it between 2 sheets of parchment paper. Roll the dough as thin as possible.
• 2 tbsp Whole psyllium husks
• 1 ¼ cup Hot water • 6 tbsp Coconut flour • 3 tbsp Arrowroot starch or tapioca starch • ½ tsp Garlic powder • ¼ tsp Caraway seeds • Sea salt & freshly cracked black pepper to taste
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1. In a bowl, combine the psyllium with the water and let it thicken, about 1 minute.
3. Heat a large non-stick or cast iron skillet over medium heat. Cook the flatbreads for 1-2 minutes on either side, or until golden brown. Repeat with remaining dough.
Note: Recipe can be doubled or tripled, and any leftovers can be stored in the freezer in a sealed bag.
Rice & Chicken Pancake (for Breakfast) INGREDIENTS • 1/3 Cup Boiled Rice (Brown or Basmati)
Naeema (Naama) Yousaf-Ali
REGISTERED DIETITIAN, CERTIFIED DIABETES EDUCATOR PRINCIPAL CONSULTANT DIET FOR HEALTH OVER 12 YEARS EXPERIENCE IN THE FIELD OF DIETETICS
• 1 Egg
• 2 Tbsp Cooked Shredded Chicken
• 2 tsp Corn Starch
1. In a bowl beat egg add in rice, chopped pepper, shredded chicken, Cornstarch, parsley, flaxseed, salt and pepper. Mix everything well.
• ¼ Tsp Salt • ¼ Tsp pepper • 1 Tbsp chopped Green or Red Pepper • 1 tsp Flaxseed • 1 Tbsp Chopped parsley • 1Tbsp Oil
2. Heat oil in a small non-stick frying pan. 3. Pour rice mixture and cook for 2 minutes on one side. 4. When you know the mixture is ready to be flipped, careful turn upside down with a spatula. Cook for a few seconds on the second side. 5. Slide on a plate. 6. Garnish with fresh parsley and serve. ◆
• Maintaining a Thriving Gut Microbiome • Effects of Antibiotics on the Gut • Gut Flora and How to Improve Your Gut Health
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Maintaining a Thriving Gut Microbiome, Celiac Style
GUT HE ALTH
BSc., RD AMANDA LAPIDUS NUTRITION
Have you fed your gut microbiota today? You may not know this, but your gut is full of trillions of tiny microorganisms or microbes (meaning bacteria, yeast, fungi and other single-celled organisms) that we call your gut microbiota and keeping them well-fed plays a significant role in your overall health. We now know that some of those bacteria are especially important for people with celiac disease because they can help manage inflammation in your intestines caused by years of consuming gluten-containing products. As the owner of your very own gut microbiome, it is your responsibility to care for it and here is how you can do that while still maintaining a gluten-free lifestyle. FERMENTED FOODS Fermented foods contain both probiotics and prebiotics. Aim to consume fermented products that contain live microbes and can boost the diversity of microbial species living in your gut.
Examples of fermented foods: • kombucha • kimchi • sauerkraut • Yogurt • Kefir
Tip: Look for pickles or pickled vegetables made through natural fermentation. Avoid those preserved in vinegar which does not contain any live organisms. Note: Foods made using live bacteria like sourdough bread may be made through a fermentation process; however, the bacteria used in the process die off during baking and therefore, do not infer the health benefits that come from foods containing live microbes. FIBER If you were to view your gut microbiome as a garden, fiber would be your fertilizer, and we have been doing a pretty lousy job fertilizing our garden. While fiber does more than feed our microbes (see box below) feeding our bacteria is an integral part of supporting a healthy gut microbiome. Fiber consumption has gone down from an estimated 150 grams daily to, about 10 grams/day. If we don’t provide our microbes with enough fiber for food, they start searching for alternative sources including the mucous membrane that protects and lines our intestines. PREBIOTICS Prebiotics are types of fibers that pass through the gastrointestinal tract undigested. They promote the growth and activity of probiotics, and you will often hear them referred to as food for probiotics. 19
Foods naturally high in prebiotics include : FRUIT • Apples • Berries • Bananas • Green Bananas • Nectarines • White peaches • Persimmon • Tamarillo • Watermelon • Rambutan • Grapefruit • Pomegranate • Dried fruit (e.g., dates, figs and raisins)
VEGETABLES • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
Jerusalem artichokes Chicory root Garlic Onion Leek Shallots Spring onions Asparagus Beetroot Fennel Green peas Snow peas Sweetcorn Savoy cabbage Jicama Yams Legumes Chickpeas Lentils Red kidney beans Baked beans Soybeans
Types of fibres and their benefits: SOLUBLE FIBER • Found in beans, gluten free oats and flaxseeds can • Lower cholesterol levels • Reduce risks of develop Type 2 Diabetes • Can help with both constipation and diarrhea. • Keeping you feeling full for longer and aid in weight management • Slow absorption of sugar and help improve blood glucose levels
BREAD/CEREALS/ SNACKS • • • • • • • • •
Teff Amaranth Buckwheat Groats Cornmeal Qunioa Brown rice Brown and wild rice Millet Oats (gluten free)
Consuming fiber particularly prebiotics and experimenting with fermented foods as a way to optimize your probiotic intake are great ways to help support a healthy and thriving gut microbiome and is something you can do while maintaining a gluten-free diet so remember, do not forget to feed your gut microbiota!
PREBIOTICS • Fibres that stimulate growth and/or activity of probiotics (beneficial bacteria) in the large intestine.
RESISTANT STARCHES • Promote gut health when they’re fermented by gut bacteria
INSOLUBLE FIBRE • Can help relieve constipation • Keeping you feeling full for longer and aid in weight management • Decrease risk of hemorrhoids or diverticular disease ◆
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GUT HE ALTH
Effects of Antibiotics Meghan Scott
REGISTERED DIETITIAN OWNER OF MLS NUTRITION WWW.MLSNUTRITION.COM
Humans are, quite literally, covered in bacteria inside and out. Some are bad disease-causing bacteria, but most are good. Bacteria are actually essential to our health; it is unlikely that we could live without bacterial friends that help us repel pathogenic bacteria, digest food and make Vitamin B12 for us. So for our overall health, it’s important that we pay attention to and take care of the bacteria that we carry around. No one seems to know exactly how much bacteria we have, but counts are around 100 billion bacteria and 500 different species. The types of bacteria vary depending on where you live (people living in different countries have different gut bacteria), the kind of foods you eat (whole foods support different bacteria than processed foods), and how old you are (bacteria in babies’ guts are very different from the elderly). Our colons in particular are a veritable wall to wall carpet of bacteria; they occupy as much space as possible on the surface of our colon. By covering every available inch of colon wall these healthy bacteria don’t allow dangerous, disease-causing bacteria space to attach and colonize; this barrier is what keeps our colons healthy. Antibiotics are one of the wonders of modern medicine. Taking a course of antibiotics allows people are able to survive diseases that were previously fatal. Antibiotics work by killing the bacteria that is causing the disease, but they aren’t able to tell the difference between the bad, disease-causing bacteria, and the good, keeping you healthy bacteria; they’ll kill any bacteria they come in contact with. Oral antibiotics, because they pass through our digestive systems to get to the places they’re needed, are particularly damaging to the bacteria in our gut. A
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on the Gut
GUT HE ALTH
course of antibiotics generally wipes out most, if not all, of the bacteria in our colon. If you’ve ever taken antibiotics and gotten diarrhea, you’ve experienced firsthand what happens when there’s no bacteria in your gut.
on the label for words such as live or active culture to give your gut what it needs. Naturally fermented foods and drinks such as kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, and kombucha all contain healthy, living bacteria. In Canada we pasteurize a lot of our food to ensure it’s safe, this kills both So what can be done? If you need the good and bad bacteria. Pasteurized antibiotics, you need them, but they do produces don’t have any live bacterial some harm to the gut as well. It’s important cultures in it and won’t contribute to your to realise that antibiotics aren’t a cure-all, gut bacteria; something to keep in mind. and in certain cases, it might be wise not to Again, check your labels! Thankfully, it’s take them, so be sure to talk to your doctor easy to make your own fermented foods about what is best for your overall health! at home! Do some online research, then Recovering from a course of try your hand at kombucha or antibiotics is where probiotics sauerkraut. Yogurt is easy to No pill can come in. This is a fancy word make at home, and can end for bacteria, it’s usually a pill or up being cheaper (per serving) replace the capsule full of bacteria that is than premade yogurt and is a taken orally with the purpose 500 species fun and healthy snack for the of recolonizing the gut with family to make together. You a healthy healthy bacteria. They can can even make Greek yogurt at be helpful during and after gut has. home. Give it a try; you might antibiotic use to replace the fall in love with fermenting! carpet of bacteria in the colon with good bacteria before bad bacteria Once you’ve recolonized your gut with can get in there and take up valuable healthy bacteria, the next step is to keep real estate. You may have noticed the your colonies alive and thriving. This is many different types of probiotics in the done by feeding them well with the foods pharmacy, there’s a lot of choice! If you they like. What are bacteria’s favourite choose to take an oral probiotic, go for the foods? They like all fibre, like that found one with the largest number of species in fruit, vegetables and grains, but they that you can afford. No pill can quite love inulin. Inulin is found in vegetables replace the 500 species a healthy gut has, and fruit like onions, garlic, leeks, bananas, but the more it has the better! The acid artichokes, and asparagus. Giving the in our stomachs kill most of the bacteria bacteria what they love to eat will make in the capsule, so the longer you can take sure they grow, multiply and block out them the better. Aim for a 1 month course, the bad bugs. Eat a variety of whole foods but up to 3 months could be beneficial. like fruit, vegetables and grains; mixing Certain foods have living, healthy bacteria it up is key! Choose as many live colonyas well, and can provide bacterial species containing foods you can, and then eat a not present in probiotic capsules. Yogurt wide range of fibre, including foods with is the most popular choice, but not all inulin. If you take care of your gut bacteria, brands contain living bacteria, so look they will take care of you! ◆ 23
Gut Flora and How to Improve Your Gut Health Jess Pirnak Trillions of bacteria live inside your gut! There is actually so much bacteria living in there that we are more bacteria than human, as the number of bacteria exceeds the number of cells in the rest of your body by a factor of 10. With more and more research coming out regarding the benefits of a healthy gut flora, it is time to treat these friendly bacteria like the kings and queens they are! But before we dive into the how, letâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s touch base on the why.
DIGESTION In the large intestine, where our friendly bacteria reside, they begin fermenting aka eating carbohydrates the human body is otherwise unable to process. In other words they help transform our food into vital substances needed for our bodies. And in doing so, they reduce gut inflammation, stimulate and improve metabolic function and produce essential nutrients such as vitamin K. BRAIN HEALTH Our gut induces the production of several neurotransmitters, including serotonin - 95% of serotonin is actually produced in our gut! Serotonin impacts every part of your body and is considered a natural mood stabilizer regulating anxiety, happiness and mood. So, is the secret to happiness a healthy gut? IMMUNITY About 70% of our immune system is located in the gut and thanks to our beneficial flora our immune system is able to differentiate between friend and foe and rebalance the immune system when it gets off-kilter.
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GUT HE ALTH Three ways to improve your gut health: 1. PROPER DIGESTION The key to proper digestion is making sure we absorb all our food. There’s a new saying out there that goes: “You are, not what you eat, but what you absorb.” This is so true! But how can we optimize our absorption? Start by turning off the T.V, putting aside your work and sitting down at the table. We want all our energy and focus to be on eating and digestion not distracted and worried about sustaining your on-the-go lifestyle. Food is meant to be enjoyed, so chew and taste it!
2. REESTABLISH GUT BACTERIA Probiotics and fermented food, such as: sauerkraut, kimchi and miso are the key to reestablishing the good bacteria in your gut. Also, eating plenty of whole plant foods, packed with fibre, is another critical part of nourishing a healthy microbiota. Warning! Gluten free foods and even a lot of salads can actually be low in fibre. To support the growth of probiotics aim to consume certain prebiotics, such as: almonds, bananas, garlic and onion, which will help to feed those friendly bacteria in your gut.
3. FOLLOWING AN ANTI-INFLAMMATORY DIET Gut inflammation is the result of undigested food, so besides taking the time to chew and enjoy your food, follo wing an anti-inflammatory diet can also play a role in having a healthy gut. In general aim for fresh food or one-ingredient foods such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, lean meat or dairy and minimize processed foods (anything between the aisles of a grocery store). Omega 3’s are also an antiinflammatory nutrient, so try incorporating salmon, walnuts, chia seeds or flax seeds into your diet. Another amazing antiinflammatory food is turmeric, so try adding this fabulous spice to soups, stews or stir fries. ◆
Contains Gluten Irene Pauline
CERTIFIED NUTRITIONAL PRACTITIONER WWW.IRENEPAULINE.COM
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Good old gluten, we can’t escape it! We do our best to read labels, study ingredients, investigate producers, stay on top of all the research, but at the end of the day we didn’t make it so we don’t know what exactly happen and why gluten – always! Unfortunately, gluten-free label requirements are primarily focused on food products, and if it’s an added ingredient within a certain level it may not be stated clearly. The more you dig deeper you discover that gluten is in even our beauty, household and health products even.
WHY ADD GLUTEN INTO THESE PRODUCTS? 1. Gluten can be used as a binding, emulsifying, stabilizing and anti-caking agent. 2. Gluten may be used as a filler to make the product ingredient cost cheaper for the company. 3. Gluten may also be a containment in the processing production component of the product or in the facility. Here are some everyday products you might be using that may unjustly surprised you with gluten: BEAUTY PRODUCTS: SHAMPOO, CONDITIONER, LOTIONS, TOOTHPASTE & MAKEUP Gluten not just internally disrupts our system when consumed, but when applied topically our skin absorbs about 60% of chemicals applied and only takes 26 seconds to enter into our bloodstream. Ingredients used in everything from lip balms to hair care products do not clearly state when common grain-based oil ingredients are used that will cause internal and external irritation to the body. HOUSEHOLD PRODUCTS: LAUNDRY DETERGENT, SOAP, DISH DETERGENT & CLEANERS Cleanliness products now contain gluten, not so much for our benefit either. If you have a gluten sensitivity, intolerance or wheat allergy removing these containments are important as even gluten in household products can cause a reaction. Common gluten ingredients are wheat, barley or rye. For those with Celiac you have to ingest the gluten for an internal response to occur, however depending on your response level even washing dishes or cutlery that may contain gluten or counters having gluten on it may be concerning for some.
HEATH PRODUCTS: VITAMINS, SUPPLEMENTS & MEDICATIONS These products are suppose to promote good health and vitality, yet to lessen high costs or preform quick easy solutions gluten is used as a filler, binding, and coating agent. When shopping for health products ensure it comes from a company that does third party testing and is labeled gluten-free by an outside recognizable association. Companies have their own internal testing department and create their own gluten-free icons on labels. Email or call the company direct to get the honest answer. FOOD PRODUCTS: CONDIMENTS, SAUCES, SPICES, HERBS, PICKLED & CANNED FOODS More culprits that we wouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t necessarily think of, from a sprinkle of seasoning to a splash of condiments may contain gluten. Specially, soy sauce, mustard, bouillon cubes, gravy, pre-packaged spice mixes, like taco seasonings, curry mixes or pesto paste. Gluten can be hidden in malt vinegar used in pickling, salad dressings and sauces. Maltodextrin is also a main ingredient here that contains gluten and should be avoid by all means. There are many other options instead of using gluten in these products such as cornstarch, potato, tapioca, or soy. Many companies proactively use them and so the importance of continuing to do your research on products and companies. Also a lot of these products can be homemade, you can do it yourself and you know there will be no unwanted surprises. â&#x2014;&#x2020;
Which Cosmetics are Gluten Free? Shireen Sinclair As the whole world jumps on the gluten-free bandwagon, we hear of many people claiming to be glutenintolerant or allergic to gluten. However, is this just a fad, or is there some truth to it. Let’s try to analyze. Firstly, what is gluten? Alice Bast, executive director and founder of the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness has simplified it for us. “It’s safe to think of the word gluten as glue. It is often used as a binder.” Protein present in many sources of gluten can glue the food together and help them maintain their shape. The three big sources of gluten are wheat, barley and rye.
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CELIAC DISEASE Gluten impacts different people in different ways. People with the celiac disease are known to have the highest form of allergy to gluten. They can respond negatively to even traces of gluten in their diet. The symptoms they suffer range from irritated bladder to eye irritation and difficulty in breathing. People with Celiac disease have tested positive for allergy to gluten. Continued eating of gluten by them will cause their immune system to destroy their villipart of the small intestine that absorbs vital nutrients, which can thereby lead to serious illness.
In early years, Gluten allergy may lead to malnutrition in infants, delayed puberty in adolescents and even dwarfism and weight loss. Celiac disease is difficult to detect in adults, but may cause depression, osteoporosis, infertility and frequent miscarriages. Celiac disease is now recognized as one of the most common chronic diseases in the world More than 330,000 Canadians have been diagnosed with celiac disease. More than 73,000 are children. Living with Celiac disease is not only expensive but a challenge. Though there are plenty of gluten free options, there may be hidden gluten even in products considered gluten free.
NON-CELIAC GLUTEN SENSITIVITY (NCGS): Now there are another set of people who claim that they do not have celiac disease, but are gluten intolerant. Thanks to this lot, the growing market for gluten-free products has surpassed $6.2 billion worldwide by 2018. Most of these people have not tested positive for Celiac disease or wheat allergy. However, they do suffer from intestinal symptoms like bloating, pain and fatigue. Little is known on how much gluten is needed in their diets to trigger such symptoms. Worse still, studies suggest that despite the condition’s name, gluten may not the only culprit causing this. Thus, eliminating gluten from their diets may or may not be a cure. Unlike celiac disease, NCGS does not run in families. 6% Canadians are reported to be suffering from NCGS.
