Gluten Free Weddings

Gluten Free Weddings

According to weddingwire.com Valentines day is the second most popular day of the year to get engaged (only beaten by Christmas). Assuming the answer is yes the next task is planning what is arguably the biggest event most of us will ever arrange. A special day that you want to remember forever, for all the right reasons. When there are allergy and intolerance issues to consider for family members though what is the best way to tackle the menu? We’ve found some great ideas for making your wedding coeliac safe, using a little creativity so everyone can enjoy the same food.

The ‘Gluten Free Girl’ had a creative idea of inviting guests to contribute a dish to the event and created a wedding website so everyone could collaborate and share ideas, they also created card presented with each dish to identify allergens. Perhaps not eveyones ‘cup of tea’ but for an intimate or casual gathering I can certainly see how this could create an atmosphere of community inviting guests to participate more in making the day special. Read more about it here.

Another clever menu creating idea from easyweddings.com.au is to theme your food. They offer the suggestion of theming your menu so it easily suits coeliacs, such as having a fresh fruit and vegetable bar (instead of, or in addition to, the recently popular lolly bar) or choosing fresh produce and locally sourced, such as local fresh seafood. Of course finding a talented cake maker that can cater to coeliac requirements or other allergies could take a little extra work but with a list of savvy questions like the ones here from Gluten Free Living it should make that a little easier.

Whatever comes we hope you enjoy your valentines day this year, celebrating the gift of love in your life whatever form that takes.

Are you having a healthier 2018?

Are you having a healthier 2018?

We all know this is the time of year many people make decisions to change themselves with new year resolutions. Have you ever wondered where the tradition of new year resolutions came from? According to finder.com.au Julius Caesar declared 1 January the date to mark the beginning of each new year in recognition of Janus, the Roman God of beginnings, endings, transitions and time. The Roman people began making resolutions around this time. The most popular resolutions people make include: getting out of debt, learning something new, meeting a new partner, volunteering, traveling and several about improving health such as sleeping more, quitting smoking, drinking less alcohol, improving fitness and eating more healthily.

We thought we’d share a little information on how to eat more healthily when you are restricted to a gluten free diet.

According to Health Direct the 5 food groups are still the best way to eat for health, with a focus on variety each day from across these groups:

  • Vegetables and legumes (beans)
  • Fruit
  • Proteins – lean meat, poultry, fish, eggs, legumes (beans) tofu, nuts, seeds
  • Milk, cheese yoghurt or alternatives
  • Grains and cereals (gluten free grains include: buckwheat, corn, millet, montina (Indian rice grass), quinoa, rice, sorghum, teff, wild rice)

They also offer guidance on appropriate portions which is often a challenge for many of us, knowing how much to eat of each type of food. If measuring cups really aren’t your thing though, here’s a great list from spoonuniversity.com of suggested ‘life hacks’ to help manage portions.

Now there are so many schools of thought on how to eat ‘most’ healthily, the internet is full of diet concepts but here are a few I’ve heard about recently that you may wish to research further, discuss with your health care provider and decide if they might suit you:

Grain free diet – now this would make accommodating coeliac requirements so straight forward, though you’d still have to watch out for the sneaky ways gluten is used in things like condiments and of course for cross contamination. Some menus now offer ‘paleo friendly’ dishes which are grain free.

Intermittent fasting ­– this is an option my own GP recently suggested to me as having a strong evidence base of health benefits when done with a variety of nutritious foods listed above including:  improved blood glucose control and fat burning, the body can better activate cellular repair processes, decrease triglyceride and cholesterol levels, which are associated with type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, promote longevity and protection against inflammation and disease.

The worlds healthiest diets –  This is an interesting article I stumbled across recently comparing the key themes and food types eaten in the healthiest parts of the world. It profiles the Mediterranean diet, the New Nordic diet, the traditional Okinawa diet, the traditional Asian diet and the “French Paradox” diet. Click here to read more

Which ever way you choose to tackle your health this year, we think it’s always important to remember that small changes really to add up and are usually so much easier to maintain. So, whatever your goal, also try to set yourself some user friendly ‘mini goals’ that are really achievable and keep you moving towards a healthier you in 2018 and beyond.

Have a happy GLUTEN FREE Christmas!

Have a happy GLUTEN FREE Christmas!

The year is coming to an end and here at the Healthy Loaf we’re reflecting on all the new things we’ve tried and the way we’ve grown but most of all the amazing support we’ve received from our customers. After lots of requests and practicing to find a process that works well, we’re excited to be introducing a new product to make gluten free Christmas feasting even easier. Our gluten free bread crumbs will compliment your family’s favourite roast stuffing recipe and are wonderful for so many other easy snacks and meals. Our team member Nicole has been testing them out for us and created an easy vegan vegetable chip recipe to share with you.

