Understanding the Science Behind Buzz Words Like Vegan, Gluten-free and Sustainably Sourced Ingredients

Who better to break down all the buzz words and trending diets than a Vegan Gluten-free Bakery thats putting it to practice daily. With the help of our bakers and research across the world we are going to explain what it really means to a healthy snack, and why that terminology is often translated differently. We’ll discus the various levels of Veganism and how it effects our ecosystem, gluten-free sensitivity vs celiac disease, Ket0, FODMAP and other trending diets and eating fads, and finally ingredients and  their nutritional value

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What does it mean to be vegan?

People practicing veganism simply means they are avoiding foods made with animal products and animal by-products. This includes eggs, dairy, meat, poultry, seafood.  There are many categories in Veganism including but not limited to, “Ethical Vegans” and “Environmental Vegans” – conscious of animal conditions and environmental conversations respectively.

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What is Gluten-Free? What is Gluten made of? Information about Wheat Allergies and Celiac Disease.

Gluten is composite of proteins found in wheat, barley, rye, and triticale (a rye/wheat hybrid). Simply put, it helps food maintain their shape and acts like a glue. All wheat contains Gluten but not necessarily the other way around. Gluten may be found in several unexpected foods like soy sauce, soups, and condiments.

Approximately 6% of the population has difficulty digesting Gluten. People who are diagnosed with Celiac Disease (an autoimmune form of gluten-intolerance), Crohn’s disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) must retain a Gluten-Free lifestyle.  Although Gluten sensitivities and wheat allergies may differ they both share similar symptoms. People with wheat allergies and Gluten sensitivity may experience skin irritation, nasal congestion, headache, cramps, brain fog, fatigue and digestion issues.

Why is the “Gluten-Free diet” so trendy?

Avoiding wheat (high in Gluten) or Gluten altogether aids digestion, weight loss, and increased energy. Taking up a Gluten-Free diet may even reduce inflammation caused by rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia! (Sapone A, 2013)

What makes desserts low fat?

A few easy baking techniques such as replacing fat filled ingredients like oil and butter with low-fat yogurt. It’s as simple as that!

What is erythritol?

Erythritol, a sugar substitute, in its natural form is a sweetener found in nature. However, only in very minuscule amounts. That’s why today, in order to use in mainstream food production, it’s synthetically made in a laboratory. Scientists start with a glucose molecule to ferment it into Erythritol, much like how it is found in nature, from fermented cheese, wines, melons etc.. It’s one of the safest sugar substitutes on the market and it’s safe for a diabetic to costume as it does not raise blood glucose or insulin levels. Check out our diabetic friendly products here.

Is it safe to eat Soy Lecithin with soy allergy?

Soy Lecithin is a highly refined ingredient—meaning the protein found in soy is present in very small amounts— and is backed by clinical studies as safe to eat by food allergic individuals. (https://www.kidswithfoodallergies.org/soy-allergy.aspx)

Why is it important to label nut free products?

Nut allergy awareness has become a predominant diet restriction in our society. The responsibilities lies heavy on us both, from our kitchen to yours, labelling helps keep you informed and the end Consumer safe.

If you see the Nut Free (NF) sign it simply means there are no ingredients containing  tree nuts or peanuts. However it’s important to declare an Allergen warning such as this “ This facility uses wheat, soy, nuts etc…

For example Sensible Edibles uses “Allergen warning: Manufactured in a facility containing milk, eggs, soybean, wheat & tree nuts.”

Organic vs Non-GMO’s

Organic ingredients are produced without chemicals, synthetic pesticides and essentially any artificial compounds.

What is Organic?

Organic is better. Organic ingredients are always non-GMO (genetically modified organisms).  However, non-GMO are not necessarily organic. This is important to note! Genetically modified ingredients may contain chemicals, pesticide treatments and synthetic compounds.

What is Spelt Flour?

Spelt is wheat derived from whole spelt grains which are identified as ancient grains. Spelt grains thrive in our natural environment and therefore have never been processed through hybridization or genetic modification. We use the term ancient grains because they are growing today as they did thousands of years ago. Spelt grains flourish in lower levels of pesticides, fertilizers, and irrigation keeping them a popular choice for those who are mindful of their carbon footprint. (wholegrainscouncil.org) (Blatter, R.H 2004).

