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Porridge, oatmeal, granola, muesli, what’s the difference?

Unlike granola, muesli or musli is not as widespread in Canada as in Europe, especially in Switzerland or Germany. However, it presents nutritional and gustatory interests different from those of granola. We often find it hard to tell the difference between muesli, porridge and granola, so here is everything you need to know about this other multi-benefit cereal type.

What is Granola?

Beginning back in 1863, James Caleb Jackson, a nutritionist and spa director, sold a product called “Granula”, which was crumbled whole wheat flour that was cooked twice. John Harvey Kellogg, a famous nutritionist and later inventor of corn flakes, launched a similar product under the same name, on the market in 1878, which was later renamed “Granola” for legal reasons.

Today, what we call “granola”, or sometimes “crispy muesli”, is presented as a mixture of golden baked cereals. A process which consists in adding more sugars (granulated sugar, honey, maple syrup, etc.) compared to other cereals in order to obtain a crunchy texture. Granola is usually consumed cold.

Porridge, groats, oatmeal.

Porridge or oatmeal is a traditional preparation of oatmeal mixed with hot water or milk. It has existed since the dawn of time, so to speak, since it appeared around 4,000 years before our era. We can say that it really is a useful preparation considering it facilitates the digestion of cereals and because it is a poor man’s meal which costs almost nothing to prepare, while being very nutritious.

It was a big hit in Germany, in particular, which gave its name to the oatmeal (from grütze, “hulled grain”). In Canada, the term “oatmeal” is used to refer to traditional porridge made from cooked oats with milk or water, with sugar, honey or maple syrup. There are dozens of different forms of traditional porridge depending on the country of origin. Today, porridge, groats or oatmeal, whatever you want to call it, take more varied forms, eaten cold or hot, sweet or salty, with the addition of other types of cereals, legumes, dried fruits, nuts, chocolate, spices and many other ingredients.

What is Muesli?

Muesli, unlike granola, is a blend of raw cereals, nuts and dried fruit which can be eaten cold, with dairy or non-dairy milk, which can also be prepared by adding yogurt, compote, fruit juice, etc., or eaten hot, just like oatmeal.

The original recipe is that of an oatmeal without any cooking. Developed by the Swiss doctor Maximilian Oskar Bircher-Benner in the 1900s, the cereal is soaked for 12 hours in cold water before adding one tablespoon of lemon juice as well as one tablespoon of sweetened condensed milk, then 200g of grated whole apples, all sprinkled with a tablespoon of hazelnuts or grated almonds. A recipe inspired by the diet of a shepherd living in the mountains with whom the doctor had shared a meal. Since then, the success of muesli has never gone away.

What can explain the success of Muesli?

Although it is often appreciated and eaten as a light dinner, particularly in Switzerland, its country of origin, the muesli has carved out a special place on the breakfast shelves here in Canada. And this for many reasons: a delicate taste, more or less sweet depending on the recipe, and easily customizable, a base rich in macro and micronutrients and, thanks to its high fiber content, an ability to regulate hunger, weight gain and digestive issues.

Muesli is ideal for a healthy and high-quality breakfast, rich in complex carbohydrates which, unlike simple sugar, are absorbed slowly and continuously by the body. In this way, they provide energy over a longer period of time. Muslis are also rich in soluble and insoluble fiber which contributes to develop a better digestion.

The basic components of muesli are often cereal flakes (oats, corn, rye, wheat…), nuts (almonds, hazelnuts, cashews, etc.), dried fruits (apples, apricots, bananas…), all usually accompanied by fruit juice, yogurt or milk (animal or vegetable).

These groups of main components provide the body with important macro and micronutrients as well as the fibers necessary for good digestion. While the complex carbohydrates contained in muesli provide energy, nuts and dairy provide calcium and protein, and fruits will give you mineral, vitamins and trace elements.

But is Muesli really healthy?

Rich in good carbohydrates and fibers, but also in nutrients such as vitamins B1, B2, B6 or E, and in minerals like magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, iron and zinc, muesli is considered a nutritious blend, often recommended for athletes. However, muesli can also contain ingredients that do not exactly correspond to a healthy lifestyle. Some commercial blends may contain too much sugar and result in being small calorie bombs.

The layman will not detect certain sugars at first glance. Terms, in the list of ingredients, that end with –ose: Dextrose, glucose, sucrose or even fructose, for example, often refer to sugar. Maltodextrin, barley malt extract or glucose syrup also contain sugar. However, these sugars are added to the good carbohydrates naturally present in cereals, which removes their nutritional input.

What about Fourmi Bionique’s Müska cereal?

At Fourmi Bionique, we decided to get the most out of muesli. We didn’t want to offer bland rabbit food 😊 or caloric bombs with no nutritional value. As always, our goal is to design soulful recipes that feed your body and soul!

Müska is an innovative Muesli recipe which is blended with our Dukkah Brunch. For the muesli base, we use a blend of whole grains: oatmeal, rye and spelled which provide a healthy and hearty base. Our Dukkah Brunch is a mixture of almonds, sesame seeds, coconut and maple syrup, enhanced with cinnamon and a hint of salt. Finally, you will find the star ingredients and strong personalities of our signature flavors: Aphrodisiac, Vitality, Natural and coming soon Tonic, Divine and Zen.

In the end, Müska will delight both in terms of taste and nutrition, with up to 88%* less sugar than our Grand Granola recipes! You can enjoy it as muesli or soaked in milk for a creamy oatmeal with no cooking required.

*For the Natural blend.

How to eat superfood without breaking the bank

With recent progress with food analysis, scientists increasingly focus on discovering foods with many unsuspected nutritional benefits, with the promise of potential health miracles. Used by the food industry, the concept of superfood quickly resulted in products being sold at higher prices to meet demand. But do we really have to spend all our money in order to consume «superfoods»? Are they that rare?

What exactly is a superfood?

