Domino’s in Australia introduces a Soy Free, Gluten Free Pizza Base

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Previously I talked about gluten free pizza here in Australia and how most of the gluten free bases we have here contain soy flour.

In August last year I became very upset about the fact that soy seemed to be getting added to more and more gluten free foods that I previously bought all the time. My post on Country Life Bakery introducing soy flour to their gluten free breads generated an interesting discussion, which continues to this day!

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It may well be by chance, but as of the beginning of the year, the recipe of Domino’s gluten free pizza bases in Australia has changed and they no longer contain soy! They have also changed their logo in the past year so perhaps this is the beginning of a new time… :/

Their most recent allergen listing (March 2013) details which allergens are present in the different pizza bases.

This is good news for those avoiding soy as well as gluten. Unfortunately they still use soybean oil in a number of recipes including their pizza sauce so their selections are still not soy free.

But, as I said, it’s a start!

Country Life Bakery introduces Soy Flour to their Gluten Free Bread!

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As many gluten free shoppers in Australia would have recently noticed, many changes within the gluten free marketplace have occurred. From product reformulations (we’ll discuss this more, below) to rearrangements of the gluten free aisles in our supermarkets, our gluten free lifestyles are in the midst of a change in just about every possible manner.

Country Life Bakery, the largest supplier of gluten free bread in Australia is no exception.

Pictured below is an example of their old packaging along with it’s ingredient listing:

Ingredients: Contains almond, egg and sulphites as indicated in bold type. Water, Rice Flour, Tapioca Flour, Almond Meal, Eggs, Yeast, Vegetable Oil, (Antioxidant 320), Sugar, Linseed Meal, Vegetable Gum (415, 412), Rice Bran, Psyllium Husks, Vinegar, Iodised Salt, Emulsifiers (471,481), Food Acid (260), Preservative (220, Sulphites) Vitamin (Thiamin).

Note: There is no dairy in our recipe, but traces of dairy may be found as our bakery machine also makes breads containing dairy.

Pictured below is an example of their new packaging.

Ingredients: Contains almond, soy and egg as indicated in bold type. Water, modified tapioca starch (1442), rice flour, maize starch almond meal, vegetable oil, linseed, soy flour, egg white, sugar, rice bran, iodised salt, psyllium flour, yeast, hydroxypropyl methylcellulose (464), preservative (282), vegetable gum (412), vitamin (thiamin).

I took a picture on the back of the loaf as well as the front (pictured above), which is pictured below:

Before I rant on, I thought I would include their boasting (albeit ridiculous IMO) quote:

Making great quality gluten free bread isn’t easy. At Country Life Bakery we’ve been baking gluten free bread since 1984 & we’ve learnt a lot along the way. We want our gluten free bread to be the closest to regular bread you can find. Our new formulation is our best work yet. Soft, light & delicious – you won’t believe it’s gluten free. Bigger, better & now also dairy free.

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So, it seems that Country Life Bakery has now joined the food industry in reformulating their gluten free loaves.

And, surprise surprise! Guess what they added to it that I have feared all along??

SOY!

Should I have been surprised? Probably not (as I had strong suspicions that it would eventually happen), but as you can probably tell I am now overwhelmed in total, complete and utter frustration at what I am to do!

Unlike the United States, the UK and New Zealand it seems like every gluten free bread (and just about every last loaf of regular bread too) here in Australia now contains one common ingredient: SOY FLOUR!

I can no longer find a bread without this WRETCHED ingredient.

Have the manufacturers here not a clue as to the dangers of soy? What is their purpose in adding it to so many of our gluten free foods.

A couple of months ago I ranted on about how the Patties Gluten Free range of foods now contains soy. Uncle Rick (the man who developed the original recipes for their range which were free of as many allergens as possible (including soy)) graciously dropped me a line saying that since he left the company he has not been happy with what he as seen.

AND I’M NOT ONE BIT HAPPY EITHER!!!