From the Healthy Loaf team we wish you and your family all the very best for a healthy and joyful festive season and look forward to serving you in 2018. Have a happy GLUTEN FREE Christmas!

Summer time tips to avoid mouldy bread

Summer time tips to avoid mouldy bread

As the weather starts to warm up there’s so much to love. Enjoying picnics and BBQs with friends and family, homemade icy poles, splashing in the water and long sunny days. There’s also the bits that are not so fun like sunburn, bug bites and our favourite foods going mouldy faster than usual. There’s no way to avoid it happening, all fresh made foods without artificial preservatives and mould inhibitors will succumb to the green and white fuzzy colonies after only a few days and this process is faster in warm weather. Understanding how that happens can ensure you are storing your Healthy Loaf gluten free bread properly to avoid mould for as long as possible.

All types of mould belong to the same family as mushrooms, known as fungi. Fungi is a plant that is distinguishable from its flora counterparts because it doesn’t contain chlorophyll. Without chlorophyll fungi rely on plants and animals to be their food, instead of using the sun like other plants do to generate energy and grow. Microscopic mould plants float in the air all around us until they can attach themselves to a food source, they ideally like warm, dark environments without much airflow—like bread in a plastic bag or container. As mould grows it matures and releases mould spores, like seeds into the air and begins the process again. Mould prefers a warm environment but can continue to grow slowly in colder temperatures, like those found in your fridge.
Mould will hibernate at very cold temperatures when frozen in your freezer but as soon as it warms up again the mould will continue to grow.

Mould has done some amazing things for humans, like the creation of antibiotics that have saved countless lives and whilst I’m sure we’re all grateful for that and respect that it obviously has a place in the ecology of our world, some forms of mould can be toxic and cause respiratory problems and allergies. If you find mould on your bread it can be tempting to some to cut that spot of mould off and use the bread left, however it’s important to realise the mould may have travelled further in the bread than the naked eye can see and it’s always safest to throw it away in a sealed bag.

Our top tips for managing mould are to:

Store it in small quantities ready to use: Cool your Healthy Loaf gluten free bread down in the fridge for 12 hours after baking, then slice with a sharp knife to the thickness you like. Now you can put it in an air tight container in the fridge if using it within 24-36 hours or the freezer for up to 3 months. We personally slice and put 2 slices per ziplock bag or freezer safe sandwich container, so you can take from the freezer only what you need.

Keep it in the freezer unless you’re eating it: Remember frozen bread will still have mould spores from the air, they’re everywhere, but its being in the freezer that inhibits their growth. Only pull your bread, rolls or other products out when you’re going to use it immediately or within a couple of hours.

The freezer will inhibit mould growth, the fridge will only slow it somewhat: It’s always nice to eat a fresh slice of bread but in the summertime keeping our bread fresh for a sandwich can be tricky. A tip for refreshing our bread from the freezer is using your microwave, oven or toaster to quickly soften and refresh it.

Healthy Loaf Wraps must be kept in the fridge or freezer: These are a favourite for many but they have a higher moisture content than any other Healthy Loaf products which makes them a favourite home for mould. They need the special love and care of always being kept in the fridge at least and freezer ideally (in single serves) to optimise their used by date.  Just make sure they’re completely defrosted again before trying to roll them!

The Secret to Going Gluten Free On a Budget

The Secret to Going Gluten Free On a Budget

If you have a gluten allergy, or you opt to eliminate gluten from your diet as a lifestyle choice, one of the greatest challenges you will face is having to bear the cost of gluten-free food. However, going gluten-free doesn’t necessarily have to break your bank. Here are a few tips on how you can go gluten free on a budget.

Stock natural foods that are gluten-free

You will need to build your diet around natural foods that are gluten-free. You should, therefore, stock up on beans, rice, root vegetables, and other seed based foods. There are many varieties of rice that you can buy, including wild rice, brown rice, basmati, and long grain rice. Beans also come in many different varieties, including lima beans, black beans, pinto beans, butter beans and many others. When it comes to root vegetables, you have all types of potatoes, sweet potatoes, turnips, sweedes, carrots and parsnips among many others. Of course this still leaves an array of other beautiful vegetables, fruits and proteins.

You can find a plethora of recipes online that make use of these natural gluten-free foods. You will be able to develop your taste by experimenting with different recipes and food combinations.

