Gluten free inspirations that incorporate vibrant fruit, vegetables, spices and flavours from around the world. Our collection of healthy gluten free recipes and tips will guide you simply in your journey living gluten free.
Coffee is considered to be the second most consumed beverage in the world after water. It’s natural to find that one flavour of coffee you love or tailoring this hot beverage to your desires.
However, those who want to start going on a gluten-free diet may wonder whether or not they should include coffee as a daily consumption. The big question is whether coffee, flavoured or unflavored, store-bought or cafe-fresh, is free of gluten. The answer may surprise you in more ways than one.
Is Coffee Gluten-Free?
In general, coffee does not contain any gluten. That is, coffee bought from grocery stores and certain online brands like Nespresso. Coffee can be safe for a gluten-free diet depending on why the diet is being applied. If you’re on a diet for weight loss or just to eat healthier, then coffee is safe.
Another common reason for this diet, however, is because of gluten-sensitivity or celiac disease. For certain individuals, gluten can cause inflammation in the intestines. It can cause short-term pain and long-term negative results. In this case, coffee is not recommended to consume. Coffee can have the same effects as gluten and possibly even worse.
Though coffee doesn’t have gluten, it can be at risk of cross-contamination. In the same factory that coffee beans are being processed, other foods that contain gluten could also be prepared in the same place at the same time. That is if the company that produces these coffee beans additionally happens to make gluten-rich foods. This is a rare occurrence, though. Just be sure to check the package of coffee and see if it says that it was processed with gluten-containing foods.
Is Flavored Coffee Gluten-Free?
The flavouring in coffee is generally free of gluten. Coffee can be typically flavoured after it has been prepared. Syrups put in the coffee usually won’t contain gluten. Coffee beans could also be pre-flavoured before being crushed and shipped out of the factory. This flavouring, as well, usually doesn’t contain any gluten. Such flavouring doesn’t need gluten to be made. Even if gluten were added, it would be so minuscule that it would be undetectable.
Are Cafe Coffees Gluten-Free?
This is a tricky one, as it can depend on the cafe. Places like Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts may have gluten in their coffee because of the ingredients they use. The best way to know is to directly ask the coffee shop manager or employees. You could also do some research online. If you’re unsure, then you should stick to a homebrew just to be safe. This is especially if you happen to have gluten-sensitivity or celiac disease.
Cross-Contamination and Cross-Reactivity
Cross-contamination, in this particular case, refers to coffee that was originally gluten-free containing gluten due to contact with a product that has gluten. As previously mentioned, cross-contamination can occur in factories where coffee beans are produced and more often in coffee shops. Many cafes do not do thorough washes of their equipment but, rather, just rinses them. Some leftovers from the last concoction mix with the new beverage. Cross-contamination is not to be mistaken for cross-reactivity, however.
Cross-reactivity is the reason coffee can have the same effect as gluten for bodies sensitive to gluten. Again, coffee doesn’t contain gluten but can make the body react similarly for those with celiac disease. Other foods can also act as gluten cross-reactors, too, such as potatoes and dairy.
Whether the gluten-free diet is to eat healthier or to protect your insides, it’s important to know whether or not coffee contains gluten. Most store branded coffee is free of gluten. The flavouring used for these hot beverages, no matter how unique and exotic, do not contain gluten as well. However, they could receive cross-contamination if the coffee beans were processed in the same plant as other foods that are made with gluten.
Many cafes have their special recipes for coffees, some of which use ingredients that contain gluten. Cross-contamination can happen here, as well. All-in-all, you can drink homebrewed coffee that is guaranteed to have not been prepared in the same area as gluten-filled products. This is unless you happen to have gluten sensitivity or celiac disease. You may need to avoid coffees from coffee shops, though.
While people who suffer from celiac disease have to stay away from gluten, it may also have an adverse effect on people who do not have the same condition. That’s just one of the reasons why gluten-free baking is becoming more and more popular.
If you would like to try out this type of baking, then you’re in luck. We’ll be giving a few tricks and tips meant for gluten-free baking.
Why Be Gluten-Free?
Aside from the adverse effects of gluten on those with celiac disease, it has also been associated with negative effects on the digestive system. Some brain disorders have also been observed to be connected with gluten in the diet.
So, even if you are not suffering from the diseases that are usually connected with gluten, it might be a good idea to stick to a gluten-free diet.
Tips and Tricks
Here are a few tricks and tips that you can follow when you are doing gluten-free baking:
For starters, it would be best to stick to muffins, cookies, or even biscuits. These baked goods do not require a great deal of mixing which develops the gluten. When baking cookies, for example, you do not have to do a lot of mixing once the flour is added. Stay away from baking bread while you are still in the process of learning.
Another thing to stay away from would be recipes that do not have strong flavours. For example, gluten-free blueberry crumble would be fine because the blueberry is the main ingredient and it would carry the whole flavour of the recipe.