I will no longer be supporting Country Life Bakery. My non-coeliac family members who used to purchase their regular loaves will no longer be giving them their business either.

Did you know that SOY FLOUR is now the most common ingredient in bread in Australia?

It STINKS that something that traditionally was NEVER in bread is now in virtually EVERY loaf around!!!

What are your thoughts? Tell me below.

Gluten and Soy Free fare at Grill’d

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As many of my readers would know, I often get frustrated by the littlest things in life – especially when it comes to the soy-free side of things. While more and more gluten free foods have become available on the supermarket shelves over the last 3-4 years, many of the bread/cake mixes and cookies are loaded with soy flour (at least here in Australia). Getting any sort of ready-meal which is gluten and soy free is always a challenge.

Eating out is also a challenge. Again it’s not so much due to gluten, but mostly soy! Restaurants are often thoughtless of the soy-allergic population and use cooking sprays and generic vegetable oils (which (for those who don’t know), by the way do contain soy (read the ingredients if you aren’t aware, and you’ll see what I’m talking about)) thus rendering well-prepared, naturally soy-free meals inedible for those of us who must avoid this wretched ingredient in all its forms.

Thankfully, some franchises still cook and bake in a more traditional manner. Grill’d in Australia is one such company with lots of locations here in Sydney and other capital cities around the country.

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A couple of hours ago, I went for a Saturday lunch at one of their outlets and (after double checking my options with the staff) ordered a Simply Grill’d burger along with their world-renowned herbed chips and herbed mayo. The oil Grill’d uses in their recipes and for cooking with did not contain any soy at all. The chips are also the only item that is deep fried, so seeing as though nothing else with gluten or soy is cooked in the vats they too were safe. The gluten free buns supplied were really nice in texture and were allergen free although I think they had yeast in them.

There is also a slight gluten cross-contamination risk, as they tend to toast the gluten free buns in the same toaster as everything else (though they did brush off the conveyor belt before laying down my gluten free buns). The assembly line was also a cause of concern. Thankfully my gluten reactions generally aren’t as bad as my soy ones and seeing as though virtually all items made and used on premises are soy-free I made an allowance for it.

Their beef patties were also to die for. I loved their chips as well. My only complaint was the high price tag but, believe me, when you’re seeking something to eat when out in town with such enormous food restrictions, I’ll pay just about anything to keep myself well-fed, especially when what I get is sooo delicious!!!

Happy Soy Free Easter!!!

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Easter Sunday has arrived!!!

Well at least here in Oz, anyways ;)

AND of course…

So has the time for chocolate.

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Earlier that morning I sat down by my desk and cried in total sadness and withdrawl. All week long I’ve been exposed to social situations where people have been handing easter eggs to each other, and sharing the joy of chocolate that always comes at this time of year – at least for most.

Unfortunately, for folks like myself who must vigilantly avoid soy, the Easter season becomes more of a test of determination and willpower than a celebration of any sorts.

Each and every year I spend countless hours at every supermarket, department store and retail outlet to find any chocolate treat that does not contain soy lecithin. Unlike some countries, *all* of the mainstream chocolate manufacturers in Australia use this wretched ingredient in virtually every chocolate product I’ve seen. Even *allergy-friendly* companies like Kinnerton and Sweet William have given virtually no consideration to those who suffer adverse reactions to soy (yet dairy, egg, nut, gluten and all other common allergen -free varieties are available). Quite pathetic, if you ask me! Especially for an allergen that is affecting many people, with even *trace* amounts of it causing life-threatening reactions. Just goes to show how notoriously powerful the soy industry has become (sigh). :?

Enough of the rant…

Now… for the good news… :)

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Thankfully, I have some great friends who have done some work at searching for some treats that are not only safe for me but also taste great so that non-soy-allergic folk can also enjoy them.

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And guess what I got??

Amedei Easter Eggs!!!

