For a year now, Clear Creek Natural Food has emphasized the lack of “the starches” in its mixes when compared to the other gluten-free offerings on the pancake and baking mix shelf (and the cookie, snack, and bread, shelves, etc). Another huge problem with the existing brands that dominate the gluten-free shelves in “health food” stores is the presence of sodium. Don’t misunderstand; it’s not unique to gluten-free foods. All processed foods are high in sodium. But not all of them project themselves as healthy alternatives, like gluten-free foods.
As you get older, as kidney function slowly declines, fluid builds up in your body. Salt makes you thirsty, contributing to extra fluid in the body. But generally speaking, the kidneys have difficulty managing excess intake of salt (making what follows a vicious cycle). Extra fluid in your blood can lead to high blood pressure, which stresses the blood vessels in your brain and can lead to stroke. High blood pressure also stresses the heart and can lead to hear failure. Extra fluid in your lungs can cause trouble breathing. You’ll have less oxygen in your body and be less energetic.
When reading nutrition facts labels on packaged food, consider a few things. Those “% Daily Value” numbers are based on 2,400 mg a day, when you really should be consuming 2,000 mg a day or less (if you have high blood pressure already, your daily consumption should not exceed 1,500 mg per day). Three-quarters (3/4) of a tsp of salt = 1,800 mg of salt. Wow. And lastly, serving sizes on packaged foods are usually much less than you would consider a real serving (like using 8 ounces as a “serving” in a 12 ounce bottle of juice).
Why do packaged food companies add so much salt? There are two main reasons: flavor (taste) and food preservation (shelf life), in my opinion. The gluten-free mixes on the shelves at your local health food store use grains that either have no taste or taste like ass. Salt (and sugary starches) help offset that shortcoming. At Clear Creek Natural Food, we use popped amaranth, which tastes great naturally. We add NO SALT to our pancake and waffle mixes, and the equivalent of pixie dust quantities of pink Himalayan salt in our muffin mix. In addition to avoiding those other gluten-free pancake and baking mixes, you should limit consumption of soups and sauces, cured meats (cold cuts, hot dogs, sausage, bacon, brats, pickles, olives), salty snacks, processed cheeses, and canned everything. High blood pressure is unequivocally bad. Salt is the new sugar. Consume it sparingly.
Why do we describe Clear Creek's products as "good for you and the world?" The health benefits of our primary ingredient, amaranth, are increasingly appreciated by food journalists and health care practitioners. In this morning's highlighted article from EcoWatch, amaranth is described as: “...the new quinoa,” trend expert Daniel Levine told The Huffington Post. It’s a grain-like seed that cooks quickly and can be added to salads, soups and stews. It’s a complete source of protein just like quinoa, and it is loaded with fiber, B vitamins and several important minerals. Additionally, it’s been shown to reduce inflammation, and lower cholesterol levels and blood pressure." But notice the source of the article, EcoWatch. Amaranth was included in this list of 8 superfoods that are food for you and the planet because it is an environmentally friendly crop. It doesn't require a lot of water or chemicals to grow. Technically, it's a relative of pigweed. Farmers that want to get rid of it, can't! (Take that, Monsanto). Here is the first half of the article for your enjoyment. Click on the link at the end to get it all.
8 Climate-Friendly Superfoods That Will Be All the Rage in 2016
Here are eight superfoods to watch in 2016 that are not only good for you, but also good for the planet:
1. Crickets are loaded with protein. They also “thrive in hotter climates and survive off decaying waste and very little water and space,” Mother Jones reported. For this reason, crickets and other insects have been hailed as the “next climate-friendly superfood.” They can be ground into baking flour or protein powder, and added to cookies, brownies or milkshakes.
While eating crickets—or any type of insect for that matter—hasn’t completely caught on in the U.S., it’s making progress. Last year, fast food chain Wayback Burgers put out a fake press release as an April Fool’s joke about insect-filled milkshakes, but the idea was so popular that they rolled out their Oreo Mud Pie Cricket Protein Milkshake.
They’re the dried seeds of lentils, beans and chickpeas—and the UN has declared 2016 to be their year. They already make up 75 percent of the average diet in developing countries, but only 25 percent in developed ones, according to the UN.