Keep in mind that gluten-free flour may have a texture that can be described as mealy. You need ingredients that have strong flavours that can hide that texture.
Try to keep your ingredients cold when you are doing gluten-free baking. Keep most, if not all of the ingredients in the refrigerator before you will be using them to bring down the temperature.
Stay away from oats if you can, unless they are certified gluten-free. While oats are gluten-free, they can be cross-contaminated in the field. This means you have to take extra care when it comes to the other ingredients that you will be using and make sure that you don’t use those which may be cross-contaminated.
To replace some ingredients, you can experiment. To replace oats in some ingredients, for example, try using coconut chips.
Do not stick to the typical gluten-free flour options that you find in stores. One of the problems with gluten-free flour is these have lower nutrients than ordinary flour because of lower fiber, iron, and vitamin contents.
Whole grain gluten-free flours and those that are made from beans and potatoes are good alternatives.
The decision to do gluten-free baking is something that you will be making because you want to stay healthy. Just keep that in mind because gluten-free baking is a bit difficult when you are just learning it. When you focus on your desire to stay healthy, things will be a bit easier and once you master the practice of gluten-free baking, it will really be worth it.
Byline/About the Author: Lisa Brown has been helping her readers in successful business and entrepreneurial strategies for the past 3 years. She currently works with uae.ekuep.com, which is the answer to UAE’s growing restaurant industry. Ekuep is the brand that restaurants, bakeries, cafes, juice bars, and more turn to when they want to stock their kitchens with only the best restaurant equipment
If you are new to gluten-free living, this information will help you get started cooking gluten-free. Going gluten-free may seem overwhelming at first, but with the 10 must-have ingredients, you will find that gluten-free cooking can be fun. Where do you start? You love muffins, sandwiches, pizza, pasta and desserts so where do you go from here? Yes, you can buy most comfort foods gluten-free, but the cost is high, and most of the products are high in sugar, salt and starches. Not to mention the freshness, texture and flavour, none compare to home cooking. Let me show you how to get started living simply gluten-free
Yes, you will have to be more creative in the kitchen, but once you stock your pantry with the must-have ingredients, you will find that you can master gluten-free recipes with ease. This includes all the comfort foods you love and crave such as pizza, pasta muffins, fried chicken and desserts just to name a few
Here is a list of top 10 ingredients that are essential for the gluten-free pantry
All-purpose gluten-free flour blend
When you start baking, to simplify your recipes use all-purpose gluten-free flour blend. I find that this flour can be used same as regular flour in most recipes. Some gluten-free flour blends include xanthan gum, so make sure when a recipe calls for xanthan gum it isn’t already included in the flour blend. Do not use all-purpose gluten-free flour as a thickener for gravies or sauces, it doesn’t work as well as wheat flour. If you want to make a gluten-free flour blend, I have included my favourite recipe below
I love almond flour because it adds moisture and a slightly nutty flavour to gluten-free baked goods. You can also use it in meatballs or meatloaf instead of breadcrumbs. Almond flour is nutritious and high in protein
Starches are lovely thickeners for sauces and gravies, but also in baking. The common starch used in gluten-free cooking is corn starch, tapioca starch also known as tapioca flour, arrowroot starch also known as arrowroot flour and potato starch (not potato flour). When I first started creating gluten-free recipes I used corn starch which I no longer use in my recipes. Most corn is genetically modified and is a grain limiting this starch from some diets such as paleo. I always use arrowroot or tapioca starch now
This ingredient adds something that gluten has, bouncy texture to baked goods. Some gluten-free flour blends may include xanthan gum
Gluten-free noodles are essential in your pantry. From Italian pasta dishes to Asian foods noodles are a must-have in the gluten-free pantry. Since I create many Ethnic recipes, I use gluten-free rice noodles, they are easy to prepare and won’t get mushy. I also love gluten-free buckwheat noodles, they are healthier but costly. For my Italian dishes, I use white rice pasta or rice and quinoa mix
Not all rice is gluten-free! Find rice that states gluten-free or Indian rice packaged in India, such as basmati oh so delicious! Rice can be used in many dishes from fried rice to rice pudding making this an essential ingredient in the gluten-free pantry. My favourite is Indian rice because I always get excellent results in my recipes
I know what you are thinking, aren’t spices gluten-free? Yes, and no. Most spices are manufactured in a factory where there is also wheat. So there is a risk of cross-contamination. I only buy organic spices or organic certified-gluten-free spices. They are gluten-free and more flavourful.
Gluten-Free Chicken Stock
Most of us don’t have time to make homemade chicken stock. Chicken stock is used in many recipes such as soups, stews, casseroles, gravies and sauces. Try and find one that is also salt-free, or low sodium, some chicken stocks are very high in salt. This is my favourite gluten-free chicken stock
Gluten-Free Tamari Sauce
Pure tamari sauce is gluten-free soy sauce and is used in many Asian recipes. If you venture into ethnic cooking, this is a must-have ingredient. I also use tamari sauce in some of my vinaigrettes.
