Thursday, 22 August 2013
Food play... what's coming up.
First up, my favourite topic, sugar alternatives:
Glucose Syrup: You will have read about this when I used it in my muesli bars. Very sticky and a great option in baking instead of golden syrup or condensed milk. Quite tasteless and not very sweet. Don't use glucose regularly unless you have seriously little fructose in your diet.
Rice Syrup: An exciting new discovery! With no fructose and just 3% glucose, it's looking like a good option. The other 97% is made up of complex carbohydrates, which means it's absorbed much more slowly in to the bloodstream, so doesn't raise the blood sugar levels in the same way as pure glucose. Again, a great substitute for condensed milk, golden syrup, and maple syrup. Tastier and sweeter than glucose syrup, it will be great on your pancakes and cereal, and even your toast if you like. I've used it successfully in muesli bars, and will blog more about further experiments. It's pretty expensive, so I'll be going half rice syrup, half honey in my muesli bars in the future, and being careful with my use.
(There has been some concern in the USA regarding the presence of arsenic in rice syrup. However New Zealand and Australian standards regarding arsenic in foods are much stricter than in the US, and levels are well below the accepted amount.)
Stevia: The king of all sugar alternatives, it would seem. Very popular in all my reading, natural, and safe. Really, really sweet, so difficult to just swap in a recipe for ordinary sugar. Check out the size of that teeny tiny scoop it comes with - just to give you an idea of how little you need. I've been reading about how to swap it for sugar and what else to use in your recipe to make up for the bulk you remove when taking out sugar. I'll let you know how it goes. Leaves you with a slight aftertaste that reminds me of artificial sweeteners, but pleasant enough when actually eating, and at least you know it's healthy, natural and safe.
Chocolate: Check out what I found by the checkout counter at New World Chaffers yesterday!! Sugar-free chocolate. Made with stevia. Not bad at all. Ditto my last sentence in the paragraph above regarding the stevia. Not the best, best chocolate I've ever had, but a pretty good option, and if you're serious about looking after your health, and serious about eating chocolate, this is something to consider. I'm excited that people are providing all kinds of options like this. For those of you who are all yeah-this-sugar-free-thing-is-all-very-well-Angela-but-I-refuse-to-give-up-my-chocolate, take that! Hoorah. Expensive.
Quinoa: I've been wanting to get in to grains a little more and have finally picked up some quinoa. I'll be reporting on how it goes.
Chia Seeds: Really good for you. Add to homemade bread, cereals and porridge, muesli bars, smoothies. They're so tiny you could add them to almost anything. Easy.
There is lots of discussion on the internet about how great they are, though Wikipedia tells us not enough research has been done to be certain of their benefits. Have a read if you like:
The Wellness Warrior / Nutrition Revival / Wikipedia
Israeli Couscous: Reuben and I are not keen on ordinary couscous, but I like the concept, so thought we'd try this instead.. If we come up with any amazing uses, I'll let you know, though you're probably on to it already. What do you do with your couscous?
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