The term «super» is not really a scientific term. It was introduced in the 1990s in the Oxford Dictionary. It is actually a formula used to market healthy foods, very rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber or even antioxidants. In other words, when a specific food provides many nutritional benefits, with the least amount of unwanted intake, we can call it a «superfood». There are different categories: Super greens (like spinach), fruits and nuts (like acai or almond), herbs (like coriander). For a more complete list, here is a useful link.

Why are they so popular?

For some time now, superfoods like acai and goji berries have become very popular with their naturally high ORAC value. The term ORAC referring to the expression «Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity», in reference with what is more commonly known as antioxidants. The more prevalent it is in certain foods, the more it will contribute to fight against aging and also prevent the occurrence of diseases such as heart disease, or even certain cancers such as colon cancer, for example.

A promise that meets our desire to always lengthen our lifespan and improve our quality of life. In addition, these foods are highly praised by a large number of «foodies» on social networks.

But faced with a growing demand and sometimes the rarity of these famous superfoods, their cost is often very high. This would suggest that only the wealthiest segment of the population could afford to buy food that would extend their lifespan. However, this is not the case.

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Our tips for not breaking the bank while staying healthy

In Canada, especially in Quebec, local superfoods are easier to find than you may think. In addition to supporting local farmers, buying local helps preserve the freshness of your products: They will be tastier and will store their vitamins more easily. We can count less than 7 days of transport to qualify a product as being fresh. Indeed, there is no point in consuming a superfood that has travelled around the world, has been stored for too long or in poor conditions. There would not be as many vitamins left. Spinach leaves, for example, lose almost 50% of their vitamin B9 content within a week.

Food preparation is also essential. Overcooking, undercooking, or improperly defrosting your products are all processes that can lead to nutrient loss for your food. Blueberries, raspberries, cranberries or even raisins are available near you. It is possible to add them to different dishes or simply to use them as a garnish or flavor enhancer for a yogurt, for example.

These «super fruits» can be eaten fresh, frozen or even dried (you can find some in our online store). The secret is to use little and intelligently so as not to abuse of them. Indeed, in addition to their price, their ecological impact is not negligible. We can take the example of avocado, whose large production is the cause of deforestation. To learn more.

Our granolas contain superfoods

You can also find superfoods in our products. In the NUTBROWN range, for example, all of the products are made from a blend of nuts. Among them, you can find almonds, cashews, or even macadamia nuts (in the Divine). The seeds are also very present, such as pumpkin seeds (Zen) flax or sesame seeds. In addition, in the Grand Granola products, you can also find superfoods such as whole cranberries from Quebec, matcha tea, currants or Siberian ginseng.

Our tips for using superfoods in your recipes

There is a superfood right for each recipe. For a smoothie or a «nice cream» cup, we would prefer frozen fruit, for freshness. For a salad, dried fruits such as cranberries or raisins will add a slight sweet touch. Finally, fresh fruits are delicious in their natural state or in dishes in which they will be the center of attention.

To better integrate our granolas and get the benefits of their superfoods, you can find our recipes here. Here are a few others to inspire you.

1. Easy recipe idea: Dukkah Pineapple

With the good weather, why not put the pineapple center stage? The recipe is simple: Cut a pineapple in half, dig in it lightly, add three scoops of ice cream, sprinkle with Dukkah Brunch and add a few toasted coconuts, goji berries and another fruit of your choice for additional pleasure.

2. Easy recipe idea: Nice Cream

3. Easy recipe idea: Touki smoothie bowl

Keep in mind: The term «superfood» is a mostly marketing, in reality, there are a lot of healthy foods that will not empty your pockets. They can be eaten fresh, frozen or dry. It is best, however, to buy them directly from the nearest producer and consume them fresh. Finally, the secret is to use them diligently and especialy to vary them considering they will not all have the same benefits.

Dukkah, what is this ?

In the Fourmi Bionique workshop, a fragrance from the Middle East is making its way between the Grand Granola and the NUTBROWN. Enticing scents of toasted nuts and spices are making us travel to exotic places. Who is this newcomer? It is our very own Dukkah Brunch, which is part of our new range: Müska to discover here.

What is Dukkah?

The Dukkah is a blend that originates from Egypt, traditionally made from hazelnuts, sesame seeds and spices such as cumin, coriander seeds, pepper and salt. Well-known in the southern hemisphere, the Dukkah is slowly gaining popularity for its versatility, fragrance, texture and nutritional properties (rich in good fats and fibers). Our very own version the Dukkah Brunch is very versatile but it has been reinvented to suit breakfast or brunch menus, with it’s hints of maple, cinnamon and cardamom.

Available exclusively on our online store, our Breakfast Dukkah can enhance your dishes and recipes in many ways, whether sweet or salty. And since we don’t like to leave you without some inspiration, here are some ideas for you.

Recipe ideas using Dukkah Brunch

1. Dukkah Banana Crumble

Ingredients : 100g of Dukkah Brunch, 50g of sugar, 50g of butter, 2 bananas.

Preparation: Blend the Dukkah, sugar and butter with your hands. Cut the two bananas into pieces. Butter the dish, then place the pieces of bananas. Cover with the Dukkah preparation made previously. Cook for 20-30 minutes in a preheated oven at 180 °C / 350 °F. You can replace bananas with the fruit of your choice.

2. Dukkah BBQ Marinade

Ingredients : 2 tablespoons of Dukkah Brunch, 62.5 ml of olive oil, 125 ml of barbecue sauce, 62.5 ml of soy sauce, 2 cloves of minced garlic, 30 ml of steak spices.

Preparation :Marinate the meat overnight in the refrigerator with this mixture. Cook the meat on the BBQ, while basting with the rest of the marinade.

3. Dukkah Cookies

Ingredients : 3 tablespoons of Dukkah Brunch, 1 egg, 150g of flour, 75g of butter, 80g of sugar, 1 pack of vanilla sugar, 1/2 pack of baking powder (5g), 1 pinch of salt.

Preparation : Preheat the oven to 140 °C / 280 °F. Lay a sheet of parchment paper on a baking sheet. Melt the butter. Mix the classic sugar with the butter and the salt and then incorporate the egg and the vanilla sugar. Add the flour and yeast while stirring the mixture. Incorporate the Dukkah Brunch. Make balls of dough and place them on the parchment paper, making sure to leave some space between them. Bake the cookies for 15 minutes, take them out when lightly browned.

