How to Make Buckwheat Flour

Buckwheat Flour

Buckwheat flour is a healthy wheat flour alternative and is one of the most versatile flours. It is gluten-free which makes it a good choice for anyone with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease. 

Buckwheat flour is packed with nutrients, readily available, easy to work with and has a nice nutty flavor. It is high in fiber, protein, niacin, amino acids and vitamin D. It is also rich in potassium, phosphorus, iron and calcium. The protein in buckwheat is said to be one of the best sources of protein available from plants and it contains all of the essential amino acids.

In Japan, buckwheat flour is used to make soba noodles. In Russia they are known as blinis. In France, buckwheat is used to make galettes. In the Ukraine, hrechanyky are a type of yeast rolls made from buckwheat.

If you do not have any wheat or gluten sensitivities, you can blend buckwheat flour with wheat flour to boost both nutrition and flavor. If using buckwheat for bread, no more than half of the total flour should come from buckwheat.

How to make Buckwheat Flour:

Health Benefits of Buckwheat Sprouts

buckwheat groats

Buckwheat Sprouts

Buckwheat has many benefits. Buckwheat is a common food in Japan, Korea and Russia.

A study published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry to study the difference in antioxidant and functional components between tartary and common buckwheat sprouts. Tartary buckwheat is also called bitter buckwheat because of its bitter taste.

Both varieties are found to be rich in polyphenols and flavonoids, especially the major antioxidant component – rutin. Studies have shown that rutin is anti-inflammatory and is effective for preventing capillary apoplexy and retinal hemorrhage. Previous studies have reported that the flavonoid content of tartary buckwheat is higher compared to common buckwheat.

The research shows that both common and tartary buckwheat is high in thiamine, riboflavin, and pyridoxine contents.

Rutin was the major flavonoid in both varieties and is an essential role in the antioxidant activity of buckwheat sprouts. Apart from rutin, the key flavonoids in tartary buckwheat sprouts includes quercetin and quercitrin. Comparing both, tartary buckwheat sprouts was found to have higher antioxidant levels. It was concluded from the research that tartary buckwheat sprouts should be chosen more often because of its better health-promoting properties.

Source: Antioxidant activity of tartary (Fagopyrum tataricum (L.) Gaertn.) and common (Fagopyrum esculentum moench) buckwheat sprouts. – J Agric Food Chem. 2008 Jan 9;56(1):173-8. Epub 2007 Dec 12.

Image source

Related Article: How to Sprout Buckwheat Groats (

Free Online Courses On Health & Nutrition

healthy food

You can learn almost anything online these days. For free even! Here are some links to free nutrition online courses on

Some of these classes have not started yet, but you can bookmark the pages first. I think it’s very convenient especially for most of us who are working during the day. Being able to learn new things from a wide range of topics from Medicine to Physics.

I’ve signed up for the course on The Science of Gastronomy, it’s about the science behind cooking, cuisine preparation and the enjoyment of food. Sounds pretty interesting!


**This post was written in June 2013 so these courses may have ended. Check out the website to find ongoing or upcoming courses** (21 Dec 2013)

Below is a list of educational websites that might interest you:

The Ultimate List of Educational Websites

Search For Nutrition Data On Google

red apple

Great news! Google has announced that it’ll be adding the nutrition data of over 1000 foods including vegetables, meats, and meals in both its desktop and mobile search. This means that we’ll be able to search it directly from the google search bar. For example ‘How many carbs in an apple?’.  This new offering is expected to roll out over the next week or so. They’ll be also be adding in more features, foods, and languages over time.

Read more about here on

I’ve also listed some links to some nutrition database websites here.

Food Portions & ‘Healthy’ Labels. How Does it Influence Us?

Portion Size Experiment

Looking at this image, would you eat more of the low fat coleslaw because it says LOW FAT?

This is what a study by researchers at the University of Ulster published earlier this month in the International Journal of Obesity aim to find out.  Would people eat larger portions of the ‘healthier’ food when given a choice even if both choices contain the same amount of calories.

