Blog : nuts

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.

Warm Cacao Chia Pudding

A delicious gluten and dairy free alternative to an old favourite!

Ingredients
  • 3/4 cup Luz Original Cold Pressed Almond Milk
  • 1 tsp coconut oil (optional)
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp rice malt syrup or maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp raw cacao
  • 1 tbsp nut butter
  • 1 tbsp chopped almonds to serve
Method
1. Combine all ingredients except chopped almonds in a small saucepan over low heat.
2. Heat for ten minutes stirring continuously.
3. Serve topped with almonds!
This nutritious and utterly delicious breakfast, packed with healthy fats, protein and antioxidants should keep you full for hours!!!
Why you SHOULD keep drinking that almond milk latte

Why you SHOULD keep drinking that almond milk latte

As proud producers of almond milk and almond based products we feel it is time we cleared something up! The arguments against almond milk are not new, no doubt it has popped up in your Facebook feed about the environmental cost or the actual percentage of almonds in your almond milk. But when it comes out of the mouth of someone whom many of your target market follow and whom you have spent significant advertising dollars with … well let’s just say a confused emoji face springs to mind!

So we are going to clarify a few points and just to make it more simple we are going to break it down as they have.

1. The water.
“It takes 5 litres of water to grow one almond!”

Yes this may be true but please put it into context! As Alissa Walker pointed out in her article ‘Seriously, Stop Demonising Almonds’, 80% of California’s water is used to grow food but we shouldn’t stop eating any fruit, vegetables or even meat due to how much water they take to grow so why are almonds now the devil?

By just focusing on the ‘water cost’ you are failing to consider the whole picture such as the social and economical value of the food we are growing with the water, not to mention the nutritional value. From an economic perspective, while almonds use 10% of the California’s water, they are generating approximately 15% of the state’s total farming value and almost 25% of agricultural exports from the state (Walker, 2015). Plus given the increasing demand for almonds which has seen prices skyrocket, almonds are bringing in significant revenue for California, $11bn of it in fact.

And what about the fact that the water is being used to provide us with a healthy food rich in protein and good fats – surely being used to create something which benefits the health of the population stands for something, right?

2. The waste.

“The almond meal is tossed when almond milk is commercially produced”.

Firstly don’t lump all commercial almond milk producers together. At Luz we actually wholesale our almond pulp to people for use in baking, plus we are always looking for ways to utilise it in product and recipe development. The fact is all food manufacturing has waste so no need to single out almond milk!

  1. The carbon footprint.

“The environmental cost of shipping almonds from US + packaging = small environmental disaster”

Carbon footprint, yes, environmental disaster – slight exaggeration perhaps? Regardless many products are also produced with ingredients from overseas so perhaps it is better to focus on supporting local farmers and industry – something we are big advocates of at Luz! We proudly use Australian almonds to minimise our environmental impact, as well as contributing to the Australian economy.

We won’t even get into the carbon footprint of the meat industry but needless to say it is huge!

  1. The dose of additives.

“Most brands are packed with thickeners, emulsifiers, sugars and other crap stuff “– you are right, we couldn’t agree more! Luz Almond milk is made simply of almonds and water without all those additives and nasty stuff. Again the fact is many manufactured products are packed with this stuff and I can assure you almond milk is not the only or the worst examples of this so it is about reading and understanding labels!

  1. The nutritional value.

Probably the most contradictory point in the whole article – on one hand we have that “most brands only contain about 2% almonds” so you can’t really benefit from the vitamin E, B2, magnesium and copper, however on the other hand it says really “we would only eat a small handful of almonds in one sitting and having two lattes on almond milk will add up to more than that”. So wait there is too many or too few almonds?

On a gram per gram basis it should be no surprise that almonds pack a greater nutritional punch than almond milk so by no means are we suggesting almond milk should replace almonds in your diet. However there are an increasing number of people looking for an alternative to dairy milk to use on their cereal or in their baking, coffee etc for many different reasons. For this, almond milk is a great alternative as it not only tastes great but also contains vitamin E, magnesium, zinc, calcium, iron and B vitamins. Obviously the amount of each of this is dependent on the actual percentage of almonds used in the milk but once again we always encourage people to READ LABELS and know what is in the food you are eating.

