Friday, February 28, 2014

A Brief Discussion on Diabetes Treatment and Prevention

More than 280 million people around the world suffer from diabetes, with a prevalence of 6.4% of the global population. According to an article in the World Health Organization’s Bulletin, “Diabetes Management in Seven Countries,” many individuals afflicted with diabetes remain inadequately treated and undiagnosed.  The percentage of individuals reaching the International Diabetes Federation treatment goals for blood glucose, blood pressure and serum cholesterol was low, 1% to 12% of the diabetes population (page 5). It is apparent that poor management and prevention of diabetes is a cause of major concern.

While the statistics are disconcerting, the strategies outlined to reduce the symptoms of diabetes are achievable:  i) harm prevention through reducing risk factors such as obesity; (ii) diabetes screenings combined with lifestyle or pharmacological interventions for individuals with pre-diabetes; (iii) more accurate diagnosis and maintenance of healthy blood glucose levels; (iv) increased care of microvascular complications and (v) lowering of cardiovascular risks through better management (page 1).  Clearly, some strategies require the intervention of medical professionals and others are solely achieved by the lifestyles individuals choose.

According to Professor Martin Wiseman, Medical and Scientific Advisor for World Cancer Research Fund, in Medical News Today; one of the best ways individuals can have healthy blood sugar levels is to reduce sugar intake. The food industry has added sugar to many food staples, including canned tomatoes, salsas, and meat. This has made lowing sugar consumption increasingly difficult as sugar is often eaten unintentionally or out of necessity.  Thankfully, health conscious food companies have been created to provide healthy alternatives.

Dr. Massoud Kazemzadeh is the founder of Kay's Naturals.  With the knowledge that reducing glucose was a fundamental step towards maintaining healthy sugar levels, Dr. Kazemzadeh was inspired to create Kay’s Naturals with his first wife Linda, who was a juvenile diabetic. He witnessed the great need for convenient and healthy food choices. Fifteen years later, Kay’s Naturals provides 15 different health food options, which are low in sugar, gluten-free, wheat-free, and high in protein and fiber. To learn more about Kay’s Naturals and create a delicious and easy health food plan for yourself, visit Kay’s Naturals’ website.

With the right tools, diabetic individuals can reach the International Diabetes Federation’s treatment and prevention goals. Hopefully the increase in healthy food options will lower the number of people burdened with diabetes and help others reach their nutritional targets for an increased well-being.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Gluten-Free Flours: Part 2

We are ready to explore the vast variety of gluten-free flours! You may have experience with some pre-mixed flours, but now you are ready to branch out and explore. Many enjoy GF flours because they have the ability to increase the complexity of flavors and textures. They can also add protein and other essential nutrients and vitamins. Who needs bleached, nutrient-drained, white flour, when there are so many great alternatives? Below is a list of GF flours along with some background information of some GF favorites.

Many GF flours can be found at health food stores and traditional grocery stores. A quick Google search will also lead you to websites where flours can be purchased online. Prices and quality tend to vary depending on the distributer, so it is worth doing a bit of research. We hope you have fun experimenting in your laboratory kitchen, and enjoy your delectable creations! For the times you crave a healthy GF snack that is not made from scratch, enjoy a bag of Kay's Naturals.


