Tag Archives: food production

Tomato and Mozzarella Deep Pan Pizza

Free from Gluten, Peanuts, Egg, Soya, Wheat, Dairy
Vegetarian, Vegan, Without crystal sugar

INGREDIENTS

Deep pan pizza base
• 350g FREEE Pizza Base Mix
• 350ml tepid water
• 3 tbsp  oil

Topping
• 250g  tomato sauce
• 200g  mozzarella, grated

METHOD

Deep Pan Pizza Base
1. Line a 28x30cm baking tray with parchment and pre-heat the oven.
2. Put the pizza base mix, tepid water and oil into a large bowl and stir to a thick paste.
3. Tip the paste onto the prepared tray and spread it to the edges with a spatula.
4. Leave in a warm place for 30 minutes.
5. Using a fork, prick all over the pizza base.
6. Pre-bake for 25 minutes.

Topping
1. Remove the pizza base from the oven and cover it with tomato sauce.
2. Scatter grated mozzarella over the top
3. Bake for a further 12 minutes.
Temperature: 220°C, Fan 200°C, 425°F, Gas 7
Cooking time: 25 minutes + 12 minutes

www.dovesfarm.co.uk/recipes/tomato-and-mozzarella-deep-pan-pizza

Freee by Doves Farm Gluten Free Pizza Base Mix

Alb-Gold Organic Vegetable Ragout Pasta Sauce

Alb Gold Organic Italian Tomato Sauce

Alb Gold Organic Tomato, Ricotta & Rocket Sauce

Alb Gold Organic Tomato, Ricotta & Rocket Sauce

Lactose and Maltodextrin in Baby Milks

I have recently been asked by a parent about the use of maltodextrin in baby milks and infant formula. It seems there are a number of misconceptions about maltodextrin generally and the use of maltodextrin in baby milk in particular, often fed by misinformed articles elsewhere on the internet.

I approached the Holle team of nutritionists and asked them to set the record straight about just what maltodextrin is and about the use of maltodextrin in Holle baby milks. What follows is a bit ‘sciency’ but provides the definitive statement on the subject. As usual, there is often more to a particular nutrient appearing on a label than whether it is ‘good’ or ‘bad’.

Some Background on Baby Milks and Formula

Breastmilk is composed of a number of nutritional elements such as proteins, carbohydrates and fats plus vitamins, minerals and trace elements. Breastmilk has, of course, the optimum nutrient composition to meet the special nutritional needs of babies. Baby milks and infant formula are strictly regulated according to currently available scientific evidence in order to fulfil developmental and growth needs.

Baby milks and baby foods generally are some of the most highly regulated ‘foodstuffs’ in the European Union – and that is just the way it should be. These evidenced based regulations are regularly reviewed and amended and all manufacturers, including Holle, must meet their requirements. Quality assurance is strictly applied.

Carbohydrates, Lactose and Maltodextrin in Baby Milk

Carbohydrates are a group of nutrients that contains sugars and starches. A sugar is a simply structured collection of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen chemical elements that form molecules that are generally soluble and are sweet tasting. In its simplest form it is known as glucose but occurs in many forms, both naturally and artificially. Starch is a poly-sugar, mainly built out of lots of glucose-like units in chains and with a more complex, tree like structure.

An important point to bear in mind is that a glucose ‘unit’ itself tastes sweet while glucose structured as starch doesn’t. For example, the classic dietary carbohydrates potatoes, pasta and bread are made to a large extent from starch but are not considered as ‘sweet’ foods in themselves.

When carbohydrates contain 1 to 2 glucose-like units and taste sweet they are called ‘sugar’. Of which lactose is one of many examples:

  • Glucose = dextrose = grape sugar
  • Fructose = fruit sugar
  • Sucrose = white sugar (one glucose and one fructose molecule combined)
  • Inverted sugar = artificial, (honey = natural) = mixture of glucose and fructose in equal parts, these taste sweeter than the same amount of sucrose
  • Lactose = milk sugar (one glucose and one galactose molecule combined)

The more sugar units are connected with each other the less sweet a carbohydrate tastes. Usually carbohydrates with 3 to 4 sugar units no longer have any sweetening properties.