WHEAT ALLERGY Another condition that gluten intolerance is often confused with is wheat allergy. Wheat allergy is an immune reaction to any of the hundreds of proteins in wheat. Wheat allergy occurs when one type of white blood cell(B-cell) sends out antibodies to attack protein found in wheat. This reaction is spontaneous and can be accompanied with symptoms from nausea, abdominal pain, itching, swelling of the lips and tongue, to trouble breathing, which can prove life threatening. In celiac disease, a specific protein in wheat — gluten — causes a different kind of abnormal immune system reaction. A person with a wheat allergy must avoid eating any form of wheat, but does not have trouble tolerating gluten from non-wheat sources. Wheat is considered a Priority Allergen by Health Canada. Around 0.6% Canadians suffer from wheat allergy but more aim to eliminate wheat from their diet for reasons of wheat loss and health. 29
Just like there is no way to separate the genuine gluten-free wheat from the chaff, there is no way to stop the cosmetic industry from coming out with beauty and care products with the gluten-free label! Seriously, why is that even a thing! According to Mayo clinic Dr Michael F Pico, gluten proteins are too big to be directly absorbed into your skin through make-up. The only danger is when they are accidentally ingested. Sounds familiar? When was the last time you ate your lipstick or felt the sweet smell of your lotion in your mouth? Did you accidentally taste your shampoo while taking a shower? Been there- done that right! Celiac patients do vary in terms of gluten sensitivity, and there is a small segment of people who are extremely sensitive to even minute amounts of gluten and can have a reaction from their cosmetics. So, if you are avoiding gluten in your diet for reasons other than Celiac disease, stay with your cosmetic brands. For others who are following a gluten-free lifestyle, Glutenfree Canada brings you a list of Canadian and other brands that are gluten-free, and are easily available in Canada.
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B ELL APHORI A Bellaphoria prides in offering fellow Canadians make-up that is natural, organic, food grade, GMO free, corn free, soy free and the works! They have a wide range of reasonably priced lipsticks, eye-shadows, concealers and cream blushes. They also have four colors of loose mineral foundation to choose from.
GREEN B EAV ER Offering you gluten-free haircare, skincare, body care products and even toothpaste! This is your go-to link for all things to pamper you, proudly made in Canada.
S WEET LEI L ANI Sweet Leilani cosmetics are highly recognized in the Medical Community with Cancer, Burn, Trauma surgeons along with the Celiac Community. This gem boasts an overall rare selection of products, such as tinted moisturizer, liquid primer and cream foundation, all gluten-free again. Headquartered in British Columbia but shipping available everywhere.
BIT E BE AU TY Proudly made in Toronto Canada, the company claims that all its products are gluten-free and even tested for gluten. The product list is huge, so you have loads of choices.
PA I S K IN CA R E UK based Pai Skincare prides itself on being gluten-free and goes the extra mile to ensure their products are made in a completely allergy-free environment.
LI LY LOLO Lily Lolo is a mineral makeup line that’s gluten-free, vegan and cruelty-free. All products are made in a gluten-free facility so there’s absolutely no worry about crosscontamination. Their products claim to use anti-bacterial properties that can help heal problem skin.
Other popular brands that are gluten-free but cannot guarantee any contact with gluten due to cross-contamination
V ERB H A IR CA R E This US based gluten-free hair care brand is certified organic, paraben and cruelty free, and free of sulphates. Order online!
A FT ER G L OW CO S M E T I C S This is the only gluten-free brand that guarantees it hasn’t come in contact with gluten via shared machinery. Afterglow Cosmetics ensures every single one of their products are 100 per cent safe for those with celiac disease.
TOM ’S OF MA I NE Now you can vouch for the safety of anything that you use in or around your mouth . Tom’s of Maine provides gluten conscious people with toothpaste, mouthwash and lip care products that are safe to use.
DR H AU SC H K A
COV ERGI RL Most products gluten free. Read the labels as any gluten would be clearly marked.
L ANCOME No products contain gluten but cross contamination may exist in the factories
L’OREAL This great brand is a safe bet as long as one checks the labels. Gluten free environment during manufacture not guaranteed.
MAY B ELLI NE With all gluten free products, this affordable and widely available brand is safe to use.
Better to be safe than sorry! With so many safe options to choose from, you have no excuse! Go gluten-free, go worry-free! ◆
With a take on Sustainability and a strong focus on the healing ability of plants, Dr Hauschka remains a leading brand in the all-natural beauty trend since 50 years. Their products are almost all gluten-free, pending their Soothing Cleansing Milk.
New Level Household Cleaning Tips Irene Pauline
CERTIFIED NUTRITIONAL PRACTITIONER WWW.IRENEPAULINE.COM
You know you have to stay away from gluten; you have been doing everything you can, yet you are finding some reactions are still reoccurring. You have done your very best with your diet, relooking at all products, ingredients, contacted companies direct, read all the research and blogs and little improvements. Or maybe you have seen good improvements and now you are ready to take gluten-free living to the next level! Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the time to look outside your homebody and into your household; you donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t want the household gluten to continue to build up. With all the traffic in and out of the home, you never know what is coming and going but you can control what is present in the home. A deep clean is needed as there are unknown carpet conditions from preexisting owners, cupboards and closest can get stuffed over the years and the air can be unclean with particles of gluten living throughout the home. The best next steps to make are to get gluten out your house. Gluten is a tough and sneaky protein, now is the time to reduce the amount of gluten in and around the household. Try all or some of the cleaning tips, do what you can to get started, every little bit helps.
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PHASE 2 PHASE 1 Tips to Get Gluten-Free Cleaning Now
1. Many companies are now offering gluten-free and chemical-free cleaning products for hands, dishes, disinfectants and laundry. Also lots of online very simple and minimal ingredients required for do-it-yourself natural cleaning recipes. 2. Get new cleaning cloths and sponges regularly for the kitchen and washrooms too. Use separate cloths and sponges for gluten filled dishes and non-gluten dishes. 3. While cleaning wear gloves and even a face mask. Breathing in gluten particles may cause a reaction for those that may be extremely affected by gluten. 4. Rid the kitchen of all gluten or at least use sealed airtight containers for all gluten items, especially for all grains, pastries and flours. Also separate designated area as far as possible in the kitchen where gluten foods and non-gluten foods are kept.
Next level gluten-free clean… source a gluten-free cleaner!
Deep Gluten-Free Clean
5. Best to use bleach or disinfectant than soap (as commercial standard soaps may contain gluten) on all surfaces, windows, doors, walls, cupboards and closets. 6. Do the same deep clean on all kitchen appliances including the fridge, freezer, oven, dishwasher, microwave, food processor, and blender. Best to purchase a new toaster, or use two separate ones in the house for gluten and non-gluten food items, to also be stored in separate areas. 7. Disinfectant phones, doorknobs, light fixtures and really all the things you never think of. 8. Cast iron dishes absorb gluten easily. Obtain new cast iron dishes or reseal old cast iron dishes after the deep clean of the oven. 9. Wash or get rid of old textiles, sheets, towels, curtains, etc. Ensure the washer and dryer have had deep cleans first and then use natural gluten-free laundry detergents. 10. Wash carpets with proper machinery, just be aware and careful of the soap used in these tools. Consider over time replacing carpet with solid floors as it’s easier to clean and gluten particles don’t let it accumulate over the years. ◆ 33
Preparing for College – Gluten Free Style Priyanka Chugh
REACH OUT TO YOUR SCHOOL EARLY AND OFTEN
Summer time is here and while it might seem a little early, now is the best time for gluten free high school seniors and college students to start thinking about the fall. There’s a lot of prep work that can be done to help make the transition a little easier and I’m here to guide you through with some of my experiences from college, graduate school, and medical school.
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The best thing you can do to start off is to figure out who your ally on campus is going to be. You can start by reaching out to whichever office handles disability services. If you register with the office, they can be your champion in getting dining and residence accommodations. Depending on where you go to school there may be required meal plans that may or may not work for you, based on the food options that the school provides. They may also have different styles of residence halls and you may or may not have access to a kitchen/oven/freezer depending on where you live. Find out about fire regulations in the residence halls- are you allowed to have toaster ovens? These are some of the questions that the disability office can help get answers to. They can also get you in contact with Dining Services and Residential Life.
For Dining Services, I highly recommend setting up a meeting with a dietitian if the school has one and with the manager/ head chef of the dining hall(s) you will be frequenting most often. Putting a face to a name will make a big difference in helping you get foods that you need AND that you like! Most of the dining halls are run by an outside vendor such as Aramark, and they have a large list of products they can order to have in their dining hall. So if you want it, just ask! The worst they can say is no. For Residential Life, you should reach out to the Residence Hall Director and your Resident Assistant (RA). Let them know of your restrictions so they can prepare for you. When I was an RA, I always made a point to find out which residents had dietary restrictions so I could plan for them at events- but not everyone is as proactive as me! So make sure you take the steps to notify them in advance.
INFORM YOUR ROOMMATES It may feel really awkward to have this conversation with someone, potentially before you’ve ever even met them. But if you take the time in advance to explain your disease, what the restrictions are like, and what you’ll need to do in your shared space, then you’ll avoid some difficult move-in day conversations. Move-in day is already stressful enough! Take care of it ahead of time.
GET REALLY USED TO PLANNING The major key to success in managing a dietary restriction in college is to PLAN AHEAD everyday. I will admit that I’m the worst at this sometimes but it’s so much safer if you plan out what you’re going to eat that day, where you’re going to do that, and if you’ll need to pack snacks to get you through the day. You avoid ending up in situations where you are hungry without any safe options. This even extends to going out at night. Will there be gluten free options at the restaurant/bar that
your friends are going to? If not, are you okay with eating ahead or not having a drink? Either decision is totally fine, but it’s important to think about how you feel before getting into situations where you have no longer have a choice.
LET YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY KNOW HOW THEY CAN SUPPORT YOU There are lots of care packages out there for college students but few that have gluten free options. My parents sent me Edible Arrangements during exam weeks because my sweet tooth was always begging for chocolate covered strawberries. But there are other options! A quick and easy one is to have family or friends use Amazon Pantry to put together a box of some of your favorite snacks. If you’re a stress baker like me, Scratch and Grain Baking Co. makes easy baking kits to let you have your stress baking and stress eating too! There are also a number of gluten free monthly subscription boxes too such as Love with Food for more snack-y foods or if you want pre-made meals, you can do something like Freshly.
TRY TO RELAX! Last but certainly not least, RELAX! Once the planning is all done ahead of time, TAKE A DEEP BREATH. My biggest piece of advice to anyone applying or going to college is to not make your decision based on your disease. The place you go to college needs to be the place that you fit in best and the rest will all fall in place. Your college experience really does not need to be defined by your dietary restrictions, mine sure wasn’t. You can eat safely just about anywhere, you just have to find the right balance between preparation in advance and some flexibility. Every day won’t be great but most will be! You’ll even have fun gluten free adventures that will turn into the best memories - ask my friends who trekked out with me in the middle of winter at 11 pm to find gluten free chocolate cake! Prepare. Relax. Enjoy! ◆ 35
Grain Fed Beef: Potential Concern for Celiacs? Amy Horrock
REGISTERED DIETITIAN CLEAR FOCUS NUTRITION CLEARFOCUSNUTRITION.CA
Being meticulous with cross contamination is a top priority for people living with celiac disease. Daily life includes careful label reading, discussion with restaurant staff and navigating sensitive meal situations with family or friends. A common question that people with celiac disease have is whether grain fed beef is safe to consume. HOW ARE COW’S FED IN CANADA? Cows are fed in two different ways, grain fed or grass fed (1). All cows graze during the summer months on pasture land. In winter when forage cannot grow, they are fed dried feed. Conventionally, cows are fed some grain-based feed mixed with dried hay. Grass fed cows are only given dried grasses and not grain. In the last 3 to 4 months before going to market, conventionally raised cows are housed in feedlots. During this time, they are fed a
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high concentration of grains including corn and barley to help produce a high-quality grade of beef. Grass fed beef are not grain finished and remain in the pasture. DOES THE GRAIN IN THE COW’S DIET POSE A RISK TO PEOPLE WITH CELIAC DISEASE? To answer that question, we need to take a quick look at how a cow digests grain. The substance of concern for people with celiac disease is gluten. Gluten is a protein found in certain grains including wheat, barley, rye and triticale. Proteins are digested in cows, as in humans, by enzymes (2). Proteins are essentially a pearl necklace made up of a sequence of amino acids, the building blocks of proteins. Enzymes are like scissors that “snip off” pearls one by one. Those amino acids are then ready for absorption into the body. Once the protein is broken apart it looks nothing like the original protein. Digested gluten looks unrecognizable. Once absorbed, amino acids are then reassembled in the body of the cow into a different protein.
The bottom line: gluten is not present in beef, making it safe for people with celiac disease. IS GRASS-FED BEEF MORE NUTRITIOUS THAN GRAIN-FED BEEF? There was a study (3) looking at the difference in the type of fats between grass fed and grain fed beef. There was a difference in the types and amounts of fats in the beef, particularly omega 3 fatty acids. However, the differences are not significant when we look at the impact on the whole diet. For example, there is more of a certain type of heart healthy fat called ALA in grass-fed beef. But beef isn’t a good source of ALA in the first place. In fact, the amount of ALA in 3 ounces of beef is 100 times less than in one tablespoon of ground flaxseed. The difference in nutrition between grass fed and grain fed beef is irrelevant nutritionally. IS BEEF HEALTHY FOR PEOPLE WITH CELIAC DISEASE? Around 46% of people are either iron deficient or anemic when they are first diagnosed with celiac disease. Other common deficiencies include zinc (5467%) and vitamin B12 (40%). Beef is great source of protein, iron, zinc and vitamin
B12 which are important for good health and recovery post diagnosis (4). Like with everything in life, it’s all about balance! Focus on a variety of protein sources including plant-based sources of protein including beans, lentils, nuts and seeds. Be mindful of portion sizes. High intakes of red meat are associated with colorectal cancer, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Think of portion size around the size and thickness of the palm of your hand and limit it to a couple times per week. REFERENCES: 1.
Canada Beef (2016). Understanding Grass Fed and Grain Fed Beef. Retrieved from https://canadabeef. ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/3208_CANBEEF_ factsheet_NUTRITION-2016.pdf
2. The Cattle Site (2009). Understanding the ruminant animal’s digestive system. Retrieved from http://www.thecattlesite.com/articles/2095/ understanding-the-ruminant-animals-digestivesystem/ 3. Van Elswyk, M., E., McNeil, S., H. (2014). Impact of grass/forage feeding versus grain finishing on beef nutrients and sensory quality: The U.S. experience. Meat Science. 96(1): 535-540. 4. Leonard, M., M., Sapone, A., Catassi, C., Fasano, F. (2017). Celiac Disease and Nonceliac Gluten Sensitivity: A Review. JAMA. 318(7):647-656.
TOP 3 TIPS
For Fearless Gluten Free Travelling Selena Devries
REGISTERED DIETITIAN WWW.HEALTHBEAN.CA INSTAGRAM: @CELIAC_DIETITIAN FACEBOOK: @CELIACDIETITIAN
Travelling gluten free, especially the for the first time, can be an overwhelming experience. Thankfully, here are three tips that will, hopefully, release some of that stress so you can enjoy your vacation
PACK FOOD STRATEGICALLY Depending on your travel method, you will want to bring a few key items so you aren’t stuck feeling ‘hangry’ and without food. Travelling by plane: Pack enough food to get you to your location plus the first 24 hours there.
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You may have a mix of food packed in your suitcase as well your carry on depending on your destination. Remember, you cannot take liquids through security. And, also, you need to consume all fresh fruits and vegetables before going through customs if travelling internationally. See tip #3 below for some extra support if security tries to take food away. Travelling by car: Pack a cooler with enough food to get you to your location plus bring special GF foods that may not be available in the location you are travelling to such as GF bread, pasta or baked goods. Favourite brand name foods that travel well:
• Natures Path Qi’a Cereal packages • Lotus Foods Rice Raman packages • Prana Nut Mixes (such as Almandine or Kilminjaro mixes)
• Taste adventure black bean soup cups • Justin’s nut butter packages • Clover Leaf mini cans of flavored tuna. • Our Little Rebellion bean crisps
• The Goodbean crispy chickpeas • KIND bars
CHOOSE ACCOMMODATION WISELY This is key because you need to have easy access to safe food, ideally, within walking distance or at least on a route that is easily accessible via transit, unless you will have a vehicle. Staying at hotel: Utilize Google maps when thinking about booking your accommodation so you can ‘Google’ the distance from your hotel/room to the nearest grocery store or convenience store. Staying at a family/friends house: Stock up on GF favourites beforehand that you can bring to the house, just in case you can’t find them at the local markets once you arrive.
Also be mindful of the cooking environments wherever you will be staying to reduce risk of cross contamination. Some great travel accessories and equipment that are very helpful for travelling celiacs include: • Toaster bags • Microwave steamer silicone box (such as epicure brand) • Collapsible cutting board • Frying pan • Wooden spoon
UTILIZE GF RESOURCES Scared and travelling GF for the first time? Long time celiac ready for international travel? Travelling GF with the family? Take advantage of these amazing resources that make GF travelling so much easier so you can feel confident and enjoy your vacation! Utilize the Canadian Celiac Association (CCA) FaceBook page: This FB page is monitored by the CCA and includes advice on every topic there is, including GF travel. You can even search the page for a desired location. For example, if you want to go to Spain, search “Spain” on the FB page, and multiple threads on GF travel in Spain will come up. You can’t get better advice than the advice coming from celiacs who have already traveled to your location. Get a doctors note if flying by plane: Although not necessary, sometimes having a doctors note stating that you medically require a GF diet can help get your food through security, if security is questioning your food. Utilize GF apps: There are a multitude of apps out there to help make GF travel easier. Some of my favourites include the GF Restaurant card app which can translate over 40 languages that can be shown to a waiter/chef to explain the restrictions for those on a GF diet. A bonus of this app is it does not require wifi so it can be used absolutely anywhere. Another helpful app is the Find Me Gluten Free App. ◆ 39
The Connection Between Gluten Sensitivity & Mental Health Issues Charlie Baulm
It seems everything in the grocery store is marked “gluten-free” these days. According to Celiac.org, celiac disease is defined as “a serious autoimmune disorder that can occur in genetically predisposed people where the ingestion of gluten leads to damage in the small intestine. It is estimated to affect 1 in 100 people worldwide.” People can also have a gluten sensitivity or intolerance, which is not as severe, but they should still try to eat gluten free as much as possible. In addition to digestive problems, fatigue, and allergic reactions, those who have a gluten allergy or sensitivity may experience mental health issues as well. The most common mental health issues that celiac disease sufferers encounter are depression and/or anxiety.