This is a biggie! The selection of gluten-free bread is growing every day. Find one or two that you love and always keep some in the freezer. They make excellent sandwiches, French toast, garlic bread or breadcrumbs. The downside of buying gluten-free bread, it is costly. Here are easy to make gluten-free bread recipes
Once you stock up on these 10 essential gluten-free ingredients, you will find that gluten-free cooking is not that hard. All you have to add is fruit and vegetables, fats, seeds and nuts, sweeteners and proteins, all of which are naturally gluten-free. Please keep in mind that when you buy a product or ingredient that you think is naturally gluten-free, it can still be cross-contaminated with gluten. So read the label, it must state that it has been processed in a factory that also handles wheat. If you do get accidentally exposed to gluten, this article will show you how to recover faster
Gluten-free diets are becoming more popular in Canada with around one-third of Canadians looking to buy gluten-free products. People buy these products because they want to gluten-free diet based on perceived health benefits or because they have a medical need such as Celiac disease. Celiac disease can affect people of any age but studies have shown that a substantial portion of celiacs are diagnosed over the age of 50. What do recently diagnosed seniors need to think about when adopting a gluten-free diet?
Celiac disease is an inherited autoimmune disease with symptoms triggered by gluten. Warning signs usually include chronic diarrhea, weight loss, abdominal pain, and malabsorption. Symptoms may also encompass anemia, fatigue, anemia, ulcers or constipation. There is also a link between celiac disease and type 1 diabetes, both are autoimmune disorders and research shows they have a similar genetic base. The side-effects of long-standing malabsorption mean that it’s also vital that seniors be tested for anemia, calcium and vitamin D deficiency, osteoporosis, and thyroid and liver diseases. Once diagnosed, the treatment for Celiac disease is to adopt a strict gluten-free diet and after 6-12 months symptoms will disappear.
Adopting a gluten-free diet
A gluten-free diet is completely free of gluten, even the smallest crumb could cause an adverse reaction in a person with celiac disease. Gluten can be found in many foods, not just in obvious items such as bread or pasta but also in many other foodstuffs and even in prescription medications. But going gluten-free does not mean food becomes taste-free, a great example of a gluten-free meal, which is also diabetic friendly, is gluten-free huevos rancheros with corn tortillas and sweet potato wedges… delicious! However, seniors with Celiac disease need to be very vigilant, checking labels and being aware of hidden sources of gluten. If vision is impaired then this can be difficult and support will be needed from family, friends or care workers.
As a senior it may be harder to break a lifetime of dietary habits and the costs of sourcing gluten-free food may be prohibitive but good value gluten-free food is available online. Seniors living in assisted living or a nursing home will need to work with the catering supplier to ensure that all food is free of the risk of gluten contamination.
Being diagnosed with celiac disease feels overwhelming at any age, but even more so when you are older. However, with the right information and support, transitioning to a gluten-free diet is easily possible and will reduce symptoms to a minimum.
Attending gluten-free events is a must for anyone with celiac disease. With 90% of cases going undiagnosed, even those who don’t have an official diagnosis can benefit from these events. For those who have received the news that they have got the condition, suddenly being told that you can no longer eat the same foods you’ve enjoyed for years can be a shock to the system. Therefore, going to specialist gluten- free events is a great way to educate yourself, try free samples and meet other Canadians with the condition. So, whether you want to find out the benefits of a gluten-free diet or pick up some ideas for recipes, these are the go-to gluten-free events in Canada.
Gluten Free Expo
Gluten Free Expo is the country’s largest gluten-free event. October will see a weekend of free samples and information being handed out at the Big Four Building in Calgary. While, registered dietitians, nutritionists, doctors, and chefs will be available at the Vancouver Convention Center in January next year. For too long, gluten-free food has been thought of as tasteless and bland. That may have been true years ago, but with new recipes constantly be trialed and products released onto the market, gluten free food has come a long way since its initial days. Therefore, the live demonstrations and meal ideas that Expo offers are a great way to encourage those with celiac disease to get in the kitchen and start cooking.
Gluten Free Garage
Gluten Free Garage is a pop-up gluten-free marketplace due to hold its seventh event in Toronto, in May. The event has got bigger and better each year since its launch and promises to give attendees the opportunity to discover local retailers which cater for those requiring a gluten-free diet. Individuals also get the chance to sample and purchase items, learn about living a gluten-free lifestyle and there are plenty of freebies on offer, too, including tote bags and coupons.
