Questions from a reader

by Jenn (eating bender) on July 17, 2008

Happy Thursday everyone! I received an email today with some questions from one of my blog readers. I actually can’t fairly answer them based on what I know on the subjects – and that’s where you come in! The questions are posted below. If you have any information or advice, feel free to leave your words of wisdom in the comment section. Thanks everyone!

From Lisa:

“Hi Jenn. I wanted to get your input on the following items: sugar, salt, flour…we are in the middle of a mega hunt for info on these things…we tend to avoid buying food with added sugar, salt and/or enriched flour. But when cooking at home, we are trying to determine what is the best/healthiest version of each. For example, with sugar, there is vegan sugar, cane sugar, and many other varieties. With wheat, there is buckwheat, bulgar wheat, etc., etc. I am not interested in info on artificial sweeteners. We are looking into the benefits/drawbacks of turbinado, beet sugar in addition to refined sugar. Does that make sense? Let me know what you know about this…also, feel free (if it interests you) to pose this question on your blog to see what others know. I’ll keep you posted on what we find. Thanks!”

Thoughts? comments? “Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?” 😉

1 Foodie July 17, 2008 at 4:55 pm

No idea, but the “Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?” line made me laugh out loud :)

2 VeggieGirl July 17, 2008 at 5:16 pm

I use turbinado sugar when I bake, which is vegan and unrefined.

3 blueberryhil July 17, 2008 at 5:29 pm

I’m a fan of agave nectar, which is vegan, unrefined and has a much lower glycemic index than white sugar or honey.

As for the wheat question: Buckwheat isn’t actually wheat, it is an entirely different grain. It is higher in fat and protein than regular wheat and has a strong, distinctive flavor. Many kinds of authentic soba noodles are made with buckwheat. It isn’t healthier or less healthy than normal wheat, just different. Generally speaking, you want to buy flour based on what you are going to use it for…are you going to bake bread, cakes, crackers, etc.? Then, pick bread or pastry or all-purpose whole wheat flour accordingly. While it can be hard to bake with, coarse stone ground whole grain flour will probably yield the most filling bread. However, it will also make your baked goods heavy and dense, so it isn’t the best choice for every recipe.

I’m not aware of any nutritional differences in salt varities other than iodized v. plain. (I always buy plain.) I think everything else is just a matter of preference.

4 All Vegged Out July 17, 2008 at 5:49 pm

I’m no expert, obviously :), but I think a good method of choosing things is to get as close to “nature” as possible. Instead of white sugar go for raw sugar or even better agave nectar. I think if you aim for the most natural/least processed items around you’ll be fine.

Also, I think it’s easy to obsess over the “perfect” variety when in fact we should be using an array of them because each has it’s own chemical makeup and doing so means we’ll be getting a good variety of micronutrients.

5 Caroline July 17, 2008 at 11:03 pm

Jenn, love the Ferris reference;)

6 Julz July 17, 2008 at 11:58 pm

“Bueller” 😉 Nice one, Bends, nice one!

I like the “Sun Crystals” which, I believe, are raw, though I’ll have to check the package to mae sure. They are unrefined tho (I buy them at WF)

Wheats: I’m not the one to know, as I don’t consume much wheat/gluten anyway. Don’t really like it :)

Salt: I just use Sea Salt Crystals. Pure and Perfect! (Though I prefer to not add any, sometimes the tiniest sprinkle DEFINITELY makes a HUGE difference in the finishing product!) :)

7 iameatingtolive July 18, 2008 at 12:04 am

Check out this info on himalayan salt, it’s supposedly a lot better for you than regular table salt!

8 Jenn July 18, 2008 at 8:59 am

To all ~ Thanks once again for your input! Lisa, I hope that some of these tips helped! And I’m glad that many of you liked/picked up on the Ferris reference 😉

9 sweetsandsweats July 18, 2008 at 9:38 am

I got nothing………..I do know another Farris quote: “I did not achieve this position in life by having some snot-nosed punk leave my cheese out in the wind.” (Ed Rooney)

Good luck with the beet sugar research though!!! I am intriqued.

10 Jenn July 18, 2008 at 1:20 pm

sweetsandsweats ~ Haha, too funny :)

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