  1. The price.

“Almond milk is one of the most expensive alternatives out there” – well that shouldn’t really come as a surprise given how much almonds are these days. As a rule of thumb the most expensive brands usually contain more almonds and less of the other stuff but again read the label!

 

Our simply Luzscious verdict

Sure make your own! In an ideal world we would all love to make it BUT if god forbid you are busy or don’t own a high speed blender or I don’t know … just can’t be bothered then buy Luz…the closest thing to the homemade version!

But wait a minute … wasn’t the headline of the article ‘Sorry, but you actually shouldn’t be drinking almond milk’?

Guess your recipe books may need an edit!

 

 

Rose Water Infused Black Rice

Rose Water Infused Black Rice

Ingredients

2/3 cup black rice

1 red apple grated

¼ cup pistachios, ground of whole

½ punnet chopped strawberries

rose water

arils of ½ pomegranate

honey, rice malt syrup or sweetener of choice

rose petals (optional)

½ cup Luz Almond milk

 

Rose Water Infused Black Rice with Almond Milk Recipe

 

Method

  1. Cook black rice according to packet instructions (can be prepared in advance).
  2. Add the apple and stir over low heat for 2 minutes or until the apple is tender.
  3. Add almond milk and simmer for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Divide rice between 2 bowls and sprinkle with rose water to taste.
  5. Top with strawberries, pomegranate, pistachios and rose water.
  6. Serve immediately. Serves 2.

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Fig & Almond Porridge

Fig & Almond Porridge

As the weather cools down in Australia, we are embracing the opportunity to have some fun with some hot breakfast options. And while winter weather is coming in, fig season is going out so we thought we would capture the last of this delicious fruit by pairing it with a warming bowl of oat porridge so you can start the day feeling nourished and warm!

Fig & Almond Porridge Recipe 2

Fig & Almond Porridge

Serves 1

Ingredients

1/3 cup rolled oats
½ cup Original Luz Almond milk
½ cup water
1 tbsp almonds, chopped
pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ – 1 tsp cinnamon
2 fresh figs chopped
1 tsp sweetener such as honey, rice malt syrup or maple syrup

Method

  1. Bring rolled oats, salt, water and Luz Almond milk to the boil on medium – high heat. Stir continuously.
  2. Once boiling turn down heat to low and add cinnamon and vanilla. Stir continuously for approximately 3-5 minutes or until desired consistency is reached. You may want to add a little more almond milk or water if it becomes too thick.
  3. Remove the heat, pour into a bowl and stir in chopped figs. Arrange a few remaining fig pieces on top, sprinkle the almonds, add a light dusting of cinnamon and drizzle the honey.
  4. Enjoy immediately!
Nuts about Nuts

Nuts about Nuts

In America they seem to have a food holiday for everything. Check out this extensive list if you are interested!  So while they may not all be so well recognised around the world (or even in America) given that February 16th is national almond day…we are going to roll with it! Feb 16 also happens to be the first day of Healthy Weight Week here in Australia…this is a very fitting coincidence because almonds are also associated with heart health and have been shown to assist in maintaining a healthy weight. So in the spirit of national almond day and healthy weight week, we thought we would share some of the key nutritional benefits of nuts and in particular almonds!

Why nuts really are a ‘superfood’:

  1. Great source of protein, which we need to keep the body functioning correctly by assisting with growth, maintenance and the repairing of tissues in the body. In particular nuts represent an important source of protein for vegans and vegetarians who need to combine vegetable proteins each day to ensure they are getting all the essential amino acids.
  2. Source of fibre – although well known, fibre is sometimes overlooked in terms of diet, however it is essential for ensuring efficient digestion and keeping everything moving, so to speak. Fibre also:
    • Assists with weight management as it makes you feel full
    • Binds cholesterol in the body for excretion, reducing the risk of heart disease
    • Regulates blood glucose levels, which helps prevent diabetes
  3. Excellent source of mono and polyunsaturated fats (the good kinds) which are essential for a healthy, functioning body. Despite its past bad rap due to the ‘low fat’ era, fats are making a comeback as people become more away of the different types of fats and the essential role they play in our bodies. So what do they do:
    • Essential for brain function – particularly important for children’s growing young brains and for maximizing the function of an ageing brain
    • Large component of cell membranes
    • Provide insulation to keep us warm
    • Important source of energy
    • Necessary for the absorption of the fat soluble vitamins:
      • Vitamin A: growth, healthy skin, teeth, vision, boosts immune system, powerful antioxidant
      • Vitamin D: absorption of calcium & phosphorous, building & maintaining healthy bones & teeth, boosts immune system, helps muscle function
      • Vitamin E : antioxidant, healthy skin & heart, strengthens immune system
      • Vitamin K : blood clotting & healthy bones

While all nuts are a source of protein, fibre and essential fats (with the benefits outlined above), different nuts vary in their nutritional composition and consequently offer different health benefits. We could go into them all but for now we are just going to focus on almonds.

almond

 So what is SO great about almonds

  1. High in vitamin E which is a powerful antioxidant which helps improve the condition and appearance of skin.
  2. High in flavonoids which support the strength of the immune system. Flavanoids are water soluble compounds that are also powerful antioxidants with antivirus, anticancer, anti-allergy and anti-inflammatory properties which help our body to fight disease.
  3. Source of calcium which is essential for strong bones and teeth. Almonds represent a good source for those individuals who do not consume dairy foods.
  4. Source of phosphorous which also assists in bone health by maintaining the strength and durability of bones and teeth.
  5. Source of potassium which combined with the low level of sodium in almonds helps to regulate blood pressure, in turn assisting with heart health.

 Tip: Have 30g of nuts per day to assist with heart health and weight maintenance!

 

Why activate almonds?

Why activate almonds?

You have probably heard the word ‘activated’ buzzing around in the health world in the last few years, but you may not actually know what it means, except that ‘it is apparently meant to be good for you’!! So what is all the hype about…

Activating or sprouting as it is more commonly known in the US, refers to a process whereby the foods, primarily nuts, grains, seeds and legumes are soaked for 12-24 hours in water, which starts the germination or sprouting process. The main purpose of this process is to reduce or neutralise the natural toxins including enzyme inhibitors (interact with enzymes and stop them working in their normal manner) and phytates, which act as natures own defense mechanism and are naturally found in the outer layer of the nut or seed.

As we all know, almonds are a rich source of important nutrients including healthy fats, protein, vitamin E and zinc however they also have rather high levels of these natural toxins which can interfere with the bodies ability to absorb these important nutrients. In particular phytates decrease the bodies ability to access and absorb calcium, magnesium, zinc and iron. Long term exposure to high levels of phytates can lead to nutrient deficiencies which can affect our health in many ways. At Luz we want to promote health through the goodness of nature so we ensure we activate our almonds, so we can provide you with a premium product that is packed with nutrients, which your body can readily access!

Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Refined Sugar Free Nutty Loaf

Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Refined Sugar Free Nutty Loaf

Ingredients

2 cups quinoa flakes

1 cup almond meal

1 cup Luz Almond Original Almond Milk

½ cup raw nuts/seed/raisin (plus extra for sprinkling)

½ cup cranberries (or other dried fruit)

2 eggs

2 tsp baking powder

½ cup organic pure maple syrup

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla extract

 

Method

1. Combine dry ingredients.

2.Combine eggs, almond milk, vanilla and maple syrup and add to dry ingredients.

3. Stir until combined.

4. Pour mixture into greased muffin tins or alternatively a lined loaf tin and sprinkle with pepitas and sunflower seeds.

5. Bake in preheated 160 degree (Celsius) oven for 45 minutes for muffins or 1 hour for loaf, or until skewer comes out clean.

6. Allow loaf / muffins to cool in tin.

 

Makes 12 loaf slices or 8-10 muffins