Why gluten free events are so successful
Gluten-free events are held in various countries across the world and each one is attended by thousands of individuals with the disease and their families. These events continue to be a success and are held year on year because people want to educate themselves and because they want to taste good food. With so many people attending these events, it’s vital that organizers use reliable event management software to ensure everything goes without a hitch so that customers have a seamless experience and want to return to the next event.
Gluten-free living isn’t a choice for most and overhauling the way you eat can be tough. Gluten-free food events promise to enlighten those with celiac disease to a new way of thinking, eating and shopping.
Coffee has been a beverage that has set-off many debates in the scientific community. Researchers are pretty divided on whether this beverage is an elixir or a poison. But one opinion stands true and popular for the general populace: Coffee is delicious! It is a popular beverage all over the world. For years, this drink has been often criticized.However, recent studies have identified the goodness and well-being offered by this drink, which has the coffee addicts elated. The bottom line is that coffee could possibly increase your lifespan! (While this fact may be true it does not mean, in any way, that those who do not drink coffee will necessarily have a shorter life).
If you are still contemplating on whether to take a sip of this tempting beverage, here are some scientifically proven health benefits of coffee that will tip the scales in the favor of drinking coffee:
Coffee Boosts Energy and Improves Memory Retention
At some point of our lives, we all have relied on coffee to give us that much-needed kick of energy to make through a hectic day or an unending night. Therefore, this fact may not really come as a surprise to anybody. Studies have shown that drinking coffee could boost energy levels and make people feel less tired. Caffeine is the main driving force behind this property. Caffeine is a psychoactive drug that is widely consumed all over the world! Once the caffeine is absorbed into the blood stream, it makes its way towards the brain. It shoots up the secretion of neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine, which fires up the neurons. Caffeine also blocks the inhibitory neurotransmitter Adenosine leading to a stimulating effect on the brain and the body. Clinical trials have shown that coffee has positive effects on various brain-centric functions like mood, memory, alertness, reflexes, energy levels, and general cognitive functions.
Coffee Improves Physical Performance
If you thought that the mental boost was amazing then beat this – coffee can also improve your physical performance. This happens because caffeine stimulates the central nervous system, evoking the flight of fight response. Due to the increased levels of Adrenaline (Epinephrine) the body goes under stress and begins breaking down the fat cells and converting body fat into usable energy.The fat is released into the bloodstream in the form of fatty acids, which act as a fuel to the body. Thus, in the process, the body becomes ready for any kind of physical labour. Researchers have recorded a spike in physical performance by 11-12% under the influence of caffeine. Moreover, 2 cups of coffee can reduce the post workout pain by 48%. Think of how a strong cup of coffee before a workout would affect your fitness regime!
Coffee Can Increase Fat Burning Processes
Interestingly, caffeine is a compound that is found in most supplements that claim to have fat burning properties. Studies have proven that caffeine is a substance that actually helps in burning fat. These studies have also noted that caffeine boosts the metabolic rate of the body by 3 to 11%, making it one of very naturally occurring substance with proven fat burning capacity. Some other studies have observed that caffeine can boost the fat metabolism by 29% in lean people and 10% in obese people. Sadly, those who have been long-term drinkers of coffee may not experience these effects.
Coffee Contains Essential Nutrients
Despite all the roasting, grinding, and brewing, a lot of nutrients make their way into your cup of coffee. Brewed coffee contains approximately 1.8 grams of fiber, which is almost 10% of the required daily intake. Other research proves that one cup of coffee contains Riboflavin (Vitamin B2 – which aids in energy production), Pantothenic acid (Vitamin B5 – combats stress, allergies, and any heart and lung disorders), Niacin (Vitamin B3 – Lowers bad cholesterol levels), Potassium, Magnesium, and Manganese. Thus, this beverage is a powerhouse of important vitamins and minerals.An interesting side fact: Potassium and Magnesium aid the human body in using insulin to regulate blood sugar levels, which results in reducing the cravings for a sugary snack or treat. So coffee may actually help you lose weight too!
Coffee Reduces Risk of Type II Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is slowly turning out to be a lifestyle epidemic and affects a large population of people. Characteristics of type II diabetes includes insulin resistance leading to higher concentration of glucose and sugar in the blood stream. Researchers have established that drinking coffee actually lowers the risk of being afflicted by type II diabetes. Many studies have pointed out that coffee drinkers have a whopping 23-50% lesser risk of getting diabetes. In fact, one study suggested that this rate could be reduced by 67% just by regular consumption of coffee. A standard study assessed that a cup of coffee could reduce type II diabetes risk by 7%.