Dukkah – all you need to know about this healthy Egyptian blend

If this is the first time you are reading an article of mine, I would like to give you some background first. I am a Mexican adventurer and health specialist, living in Toronto. I started travelling the world from a young age, and to this day, a few months from my 30th birthday, I have visited over 45 countries.

Travelling and exploring new countries, fills my heart. Nothing can compare to the feeling of getting out of an airplane, and switching on my FOODIE mood. Nothing beats trying new cuisines, and new flavours in an unknown location. If I could describe what happiness means to me, undeniably FOOD would be it.

So, you must be wondering, what I know about Dukkah – and funnily enough, I have tried many dishes that utilize this Egyptian staple over the last couple of years. When La Fourmi Bionique contacted me to write about the health benefits of this blend, I have to admit I jumped with joy with the thought of having the opportunity to spend a few days in the kitchen experimenting with flavours and creating healthy alternatives to enjoy with this outstanding blend.

So get ready, because not only will we speak about Dukkah, and touch on all its health benefits, but I will also give you some neat ideas to include it in your meals in a healthy way.

What is Dukkah?

First things first. Maybe you are unfamiliar with what dukkah is so before we start speaking about its health benefits; let us start with what it is. Dukkah is an Egyptian blend that contains a beautiful array of spices. It has a nutty taste, and a delicate delicious crunch. You will find more information about Dukkah in this article.

Health benefits of Dukkah

The health benefits of Dukkah are many, thanks to the varied range of spices contained in the blend. Research suggests that using this type of blend over a prolonged period can help lower the probability of developing cardiovascular diseases as long as it is utilized in nutritional foods and coupled with exercise.

The spices found in Dukkah can strengthen our immune system, help eliminate free radicals in the body, regulate our cholesterol levels, and prevent high blood pressure, among other incredible benefits that you will discover as we delve deeper into the world of Dukkah.

Depending on the region, you may find different species in Dukkah. However, in the case of the Fourmi Bionique Dukkah Brunch, we will be discussing them paring a blend of almonds, sesame seeds, coconut, maple syrup, sea salt, cardamom, and cinnamon.

A blend full of nutrition value

Almonds

If we start analyzing the blend, just by hearing that it has almonds, we know that it will contain a great number of antioxidants, vitamin E, and B-complex vitamins like folate and niacin. Who would have thought that some small almonds offered so many benefits? Almonds are not only rich in vitamins, minerals, protein, and fiber but they are also an excellent source of vegetable protein.

The importance of adding good fats to our diet is enormous and almonds are rich in monounsaturated fats. When included in the diet, almonds can help reduce the risk of heart disease by up to 30%. Furthermore, almonds are high in magnesium, help us keep a healthy heart and are high in potassium that assists to regulate blood pressure.

I generally try to have them as a snack in the afternoon, as around 10 almonds (approximately 12g) provide us with 66 kcal, 6 g of mostly monounsaturated fat, and a good dose of calcium, vitamin E, manganese and magnesium. So being able to include it in my main meals through dukkah makes me very happy.

Sesame Seeds

Who doesn’t love tahini? I am a frequent consumer of it, and the fact that Dukkah contains sesame seeds is great as you will be benefitting from a source of manganese, calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, vitamin B1, zinc, and dietary fiber. This combo of minerals translates into various health benefits such as; relief in arthritis thanks to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant enzymes, preventing high blood pressure, preventing migraines, increasing bone mineral density, reducing blood levels of cholesterol, and boosting the immune response, among so many others.

Coconut

Not only do coconuts make us feel like we are in the Caribbean with every bite, but they also have incredible health benefits. They contain dietary fiber, iron and healthy fats that will help to fight off hunger in between meals. Coconut also helps maintain healthy tissue, fight disease and provides energy to get you through the day.

Maple Syrup

There is so much more to this delicious syrup that comes from a plant’s sap other than being a sweet sauce that we pour on our pancakes on the weekend. Studies keep surfacing about the medicinal compounds that pure maple syrup contains such as anti-cancer and anti-bacterial properties. Apart from being high in antioxidants, it is also rich in riboflavin, zinc, magnesium, calcium and potassium.

Cardamom

Cardamom has been used for centuries in culinary and traditional medicine practices. Some studies have concluded that consuming cardamom on a constant basis is beneficial especially in overweight and obese pre-diabetic women. Cardamom offers other great properties that aid in the treatment of other diseases due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory contents. Finally, cardamom prevents obesity, improves glucose intolerance, and reduces inflammation and oxidative stress in liver.

Cinnamon

This is one of the spices that we all use almost every day and has been used since 2800BC. There are four types of cinnamon and they have all been discovered to have medicinal properties. Cinnamon is an anti-oxidant, has anti-inflammatory properties, and has also been reported to have properties that help fight against neurological disorders, such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.

Quick serving ideas using Dukkah

Dukkah gives a delicious taste to dishes thanks to its crunchiness and its combination of sweet and salty. Here are some quick serving ideas:

– As a topping on salads to give it a crunchier texture
– On top of a guacamole (this one was made with purple onion, cherry tomatoes, cilantro, avocado, and dukkah on top)

-Yogurt dip with Dukkah
-Sprinkled over poached eggs
– Sprinkled over an avocado toast
– As a crust for chicken breast, with onions, cherry tomatoes and cilantro

– Sprinkled over hummus
– Sprinkled over roasted vegetables
– Over soups such as carrot soup
– Sprinkled over sweet potatoes

– As a crust for salmon
– Roasted cauliflower with dukkah
– Roasted Butternut Squash with Dukkah
-Plantain filled with ham and cheese and sprinkled with dukkah, as a side is a combination of diced tomato, pumpkin, and onion

As long as you enjoy eating, I am sure you will enjoy adding Dukkah to your dishes! Go ahead and explore the Egyptian in you!