WHOLE GRAIN FLOURS
Brown Rice Flour: This flour is heavier than white rice flour and contains more fiber and nutrients. Its texture however is more grainy and apparent than white rice flour. It has a bit of a nutty flavor. Best when used fresh!
Buckwheat Flour: Buckwheat is related to rhubarb, and contrary to its name, is not a wheat. Buckwheat seeds are ground to make flour. Flavor: very nutty and a little bitter.
Corn Flour/Cornstarch: Ground from corn to become a white powder, it is used as a thickening agent. Flavor: bland and works great when mixing with other flours. Some corn flour are milled from wheat, but will be labeled wheaten corn flour.
Corn Meal: Also ground from corn but heavier than corn flour. Not interchangeable in recipes.
Mesquite Flour
Millet Flour: Millet is actually a name given to a number of different grains of the grass family Poaceae. This versatile flour is a favorite for many and can be used to thicken soups, make flat breads, or cakes. It has a mild sweet and nutty flavor that works well with other foods. It works great when mixed with almond and rice flours. Millet is also enjoyed for it is high in antioxidants activity and magnesium. It is also useful for managing diabetes and inflammation.
Oat Flour
Sorghum Flour: A staple in India and Africa. This flour is ground from sorghum grain and is similar to millet. Use to make porridge, flat breads, or mix into other flours to increase the protein, phosphorus, fiber, and potassium in whatever you are making. Stores well unrefrigerated.           
Sweet Potato Flour
Teff Flour: Teff is a cereal grain of the grass family. It is appreciated among the health conscious as it is highly nutritious and versatile. It has been traditionally used to create Injera, an Ethiopian flat bread. Teff has more calcium, by far, than any other flour. Teff contains resistant starch, a dietary fiber to help regulate blood-sugar management, colon health, and weight control. Finally, it also contains vitamin C, which is rare in flours.
PSEUDO-GRAINS (pseudo-grains have similar nutritional value as grains, but belong to different botanical families)    
Amaranth Flour: It is made from the seed of the Amaranth plant, a leafy vegetable. Amaranth seeds are high in protein, which makes for nutritious baking. Additionally, Amaranth flour has fiber and lysine, an essential amino acid.
Chia Flour: This 'super food' comes from ground chia seeds and contains Omega 3, calcium and protein. A single ounce has 4 grams of protein and 11 grams of fiber. If you can't find chia at your local health food store, simply mill your own in a food processor. When baking with chia flour, baking time and liquid levels should generally be increased slightly.
Hemp Flour: From ground hemp seeds with a slightly nutty flavor. Must refrigerate after opening.         
Quinoa Flour: Quinoa is related to beets and spinach. The flour is ground quinoa seeds. Has been used for 5,000 years in South America. It is a good source of vegetable protein.
WHITE FLOURS/STARCHES
Arrowroot Flour: It comes from the root of the Arrowroot plant. This flour is tasteless and becomes clear when cooked. Arrowroot is perfect for thickening sauces and soups.
Cornstarch              
Potato Flour: Has a strong potato flavor and is heavy (a little goes far).
Potato Starch: A fine white flour with an undetectable potato taste. It is an excellent GF alternative, but must be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dark place.
Sweet Rice Flour
Tapioca Flour: Made from the root of the cassava plant and is soft and light in texture. Works well as a thickener and makes baked goods more chewy. Unlike many alternative flours, it is able to be stored at room temperature.          
White Rice Flour: This flour is bland in flavor and not especially nutritious. It is well liked as it lends itself to baked goods that are light in texture, such as dumplings. It is versatile and able to be utilized in a variety of recipes. Store in an airtight container to extend its shelf life.
NUT FLOURS             
Almond Flour: This flour is made from finely ground almonds. It will produce a rich buttery flavor while being is low in carbs and high in protein. Studies show that almonds are highly nutritious, as they are cholesterol free, low in saturated fat and carbohydrates, high in dietary fiber, antioxidant vitamin E, calcium, riboflavin, copper, zinc and magnesium. Best for crumbles and breads, as opposed to pizza crust or pie crusts. Most almond flours will stay fresh for up to 3 months in a sealed container that is kept in a cool dry location. Works well when combined with teff and rice flours, to create a healthy nutritious flour blend.              
Chestnut Flour
Coconut Flour
Hazelnut Flour
BEAN   FLOURS
Fava Bean Flour
Garbanzo Bean/Chick Pea Flour: From ground chick peas, this flour has a nutty flavor. Best when mixed with other flours.           
Kinako (roasted soy bean) Flour

Resources:
Amaranth Vs. Quinoa: www.livestrong.com
Guide to Gluten-Free Fours: www.webmd.com
How to make gluten-free flour mixes: www.glutenfreegirl.com
How to Substitute Eggs and Binding Agents: www.myrealfoodlife.com
Wheat free and gluten free flours: www.wheat-free.org
The Claim: Chia Seeds Can Help You Lose Weight: www.nytimes.com
So what's the difference between Soya Powder & Soy Flour: www.lowcarbluxury.com
Teff and Millet – November Grains of the Month: wholegrainscouncil.org

