We are a vegan bakery and our products are free of many of the most common food allergens. We have a dedicated kitchen that is grain-free, dairy-free, soy-free, peanut-free, egg-free and cane sugar-free. We carefully source every ingredient, using certified-organic ingredients whenever possible. We also only bake with whole foods -- so no added oils. We understand dietary challenges from personal experience and make foods that can be eaten with pleasure and without worries by most people (please see "Our Story").
Allergies & food sensitivities
Simply stated, allergies and sensitivities are an inappropriate reaction to harmless substances. Though not all allergens are foods, over 200,000 emergency room visits every year are caused by allergic reactions to what we eat. An estimated 15 million Americans have some form of food allergy the symptoms of which can vary from just an itchy mouth to potentially-deadly anaphylaxis. Between those extremes, allergic reactions include: Rashes, breathing issues, intestinal discomfort and circulation problems.
A true allergy is one that involves the body's immune system producing an antigen-antibody reaction. Antigens (or antibody generators) are specific proteins that act as irritants. They can be different for different people. When a person comes into contact with an antigen, their immune system overreacts and sends antibodies to fight them off. The symptoms of an antigen-antibody battle are: Heat, redness and swelling. These can show up anywhere: Red eyes, swollen nasal passages, skin rash, asthma, or, in severe forms; a generalized inflammatory reaction (anaphylaxis). Sensitivity to allergens can be measured through skin or blood tests which produce antibodies if the patient is allergic.
Allergic sensitivities are reactions, too, often producing the same allergy-like symptoms. But in the case of allergic sensitivities, the body doesn't produce antibodies and thus standard allergy testing is not useful.
It's important to note that allergies and allergic sensitivities are essentially inflammatory reactions that can happen anywhere in the body. So, in addition to the usual allergy symptoms; depression, anxiety, dyslexia, joint and muscle pain, fatigue and many other symptoms have been linked to allergies and sensitivities.
It is also important to remember that allergies don't only manifest themselves at a young age. "Allergies to anything can occur at any age," writes Dr. Scott H. Sicherer, author of "Food Allergies: A Complete Guide to Eating When Your Life Depends on It." Also, they may not manifest until a person has had repeated exposures to an allergenic food. So when you suspect you are having an allergic reaction to something you ate - even if you've eaten it before without issue - you might want to talk to your doctor. If you find you aren't sure what is causing an allergic reaction, look to these foods first: Milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, wheat and soy. Some 90% of allergies are caused by these foods.
People who have allergies or sensitivities to one food -- such as wheat -- may need to avoid foods that are in the same botanical family. In one study done in Finland, 69% of the children with rashes from a wheat allergy were found to also have a rice allergy. Wheat and rice both belong to the grass family.
At Blooming Lotus Bakery we are working hard to produce treats that are safe and healthy for most every body.
We are a dedicated grain-free kitchen.
Botanically speaking, true grains are anything in the "grass family" (gramineae). That includes wheat, barley, rye, sugar cane, corn, millet, oats, rice, spelt, bamboo (and bamboo shoots), kamut, lemongrass, sorghum (milo), teff and wild rice.
Since we are a dedicated grain-free facility, we are therefore also a gluten-free facility as gluten is a protein produced by grains. Gluten adds structure to baked goods. It's like a glue that becomes elastic when kneaded or mixed. It is this elasticity that traps the gas given off when yeast ferments or baking powders react which is what makes breads and cakes rise. We try to source only products that have been certified gluten-free.
We take great pride in the cleanliness of our kitchen and our measures to keep from cross-contaminating any ingredients. However, if you have a severe nut allergy, then please be advised that this facility is not nut free.
What kind of flours do you use?
Quinoa and buckwheat flour are the backbone of our products. Quinoa and buckwheat are not grasses and therefore not true grains.
Quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) is part of the goosefoot or beet family (chenopodiaceae) which also includes amaranth, beet, chard, lamb's-quarters, spinach and sugar beets. Quinoa is an edible seed that feels and tastes like a grain. It is considered a complete protein because it contains all 9 essential amino acids. A one-cup serving of cooked organic quinoa contains 12-18% of the recommended daily value (DV) for protein which is more than any of the grains. In particular, organic quinoa contains the amino acid lysine, which is lacking in most grains. Lysine helps the body absorb calcium and reduces stress-induced anxiety. Also, according to the USDA, quinoa has a 20% DV for dietary fiber which supports a healthy digestive system. It is a good source of minerals such as phosphorous, magnesium and iron. Phosphorous is important for bone formation, kidney health and muscle strength. Magnesium controls blood glucose levels, aids in the absorption of calcium and regulates blood pressure. Iron helps deliver oxygen-rich blood cells throughout the body.