With lots of love,

Diana Ancona, MSc
BSc Nutrition & Food Science, MSc Global Health
www.anconawellness.com
IG: @anconawellness

Sources:

Fatemeh, Y., Siassi, F., Rahimi, A., Koohdani, F., Doostan, F., Qorbani, M., & Sotoudeh, G. (2017). The effect of cardamom supplementation on serum lipids, glycemic indices and blood pressure in overweight and obese pre-diabetic women: a randomized controlled trial. Journal of diabetes and metabolic disorders, 16, 40. doi:10.1186/s40200-017-0320-8

Kawatra, P., & Rajagopalan, R. (2015). Cinnamon: Mystic powers of a minute ingredient. Pharmacognosy research, 7(Suppl 1), S1–S6. doi:10.4103/0974-8490.157990

Rahman, M. M., Alam, M. N., Ulla, A., Sumi, F. A., Subhan, N., Khan, T., … Alam, M. A. (2017). Cardamom powder supplementation prevents obesity, improves glucose intolerance, inflammation and oxidative stress in liver of high carbohydrate high fat diet induced obese rats. Lipids in health and disease, 16(1), 151. doi:10.1186/s12944-017-0539-x

University of Rhode Island. (2010, March 25). Pure maple syrup contains medicinally beneficial compounds, pharmacy researcher finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved June 29, 2019 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100321182924.htm

Rao, P. V., & Gan, S. H. (2014). Cinnamon: a multifaceted medicinal plant. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM, 2014, 642942. doi:10.1155/2014/642942

Sesame Seeds. The world’s healthiest foods. http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=84

Varying your options with plant based milks

In recent years, cow’s milk, which lobbyists have promoted for its calcium content in a multitude of advertisements, has seen its popularity gradually decline. Criticized by scientists for the various health problems it causes, denounced by vegans and animal protectors, cow’s milk is increasingly shunned by consumers who now turn to non-dairy, plant-based beverages.

This article is not intended to deal with the nutritional interest of milk, its relevance or not in our food and our lives, but simply to discuss the vegan alternatives in the case of an intolerance, or if you would simply like to vary the pleasures and nutritional intake.

Why consume plant milk?

The main advantage of vegan milks is the benefit they provide to those who are lactose intolerant. Indeed, there are many people whose bodies are unable to produce a sufficient level of lactase, an enzyme that converts lactose into glucose and galactose, or in short, sugars. This intolerance may be either inherited and genetic or transient when it is linked to intestinal disorders, infections or irritations that can reduce or eliminate lactase production.

Vegan milks do not contain lactose and can therefore be an interesting alternative for these individuals.

But beyond the health aspect or even the choice of not consuming animal products, they offer a tasty and nutritious alternative in your diet. The good fats, plant fibres, proteins and minerals they contain are fundamental for the proper functioning of our body. Plant-based milks also provide vitamins, especially those in the B group, which are important for your metabolism, the nervous system and liver function. Here are some examples of the most common non-dairy milks.

The different plant-based milks

Almond milk

Rich in vitamins E and B and minerals, especially magnesium and iron, almond milk is obtained by cold infusing chopped almonds and sugar. Traditionally, the chopped almonds are kneaded and soaked in water inside a cloth which is then wrung out to recover the liquid. This recipe dates back to the Middle Ages and is now widely industrialized and widespread. Unlike soy milk, it contains neither isoflavones nor hormones and is a great ally for those who want a calcium-rich milk.

Soy milk

This milk is one of the most popular choices since it contains the highest levels of calcium and protein and is rich in omega 3 fatty acids, which are considered useful for good cardiovascular health. Many parents also use it to feed their children, but it is not recommended to consume too much due to the phytoestrogens it contains. Soy milk consumption is therefore not suggested during pregnancy and while breastfeeding, as well as for thyroid problems, kidney stones and candida.

Rice milk

Perfect for those seeking a sweeter option. Light and easy to digest, and helpful when you have an accelerated transit. Naturally rich in vitamins A, B and D, as well as minerals, rice milk is obtained by an industrial process which involves macerating rice grains in a water broth, then filtered and sometimes enriched with nutrients such as calcium, vitamins B12 and D, since it does not naturally contain any, unlike cow’s milk. It is also gluten-free, making it an ideal drink for people with allergies or intolerances.

Coconut milk

Coconut milk does not have much calcium and is quite fatty, but it offers an excellent supply of minerals (iron, potassium and phosphorus). It also contains selenium, an antioxidant trace element that could help prevent age-related diseases and cancers, and also plays a role in stimulating the immune system and the thyroid.

Oat milk

Oat milk is low in sugar and provides a good supply of fibre, vitamins E and B as well as potassium. It is therefore a good ally to fill the cravings while staying in shape. Oat milk can be easily prepared at home and is a delicious alternative to cow’s milk. It is not recommended for people with celiac disease and gluten intolerance.

Millet milk

Low in fat, gluten-free and a source of fibre, proteins and minerals (iron, phosphorus, magnesium), millet milk is also on the list of vegan drinks that are easy to make at home and ideal for people with gluten intolerance.

Walnut milk

It is a natural source of omega 3 and 6, vitamins, minerals, which is why it can help maintain good heart health, stimulate brain memory and prevent neurodegenerative diseases. It has antioxidant properties and, just like rice milk, it is an ideal source of energy for those who do are physically active, or even when you have to face a busy day.

Hazelnut milk

Hazelnut milk is rich in carbohydrates and low in calcium. It is therefore not to be consumed too often throughout the day, but it is a gourmet drink that offers vitamins A and B, omega 3 and 6, and is also a good source of protein.

Spelt milk

With its mild taste, spelt milk is also a drink of choice. It provides vitamins E, D, B, and minerals such as calcium, iron and magnesium. It is one of the easiest milks to digest and helps to manage your weight due in particular to a reduced level of bad fats and cholesterol.

