Blog : health

5 Minutes with R&D Dietitian Jade Gibbons

5 Minutes with R&D Dietitian Jade Gibbons

Did you know our team includes two Accredited Practising Dietitians? Meet Jade our R&D dietitian and the incredible brains and creativity behind our delicious frozen dessert and yoghurt flavours. We sat down with Jade to see what her role involves, how she comes up with flavours and what her favourite creation is!

  1. You are a qualified dietitian – is this the type of role you always imagined yourself in? If not, what had you initially planned to do with your degree?
     My aim was to be a dietitian however I never really saw myself in the traditional role of dietitian that is in the public or private health service sector. I wanted to be able to be creative but overall, I wanted my love of food to be contagious; to help others find a love of food!
  1. Why did you become a dietitian in the first place?
    I wanted to be involved with food and to go to university, so I researched what university degrees were available that involved the study of food. Voila, I enrolled in a Nutrition and Dietetics degree at the University of Sydney. At the time, they offered a double degree of the above combined with Exercise and Sports Science. I enrolled in both as I loved being active and previously had completed a Certificate III in Fitness. I was a bit nervous though as although I loved being active, I’m not really a ‘sporty’ person and thought I would be having to play sports during study breaks, with all these sporty people! Yes, most of fellow students were sporty but I couldn’t have spent 5 years with a better bunch. By the way, I’m still not sporty.
  1. What does your role at Luz Almond Involve?
    Every day, week and month is different. When I first started with Luz Almond in February 2014 it was in the start-up stage of a business; I literally was making almond milk! I could go for quite a while about what my role at Luz Almond has involved but primarily I look after product development, understanding and applying food regulation and coordinating the development of labels.
  1. How did you come up with all those delicious flavours for the Frozen Dessert and Yoghurt?
    Awww, thank you. Prior to recipe development, I always start with market research into consumer preferences and trends, as ultimately it is customers whom I want to love the product. Once I have a shortlist of potential flavours, that’s when the R&D really begins and there are many trial recipes before the final recipe for each flavour is decided. My goal for the end product is for it to be loved by customers and have that something extra special that surpasses customers’ expectations; enabling their love of food to reach new heights.
  1. If you had to pick one product from the Luz Almond range, which would be your favourite?
    Easy. Cacao Fudge Frozen Dessert. It still surprises me however rich and creamy it is! Mmmm…chocolate.

Cacao Almond Milk Frozen Dessert

JCN Food Intolerance Friendly Lunch

JCN Food Intolerance Friendly Lunch

This week on the blog, we are sharing a sneak peak of the food and festivities from last Sunday’s Food Intolerance Friendly Lunch. Our lovely sales superwoman Lauren Welsh, had the pleasure of attending the event and taking lots of drool worthy snaps for us to share with you. So a few more details….

When
Sunday 19th June 2016

Where
Fiamme Trattoria, Albion, Brisbane

What
A lavish 3 course lunch with options catering to various food intolerances including
egg free, cow’s milk free, gluten free and dairy free

Check out the menu:

JCN MenuWho

Pictured here are our lovely hosts Nutritionists Jessica Cox & Carissa Anne of JCN Clinic
& Chefs Craig & Nicola of Fiamme Trattoria

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The lunch was attended by 60 people with nutritionists, dietitians, wellness entrepreneurs and general foodies in the mix!

Our Involvement

Our Luz Almond Frozen dessert was featured in two of the three desserts on the day…

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Guests also received a tub of our NEW Luz Almond Milk Yoghurt to take home!

It was such a pleasure to join forces with the lovely ladies over at JCN Clinic and we are so grateful to Jess for inviting us to be involved. We can’t wait for next year!


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5 Foods to Help You Avoid the Lurgy this Winter

5 Foods to Help You Avoid the Lurgy this Winter

While our friends in the Northern Hemisphere are revelling in the warmer weather, for us down under, the cooler months have begun to take their toll (unless we have been smart and decided to escape – Hello Europe) which has also meant an increase in colds and flus floating around! Our dietitian Olivia shares the 5 best foods for keeping your immune system in tip top shape:

  1. Fresh (or frozen) fruit and vegetables – you have heard the saying, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” –  while it takes a bit more than an apple, the fundamental concept is there! Fruit and vegetables are rich sources of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and enzymes. Antioxidants in particular, boost the immune system by mopping up free radicals which attack cells. When people talk about antioxidants you will often hear them refer to the ORAC value – with higher values corresponding to higher antioxidant content. You will notice when you compare the ORAC values of F&V, a general rule of thumb is the darker the colour, the higher the antioxidant content. Blueberries and raspberries are particularly high in antioxidants so try adding them to your breakfast  or enjoying them as a snack through the day for a seriously delicious and low sugar boost to your immune system!IMG_6435
  2. Turmeric – This bright yellow coloured spice has been getting some serious airtime of late with turmeric being added to everything from your warming curry, the crumbing on your fish and increasingly as an alternative beverage to your morning coffee  (sans caffeine) with Turmeric Latte’s (AKA Golden Milk) popping up on menus everywhere. In an era of ‘superfoods’, Turmeric, a spice which has been around for centuries, has been escalated to stardom status. Curcumin, the active ingredient in Turmeric is responsible for it’s distinct yellow colour, as well as providing a list of health benefits, in particular reducing inflammation, with its benefits been comparable to that of anti-inflammatory drugs! It is also a powerful antioxidant and is a well tolerated treatment for irritable bowel syndrome. Try incorporating turmeric into your regime – we recommend a Golden Latte made on our Almond Milk for a delicious way to get the benefits!
  3. Ginger – A well known spice in Asian and Indian Cuisine, as well as being very popular in the western world, Ginger has long been heralded for its immune boosting properties. It is particularly effective for the relief of nausea and symptoms associated with colds and is best simply served as a ginger tea. Slice fresh ginger and place in mug topped with hot water. Add manuka honey and lemon for extra anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties!
  4. Yoghurt & Fermented foods – Probiotics found in yoghurts and other fermented foods play a major role in maintaining the balance of bacteria within our gut. Ensuring there is adequate good bacteria, is essential for keeping our digestive system functioning optimally as this represents the first line of defence against pathogens which ultimately make us sick. Incorporate yoghurt (try Luz Almond Milk Yoghurt) into your daily routine to give your gut a healthy boost!IMG_6469
  5. Matcha – Before there was turmeric, there was Matcha! A long standing tradition in Japanese culture, the Western world caught wind of this vibrant green powder a little while back and these days it is commonplace to see it in everything from lattes (Have you tried our Matcha Almond Milk?) to cakes, desserts and even pancakes! Matcha which literally meals ‘powdered tea’ is basically a super concentrated version of green tea, concentrated in everything from colour, to taste and health benefits. One of the main benefits associated with matcha is the buzz of energy similar to that of caffeine, but without the jittery and anxious side effects. It also rich in antioxidants (ORAC values 20 x that of blueberries) and is known to enhance mood and improve memory and concentration.Powderalmondsbottle
Chai Latte

Chai Latte

Ingredients

4 Black Tea Bags

2 cups Luz Almond Original or Date Almond Milk

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground cardamom

½ tsp ground ginger

¼ tsp ground cloves

Grind black pepper

Sweetener to taste

Method

  1. Place all ingredients except sweetener into a small saucepan over medium heat with the tea bags hanging out of the pot.
  2. Bring to the boil then reduce heat and allow to simmer for 10 minutes so flavour infuses.
  3. Squeeze tea bags to release flavour, mix and then taste.
  4. Add sweetener of your choice to taste (we recommend maple syrup or honey).
  5. Serve immediately.
Understanding the Difference Between Allergies & Intolerances

Understanding the Difference Between Allergies & Intolerances

Among the many reasons why people start drinking almond milk and other dairy alternatives is due to a food allergy or intolerance. This often means we are forced to limit our intake or rule out the offending substance, however the actual allergy or intolerance is often  due to a single compound within the food. The foods we eat are made up of various compounds including protein, fat, carbohydrates nutrients as well as natural chemicals, not to mention additives that can all single handedly cause adverse reactions.  In the case of cow’s milk, for example, some people (particularly children) will have an allergy to the protein in the milk, while others will have an intolerance to the sugar, lactose.

While the two are often grouped together, there are a few distinct differences. One of the primary differentiating factors is that an allergy illicits an immune response by producing specific antibodies against substances in the environment that are normally harmless. Contamination with an allergen usually results in swelling and inflammation which can occur all over the body. The severity can range from irritating to life threatening. In order to diagnose an allergy, most common methods include skin prick testing and blood testing for specific allergen born antibody. These tests are largely conclusive.
The most common food allergies are: peanuts, cow’s milk, soy, seafood and eggs.

