Phthalates In Food- When Labelling Doesn’t Tell The Whole Story

Over the summer months I’ve been reading rather than writing. I’m currently reading Nate Silver’s ‘The Signal And The Noise’, which is a fascinating look at the world of Big Data; not really the sort of thing I discuss here, but I would highly recommend it none the less. What might be more relevant to my readers however is a book which has made a huge impression on myself and my family; it has changed the way we look at many foods and has genuinely altered the way we source and cook ingredients. Continue reading

Rediscovering Ancient Wisdom In Bread Baking

'Baking bread' from Tacuini sanitatis
‘Baking bread’ from Tacuini sanitatis

I think it’s amazing that Western society is having to re-learn the importance of fermentation in bread baking in the 21st century. There is abundant¬†evidence of humans producing fermented bread many thousands of years ago, although presumably the earliest bakers didn’t realise exactly what benefits the fermentation conferred to their diet. Continue reading

Phytic Acid- The Antinutrient In Your Bread

When it comes to choosing our breads and breakfast cereals, I think it’s fair to say we all know we should be eating more wholemeal/wholegrain products. There are several very good reasons for this- wholemeal flour, which includes more of the outer parts of the grain, is a good source of dietary fibre for one, and the great majority of us in the western world do not eat enough fibre to maintain healthy gut function. These parts of the grain also contain far higher levels of vitamins and minerals than the soft endosperm which goes into making white flour. In fact, almost 90% of some key nutrients are lost in the extraction process, making white flour a food with poor nutritional value. For this reason, flour millers are legally required to supplement these flours with B vitamins once the extraction process is complete in order to prevent widespread nutrient deficiencies. This seems a convoluted way of producing a nutritious¬†product doesn’t it- removing naturally occurring nutrients to later replace them with industrially-produced imitations. So we’re agreed- wholemeal all the way, right? Continue reading