Unfortunately I didn’t take any photos as there was no camera on me at the time, so instead I included a photo (to the left) sourced from King’s Fine Food, the company I had told these friends about about a year ago. And they ordered some Easter eggs that they happened to see on their website just a couple of weeks before Easter!! :D

There were three varieties of easter eggs – white, milk and dark chocolate. All had a nutty-cream filling inside. Shockingly, no one else in Australia (apart from my friend)  appears to have ordered these eggs before. Surely there must be a demand for high-quality soy free Easter chocolate over here, especially when it’s so ridiculously hard to find. Hopefully, with this post going live, they should gain some ground ‘down under’ future years. ;)

The stunningly amazing presentation and the exquisite taste (as with all Amedei Chocolate) of the easter eggs in their baskets made my day! Hopefully they will continue to stock these wonderful gluten free, soy free delights that so many more can treat their friends and family to something that is safe and delicious!

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Amedei for their consideration for consumers like myself, and also Kings Fine Food for shipping the items Internationally. I plan on sampling some other products in the next month and should hopefully be able to blog some more on the high-quality products that are produced by this wonderful company that has not only developed a chocolate without the use of soy lecithin, but has also created some of the most outstandingly delicious chocolate in the world that even my friends have tried!

No soy products or gluten-containing cereals are used on premises. The eggs agreed with me very well, and I actually didn’t get sick on Easter Sunday for once!!! :D

As a result, of course, there will be no giveaways this time round! Sorry. :(

… But… please don’t leave this space, as more from this brand is on the way!

Now… Let me know, have you tried these yet? Or do you think you’ll check them out in the future?

A Sick Day – from just a ‘little’ cheat

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American Milky Way Bar

Sorry it has been so long since I previously posted on my blog. I’ve been bombarded with moving to the other side of the country in the last couple of months; so much so that I almost haven’t even had access to Internet for days at a time.

I also didn’t have much of a Christmas, either, and seeing as though I was in no shape to host the festive dinner for my family, I (once again) had to help myself to duck and dive the wheaten onslaught of sume of our traditional family favourites here in Australia – home-baked puddings and pies.

Of course, I was tempted to give in. Very tempted! But after the wedding experience I’d had with the chocolate cake last year, I knew I had to restrain myself from doing something that would probably result in severe food poisoning symptoms.

Thankfully there are some supposed remedies out there for those struggling with a gluten and/or soy free lifestyle, such as Dr Wise’s Gluten Relief, which I blogged about some months ago (the article and ever-growing discussions generated in the comments are definitely worth a read) as well as possible future treatments including vaccines, drugs and adult stem cell therapies that may help restore normal tolerance to these ‘poisons’ that lurk around our areas on a day-to-day basis.

At least things have settled down with the move now, that I was able to shop around my local neighbourhood yesterday. And it just so happened that I was craving chocolate when I spotted an International Lolly Shop! I wondered if they may have some chocolate that was soy-free.

Other than some Vivani 100g blocks, which I purchased and can hopefully review in the coming weeks, there didn’t seem to be much that didn’t have the dreaded soy lecithin ingredient lurking near the bottom of the list. At the time, I REALLY DIDN’T WANT A 100g BLOCK OF CHOCOLATE. All I wanted a small chocolate bar, THAT I COULD EAT!

Then I saw the American Milky Way bars, the original ones – the ones that I used to grow up on and enjoy as a treat. I quickly observed the ingredients, and saw that malted barley (a gluten containing ingredient) was present in the nougat within the bar for flavouring. Because there were no outright sources of wheat in the bar, I decided to see how I’d go with the small amount of soy and gluten that was present in the bar.

AND… IT WAS   DEELICIOUS!!! A real treat for a change.