That could all change, though. Pulses contain 20 to 25 percent protein by weight, approaching the protein levels of meat, which average 30 to 40 percent. They also require far less water than meat to produce.
“Amaranth is the new quinoa,” trend expert Daniel Levine told The Huffington Post. It’s a grain-like seed that cooks quickly and can be added to salads, soups and stews. It’s a complete source of protein just like quinoa, and it is loaded with fiber, B vitamins and several important minerals. Additionally, it’s been shown to reduce inflammation, and lower cholesterol levels and blood pressure.
Kefir is the trendiest fermented food right now (sorry, kombucha and kimchi). It’s high in nutrients and probiotics, and is incredibly beneficial for digestion and gut health. Many people consider it to be a healthier and more powerful version of yogurt.
To make it, “grains” (yeast and lactic acid bacteria cultures) are added to cow or goat milk. The concoction ferments over a 24-hour period and then the grains are removed from the liquid.
I recently had the opportunity to present at the Naturally Boulder Pitch Slam on behalf of Clear Creek Natural Food. As I was researching the four panelists, an idea popped into my head that was later driven home as I stood before them answering questions (more on that later). In hindsight, it was a blown opportunity. I should have skipped my 2 minute presentation, gone right to the Q&A, and started it myself with this inquiry of the panel: Why, in the name of all that is good and holy, is the gluten-free category part of the natural and healthy food segment? As the shelves are currently stacked, the food is horrible for you.
Ignore for now the role the panelists’ may have played in financing, manufacturing, and distributing the offending products; they are smart, successful professionals who showed me every courtesy during my five minutes on stage. Instead consider the irony-soaked corporate sponsorship of the Pitch Slam by Boulder Brands, manufacturer of Glutino and Udi’s, the poster children for most of what is wrong with gluten-free food: the liberal use of “the starches” that are making consumers sick. In addition to cornstarch, potato starch, and tapioca starch, you can expect enough sodium to choke a horse in most gluten-free foods. Even the company’s other brands, EVOL and Level, utilize the unhealthy ingredients (despite claiming to “support healthy blood sugar” in the case of Level).
I suspect this will be a revelation to most people. It was to many consumers and doctors I met in Evergreen this summer. Three different women told me their triglycerides were through the roof and they were considered pre-diabetic after going gluten-free two years ago. These outcomes should not come as a surprise however; the author of the gluten-free bible, Wheat Belly, predicted them:
…(M)any gluten-free foods are made by replacing wheat flour with cornstarch, rice starch, potato starch, or tapioca starch…Wheat products increase blood sugar and insulin more than most other foods. But remember: Foods made with cornstarch, rice starch, potato starch, and tapioca starch are among the few foods that increase blood sugar even more than wheat products…In short, don’t replace wheat calories with rapidly absorbed carbohydrates of the sort that trigger insulin and visceral fat deposition.” – Dr. William Davis, MD
This is not a trivial issue. I’m pretty sure I could put pencil to paper and show that ten times the number of people with gluten sensitivities are attempting to eat gluten free. That’s a whole lot of new diabetics. To add insult to injury, most of the offerings taste like paste. As a consequence, I predicted in my Pitch Slam presentation that the entire gluten-free category would soon be reshuffled. All the gluten-free breads, cookies, and baking mixes currently on the shelves are going to go away and be replaced by products that actually make the consumer better off, not worse.
One member of the panel confessed: You’re right, I agree, the category has stumbled because we need to come out with less starchy offerings. He also said that many other competitors were coming out with a marketing campaign similar to mine. I don’t know anything about these other offerings. I’m not holding my breath, but I don’t have to. And neither do you. Our products built around popped amaranth already taste great, use nutritionally dense ingredients, and don’t require the heavy doses of starch and sodium used by the other pancake and baking mix manufacturers. Start asking for them at your neighborhood natural grocer. Maybe they’ll start taking my call.