Coffee Protects Against Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease is the commonest neurodegenerative disorder afflicting people over the age of 65 years. Alzheimer’s subsequently results in Dementia. While there are no proven cures for Alzheimer’s, there are ways to prevent the disease. Apart from exercising and eating healthy, drinking coffee could also contribute in lowering the chances of developing Alzheimer’s. Going by the studies, coffee can reduce the risk of getting Alzheimer’s by up to 65%! Parkinson’s is yet another neurotransmitter disease that comes second to Alzheimer’s in terms of prevalence. Parkinson’s is caused by the reduction of dopamine generating neurons present in the brain. Since this disease also does not have any scientifically proven cure, prevention becomes the first line of defense. Coffee drinkers have up to 60% lower chance of getting Parkinson’s disease. Other neural inflammatory diseases like multiple sclerosis (MS) can be prevented by drinking coffee.
Coffee Shields the Liver
The Liver is a large organ that aids in metabolizing drugs, detoxifying chemicals, and breaking down fats, proteins and carbohydrates. It also performs many other functions that including production of Bile. The liver can be afflicted by many diseases such as hepatitis, jaundice, and fatty liver and if these issues are left unchecked, it could result in cirrhosis. Cirrhosis is a condition wherein the liver tissues are replaced by scar tissues. It has been proven that coffee could reduce the risk of developing cirrhosis. Those who drink more than 4 cups of coffee per day could lower the risk of cirrhosis by 80%.
Coffee Could Kill Cancer
Cancer has become the leading cause of death all over the world. It is characterized by the uncontrolled growth of cells that results in the relentless division of cells resulting in the formation of tumors or an excess of cells into the blood stream. Coffee has shown protective properties against two main types of cancer: Colorectal Cancer and Liver Cancer, these are the 4th and 3rd most common cancers worldwide. Research shows that regular consumption of coffee can reduce liver and colorectal cancer by 40% and 15% respectively. According to a paper published in the National Cancer Institute Journal, coffee could also decrease melanoma risk and the decrease is in proportion to the cups of coffee consumed.
Coffee Beats Depression
Depression is a silent cancer that is claiming way too many lives. It adversely affects the quality of life. A large section of people is struggling with clinical depression that could potentially result in suicidal tendencies, suicide attempts, or worse suicide. The severity of this mental disorder is not lost on the scientific community. In 2011, a Harvard study published that women who consumed four or more cups of coffee had 20% lower risk of developing depression. A similar study found that those consuming the same amount of coffee were 53% less likely to attempt or commit suicide.
Coffee Reduces the Risk of Strokes
Coffee, or rather caffeine, is responsible behind the increase in blood pressure but this effect is rather minute, say 3-4 mm/Hg, and the body stops altering the blood pressure after regular consumption of coffee. Some studies have found that women who drink coffee regularly have lower risk of heart diseases. Thus, it negates the myth that coffee raises the risk of heart diseases. Not only heart diseases but also the risk of having strokes is reduced drastically by 20%.
Coffee Maintains Oral Health
Brazilian scientists discovered that black coffee could kill the bacteria present in the mouth and on the teeth, which generally result in tooth decay. Thus, black coffee could be useful in avoiding cavities. An American study observed that coffee did not harm the gums and improved the overall gum health. It is also proven that coffee can protect the drinker from periodontal diseases.
Coffee Could Help You Live Longer
European researchers have found that the DNA of coffee drinkers exhibits a stronger integrity due to the fewer instances of DNA strand breakage in the white blood cells. The antioxidants present in the body help in protecting the body from the harmful effects of the free radicals present inside the human body. Coffee in general, helps in lowering the risk of death and increases life expectancy.Studies over Japan, Europe, and America have raised speculations that coffee can help individuals live longer.
The USDA has declared coffee as a healthy part of diet. However, one must keep in mind that you should not mindlessly consume large quantities of the beverage with the hope that it will affect you positively. In fact, excess consumption could negate the effects of caffeine and increase their caffeine tolerance. Those suffering from heart diseases, caffeine sensitivity, and pregnant women should stick to decaffeinated coffee or simply tea.
Gluten-related disorders affect officially only 1% of Canadians, however, researchers have discovered that the real figure is likely to be significantly higher with the disease believed to be going undiagnosed in a staggering 90% of cases. On top of this growing numbers of people are choosing to exclude gluten from their diet. Many myths and fears surround catering for those with gluten intolerances and the majority of these are unfounded. Whilst some forms of cooking and specific recipes require creative solutions to avoid gluten others are perfectly fine as they are. Barbecuing and grilling are perfect examples of the former.
Staying safe when using a barbecue
It is always important to keep your grill clean to avoid build-up of grease causing a fire but with gluten-free cooking, it is important to ensure that you’ve given your grill a good brush down to remove any prior traces of gluten. It is important to ensure that you pick a brush with thick bristles that hold their shape. Always check the grill after brushing to ensure that no bristles have broken off. Avoid wearing baggy clothing as it can be dangerous near naked flames and be careful with the alcohol.