Try gluten-free baking

Whether you blend your own flour or you buy readymade mixes, you should take the time to experiment so that you can identify the ones that you really like. Doing your own gluten free baking can be drastically cheaper than relying on your local bakery, if you have the time. This can be a great opportunity to enjoy homemade treats on special occasions, like a birthday cake, that you know is definately gluten free.

Gluten-free snacking

You can make homemade gluten-free snacks to carry around rather than spending money on expensive ready made gluten-free snacks every time you feel hungry. Dried fruit, nuts and seeds should be the main ingredients in your gluten-free snacks. You can find lots of gluten free snack recipes online, including cracker recipes, and snack bar recipes. Making your snacks in big batches can save you so much time and you’ll be able to eat them for days or even weeks.

Shopping for gluten-free foods

Gluten-free natural foods are available in most supermarkets and at specialty health foods and wholefoods stores. If your local stores have limited supplies, you can even buy gluten-free flour online and have it delivered to your home.

Remember that the key to going gluten free on a budget is learning to prepare your own meals. You can find many easy gluten-free recipes on the internet, some of which take little time to prepare.

 

Rainbows For Equality

Rainbows For Equality

The Healthy Loaf is a business all about creating equality, no one should have to miss out on what the person next to them can enjoy. We want Coeliac kids to be able to have a sandwich just like their non-Coeliac peers at school and we believe LGBTI people should be able to marry who they choose for the same reason!

We wanted to show that the Healthy Loaf 100% Gluten Free supports marriage equality, so we gave some of our gluten free bagels a rainbow makeover (for this blog only). No matter what you do or where you work, I’m sure there is some way you can show our LGBTI brothers and sisters that they have our support in the fight to gain equal rights. It often feels like there’s not a lot we can do as individuals to create change but everyone doing something small can really add up, like creating rainbows in your home or work and voting ‘Yes’ on the marriage equality survey!

The deadline to register to vote or update your details with the Australian Electoral Role (AEC) has now passed so the following key dates from the ABC may be of interest to you:

  • August 24 — the final day to register with the AEC if you want to take part in the survey
  • September 12 — survey forms start being sent out
  • October 27 — forms are strongly encouraged to be returned by this date
  • November 7 — the final deadline to return surveys
  • November 15 — results are released

So between now and the November 7 deadline, our other important job as a community is to remember that for many this is only an ideology but for others this is the nation passing judgement on their personal relationships and families. I’ve often thought lately how very difficult that must be. So let’s make sure those in our sphere of influence know we’re here, let them know we care and ask them how they’re coping. If we think a friend or family member might need some help it’s up to us to tell them we’re worried, ask how we can help and if needed, offer suggestions for some support—Mind Health Connect has some links to support organisations that may be helpful. So over the next few weeks let’s all be mindful of being kind to ourselves and each other and make our ‘yes’ votes count because after all, love is love.

3 tips for serving gluten free food safety, so you have happy, loyal customers

3 tips for serving gluten free food safety, so you have happy, loyal customers

Is your toaster gluten free?

The Healthy Loaf has been running a competition to win a medium sampler box of our yummy 100% gluten free range, made in a 100% gluten free environment and a new Russell Hobbs toaster. We’ve received a few comments that a toaster was an odd choice for a giveaway but it actually makes perfect sense, families with coeliac and non-coeliac members know why!

For people with coeliac disease even a crumb of gluten can make them unwell and contribute to serious long-term health consequences. Having a separate toaster that is used only for gluten free bread is essential for food safety in some homes–so it might as well be a nice one! This is also something hospitality businesses should give serious consideration to if they want to serve coeliac customers safely and build the confidence of their customers so they become happy, loyal customers.

Some tips to serve Coeliacs safely

Keep it separate, keep it safe

Having surfaces, utensils, and appliances that are only gluten free is important, colour coding or stickers can be helpful.

Keep it clean and think small

Maintaining high levels of cleanliness in food preparation is always important but also thinking about the small things like using clean gloves, and cleaning cloths that haven’t been in contact with gluten can make a big difference. Gluten can also contaminate food and surfaces from the air so if you bake with gluten flours this is another dynamic you must give thought to.

Be mindful and do your research

Understanding what ingredients are gluten free in your kitchen and products sometimes isn’t as simple as it sounds but building awareness solves half the problem. For example, converting a hamburger to gluten free means more than just substituting the bread roll for a gluten free option. You have to consider if there are bread crumbs in the burger patty? Is there gluten derived ingredients in condiments? Or, have any components of the meal been at risk of cross contamination in their manufacture?

None of these steps mean it’s particularly difficult to shift toward gluten free food safety. It takes some planning, awareness and a little research, to check all your ingredients are safe or to find a good alternative. There definitely is more to coeliac safety than just not eating gluten bread.