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Gluten and dairy are said to be the main allergens that cause a bad reaction in your brain. Your mental health issues may clear up when you stop eating these foods. LINKS BETWEEN GLUTEN AND DEPRESSION There have been studies that show the connection between gluten and depression. In a study published by Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics in May 2014, they studied 22 people. These people ate a gluten-free diet for three days and then received a dietary challenge for three days. Some participants were supposed to eat gluten, some were challenged to eat whey and some had a placebo. Participants were then studied using the Spielberger State-Trait Personality Inventory (STPI). Those who ate gluten had higher scores of depression.
It has also been studied that approximately one-third of those with celiac disease also have been diagnosed with depression. Additional studies have shown the link between celiac disease and depression. It seems as if the gluten really does have a big effect on your brain, especially if you are already at risk for a mental health issue. HOW DOES GLUTEN AFFECT THE BRAIN? You may have heard that your gut bacteria may affect your brain. When your gut bacteria get out of balance, it can affect your mood. Scientists have even called your gut your second brain. In people with gluten intolerance or sensitivity, gluten may erode your gut lining. Your immune system then attacks what is deemed a foreign object. This sends alerts to your brain, which can cause symptoms of anxiety and/ or depression. Gluten can also trigger inflammation if your body. Any type of inflammation in your body can send a signal to your brain that something is off. It can also mean that your body isn’t absorbing nutrients as well as it should, which can lead to symptoms of anxiety and/or depression as well. Do you see a link between gluten sensitivity or celiac disease and your mental health? Do you have celiac disease and have struggled with mental health issues? Share your story with us in the comments below! If you have issues with celiac disease, anxiety or depression, you may want to check out a dual diagnosis rehab. These centers address mental health and addictions simultaneously to better serve their patients and give them guidance to living a happier healthier life. If you found this article interesting, please share with a friend. ◆
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Decadent Double Chocolate Cookies Therese Kirchner
• 3/4 cup butter (for dairy free, use Earth Balance Buttery Sticks)
1. Preheat oven to 375°F (350°F if using convection)
• 1 1/4 cup brown sugar
2. Cream butter with sugar until light and fluffy. Add in cocoa powder on lower speed. When thoroughly mixed, add egg* and vanilla. *To make flax egg – add 3 TBSP hot water to 1 TBSP ground flax seed and allow to sit until it becomes thick and jelly like.
• 1/2 cup Dutch process cocoa powder (Rodelle, available at Costco, is gluten free) • 1 large egg or flax egg* • 1 tsp vanilla • 1 cup white rice flour • 1/4 cup tapioca starch • 1/4 cup potato starch • 1 TBSP corn starch • 1 tsp xanthan gum • 1 tsp baking powder • 1 tsp baking soda • 1/2 tsp salt • 1 cup of Enjoy Life chocolate chunks (or other gluten free/dairy free chocolate chunk) gluten-free canada
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3. Mix all dry ingredients together in small bowl, then add to the chocolate and butter mixture. Mix thoroughly. Add chocolate chunks at the end. 4. Using a 2 TBSP scoop (or a couple tablespoons), scoop dough balls onto parchment paper lined cookie sheets. Leave room between them for spread. I only place 6 cookies on each cookie sheet. 5. Bake 11 minutes, and cool on cookie sheet 5 minutes before moving to the cooling rack. 6. Enjoy! ◆
Peanut Butter Chocolate Pretzel Bites Prep Time 45 Minutes Makes 15 Servings
INGREDIENTS Glutino Pretzel Twists (30 pretzels) 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter 1 tbsp butter (softened) 1/4 cup powdered sugar 1/2 cup brown sugar Two milk chocolate bars (approx. 45 grams each) DIRECTIONS • Combine peanut butter and softened butter and mix thoroughly.
• Add the powdered and brown sugar. Beat until the mix does not stick to the sides of the bowl.
• Roll the mixture into small, 1-inch balls. Sandwich the balls between two pretzel twists. Place on a baking sheet lined with wax paper.
• Freeze the peanut butter sandwiches for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate bars in the microwave for 1 minute, or until they are a liquid consistency. Stir until smooth.
• Dip each frozen pretzel bite halfway into the chocolate, and return to the baking sheet. • Let sit until chocolate is hardened.
• Store pretzel bites in refrigerator until ready to serve.
43 © 2018 Boulder Brands USA, Inc.
May Contain Wheat Mary Anderson I freaking love hamburgers. There, I said it. Judging by the number of hamburgers that are consumed worldwide I can also only surmise that I am not alone. I’m pretty sure McDonald’s didn’t change the “billions served” sign solely because of me, although in my burger heyday I certainly did my part to help. I am telling you about my burger infatuation because it provides you with some integral background information for my little story. You see due to some health questions recently within the family we started investigating a few various issues with food intolerances. After some testing and a Doctors consultation it was revealed that a couple of members of our family do not get along with wheat, or more specifically Gluten, in our digestive tract. No problem, if something doesn’t agree with you then don’t eat it, right? Just like that we were on our way to a GF (gluten free) lifestyle.
I shall overcome… wait, WHAT?!? I also cannot have any normal baking such as cinnamon buns, donuts, muffins, cookies, cakes or pastries? Relax, just breathe, no problem, I am still strong enough… I think. Oh I have to remove pizza too as well as any breaded deep fried goodness such as fish and chips or prawns or wontons. Okay, this isn’t fun anymore. We are now starting to severely impact my diet along with my will to live. Much like a boxing match with no referee, (or a 1970s TV record album) the hits keep coming; Cereals, salad dressings and puddings were added to the list along with most any kind of processed meats: sausages, hot dogs, pepperoni, deli meat, etc. Instead of simply avoiding one item that I couldn’t eat, I quickly found myself searching for things that I could eat. Or perhaps just stop eating and die – that was beginning to look like a viable option.
just don’t eat it — right?
For those of you that do not know, gluten is nothing more than an enzyme that is found in wheat. At least according to chemistry it is. According to my stomach it is a tiny ball of demon spit encased in razor blades. So I only have to avoid eating wheat, and life is good! As it turns out, this was not such an easy a plan. Apparently food manufacturers have some time ago figured out that wheat is a very cheap filler and that it should be added to EVERYTHING. I started off thinking that all I had to avoid was bread which, in itself, was a cause of mild panic. Sandwiches, buns, toast and yes, HAMBURGERS were all literally off the table. Okay, I can do this – I am strong, gluten-free canada
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One of the first things I noticed about trying to avoid gluten is that there are a lot of people doing the same thing right now. There are actually people who are eating gluten free with no real medical reason to, but hey, life is about choices and if they feel better not eating gluten then more power to them. It has become the equivalent of platform shoes or pet rocks – it seems like the cool thing to do at the time but history is going to look back and laugh. This is helpful for those that actually require a GF diet in that it has opened the door to more choices as manufacturers and marketing teams scramble to cash in on the latest fad. (Funny how money will drive new products when actual health
reasons won’t, but that’s a topic for another day). Unfortunately however it also means that most other people do not recognize a valid gluten intolerance and instead lump you into a group of annoying trend followers, the likes of which cannot order a coffee without sounding obnoxious. Venti Iced Skinny Hazelnut Macchiato, SugarFree Syrup, Extra Shot, Light Ice, No Whip anyone? You can almost hear the servers’ eyes roll inside their head when they are asked about GF options. The restaurants also like to ask you if it’s an allergy or a preference, and this is done so that they know how much they should care. On a scale from one to ten, saying “allergy” gets you a care level of 0.5 and “preference” gets you a care level of negative twelve. The respect that we glutenites garner is truly awesome. Thanks in no small part to the gluten fad there has become a ton of GF options available at grocery stores now too. There are a couple of small yet notable problems with the many products that have hit the market to feed the GF craze. The first is, for some reason when they take gluten (or wheat) out of a product they have to replace that void with approximately seven hundred chemicals, all with names that would make Mary Poppins think “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” was an abbreviation. I took a bit of chemistry in school and I have a limited understanding of how things mix together but for the life of me I cannot understand how taking one item out of a formula can lead to the introduction of such a long list of other chemicals to replace it. To put it bluntly, the running joke we have is that the words “gluten free” on a product simply means “chemical crapstorm”. Now one would think that if you have the ability to mix chemicals and make food without worrying about how long the ingredient list is then it would at least be delicious, but you would
be wrong. This leads us to the second problem with many GF food products: THEY USUALLY TASTE LIKE MUCK. Unless of course you enjoy eating drywall putty or play-doh, you will most likely find that GF offerings can be a “little off” when it comes to taste and texture. And by a little off I mean awful. I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that there are a few products out there that do manage to pull off their charade and actually do taste very good, but it takes some hunting to find them. You’ve got to kiss a lot of frogs before you meet your prince or something like that. I have learned a lot about food in general during this new venture of ours. I have also found ingredient lists that have absolutely shocked me with what they contain. On a serious note I urge everyone to read the labels on the food they eat. I don’t mean skim it and pick out a couple of things you recognize, I mean read it to understand it. Look up those words that you don’t know. Find out what you are putting in your body. Remember that a long word doesn’t necessarily mean a bad thing but you should at least know what it is, shouldn’t you? I am actually thankful of the lessons that this has taught me about the ingredients in our food…if only someone would combine those ingredients to make me a cinnamon sticky-bun flavoured carrot stick my life would be complete. Now if you’ll excuse me I have to go feed my pet rock. ◆
INGREDIENTS • 1 cup Red Cabbage, thinly chopped • 1 Red Bell Pepper, julienned • ½ cup Snap Peas, thinly sliced • ½ cup Bean Sprouts • 1/3 cup Edamame Beans • 2 tbsp Cilantro, chopped • 1 cup Rice Noodles, cooked
Photo from foxeslovelemons.com
Asian Noodle Salad in a Jar Cristel Moubarak Servings: 4 GINGER SOY DRESSING:
• 2 cloves Garlic, minced
1. Layer all ingredients in a mason jar starting with dressing and denser ingredients (dressing, noodles, cabbage, snap peas, bell pepper, edamame beans) with lighter vegetables on top (bean sprouts, cilantro).
• 2 tbsp Ginger, grated • ½ cup Gluten-free Tamari • ¼ cup Rice Vinegar • 2 tbsp Malt Vinegar • 1 tsp Sesame Oil • 1 tbsp Fish Sauce • Red Chilli Peppers to taste Mix all ingredients and adjust as desired. * Add sugar to taste if it’s too acidic.
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2. Shake up mason jars to coat salad in dressing when ready to eat.
Gluten-Free Orange Almond Cakes Servings: 10 DIRECTIONS: INGREDIENTS •
2 to 3 oranges, ground (see Chef’s Note)
2 1/4 c ground almonds
1 1/2 c granulated sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 Tbsp vanilla paste
EXCEPTED FROM THE DIRTY APRON COOKBOOK
1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Butter ten 2-inch cake moulds. 2. Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl, mixing them with a large spoon until just moistened. Divide the batter among the moulds and bake until the tops are golden and a small knife inserted into the cakes comes out clean, about 30 minutes. 3. Chef’s Note: To prepare ground oranges, wash the whole oranges and place them in a large pot filled with water. Boil over high heat until a knife inserted into an orange moves with ease, about 30 minutes. Transfer the oranges, peels and all, to a blender or food processor and process until smooth. ◆
Squash and Apple Soup David Robertson
EXCEPTED FROM THE DIRTY APRON COOKBOOK
Servings: 6 DIRECTIONS 1. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 2. Place the squash in a large bowl and season with salt and white pepper. Add the maple syrup and toss until the squash is well covered. Transfer the squash to the baking sheet and roast until cooked through and slightly caramelized, about 30 minutes. Set aside. 3. Peel and core the apples, discarding the skins and cores, then cut the flesh into 1/4-inch pieces. Set aside.
INGREDIENTS • 2 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and roughly diced • ¼ cup maple syrup • 2 Granny Smith apples • 1 tbsp vegetable oil • 3 large shallots, roughly diced • 6 garlic cloves, chopped • ¾ cup white wine • 1 cup apple juice • 5 ½ cups vegetable stock • 1 ¼ cup whipping cream • juice of 1 lemon gluten-free canada
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4. Heat the vegetable oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic and sauté for 2 minutes. Stir in the diced apple, white wine and apple juice and cook until the liquid is reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Pour in the vegetable stock and bring to a boil, then add the roasted squash, including the cooking juices. Add the cream, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat. 5. Using a hand blender, purée the soup until smooth. Stir in the lemon juice and season to taste with salt and white pepper. 6. Chef’s Note: It’s always a good idea to have some extra vegetable stock on hand, in case you need to slightly thin the soup.
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PANELS YOU CAN EXPECT DURING THE EVENT:
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GLUTEN FREE LIVING MADE SIMPLE Join Jess Pirnak, Registered Dietitian & Certified Wellness Coach, as she shares valuable tips for those recently diagnosed with celiac disease or gluten intolerance. Let Jess guide you through what needs to change in your kitchen, how to change your thinking, and what you need to know before grocery shopping. BUILDING A HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP WITH FOOD ON A RESTRICTIVE DIET Join Shallah Panjwani, Registered Dietician as she shares her guide to building and maintaining a healthy relationship with food when on a restrictive diet. Learn her expert tips for overcoming emotional eating. FEEL BETTER THAN EVER WHILE GLUTEN FREE Going gluten free can feel daunting, but it doesn’t need to be that way. Join Rika Mansingh, an experienced RD, as she explains how and why it is possible to thrive on a gluten free diet and feel better than ever before! MANAGING CHRONIC PAIN Join Dr. David Wang, ND as he discusses the possible underlying causes of chronic pain, and natural, non-invasive strategies to help address potential root causes that may help provide you with relief.
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WALLET-FRIENDLY LOW-CARB MEALS Join Cristel Moubarak, Registered Dietitian and Founder of nutriFoodie to discover quick gluten-free, low-carb meals that are nutritious, delicious and budget friendly! EASY LOW-FODMAP MEALS! Learn how to make delicious low-FODMAP meals! Join Anne-Marie, a Registered Dietitian, as she demonstrates how easy it is to make amazing gluten free recipes and offers invaluable tips for people new to low-FODMAP cooking. Incredible, healthy, food has never been easier. HEALTHY LUNCHES FOR WORKING FOLKS Join Alice Wyche, Registered Dietitian, as she demonstrates how to efficiently meal prep speedy, healthy lunches for busy working people. 51
2018 PRODUCT OF • • • • • • •
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Baked Goods & Pastries, non-bread Breads Charcuterie Items Health & Wellness Pantry Items Prepared Food Snack Foods
CT OF THE Y DU E
CT OF THE
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Nairn’s Gluten Free PR
C T OF THE Y
CATEGORY: Baked Goods & Pastries, Non-Bread COMPANY NAME: Nairn’s
2018 BA KED GOODS & PA STRIES
PRODUCT: Nairn’s Gluten Free Oat Cookies - Ginger Nairn’s history dates all the way back to 1896 where John and Sarah Nairn ran their own bakery in Scotland. More significantly, the deep history is rooted in the company’s consistent health-conscious approach. From as early as 1935, Narin’s has hinted at the importance of knowing exactly what you are putting into your body. Just as importantly, it is important to know exactly what you shouldn’t be consuming, specific to your body. In 2009, the company’s modern popularity arose after the release of a new product line dedicated to being gluten free. This new line aimed to match the needs set out in the Coeliac UK standards. This initiative brought Nairn’s forward into the global stage, and pushed Nairn’s into the league of front-runners for providing products to those living gluten free. Today, Nairn’s is a company participating on the front stage of snackable gluten free products. Relating back to the company’s awareness of knowing what to put in your body, their branding creates further distinction. Nairn’s seeks to emphasize the two-sided approach to their product creation: understanding what to take out of the product, but also knowing which good ingredients to put in. Their gluten free products exemplify this. The company’s gluten free product range starts from the featured biscuit breaks, to flatbreads, and even to bite-sized chocolate oat biscuits.
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Oat Cookies – Ginger While the Nairn’s company was established early in Europe, its international presence is ever growing. It is no wonder that they are an award recipient in the Gluten Free Canada 2018 Product of the Year Awards under the Baked Goods & Pastries category. Baked goods of the non-bread variety typically follow similar characteristics that are separate from the bread type. While “a good cookie” is purely subjective to a person there are still some standout characteristics. Baked goods, specifically biscuits and cookies, can usually have a distinctive crispness that are accompanied by crumbs. The stiffness can be fairly indicative of what the rest of the food experience will be like. For example a cookie that breaks apart softly can definitely indicate cookies that offer a softer and chewier experience. In terms of flavour, biscuits and cookies typically follow a sweeter palate. This leads to the enticement of everyone’s inner (and younger) childhood sweet tooth. Nairn’s Gluten Free Oat Cookies may be seemingly unoriginal at first glance, but with a history in three different centuries, they’re as original as you can get. Plain and simple: original. Again this harkens back to Nairn’s history with providing “hard tack” oat biscuits to the UN and British Armed Forces back in 1939. Knowing that these oat biscuits are tried, tested, and true, why change the way they’re made from the beginning? In other words, if it works, why bother fixing it? It seems like Nairn’s had it right from the beginning. However, enough about the past: these cookies have a lot more to offer than a history lesson.
PRO D U C T O F TH E YE AR
To narrow it down from the wide range of the company’s gluten free products, the Oats & Stem Ginger Biscuit Breaks were chosen as the award recipient. At the very core of the product are the oats. Regarded as a super-food, oats and their known nutritional value are becoming more and more ubiquitous. To refresh, oats bring benefits for the gut and digestion, carry some crucial nutrients, and are fairly versatile when it comes to flavouring. The texture of oats can be questionable at times depending on what the desired result is. Sometimes, if oats are used in a recipe and the recipe lacks moisture, the whole product will come out dry, crumbly, and uncomfortably gritty. Moving to the other extreme, a recipe that uses too much moisture can sometimes lead to a sticky and, often, slimy glob where the end product has no discernible definition or distinction to what it is intend to be. How these characteristics translate into Nairn’s ginger biscuits is simply elegant. These cookies have gently found a way to land in the middle. The oats in the cookies, resemble the fibrous and rigidness in its natural form, but also still lends itself to its usual malleability signature to its oatmeal form. Sometimes, and sometimes more often than not, finding “plain and simple” in the vast array of product selection we see either online or in the grocery store is far from just plain and simple. At times, there are just added ingredients that are unwanted, or the product is not gluten free, or even the end result is just not what we are hoping for. With Nairn’s, what you read is what you get. Oats. Ginger. Biscuit. 55
An oat base, with a strong spiced up ginger flavouring all package together in a biscuit form. The embodiment of plain and simple is executed well in these products. This extends to the entire Biscuit Break collection, but it is done best in the ginger variation.
preventing or lowering inflammation as well as improving antioxidation.