Maltodextrin and Lactose in Baby Milk

All baby milks naturally contain lactose – that is the naturally occuring sugar in milk. To ensure their milks have sufficient energy content manufacturers are, according to the regulations, able to add either lactose or maltodextrin. The Holle brand uses maltodextrin.

Maltodextrin is a modified starch, which means the length of the glucose chains in the carbohydrate is shorter than the one from the original starch. The basic properties remain those of starch. There are many varieties of maltodextrin, depending on the structure present.

Holle uses a maltodextrin that has starch like properties and yet doesn’t taste sweet. Because of the shorter chain length it is easier for babies to digest than the starch itself would be, while still serving its purpose of providing energy.

Starches, including maltodextrin, release their energy slower than sugars. This means that two different baby milks with the same amount of energy per portion can release that energy at different rates. Holle uses a maltodextrin that is slower releasing which means that their formula can help a baby feel satisified for longer.

Certain internet sources often suggest that maltodextrin is used merely as a ‘filler’ and that it is a sugar or sweetener – neither of which is necessarily the case. Holle uses maltodextrin in their baby milks, not just because it is easy for babies to digest and releases energy at a slower rate, but for another very specific and very sensible reason.

Avoiding Excessive Sweetness in Baby Milks

Breastmilk naturally contains a lot of energy, much of which comes from its naturally occuring milk sugar, lactose – and so this essential nutritional element is reflected in baby milks and formulas. As in breastmilk, the sugar in Holle baby milks naturally comes from the milk itself in the form of lactose. A small amount of energy also comes from starch in the form of maltodextrin. If Holle didn’t use maltodextrin they would need to add more lactose in order to comply with the legal requirements for energy levels. That would, in fact, make the baby milks and formulas much sweeter in taste. Holle want to avoid having their milk taste too sweet. Not encouraging a lifetime tendency to having a sweettooth from the beginning, seems to me, to be a very sensible thing to do.

When I try the Holle milk myself I agree with the many, many parents who tell me that the Holle baby milks are one of the few on the market that taste just like ‘ordinary’ milk. They don’t have that ‘chemical set’ tang that so many brands do and they aren’t overly sweet. If you have the opportunity, try the Holle milk yourself and you’ll taste the difference too.

Easy to Make up Bottles

An additional benefit that Holle gains from the use of maltodextrin in their baby milks is that maltodextrin helps to make the milk powder more soluble in water. Holle baby milks are definitely easy to prepare – many mums tell me that. While this is not the reason for Holle using maltodextrin in their baby milks and infant formula, it certainly gives busy parents wanting to quickly make up a bottle an added benefit.

Using the Best Raw Ingredients

As I mentioned, baby milks and baby foods generally are, rightly, highly regulated. Holle doesn’t just want to meet those regulations – just like all the other baby food manufacturers. They want to go even further. Whenever they can see an opportunity to do so they surpass the regulations.

One way Holle baby milks distinguish themselves are by using biodynamically produced and certificated milk – the highest organic quality. They take the view that using the best quality raw materials and using the gentlest methods of production is better than adding too many isolated ingredients later. For mothers who cannot or do not wish to breastfeed, using a high quality baby milk or infant formula that contains an easy to digest and non-sweet maltodextrin is an advantage. Baby milks that are not excessively sweet may help avoid getting babies hooked on the really sweet flavours that come from sweeteners such as sugar.

If you would like any further information please feel free to get in touch and we’ll gladly answer any questions.

Holle Organic Baby Milk Now CO2 Neutral

Holle organic baby milks are now certified CO2 neutral, a unique achievement for the environmentally aware baby food company.

Holle organic baby milk CO2 neutral

Holle’s organic baby milks are now CO2 neutral

The only baby milk in biodynamic quality is now CO2 neutral.

The complete life cycle of Holle baby milk formula – from the cows’ feed, the complete production process through to the transportation of the formula to wholesalers such as Ulula –  has recently been certified CO2 neutral. Which means every time you buy Holle baby milk you can be assured you’re not only giving your baby the best formula but are minimising your impact on the environment. Look for the logo on every Holle baby milk carton and read on to learn more…

Helping Parents Reduce their Carbon Footprint

Parents who have the highest expectations when buying their baby’s food often chose products in biodynamic quality. Here at Ulula we’re particularly pleased to be offering such a large range of Demeter, as well as organic, certified baby foods. This environmentally aware direction pioneered by Holle baby food is now being taken to its next step by moving to carbon neutral production as a way of helping parents reduce their carbon footprint – one product line at a time.