We hope this has offered a little insight into the types of things people with Coeliac disease must consider when they’re learning to live on a strict gluten free diet. And, that this helps hospitality professionals understand some of the legitimate questions customers might have, when they eat at your venue. Understanding why your customers need this information, being able to answer their questions thoroughly and demonstrating your team’s awareness builds consumer confidence and loyalty, so it’s a win-win!!

What will your child learn these school holidays?

What will your child learn these school holidays?

Cooking with your kids on the school holidays can be so much more than a fun family activity that helps keep them occupied. We have a couple of fun recipe ideas that you can do as either savoury or sweet and they make sure gluten free kids can be part of the fun and learning that is, cooking together!

Cooking can help your children build basic skills like: counting (we need 6 strawberries), measurement (3.5 table spoons of tomato paste), sequences and following instructions (first we get the pizza tray out, next we place the pizza base on the tray), reading the recipe together creates the opportunity for your child to hear and learn new words and practice attentive listening and following verbal instructions.  Allow your kitchen creations to be artful, use colourful fruit and vegetables, finger paint with sauces you could practice writing letters and numbers in your pizza base sauce—it’s edible art and a valuable sensory experience!

Young children thrive on demonstrating their independence. With a little forethought, there really is a lot of tasks little people can help with safely, though it might ask us to ensure we show a lot of patience. Even the littlest helpers can pitch in with tearing herbs or salad leaves, arranging pre-cut ingredients or even practicing their cutting skills with safety knives (we love these) and even cleaning up. Being encouraging and letting children know their input is valuable will set the tone for positive attitudes toward meal preparation in the future. Letting children create a special name for the meal they have prepared is a fun way for them to take ownership over their work and exercise some creativity.

You might like to try these suggestions for introducing cooking in an age appropriate way:

  1. Create a picture recipe with simple images and talk about each step.
  2. If you are preparing ingredients in advance talk to children about the steps you took to prepare them (washing, coring, cutting, peeling etc.)
  3. Discuss any rules about using equipment and other safety considerations, for older children let them practice identifying safety hazards and how they will manage the dangers safely.
  4. Include everyone in the clean-up process, water play, motor skills, attention to detail and an essential life skill—this is a valuable learning opportunity and what kid doesn’t love bubbles in the sink?!

Mix, match and include your own ingredients to make them your own but here’s some of our simple recipe suggestions:

Chocolate and Banana Pizza
Vegetarian Pizza
Autumn Colours Savoury Pull-Apart
Chocolate and Banana Pull-Apart

P.S – We’d love to see your family’s artful kitchen creations please share with us on Instagram or Facebook

The First Baker who Qualified with a Gluten Free Specialty

The First Baker who Qualified with a Gluten Free Specialty

The Healthy Loaf would like to introduce to you and celebrate the work of, Mrs Casey Bolto. Mrs Bolto is the first Baker in Victoria—possibly in Australia—who qualified with a specialty in Gluten Free baking, gained by working in a 100% gluten free bakery for the duration of their apprenticeship. Casey joined our team in 2013 as a first-year Baking Apprentice and demonstrated extraordinary tenacity toward learning this craft, with what is probably the most challenging type of product to bake on the market. The Healthy Loaf worked together with the William Angliss Institute to meet the standardised learning requirements for a Certificate III in Baking whilst Mrs Bolto worked exclusively with gluten free products at the Healthy Loaf.

 

When asked recently what it means to her to work at the Healthy Loaf, Mrs Bolto said “it feels really good hearing the difference we’re making to people that are Coeliac [or gluten intolerant]. Every week people say they’ve just discovered us [the Healthy Loaf]”. Mrs Bolto went on to add “you have to try it to believe it. People seem shocked that it really is so good”. We talked a little about what it is like to work in the hospitality industry as a woman, Mrs Bolto had worked in a couple of different hospitality businesses prior to joining the Healthy Loaf Team. Mrs Bolto explained how she feels “supported and encouraged to be involved in the Baking industry”, not just within our team but cited examples of feeling encouraged by members of the public also.

 

Mrs Bolto, as a qualified tradesperson, now leads daily production regularly at the Healthy Loaf, supervising and guiding other team members. This means, when you receive an order from us, Mrs Bolto has put her experienced hand to creating your artisan, Healthy Loaf gluten free products in some way and it’s always nice to know who is handling your food!

 

We look forward to watching Casey grow into her leadership role over the coming months and years. We would also like to thank her for her ongoing hard work and for making such a positive contribution to the Healthy Loaf team, the Baking industry and our community.

By Nicole Mitchell, The Healthy Loaf 100% Gluten Free