Further along the alternative medicine route, the anti-inflammatory characteristics have an added benefit for those who experience muscle pain and soreness. And for those who are The flavour of raw ginger is dominating. rigorously physically active, it can often It is strong. It can be overpowering and lead to more intense muscle pain hard to balance out. And it can be even and soreness. This can be even more more difficult to counteract if overdone. common for those who do not rest When used beautifully, the flavour their bodies between workout days. Of commands presence, but gives flexibility course, not only physically active people to allow other flavours to will experience muscle come through. Ginger can pains and muscle soreness; provide a lightness and a everybody does - regardless Natural freshness to any palate. It of what they do. Luckily, the can also bring out a spicy anti-inflammatory property earthy notes aftertaste that kick the taste of ginger can help in aid of oats with a reducing the soreness and bud butts awake. An artistic use of ginger will blend this swelling. sweet twist. command of the taste buds Finally, for those that often and the freshness of flavour suffer from motion sickness, all in one bite. the aromatic and medicinal properties Ginger also carries valuable nutritional in ginger can assist in alleviating or characteristics. These include antilessening the effects of nausea -inflammatory and antioxidant properties including morning sickness. While several assist in treating muscle soreness, and studies have been done, this surely is aid in the relief of nausea. Now, it is not a recommendation to only resort to unclear whether or not one would need ginger, nor is it a recommendation to a whole box or just a 4-pack of cookies consume copious amounts of the root. to see the effects of these characteristics All in moderation. After all, the taste manifest themselves, but the properties would sure become overwhelming quite exist nonetheless. quickly. Additionally, the amount of ginger in each Nairn cookies would be an When one thinks of ginger, they might unlikely substantial substitute for actual think of how it is used in alternative health ginger. Who would want to consume practices. They would not be wrong. that much, anyway? Luckily as previously Alternative or traditional medicine, mentioned, the ginger blend in Nairnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s is was and is still often used to help with nicely put together. digestion and as well as fighting the common cold. The most common The natural earthy notes of the oats property that ginger might be used provides a general base of flavour with for is due to the presence of gingerol. a slightly sweet twist. When the biscuit Medicinally, gingerol can be powerful in breaks apart, the ginger flavouring really
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starts to come through. What’s better is that the ginger is quite authentic and does not leave a lingering taste or film like most artificial flavours do. One thing to note is that the authenticity starts long before the taste; it truly starts with the packaging. From the get go, the box already tells you what you’ll be getting. Bright and simple packaging tells you exactly what you need to know. The not-too-busy look and feel of the box makes it seem approachable and almost homely. As you open the box, you’ll find several packets of biscuits put together in groups of four making them perfect for anyone on the go. How often do you head out for the day wish you brought something along because you didn’t plan on spending $5, $10, or even $20, on a snack? While the concept of bringing a snack along with you during your day-long errands isn’t new, Nairin’s makes it convenient and also helps to ensure that you have the energy required on your busy day. This also means that your hunger and cravings are satiated until it is time for a proper meal. Harkening back to the oat base, it really helps that oats are high in fibre content. Better yet, the cookies themselves aren’t loaded with tons of sugar which typically leads you to an energy crash hours, if not moments, later after consumption. This high fibre and low sugar combination just screams sustenance: fibre for slowed digestion, and lowered sugar levels that lessens the fluctuation of energy cycles.
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comes. Even during infancy, O F TH E the shape is something YE AR we subconsciously might already trust. Regardless of if you’ve eaten a biscuits in a similar shape before, or not, the shape still lends itself to a comfortable eating experience. No jagged edges, and nothing too wide means no one has to contort their face to odd shapes to consume this snack. Often times, the focus on food is flavour — and that’s not a bad thing; it’s very important! But texture and feel and how the food physically interacts with the mouth is just as important. An extreme example is popcorn. Most of us like popcorn. However, it is because the popcorn has its distinct texture. The way the popcorn begins to melt as it comes into contact with your tongue. Or the way each piece has a distinct shape leads to each piece having different pockets of flavour at different proportional combination. Now, imagine the popcorn we know and love having a completely different shape and texture. Imagine it coming in the form of a salad-- better
While the shape of the Nairn’s cookies closely resemble that of baby crackers, it should be regarded as attention to detail to the eater’s experience. The design being simple and familiar already tells the eyes a story before the taste even
yet, how about in the form of a beverage? Surely, as a salad, taking fork-fulls of salty and buttery goodness isn’t as appealing. And as a beverage? Might as well drink liquid salted butter. Now that the long-winded example is out of the way, it should be clear that texture plays a much bigger role than just being a vessel to carry the flavour. Texture (how many times can we say that word), helps create the narrative that the food is telling. In the case of these ginger cookies, the physical consistency and flavouring reminisces on a story of ginger snaps. At least, to some, it can relate younger days when they would come home from a chilly autumn day of grade school and seeing a plate of ginger cookies set out for them by their parents. Sure, maybe that’s an idealistic nostalgic review of childhood, but because Nairn’s decides to go with ginger-flavoured biscuits, the correlation is sometimes inevitable. The translation of texture into the Nairn’s version is also quite elegant. While the biscuits are dry, - and as they should be - it is nothing a hot cup of tea or coffee couldn’t fix. Of course, from first touch, the crumbs should be a clear indicator of how crumbly the texture would be in the mouth. However, the biscuit did quite well to stay in significant sized chunks. To illustrate, one might expect something like bread crumbs in their mouth, but would be pleasantly surprised with something a little more chunky. Eventually, of course, the food itself disintegrates into mush, but not as immediately as expected.
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All in all, this deep dive into the world of baked goods (that are not of the bread variety) praises Nairn’s Oats & Stem Ginger cookies as a must-try product of 2018. In general, a good staple biscuit to keep in your pantry. Nairn’s has a rich history in using oats. Nairn’s also has an early start in health and wellness in providing their “hard tack” biscuits to soldiers and now has a foothold in being a global company in the gluten free sphere. Nutritionally, the oat base already sets these cookies apart as a super-food cookie. The added nutrition and healing properties of ginger also sets these cookies apart. Surely the cookies won’t be launching off the shelves because they wear capes, but they’ll definitely be flying off the shelves simply because they’re basically a super-food and taste good too! Flavour is distinguishably ginger and recalls the flavours of a less sweet ginger snap. The oat base, though, still provides a subtle sweetness. Texture resembles a classic crumbly nature of a regular cookie, but does not transform into sludge in your mouth. The packaging is designed for transportability and for anyone on the go, while the overall box is sure to stand out in any grocery store aisle. The bright vibrant colours, and simple label design help to communicate a clear reason as to why anyone should buy a box (or three). ◆
PRO D U C T O F TH E YE AR
Schär Artisan Baker PR
C T OF THE Y
CATEGORY: Breads COMPANY NAME: Schär PRODUCT: Artisan Baker 10 Grains & Seeds
Our favourite breads are a personal choice. This can be a great indicator for the variety of different breads available on the market. Surely, gluten free breads narrow down the choice, but if anyone were to write down an entire list of selections to choose from, the list might be more overwhelming than helpful. While the Gluten Free Canada Product of the Year Awards is not a scientific method per se, it helps to highlight what to look for when searching for your next favourite bread! The Gluten Free Canada Product of The Year Awards for 2018 was a tough call; there is no doubt about that. Products are selected over a variety of different factors; the outcomes over rely heavily on things like nutritional value, aesthetic appeal, and of course, flavour and texture. Nutritional value can be fairly easy to get. A little finicky when it comes to baking, but the real challenge with nutrition is finding a flavours that are actually tasty. Let’s face it, the preference will most likely always land on flavour that has a bit of a kick, and leaves our mouths watering. Sometimes more nutritional things like seeds and grains leave the person feel underwhelmed with a bland taste in their mouth. In another setting, aesthetic appeal is hard to achieve. Believe it or not, we always eat first with our eyes. The first
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10 Grains & Seeds Bread impression of food will often come from what we see (especially if the aromatic scents haven’t caught up to us yet). This means the actual look of the food is important. While it can be quite primal, in a way, the food itself has to look edible. For example, a “creamy” soup that’s slightly too watery, already looks like it would be unpleasant to consume. Or perhaps (and more relatably), a bread that’s been over-baked already delivers warning signs that it indicate its darkened colour would be bitter and have that signature horrible burnt flavour. Granted, these also come down to preference; some like their bread in the lighter side, and others seem to enjoy the roasty tastes. When it comes to flavour and texture, there can be entire articles, books, and sagas talking about the different ways the two could be executed. Some may have heard that the combination of these two convey the narrative that the food wants to create. To be more distinct, the food is not the one developing the narrative, it is merely a vessel for which the food creator wants to deliver the story. What might come as an even larger challenge is how to combine these factors in a way that make the product a pleasant experience is a different challenge all on its own. A classic example comes in the form of a question: how do you increase nutritional value, and still make sure flavour is not compromised? While all of these factors can be executed and executed well, there are nuances in how a company creates noticeable differences in their product that really set them apart.
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This year, when it comes to the breads category, Schär comes out on top. Specifically, Schär’s Artisan Baker 10 Grains and Seeds comes out as the leader for the this year’s bread category. Schär has its roots in food (obviously) and quite surprisingly, chemistry. Ulrich Ladurner completed his degree and earned his initial business experience in Austria. Eventually, this led him to join his parents’ company “A. Ladurner Chemist”. By the age of 23, his business acumen brought him to the helm of his parents company majorly increasing productivity. At a young age, and with a chemistry background, Ladurner was interested in alternative food choices. He took an affinity towards gluten free products and used his parents company to sell the products of Dr. Anton Schär. In 1922, Schär was already selling gluten free products, and by 1979 Ladurner had used business prowess to take over Schär’s company himself. By this time, Ladurner’s business experience, background in chemistry, and resources to food made it clear to him that the company, Schär, was destined be a leader in gluten free products. In a time where celiac awareness was quite low, these business navigations seemed negligible, but in retrospect were quite revolutionary. By 2003, Schär had its own research lab in Trieste, and by 2007 the company’s food came to the United States. Schär now carries the legacy of Ladurner’s initial experience at the forefront of his company, leading the entire company to be an international household name in the world of gluten free living. 61
By now, Schär offers a vast and wide range of gluten free products. At a high level, the company has offerings in the bakery, in snacks, Italian foods, and even some creative mixes for the kitchen. The bakery provides options that cover sliced bread, to bread rolls, crisp bread, and even pizza crust. Their snacks deliver options from croissants, to wafers, cakes and muffins, and event snack bars for people on the go. Their Italian varieties provide eaters with the staples: pasta, pizza, and ready-to-cook Italian meals. Finally, if someone at home wanted to work with come gluten free dough and flour, Schär also provides options for that. The product of focus in this article is the Artisan Baker 10 Grains and Seeds form the Schär bakery. As an overview, the product is gluten free, wheat free, with no eggs, preservatives, GMOs or dairy added. When you think traditional bread, and the process for making it, it’s a wonder how Schär’s version even exists!
Before diving deeply into the world of gluten free bread. It is important to review how bread is “normally” or “traditionally” made. There should be a common belief there is no “real” or “true” way to bake bread, however, most of us are socialized to understand that bread normally contains gluten. That aside, bread of all sorts has some fairly common traits that can help benchmark why some stand out more than others. Of course, after the combination of all these factors, it is still quite difficult to discern who comes out on top. Sometimes, it just comes down to the overall impression. gluten-free canada
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Plain white sliced bread, on its own, is light, relatively fluffy and lends itself more on the sweeter side of the palate. Other types of bread, like whole wheat, and rye and sourdough, tend to share similar lightness, but will vary quite more in flavour. Comparing a plain sliced bread with its more complex types would be futile. The creation of the different styles of bread all serve their own purposes. Plain white bread are likely to keep it more simple, and others offer different nutritional values or exciting flavours. More wholesome breads that contain more grains and seeds will also carry more variety in flavour, texture, and character than its more simple counterparts. Characteristically, gluten free bread often carries a little be more density, and slightly different (though sometimes unnoticeably) flavouring. Schär does well to keep its flavouring true to the characteristics of bread. It would be hard to tell that any slice from any loaf would be gluten free. Nonetheless, the naturally sweet nature of the bread comes out strong, but does not overpower. It is nice to see that all the ingredients do not combat for attention from the taste buds even if there is nearly endless list of them. While many companies have also overcome the challenges of adding taste to their gluten free breads to mimic the flavour of the wheat variety. The real challenge here, lies in imitating the soft doughy-ness of plain bread and translating it into gluten free bread. The challenge is amplified especially when gluten free bread was baked a day or two ago, and the crumbly-ness becomes more apparent due to the lack of usual starches present. Turning attention to Schär, it is important to note that this year’s selected winner is
a gluten free, 10 grains and seeds bread. Given all the factors that affect the baking of bread mentioned above, it is clear that SchĂ¤r has overcome an insurmountable challenge-- and has done well. Although the 10 grains and seeds contains soy, the bread itself is well-balanced and has all the right makings in being an exceptional and widely available bread.
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To list off the grains and seeds would be slightly overwhelming, but it must be done. Seeds include: quinoa, psyllium husks, pumpkin, flax, sunflower, and chia. Grains also include: millet, buckwheat, amaranth. While some of these categorizations are a little harder to define. These 10 key seeds and grains make up the majority of the ingredients needed to make this prize-winning bread. Nutritionally, this should already speak leaps and bounds. It should be a wonder as to how anyone could fit so much into the bread. This product is the embodiment. Grains, in general, provide immense support to the digestive system. The primary health factor in grains is the high fibre content. A great benefit to fibre is two main things: slows digestion (depending on the type of fibre), and feeling satisfied faster and longer. In addition, grains often have higher content count for Vitamin Bs, which promotes the increased and sustained release of energy from proteins and fats within the body. The seeds in this product from SchĂ¤r means even more nutritional value. Each seed separately carries its own nutritional (short) story. Most, if not all, seeds will have a high fibre content. This amplifies the overall fibre content of the SchĂ¤r bread. The body can only work with so much fibre in a day, so overdoing it may be achievable with all these seeds and grains. 63
C learly, fibre is not just the main component of seeds. Each seed has its own makeup of nutrients. To highlight, flax seeds are super fibrous and contain high levels of omega-3 fats. However, maximum absorption of omega-3 will only happen if the flax seeds have been ground up. Another thing to feature are the chia seeds. Consumption of chia seeds is also a great way to reduce blood sugar. Of course, the list and elaboration of benefits could go on and on, but these examples should be safe bet to say that Schär is not lacking in knowing what needs to go into the food to create high nutritional value.
Regardless of how much you might read about all the benefits of seeds and grains, it will still come to a surprise to
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anyone that all these good things are jam-packed into this elegantly packed product. Walking along the grocery store aisle, it might hard to tell pick out Schär’s breads among all the other choices: it just blends in so well with everything else. The saving grace here is Schär’s vibrant yellow branding that is distinguishable from the rest. While elegant bag design communicates the typical Schär branding well, what helps it stand out is the secondary layer of packaging inside. Inside the outer layer of plastic, one will find another airtight bag designed to keep freshness in the breads. This shows Schär’s attention to detail and to the delicate nature of many gluten free foods. A distinct, and often not so
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The bread is classically sweet, with a subtle abundance of seeds and grains.
favourable, feature of gluten free bread is that it often gets stale and crumbly sooner than plain wheat varieties. This means often means the loaf must be consumed within a couple days, or the buyer risks eating croutons as sandwiches. The second layer of airtight packaging might not ensure the longevity of the loaf once its been opened, but definitely helps to ensure that the bread will stay fresh until you decide to eat it. In a worst case scenario, there is always the option of storing the leftover of the loaf in the freezer. Nonetheless, Schär’s attention to detail and care truly shines through. The conceptualization of the bread from start to finish is definitely unique. A challenge, of course, but the combination between all the pieces (texture, flavour, and ingredients) is nothing short of harmonious. At a first glance, the bread does not seem different or more impressive than any other competitors on the shelf. But giving this bread a try would almost guarantee loyalty from the beginning. All in all, the bread concept in general is nothing new, but the process and combination of all the pieces creates a stand out piece. It would be interesting
to see the bread packaging come in compostable and/or biodegradable material so as to bring the company’s branding approach full circle. Overall, Schär’s placement as the category winner for “Breads” in the Gluten Free Canada Product of the Year Awards 2018, is well deserved. With a deep history in both the food and chemistry industry, it is no wonder that servicing the celiac community was a clear choice for Ladurner and his direction with the company. Schär’s understanding of the makeup of bread is clear in flavour. The bread is classically sweet, with additional texture that accurately reflects the abundance of seeds and grains. The addition of the grains and seeds is surprisingly subtle, but does not neglect the importance of nutrition. Each slice comes with an impressive amount of fibre. And of course, all of this comes packaged in a nice neat plastic bread bag. The look and feel from the first glance of the bread shows Schär’s attention to the customer experience. While the colours do pop out to the eye, the packaging itself does not command the eyes’ attention. The product remains elegant and clear. ◆ 65
IKI Japanese Sushi PR
C T OF THE Y
CATEGORY: Charcuterie Items COMPANY NAME: Gluten Free IKI Japanese Sushi PRODUCT: Gluten Free Tempura – Shrimp
Charcuterie boards have received increased popularity in recent years. However, a charcuterie board is far from a new concept. Charcuterie refers to the process of preserving meats through methods of smoking, salting, and curing. To many charcuterie seems to be something enjoyed only by the elite in today’s society, though it is more commonplace than previously perceived. Dating back nearly 6000 years, this was one of the common ways food would be served. It may have been a mark of luxury and significance in the Roman Empire. With the empire promoting the popularity of this category of food, it was with the French that the popularity really took off and expanded onto the global stage. The formalization and naming of this category of food came from the French as well. “Chair” in french refers to flesh, and “cuit” refers to cooked. Essentially the translation is to the meaning of “cooked meat/ flesh”. Eventually the meaning evolved to include all types of preserved meats and cheeses. These days the concept of charcuterie has definitely been expanded further to include a lot more of appetizer items. For the Gluten Free Canada Product of the Year Awards, this list includes:
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Gluten Free Tempura – Shrimp
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meats, meat alternatives, cheeses, and cheese alternatives. This broad range still includes the traditional idea of charcuterie items (meats and cheeses), but has expanded to a more inclusive view of products that could be included this range. For example, there are cheeses, then there are cheese alternatives. These include nut-based cheese imitations choices such as cashew blue cheese, and paprika cheese, but only to name a few. While these are gaining popularity, they would be fitting to be place onto a charcuterie. On the same note, there are meat alternatives that are more familiar to the general public. The obvious ones are chickpea or tofu imitations of chicken or beef, but the more natural choices tend to fall closer to a pescatarian diet.
helps to demystify a lot of the confusion around what qualifies as gluten free and what may have been incorrectly believed in the past.
