Archive for the ‘Sourdough’ Category

Gluten-Free and Wheat-Free Flours

Sunday, September 26th, 2010

Many are allergic to gluten and wheat. Some experience clear signs of their gluten intolerance or wheat allergy, many others experience much more subtle effects of such sensitivity.

It can be argued that our human digestive system did not evolve to to eat wheat and gluten as the paleolithic hu(wo)man ate mostly meats, fish, roots, berries, and seeds, not farmed grains.

It is also a fact that most of today’s flour has been stripped from it’s nutrients, bleached, grounded so fine to prolong shelf life (so even bugs can’t survive by eating that de-natured food) or to make using the flour easier, especially in the industries that want to create tasty and good looking pastries very fast. I will write other articles to talk about what to look for when buying wheat flour, I will also talk about the best method to prepare pastries using fermentation (not using baker’s wheat) in future articles.

For those of you that want to avoid wheat and gluten all together, I have good news. There are many alternatives, many are healthier than wheat.

I listed below “flours” that are alternatives to wheat flour and that are also gluten free. Remember, you’ll have to adjust any recipes you are using and maybe do some experimentation before you get the right quantities.
Amaranth flour: Amaranth flour is made from the seed of the Amaranth plant, which is a leafy vegetable. Alternative names: African spinach, Chinese spinach, Indian spinach, elephants ear.

Buckwheat flour: Buckwheat flour is not wheat, buckwheat is related to rhubarb. The small seeds of the plant are ground to make flour. Other  names: beech wheat, kasha, saracen corn.

Millet flour: Comes from the grass family.  Don’t use too much of this as millet has been shown to not be thyroid-friendly because it limits the uptake of iodine to the thyroid.

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Sourdough Article

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

One of my favorite articles on Sourdough bread is the one I pasted below. The author has graciously given this article to us free of copy rights.

Learn why Sourdough is the healthiest and only kind of bread to eat!

Article starts below:

Sourdough

Why Sourdough?

Commercial “baking” yeast is a single kind of organism that belches a lot of gas really fast and transforms grain into something that’s even less good for you. Sourdough is two organisms, wild yeast and bacteria, in symbiosis. Together they transform the grain to make it more healthful, more digestible, and also resistant to getting moldy or stale. Many people with wheat allergies or “yeast” allergies have no problem eating real sourdough. And it’s free!

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How Does It Work?

With sourdough, you are keeping and feeding a population of friendly yeast and bacteria, called a “culture”, or a “starter”. The population rises and falls, depending on where you keep it and what you feed it. When you make a loaf of bread, you are carefully managing a population explosion. The sour flavor comes from acids made by the yeast and bacteria, and when it gets really strong, that does not mean the sourdough is strongly active, but that it is depleted, that the population has already eaten its food and collapsed.

What You Need

Flour. Most grains will work, though only wheat has enough gluten to hold together big air bubbles and make a fluffy loaf. White flour does not have the right nutrients for the sourdough, or for you! I generally use organic whole wheat flour — bread flour for bread and pastry flour for everything else.

Water. The more filtered, the better. At the very least it needs the chlorine taken out, which you can do just by setting it in an open container for a day or so.

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diovasc Dis. 1999 Jul-Aug;42(1):23-38. “Dietary salt reduction in hypertension”

Sunday, August 1st, 2010

diovasc Dis. 1999 Jul-Aug;42(1):23-38.

Dietary salt reduction in hypertension–what is the evidence and why is it still controversial?

Chrysant GS, Bakir S, Oparil S.

University of Alabama at Birmingham, Department of Medicine, Vascular Biology and Hypertension Program, 35294-0012, USA. gsc5@yahoo.com

Abstract

The link between sodium intake and hypertension remains controversial because of inconsistency between early epidemiologic studies, which showed a strong positive relationship between salt intake and blood pressure/incidence of hypertension, and more recent studies, which showed only modest decreases in blood pressure with sodium reduction, particularly in the normotensive population. In addition, there is clinical evidence that sodium is related to target organ damage such as left ventricular hypertrophy and renal disease.

Although the evidence available linking sodium intake and blood pressure in the general population is weak, sodium reduction has been shown to be useful in hypertensive patients, particularly salt-sensitive patients.

Whether dietary sodium reduction should be recommended for the general population remains questionable because of marginal benefit and the suggestion of possible deleterious effects on cardiovascular outcomes independent of blood pressure.

This paper will review the definition and methods used in determining salt sensitivity, the evidence linking sodium intake and target organ damage, and modern studies of salt and blood pressure.

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