Spelt flour is an excellent source of protein, fiber, complex carbohydrates, B vitamins, manganese, magnesium, niacin, thiamine, and copper. (Kohajdová, Z.,2013)

The Gluten in spelt flour has a different molecular make-up than the Gluten in modern wheat. Spelt flour has a lower Gluten ratio which is why it’s more digestible and water-soluble allowing easy absorption than modern wheat.


What is enriched flour? Why should we eat whole grains?

Whole grains are the entire seed of a plant or kernel, which is made up of three parts. The bran is the edible outer layer skin containing antioxidants, B vitamins and fiber. The germ is the embryo that can sprout and contains B vitamins, some protein, minerals, and healthy fats.

The endosperm is food supply producing roots to collect water and nutrients and sprouts up for photosynthesizing power. It contains starchy carbohydrates, proteins, some vitamins, and minerals.

“Once a grain is refined by processing mills it loses its bran and germ, leaving only the endosperm or in layman’s terms loses ¼ or protein and 2/3 of is score nutrients. Due to deficiency diseases pelagra and beri-beri farmers were mandated to enrich their flour but that only accounted for less than 6 of the many missing nutrients. See chart below for better understanding of vitamins lost and gained through this process”.  (https://wholegrainscouncil.org, 2017)

What is Organic Brown Rice Syrup?

Organic brown rice syrup (OBRS) is a Vegan/Gluten-Free liquid sugar substitute. Vegans may prefer OBRS to refined sugar. It’s not known for any substantial health benefits, it’s sugar. Containing trace minerals of magnesium, manganese and zinc. The fact that it’s made from brown rice doesn’t make it healthy. However, in terms of sweeteners it’s almost always organic, easily digestible, and a good substitute for sugars.

What is Xanthan or Xanthan Gum?

Xanthan is a mixture of sugars used as a thickening element. It is often used as a substitute for Gluten in Gluten-Free goods to help hold food together.

How do Sustainable Agriculture and Sustainable Sourced Ingredients benefit us?

It’s much more difficult to track how ingredients are managed that are grown elsewhere. Everything from what pesticides were used, how it’s processed and transport to our local food industry. Farmers who grow local don’t prioritize shelf life or packaging; therefore they grow for ideal freshness. Center for A New American dream (CNAD) confirms a decrease in pesticide usage for small farms compared to large factories that tend to overdose. Small farms tend to grow a variety, protecting biodiversity and preserving a range in the agricultural gene pool.

“For every $1 spent at a local business, 45 cents stays in the community and is reinvested locally; for corporate chains only 17 cents stays in the local community.”  (S.A.R.E., 2012)


Blatter, R.H.; Jacomet, S.; Schlumbaum, A. (January 2004). “About the Origin of European Spelt ( Triticum spelta L.): Allelic Differentiation of the HMW Glutenin B1-1 and A1-2 Subunit Genes”. Theoretical and Applied Genetics. 108 (2): 360–367. doi:10.1007/s00122-003-1441-7. PMID 14564390.

Independent BC: Small Business and the British Columbia Economy” [PDF]. Civic Economics, Feb. 2013.

Kohajdová, Z., Karovičová, J. (2008). “Nutritional Value and Baking Applications of Spelt Wheat” (pdf). Acta Scientiarum Polonorum. Technologia Alimentaria. 7 (3): 5–14. Retrieved 21 November 2013

Sapone A, Bai JC, Ciacci C, et al. Spectrum of gluten-related disorders: consensus on new nomenclature and classification. BMC Med. 2012;10:13. Published 2012 Feb 7. doi:10.1186/1741-7015-10-13

Sustainable Agrictulture Research & Education. 2012. what is sustainable agriculture. https://www.sare.org/Learning-Center/SARE-Program-Materials/National-Program-Materials/What-is-Sustainable-Agriculture

Whole grain council. 2017. whole-grains-101. https://wholegrainscouncil.org/

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