So, on a more radical approach to charcuterie, the attention turns to seafood, and specifically tempuras. Looking for a tempura that fits in the gluten free end of the food spectrum is nearly impossible, due to a flour-based batter. Luckily, a Vancouver-based restaurant is one of the first to take on the challenge. Iki Japanese Bistro has a full selection of gluten free items that will help you forget about the fear of missing out when your friends go out to sushi. If you are not located in the Vancouver area, hopefully this inspires you to create a “do-it-yourself” version at home.
Kitsilano is the perfect place for Iki Japanese Restaurant. To set the stage, Kitsilano hosts an annual oneday music and food street festival, Khatsalano, that stretches along the length of West Broadway. Khatsalano is one of Vancouver’s major summer events. Thousands pour out into the street and enjoy all the food, performances, and activities. With a vibe like this it only makes sense that Iki calls the West Broadway strip home. While many restaurants have reasons to set themselves apart in the Kitsilano neighbourhood, Iki may be one of the few, if not the only one, that can brag about a completely gluten free menu.
The bistro is also a part of the Gluten Free Food Program which provides training, standards, and audits for businesses seeking credentials for being gluten free. The Gluten Free Food Program
Iki Japanese Bistro is located in the Kitsilano area of the Greater Vancouver region in British Columbia, Canada. Kitsilano has a rich history with its namesake paying homage to an indigenous chief in the area. Today, Kitsilano is a very popular area for the locals and those further out of town. The neighbourhood hosts beautiful north-facing shoreline, indicating a predictable and beautiful sunset always to the left of the shore.
The bistro boasts a wide set of meals that are all gluten free. Naturally, this can be fairly easy to achieve since sushi restaurants serve fresh seafood - meaning no preservatives leaving the fish itself to be gluten free. On the other hand, soup can sometimes contain trace, if not a significant amount, of gluten. This can come from yeast extracts that come from wheat. Since one can never be too careful and can never be too sure about how restaurants prepare their food it is important to check if a soup has any key ingredients that might cause a reaction. Another thing Iki does proudly is their preparation of gluten free tempura. Many should be wary of the batter that comes with tempuras. Since batter is often an afterthought in the creation of deep-fried foods, tempura is often made with wheat flour — which can contain enough gluten to upset a stomach of anyone who has gluten sensitivity. Luckily, with the Iki’s participation and completion of the Gluten Free Food Program, Vancouver locals can now experience the joys of Japanese sushi without having to worry about gluten! When it comes to the category winner for Charcuterie in Gluten Free Canada’s Product of the Year Award, Iki Japanese Bistro’s Shrimp Tempura cleans the board. The majority of nutritional value that comes from this tempura is the shrimp. Followed by that, the batter and deep fried food carry “nutrients”. In this case specifically, the cooking methods play a big role in the net nutritional value that a tempura can bring. The nutritional value of shrimp is that it carries a low amount of calories, carbs, and fat, but has high protein content.
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The high protein content can help stimulate healthy hair and nail growth, as well as delivering regular cell function and generation. In addition to that, shrimp is super rich in other nutrients. To highlight, there is an abundant presence of iodine. This mineral is often associated with the thyroid function. The thyroid is crucial in regulating stasis in your body. This means a regular heart rate, regular temperature, functioning digesting, and the body’s natural weight management. To add on, the iodine also helps in the production of strong bones and teeth, which means it plays a key part in absorbing calcium. Other things present in shrimp is vitamin B12, which is commonly known for its participation in the conversion of food to energy. The production of energy is good, but the main concern with the consumption of shrimp is the high levels of cholesterol. You can have as much energy as anyone can have, but if cholesterol becomes a problem then it is believed your heart won’t be able to keep up. Cholesterol isn’t bad, cholesterol is produced naturally by your body. It has a waxy texture which helps in regular functions of the body. However, having too much is believed to cause concerns surround heart health. All in all, this is shrimp in its pure form, without garnishes, breading, or dips. The the thing that complicates nutrition in this case is that the food comes deep fried. In a health-conscious perspective, the question must be asked. What are the true effects of deep frying food? Aside from eating deep-fried and being completely satisfied, but feeling completely guilty, are there benefits, if any?
The clear trade-off with deep-frying any food is the added amount of fats to the food. Unfortunately, these fats are the types that are typically bad for your body. That puts deep-frying off to a poor start. However, thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not the end of it. If it is absolutely darned certain you canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t avoid eating deep-fried, then consider changing out your usual oil for a more unsaturated one. A prime example of this is the sunflower oil. While overall, it is a poor choice, there are alternative oils choices that are a little less damaging. With Iki being a gluten free dedicated facility, the restaurant would have to be quite attentive to every single ingredient used in their cooking practices. It is almost certain that they pay attention to the type of oil they use! When it comes to flavour, it is your classic shrimp/prawn tempura. The seafood aroma comes through after the first bite through the batter. It seems as though Iki has definitely mastered the proper makings of shrimp tempura. When it comes to texture, shrimp is
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what you would expect. O F TH E It has the seafood crunch YE AR anyone can be familiar with. It is accompanied by a moisture in the shrimp thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s indicative of the minimal time the shrimp has spend in the hot oil. To balance out the firmness of the prawn, Iki has decided to use a thicker and more doughy batter for its shrimp tempura compared to the thinner batter type used with its vegetable tempuras. This softness of the batter helps to really create contrast in textures. The dough surround the prawn in a soft cloud-like batter, while the prawn stands firm and chewy. Coming back to the taste of the batter-- which is where the signature gluten free feature really resides-- there is an unpinnable difference. Present, but unidentifiable. Of course, this could be the effects of the deep-frying masking any signature changes, but all in all, no one would be able to tell if this was gluten free or not. Presentation style of the foods at Iki Japanese Bistro is nothing out of the ordinary at first glance. Upon a closer look, there are subtle differences that
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take its food to the next level. While there is nothing out of the ordinary for the tempura, the artistry of Iki’s presentation comes out in its roles and other food. Precision placement of rolls on sushi plates is clear. The chefs also pay special attention to how sushi, tofu, and tempura is stacked. Details like green onion garnishes on top will always generate a positive impact. Even with their yam fries/tempura, there is a drizzle of sauce on top, which really sets the company’s yam fries apart for presentation. For those that are curious, the batter used for the yam tempura seems like it would be thinner than that used for the prawn. And of course, the presentation of the sashimi is just the icing on the cake. The placement of the sashimi is careful, but deliberately so, on a bed of greens. When visiting Iki Japanese Bistro, it would be important to get the full experience by getting a full course of meals. To start, a miso soup to warm up the body during the cold months. Second, order some of their delicious shrimp tempura to get to get the appetite going. As a main, pick up the volcano roll, which is presented in a way meant to imitate an erupted volcano. The placement of yam tempura along the height of the mountain of sushi is visually representative of lava flowing down. On top of that, the sauce/ dressing on the plate completes the visual of burning hot lava. Enjoying these dishes would be a great start to enjoying gluten free sushi. Choose freely in any part of the menu, without the worry of encountering any gluten. For those out of the Vancouver area, this is a place you’d surely want to visit if you haven’t before.
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Overall, the Charcuterie category prize for Product of the Year lands on the shoulders of Iki Japanese Bistro — and delightfully so. The company situates itself one of the beating hearts of the city of Vancouver. With Vancouver’s reputation to be open-minded about food and food innovations, Iki is no stranger and should feel most welcome calling Vancouver home. Iki’s innovative offerings of gluten free sushi help bring the world to those living with gluten sensitivities, worry free. It can even be said: Iki’s gluten free menu items also come worry free! With a flavour that is classically prawn tempura, and a texture that is light and fluffy outside, but firm and chunky on the inside, anyone would be sure to keep asking for more. The presence of the light dough would be helpful in carrying out other flavours and sauces should the eater wish for something extra. When it comes to originality, Iki plays it traditional. However, the traditional comes in the form of food choices from the menu, but the ingredients involved are original. The attention to gluten sensitivity earns them a place in the hearts of any gluten free goer. To someone with gluten sensitivity, their first experience at Iki is unique and original in its own special way. And while the shrimp tempura is a must-have for every visit, that doesn’t mean that other menu items must be ignored. As has been emphasized, any of the choices from the vast menu can guarantee you gluten-free-certified delicious dishes. ◆
Ener-C Multivitamin PR
C T OF THE Y
SS AL TH & WELLNE
CATEGORY: Health & Wellness COMPANY NAME: Ener-C PRODUCT: Multivitamin Drink Mix — Mango
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There is an abundance of powdered drinks, and in recent years, even liquid drink drops. These are all designed to turn your plain old water into something more exciting and flavourful. From its earliest days, one of the most popular powdered drinks were things like “Tang” - remember the orangutan? Don’t forget there was and is also Nestlé’s lemon iced tea powdered mix with that came in a canister. On the other side of the spectrum for powdered drink options, there were also milk alternatives, and specifically chocolate milk. However, the focus here is not milk alternatives -merely to provide a big overview of the ubiquitous nature of powdered drink choices. The introduction of these “just add water” or should we say “just add the powder” type of drinks is simply revolutionary. Strictly thinking about non-dairy alternatives: it has done wonders for the way we consume water. Not only has it promoted the consumption of water, but has also increased the convenience of getting our favourite drinks into our bodies. Back then, it would have been a case of finding a corner store or grocer to find your favoured flavoured drink -ready made. Now, all anyone has to do is take some powder in a travel-sized packet and a water bottle and the drink can be made fresh when you need it. A simple change, yet it creates convenience for our consumption. However, the availability and abundance of these products isn’t always a great thing. We shouldn’t ever forget about health and wellness. With so much choice in what we put into our bodies, we must also be conscious and deliberate about what it is we consume.
Drink Mix – Mango This is part of the approach that the category of “Health and Wellness” takes in the Gluten Free Canada Product of the Year Awards. Previous misconceptions about health and wellness were that foods in this category probably don’t taste good. Some may have been right about the product they’ve tasted, but many companies have now challenged that perception and are creating products that are good for you and still have great taste. Health and wellness products will definitely be taken through the ringer if they are faced with challenges like achieving high quality in: appearance, flavour, texture, and originality. While overall nutrition may be great, balancing the rest of the factors out may prove to be a challenge. And to add another tier of difficulty, the winner being a powdered drink mix leaves a lot on the table. Many other health and wellness products may come in different product forms creating the perception there is more to offer. The seemingly clear disadvantage here is that powdered drink mixes do not have much versatility. That might not be the case.
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flavours, while all still being low in sugar, non-GMO, gluten free, vegan, and caffeine free. All the while, the product selection comes with no artificial flavours, colours, or preservatives. While anyone should talk to their physician before giving their children a dose of the powders, it is safe for most adults. All of this, and yet each serving comes in a sachet that fits into the palm of your hand. Aside from the drink powders, the company also sells a water bottle to carry your drink in! Ener-C has its own 22 oz bottle. The company also offers shirts! Coming back to Ener-C’s peach mango drink mix, the chosen winner: the packet seems simple from the beginning, but a closer look at the ingredients list and it is clear a lot of thought has gone into the production of these powders. To provide a foundation of where powdered drinks stand right now, let’s
Ener-C’s Peach Mango flavoured Multivitamin Drink Mix delivers the best of all worlds and lands this year’s title for the category winner in Health and Wellness. Based in Canada, Ener-C’s company focus is centered around natural products. The company considers the environment, the local community, the consumer’s health in order to deliver their mission. With a focus on social responsibility, and fun and adventure, the company hopes to be a part of everyone’s day-to-day activities. The
go over some other powdered drink options. Other drink options are often super high in sugar, leave a nasty film of residue in the mouth, and are just hard to carry around. For example, in many powdered drinks, a heaping teaspoon will likely contain 50% sugar, and it is likely artificial or an unhealthy variety of sweetener. To elaborate, if a single drink asks for two, maybe three, teaspoons of powder per cup of water, the drinker is having a teaspoon to a teaspoon and a half of sugar in a single serving of “water”. The normal recommended amount of sugar per day is between six and nine, and likely an even lower range. Since this range is the amount that should be consumed evenly throughout the day, it only means that a single drink can result in a spike in sugar consumption. This combination only screams: sugar crash! It seems with the artificial sugars comes another thing: slimy residue in the mouth. It is not a great thing to talk or think about, but it has tell tale signs about nutrition, health, and wellness. When your body decides to not absorb something you’ve eaten, it should indicate that you already have enough of that one thing, or worse, it shouldn’t have been there in the first place. This is exactly that-- your body either rejecting or reacting to something that probably shouldn’t be naturally in it. This film is unpleasant, yes, but it can also lead to poor dental hygiene, as well as bad breath. Now who wants that? When it comes to the more popular powdered drink varieties on the store shelves, a lot of them are tougher to carry around. They’ll either come in nearly bulk-sized contains -- not something you’d want or even be able to carry in your purse or backpack. Of course, the recent
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innovations around the transportability has been changing the powder drink into a liquid drop. Smaller in container size, and more concentrated per drop means you can carry the same drink for much less inconvenience than ever before. However, the transformation is just simply that. Liquifying the powder does nothing for nutritional value, and in some cases is worse. The worsened state comes in the process of having to add even more artificial flavouring to produce high concentrations that (we hope) will be diluted in water. Artificial flavouring aside, it is still up to the user to decide how little, or how much they choose to overindulge. All ranting on health and wellness aside, Ener-C has taken up its company values to really tackle the overindulgent nature of powdery drink mixes. With a background in understanding what should and shouldn’t go into the body, Ener-C concocted the drink mix to challenge all misperceptions about powdered drinks. While there are eight different varieties, the focus lands on this year’s category winner: Peach Mango Multivitamin Drink Mix. The key message that should stand out here is the multi-vitamin aspect of the drink. Historically, this market of consumables has never really emphasized the health benefits, until now. From the beginning the Canadian company focuses on facilitating non-GMO, gluten free, vegan, and nut free for all its products. While sugar content is always going to be a concern for companies that dabble in convenience foods, Ener-C has utilized the natural cane sugar to provide only 5 (of the average recommended 30 grams) in each single packet. Sugars aside, the multivitamin aspect seems like
no lie. A single packet contains at least 50% of the recommended daily intake of the following vitamins: A, B3, B6, B12, C, E, and Folate. Included in the mix is: calcium; phosphorus; magnesium; zinc; manganese; and potassium. To review, vitamin A is a great antioxidant that helps replenish the skin and aids in keeping it young. Overall, vitamin A also has scientific significance in aiding the proper functions of the heart, lungs, kidneys, and other minor organs. Without the presence of vitamin A, the human body is likely to be more susceptible to delayed growth in youth, risk of infections, and poor skin conditions, to name a few. The vitamin B family is diverse and can aid the body in many different ways. B3 (niacin) for example, aids in the conversion of food into energy. B3 is crucial to any living organism; consumption of foods is one thing, but the transformation of food into usable energy is whole other thing. On top of that, B3 helps with digestion and a healthy appetite. B6 (pyridoxine) also helps turn the food into energy, but the added benefit is that the presence of B6 helps to fight infections. This is commonly important for anyone that is young, elderly, pregnant, or breastfeeding. This means it is crucial in the development of babies’ brains. B12 on the other hand, focuses on the normal functions of the nervous system. On top of that B12 also pays special attention to the replenishment and formation of red blood cells. Overall, this family of B vitamins are vital to any living thing.
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drink packets contain 1000 O F TH E mgs of Vitamin C! That’s (as YE AR stated on the label) over 1600% (16 times) of your recommended daily intake. Of course, the upper limit of intake for this vitamin is closer to just over 2000 mg, it is likely to be harmful -- just unnecessary. Though, with over consumption, it is important to know that there can be some unwanted side effects. This can include nausea, heartburn, abdominal cramps, and even headaches. And, of course, it consuming more doesn’t exactly you won’t be getting the common cold anytime soon, or that you’ll be getting better from it sooner if you already have it. These things just happen, sometimes! Now that we’ve got the basic nutritional facts out of the way, it’s almost time to talk flavour. First, it’s all in the proportions: the water to powder ratio. Obviously, if you want a stronger flavour, add less water, and if you want something more subtle, add more water! Ener-C’s recommended range is between 4-6 fl. oz. of water. That’s anywhere between half to three-quarters of a cup of water. This means your serving
Vitamin C can be found in fruits and vegetables, so a healthy serving in each of these food groups is essential. The most common use of Vitamin C is in the combatting the common cold. What’s important to note is that all of Ener-C’s
is likely to be on the “smaller” side, unless you prefer something completely watered down and chose to go with something like 12-16 fl. oz. per sachet. It may be a little underwhelming, but definitely not unbearable. With those proportions in mind, flavour can finally be discussed.
combination of this drink into a milk/ yogurt base creates a thicker consistency that aligns more closely with smoothies, or parfaits. It could be a great addition to the usual morning yogurt/granola mix, or a simple way to add personality to your milk beverages to imitate a milkshake.