Gluten-free choices for your grill
By avoiding pre-marinated meat and commercially available marinades it is easy to have a gluten-free barbecue. Staples such as drumsticks, steak, and shish kebabs are naturally gluten-free and make grilling simple for those avoiding it. Pork and apple kebabs keep meat apart increasing the surface area to allow the meat to cook evenly. If you use pineapple chunks with beef you get the added bonus of the protease enzymes tenderizing the meat too.
Slight adaptations to existing recipes
Homemade burgers are a simple and tasty alternative to store-bought versions. Burger recipes can be as simple as ground beef and eggs. If you are wanting to be more creative or need more filler corn flour, salt, pepper, and gluten-free spices and herbs can be added. Homemade marinades or sauces and dry rubs can be used to treat meat without risking the potential issues with store-bought alternatives. Fresh ingredients are the best way to ensure that you keep the food gluten-free. If you want to be more creative then you can make your own herb mix for a tandoori marinade to mix with yoghurt. Shawarma spice mix can add a wonderful Middle Eastern flavour to almost any meat without risking gluten.
Stay healthy and safe while enjoying your favourite grilled food. Follow these tips for tasty, gluten-free barbecue every time you fire up the grill.
Ketones — It sounds like a musical term one uses when tuning a piano to help maintain a harmonic balance.
Far from musical, ketones do however play a very important role in keeping a different type of instrument balanced, tuned and ready for any type of performance: your body.
The musical analogy may seem a little far fetched, but when considering that your body is made up of many different instruments all working in sync, it’s not hard to view us as individual orchestras.
To ensure your body continues to play along at the optimal level, a lot of things have to happen, both inside and out. Ketones are part of that inner orchestra, and when you understand what ketones are and do, you’ll understand their critical importance.
What Are Ketones?
First and foremost, we need power. A lot of it. And the human body is very good at using what you put inside it to fuel its needs.
The primary fuel source is glucose, which is a sugar created from your body breaking down proteins and carbs, among other things. Glucose is the starting point and what your body draws from first to keep itself energized.
Glucose, however, is limited, and that’s where ketones make their entrance.
When your body runs out of glucose to convert, it turns to either fat being consumed or fat stores already in your body. The molecules that are created from this process are called ketones and the body in turn converts these for use as fuel.
Often considered a more efficient fuel source than glucose, ketones serve another purpose besides energy production.
Weight loss — Because they burn fat, ketone centered diets have become increasingly popular due to their dramatic fat loss potential.
Ketosis and Ketone Types
This fat burning process is referred to as ketosis. Simply put, it’s the state your body enters when it begins using ketones instead of glucose as its primary energy source in your brain and muscles.
Fewer carbs and more fats help jumpstart ketosis, with the liver breaking down the fat stores.
When your body enters ketosis, it produces three types of ketones:
Acetoacetate – Produced from fatty acid breakdown, this ketone converts to beta-hydroxybutyric acid or acetone.
Beta-Hydroxybutyric Acid (BHB) – Although not a true ketone, it is still considered one due to the manner in which it functions. It is formed from acetoacetate and ultimately is what the brain uses for fuel. These are generally the basis for ketone supplements (more on that below).
Acetone – This ketone is generated as a by-product of acetoacetate and is quick to break down. Typically expelled as waste, it also creates a very distinctive odor from your breath.
With the promise of weight loss, ketones have become a very popular subject with individuals looking for an edge in dropping pounds and leading healthier lives. There are several things to consider when starting on a ketone-centric regimine.
First, because your body is not always in ketosis, a boost to your ketone levels may be necessary, particularly when consuming proteins or with a higher carb intake than usual. These can be found by way of exogenous ketones supplements, which are basically powdered forms of ketones ready for instant use.
This definition is important as it distinguishes ketones made outside your body (exogenous) versus those that are made inside your body by your liver (endogenous). A good way to remember this is:
Exo – as in exit or outside the body.
Endo – as in entrance or inside the body.
Types Of Ketone Supplements Available
First introduced in 2014, ketone supplements are typically derived from BHB as it is the most efficient ketone utilized by the body. They come in three types:
Salts – Natural supplements, the BHB is bound to salt to help with absorption. All commercially available ketone supplements are salt based. These can be in the form of Magnesium BHB, Calcium BHB, or Sodium BHB
Ester – Usually synthetic, ketone esters are not mixed with any other compound. Not commercially available, these ketones are used for research purposes.
Medium Chain Triglyceride (MCT) Oil – MCT oil is an indirect method of promoting ketosis. MCT must be carried to cells for processing, which then are broken down into ketones. MCT oil is also high in calories, which some believe is counterproductive when looking to burn fat (but that’s debatable).
It should be noted here that raspberry ketones, a supplement commonly mischaracterized as a ketone, are not in fact a ketone. Raspberry ketones are a natural compound that give raspberries their unique smell and taste. Although recent studies have shown a lot of promise in the lab using raspberry ketones as a potential weight loss agent, they do not promote or assist with ketosis. The efficacy of this product is questionable though in the real world.
