Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Why Xylitol

I've been using Xylitol for several years now, as the owner of my local health food shop, The Good Life in Wetherby has been stocking it for a long time. I'm now using it by the bucket load to keep up with the demand for my sugar free bakes and cakes, treats and desserts.

It truly is a great sugar substitute. There really is no need for us to bombard our systems with huge amounts of the refined white stuff when there are other foods that can sweeten just as well, without the detrimental side effects to our health.

So why is Xylitol so amazing? 

Well, where to start - it orignally was made from Birch trees and is a polyol, a sugar alcohol. Most living things naturally produce xylitol, trees, fruits, plants, animals and even people! Now a lot of it is made from beech trees, and contains no GMOs, and is sustainably sourced.

The great thing about it, is it tastes good, it looks like refined sugar so is easy to get past scathing people ( oh yes there are plenty of them about aren't there?! ) and you can bake with it just like refined sugar (well in the main).

It's way better than regular sugar though because :

-   It's lower in calories (about 40%)

-   It has a lower GI   (7)

-   It has well established dental health benefits

-   It's actually good for us!

The teeth thing is a biggy, especially for kids. It has the ability to reduce plaque and tooth decay and this can be backed up by many clinical and field studies. Just now, Xylitol containing confectionery is endorsed by over 15 major dental associations worldwide, including the British Dental Health Foundation and the FDI ( Federation Dental International),

Is not a miracle cure meaning we don't need to clean our teeth, obviously, however, for anyone with children this has to be a great substitute to sweets full of refined sugar in any of its many guises : sucrose, malto dextrin, maltitol, fructose, dextrose, glucose, high fructose corn syrup etc etc (all used in the ingredient list to confuse us I'm convinced).

I give it to my children in chewing gum if we're away from home and they can't clean their teeth after meals. 

Xylitol for baking is great too in terms of its consistency. It is granulated as regular refined sugar is, so looks the same. It creams well with butter for cakes, makes great flapjack, works well with 100% chocolate to sweeten when melted, can be added to home made custard, virtually anything where you would use the regular stuff. The only thing I've found it doesn't do is caramelise, so it won't crisp up biscuits to make them crunchy. They stay soft, but hey what's wrong with a soft chewy biscuit if its better for us?! 

As its sweeter than refined sugar, you don't need to use as much, I tend to work with 2/3rds of what a regular sugar recipe asks for and it tastes sweet enough!

All in all I'm thrilled with the results I get from Xylitol, and hope you'll give it a try too.

If you're still not convinced please go to the following website for more information:
Http://www.peppersmith.co.uk/news/xylitol-uncovered there was an article recently in the Times newspaper.

You can buy Xylitol from the following websites, but most health food shops generally stock it : 
Just make sure it doesn't come from corn as its likely to be GM.



Monday, 24 June 2013

Little Chewy Delights!

One of my most favourite ingredients in all of the sugar free baking and cooking I do is the Goji berry. They are so delicious added to anything and add such a lot of healthy goodness . So today's blog is to pay tribute to them and let you know why they are such a good addition to your diet.

Goji berries can also be known as wolf berries. They originate from Asia, and have been eaten there for many, many years in the hope that those consuming them will live longer (one reason anyway!) . 

They have been used to treat many health challenges such as diabetes, blood pressure, fever, and even age related eye problems. We can eat them dry, raw, and cooked in teas, baked food, juices, and herbal teas, or mix with nuts  as the perfect snack. 

Like all other berries, Goji berries are full of antioxidants , which may take away the destructive power of those nasties : free radicals . Anti-oxidants can help rescue the risk of some serious diseases.
They'll also provide the body with vitamins B1, B2, B6 and E , all of which are essential for breaking down amino acids and fats, and converting carbs to energy.

Goji berries also contain vitamin A which has anti ageing benefits , apparently , also, they contain weight for weight more vitamin C than oranges, more beta carotene than carrots and more iron than steak ! And they taste so great. They're chewy, not too sweet, and stay chewy when baked. I add them to flapjack and they complement the oats really well boosting the health benefits of this traditional baked snack ( made sugar free of course).

All in all these dried little berries are a worthy addition to anyone's diet.

Try adding them to granola, sprinkling on top of yoghurt, mixing with seeds for an afternoon snack, baking with them in biscuits, flapjack and cakes and crumbles. The opportunities are endless.

And they're available in supermarkets too! Easy to get hold of.

Enjoy. Rx