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Gluten-free Flours: Part 1

Kay's Naturals mission is to encourage healthy lifestyles. We specialize in gluten-free (GF) snacks and cereals because their is a real need for healthy GF food that is nutrient and protein rich while also being affordable and convenient. There are other times however, when many of us on GF diet want to put time in the kitchen to make home baked goods. How can you make a delicious cookie without wheat flour? Having done a bit of research on GF flours, we found that it can be difficult to find a comprehensive article online that discusses the full variety of GF flours available. We have created a two-part article to answer some common questions about GF baking. The first discusses common GF baking techniques and requirements. The second provides a list of the GF flours and some of their benefits. These articles are to help you make delicious GF baked goods possible for yourself and those you love.

The first thing every novice GF baker needs to know is the role of gluten. Wheat flour includes gluten, the protein that makes dough gooey and stretchable. Therefore, when baking GF, another ingredient needs to be included to prevent baked good from crumbling and falling apart. There are two common agents that are used to replace gluten: xanthan gum and guar gum. They are plant-derived powders that become gummy when water is added. Kneading the dough activates their binding properties. Xanthan gum is the most versatile and common binding agent. Simply use 1 tsp per cup of dry ingredients. Xanthan gum can be found at your local health food store or through Bobsredmill.com. Please note that too much of either will prevent your baked goods from becoming crispy. There are many alternative binding agents available. To learn more about them, read this article.

Having a pre-mixed GF flour blend to use in a variety of baked goods, including bread, pizza dough, and pancakes, will make the baking quicker and easier. A flour, such as brown rice or sorghum, mixed with a starchy flour such as cornstarch, will increase the protein in your baked goods. According to this article on WebMD, "The protein in flour lends structure and stability, while the starchy flours add lightness and airiness. When you first start baking GF it may be easier to stick with a simple multi-purpose flour blend before experimenting further. GF flour mixes that include xanthan gum or another binding agent are available. One example of a mix that includes xanthan gum is Jules Gluten Free All Purpose Flour. It is is $19.95 for 5 pounds and can be ordered online.

Two final notes to help make your GF baking a success. It is always best to store flours in airtight containers in a dark cool place to avoid having them turning rancid. Storing gluten-free flours in a freezer will help increase the flours shelf life. Finally, if you are not able to make the most perfect pie crust or cookie the first time; do not give up! This is a skill you will enjoy for the rest of your life. Continue your search for wonderful GF recipes and continue experimenting with baking GF. For times when you want to enjoy the crunch of a pretzel by simply opening a bag, Kay's Naturals has got your covered! Order them online here.

Gluten-Free Flour Blend Recipe (from WebMD):

  • 1.5 cups sorghum or brown rice flour   
  • 1.5 potato starch or cornstarch           
  • 1 cup tapioca flour      

Whisk together thoroughly and store in a dark, dry place.
When substituting this blend for wheat flour in recipes, use the same measurements at wheat flour.

Gluten Free Girl has another gluten-free flour mix recipe that is also easy to make. Her recipe can be found here.

Resources
How to make gluten-free flour mixes, www.glutenfreegirl.com
How to Substitute Eggs and Binding Agents, www.myrealfoodlife.com

Wheat free and gluten free flours, www.wheat-free.org

Friday, February 14, 2014

The Creation of a Gluten-free Sourdough

Celiac is a serious disease. It can cause considerable damage to the small intestine, increase infertility, cause neurological damage, and be fatal. Currently, the only known treatment is a rigorous and strict gluten-free diet. A bread crumb-size piece of gluten is enough to cause damage to the small intestine. Therefore cross-contamination is an ongoing cause of concern for individuals with celiac disease (CD).

A study published in the American Society of Microbiology, suggests that eliminating the toxicity of wheat flour through an extended fermentation process can make sourdough bread gluten-free. Millions of Americans with CD would be able to eat what was once forbidden. The fermentation process used a new mixture of selected sourdough lactobacilli and fungal proteases. The process resulted in the sourdough having a residual gluten concentration of 12 ppm. This is considered a gluten-free product by the FDA. Of the 12 celiac disease patients who participated in the study, none demonstrated immunoreactivity to the sourdough bread. The bread making was standardized in order to demonstrate that wheat flour detoxified in this way is suitable. According to the study, “food processing by selected sourdough lactobacilli and fungal proteases may be considered an efficient approach to eliminate gluten toxicity.”