An intolerance similarly causes an adverse reaction to food that can be mistaken for an allergy, as they share some symptoms, which can also be very severe. Yet unlike a true allergy, intolerances do NOT involve an immune response and does not show up on allergy testing mentioned above (blood test and skin prick testing).
The most common intolerances are: lactose, wheat sensitivity, salicytates, amines, glutamates, preservatives, artificial foods colours and food enhancers eg. MSG

Testing for intolerances is often far less conclusive and often exceptionally confusing. This is because not only are we always eating and drinking but people will also experience different reactions and to varying severities.  The best way to find foods responsible for food intolerances is to follow an elimination diet, followed by gradual reintroduction and challenges under the supervision of a professional. However due to the restrictiveness and time involved, many people will deal with undiagnosed intolerances, or worse self-diagnose.

Finally, you think you or someone you know is suffering from an intolerance or allergy, it is important to see your doctor to rule out anything life threatening.

Sweet Anti-inflammatory Roast Pumpkin Soup

Sweet Anti-inflammatory Roast Pumpkin Soup

Recipe courtesy of  The FODMAP Friendly Vegan

“Oregano is an amazing herb from a health perspective, and has been traditionally used to treat respiratory tract disorders, gastrointestinal (GI) disorders, menstrual cramps, and urinary tract disorders. It is often used in naturopathy to treat candida due to its potent antibacterial properties. It also contains vitamins A, C, E, and K, as well as fiber, folate, iron, magnesium, vitamin B6, calcium, and potassium. One active agent in oregano is rosmarinic acid, which is a strong antioxidant that may support immune system health. Fresh oregano has an intriguing, complex flavour, and the herb is among the few that dries incredibly well. In this recipe it draws out the sweetness of the caramalised pumpkin perfectly. This recipe will definitely become a family staple.”

Serves 4

Time taken: 50 mins

This is one of my favourite soups to prepare when my tum is playing up. Not only because it’s so easy to create, but also because it’s one of the tastiest. It is creamy (yet without cream), creates a cozy, warming feeling in your belly, is well-seasoned, and, to top it all off, is incredibly good for you! Oregano is an amazing herb from a health perspective, and has been traditionally used to treat respiratory tract disorders, gastrointestinal (GI) disorders, menstrual cramps, and urinary tract disorders. It is often used in naturopathy to treat candida due to its potent antibacterial properties. It also contains vitamins A, C, E, and K, as well as fiber, folate, iron, magnesium, vitamin B6, calcium, and potassium. One active agent in oregano is rosmarinic acid, which is a strong antioxidant that may support immune system health. Fresh oregano has an intriguing, complex flavour, and the herb is among the few that dries incredibly well. In this recipe it draws out the sweetness of the caramalised pumpkin perfectly. This recipe will definitely become a family staple.

Nourishing Ingredients:

  • 1 jap pumpkin (you could use butternut too – however note this is less FODMAP friendly due to its Oligos & Polyols content – so judge for yourself if this is safe)
  • 1 large carrot, cut into thick rounds
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped spring onion tips
  • 1 tsp pure maple syrup
  • 3 cups vegetable stock (homemade is best to avoid added onion and/or garlic powders)
  • 1 cup Luz Almond original almond milk
  • 2.5 cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 3 oregano sprigs (or 2 tsp dried oregano)
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric (you can use freshly grated or powdered)
  • A sprinkle of ground nutmeg
  • Coconut oil for frying
  • Extra virgin olive oil for coating
  • Himalayan salt & pepper to season
  • Optional: toasted pumpkin seeds & coconut cream to top

 

To Create: 

  1. Preheat an oven to 190ºC. Cut the pumpkin in half & scoop out the seeds.
  2. Place both halves on a baking sheet and fill each cavity with 1 sprig of oregano.  Drizzle the pumpkin with olive oil and sprinkle it with salt & pepper.
  3. Carefully turn the halves. Roast for about an hour, until soft and caramelised. Remove the pumpkin from the oven (turning off the oven) & allow to cool for 10 minutes.
  4. Place a heavy-bottomed pan on medium heat. Sauté the spring onion tips in some coconut oil. Add the ginger and chopped carrot and stir to combine. Scoop out the flesh of the cooled pumpkin and add it to the pot. Add the turmeric and maple syrup. Stir well. Allow the mixture to caramelise slightly but keep an eye on it.
  5. After a few minutes, add the vegetable stock to the pan and stir. Lower the heat and allow the mixture to simmer for 20 minutes.
  6. Using an immersion or high-speed blender, puree the soup until smooth. Add the nutmeg and stir. Taste and add salt & pepper as required.
  7. Pour the soup into bowls and top with some oregano leaves and a swirl of coconut cream if you’re feeling fancy. You could also add some toasted pumpkin seeds or activated buckwheat for added crunch.
Breakfast Trifle

Breakfast Trifle

Super easy and EXTRA delicious! Feel free to use different fruit, nuts, cereal as you wish!