The flavour in this peach mango drink is clear. The peach is distinguishable from the mango, and the mango is distinguishable from the peach. It is a curious thing to see how these two can exist together in powder form, but separate themselves out when water is added. As a basic drink, with just water added, it is almost like a diluted watery juice. This can be nice. Often times, juices made from concentrate are too strong, and can often over stimulate the tongue. This leaves the tongue sore and makes the following food experiences not so great. Ener-C’s version of this fruity drink does not do that. The flavour is clear, but it doesn’t override the mouth.
A box of this peach mango drink mix comes with 30 sachets — that’s 30 individual servings! It is clear from the packaging that Ener-C has the intention to make sure their product is with everyone at all times. This is especially great for people on the go. While it is certain that anyone would get tired of drinking the same flavour day in and day out, it becomes more clear as to why Ener-C has provided various flavour options. Picking out a box of two different flavours, likely means anyone’s got enough daily Vitamin C to last them at least a month, if not two!
As a more complex drink, with milk/ yogurt, and chia seeds, it adds so much more character personality. The basic water mixture can be dull at times as there’s not base foundation of flavour to ground the lightness and the freshness of the fruits. But using something like milk or yogurt as a base, helps to ground the flavours out a little more with some earthy notes. Discussions around texture for the Ener-C drinks is interesting! The initial addition of water creates fizzing in the drink! It is a pleasant surprise and creates a slight illusion. Upon first sip, the expectation is that the drink will feel carbonated. Not the case. As noted before, the drink is juicy, simple, and smooth. There is no carbonation, but just a great way to get anyone excited about their drink. The gluten-free canada
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While the basic idea of the drink doesn’t necessarily originate from Ener-C, the spin the company has created on it has revitalized and challenged all the poor stereotypes for overindulgent and sugary powder drinks. A great outstanding feature of these drinks that should be mentioned is the fizziness. This can land Ener-C with a signature way to identify their drink against the rest. If the new perspective on these drinks weren’t enough to convince you then, the unique flavour offerings should be! Overall, this infant company Ener-C creates product that challenges the misconceptions about sugary drinks. The company has infused its products with a series of essential vitamins, created unique flavours, and has paid special attention to how and went anyone would this. The sleek sachet would be ideal for anyone out and about on a daily basis. It will be interesting to see what new products Ener-C brings out next. ◆
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*Try Ener-C with water, milk or yogurt!
Solenzi Organic PR
C T OF THE Y
CATEGORY: Pantry Items COMPANY NAME: Solenzi
PRODUCT: Organic Turmeric & Rice Gnocchetti
For many households, the pantry is neglected and has food, oils, and spices that are days, weeks, and even years old. The pantry, to some, is a place where food goes to be forgotten. However, a well-taken care of pantry can help to ensure the people of the house are well-fed and are never bored of what will be put onto the dinner table. All in all, the pantry should be a magical place where simple ingredients await to be transformed into delectable meals. We’ve all been there: unsure of what to cook because it seems like everything imaginable has been made within the past few days. Obviously, that is not true, but often times our perceptions of what’s possible is limited due to the boxes we put ourselves in. That box, in this case, just happens to be the pantry. Proper care and attention to its contents can help to ensure there is always healthy variety put into the foods you eat. The idea of the pantry initially has French origin rooted in the word: paneterie, relating back to the word bread. And with time, the pantry evolved from just holding breads and baked goods, to including dried
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Turmeric & Rice Gnocchetti pastas, oils, spices, and grains. While the initial intentions of the pantry were simple, the evolution in purpose, has opened up a world of different possibilities. The pantry, as some like to see it, now holds all the essential elements of cooking: oils, spices, and pastas. These are the neglected, but often defining ingredients that can make or break a dish. With all this contextualization, the “Pantry” category of the Product of the Year Awards now has a better backbone for how things played. While all entrants are faced with hurdles around nutrition, flavour, taste, and overall appeal, it would be hard to compare all the different contents of pantry items. After all, how do you compare grains against oils? How do you compare spices against pastas? It would be nearly impossible to tell, even if there was a clear scientific and numbers-based method to create distinction. However, there are some commonalities between all pantry items. These items and ingredients will (or should) always add character to any dish being made. The additional ingredients should be able to help convey the narrative any dish is telling. How well a product does that might be the telling factor, but who is to say? Any story will appeal to each individual person differently. One story ran consistent, though. Solenzi’s Turmeric and Rice Gnocchetti Pasta told a compelling chronicle around
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the company, the product and its overall stance within the gluten free world. Solenzi was founded by Italo-Canadian Enza Cianciotta. From a bright young age, Enza’s love for food shone through and eventually led to the start of Solenzi after travels in Europe. These international expeditions brought her back and back again to the idea of Free-From foods. Simplistically, these foods are made without GMOs, additives or anything artificial. Additionally, free-from, or “clean” food is also typically prepared in more traditional or artisanal ways -for nutritional purposes. With that in mind, the company can lay claim to being organic in both Canadian and American definitions. The products are also free of gluten, sugar, dairy, and preservatives. To top it all off, they’re kosher and vegan! Solenzi believes in eating healthfully without a trade-off on taste, quality, or flavour. Enza’s company is proving its beliefs one pasta at a time. As this year’s recipient for “Pantry Items” in Gluten Free Canada’s Procut of the Year Awards, it should be a clear statement that this company is doing something right. Overall, the company’s offerings fall into three main categories: antipastos; chefs ingredients; and pastas. The antipastos come in eight different 79
options of open and eat vegetable preserves to please all palate’s and are great for entertaining. From traditional tomatoes, to smoky grilled artichokes, to sweet peppers, ,it would be hard to go wrong with these antipastos. When it comes to the chef’s ingredients, you’ve got four great options. Organic sundried vegetable mixes that are perfect if you’re looking to add instant flavour to your meals. Their pasta line comes in nine different varieties, all made with naturally gluten free grains, vegetables, or legumes. The product in our winning category is specific and clear in its name: Organic Turmeric & Rice Gnocchetti. It could not get any more clear than that. What is really interesting is that this pasta is clearly not made with the usual pasta ingredients. Everyone loves pasta mostly because it’s filling, easy to make, and has the perfect consistency for carrying flavours and sauces. And of course, it’s all about the carbs! Everyone (almost everyone) just loves carbs. “Traditional” pastas are typically made with: eggs, flour, salt, and olive oil. These ingredients don’t quite align with
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the Solenzi values of being free-from. When it comes to pasta, it’s often hard to find a non-wheat version that is gluten free as well as tasty. Along the same line of thinking, the presence of eggs also clearly contradicts the freefrom values the company has. Thankfully, Solenzi’s Organic Turmeric & Rice Gnocchetti, is free of all these contradictions. The greatest thing about this product is that it consists of only two ingredients, and it’s already in the name: turmeric and rice! You may already be more familiar with turmeric than you thought. If you’ve had some sort of yellow curry in the past, then it’s almost certain that you’ve had turmeric. It is the ingredient that gives the curry dish its signature colour. Aside from it’s aesthetic appeal, turmeric has medicinal properties that are more commonly used in traditional/alternative practices. Most notably Curcumin (the active ingredient in turmeric) is a natural anti-inflammatory; turmeric has antioxidant properties; and may lower the risk of heart disease. To explain further, inflammation in the body is very crucial. Inflammation tells the story of the body naturally fighting infection and bacteria. At the same time, the body can get it wrong or overreact. If the body reacts to the wrong thing, or prolongs the reaction of inflammation, it can start to tamper with normal bodily functions. Inflammation is bound to happen to those with gluten sensitivity, so inflammation control can be a daily concern.
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Turmeric is great as an antioxidant. Oxidative functions in the body usually relate to the aging of cells, and sometimes at a rapid pace- especially in the world we live in now. Incorporating ingredients like turmeric into food can not only add flavour, but will also help your body when it comes to the aging of the cells: it will neutralize particles that increase aging of cellular functions, and it will engage with the body’s own system to promote the production of the body’s natural antioxidant enzymes. Finally, the positive impact of turmeric on heart disease is hardly arguable. Several studies have shown the insights into why heart disease occurs, and how the properties of curcumin
have positive effects on heart disease. Certainly, the human body is complex, and this certainly means that the body’s heart functions won’t be solved be any one active ingredient. What should be noted is that the turmeric has plenty of medicinal properties both in Western and Eastern worlds. The other main ingredient in the winning organic pasta is the rice flour. Rice flour brings three simple benefits. The first, and quite obvious, is the fact that it is gluten free. Secondly, rice flour helps with the body’s monitoring and management of cholesterol and triglycerides. Without going on too much of a tangent, this monitoring and management helps in the key functions of the liver. Essentially, it
helps to alleviate some liver stress. Finally, rice flour comes naturally high in fibre. Simply put, healthy amounts of fibre help with regular bowel movements and the proper management of the body’s natural waste.
One box can comfortably feed four adults in particular with the plenty of other ingredients added to the dish. The box itself is not bold or obnoxious and could easily be passed by on the shelf. However, that would be a mistake. A closer look at the packaging shows that the box is more or less recyclable, and the earthy colours The turmeric carries and tone create a a slight hint of spice, warmness that is inviting appealing.
All health benefits aside, the Solenzi Turmeric & Rice pasta itself is not just about the with sweet & earthy nutritional values When it comes to tones. it brings, but about challenging the the excellent taste, norm, Solenzi takes texture and flavour. the cake. They are dedicated to the The turmeric adds a slight hint of free-from market and use organic rice, spice, but mainly delivers a sweet sorghum and legume flours in all of and earthy tone to the taste, whereas their pastas, which are all also glutenthe rice flour is generally neutral, and free. The use of rice flour with turmeric will allow other flavours in the pasta in this particular pasta helps to imitate dish shine through. Adding sauces, the fluffiness and softness of the usual vegetables and/or meats will round out gnocchetti variety. It is nice to see the the nutritional and flavour elements variety and choice for gluten sensitivity giving you a full and rounded meal become more and more abundant. you will truly enjoy. Overall, Solenzi’s offerings set the When preparing the pasta, pay company up to be a leader in the world attention to the cooking time. A few, if of gluten free pastas. With a focus on not all, of the Solenzi pastas require a free-from food and production, the little more time in the water since the company takes pride in products that are vegan, organic, non-GMO, nut free, ingredients do not cook the same as gluten free, dairy free, and preservative regular wheat flour pastas. If cooked free. Nutritionally, this pasta offers two ‘al-dente’, the pasta carries a little main ingredients that deliver a plethora more graininess in texture, likely due of medicinal benefits along with a to the rice flour base. Otherwise, the great chewy traditional pasta texture. pasta lends itself to a smooth texture A meal made with Solenzi pasta is sure with a bit more chewiness than to deliver great flavour and appeal to expected but not rubbery, creating a the appetite. and is worthy of winning surprisingly pleasant distribution of this year’s prize of best gluten free flavours. product in the Pantry category. ◆
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McLean Meats Org PR
C T OF THE Y
Pre-made meals bring a lot of great features which can be summarized in a word: convenience. The convenience comes in the form of quickness to prepare, time-savings, variety, and improved conscious packaging. Although quick to prepare, these foods often hold a standard (and even more so in recent years), that harken to the quality of a restaurant chef. It is almost like magic to see slightly fancy food being prepared in the microwave, and coming out resembling the food on the box. While some may argue health concerns about microwaved foods, there is no doubt that using the microwave often will generate time-savings. These timesavings can compound upon itself in two ways. While decreasing the length of time required to cook the food, there is the added benefit of having hand and attention free to prepare or do other things. This added productivity can’t be matched. It’s as close to time travel as you can get.
CATEGORY: Prepared Foods COMPANY NAME: McLean Meats PRODUCT: Organic Lean Turkey Lasagna
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Finally, product packaging from days past can induce cringing faces. This can be because of the horrendous amount of plastic or simply just the unappealing aesthetic of the packaging itself. Either way, modern technology has helped to improve packing so that paper-based containers don’t leak or get soggy, and the amount of plastic used is as minimal as can be for now. Prepared foods, frozen foods, frozen dinners-- they all seem to be the same.
anic Lean Turkey Lasagna There are three key factors in the negative perception around pre-made meals. First is the numerous added preservatives. Second, the foods tend to be low in nutrients. And last, the portion sizes are an increasing problem. Preservatives are not healthy. However, they do their job: preserve the food. Since a lot of pre-made meals have an indefinite timeline for when they’ll be consumed, preservatives tend to be the solution to longer shelf-life. To top it off, preservatives tend to have higher salt content; this can’t be good news for any pair of kidneys. While is generally good for the body, the added amount can present problems in both blood pressure and overall kidney health. Often times, the addition of preservatives means a lowered nutritional value of premade meals. Even during processing, any and all food will lose a lot of nutritional value. This has given rise to companies paying closer attention to lowering the processing time to create more wholesome products on the shelf. Nonetheless, nutrition still becomes a problem, and even more so with foods that need to stay frozen. Frozen foods are often blanched or boiled, generating a lot of lost nutrients from the water left in the pot. Finally, and particularly in North American culture, portion sizes are increasing. It is great that companies are getting more efficient and can provide more food per serving, but the existence of this capability does not mean it should always be utilized. Over the past two decades, the idea of
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“bigger is better” has bled into the food market. This has led to the promotion of overeating, and excessive food servings. Amidst all the noise, McLean Meats seeks to reconcile both the pros and cons of pre-made frozen meals. McLean is a Canadian company with a mission to put Canadian farmers first. While some American farmers do have the grand opportunity to provide for McLean, Canada comes first. Over three decades ago, founder, Garth McLean began his journey as an entrepreneur and game changer. Upset by the amount of preservatives found in meats, McLean pushed forward to deliver Natural Farms: a nitrate-free line of products. In 2003, the company took on a rebrand using McLean name as inspiration for company Vision. “Clean” and “Lean” were the driving forces of this rejuvenated company. By 2006, more family joined the team starting from the bottom and working their way up. The son Garth McLean now runs supply management and logistics. In 2016, the company took on another branding shift and placed stronger focus on marketing. To this day, McLean still refers to values that were present from the beginning: clean recipes, animal welfare, and a strong attention to team and company fit. These three pillar create a unique and broad challenge for McLean Meats. In a world where technological advancements happen every day, and at an increasingly rapid pace, it is a feat to stick to clean (preservative-free) recipes and still expect the company to be able to pay its bills. And under the public 85
eye, many companies are continually being scrutinized for the way its farmers treat the welfare of livestock. McLean is dedicated to screening all the farmers that want to work with them. McLean expects all its North American farmers to be Humane Certified. The company hopes that both Canadian and American federal governments will follow this type of leadership. It seems that leadership is something that the company, McLean, is very familiar with. Having team cohesion as one of the overarching values can only speak to how well McLean understands the power of empowering its employees. With McLean starting off as a family (and friends) company, conflict (of all kinds) can be expected to be fairly common -- and also tends to be voiced more. However, it seems like McLean understands that building a team with common goals can help to keep the conflict (or negotiation) more productive than personal. gluten-free canada
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It is without doubt that the company has done well to create harmony between these three values. Without them McLeans would definitely not be able to offer the products it does. Focusing on the Canadian product lines, you might feel overwhelmed by the options! The Canada line has four main categories: Bulk Deli, Packaged Deli, Snack Proteins, and Frozen Retail. With numerous products in each line, one can feel certainly overwhelmed from all the choices. However, since the McLean Product of the Year winner sit in Frozen Retail, it is best to pay special attention there. Up until recently, McLean frozen retail foods mainly consisted of frozen burger patties of different varieties; essentially, it was a choice between beef, chicken, or turkey burgers. However, there were two new additions to the line: an organic gluten free beef lasagna; and this yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Product of the Year Award winner, the Organic Gluten Free Turkey Lasagna.
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Landing itself a place among the leaders, the turkey lasagna positions itself as the category winner for Prepared Foods. Now, like a few of the categories, the comparison between different types of pre-made foods can be fairly challenging. One thing is clear: the turkey lasagna is a force to be reckoned with. The turkey lasagna contains organic gluten free pasta, tomatoes, turkey, ricotta, romano parmesan, and mozzarella cheeses. While other ingredients are present, these select few should be highlight as what could be the key factors in the success of the product. To begin with letâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s start with the Turkey. Quite simply: the tenderness of the turkey lends the eater to believe that it isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t turkey. Often times the bites can deliver the illusion that it could be a beef lasagna-- trust and believe that it is not. The chewiness, softness, and moisture in the turkey challenges the stigma this
food type often faces: dryness. Overall, turkey is a great choice for keep your meat choices lean and high in protein. Additionally, the essential nature of tomatoes is sometimes neglected for its nutritional value. Tomatoes are great for antioxidation, and they are also great sources for vitamin C, potassium, folate, and vitamin K. A closer review of the cheeses in this dish also signal attention to detail in ingredients. For example, the ricotta cheese. While is naturally used in lasagna is filler, it is important to note that ricotta is made from whey, which is a cheese by-product. Ricotta is also pleasantly gluten free! Taking a look at the romano cheese, youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll find that the natural saltiness of the dish is helped by the presence of this cheese. The sharpness from any romano would help to create boldness in any dish. The parmesan in this dish can come out subtly, and not so obviously as some 87
of the other flavours, let alone other cheeses. Finally, mozzarella, one of the more staple cheeses, brings forward a more a creamy/milky flavour that is sometimes hard to come by in lasagna. Perhaps, this is also aided by the presence of the ricotta, but the family effort of all these cheeses certainly wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t leave you searching for anymore cheese. Okay, maybe a little, but you certainly wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t be searching for more calcium. Finally, we come to the organic, gluten free pasta. The pasta in this pre-made meal is made with organic rice flour, tapioca, and xanthan gum. Rice flour is the key feature in keeping the lasagna pasta free of gluten. Rice flour also is a great source of fibre. The presence of tapioca helps to bring forward some nutritional value from his raw from: the
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cassava root. Cassava is a great source of dietary fibre, and calcium -- told you that you wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t need anymore calcium! And to bind all these pasta ingredients together, we turn to xanthan gum. Many, if not all, flours require a binding agent to keep it together as a dough or pasta. This is especially true for pastas. This is even more especially true for gluten free food with can be a little more crumbly than its non-gluten free counterparts Though flavour was slightly mentioned earlier, it deserves a deeper dive-there are just so many things going on. While the dissection of every single cheese and the flavours it brings would be quite interesting, it would be best to keep its effects at a high level. The mixture of cheeses alone is interesting: the sharpness and almost pungent flavouring romano intertwines with the
milkiness of the mozzarella to deliver a rounded-off and more subtle version of the romano. In addition to that, the parmesan drives home the middle of the palate, and it seems like the mildness of the ricotta does well to enhance and carry out the savoury sweetness of the cheeses.