 Biodynamic Baby Milk for a Naturally Lower Carbon Footprint

The CO2 balance of Holle baby milk formulas – the summary of all global warming gas emissions which result directly or indirectly from the products – is already significantly less than when compared with conventionally produced foods.

This is because 50% of the emissions caused through biodynamic milk production are absorbed in the soil. The cows graze on biodynamically grown pastures which increases the soil hummus and binds carbon. Furthermore, the cow’s fodder is produced on the same farm and is free from synthetic pesticides. This means that no soya-based feed needs to be imported from outside because the cows feed on native grass, lucerne and hay. All this taken together significantly reduces the CO2 balance. Also, Demeter farmers work the arable land with much gentler methods, which also has a positive influence on the balance. For example, ploughing methods prevent soil erosion and better binds carbon.

Holle baby milk’s CO2 balance was calculated on the basis of the Greenhouse Gas Protocols put together by the certification body TÜV Nord Cert GmbH and fully complying with the requirements of the United Nations. The total of all global warming gas emissions for Holle baby milk formula production is just 3,250 tons CO2 per year. This compares roughly with the CO2 output of around just 100 families in Germany within the same period.

Socially and Environmentally Responsible Carbon Offsetting

To offset these remaining emissions from the production of its baby milk formulas, Holle supports an international composting project in a 350,000 square metre area of Egyptian desert, converting the land for organic agriculture. I’ll tell you more about the Seekam project in a future post and show you some photos of the miracle project that is converting desert to arable land – all powered by Holle baby milks.

Whenever possible seasonal, regional, CO2 neutral and, of course, biodynamic are for Holle simply the best choice for healthy and sustainable baby foods. Their 80 year history is testament to their continuing drive to provide the best quality organic baby food. Ulula is proud to partner with Holle to bring you baby milk and baby food you can trust to help your little one thrive. Naturally.

Feeding Baby Organic Food Reduces Pesticide Risks Later

It seems that hardly a month goes by without more evidence that the chemical nasties sprayed on our food in so-called ‘conventional farming’  are bad for the health of our babies and growing children. The importance of feeding babies a largely organic diet cannot be overstated. For more about the latest study and how to protect your baby, read on…

Last month’s edition of the internationally respected journal ‘Pediatrics’ carried an article suggesting that even low levels of  chemical pesticides are associated with an increased risk of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children.

Researchers at the University of Montreal and Harvard University looked for organophosphate pesticide metabolites, an indicator of pesticide exposure, in the urine of 1,139 kids ages 8 to 15 and found that close to 95 percent had at least one of these chemical byproducts in their system. Those with the highest levels were 93 percent more likely to have received an ADHD diagnosis than children with none in their system. Those with above-average levels of the most common organophosphate byproduct – they made up a third of the whole group – were more than twice as likely as the rest to have ADHD.

Even Low Levels of Pesticides are Harmful

“This is not a small effect,” says study co-author Maryse Bouchard, a researcher in the University of Montreal’s environmental and occupational health department, “and it is certainly cause for concern.” She adds that while prior research has proved that high levels of organophosphate exposure can have negative impacts on children’s behavior and cognitive function, in this study “we are talking about very low levels of exposure . . . levels that were believed previously to be safe and harmless but which are now associated with a serious health risk.” She points out that most pesticide exposure today comes through food, particularly conventional fruits and vegetables.

Reducing Pesticide Intake in Babies

So what can concerned mums do to protect their precious babies? You’d be hard-pressed to find an expert who doesn’t advise that people, especially pregnant women and small children, reduce their pesticide intake as much as possible.

The top recommendation is to eat an entirely fresh organic diet, which has been shown to significantly lower children’s pesticide exposure levels. For many that is not reasonable or possible as there just isn’t the variety of foods always available that you would like to feed to your baby.

It also helps to carefully wash and scrub all your fruits and vegetables thoroughly in cold water. But be aware that you can’t scrub away all the risks because most pesticides don’t wash off, and seep into the produce itself.

A more practical answer for many parents is to avoid fresh non-organic foods that have the highest risks because of the large amount of pesticides used on them and the porous nature of their skins in retaining pesticides. See an earlier article on Weaning Your Baby With Organic Food – Pesticides in Fruit and Vegetables for more information. The list provided there gives us useful guide if we are serious about feeding our babies a safe and wholesome diet.

