We’re thrilled to bring you more food and nutrition tips to keep you focussed on your health goals this month. Read on to learn about:
- Sprouted grain breads
- Our super popular low-GI cookshop for the festive season
- Why you should go bananas
- Foods to lower your cholesterol
- How to entice kids to eat more fruit
- Safe cooking methods
- And more….
Sprouted Grain Breads – Have You Tried Them?
There has been growing interest in ancient grains such as barley, spelt and kamut – often described as ‘supergrains’. These tend to be used in less processed forms, as wholegrains, so they retain more fibre and protein as well as many important vitamins and minerals. They may also be better tolerated by some people with bowel problems than more modern hybrid forms of wheat.
But now there’s a new way to give your diet a ‘supergrain’ fix: Enter sprouted grain bread.
What is sprouted grain bread?
Sprouted grain bread is made from wholegrains that have been intentionally sprouted (or germinated) then crafted into a solid loaf, rather than by using bread making flour. It is a super-healthy alternative to conventional bread, which can sometimes be very light and fluffy – like cotton wool. Sprouted grain breads retain all the natural elements of the grain/s being used (bran, germ and endosperm) compared to most modern breads, which are made by using white flour which has had its bran and germ removed.
Commonly used grains in sprouted grain breads include wheat, rye, spelt and kamut. But other grains and some legumes, such as millet, oats, lentils and soy, may also be incorporated. True sprouted grain breads only contain the sprouted grains, without any other additives, being based on an ancient way that bread used to be made before flour was used. But we have spotted some modern versions that label themselves as ‘sprouted grain breads’, although these also contain added gluten and other flours to make them lighter.
How does it look?
You will instantly recognise sprouted grain bread by its very dense and heavy appearance. Did someone mention a brick? A soft brick, that is! As you slice into a loaf the bread will look a little sticky and moist. The texture of each variety is fairly similar but we found that the taste can vary greatly depending on your choice of grains and seeds. So like us, you may find you love some more than others. For example, we found Pure Life khorasan and spelt has a lighter sweeter flavour. If you’re looking for more texture throughout the slice, you could choose their multigrain. The mixture of sunflower seeds, wheat, millet, pepitas and oats gives it a little more pizzazz. If you’re a big sourdough fan, by all means try the sourdough khorasan. But don’t say we didn’t warn you because this bread has a particularly tart taste, so we would recommend a nice spread on top. If you prefer a more rich and robust flavour, give the rye a go. And for those with a sweet tooth, get your tastebuds tingling with ‘blackcake (sprouted rye with dates and walnuts)’ or ‘Essene supreme (with dates and walnuts)’. These two breads are reminiscent of fruit cake, but more satisfying yet delicious. We’d be happy to enjoy a slither for morning tea!
Nutrition and health benefits
Why should you bother giving sprouted grain breads a go? They are low in fat and an excellent source of fibre. Because they use true ‘wholegrains’, they can provide significantly more fibre than normal bread and they come without additives, as mentioned previously. For example, while one slice of white bread contains 1.1 g of fibre and one slice of regular multigrain bread provides 1.4 g, a slice of sprouted grain bread will donate between 4 and 10 g of fibre to your plate! Something your body and bowel will just love!
Sprouted grain breads also contain no added sugar and no added salt – perfect if you’re watching your blood pressure and sugar levels. A typical slice of ordinary bread can contribute a whopping 160 mg of sodium to your daily intake. But if you made the switch to a sprouted grain bread you could reduce this to as low as 2-4 mg per slice! If you are looking for low-salt bread, look no further than Pure Life Ezekiel 4:9, which contains less than 1 mg per slice! And it tastes good too. Reducing your salt intake can significantly reduce your blood pressure or prevent rises as you age.
With no colours, vinegars, preservatives or flavourings, sprouted grain breads are also suitable for those who need a low-chemical diet. They are also appropriate for vegans as there are no eggs or dairy used as ingredients.
Where do I buy a loaf?
There are two major companies in Australia that produce sprouted grain breads – Lifestyle Bakery and Pure Life. Both brands are available online or at selected health food stores. Lifestyle Bakery can be purchased through their website www.lifestylebakery.com.au or found at selected stores, including Massive Discount Vitamins Pty Ltd (Castle Hill), Foodworks Bella Vista, In Harmony North Rocks, IGA Beecroft and Healthy Life Carlingford. On the otherhand, you can buy Pure Life sprouted grain bread at health food stores, such as Massive Discount Vitamins Pty Ltd (Castle Hill) or online at www.foodiesorganic.com.au. Pure Life breads are only available through their distributors – they do not sell directly through their own website.