That was, until a couple of hours after I got home and was so constipated that stomach cramps had begun to get the better of me, which in turn resulted in me having to stay in bed all day today, making me now regret the choice I made yesterday. :(

Of course, it wasn’t quite as bad as the ‘other’ incident I discussed above and in last year’s post. I can still walk without joint pain and have been able to sleep more easily than that of last time. Though I must admit it’s a bit hard to tell whether it was the soy or the barley malt or a combination of both that I reacted to. Maybe next time I’ll try a Reese’s Peanut-Butter Cup Instead. ;)

Coeliac Australia and Gluten Free Labelling

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When you choose a gluten free item, how do you know whether it is safe for you as a coeliac?

Well… that’s a question I ask, you’re probably asking and all the friends and family of coeliacs and they themselves may be continuing to ask.

Right now, in Australia and New Zealand, the term ‘gluten free’ means ‘no detectable gluten‘, ‘no oats‘ and ‘no malt from gluten containing cereals‘. There is no ‘official’ definition for ‘soy-free’ or any other form of ‘allergy free’ labelling. The term ‘gluten free’ is defined under FSANZ Standard 1.2.8

In most European countries (including the UK), as of the beginning of 2012 it will mean “no more than 20ppm gluten“.

In Canada it means “no ingredient derived from wheat, including spelt and kamut, or oats, barley, rye or triticale“, however contamination of up to 20ppm is allowed.

In the USA, it currently means whatever the manufacturer wishes for it to mean. Hopefully by this time next year, they will implement a sound definition of what “gluten free” actually means.

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As can be seen from above, it is clear that the definition of what ‘gluten free’ means differs so much from country to country. Currently, here in Australia, the Coeliac Society is aiming to change the regulation so that instead of having a ‘no detectable gluten’ stance on gluten free labelling, contamination of up to ‘less than 20ppm gluten’ will be permitted.

Nature's Earth Organic Corn Flakes - Gluten Free outside of Australia due to differing legislation

This means that foods such as cereals made by brands such as Nature’s Path, that manufacture their products in North America, would qualify to be labelled as ‘gluten free, should the definition change’. Currently, as they’re likely to contain ‘detectable gluten’ (i.e. < approx. 2ppm gluten) they cannot be labelled as such. In fact, there is now even a warning below the ingredients list on these products that they ‘may contain traces of gluten‘. Yet in Canada, the UK and the USA, these same products are clearly marked ‘gluten free’ on the front of the packaging.

Coeliac Australia maintains that this will allow Australians following a gluten free diet to enjoy a greater amount of choice available from overseas products as well as allowing mainstream companies to be more comfortable in entering the gluten free marketplace.

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Currently, it seems that although the team at the Walter and Eliza Hall institute along with many other many other medical bodies support this notion, many appear to be in opposition of this, including Dr. Rodney Ford and a good substantial number of gluten free consumers as well. Coeliacs from other parts of the world

With ‘potentially useful’ other solutions for this condition (that I have posted about) currently available, attempting to alter the definition of ‘gluten free’ may eventually become a wasted task. Especially when it could be at the detriment to those with coeliac disease.

I’d like to stick with the definition of ‘no detectable gluten‘. How about you?

Let us know of your thoughts. :-?

How ‘soy free’ are you?

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Source: whatcanieat.com.au

Over, recent years, it seems that many have resorted to avoiding foods that contain gluten. While it does seem that while soy is easier to avoid in Australia, there really is very little (if any) awareness of soy allergies and intolerances. I recently came across a post entitled, “How ‘Gluten Free’ are YOU?” and thought I’d be able to make an interesting one with regard to soy allergies.

Soy (in itself) seems to be a controversial food. Many believe that soy is ‘good for you’, while others proclaim that soy protein has many dangerous side effects. While I personally don’t have any comment to make on these claims, one thing’s for sure. Soy is still a fairly ‘new’ food in western civilisation – something that has been almost forced into our diets with most not even realising it! And with almost all normal breads off limits to those with soy allergies, it can make ‘living without’ both a difficult and challenging task.