Of course, you want your baby to grow up enjoying a varied diet and so, whilst avoiding the non-organic fruits and vegetables that pose the highest pesticide risk, why not top up mealtimes with some guaranteed pesticide free baby foods?

Pesticide Free Baby Food

Many parents tell me that the large variety of Holle baby jars perfectly complemented by their huge range of organic baby porridges, alongside the homemade food that mum makes from locally bought fruit and vegetables makes the ideal combination. This mix and match approach will help you avoid pesticides while giving your baby the nutritional variety he or she needs.

Share your experiences with other parents. How do you make sure you avoid feeding your baby a cocktail of chemical nasties?

Five Reasons to Choose Organic Baby Food

Organic baby food is good for your baby and planet; it is kind to our animals and wildlife and choosing organic baby food allows consumers to make a big difference – simply through the way you shop. With all these benefits, it’s easy to see why organic food delivers such good value for money.

Choosing Organic Baby Food is Better for the Planet

Amazingly, over 20% of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions today come from food and farming. Nitrogen fertiliser manufacturing is the worst offender. To produce just one tonne takes one tonne of oil, seven tonnes of greenhouse gasses and one hundred tonnes of water. Organic farmers work with nature to feed the soil and control pests.

By putting less stress on the environment, organic is a more sustainable choice, especially as around 30% of the average consumer’s carbon ‘footprint’ comes from their food choices. By choosing organic baby food – you can significantly reduce your carbon footprint.

Organic Baby Food is Better for Your Baby

Organic baby foods have  higher amounts of beneficial minerals, essential amino acids and vitamins than other baby foods. Organic baby food avoid pesticides and all controversial additives including aspartame, tartrazine, MSG and hydrogenated fats. Organic food contains higher levels of vitamin C and minerals like calcium, magnesium and iron as well as cancer-fighting antioxidants and Omega 3.

International studies find that organic plant products contain more anti-oxidants such as phenols and salicylic acid, known to protect against cancer and heart disease. The same studies also show that organic animal products contain more polyunsaturated fatty acids, which also help to protect against heart disease.

Organic Baby Foods are Kind to Animals

Animal welfare is at the heart of organic food systems. Organic food standards for meat and animal products rigorously protect all aspects of animal wellbeing – from rearing, feeding and shelter, to transportation and slaughter. Organic animals are free to pursue natural behaviour because they have plenty of outside space to thrive and grow, and are not routinely drugged with antibiotics. Organic standards prohibit cruelty and guarantee truly free-range lives for farm animals.

Many shoppers don’t realise that organic meat and animal products are also free range. Where Ulula baby foods contain eggs and meat the organic certification symbol guarantees you that the animals  have been reared to the highest level of free-range standards. Birds are looked after in much smaller flocks, spend most of their lives roaming outside on fresh grass and have much more space in their houses.

Buying Organic Baby Food Encourages Wildlife

The UK Government’s own advisors found that plant, insect and bird life is up to 50% greater on organic farms. Organic farming relies on wildlife to help control natural pests, so wide field edges are left uncultivated for bugs, birds and bees to flourish. They are also not sprayed away by the fertilisers, chemicals and pesticides routinely used on non-organic farms.

Organic Baby Foods are Guaranteed GM Free

Genetically modified (GM) crops and ingredients are banned under organic standards. Shoppers wanting to avoid GM products may be surprised to know that over a million tonnes of GM crops are imported each year to feed non-organic livestock, which in turn supply our supermarkets with pork, bacon, milk, cheese and other dairy products.

Is there really a better place to think about the environment than at the table where a mother feeds her baby? Every mouthful we feed to our babies is a vote for, or against, the planet and the survival of future generations. Let me know your thoughts and experiences.

Weaning Your Baby With Organic Food – Pesticides in Fruit and Vegetables

Fresh fruit and vegetables - which are safe for weaning babies?

Fresh fruit and vegetables - which are safe for weaning babies?

At Ulula we always recommend parents to wean their babies with organic ingredients. Babies delicate and developing bodies do not deserve to be bombarded with the cocktail of potentially harmful chemicals used in the production of so many of our foods.