How to use plant-based milks in the kitchen

You now know that there are a multitude of vegan milks that can be obtained from cereals (rice, barley, oats, wheat) or from legumes (soybeans, peanuts, lupins, peas). Vegan drink preparations based on nuts and hazelnuts, almonds, coconuts and cashews and those made from plant seeds such as hemp or quinoa are also becoming increasingly common. But how to use these products in the kitchen?

In addition to replacing milk in your morning coffee, vegan milk is excellent in cookie and cake preparations, it makes sauces creamier and adds texture to soups. It can be used to make your béchamel sauce, pancakes, mayonnaise… And of course, it is perfect with your granola or oatmeal 😉

Beware however, many are very rich in carbohydrates and fats, which, although good for your health in small doses, could make you gain weight or aggravate diabetes depending on your case and the quantities consumed. As always, it’s all about balance and moderation!

How to make vegan milk at home?

Not everyone knows it: homemade plant-based milk is simple, cheap and fairly quick to make! The advantage? You can choose quality raw materials and dose the levels according to your personal taste, adjusting the quantities at your discretion.

Here’s how to make oat milk: pour a handful of oat flakes into a container and add warm water. After the first experiments, you will learn how to adjust the amount of water according to the result you wish to obtain, more or less dense. Leave to rest overnight and mix in the morning, then filter through a strainer. You can pour the oat milk obtained into a glass bottle and keep it in the fridge for a few days, ready to use.

For drinks such as walnut or hazelnut milk, leave the nuts to soak in water overnight, about twelve hours. The next day, mix and filter and pour into a bottle. It is possible to sweeten with agave syrup, brown sugar, honey or maple syrup, but with practice, you will surely learn to appreciate the natural taste of homemade vegetable milk with no added sugar.

Breakfast, snacks and meal splitting

Managing to control your weight without cutting out all the fun and completely depriving yourself… that is a goal that is sometimes difficult to achieve and that a large part of the population is concerned about. If diet is often the chosen solution, we’d like to offer another clever alternative: meal splitting.

Our nasty eating habits

Overall, our daily diet consists of three meals, plus a few snacks to satisfy passing cravings. In this arrangement, we often tend to eat more at these three meals so as not to feel hungry afterwards, a solution that is not always the best. On the opposite, not eating enough might involve taking revenge with unbalanced snacks once we are called by hunger.

In both cases, daily calorie intake and nutritional balance, meaning the intake of essential elements to maintain good health, are not always under control.

Moreover, when we eat a heavy meal, our body will tend to store the surplus if it’s not eliminated directly through intense physical activity. We are in the process of creating fat. That’s okay, because it will keep you going until the next meal, you may say. FALSE. If you eat your meals too far apart, every time your body seeks energy, it will look for it in fat, BUT mostly in muscle. However, you generally don’t want to lose muscles, especially since they consume the most calories at rest, which helps speed up your metabolism. Learn more here.

Splitting meals to control your diet

So you see where we’re going with this! And now it’s easy to see why fitness enthusiasts split their meals throughout the day. We also understand the value of breakfast, which is not an end in itself, but a meal like any other that is better split rather than skipped.

In short, the idea is to divide our daily caloric needs into 5 to 6 meals/snacks in a controlled and anticipated manner. This way, no more stuffy meals that make us feel bad, no more cravings and no more feeling deprived. And no more fasting either that makes us lose muscle.

You still need to eat healthy

With this method, there are still some limitations. You can’t just eat whatever/whenever you want. You must follow a certain discipline so that these 5 to 6 half-meals will not turn into force-feeding which would result in rapid weight gain. It is therefore good to maintain a healthy diet with regular physical activity. And in any case, trust your common sense and listen to your body!

At Fourmi Bionique, we have designed our line of cereals and snacks to offer you balanced alternatives in terms of nutritional intake, but also in terms of satiety. We explain the importance of the satiety effect in this article.

Our products therefore offer excellent options for meal splitting that will provide you with the energy and pleasure you need to feel fulfilled in your daily diet, while respecting the balance of your metabolism.

COVID-19

Dear customers,

In these difficult times, please note that our online store is at your disposal so you can stock up on nutritious breakfasts and wholesome snacks or even purchase quality ingredients for your recipes. It’s never been easier or more affordable to get all of our freshly made products from our Montreal workshop delivered right to your door.

In view of the current situation, it seems also important to us to provide you with the confidence and transparency necessary to be reassured. As a food manufacturer, Fourmi Bionique is already fully aware of its important responsibility. This is why our quality processes already meet the most demanding specifications, which have earned us the highly regarded GFSI-HACCP certifications.

In addition, given to the importance of the issues related to the COVID-19, we have further strengthened our vigilance and amended our operational protocols. In particular, our office employees will be working from home, we have increased the frequency of disinfection for all work/contact surfaces and restricted the access to visitors to our facility. An inspection of the state of health of our staff is carried out daily and we have set up training relating to the risks of COVID-19 for all of our employees.

So rest assured that we are doing everything to deliver our usual promise of quality and rigor. It is in this collective effort that everyone can contribute to minimize the consequences of this virus and return to a normal life as quickly as possible.

However, please note that the orders may be delayed due to the situation. Thank you for your understanding!

The importance of eating hearty foods

When you pay close attention to your eating habits, you’ll tend to look at the nutritional information behind the package, and with good reason. However, where people often get it wrong is when they focus solely on calories……

Calorie information is not enough

Whether you are on a diet, or just trying to follow good eating habits, calories are often the main concern. But the number of calories is not enough information to know if you are making the right food choices.

Here is an example:

Let’s compare whole wheat pasta and a chocolate ice cream. If the healthiest choice seems obvious at first, in terms of calories, it’s less clear. Indeed, whole pasta contains on average 330kcal per 100g, compared with about 200kcal for chocolate ice cream.

However, if you decide to stop eating whole wheat pasta and replace it with ice cream instead, every day, you may have a big surprises on the scale. So, what else can help you make the right choices?

Calories are our friends…

First of all, no need to be afraid of calories. It is often said that a woman should consume between 1800 and 2000kcal per day, and a man between 2100 and 2700kcal. In reality, there are many factors that will determine the number of calories you should consume:
– Your age
– Your gender
– Your height
– Your lifestyle and the intensity of your physical activity
– Your current morphology
– Your genetics, meaning your basic metabolism.