Lifestyle Bakery bake four different varieties of sprouted grain breads, including spelt, spelt and chia, rye and spelt as well as ancient grain (spelt and khorasan). If you don’t think you can stomach very dense and heavy breads then the Lifestyle Bakery range may be a good choice for you. However, please note these breads do have added gluten and soy flours (if these are a concern for you). The Pure Life range is more dense and moist, resembling true sprouted grain bread. We love this range best! They produce 11 different varieties, including multigrain, Ezekiel 4:9, sourdough khorasan and sunflower, khorasan (kamut), khorasan and spelt, rye, rye with date & walnut (blackcake), spelt, Essene supreme and Essene supreme with date and walnuts.
What about your back pocket? It’s true to say the cost of sprouted grain breads is much more than a typical loaf of white bread but they do come with significantly more nutrition and health benefits, and you get what you pay for. While a loaf from Lifestyle Bakery retails for about $5.90, the cost of a Pure Life loaf will range from $7.65 - $10.65 (or more) depending on your choice and the shop you buy it from.
Storing your sprouted grain bread
Another terrific thing about true sprouted grain bread is that it has a long shelf life! For maximum storage life (up to 3 months), leave your bread unopened in its packaging (it’s usually vacuum packed) and either refrigerate or freeze until required. After opening, keep it in its original packaging in the fridge and use within 2-3 weeks. If you are unlikely to use a whole loaf in this time, freeze half for later. Do not store sprouted grain bread in a sealed container, as this will promote the growth of mould.
Slicing sprouted grain bread is a little different to ordinary bread. Because of the dense and moist texture, you will need to use a sharp wet knife (we also suggest serrated) to cut through the loaf. Place on a cutting board and use a sawing motion for best results. It is not possible to use a commercial bread cutting machine with sprouted grain breads.
Our top 3 favourites
- Pure Life – Khorasan (for everyday use)
- Pure Life – Multigrain (for everyday use)
- Pure Life – Blackcake (good for ‘cake’ alternative or as a sweet snack)
5 ways with sprouted grain breads
- Spread natural peanut butter on a slice of Pure Life multigrain.
- Smear Pure Life Essene with smooth ricotta and top with sliced tomato.
- Enjoy a slither of Pure Life blackcake with a cup of tea (it’s sweet enough on its own!).
- Spread Pure Life spelt with tahini, add sliced banana and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
- Serve Pure Life rye lightly toasted with warm roasted pumpkin soup.
"The smell of good bread baking, like the sound of lightly flowing water, is indescribable in its evocation of innocence and delight."
- M. F. K. Fisher
What’s Cooking in December – Scrumptious Low-GI Dishes for the Festive Season
The festive season is just around the corner. But how will your waistline and blood sugars cope? Will you gain more body fat?
Come along to our highly popular low-GI festive cookshop and learn to make delicious party food that will also support your health journey. Keep your sugar and insulin readings under control during the tricky season!
Whether you’re planning a BBQ or a dinner party, we will show you easy ways to impress your guests while keeping on track with your health goals. From easy dips and exotic ways to dress up bread through to chocolate truffle cakes with raspberries – you will taste your way from entrée to dessert and go home inspired! This will be an evening to remember!
Don’t forget to invite your best friend.
Join us on the 9th December 6:30 – 8:30 pm and find out how to make your Christmas and New Year both fun and healthy!
Learn more about this exciting cookshop.
Call NOW on (02) 9899 5208 to reserve your place. Act fast as more than half of the seats are already booked. This is one of our most popular events!
What’s Fresh? – Banana
The banana is Australia’s number one preferred fruit, with approximately five million ‘nannas’ being consumed each day. Bananas have been around for thousands of years and some scientists believe they may have been the world’s first fruit. For Aussies, it’s interesting to note that Chinese migrants introduced the first bananas to our shores. They brought the first plants with them to North Queensland in the 1800s. Cultivated varieties were also brought in from Fiji and by 1890 the Cairns district had produced about 15 million bunches of bananas (over half of Queensland’s production).
One medium banana provides around 10 % of your daily requirement for fibre, vitamin B6, folate, magnesium and potassium. Bananas are also the best fruit source of ‘resistant starch’. And they provide some inulin, which is a prebiotic and assists in regulating bowel function. While many people think bananas are “fattening” and should be avoided for those with diabetes, bananas contain virtually no fat and are low on the glycaemic index with a rating of 52. Athletes also rely on the carbs from bananas for sustained energy to power their muscles for an event.