“Foods are marketed as being healthier for a reason, because food producers believe, and they correctly believe, that those labels will influence us to eat their products and perhaps eat more of their products,” said Dr. Cliodhna Foley Nolan the director of Human Health and Nutrition at Safefood, a government agency in Ireland.

In the study, 186 participants were asked to serve themselves coleslaw, with one labelled ‘healthier’ and the other ‘standard’. However in reality both choices had almost the same amount of calories. (224 calories per 100g  for the one labelled ‘healthier’ and 223 calories for the ‘standard’.)

The result of the study was that the participants served themselves more of the ‘healthier’ coleslaw compared with the ‘standard’ as they had underestimated the amount of calories.

The conclusion of the study was that nutrition claims could be promoting inappropriate portion size selection and consumption behavior.

The bottom line is that it is always good to read the nutrition labels. Having tons of health claims pasted on the packaging does not mean we can eat more to feel less guilty since we assume its healthier.

Source:  International Journal of Obesity (7 May 2013) | doi:10.1038/ijo.2013.69 – Perceived ‘healthiness’ of foods can influence consumers’ estimations of energy density and appropriate portion size

Image source


Types of Milk – Milky Goodness

soy milk

All milk is not created equal. Having so many options to choose from, it can be somewhat confusing. But there is something for everyone. Here are some of the most popular choices of milk. Which one do you prefer?

Cow’s Milk

milkCow’s milk is available as pasteurized, unpasteurized, whole, semi-skimmed or skimmed.

Pasteurized means that the milk that has been heated to a temperature that removes any dangerous bacteria. This kind of milk is most often used for drinking and in cooking. Unpasteurized means that the milk is raw or untreated. It is recommended that babies, young children, the elderly, pregnant women and anyone with an impaired immune system should avoid drinking unpasteurized milk.

Whole milk refers to milk that has not have anything taken out or added. It is usually pasteurized. Whole milk is sometimes also known as full-cream milk.

Semi-Skimmed and skimmed milk refers to milk where some or all of the fat has been removed. Semi-skimmed (low-fat) milk has a fat content of 1.5 -1.8 per cent whereas skimmed milk has maximum fat content of 0.3 per cent. Skimmed milk contains half the calories of full-cream milk and only a fraction of the fat, but nutritionally it is virtually on a par, retaining most of its vitamins, calcium and other materials. However, removing almost all the fat also removes the fat-soluble vitamins A and D. As a result, skimmed milk is not suitable for young children.

Goat’s milk

Goat’s milk contains less lactose than cow’s milk and therefore is easier to digest for those suffering from lactose intolerance. It contains a greater amount of essential fatty acids such as omega 6 (linoleic acid) and omega 3 (alpha-linolenic acid) essential fatty acids than cow’s milk as well as higher amounts of vitamin B-6, vitamin A, and niacin. It is a good source of calcium, tryptophan, protein, phosphorus, riboflavin (vitamin B2) and potassium. People who are unable to consume cow’s milk may be able to drink goat’s milk without any problems. However scientist has yet to discover why some people can better tolerate goat’s milk.

Soy Milk

Soy milk is not really milk. It is actually the liquid that remains after the soybeans are soaked, grounded, and then strained. Since it doesn’t contain any lactose, soy milk is suitable for lactose intolerant people. It is a popular substitute for cow’s milk for vegans since it is from a plant source (others include rice, oat, almond, coconut, and potato milk). Although soy milk has vitamin B, it is not a good source of B12, neither does it contains a lot of calcium. Thus the manufacturers offer fortified versions where calcium and vitamins E, B12, and D, and other nutrients may be added.

Almond Milk

It is made by mixing finely ground almonds with water. Because almonds is rich in vitamins and minerals, the milk will contain vitamin E, selenium, magnesium, iron, fibre, manganese, potassium, zinc, phosphorous, calcium and omega-3 fatty acids, protein, dietary fiber. It contains more vitamins and minerals than soy and rice milks and is suitable for those who are lactose intolerant. Almond milk does not contain saturated fats or cholesterol, is very low in fats, calories and carbohydrates. It can be a good milk substitute for those who would like to lose weight. However it is low in proteins and contains only a fraction of the protein available in dairy milk.