This is great news for individuals with CD or a gluten intolerance. Although the control group was small and additional research is required, this is a promising sign that sweet sourdough bread and other wheat containing foods may become a welcomed addition to a gluten-free diet. In the meantime, Kay's Naturals provides excellent, nutrient-rich, and gluten-free snacks and cereals. To find more about our products visit us at kaysnaturals.com

Friday, February 7, 2014

Sugar Substitutes: Angel or Villain?

It is becoming common knowledge that sugar is pretty darn bad for us. This is a major bummer, especially for those of us who are as dependent on sugar as some are for coffee. Luckily, alternatives that won't spike sugar levels or add heaps of calories, but are still sweet and delicious, exist. If you have made the resolution to eat less sugar, good for you! Knowing about sugar alternatives, and their pros and cons, is a helpful way to have the resolution stick for good. Knowing who to trust however, can be difficult. In this article, we will present some conflicting information from a variety of trusted sources. Ultimately, you will need to decide what option is best for you.


Artificial Sweeteners


According to the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, 86 percent of Americans use artificial sweeteners. The American love affair with them is well documented, but many are skeptical of how safe they really are.

Artificial Sweeteners
Saccharin (Sweet 'n Low, Sugar Twin)
Aspartame (Nutrasweet and Equal)
Sucralose (Splenda)
ADI
(What the FDA deemed safe for consumption every day)
5 milligrams per kilogram of weight, the same as 9-12 packets
50 milligrams per kilogram of weight, the same as 18 to 19 cans of diet soda
5 milligrams per kilogram, the same as 6 cans of soda
What it is:
Is the oldest artificial sweetener, made legal by Teddy Roosevelt. It is made from petroleum and is 300 times sweeter than sugar.
It is made by combining 2 amino acids with methanol, it is 180 to 200 times sweeter than sugar.
A chemically altered sugar molecule, it became common in 1999. It's bulky, and therefore works for baking.
Calories
Noncaloric, non-nutritive
Noncaloric, non-nutritive
Noncaloric, non-nutritive
Glycemic Index
None
None
None



Natural Sweeteners

Looking for something that is not made from petroleum, is a naturally made, and won't effect you like sugar does? Here is a list of some natural sweeteners and what they can offer.


Natural sugar alternatives
Agave nectar
Date sugar
Maple Syrup
Raw Honey
Stevia
What it is:
Comes from the extraction and purification of sap from the Blue Nectar Agave plant. No nutritional value. 1.5 times sweeter than sugar and processed like other sugars.
Comes from dehydrated dates, high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Many consider it to be a healthy sugar alternative.
From the sap of maple trees. More nutritious then table sugar.
A healthy alternative in moderation. Has antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, amino acids, and enzymes. Raw, unprocessed honey is considered a super food by many.
200-300 times sweeter than sugar, it is made from an extract of the Stevia rebaudiana plant. It does not feed on yeast, or cause any of the problems caused by sugar consumption. No nutritional value.
Glycemic Index
15-30
N/A
54
30
Less than 1
*Raw sugar has a glycemic index of 65


There are many alternatives to sugar, some of them are man-made and others are natural. Some nutritionists will say sugar or artificial sweeteners are acceptable for consumption and do not harm the body. Others say that the only healthy alternative is maple syrup or Stevia. Finding the optimal choice for your requires testing and being mindful of which ones work best for your body and lifestyle. Kay's Naturals has 1-3 grams of sugar per serving (the same amount as a serving of ketchup), and is sweetened with Cane Sugar, Honey, or Stevia depending on the snack. Our glycemic index is low enough for individuals who are diabetic. For everyone who its looking for healthy and sweet snacks, that are very low in sugar, we hope you will find what we have to offer a satisfying alternative.


References:


Sucralose side-effects, www.livestrong.com
4 Artificial Sweeteners and Their FDA Safe Levels, www.fitday.com
Artificial Sweetener and other sugar substitutes, MayoClinic.com
Is Stevia Safe?, www.eatingwell.com
Healthy Sugar Alternatives, www.organiclifestylemagazine.com

The Truth about Agave, www.webmd.com