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The gluten free pasta is more or less tasteless. One might note the tapioca notes giving off a more earthy or nutty flavouring. However, even if the tapioca flavour was meant to be present, it would be doing its job of being subtle and helping to round out the entire dish.
the mouth. As an overview O F TH E the lasagna was simply just YE AR smooth - thanks to all the cheese! Other textures that accompanied this were the chunkiness of the turkey and the smaller granular pieces of the herbs and tomatoes. One thing to note is that at some points the gluten free pasta comes rubbery to the chew. However, this is completely unavoidable with a lot of pre-made and frozen meals. In fact, the rice flour pasta did well to act as normal pasta would after having gone through the microwave! The dish can definitely leave the eater wondering what each consecutive bite will be like.
While to some, the pasta tomato sauce is crucial, an argument can be made to say that the tomato sauce was serving as complement for all the things already going on in this dish. That doesn’t mean that the tomato goes unnoticed; the acidity helps to balance out the heaviness and creaminess of all the cheeses.
In honesty, the packaging for this dish was plain — and that’s OK! It is a structure that works and lends itself to McLean’s values of clean and simple recipe development. It is also good to see that the packaging is more or less recyclable. That the package colours and images help make it feel warm, inviting, and delicious.
The feature of the show, the turkey, was essential to bridging all the flavour gaps between all the ingredients. The natural (and lean), savoury and signature flavours of the turkey came out strong for this dish. While there are sometimes an override of cheese, the turkey held its ground. The flavours from the turkey did well to balance out the sharp acidity of the tomato sauce while still providing a refreshing taste to bring all the cheese up. Altogether the flavours worked in synergy to deliver one clear meal. It seems like even McLean’s foods buy into the company value of teamwork through a shared passion!
In review, McLean’s leans strongly on its values to delivery something simple, but full of flavour. Newly adding organic and gluten free options in the frozen retail has its own commendations and should have other companies in the market following suit if they haven’t already. The strong robust flavours created a full flavour palate that was delivered by various textures. The packaging for the turkey lasagna is familiar for anyone who has had a frozen meal, making it easy to use and cook in the microwave. Here’s to knowing that McLean’s will spending its future days developing more clean and simple recipes to deliver elaborate and complex meals for the gluten free world. ◆
Even the textures from all the food brought forward an awesome show to
free2b Dark Choc PR
C T OF THE Y
CATEGORY: Snack Foods COMPANY NAME: free2b PRODUCT: Dark Chocolate Sun Cup Minis
ACK FO ODS
Snacks. Everybody loves snacks. If there’s one thing that no one can avoid at least once it is chocolate in its raw snacking form. Snack foods don’t always come in the form of chocolate though. There are alternatives. There are vegetables snacks and unhealthy chips. And on a more nutritional route, there is always the option of seeds, nuts, and vegetables that anyone can snack on at almost any time. Then, of course, there are snacks for different occasions. Snacks for when you are working away at your desk will likely be seeds and nuts that will provide sustenance and consistent energy without the mess. Or there can be power bars that can accompany anyone during their daily errands, perfect for a burst of energy after a long day. If the illustration wasn’t clear, it should be said that it seems like the diverse array of snack foods available all serve different niches and ideal scenarios for when they are best enjoyed. Thus, comparing these different snacks would definitely be difficult mainly because their purposes can be vastly different. And as such, people tend to buy different types of snacks for different times, depending on the craving. Even with all this in mind, it can still be hard to find something that we like. Many snack foods, especially those on the sweeter side either have too much sugar content, or are just ridden with a plethora of allergens.
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olate Sun Cup Minis
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free2b is focused on making fun and tasty snack foods accessible to anyone everyone. free2b follows free form food production meaning the company is dedicated to excluding certain foods, ingredients, and allergens to make sure they are accessible to anyone. This includes being free of: peanuts, dairy, tree nut, gluten, coconut, egg, sesame, soy, mustard, corn, fish, and even shellfish! In other words, this company sources ingredients that are “Top 12 Allergen” free!
The focus here is all about the sun cups. As mentioned before. free2b built its initial product around the challenge around sunflower seed butter: thus the birth of sun cups. They come in a mini version, too!
The company started back in 2008. The passion behind the company is derived from the challenge presented to them initially. Create an mirror product to peanut butter cups using sunflower butter. And so, the rest was history. An aside: who knew you could make butter out of sunflower seeds? Then again you can do almost anything with food. You can even make mango butter.
The minis are made up of very few ingredients: dark chocolate, sunflower seeds, organic powdered sugar, cocoa butter, and sea salt. All these pieces come together to produce a replica of peanut butter cups, but without the allergens. Staying true to the motion of being free of the top 12 allergens, free2b has created a miraculous product.
Today, the company is dedicated to three product lines: Sun cups and minis, snack breaks, and ingredients used for baking. While the young company is still building its line, each product carries innovation. For example, the baking ingredients product line is focused on sourcing chocolate that are fair trade and of the cleanest variety. The snack breaks are a great place to look for exactly that: snacks. These snack breaks are characterized by flat chips of chocolate. Not chocolate chips, but thin sheets of chocolate with ingredients mixed in, and then broken apart into chips. Currently, the line is small with only three choices, but who can go wrong with dark chocolate peppermint, cranberry and pumpkin, and blueberry bits?
Who knew such a small thing could create so much impact and take home such a large prize. This year’s category winner for Snack Foods in the Gluten Free Canada Product of the Year Awards is free2b’s Dark Chocolate Sun Cup Minis!
Often times, the more popular version of candy cups often deliver too much that it becomes a bit of an issue. The milk chocolate in the popular variety often bring forward too much sugar which can really mess with anyone’s energy levels. In addition to that, if the chocolate shells aren’t sweet enough, then the peanut butter fillings are sure to push you over the edge and would bring anyone into a sugar overdrive. This overview of the popular type of candy cups alone should be enough to make anyone rethink their snacking habits. free2b has humbly taken on the challenge and has persevered. The switch to dark chocolate helps to alleviate some of the concern associated with sugar intake.
And, the trade-off from peanut butter to sunflower seed butter still brings a creaminess that peanut butter cups brings, but at a sweetness intensity anyone can enjoy.
Dark chocolate brings so many benefits for everyone. Of course dark chocolate will still come with sugar, but is a great alternative choice to is milky or white counterpart. It is surprisingly abundant and good for the body -- in moderation. To start, nutritionally, it brings lots of fibre, iron, magnesium copper, manganese, potassium, phosphorus, zinc, and selenium. To emphasize the benefits it is good to highlight some of the values these elements bring. Iron, for example, is essential to the production of red blood cells. Along with that, manganese plays an essential role within the functions of blood; it aids in the regulation of blood sugar levels, but more importantly participates in the production of blood clots. And of course elements like zinc in the body are crucial in the delivery of a healthy immune system. On top of that zinc also plays a part in the body’s major senses. This means without zinc, you’ll likely have trouble smelling and tasty the food from free2b! The free2b mini cups use of sunflower seeds instead of peanuts is a healthy allergen-free choice, but that is not the only benefit it brings. Seeds in general are a great source of protein. This make sense since seeds are often the energy source for when new plants and seedlings start sprouting. It is only logical that seeds come with a complete set of “starter-pack” nutrients in order to jump-start any and all plant life.
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Sunflower seeds in general plead a special case. Sunflower seeds have a deep history in early civilizations. Even the name itself references something larger than earth: the sun. Mythology and legends aside, the sunflower seed has a proven track record of health benefits. To start, vitamin E is mainly used in the body as the fat-soluble antioxidant. While many antioxidants are viewed as topical and external applications to the skin, vitamin E does this exact “free radical-catching” thing inside the body. Free radicals the free-running particles in the body that can gradually damage things microscopically essential in the body like cells and membranes. These seeds are also a good source of magnesium. Studies have shown that appropriate levels of magnesium in the body help to promote a healthier nervous system. This can relate back to benefits like reduced severity of asthma attacks--great news for those with severe allergies. Additionally, magnesium is good for maintaining proper blood pressure levels and reducing the changes of headaches-- specifically migraines. Regardless of how much sunflower seeds there are in free2b’s sun cup minis, the change in flavour is negligible. The only clear flavour difference between this version and the more popular version is the presence of dark chocolate. The dark chocolate in the minis bring out a heavier and more earthy and natural taste. Like many dark chocolates, first contact with the mouth is underwhelming. Continued chewing and melting in the mouth eventually brings out the true flavours of the dark chocolate. This does well to bring all the flavours in the mini cups together at once. In other words, the slow release of flavour from the chocolate is timed nicely with the sunflower cream inside. The sunflower seeds seems to be blended well with the cocoa butter. The use of
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cocoa butter lends itself well as a bridge between the more seed-like flavouring of the sunflowers and the more robust dark chocolate. The sunflower cream-like filling palate comes unexpectedly. At first taste, it is completely passable for peanut butter, but your mouth will deceive you. It is quite far from peanut butter. The most distinguishing indication is that peanut butter often has a kick and a clear nuttiness to it. This is not the case with this filling. This filling is more subtle and satiates but doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t overload the taste buds to implosion. Translating all of this into texture, is almost the same story. The dark chocolate tells no tales when it comes to delivering the same creamy, and smoothness in the usual peanut butter candy cups. When it
comes to the filling, there is a clear change. In popular renditions of the snack, the filling is often grainy and sometimes feels unrefined. In free2bâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s version, it is purely creamy goodness. It is almost scary to since it can easily give off the illusion the filling is just pure butter. Tested and true, this is not the case. Given more consideration, free2bâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s sunflower filling is filled with air helping it stay light. When it comes to packaging and branding, the company knows how to set itself apart. While the plastic packaging itself is quite familiar to anyone who has purchase resealable food before, the labeling on the product is nice and clear. Imagery to include a sunflower should be a sure indicator that free2b consistently and constantly uses free2b cups. The added addition of the candy cups should also indicate an infusion of sunflower and 93
these chocolate cups in some way. The colours used in the packaging are bold, but not uninviting. In fact they’re visibly present, and entire anyone looking at the package to pick up a bag (or three) to take home and snack on. In different setting apart from free2b, the mixture of imagery between the sunflower and the cups is a stretch in the company advertising. However, free2b steers clear, and stays transparent to their nature. While other companies might use this imagery to exaggerate the use of a small amount of sunflower oil, free2b uses the sunflower seeds as a base ingredient in their cups - which isn’t a stretch. If this doesn’t stand for original and unique, then that definition needs to be revisited. Where could you see this product on a day to day basis? If you have a purse or backpack or some sort of carrying case, a bag of these would fit sleekly amongst all your other items. It is unintrusive to your things, and won’t take up much space. In fact, it can be discreet enough that it becomes a pleasant surprise when you rediscover it in your bag. Circling back to the idea of snacks, a snack is meant to satiate your hunger temporarily. This is increasingly not the case for many snacking products. In fact it is quite the opposite, and it is getting scarier and scarier with each new product on the market. Granted, a lot of curbing of cravings to eat snacks comes down to human will power, but some foods are just not as conducive to lowering cravings and keeping you feeling full. More often than not, we can find ourselves picking up a second bag of snacks, or finishing an entire bag in one sitting. This is plain poor habits, and that is not necessarily bad; we all have at least one poor habit. On the other hand, poor quality of ingredients
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can also facilitate overindulging in snacks. High sugar content and empty calories that don’t keep you full will inevitably lead you back to where you started: hungry. Or worse: hangry and on a sugar high. Hinting back to the construction of the mini cups. They’re designed for quick snacks. What’s more important is that the free2b uses wholesome ingredients with high nutritional content that will keep your body working so you don’t have to keep on eating. Overall, the snacking world is diverse and sometimes can lead anyone with the best of intentions down the rabbit hole. The interesting thing that free2b has done is that they’ve positioned themselves in a really unique spot. Their vision and values to use allergen free foods means anyone can (and will enjoy their foods). The challenge they’ve presented to themselves is reconciling the challenge of healthy ingredients with the luscious snack flavours we all know and love. From a flavour standpoint, they’ve done it. Dark chocolate for a healthier alternative. And sunflower seed butter to ensure that their food stays allergen free. With sleek packaging and nice design, the product is already warm and inviting while still being easy to carry around. free2b may have a product of the year for 2018, but it seems like they’ll be here to stay. With mastering the use of allergen free ingredients to replicate foods that are generally inaccessible, this just means the company is opening a world of tasty possibilities for people with all of kinds sensitivities. Even without these consumption concerns, eating better for your body when you snack just got easier thanks to free2b. It is safe to say that these Dark Chocolate Sun Cups Minis is a product for years to come. ◆
PRO D U C T O F TH E YE AR
Why is Gluten Free Food So Expensive? Sue Jennet SUE’S GLUTEN FREE BAKING @ HOME ON YOURTV A CANADIAN CELIAC PODCAST WWW.SUESGLUTENFREEBAKING.COM
We’ve all seen the prices, $8.00 for a small loaf of bread, or better yet for two hot dog buns, or better still, for a bread mix you make yourself and add other ingredients to. This may sound outrageous, but let’s take some time to go behind the prices and examine what is really going on here and what it takes to make that gluten free loaf of bread or baking mix. Simple
ingredients that are truly gluten free is time consuming and somewhat of a gamble for food producers as they must be assured of a ready, clean (tested), consistent supply of an ingredient over a long period of time. In the world of commercial wheat baking, a producer can swap out ingredients from different companies to get a better price, or to solve a supply issue. This is a real challenge with gluten free ingredients.
We all appreciate seeing the trusted gluten free certification symbols on the foods we buy. It might surprise you to white rice realize that it can cost The obvious reason a food producer more flour costs three to is that gluten free than $10,000 to get four times more ingredients are more that first symbol on expensive. The first one of their products, than wheat flour time you found xanthan then more for each gum in a grocery store individual product and realized that you might need it for that uses the symbol. Product fees are gluten free baking was likely followed by often paid yearly along with re-inspection a gasp when you saw the price. A good fees. We want safe food, but every symbol, comparison is simple white rice flour whether gluten free, kosher, organic, which on average will cost three to four non-GMO and others add directly to the times (yes, you read that right) more than cost of the product. I recently spoke to a all purpose wheat flour. In practice, flour food producer who wanted to add more suppliers choose to sell gluten free flour at certifications to her allergen free products, about the same price as wheat flour, but but adding to the retail cost would not be in a package that is a mere fraction of the a good business decision financially, so weight. I can only conclude for myself that she passed on some costly certifications the sticker shock of a direct comparison that her products qualified for. would hurt sales. We all feel safer when our gluten free food Let’s spend a bit more time on ingredients. is made in a dedicated facility or area, If you read the labels on gluten free foods and certainly on dedicated equipment. or bake them yourself, you will soon realize Commercial food equipment is expensive that to get the taste and mouth feel you and dedicating a line of equipment to want, gluten free foods must have almost gluten free or dairy free products means double the number of ingredients in that a food producer must work very hard comparison to a wheat version. Sourcing to maximize the value of that equipment gluten-free canada
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to minimize the cost passed on to the consumer. This fact was driven home to me one day when I was operating a small gluten free bakery. We had baked almost 100 loaves of bread to be picked up by our distributor early the next morning. I started slicing and bagging the bread at about 4pm when my slicer stopped working. We found out later it was a specialized belt that had failed, but at the time, I only knew I had equipment that was not able to do the job. In the world of wheat baking, I would have contacted a bakery down the street, and made arrangements to bring my 100 loaves to their bakery after hours for slicing. Not so in my gluten free world. We were fortunate that we found a used bread-slicer two hours away and a salesman willing to stay and wait for my husband to pick it up and pay cash that evening. We could not use a slicer that was also used for wheat bread, and we certainly could not slice 100 loaves by hand with much degree of accuracy. We weren’t able to directly pass on the cost of the new, used slicer to our customers, but it did decrease the profit we made on bread for many weeks after. One of the greatest assets in a gluten free kitchen is a freezer. When I am baking, or when I bring home fresh gluten free baked goods, my food goes directly into the freezer, which is a better alternative
than loading foods with preservatives. Shipping and storing food in freezers, whether at the production source, in transit, or securing limited freezer space in stores is a costly proposition. Yes, our breads rarely go to waste being stored in a freezer, but the producer and retailer must cover these cost to keep the food preserved. So, in turn the consumer pays the price. As we have seen, every step of the process to make, ship, store, and retail gluten free foods is more costly than conventional wheat products. You might be thinking it’s all bad news, but there’s more to consider. Many years ago, after my diagnosis I had a conversation with a friend suffering from a different digestive condition. She too, had to be careful with what she ate to avoid certain ingredients, but she was also burdened with expensive, inconvenient medications that did not always work effectively. She would have times when she was very sick and other times when she coped quite well. She knew her medications had not only side-effects, but long-term effects on her body. For all the bad news about the cost of gluten free food, if you consider it your medicine, your “cure” for a chronic condition, for which there isn’t a pill or an injection, it just might make it easier to spend more on your food and gain your health. ◆ 97
of a Celiac Disease Diagnosis Sue Jennett
I speak to many people about celiac disease, and although it’s hard to find anyone who would choose to have celiac disease, I am been able to identify some things that have changed my life for the better since my diagnosis.
Before my diagnosis, I suffered for about 17 years, on and off with a host of digestive issues. I saw multiple doctors including specialists and underwent a host of tests, some of which were very uncomfortable. Unfortunately, my story is close to the norm. When a doctor finally told me I had celiac disease and would have to avoid gluten for the rest of my life as treatment, I didn’t know if that was good or bad. Despite all the initial difficulty of adjusting to a gluten free diet, I am so glad I persisted and got it right. My diagnosis gave me a solution to my suffering and life could begin again.