Coconut Milk

Coconut milk is produced by pressing the liquid from grated coconut meat and blending it with water. It is often used in cooking. It is high in protein and rich in minerals and vitamins. It contains iron, phosphorus, selenium, calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium and the important vitamins C, E, B1, B3, B5 and B6. However, people trying to lose weight and those with heart problems should avoid coconut milk or foods with coconut milk because it is high in saturated fat. Too much saturated fat can cause clogging in the arteries.

Rice Milk

Rice milk is made from boiling brown or white rice. Like soy milk and almond milk, rice milk is suitable for people who are lactose intolerant. Manufacturers might have added thickening agents to commercial rice milk. Manufacturers also often offer fortified versions with calcium, niacin, vitamin B12, vitamin A, vitamin D and iron. It does not contain cholesterol. Rice milk is low in fat and contains more carbohydrates compared to cow’s milk but still contains more fat than skimmed cow’s milk. However the downside it that it does not contain as much calcium or protein as cow’s milk. In general, rice milk taste sweeter compared to cow’s milk.

Oat Milk

Oat milk is made from blending whole oats with water. It is an alternative choice for people who are allergic to soy. It is a good source of fibre and a low fat alternative to cow’s milk. Oats is the only grain to contain high levels of protein. Oat milk contains 10 essential minerals and 15 vitamins. A single glass of oat milk contains about 35% of the recommended daily intake of calcium. It is also cholesterol free. However oat’s milk may contain gluten so it may not be suitable for those who are gluten sensitive.

Hemp Milk

Hemp milk is made from hemp seeds which are soaked and grinded with water. It contains a good balance of omega 6 (linoleic acid) and omega 3 (alpha-linolenic acid) essential fatty acids which our bodies cannot product on its own and have to be present in our diet. It contains magnesium, calcium, iron, potassium, riboflavin, folic acid, zinc and thiamine, vitamins such as A, E, D, and B12. It is suitable for those who are lactose intolerant. Being fat free and contains no cholesterol, it is a good choice for those trying to lose weight. Manufactures may fortify it with additional vitamins and minerals.


Nutrition Information for Specific Ages and Dietary Types

Active adults:

Triathletes and spinning-class addicts, take note: For optimal performance, energy, and recovery, be sure to consume a balance of whole grains, lean protein, fruits, and vegetables. Increase water intake as needed to stay hydrated. Consume a meal or snack rich in healthy carbohydrates before a workout, such as a banana. Within 60 to 90 minutes after intense exercise, aim to rebuild muscles with a meal or a light snack that includes lean protein.

Pregnant women:

Consume rich sources of iron (or take an iron supplement) in addition to foods rich in folate, such as spinach, asparagus, beans, and whole-grain cereals. Dairy intake should also be increased.

Older adults, 50+ years old:

Maintain low blood pressure, good cholesterol levels, and bone density with foods rich in calcium, iron, potassium, and vitamin B12. These nutrients help maintain low blood pressure and good cholesterol levels, as well as bone density, and can be found in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and healthy sources of unsaturated fat such as olive oil, avocado, walnuts, and wild salmon.

Vegetarians and vegans:

Consume appropriate wholesome sources of protein such as eggs, dairy, nuts, beans and legumes, quinoa, soy and hemp milk, edamame, and tofu. Aim for at least one serving of protein per meal, and consider taking a dietary supplement if iron, B12, and calcium levels are low.

Weight loss:

Reduce portion sizes and emphasize mostly raw or lightly cooked fruits and vegetables, along with healthy fats, lean proteins, and whole-grain carbohydrates. Use a smaller plate and utensils to make smaller portions feel bigger, and eat more slowly, stopping partway through the meal to assess fullness. Drink plenty of water, and eat a small meal or a snack rich in complex carbs and fiber every three to four hours to maintain a feeling of fullness.

