Monday, January 30, 2012

What is it and where do I buy it?

Perhaps you have been asking yourself what is this stuff Irene is talking about and where do I buy it.  I hope this helps.  As I am continually learning I hope to keep updating this post so please check in once and awhile.  I would also love to hear from you so do tell me if I have missed any.

Since my family is not celiac or allergic to any foods I do buy many products at the Bulk Barn.  If you do have a severe intolerance to specific foods than the Bulk Barn would not be a suitable store due to cross contamination.  Most large grocery stores (i.e. The Real Canadian Superstore, Metro and Sobey's) which have a significant health food section do sell many of these products in individual packages.  Larger Health Food Stores which contain a grocery section will also sell most of these items.

I have also joined the Ontario Natural Food Co-op Buying Club.  Being a member of this club allows me to order many organic, gluten free, dairy free products for much less than store prices.  There are also monthly sales which make these products even more affordable.   If you are in a large enough group there are no shipping charges and you can pick up your items at a local home.
http://www.onfc.ca/

Ingredients List:
Buckwheat Grouts
What: Buckwheat, although called wheat is actually part of a seed.  It is high in protein, B vitamins, phosphorus, calcium, lysine and iron.  
Where: It can be purchased at the Bulk Barn or through Bob Red Mills Products.
How to Cook: Boil 1 cup with 2 cups water. To increase its flavour, toast it in a pan for 3-5 minutes with a little oil. 

Chia/Salba Seeds
What: The black seeds are called Chia seeds and the white seeds are actually called Salba.  The Salba is higher in protein, omega 3, absorbs more water and are more visually appealing in food preparation.  Both are however, considered a "super food" and are rich in antioxidants, Omega-3, protein, fiber and much more.
Where: They can be found at the Bulk Barn in both bulk and individual packages as well as through Bob Red Mills and any health food store.

Guar Gum or Xanthan Gum
What: Guar Gum comes from a seed of a bean type plant and is then processed to a white powder.  It is an excellent thickening agent with properties much stronger than corn or potato starch.  Guar gum is high in fibre and may cause intestinal upset
Xanthan gum is a fermented corn based product which is used as a binding agent when no gluten is present.   It is a powdery white substance which when wet become gelatinous.  
Note:  Both should be used in limited amounts as too much will create a heavy, gummy texture in your dish.  Personally, I use more guar gum as we try to limit our corn intake.  Guar gum also costs much less than xanthan gum.  The El Peto brand sells both xanthan and guar gum as well as gluten free baking powder.
Where: Both of these products can be found at the Bulk Barn, health food stores or large grocery stores.

Herbamare
What: Herbamare is an alternative to salt.  It is a combination of sea salt with 14 other organic herbs.  It is very versatile and can be added to soups, sauces, meats and much more.
Where: It can be found at some large chain grocery stores (The Real Canadian Superstore) as well as some Health Food Stores.


Millet
What: Millet is a small gluten free grain that is an excellent source of magnesium.  Magnesium is important in lowering blood pressure, fighting off migraines and asthma.  Millet is also one of the few more alkaline grains, making it easier to digest.
Where: It can be found at the Bulk Barn however Bob Red Mills has a package as well.
How to Cook: Boil 1 cup with 2 cups water. To increase its flavour, toast it in a pan for 3-5 minutes with a little oil. 


Nutritional Yeast
What: Nutritional yeast is a deactivated yeast found in the same family as edible mushrooms.  This yeast is grown on a mixture of sugar cane and beet molasses. There are no GMOs, sugars or preservatives.  It has a cheesy, nutty flavour making it a great compliment many other dishes and a favourite among vegans.
Where: It can be found in the spices section at the Bulk Barn or bought through Bob's Red Mills (finer texture.)  You can also purchase nutritional yeast at most health food stores. 

Quinoa
What:  Quinoa is not at grain at all but rather part of the grass family.  It is gluten free despite rumours of it having a similar protein to gluten that cause digestive problems.   The protein in quinoa is actually called a saponin and is removed in North America.  All this being said, quinoa is safe for celiacs. 
Quinoa can come in white, black and red seeds.  Personally I like the red as it has a bit more crunch and crunch.
Where: It can be found at the Bulk Barn however Bob Red Mills has a package as well. 
How to Cook: Boil 1 cup with 1.5 cups water. To increase its flavour, toast it in a pan for 3-5 minutes with a little oil. 


Stevia
What: It is an herb from Paraguay.  It is a natural sweetener which does not contain chemicals.  It has a zero glycemic index which means it does not spike your blood sugar.  Stevia is SUPER concentrated so you need very little in your recipes.  It can come in a powdered form or as a liquid.  
Where: It can be found in large grocery stores, the Bulk Barn, and health food stores.


Teff Flour
What: Teff is an Ethiopian grain, high in protein, iron, calcium and fibre.  It is very easy to digest and is a non-gluten grain.
Where: It can be found at the Bulk Barn however Bob Red Mills has a package as well. 

Useful Kitchen Tools
Bean Grinder
I use this for grinding my own chia or flax seeds to replace eggs.  I also use it to grind other seeds and nuts.
I wore out my first grinder but picked this one up for around $20 at the Great Canadian Superstore.



Immersion Blender
I use this tool almost everyday.  I LOVE IT.  It makes puréeing much simpler as you don't need to transfer between pots and appliances.  You also dirty less dishes!  I highly recommend either a Cuisinart or Kitchen Aid Blender, they may cost a little more but are completely worth it.  





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