Additionally, as we know, many food allergy networks from around the world proclaim that soy oil and soy lecithin are safe for inclusion within the soy free diet. Personally, I get sick if I eat too many products containing these soy ingredients. I actually seem to react worse to soy on some occasions than gluten, oddly enough. Perhaps there may be a little ‘d’ for danger associated with gluten but a big ‘D’ with soy. Who knows :-?

Anyhow, I’ve included a poll below for you to see where you stand in the realm of soy avoidance:

Personally, I would say I’m at Level 3 on the whole scale of things. I normally avoid soy lecithin and soybean oil, yet products that warn about the presence of traces of these ingredients (such as Cadbury Dairy Milk bars made in the UK) are normally ones that I allow in my diet. I also include Lindt 70% and 85% bars in my diet. Fortunately, to this day, they’ve never made me sick. :)

But each to their own. Let me know of your thoughts.

Cadbury Twirl Bites (UK). Where to get them in Australia?

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As most of you would have probably guessed, I’ve developed quite an obsession with finding soy-free milk chocolates! Something I’d be able to have in order to remember my childhood years…

Recently I heard about a new product that was recently released in the UK (i.e. Cadbury’s Twirl Bites). According to their Nutrition Facts on the product, it appears to be both gluten free and soy lecithin free, as well as being free from all common allergens apart from milk.

Previously, I made a plea to the Chocolate Industry with regard to the fact that so many chocolates in the marketplace contain soy lecithin – an ingredient that most (if not all) soy allergic folk must avoid in their diets.

It also puzzles me as to why Cadbury Australia and Cadbury New Zealand continue to use soya lecithin in virtually *all* of their chocolates, when soy allergies are on the rise but particularly when the brand in the UK switched to using ammonium phosphatides (already some decades ago). Apparently the change occurred in order to eliminate a somewhat undesirable taste that soya lecithin typically imparts in chocolate. [1]

That been said, it may be worth knowing that the UK brand Cadbury’s chocolate does contain proprietary vegetable fats – an additional ingredient which recently infuriated the local Aussie and Kiwi chocoholics when recently added to our local products manufactured by this multinational corporation. Remarkably enough, they seemed to take customer feedback seriously enough to revert back to the original ([vegetable fat]-free) recipe. They claimed that they were reverting to a “cocoa-butter-only” recipe. Of course, the presence of soya lecithin and PGPR never changed during this time. In fact, it seems as though soya lecithin has recently been added to both their flake bars and Pascall Eclairs, both of which used to not contain any soy at all! :(

So much for the “Cocoa-Butter-Only” claim. Sounds similar to the wretched scam that Whittaker’s continues to make.

That all said, my quest for the perfect soy free chocolate is far from over. And in fact, I have recently found an Australian chocolate maker, Slitti, that uses pure chocolate (i.e. soy-free) couverture in making various treats and products. I have yet to try their products, but will report back some time down the track as I find out more.

Meanwhile, if any of you have been able to source these tasty-looking Twirl bites here in Australia, I’d love to hear from you; even any other really good soy-free chocolate suggestions will always be most welcome. I’d also love to hear what you think (if you happen to be in the UK) of the Twirl Bites if you’ve tried them?

[1] Sourced from Google Books – Robert J. Whitehurst, Emulsifiers in Food Technology p226

Coeliac Disease, Giving in, Finding new recipes and Chocolate…

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Sorry it has been so long since I last posted. Unfortunately so much has been happening, from weddings to functions to travel around the country and all the rest of it, I’ve barely been able to keep up with much at all.

To sum up:

Firstly, I really need to get better at ‘saying no’.

As some of you would be aware, from earlier posts, I have been following a gluten free diet for a little over 13 years. I am a diagnosed coeliac and have excluded gluten from my diet for all this time.

I had always notice that when I do consume small amounts of gluten (i.e. less than 1/100th of a piece of bread worth of gluten) I don’t seem to have a problem at all.