Latest research from the Environmental Working Group states (my emphasis):

“The growing consensus among scientists is that small doses of some pesticides and other chemicals can cause lasting damage to human health, especially during fetal development and early childhood. Scientists now know enough about the long-term consequences of ingesting these powerful chemicals to advise that we minimize our consumption of pesticides.”

Confused on which fruits and vegetables you should be buying organic? Yes, it can be a few more pennies, but studies by the Environmental Working Group show that there are some fruit and vegetables that you should always be buying organic because of the amount of pesticides used on the non-organic kind and the porousness of their skins in retaining the pesticides.

The foods on the Dirty Dozen list (see below) are foods that have very porous skins and which receive heavier doses of, sometimes multiple, pesticides. These are the fruit and vegetables that you should always be buying organic.

The Clean 15 (see below) are those fruit and vegetables that either have a skin that cannot be penetrated by the pesticides and/or those that do not receive as many pesticides. The Clean 15 are those foods that are more okay to not buy organic if organic varieties aren’t available.

The EWG research has shown that, “consumers can reduce their pesticide exposure by 80 percent by avoiding the most contaminated fruits and vegetables and eating only the cleanest”.

The Dirty Dozen
(in order from most pesticide-ridden)

  • Peaches
  • Apples
  • Peppers
  • Celery
  • Nectarines
  • Strawberries
  • Cherries
  • Kale
  • Lettuce
  • Grapes
  • Carrots
  • Pears

The Clean 15
(in order from least pesticide-ridden)

  • Onions
  • Avocados
  • Sweetcorn
  • Pineapple
  • Mangos
  • Asparagus
  • Sweet peas
  • Kiwis
  • Cabbages
  • Aubergines
  • Papayas
  • Watermelons
  • Broccoli
  • Tomatos
  • Sweet potatos

I wouldn’t advise starting weaning babies with some of the items in the above lists, but I think that this offers us a useful guide if we are serious about feeding our babies a safe and wholesome diet.

Holle Organic Baby Food – Guaranteed Pesticide Free

I know as a mother feeding a family of five that buying organic can be a few more pennies, but I really believe that such expenditure is an investment in our children’s future health.

Because buying fresh fruit and vegetables was not terribly easy or convenient when I was weaning my babies, I looked into the various organic baby food alternatives available in jars. The Holle brand clearly stood out above the rest for the quality of the food and the gentle production methods that respect the food as well as the baby they go on to feed. It was for those reasons that I wanted to stock Holle baby foods when setting up Ulula. I also found the Holle baby jars perfectly complement their huge range of organic baby porridges, so that combining different jars with different porridges during the course of a week I could feed my babies a great selection of meals.

Share your weaning experiences with other parents. How do you ensure you feed your baby organic weaning recipes?

How is Demeter Baby Food Different?

Demeter quality symbol

Demeter quality assurance symbol

Ulula only stocks baby foods and foods for growing children and their families that are certified organic. Without exception. The organic certification guarantees certain minimum levels of standards in food production, such as high animal welfare standards and not allowing ‘chemical nasties’ to be used.

Many of our baby foods also carry the Demeter label (much of the Holle organic baby food range does so, for example) which is an additional certification that guarantees even higher quality levels in growing and processing foods. Only products which meet the stringent and far reaching quality of certified biodynamic farming, can carry the Demeter label.

You Can’t Get More Organic Than Biodynamic/Demeter

Biodynamic agriculture is a comprehensive approach to farming established in the 1920s by Dr Rudolf Steiner. Demeter standards not only exclude the use of synthetic fertilisers and other chemicals in food production and artificial additives during processing, but also require very specific measures such as applying herbal preparations to the land to strengthen the life processes in soil and food.

The Demeter farmer makes allowances for the specific peculiarities and needs of individual plant types and animal species. Biodynamic agriculture views a farm as a living organism with its own natural cycle – a consequence of this is that each biodynamic farm will only raise the number of animals that the farm land can naturally support. There is no intensive farming in biodynamic agriculture and there is a high degree of traceability in biodynamic farming that cannot be equalled.

Couple this with gentle food processing methods that respect and work with the raw ingredients and the result is a baby food that not only has the best possible pedigree but tastes simply delicious. It is quite simply the best possible start for your baby.

Let us know what you think? Is buying Demeter/biodynamic baby food important to you, and if so why? Can you taste the difference?