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An early diagnosis is the best diagnosis. Since I was a Mom and Celiac Disease is genetic, after my diagnosis it was suggested that my two daughters be tested for celiac disease. I didn’t know whether to cheer or cry when my older daughter’s tests came back positive. She was just about to turn five. I was already eating gluten free and the decision was made to start her gluten free journey on the day of her birthday party. From that day on, we have never looked back. The gluten free diet took a whiny, lethargic child and gave her energy to be a kid again. She went on to be diagnosed with osteopenia and broke her arm more than once, but at least we knew the cause and could work towards normal. Today, my daughter is a happy healthy adult. She not only got celiac disease from me, she also got an early diagnosis which is the best gift of all.
Eating gluten free can be HARD. There are plenty of rules and ingredients to be on the look out for. Reading labels can be confusing and becomes tedious. But on the other hand, I eat so much better than my wheatdevouring friends. I must plan my meals, especially if I’m leaving the house or travelling. It’s taken me a while, but I have realized that “clean” eating is so much easier on a gluten free diet. By “clean” foods, I mean any meat, fish, vegetable or fruit, prepared in a simple manner and with minimal processing. This is where the other part comes together – mindful eating. A satisfying gluten free diet is one that is thought out ahead of time, planned and prepared for. Mindful eating of clean food makes eating gluten free simple and healthy, something I couldn’t say for my diet prior to diagnosis.
The word diet often gets me into trouble. Yes, sometimes I am paying closer attention than usual to what I’m eating to help manage my weight and this could be considered a diet, but in the case of gluten free, it becomes a way of life and not a short-term alteration in eating habits. It’s a definite lifestyle change. I often chuckle when I hear someone say “I’d die if I couldn’t eat ice cream, or chocolate, or french fries”. The reality is no one is going to die from denying themselves a certain food. As Celiacs, we know that. We have willpower, (which can be more like a super-power) that makes us healthy. We don’t show off our super-power in public very often, but we know we have it.
I’ll say it again – eating gluten free is HARD. We all need the support of others to make these big changes in our lives, whatever your support system may be. Sometimes that support comes from family and leads to other family members being diagnosed. Sometimes the support comes from friends,
colleagues and specialty organizations, like the Canadian Celiac Association. Sharing struggles brings people together and lessens their burdens. I will always be grateful for all those who have helped me be healthy.
Learning about celiac disease and the gluten free diet has allowed me to change the lives of other people who have suffered looking for an answer. I’m not a doctor, but operating a gluten free bakery in a small city, I was often the person that doctors sent their patients to on the way home from the appointment after diagnosis. I remember one older gentleman came in, his wife stayed in the car, she was very weak. He told me he stopped to get some gluten free “stuff” as his wife had just been diagnosed with celiac disease and this is the last thing she needs. I looked at him, smiled and said, “That’s great!” He looked back disgusted and said I must not have heard him, as this was yet another terrible diagnosis to add to his wife’s already poor health. Over the next 15 minutes or so, I explained that this diagnosis may actually be key to improving his wife’s health. Eating gluten may be to blame for many of her other complaints, and gluten may be a big reason why her other medications were not effectively treating her symptoms (due to malabsorption). He listened carefully and left with some gluten free baked goods eager to tell his wife that this new diagnosis explains many of her troubles and is likely her biggest step to feeling better. As a gluten free business owner, I had long admitted that my customers were a “needy” bunch, but for some reason, I was placed in a position to help. We all do what we can manage to help others, but I have had the opportunity to work with some very appreciative people, and was blessed to able to watch them become healthy again. What a gift. I can’t imagine my life without celiac disease. I would never want celiac disease to define me, but I’m okay if it defines my lifestyle. ◆ 99
Eating your Vitamins on a Gluten-Free Diet: KEY NUTRIENTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM Norine Khalil, MSc, RD
REGISTERED DIETITIAN & NUTRITION CONSULTANT WWW.LIFEBERRY.CA
The “Gluten-Free Diet” has become one of today’s most talked about and, well-known eating patterns. For many, it’s a weight-loss strategy. For others, it’s a healthy lifestyle choice, or a way to manage a food sensitivity. But, for 5-10% of North Americans, it is a necessity. Whatever your reasons for choosing a gluten-free diet, covering your nutritional bases from A to Z is a must– that’s right, we’re talking vitamins and minerals. The effects of Celiac Disease and gluten sensitivities on the digestive system can make these types of deficiencies very common, as often times, gluten-loaded grains are our main source of certain vital nutrients. . So, if you’ve said goodbye to wheat, barley and rye, make sure you consider these five key nutrients and how to add them to your gluten-free diet. CALCIUM Calcium plays an important role in building strong teeth and bones, as well as maintaining nerve and muscle function. When Celiac Disease is left untreated, it can cause significant inflammation and damage to the lining of the intestinal wall, leaving less surface area for Calcium to be absorbed. And if that’s not enough, the enzyme lactase, which is used to break down the lactose found in calcium-rich dairy products, is gluten-free canada
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produced in the tips of the intestinal “villi (the small, finger-like projections that line the intestine). Damaged villi = secondary lactose intolerance = less calcium in your diet = bad news! Luckily, calcium can be found in many other foods that are gluten and dairy-free. Foods such as sardines, collard greens, kale, seeds (chia, sesame, poppy) and legumes (beans and lentils) all provide healthy amounts of calcium to supplement a gluten-free diet while the gut is healing and preparing to re-introduce dairy. There are also many Calcium-fortified drinks on the market today, from almond milk to hemp milk, to help boost your daily calcium needs. IRON Iron is typically absorbed in the upper area of the intestines, where Celiac Disease usually strikes first. For those with iron-deficiency anemia that cannot be corrected with supplementation, testing for Celiac Disease is usually the next step. The symptoms of iron deficiency can be quite debilitating, with the most common ones being fatigue, weakness and irritability. An untreated iron deficiency can even progress to anemia which can lead to a whole host of other complications; that’s why determining the cause of your iron deficiency and treating it accordingly is extremely important. Now for the good news: if iron deficiency is linked
THE B’S to Celiac Disease and a gluten-free diet is implemented, there is hope for repair and absorption once again. Following a diet that contains quality sources of iron can aid with building iron stores in the blood and correcting deficiency. The best sources of iron for absorption are heme-sources, or those found in animal products such as liver, red meat, poultry and fish. Alternatively, non-heme, or plant-based sources of iron include legumes (lentils and beans), nuts and seeds, and quinoa. Pairing these non-heme iron sources with foods rich in Vitamin C can increase absorption even further. For example, cooking up a veggie stir-fry with quinoa, lentils, and bell peppers ensures that your body maximizes the amount of iron absorbed from your nutrient-rich quinoa and lentils! FOLATE Much like iron, folate malabsorption is very common in those with untreated Celiac Disease and can easily result in folate deficiency. Folate is found in some of North America’s most consumed foods: bread, pasta, and cereal. When switching to a gluten-free diet, it’s important to ensure you take in enough gluten-free sources of folate to avoid deficiency. Guess what? There are plenty of delicious gluten-free alternatives to breads and pastas that are rich in folate! Brown rice, dark leafy greens like spinach and collard greens, avocado, unshelled sunflower seeds and beans are all great sources of folate that can be added to a healthy diet. Be mindful of gluten-free alternatives to breads, crackers and pastas and make sure that they are either fortified with folate or made with folate-rich grains like rice and quinoa. There are plenty of excellent options on the market today to choose from.
Folate is just one of the essential B vitamins that make up a healthy diet, but there are seven more that are affected by Celiac Disease. The B vitamins as a whole are so important to the day to day functioning of your body, so maintaining healthy levels is a key concern for any gluten-free diet. The B vitamins thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine, biotin, folic acid, and cobalamin all play individual roles to support metabolism, hair, skin, and nails, the nervous system, and red blood cell formation. These vitamins are crucial for a healthy body. Gluten-free grains, such as oats, quinoa, brown rice, amaranth and buckwheat are great sources of B vitamins and can be used to replace products containing wheat, barley and rye. In addition to whole grains, B vitamins are also found in nuts, seeds, legumes, dark leafy green vegetables, and animal products. Remember: a wellrounded diet can contain a healthy amount of B vitamins if it has color, protein, and fibre. VITAMIN D Finally, good ol’ Vitamin D. Vitamin D is one of the most common deficiencies here in Canada because, well, we simply don’t get enough sunshine. The damage that Celiac Disease can cause to the digestive tract and intestinal lining can severely decrease the absorption of Vitamin D in those with the disease; therefore, supplementation is often required. Supplementation and dosing is best done under the supervision of a medical professional. Once you have been diagnosed with Celiac Disease or gluten sensitivity, ask your doctor to test your Vitamin D levels and determine a course of action. And of course, when the weather is as glorious as it’s been this summer – get outside and soak up 10-20 minutes of sunshine daily before applying your sunscreen. ◆ 101
How to Keep your Gluten Free Child Jereann Zann
FOUNDER OF CELIAC MAMA WWW.CELIACMAMA.COM
Advice from a mom raising a daughter with celiac disease Sending a child with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity to school can feel very overwhelming for parents, especially at the start of the school year. Even if it’s not a new school, students get new teachers every year which invariably means reeducating at least annually to make sure that no important information gets lost in translation. So, how can you help the teachers be successful so that your child can thrive at school? In my experience, it comes down to three key components: educating key staff, helping the teachers, and talking with your child.
EDUCATING KEY STAFF Before school starts, meet with key staff at school to educate them on celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, your child’s needs and required accommodations. Key staff includes your child’s primary teacher, the school nurse, and the cafeteria manager. During your meeting, bring handouts that the staff can refer back to when needed.
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Be sure to include a letter that details why your child needs to be gluten free, what his/her symptoms are when they’ve had a gluten exposure, simple ways to reduce cross contamination in the classroom, and accommodations your child might need (i.e. permission to go to the restroom more often).
Safe and Included at School In addition to the letter, I recommend bringing handouts from trusted medical or nonprofit organizations that explain celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. The reason for this is because it builds trust from an independent source, so anyone that might be wondering if it’s related to the gluten free fad diet will see that your child’s need to be gluten free is medically necessary and vital to their health. Lastly, it’s a good idea to include an art supply list with common supplies that contain gluten and a suitable list of safe alternatives. HELPING YOUR CHILD’S PRIMARY TEACHER When you meet with your child’s teacher, tell them that you understand they have many students to watch over and that you are there to help them in any way that you can. Offer to volunteer your time at classroom events and send in safe, gluten free alternatives for your child with a few days advance notice so your child can participate in classroom activities. I also recommend bringing in a small box of gluten free snacks and desserts for your child that can be stored in the classroom for last minute celebrations and activities.
PREPARING YOUR CHILD AT HOME I often see parents work hard to prepare the school and forget to talk to their own child. Even though we may feel that we bear the responsibility of keeping our children safe, the reality is that our kids need to be their own advocates too. We can’t always be there, especially at school, so they need to feel comfortable speaking up when they aren’t sure if they should eat something or participate in an activity. So, talk to your child in an age appropriate way either directly if they’re older or through role playing with the little ones that might not be ready for more serious conversations. For more tips and resources for sending gluten free children to school, visit www.CeliacMama.com. ◆
@NealBrothersFoods @NealBrothers @NealBrothers
Being able to participate in all classroom activities contributes to a child’s ability to learn, but it also helps them feel included. This feeling of inclusion is so important in building a child’s self-esteem. As adults, we learn to appreciate each other’s differences; but children often don’t see it that way, and more commonly want to feel the same as their peers. While a gluten free child will feel different at many times during their childhood, having safe gluten free alternatives at school for them goes a long way in building their self-confidence.
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Helping Kids Understand Celiac Disease Kristen Yarker
You’ve just learned that your child has celiac disease. Are you wondering how to communicate this to your child? Here are some tips for supporting your child with celiac disease.
your child about celiac disease as in phrases like “bread is bad for you”, because this can make a young child concerned when they see their friends eating these “bad” foods. Instead, talk about how these foods can make your child’s body sick.
CHOOSE SUPPORTIVE WORDS
As kids grow up, they can understand more complex concepts such as how the body works, the digestion process, gluten, and how their bodies function with celiac disease. GIKids.org has a great video for school-age kids that describes celiac disease.
Children’s ability to understand celiac disease is related to their developmental stage. Match how you explain their diagnosis to their developmental stage. Preschoolers don’t yet understand how the body works. Nor will they understand the concept of gluten. Therefore, there’s no sense going into all sorts of explanations. Simply teach your child what foods they can’t eat because they’ll make your child sick. Teach your preschooler the word ‘celiac’. Practice having them refuse food offered to them (with manners) because they have celiac disease. I recommend avoiding the words ‘good’ and ‘bad’ when teaching
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Watch for signs of anxiety in your child. Use language that focuses on how to manage celiac disease instead of phrases like: “that food will kill you.” Allow your child to overhear you telling other caregivers about their celiac disease and how to keep your child safe. This can help children lower their anxiety because now they know that they can trust the adult taking care of them.
TAKE SUPPORTIVE ACTION Focus on the foods your child CAN eat. Upon hearing that you have celiac disease, a common reaction is to think about all the foods you can’t have. Instead, celebrate all the favourite foods your child can have. Write out a list with your child to celebrate all these favourite foods. Consider becoming a gluten-free household. You will reduce the risk of cross-contamination. Also, eat delicious foods in front of a child who can’t eat them is like rubbing salt in a wound. Make it a fun family activity to cook together and try new recipes. Involve your child in picking what recipes you’ll make. School-age kids and teens want autonomy. Give them age-appropriate responsibilities for planning and packing their foods. Teach kids how to read labels to find gluten-containing ingredients. It’s empowering. Here’s another way to empower your child who has celiac disease. Take your child to restaurants and coffee shops and have them practice asking the server/ barista for glutenfree selections appropriate for people with celiac. Being able to speak up for yourself and ask for what you need is a learned skill. Many kids are shy. This is a necessary skill for them to keep themselves safe. Practice this while you’re there to support your child and your child will learn the confidence to speak up for themselves when they’re out and about without you.
E SOFTER TEXTUR E INCREDIBLE TAST
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES FoodAllergyCanada.ca has fantastic resources that apply to you too, such as parent and teen support groups. The Canadian Celiac Association also has great information at celiac.ca, such as how to read food labels and a children’s storybook Growing up Celiac. GIKids.org, run by the North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, also has good information, including the great video that I mentioned above. ◆ 105
Honey: Gluten-Free Nectar of the Gods? David Cockburn Honey is a frequent ingredient for gluten-free recipes and a popular sweetener for people who are keen to lead a healthier lifestyle. But can you be sure that all honey is gluten-free? The first thing to establish is that you are eating pure unadulterated, unprocessed honey as produced by the honeybee. Unfortunately, companies sometimes stretch real honey by using adulterants such as high fructose corn syrup so, while pure sugar syrups are nominally gluten-free, as with any additive, there is always a small risk that crosscontamination may occur. People who want to sell a standardised honey with a consistent flavour and a long shelf-life will, perfectly legitimately, process and mix their honeys to deliver what their customers want. The additional processing will filter out pollen, remove any anti-allergic properties, and reduce the flavour and scent so the honey will be less characterful, as well as arguably less healthy. While ‘Pure Ontario Honey’ will likely be just that, the only way to buy true ‘raw’ local honey is to buy from a trusted supplier who promises minimal processing. For honey which is as close to what the honeybee produced as possible you should buy comb sections and press the liquid honey out of the wax matrix yourself. More conveniently, honey producers in the business of providing raw honey separate the liquid honey from the wax comb with a centrifuge and then strain it to remove dead bees and bits of wax while leaving the pollen. So if you are looking for unprocessed raw honey, that’s what you should buy.
Honeybees are not native to North America but were brought here by the first settlers, have done well, and are now naturalised. They were originally a tropical insect which adapted to living in northern climates by developing the ability to store large amounts of honey and pollen to live on when there are no flowers to forage on. Bees mainly produce their honey from the nectar of flowering plants which attract them by providing it, in a fair exchange for the bees helping to pollinate them, this nectar is mostly sugar syrup but also contains flavours and scents to add to the attraction. Bees are pretty good chemists, and process the nectar into honey by converting it into a mixture of glucose and fructose and removing most of the moisture so that it keeps well. Honeybees are not interested in wheat, barley, rye or oats, as they are wind pollinated and don’t produce nectar, so on the whole, honeybees maintain a gluten-free diet. That being said, beekeepers sometimes give their bees additional food to carry them through the lean months – usually sugar syrup plus soy-based supplements to feed their young. As people with gluten intolerance will know, there is always a risk that soy may become contaminated with wheat, but fortunately, these ‘lean months’ (the time when the bees may be feeding their infants on soy-based supplements) are not when bees produce their honey. In the case of real honey, this means any wheat contamination that does occur in the bees’ food is unlikely to make its way into the honey. Therefore, real honey is very unlikely to contain gluten – good news indeed! People eating a gluten-free diet, and anyone wishing to help the environment by supporting honeybees or aiming to live a healthier lifestyle could do a lot worse than to put real honey on their menu. ◆
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Amaranth & Rice Porridge Naeema (Naama) Yousaf-Ali
REGISTERED DIETITIAN, CERTIFIED DIABETES EDUCATOR PRINCIPAL CONSULTANT DIET FOR HEALTH OVER 12 YEARS EXPERIENCE IN THE FIELD OF DIETETICS WWW.DIETFORHEALTH.CA
• ½ Cup Amaranth • ¼ Cup Boiled Rice • 1 Small Stick Cinnamon • 1 to 1 ¼ Cup Milk • 2 tsp Honey/ Maple Syrup • ½ Cup Chopped Apples • 2 Tbsp Walnut or Almond pieces • 1 tsp Flaxseed
DIRECTIONS: 1. In a non stick pan, mix amaranth with water. 2. Add cinnamon stick ( 1/8 tsp cinnamon powder can be used instead) 3. Cook on a medium flame for 8-10 minutes. Keep stirring. 4. Add boiled rice to cooked amaranth. 5. Add milk and cook for 2-3 minutes while stirring. 6. Switch of the flame and add honey or maple syrup. Mix well. 7. Pour into bowl and top with mix chopped apples, walnuts and flaxseed before serving. ◆ 107
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