Just got in a battle over amaranth on Wheat Belly FB site, about to bombard you with nutritional info on amaranth :) My argument was that the thread was simply comparing carbs per cup of one pseud0-grain or cereal versus another without considering the overall nutritional content of the ingredient inviting trouble in the form of cribbing or pica. Here is my full post:
"I respectfully suggest that just looking at carbs per cup of one grain or bean versus another without looking at the total nutritional content of the ingredient exposes one to problems with modern day cribbing or pica, i.e., one may have fewer carbs, but leave you hungry and needing to eat more of it (or something worse) than would the equal amount of a more nutritional dense pseudo-cereal like amaranth. Amaranth not only delivers high-quality protein (roughly 17 percent by weight) but also contains plenty of other healthful nutrients. Its high levels of the amino acid lysine help your body to properly absorb calcium from the digestive tract. Though I'm talking about the superior popped form of the cereal, amaranth flour has twice as much calcium -- ounce for ounce -- as cow’s milk. Amaranth flour is also rich in fatty acids and includes tocotrienol, a potent form of vitamin E. Amaranth flour has roughly five times the iron and three times the fiber of wheat flour. It’s also rich in other micronutrients, including potassium, phosphorus and, vitamins A and C. (Excerpt from http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/amaranth-flour-1423.html) SOOO, eating amaranth will sate the eater's hunger with less. Gotta include the total package and equation in the debate. People over eat for more reason that insulin swings. Top of the list is cravings for nutrients! Have a great day! "
· Clear Creek Natural Food Muffin Mix
· One large and one medium mixing bowl
· 4 large or extra large eggs
· ¼ cup EACH melted oil and butter (or any combination of butter and oil that gets you to same
quantity, ½ cup of liquid)
· ½ cup almond milk
· Muffin tin with paper cups or cooking spray
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Start melting ¼ cup of butter and a ¼ cup of coconut oil in a sauce pan. You can use more butter than oil, or more oil than butter, as long as total quantity is at least ½ cup of liquid. Your choice of oil or butter will impact taste.
3. If using paper cups in your muffin tin, put them in the tin now (if using spray, save that for later).
4. Empty ENTIRE package of muffin mix into a medium bowl and mix ingredients.
5. Beat 4 eggs in a large bowl. Add the melted butter and / or oil to the eggs. Add ½ cup of almond milk.
6. Add the dry mix to the large bowl of liquid and stir just until evenly mixed (i.e., no distinguishable egg or dry mix showing).
7. If using spray instead of paper cups, spray grease into muffin tins.
8. Fill each cup ½ to ¾ full. Add chocolate chips or cacao chips (not included) to taste at this time.
9. Put muffin tin in to preheated oven. Cook until a knife inserted deep into center of a muffin comes out clean. Approximately 16-20 minutes. Large muffins (9 muffin tin) will take longer than small or regular (12 to a tin) muffins. NOTE: these instructions are for 7500 ft elevation. Sea level baking may alter performance. At elevation, small muffins are done at 17 minutes. Check muffins sooner if baking at sea level. Don’t over cook!
Guide to cooking (small package of) Light Pancake Mix. Get your mixing bowl, 3 large or extra large eggs, butter, coconut oil (or whatever oil you prefer), tablespoon measuring device (that can take heat), frying pan, ladle, spatula, and fork. Set your grill to medium heat (I am slightly closer to "Low" than "High" from the middle for medium heat). Mix three eggs in the bowl (don't try to cut the mix with dairy or water...it won't blend with popped amaranth, it'll just make it mushy). Melt your 1 - 1 1/2 tsp butter or oil, add it to eggs and stir again. Empty the ENTIRE package into egg batter (add your whey protein powder now if desired). Stir until mixed. LIGHTLY grease pan...the popped amaranth retains fantastic natural moisture; you don't need a lot of grease in the pan as the pancakes will be naturally slippery. Pour your batter with ladel to desired size, add chocolate or cacao chips now if desired. Set timer for 2 minutes (should be maximum time per side) but "TEST" pancakes as shown in video to time the flip. If pancake holds together (we are NOT looking for bubbles to time the flip), flip. (If it splatters a little uncooked egg and popped amaranth, no worries, flip a second time for just a little bit and it will cook just fine.) Maybe 90 seconds on second side, and you're good to eat! The Light pancakes can be left on the counter in a tupperware and enjoyed all day like cookies. They won't go bad or get soggy quickly like a flour pancake.
We all know that eating dietary fiber contributes to healthy bowel movements. It also helps control blood sugar levels by slowing the absorption of sugar by the body thereby reducing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
In reading a new book, “The Good Gut: Taking Control of Your Weight, Your Mood, and Your Long Term Health” (Sonnenburg and Sonnenburg), I’ve come across another benefit of fiber that may be the most powerful of all.