Bananas are available in Australia year round with the highest abundance in the warmer months. There are many varieties to choose from including Cavendish, Lady Finger, Gold Finger, Red or Green banana and also Plantains. Contrary to popular belief, bananas don’t grow on trees – they actually grow on plants related to the Lily and Orchid family. When shopping, it’s best to select bananas at different stages of ripeness, as they tend to ripen oven seven days. To slow ripening, place in the fridge and to increase ripening speed, place in a brown paper bag allowing the ethylene gas produced by the fruit to accelerate the process.
Everyone knows bananas make ideal snacks and can be added to school lunch boxes. Simply peel the skin and enjoy. Slightly firmer bananas are good for cooking methods like baking, grilling, frying, barbequing. Ripe bananas are ideal for cakes, pancakes, muffins, pudding, ice cream or smoothies. Simply peel, break up into chunks, and freeze to create a stash!
Go bananas with these 8 great ideas:
- Fruit salad: brush with lemon or orange juice to avoid over browning
- Sue Radd’s delicious, real Banana Ice Cream
- Banana chips: make your own by slicing thinly and baking in the oven
- Banana smoothie: add to milk, honey and/or other fruit and process in a blender
- Frozen bananas: push a paddle pop stick into a banana and freeze (dip in melted dark chocolate and roll in crushed nuts for an indulgent treat)
- Binding substitute for eggs, sugar and butter when baking: use in cakes, muffins and desserts
- Banana pops: place half a banana on a paddle pop stick, dip in yoghurt and roll in muesli and nuts (a fun breakfast idea for the kids)
- Banana with natural nut spread and honey on multigrain toast
Food Matters with Sue Radd – Lowering Your Cholesterol
Need to drop that cholesterol? But not keen on medication for the rest of your life? There is a natural way to eat your way to lower and healthier cholesterol levels. Read Sue Radd’s article to discover key foods that provide cholesterol lowering properties and get started today.
Meet Gina Trakman – Lifestyle Dietitian
We’re delighted to announce that, what is the loss of tropical Queensland is our gain! Gina Trakman has joined our expert team of dietitians in Sydney and looks forward to working with you on your health goals. Gina has previously worked in private practice, private hospitals and community settings in Cairns. We can tell you she is a very thorough clinician, yet easy to connect with, and loves to work within a 'health at every size’ paradigm. Come and meet Gina! You won’t be disappointed.
Food InFocus – How to Make Fruit Fun for Kids
According to a 2014 report just released from the Chief Health Officer in NSW, Australia, only half of all children aged 9-15 years consume adequate amounts of fruit daily. Watch this short TV episode with Sue Radd to discover little tips and tricks so your progeny don’t miss out. Check out some nifty gadgets!
Kitchen Tip – How Safe are Your Cooking Methods?
Have you considered how your cooking methods could be affecting your health? It’s not the most obvious place to start when looking for a health makeover. But, based on recent research, we believe it may be really important. Certain chemicals can be produced during cooking that may have toxic effects on your body. In this issue, we look at two such suspects: heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).
HCAs and PAHs are nasty chemicals that can be found on the surface of any meat, chicken or fish, which has been subject to high heat. Think well done steak, or char-grilled chicken breast! Dry heat cooking methods such as pan frying, grilling, smoking and barbequing (even if your meat is lean) have been found to produce these chemicals. Why is this a problem? HCAs and PAHs can promote the formation of ‘free radicals’, which when in excess of what your body can mop up, cause mutations in your DNA (genes) and can promote cancer. Over time, these chemicals have been linked to an increasing number of cancers, particularly stomach, bowel, prostate and pancreatic cancer.
The good news is, the formation of HCAs and PAHs can be influenced by your meat cooking method and level of “doneness” (rare, medium or well done). To reduce your exposure, avoid smoked and processed meats altogether; use moist cooking methods (e.g. boil, steam, casserole meat, chicken or fish); prevent direct exposure of meats to an open flame (wrap in banana leaves or foil) and avoid prolonged cooking times; remove any charred bits and turn the meat continuously to reduce constant heat exposure. You can also simply reduce the amount of meat you eat and go meat free more often! Vegetarians, for example, have significantly lower levels of exposure to these chemicals.
Stay tuned for the next addition where we will discuss AGEs and acrylamide.
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Published by the Nutrition & Wellbeing Clinic, Copyright 2014.
Suite 10, 80 Cecil Avenue, Castle Hill NSW 2154 Ph: +61 2 9899 5208 Fx: +61 2 9899 2848 www.nwbc.com.au
We are a boutique Dietitians clinic in Sydney, Australia, offering one-on-one consultations, culinary medicine cooking workshops, motivational health seminars and nutrition advisory services to businesses in the local and global area.
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