However, as with most supplements and medicines, minor side effects have been associated with exogenous ketone bodies, including but not limited to gastrointestinal (GI) distress. Overall though, most of these are mundane in nature and dissipate as the body acclimates to the supplements. For taking ketone supplements it is recommended to start with a very small dose (¼ of a dose) and work your way up to let your stomach adapt to the new substance. You should always consult with your physician before starting any new supplement, diet or exercise routine.
Diets, Testing and Risk Factors
As expected with anything related to weight loss, the keto diet has become hugely popular in recent years. In its simplest form, the keto diet is low carb, high fat and moderate protein.
Recall when we mentioned that glucose was the body’s main source of energy? Well, a keto-centric diet reverses that by making the body a fat burner first instead of utilizing the sugar-burning glucose method.
Insulin, the hormone responsible for keeping your glucose in check, restricts fat from the bloodstream and this is what generally promotes the order of glucose first, ketones second. However, reducing carbs lowers glucose, which lowers blood sugar and in turn lowers insulin. Fat cells are released and a state of ketosis isn’t far behind.
A common misconception is that a keto based diet is a form of starvation. This is absolutely not true. What you are in effect doing is denying your body carbohydrates.
That being said, it’s important to remember, as with any diet, that maintaining a healthy balance throughout your regimine is paramount to a happy, healthy lifestyle. This holds true for keto based diets, as well.
As shown, ketones are incredibly important to our overall health and benefit us daily. However, too many ketones in our body can pose health risks, which is why maintaining acceptable levels during ketosis is important.
As ketones are most often excreted through urine, testing your levels is fairly easy with a urine test. Kits are available through any pharmacy, without prescription.
Ketones in the body are perfectly normal when blood glucose levels are in line. When blood glucose is too high it can lead to diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), a life threatening condition caused by lack of insulin. Other causes include infection or illness or severe dehydration.
Should ketone levels be too high, consuming water or calorie free fluids will help eliminate ketones from your system. However, if levels remain elevated, a call to your doctor is necessary in case insulin or additional medical treatment is needed.
To revisit that musical analogy one final time, nobody likes an out of tune orchestra. Why should your body be any different?
Harnessing the qualities and attributes that make ketones and ketone supplements an effective fat burner while being mindful to avoid the associated risks is akin to hitting that perfect note or syncing up the right harmonies.
By understanding how best to key in on what works for you, your body will be playing a much sweeter melody than it ever has before.
Looking for an easy morning meal? Try one of our gluten-free breakfast cakes. These recipes are created using ingredients such as fruit, nuts, seeds, vegetables, healthy fats and sweeteners such as pure maple syrup, honey or agave. Starting your day with a delicious breakfast cake packed with goodness will provide you with lasting energy. But don’t stop at breakfast, these scrumptious gluten-free cakes are wonderful as a snack later in the day
Here is a list of our most popular gluten-free breakfast cakes
This gluten-free banana apple and zucchini cake is a combination of fresh fruit, zucchini, almonds, and flax. Starting your day with this healthy nutrient dense cake will keep you energized for hours. Kids especially love this cake, and this is a wonderful way to include fruits and vegetables in their diet
Traditional crumb cakes are made with plenty of sugar and butter. This mouthwatering gluten-free version is made without refined sugars or butter. The heavenly layers of moist cake and fresh fruit topped with generous amount of crumb are what makes this recipe a winner. Serve warm for breakfast with a scoop of yogurt or as a snack later in the day
What makes this gluten-free coffee cake special is the addition of healthy walnuts and cinnamon. Most coffee cakes made with butter are heavy and high in calories. In this recipe, I replaced buttermilk for butter. Buttermilk is low in fat and adds unexpectedly moist texture. This gluten-free coffee cake recipe comes together fast and easy and is truly special. Serve for breakfast, snack or add our easy to make vanilla sauce to make this a special gluten-free dessert
Imagine a cake made with squash and apples that your entire family will love! Honestly, every time I make this butternut squash-apple cake, there isn’t a crumb left over. This deliciously flavoured moist cake can be served as a dessert, snack or polish it off for breakfast. Your family will never know that this healthy gluten-free cake is made with butternut squash I promise!