Serves 1

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup fresh or frozen berries
  • 1 tub Luz Almond Yoghurt (we used mango)
  • ½ – ¾ cup your favour muesli or rolled oatsIMG_6439

Method

  1. Layer half the muesli on the bottom of a glass/clear bowl.
  2. Top with half the tub of Luz Almond Yoghurt, then top with half the berries.
  3. Repeat with remaining muesli, then Luz Almond yoghurt and finally finish off with berries.
  4. Enjoy immediately!

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Chocolate-y Easter Tart

Chocolate-y Easter Tart

These delicious tarts make the perfect Easter dessert! For a little fun try decorating with Easter eggs or baby chickens

Serves 6

Ingredients

Pastry

  • 1 1/4 cup almond meal
  • 1 cup coconut flour
  • ¼ cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp cacao
  • 2-2 1/2 tbsp ice-cold water

Filling

  • 1 ½ cups Luz Almond Medjool Date or Original Almond Milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cup coconut milk
  • 3 tbsp tapioca flour
  • ¼ cup cacao (additional if desired)
  • 3 tbsp pure maple syrup (additional if using Luz Original)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

 

Method
1. To make the pastry mix together all the dry ingredients (almond meal, coconut flour and cacao) in a bowl then add to a food processor.

2. Combine vanilla, maple syrup, coconut oil and 2 tbs ice cold water. Add to food processor and blend until it forms a dough. You made need to add a little more water if it appears dry.

3. Refrigerate for half an hour then press into 6 individual 10cm diameter tart tins.

4. Blind bake on 150 degrees Celsius for 10 minutes then remove weights and cook uncovered for further ten minutes or until crisp. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

5. To make the filling, put the tapioca flour, cinnamon and cacao in a saucepan. Add vanilla and maple syrup.

6. Whisk to combine over low heat then add almond milk and coconut milk and whisk constantly. Slowly bring the mixture to the boil and continue stirring constantly until thick custard consistency.

7. Pour into tart cases.

8. Refrigerate for 4-6 hours. Gently remove tarts from tins and serve dusted with cacao.

Crazy for Cacao

Crazy for Cacao

As known lovers of chocolate we thought we would give you some insight into the incredible benefits of raw cacao. 

Cacao, as it is spelled (no it is not a spelling mistake) refers to a dark brown powder produced by cold pressing unroasted cocoa beans. The purpose of cold pressing as we have explained previously in relation to our almond milk is to preserve the nutritional content of the bean and keep the living enzymes intact while removing the cocoa butter. This minimal processing results in a product which maintains a high ORAC ( value, a measure of the amount of antioxidants in foods. In contrast, cocoa which looks exceptionally similar is produced by roasting the raw cacao. This process damages the molecular structure resulting in a decrease in the nutritional value as many of the nutrients are not heat stable. Furthermore, the more commonly known cocoa powder often has sugar, amongst other things added in the manufacturing process.

At Luz Almond we are proud to use cacao, (as in the raw packed with goodness version), in two of our delicious products – our cacao cold pressed almond milk and our slightly more decadent cacao fudge with chocolate pieces frozen dessert.

Luz Cacao Cold Pressed Almond Milk

So why do we love cacao so much:

  1. Cacao is a rich source of flavonoids, which are powerful antioxidants that protect from ageing and disease. Cacao has a higher ORAC (measure of antioxidant content) score than acai berries, spinach, blueberries, red wine and green tea, giving it one of the highest antioxidant values of all natural foods.
  2. Cacao is a great source of magnesium which assists the body to process fats and proteins, as well as building strong healthy bones and teeth.
  3. Cacao also contains two compounds (phenylethylamine and anandamide) thought to act on the brain creating a feeling of euphoria and allowing cacao to act as an aphrodisiac and mood enhancer.

Definitely a few good reasons to give these delicious products a try!

Cacao Almond Milk Frozen Dessert