These factors need to be taken into account and calculated to determine your ideal calorie intake. The ideal is to let a professional guide you, but you can also use some online calculators for this:
Lifespanfitness
Healthline

Not consuming enough calories is just like consuming too many. Indeed, if exceeding your needs will push your body to store additional energy in the form of fat, the lack in turn will undoubtedly lead you to sugar and fat cravings, and possibly to nutritional deficiencies and low energy in both cases.

Having a balance is essential. You have to understand that the human body is a wonderful machine designed for survival. If your body feels a lack, it will act vigorously to obtain what it wants. Hence the yoyo effect that often occurs in low-calorie diets.

Consume the right calories

A need for food will be expressed either when our mind is frustrated by a drop in pleasure, or when our body is not filled in quantity or in quality. More specifically, the contributing factors are the following:
– Sensory: Sight, taste, texture will influence the brain in the release of neurotransmitters which will give a feeling of satisfaction;
– Digestive: Mechanically, chewing and filling the stomach also sends information to the brain on the material that is being ingested;
– Hormonal: Hormones will be transmitted such as leptin, insulin and cholecystokinin to send a message of satiety;
– Mechanical: In the small intestine, the presence of nutrients will help prolong the effect of satiety.

The real challenge is therefore to consume the right amount of calories, of course, but also the right sources of calories so as not to experience cravings, what we call the satiety effect, or even suffer from nutritional deficiencies.

Let’s take the example of ice cream once again. The distribution of energy sources is not appropriate, the majority of the calories are derived from sugars and lipids. You will get a strong satisfaction of pleasure, but a low satisfaction of satiety because of a low nutritional intake, a texture too easily assimilated, a low chew time and an intense energy intake, but also too quickly assimilated and stored (refer to article on sugars).

Therefore, for a lower caloric value than whole pasta, for example, you will be hungry again, very soon, which will create a frustration and push you to eat again and again, risking ingesting more calories than necessary. Finally, beyond this aspect, you will have a low-nourishing diet, which will quickly be stored as fat in your body.

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We take this into account at Fourmi Bionique

We often receive comments on the amount of calories and carbohydrates present in our granolas. We have provided an answer for carbohydrates in this article. Regarding calories, our products meet this strategy which is described above.

Indeed, the Grand Granola, for example, is a blend of quality whole grains (see article on grain free) which offer an excellent satiety effect and a good distribution of energy over time. The digestion of these cereals is slower than that of a classic oatmeal, for example, which makes it a perfect ally during breakfast in order to stay satisfied until lunch, while avoiding mid-morning snacking. In addition, the nutritional density of these products means that you have to consume a smaller amount than other comparable products to feel satisfied. Finally, they are high-performance products both in terms of pleasure and satiety.

Both in the Grand Granola range and in the NUTBROWN range, cereals and nuts are good complex carbohydrates, proteins, fibers and good fats that are rich in Omega 3 and 6 which guarantee you a good nutritional contribution and, let’s not forget, a good source of pleasure 😊.

The mindset behind the creation of soulful granolas and snacks

Since the creation of Fourmi Bionique, we have always preached for pleasure above all! Today, we are in an era where the topics relating to food unleash passions and where consumers are more and more lost and anxious about everything that is recommended, and sometimes even imposed to them. We believe that it would be best to learn to trust ourselves again. Indeed, our body knows what it needs and communicates it to us willingly if we listen.

Luxurious blends
to
feed the body and soul

Let’s take a break from this tornado of doubts and savor the simple and natural pleasures. Indeed, since 2004, we have never ceased to highlight the quality and sourcing of our products. While we still emphasize its importance, we believe now more than ever that it is necessary for consumers to rediscover wellbeing through the pleasure of eating in harmony with oneself. In this spirit, the purpose of Fourmi Bionique has always been to create soulful products. This is expressed at the core level of many aspects associated with our products: from the sourcing and selection of ingredients, the balanced nutritional composition, and the pursuit of pleasure in every bite. To mark the renewal of the simple wellbeing of eating in harmony with ourselves, you are welcomed to join us in our new universe, in our escape bubble where all dreams are allowed, and where you can relax, have fun and find enjoyment, by simply trusting your own judgment and common sense!/em>

To convey this philosophy, we acquired an Airstream, a symbol of escape in the wilderness in true comfort, but in harmony with nature, in short which is representative of our luxurious blends. After all, choosing the best in everything is our signature! With our Airstream, we will come to you at various outdoor events to share this passion for quality and this liberating energy of adventure, simple pleasures and the importance of letting go from time to time. So, if you are aware of an event in which you would like us to participate, don’t hesitate to write to us: [email protected]!

See you soon!

Genviève Gagnon, President and Founder of La Fourmi Bionique

The 
Making of

Photo credit : John Londono, Consulat

What is this
image about?

We wanted to illustrate our universe which we consider playful and lively with a colorful and animated scene. You will see this graphic illustration on our Airstream but also on other visuals on social media and in our events. The visual incorporates our different flavors (each of our 9 bold personalities which are recognizable by their distinct color). This creative projection of our universe aims to convey this idea of lightness and natural well-being, without any constraints.

Why choose to manufacture our own granolas?

For any growing food company, the question will come up as to whether one should continue to manufacture its own products or opt for outsourcing instead. The business model is in itself very different between that of manufacturer and that of food marketer. But what is the impact on the product when choosing one model over another? And why did we decide to manufacture our own products unlike most of our competitors?

The pros and cons of outsourcing

Indeed, when entering the very competitive market of breakfast products, and more particularly cereals and granolas, having a good recipe does not always cut it. The challenge is also to obtain cost structures that will be sufficiently interesting in order to offer an attractive proposition to consumers. It should also be expected that several stakeholders will be involved (distributors, stores, brokers), and they must have the latitude to take their margin and carry out promotional actions. Naturally, one may think that making your own products would be the most obvious solution, but it requires significant investments and a constant upgrade of facilities.