Young children:

Ensure good nutrition and growth and development in young children with a varied diet packed with fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats. Introduce kids to healthy habits early on by getting them involved with grocery shopping and cooking. Limit the consumption of processed foods, sweetened beverages, and refined sugars.

via Good Nutrition and Health Advice from a Nutritionist at

Can Diabetics Eat Fruits?

Flesh kiwi cut ripe orange

Yes, those with diabetes can eat fruits! Fruits will indeed raise our blood sugar levels temporarily, so is important to control and monitor ones blood sugar levels. Moderation is the key.

Fruits is important for a healthy diet.

Some fruits have higher natural sugars than others. This natural sugar is called fructose. Fruits contain fiber, vitamins and minerals  that can contribute to good health.

However, the extent to which fruit can raise blood glucose levels depends on the type of fruit eaten. Here is a list of 10 fruits that diabetics can eat (but not limited to this list):

  1. Kiwi
  2. Guava
  3. Cherries
  4. Peach
  5. Berries
  6. Apple
  7. Pear
  8. Papaya
  9. Orange
  10. Watermelon

The best way to know how different fruits affects blood sugar levels is by measuring it before and after eating the fruit. Choose whole fruits instead of fruit juice. Fruit juice blends bought outside may contain additional hidden sugar.

Further reading:
Will fruit affect my blood glucose levels? (
Diabetes Myths (

Buckwheat Honey Benefits

sweet honey

Buckwheat honey comes from the nectar of the flowers of the common buckwheat plant.

              Flavor: Malty, rich, pungent, strong molasses like earthy flavor

              Color: Dark brown color

Buckwheat honey can be a substitute for molasses in baking or barbecue sauce. Studies have also shown buckwheat honey to be more effective than over-the-counter cough syrup for treating a cough. Buckwheat honey may be an an acquired taste for some people. Its either you like it or you don’t.

Buckwheat honey and dark honeys in general has been found to contain more antioxidant compounds then some lighter honeys. Antioxidants counter the toxic effects of free radicals that can lead to cancer, arthritis and cancer. Polyphenol, the antioxidants that are present in honey are one of the chemicals which give honey its color. Apart from antioxidants, darker honeys also tend to contain more vitamins and minerals.

Honey has been used since ancient times for its health benefits and is used as a sweetener and flavoring for foods and drinks. It is a healthy alternative to table sugar.

Take 1 or 2 teaspoons of buckwheat honey and mix it into your favorite tea!

Here are some buckwheat honey food & drink pairing ideas:

  • With any strong cheese, especially blue cheeses
  • Paired with grapefruit, is an excellent palate cleanser
  • Drizzled over spicy chili
  • As a substitute for maple syrup. Drizzle over crepes, pancakes or waffles
  • When baking  breads or traditional honey cake
  • With greek yogurt
  • In barbecue sauce
  • In hot milk or soy milk
  • In Elderflower tea
  • In Chicory coffee

Some of the health benefits of honey include:

  • Honey contains flavonoids; antioxidants which help reduce the risk of some cancers and heart disease.
  • Honey helps with coughs, especially buckwheat honey.
  • Honey helps the body regulate blood sugar levels. Some honeys have a low hypoglycemic index, so they cause a spike your blood sugar levels.
  • Honey’s anti-bacterial properties are good for the skin, and when combined with other ingredients can also be moisturizing and nourishing. For example, face mask.
  • Honey’s antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties is said help with healing wounds, diabetic foot ulcers, and burns.

Do note that it is not recommended to feed raw honey to young children due to the chance that botulism may be present.

Links to recipes that uses buckwheat honey:

Short Ribs with Beer and Buckwheat Honey
Honey-Tomato Bruschetta with Ricotta
Buckwheat Honey Glazed Lamb Shanks
Buckwheat Honey Roasted Chicken
Buckwheat Honey Ice Cream
Lemon Buckwheat Honey Cake
Smoked Paprika & Buckwheat Honey Chimichurri
Honey Barbecued Chicken Breasts


How to distingush natural honey

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