Just after easter, I was served croutons and was told they were gluten free. I wasn’t so sure as they tasted a little different but I kept eating away. I noticed I had slightly more flatulence that evening and some extremely ‘slight’ symptoms but I was in no way unwell.

As I normally avoid gluten like the plague for all this time, however, I had forgotten what a normal slice of cake tastes like in comparison to gluten free slices of cake. I can often tell whether a cake is gluten free or not just by looking at the texture of it when it’s cut.

So I asked myself this question: “What if I’m at a gathering? And an irresistibly yummy normal cake is on offer? And I decide to have a slice for myself?”

I assumed that my reaction would be minimal. But I stood corrected, as was evidenced by the reaction I had had to the piece of cake. Within 4 hours I had quite a sore stomach and not long after I had trouble keeping my balance due to joint pain. This reaction went on for about 5 days (have no Idea about whether there was any soy in it, however the real problem was the gluten). Thankfully the reception was over before I got really sick. However, I must say that wheaten cakes were quite different in texture to the typical gluten free cakes out there. They tend to have a more craggy appearance and taste and often tend to satisfy my cravings far more than their gluten free counterparts.

This, in turn, has led me to research how to get a typical ‘cakey’ texture on gluten free cakes so they are hard to tell apart. I began by asking questions on social networking sites as well as many other places on the web. Of all the suggestions, I managed to find two great ideas. One which involves a cake mix and another which is flourless and can be baked from scratch.

source: Sun Flour Mills

Sun Flour Mills – Based in Idaho (in the USA), they produce a variety of gluten free mixes (including an Award-Winning chocolate cake mix which apparently is to die for (I have yet to order and try it myself but if it turns out well, I’ll be sure to review it here).

 

 

 

Flourless Chocolate Cake - Gluten and Nut Free

Thanks to Almost Bourdain, I have also found a Flourless Chinese Five-Spice Chocolate Cake recipe that does not utilise ANY grain or nut flours in it’s recipe at all. Again, I have yet to try this out, however this simple recipe makes the perfect delight for any occasion. Just be sure that the chocolate is soy free. I use Cadbury’s Old Gold 70% chocolate instead of Lindt for cooking here in Australia, but other brands work well too.

I also meant to review some Amedei chocolates I received but ate it all up too quickly. It was DELICIOUS! Some of my favourite chocolate I’ve come across in my life. I certainly recommend ordering some for yourselves (which can easily be done at King’s Fine Foods (UK), where I got the best price for this exquisite delight). More is on the way and I plan to do a comprehensive review in the coming weeks.

And, of course, I will try harder to stay clear of the wheaty cakes and croutons. ;)

Aldi’s Gluten Free Offerings (Easter 2011)

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Cost Competitive Gluten Free Solutions

Cost-Competitive Gluten Free Solutions

For those of us living on the Eastern Side ‘down under’, Aldi stores have become abundant in major centres. From Brisbane to Sydney to Canberra and Melbourne; this German ‘budget’ supermarket chain continues to make it’s way across the continent, changing the ways in which many Australians shop.

At such places, one would almost be led to believe that ‘gluten-free’ and ‘allergen-free’ foods simply could not compete in terms of quality or price and therefore would not qualify as stock.

Fortunately, Aldi has clearly proved us wrong; and on more than one occasion too! :)

This Thursday (21st April), Aldi will be releasing a range of gluten free products under the ‘has no…’ brand. These will include items which were available in May last year: flours; mixes for bread, gravy, pancakes and all purpose crumbs; along with some new additions including pastas, and more. Many products from this range are also wheat, dairy, egg, soy, tapioca, xanthan gum and cane sugar free too!

To my knowledge, the flours in particular (plain and self raising) received a very positive response from coeliac consumers.

Demand could be high, so I suggest you get in there quick and support their range of gluten free foods! check out their special buys so you can get what you need the most!

I plan to do some reviews on some of their products soon…

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