 

The other solution is to outsource the production. This way, you can exclude the manufacturing management risks, but this solution also involves other issues and restrictions. So, outsourcing or manufacturing? Unlike many of our competitors, at Fourmi Bionique, we have chosen to offer artisanal products that we manufacture ourselves and have done so for the past 16 years.

Outsourcing is the simplest and quickest way to get into a market. In fact, there is no need to rent a factory, to obtain certifications for the plant, to buy the machines, to manage breakdowns, to hire and manage production employees, to find supply chains, to manage the quality of your product… All this is already set up and managed by the subcontractor who has all the expertise.

The time that is saved is therefore considerable and the money that is not invested in the production can be used to promote the product. It represents a real asset and the business model is greatly simplified.

 

Why not choosing outsourcing?

The GOOD choice…

Indeed, we have evaluated the possibility of outsourcing many times since the creation of the company. We even asked a baker to prepare our first batches back in 2003, which he refused, but he suggested instead that we come and produce the cereals ourselves in his establishment, which we did. The years passed, we continued to manufacture in the facilities of others until the day when we considered the possibility of settling in our own premises. At this stage, we explored potential subcontracting collaborations, however, we had to give up organic certification as well as the presence of nuts in our products (at the time, few companies had organic certification). We therefore chose to create our own factory in order to maintain our vision and our values, as well as our original recipes.

The DIFFICULT choice…

After a few years of manufacturing, we now know that this path is full of pitfalls and it is very difficult to make the operations profitable while still proposing a competitive price. With little experience in optimizing production operations and low-performing basic equipment, our company has had some difficult years. Despite our important sales growth, Fourmi Bionique was unprofitable.

Our production was artisanal and done in small batches. Quality issues must therefore also be constantly monitored: overcooked or undercooked products, rancid or non-compliant ingredients, etc. So we considered outsourcing once again as we were being challenged with higher volumes. This time, the compromise to be taken into account was to change suppliers so that the certifications of our supplies would be compatible with those of the subcontractors.

It was a major problem for us, considering that we had to give up some of the key ingredients that were used in our recipes for many years, what our customers would certainly detect (our chocolate, local honey, flower petals). In addition, the cooking would have been very industrial-looking and homogeneous, while the visual signature of our products is that of a pronounced color variation associated with our artisanal production, which translated into the oven-roasted taste of homemade granola. In short, it would simply not have been the Fourmi Bionique products!

 

Deciding to be THE best manufacturer

Afterwards, we decided to remain master of our own destiny and to become an excellent manufacturer of artisanal granolas. We have completely renovated our facilities, we have tightened our quality standards and achieved world-class certifications. We have optimized our production operations in order to offer the best product on the market, and at the best cost.

Today, our facilities are efficient, we offer superior quality products and we always respect our ingredients and recipes. Our progress has allowed us to understand the issues of outsourcing and gain better understanding of this solution which can also have great disadvantages:

– It does not allow to have a complex and personalized product. Recipes must be standardized at the risk of selling a product very similar to that of the competition;

– The control of cost structures is worse. Difficult to propose a good quality/price ratio, one does not control the manufacturing process and the subcontractor takes its margin first. Goodbye golden granolas with honey and hello to glucose or liquid cane syrup in the recipe;

– There is extreme dependence on the subcontractor. In case of problems (bankruptcy, bad quality…) we may need to start over or even close shop.

The result of all this? Standardized products for which quality/price ratio may be unsatisfactory.

At Fourmi Bionique, we are artisans of taste. We create our own recipes, often precursors in our niche. We control the supply, manufacture and marketing of our recipes up until they show up on store shelves. For a price that is more than affordable, we manufacture high value-added products, made with high quality artisanal chocolates, dried fruit (and not freeze-dried) without sulphites, various Quebec organic cereals (barley, rye, oats, spelt), top quality Quebec honey… All this to offer products that feed the body, but also the soul.

In addition, to ensure the best quality, we have worked to obtain many certifications: Ecocert, Kosher, Whole grain, Gluten-free, GMO-free, SQF, HACCP, Aliments du Quebec…

This requires many sacrifices, patience and a lot of love. The result? A unique quality product at the best value, which can be imitated, but never duplicated 😊

Refined sugars vs Carbohydrates. Are all sugars unhealthy?

To counter junk food, some doctors, nutritionists, the media and many others managed to create a real phobia, a fear not only based on sugars, but also on carbohydrates in general. Nevertheless, care should be taken not to confuse everything.

Do not confuse carbohydrates with refined sugars

Behind the carbohydrates, it’s actually the sugars that are problematic. Sugars are known under several names that can hide what they truly are. There may be sucrose (another term for sugar), glucose syrup or evaporated cane syrup… Often, products also contain pure glucose, fructose, milk sugar (lactose) or maltose. All these sugars are refined industrial sugars, whether they come from milk or fruit.

The effects of these sugars on health are similar to those of the white sugars that you can find at home. However, refined sugars are considered by many to be harmful to the body. Some even qualify them as «poisonous».

sucres-raffinés-glucides-régimes-granola-céréales-fourmi-bionique-02

Refined sugar and carbohydrates, what’s the difference?

How to tell the difference? Certainly not with the color. 90% of white sugar comes from beetroot and has not been refined, while brown sugar is a refined sugar from sugar cane, which owes its color to an industrial process that whitens it.

Simple carbohydrates include glucose, fructose, and galactose that can form sucrose, which means table sugar, lactose or maltose. Complex carbohydrates include starch, glycogen and fiber.

A refined sugar is a sugar from which all its vitamins and minerals have been removed. It has no nutritional interest except that of bringing pure energy to your body, but on a very short period of time. Then the additional energy is quickly stored in your body.

Refined sugar, a poison?

Refined sugar is now associated with more and more health issues: addictions, mental problems, deficiencies, obesity, memory problems, hypertension and heart disease. We will not detail everything here, there are hundreds of articles on this subject. Enough to keep you busy reading for a while.

