Less is More

by Deena, the Deceptive Chef

Did you know the fewer ingredients on a label, the healthier that item will be for consumption? Exceptions aside, assembling your recipe from “single source” ingredients is how you avoid allergen concerns. Single source ingredients include things like vegetables, nuts, individual spices (used singly or in combination) and other foods with nothing added. Creating a gluten-free mix from scratch, for example, not only helps you control what you ingest but is also more affordable, since you’ll be buying ingredients in bulk and making multiple batches of a recipe for the same price as one prepackaged mix.

Sometimes the best we can do is choose the closest thing to a single source food. A can of beans with salt would not qualify as a single source food, yet with only two ingredients it is preferable over a can that also contains citric acid, phosphoric acid, or other preservatives.

As technology offers us new ways to grow and process food, single source ingredients have become a robust and evolving segment of the grocery market. For example, xanthan gum, an alcohol sugar, has become so popular for the elasticity it gives gluten-free baked goods that is has become the standard ingredient for shelf stability.

Relearning to Shop
Having a specialized diet means learning to understand new information on labels and using trial and error to determine which brands taste good. With the growing number of alternative ingredients in prepared foods (even healthier versions) it can be a daunting task to avoid a food allergy and still find a tasty product. That’s where Deceptive Chef classes come in handy!

Different Properties in Different Foods
We must also realize these ingredients behave differently than those we used in the past. For example, gluten free grains do not perform like generic wheat and they don’t all bake the same way. Different mixes are needed to make cookies, cakes, pizza dough and pancakes. With a little forethought and well-chosen ingredients singly sourced or combined by you, you can enjoy delicious food without compromising your need to remain allergen-free.

Please join me in learning to use alternative ingredients to make allergen-friendly versions of your favorite classic recipes. You’ll learn to create deceptively delightful cookies that offer a taste so good they call to you and nutrition so dense your body will be glad to answer!

Deena, The Deceptive Chef, is a Culinary Concierge specializing in allergen-free eating. She can be reached at deceptivechef.com, facebook.com/deenadeceptivechef, or pinterest.com/deceptivechef

My classes as The Deceptive Chef offer tips and tricks for learning the best products for the best outcome. This month we’ll make heart
healthy cookies with an approach that cuts through many, if not all, of your baking questions.