This is the best gluten-free apple streusel cake by far. The cake is moist with plenty of apples throughout. The added touch of cinnamon finishes the cake perfectly. This coffee cake is heavenly when served slightly warm
This gluten-free blueberry low fat cake is moist and packed with healthy blueberries. The use of coconut milk adds a nice and natural coconut richness without being overwhelmingly tropical. All you need is thirty minutes including prep time, and you will have a healthy delicious blueberry cake
This golden honey coffee cake is packed with blackberries and has a lovely lemon scent. A nutritious breakfast you can feel good about. This gluten-free blackberry honey coffee cake is light, moist and dairy free
Imagine a gluten-free breakfast cake made entirely in one bowl. All you need is a high-speed mixer, no mess! This tasty gluten-free breakfast cake is moist, packed with raspberries and plenty of zesty fresh lemon flavour. I have added almond flour for protein and fresh lemon juice and raspberries for added vitamin C and antioxidants. This dairy-free breakfast cake is a simple alternative to a traditional muffin
This gluten-free lemon poppy seed loaf will compliment most diets. It is gluten free, egg free, dairy free and nut free. This incredibly moist loaf has a subtle lemon flavour and a delicate crumb texture making it very popular. Poppy seeds are a good source of minerals, so enjoy!
Preserving the past in this classic walnut date loaf without gluten is magical. See why it is so healthy and oh so delicious. Dates are rich in fiber and iron and walnuts are rich in omega-3 fats and powerful antioxidants. For a boost of energy or a healthy breakfast, have a slice of this highly nutritious walnut date loaf
This is a gluten-free, grain-free and dairy-free lemon pecan cake. This delicious dessert is infused with fresh lemon juice, giving this cake a nice lemony flavour. Enjoy as a dessert or serve this lemon pecan cake for breakfast
This gluten-free, paleo apricot banana loaf is made without added sweeteners or grains. The apricots and bananas are all that was needed to sweeten this healthy loaf. The loaf is topped with raw walnuts giving it a tasty, crunchy topping. This delicious loaf is high in protein and fiber keeping you full and energized for hours. What a wonderful addition to your kid’s lunch box or a late afternoon snack. For breakfast, add some cheese or jam making it a nice change to a simple muffin
When it comes to lemon loaf, it should be moist, and you should taste the fresh lemon flavour. This loaf is deliciously flavoured with plenty of fresh lemon juice and finished with grilled lemon slices. The lemon topping infuses the loaf with stunning grilled lemon taste. This award winning gluten free vegan lemon loaf recipe should be included in everyone’s recipe box. I have added lemon icing recipe if you so desire. Enjoy this vitamin C packed lemon loaf for breakfast, snack or a dessert.
Most Canadians admit that they can’t function without a good cup of coffee early in the morning and even throughout the day. While we revere a good cup of java and pull our noses up at burnt coffee beans we tend to leave the grounds in the pantry when it comes to cooking. A modern-day gluten-free diet relies heavily on sweet and salty flavour profiles with umami and sour flavours intermittently being thrown into the mix to balance everything out. Coffee, however, falls into the bitter category and with our lack of understanding of how bitter flavours can improve a dish, we tend to leave it out of our recipes altogether.
Due to the fact that coffee beans are not a protein grain, they are considered safe to consume as part of a gluten-free diet. An exception to this would be if the coffee beans came into contact with a product that contains gluten. Even the smallest gluten particle can cause severe physical symptoms for some people making it important to opt for organic, whole-bean coffee as far as possible as they do not generally produce cross-reactivity issues.
It adds complexity to food
You might think that you are craving something sweet or savoury when, in actual fact, your taste buds are looking for variety. The tastiest meals are the ones that are able to deliver various flavour elements in the same dish, creating a more complex and appetizing end result. Cooking and baking with coffee can add an extra dimension to the flavour profile of your dish, enhancing the overall taste significantly. Coffee can be used like any spice and added to a variety of gluten-free dishes such as soups, stews, marinades and especially baked goods. You may be surprised at how adding a sprinkle of coffee grounds to your next cheese board can improve the strong cheese flavours tremendously – your taste buds will thank you for it.
It enhances chocolatey flavours
In a similar fashion to how adding salt to caramel leaves you with a richer, more appealing end result, adding coffee to your chocolate recipes will intensify the flavour while reducing the sweetness. Adding coffee to your favourite indulgent gluten-free chocolate cake or dessert will prevent you from feeling sick thanks to the rich and often overly-sweet nature of these food items. Experiment with different coffees to see which works best with the chocolate of your choice.
It’s a great meat tenderizer
While experimenting with new delicious ways to drink coffee and adding coffee to your baked treats and desserts may seem fairly typical, rubbing it into a steak may take a bit more courage. Strangely enough coffee pairs extremely well with meats like fish, beef and pork to add a distinct and pleasant earthy flavor to the dish. Apart from the flavor enhancement, coffee also helps to make the meat tender, supplying you with a very enjoyable cut of meat that requires notably less chewing. Coffee grounds can be applied as a dry spice rub with the excess being brushed off before consumption or as a liquid mixed with your favorite herbs and spices.
Cooking with coffee is a great way to bring life to your everyday meals and your options are only limited by your creativity. As someone following a gluten-free diet it is imperative to only use uncompromised coffee sources when brewing a delicious cup of java or using it in your favorite recipes.
For gluten-free recipes using coffee click here ->