Whole organic raw white buckwheat
Buckwheat, despite it's name, is not a wheat. It is part of the polygonaceae family which includes garden sorrel and rhubarb. Whole organic raw white buckwheat is a nutritional powerhouse. It is high in potassium and phosphorous and contains 50% more Vitamin B-complex than wheat. Buckwheat has the highest source of biological protein in the plant kingdom. It has over 90% of the protein value of milk solids and 80% of whole egg solids.
Almond flour is made of almonds that are blanched then ground to a fine consistency. It is also a protein powerhouse (1 serving has 6 grams of protein compared to 5.5 grams in one egg). And it is low in carbohydrates and sugar. Sixty-four percent of the fats found in almonds are monounsaturated. According to the American Heart Association, monounsaturated fats help lower LDL "harmful" cholesterol. One ounce of almonds has 35% of the daily recommended value of Vitamin E, an antioxidant linked to protecting against Alzheimer's disease (from a study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association in 2002). And in 2014, another study published in JAMA showed that individuals with mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s disease who received high doses of vitamin E had a 19% slower rate of functional decline than study volunteers who received a placebo.
Pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
Ground pepitas are high in protein, dietary fiber, phosphorous, iron, potassium, magnesium and zinc. They also contain an antioxidant-like compound that may lower LDL. Interestingly, pepitas are also a good edition to our diet because they are alkaline-forming. Western diets are overly acidic and alkaline-forming foods promote cardiovascular health, build strong bones and improve cognitive function. They may also help regulate blood sugar levels.
Tapioca flour and arrowroot flours
We use only small amounts of tapioca and arrowroot flours because they aren't high in nutrients but add the structure that gluten-free baked goods often lack.
Tapioca flour, also know as tapioca starch, is extracted from the root of the South American cassava plant. It helps make breads and pizza crusts crispier.
Arrowroot is an easily-digestible starch derived from the stalk of the arrowroot plant, maranta arundinacea.
What kind of Sweeteners do you use?
First, let me mention what we don't use.
We don't use cane sugar because it's part of the grain family. That includes table sugar, organic Sucanat (dehydrated sugar cane juice), turbinado sugar or molasses.
We don't use stevia as it has been know to cause a reaction in people who are allergic to plants in the asteracea families. These include daisies, chrysanthemums, ragweed or marigolds. Also, stevia sweeteners contain stevioside which may cause an upset stomach, nausea or bloating.
We also don't use agave nectar because it contains more fructose than any other common sweetener, including high fructose corn syrup.
We do use coconut palm sugar, pure maple syrup, and dates.
Organic coconut palm sugar
Organic coconut palm sugar is an unrefined brown sugar. It is produced by tapping and then reducing the nectar from the coconut palm tree flower, similar to the process used in maple syrup production. Organic coconut palm sugar is 70-79% sucrose and only 3-9% each of fructose and glucose (cane sugar is 50% fructose). It is therefore low-glycemic.
We use dates to sweeten a few of our products. Dates are high in both soluble and insoluble dietary fiber, iron, magnesium, vitamins (especially Vitamin B-complex) and contain more potassium than bananas. So they help decrease elevated blood glucose levels and serum cholesterol levels, contribute to regulating blood pressure, maintain blood glucose levels and have any number of other benefits.
What do you use instead of eggs?
We use chia seeds, flax meal, bananas and Namaste Egg-Replacer depending on the texture of the product we are making (Namaste Egg-Replacer is best for cookies).
Namaste Egg-Replacer is 100% egg-free and contains no animal protein. It is made of tapioca starch, arrowroot powder, citrus fiber, cream of tartar and sodium bicarbonate.
WHAT OTHER INGREDIENTS DO YOU USE?
Cashew Butter & Almond Butter
We source our cashew and almond butters to make sure they do not contain any added oils or other ingredients.
We do not use common vanilla extract. That's because it is made with grain-based alcohols. Instead, we use pure powdered vanilla beans.
We make our own “chocolate chips” using cocoa, cocoa butter and organic maple syrup.
We carefully source our dried fruit so that it does not contain any added oils or sugars.
We use unsweetened coconut milk instead of dairy products.