Sugar Is Not Only a Drug but a Poison Too
11 Reasons Why Too Much Sugar Is Bad for You
Robert Lustig: the man who believes sugar is poison

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The benefits of unrefined sugars?

Unrefined sugars have not undergone any industrial processing. And that makes them less harmful to health. Some even have recognized benefits. Learn more.

– Honey: Rich in B vitamins, trace elements, amino acids and mineral salts.
– Maple syrup: Rich in iron, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium.
– Cane sugar: Rich in vitamins and minerals
– Coconut sugar: Rich in vitamins and minerals, especially polyphenols, potassium in large quantities.
– Fructose: Greater sweetness and lasting effect of satiety.

To learn more.

This is why Fourmi Bionique favors these unrefined sugars in all our recipes! We buy pure, organic, fair and/or local products, for which we always control the origin and quality.

Why produce organic granola?

Organic farming was not born yesterday, but despite growing demand, it is still a complex subject for many. At Fourmi Bionique, organic is at the heart of our priorities since day one, as is local sourcing, in the production of our granola, snacks and for our bulk ingredients. However, we must constantly think about how to integrate it into our offer. Organic has a cost and requires compromise. Should we focus on organic granola or local granola? Organic or Fairtrade? Is organic certification always a guarantee and certainty of quality? You will see that the answers are far from obvious.

organic-granola

Why choose certified organic granola?

Organic certification guarantees that 70% or more of organic ingredients were used in the recipe. But what does that really mean? An ingredient that is classified as organic has been produced in the context of sustainable agriculture and respect for biodiversity. In other words, it is a mode of production that rules out the use of synthetic chemicals, GMOs. This type of agriculture recycles organic matter and practices crop rotation to preserve the soils.

It therefore guarantees greater respect for the product, environment and health. Indeed, a recent study conducted by the INSERM (the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research) on nearly 69,000 people and relayed in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) shows that there is 25% less cancer in people who regularly consume organic food. Learn more.

These are all reasons that encourage us to focus on organic food and place it at the center of our thinking.

Should we choose organic or local?

This is an important question, as local organic products are often more expensive than abroad. In addition, not all ingredients can be produced anywhere: try to produce organic coconut here… That is when we need to ask the right questions. When should we buy organic and when should we buy local?

granola-fourmi-bionique-organic

In order to answer this question, several facts must be taken into account

– The ingredient’s availability in the organic version.

– There is not enough organic food for everyone: it only represents 1% of all agricultural production.

Not all organic supplies are equal. There may be differences in organic specifications across countries, although there are equivalencies/agreements between the different territories. And knowing that over 80% of Chinese underground water is polluted, we should definitely ask ourselves the question. Source New York Times.

– Local conventional agriculture sometimes has less impact on ecology, health and economy compared to buying organic food from far away on the planet. Source Équiterre. FYI, the food sector accounts for 15 to 30% of greenhouse gas emissions. Source FoodSource.

– Providing 100% organic products at coercive prices is not a progressive approach, it does not make it possible to democratize its access to the greatest number.

– Producing organic at a low price can lead to abuse: fraud (honey is for example very often tampered with), pressure on employees (low wages, illegal employment, black market…), or on ecology when demand is too high and we must produce more and more (industrial drifts, drying up of land…). Source Food and Wine.

– All products from conventional agriculture are not as exposed to pesticides. Learn more.

Organic farming can therefore present its own issues. When the option of local and organic is not possible, the choice is up to the companies: offering 100% organic and abandoning the philosophy that goes with it at the expense of having to change the recipe/product, or give it up and lose market share. As we say: every choice is a renunciation.

Not being organic granola also has a cost!

Not being organic granola stamped can have many repercussions for a company. This can close the doors of some specialized points of sale, a part of the customer base and even some countries where the legislation is more restrictive (especially in Europe).

At Fourmi Bionique, we have made choices that we fully assume, choices that sometimes force us to give up certain sales opportunities. We have decided to put the quality of our products at the center of everything. That is why we source local organic when possible, but not at all costs.

To create organic and cheaper products, we could have chosen, for example, to exclusively use organic cane sugar. However, our desire to respect the artisanal character of our recipes and to offer healthy and high-end granolas has led us to continue to add local honey, a luxury ingredient. And we are one of the few to do it! Unfortunately, it is difficult to use local organic honey considering that the production is low and the price is high. We could also buy organic imported honey, but we prefer to put forward the quality ingredients of our local producers.

organic-granola

Fourmi Bionique: the Organic, the Local and the Fairtrade

We shared with you here the tradeoffs we have made in order to offer healthy and qualitative blends.

Local organic supply mainly concerns grain products that are easily found in Quebec: oats, spelt, rye and barley.

The different organic products that we wish to source but whose supply is difficult in Quebec are imported from Quebec distributors who can assure us the quality and traceability: this concerns the cane sugar, the coconut (the flour and the coconut sugar), sesame seeds, flax seeds, white chocolate, 71% dark chocolate, milk and caramel chocolate, espresso chocolate, Thompson grapes, tamari, Siberian ginseng, marigold petals, astragalus powder, maca powder, elm powder, elderberries, marshmallow root, matcha tea.

Then, there are products that we wanted to source in Quebec, even if it means using conventional agriculture. We’re talking about honey, maple syrup, cranberries and artisan chocolates from Chocolats Geneviève Grandbois.

Finally, we also wanted to ensure that some products come from a fairtrade supply: 71% organic dark chocolate, espresso chocolate, milk and caramel chocolate and cocoa powder.

In addition, the local, organic or fairtrade origin of each ingredient is well specified on our packaging.

organic-granola

The organic certification of our Grand Granola

The Grand Granola range is Ecocert Canada certified in the 70 to 95% organic ingredients category, the other ingredients being conventional and GMO free. This certification meets CARTV’s Designation Specification Manual and an audit is carried out each year. It consists of a validation of ingredients, methods and preparation processes according to the reference system. The objective is to ensure the respect of the organic integrity of products throughout the production chain. For more information, visit Ecocert Canada.