It turns out that fiber is a primary source of food or fuel for our gut bacteria, increasingly considered an important link in our immunity chain. More fiber, healthier will be the population of bacteria in our guts (and the healthier we will be). The other source of food for our gut bacteria is our intestinal mucus. Say the book’s authors,
“During times of low fiber consumption, gut bacteria can sustain themselves on the carbohydrates that our intestinal cells continually secrete into the gut environment, which serves as a barrier to protect our own human cells from direct contact with the microbiota. But by feasting on mucus carbohydrates, our microbes deplete the protective gut mucus layer, compromising barrier function and increasing inflammation. While the long- term effects of less gut mucus on human health are still unknown, preliminary experiments suggest that loss of intestinal mucus can lead to colitis.”
Why write about fiber on the Clear Creek Natural Food blog? Amaranth is high in fiber, and we retain those benefits by using primarily popped amaranth in our recipes. To understand what happens to the “fiber” in traditional grains like wheat, before they end up in your pancake and baking mixes, the book’s authors give us a brief history of milling using wheat as the central character:
“A kernel of wheat, or wheat berry, is made up of the endosperm, the bran, and the germ. The endosperm contains all the food, in the form of simple starches, to feed a newly growing wheat plant. The bran coats the outside of the wheat berry in a hard shell of fiber. The germ, a fat- filled reproductive organ that also contains fiber, germinates to create a new plant. Thousands of years ago people began using millstones to grind wheat berries into a meal, bringing about the birth of flour. However, this stone- ground wheat would be unrecognizable next to the factory- produced flour available today. The Industrial Revolution brought about steam- powered mills, allowing for the production of flour on a significantly larger scale. But manufacturers struggled to keep flour fresh during the months it took to transport it from the mill to the consumer. To solve this problem, producers realized that if they removed the oily germ (the part that goes rancid) from wheat before milling, they could extend its shelf life almost indefinitely. What they didn’t know was that by removing the germ, they were also removing a large amount of the dietary fiber, not to mention all the other healthful micronutrients that are found in wheat germ. Millers then realized that by removing the bran as well, they could provide consumers with white, fluffy flour— composed entirely of endosperm— that many people considered better looking, more palatable, and easier to bake with. Technology has provided us “rich man’s flour” inexpensively, but our microbiota’s diet has become poorer. As milling technology improved, wheat could be ground into ever finer particles until it came to resemble the ultrafine talc that fills the bags on grocery store shelves today.”
Hope that was both helpful and a little bit interesting.
One of the reasons we use popped amaranth and amaranth flour in our products instead of tapioca, potato, or corn starch are the serious negative consequences from consuming any of the latter. From Wheat Belly by Dr. William Davis..."many gluten-free foods are made by replacing wheat flour with cornstarch, rice starch, potato starch, or tapioca starch. This is especially hazardous for anybody looking to drop 20, 30, or more pounds, since gluten-free foods, though they do not trigger the immune or neurological response of wheat gluten, still trigger the glucose-insulin response that causes you to gain weight. Wheat products increase blood sugar and insulin more than most other foods. But remember: foods made with cornstarch, rice search, potato starch, and tapioca starch are among the few foods that increase blood sugar even MORE than wheat products."
Dr. William Davis' book, Wheat Belly, set in motion a movement that has stunned grocers and caused a never-ending wave of online commentary, much of it critical. "Many more people are going gluten-free than need to" is a common cry against the movement. "Eating a gluten-free diet is bad for you" is another. The truth is available to anyone willing to actually read the book. What Dr. Davis is saying (that is most often missed in the debate) is that while gluten may be a problem for only a small percentage of the population (the 1% of the population with celiac disease or gluten sensitivities), modern wheat is bad for everybody. Moreover, it is true, that if you eat most gluten-free "replacement products" (like gluten-free pasta, bread, pancakes, desserts, etc), you will be consuming things like tapioca starch, potato starch, and corn starch, all of which are higher on the glycemic index than the wheat you are trying to avoid. That's one of the major differences between our gluten-free recipes and the other products on the market. We don't mix with "the starches."