What are the benefits of gluten free Chinese food?

Australians have had a long love affair with Chinese food. No wonder there are so many Chinese restaurants and takeaways around the country.

While ordering from the menu is a pleasure for most of us, people with celiac disease or gluten intolerance may struggle to find something they can comfortably eat. Cooking Chinese dishes at home gives more control over the ingredients.

How gluten-free food may boost your health.

There are some good reasons to consider choosing going gluten-free. A gluten-free diet may:

  • Lower your cholesterol levels
  • Improve your digestive health
  • Lower your risk of diet related diseases such as heart disease or diabetes
  • Increase the amount of nutrients you are eating
  • Help you lose weight.

Of course, with any long term dietary change, it’s worth consulting your doctor first. However, choosing gluten-free options for your next Chinese meal can be good for you.

Avoiding gluten in Chinese food.

The foods to avoid include anything with soy or oyster sauce, deep fried foods, dumplings and buns. Good gluten-free choices include dishes with steamed rice, vegetables, foods cooked on sizzle platters, rice noodles and soups that have not been thickened.

The dietary benefits of gluten-free Chinese food.                          

Whether you suffer from gluten sensitivity or not, choosing gluten-free Chinese food offers four immediately obvious dietary benefits.

  1. You will increase the amount of vegetables and fruits in your diet.
  2. You will reduce your consumption of processed foods.
  3. You will lower your fat intake
  4. You will lower your sugar intake

Choosing gluten -free options encourages you to broaden your dietary choices and experience foods you might not normally try. Gluten-free dishes are often filled with delicious vegetables. They are prepared quickly and simply, without the added fats and sugars that are so much a part of the regular western diet, and hidden away in Chinese food.

Honey Chicken (002)Create your own delicious gluten-free Chinese meals.

Essential Food Services is a proud distributor of New Chinese Garden’s range of meal kits, making it easy for you to create tasty and healthy gluten-free meals at home. The kits are

  • Wheat Free
  • Soy Free
  • Dairy Free

They contain:

  • No Egg
  • No MSG
  • No Artificial Colours, Flavours or Preservatives

The New Chinese Garden kits are exciting because they offer gluten-free versions of dishes which are normally not suitable for people with gluten sensitivity. Now everyone can enjoy Chinese fried rice and lemon chicken because they are made with gluten-free flour, sauces and specialised ingredients. The kits contain everything you need to create a delicious meal.

To find out more about New Chinese Garden Meal Kits, our specialised food services or how to source the best health foods, contact us at Essential Food Services.

Is Paleo the New Gluten Free – and How is it Healthy?

Within the last decade, gluten-free diets have become wildly popular. With this diet, adherents avoid gluten, which is a type of protein that is found in some grass-based grains such as wheat, rye and barley.

Making the Case for Gluten-Free

Some individuals are not able to properly digest gluten, which can lead to painful symptoms such as gas, malabsorption and diarrhea. This is because the inability to digest gluten leads to inflammation in the small intestine. This condition is known as coeliac disease, and a gluten-free diet is one of the few treatment options.

Gluten sensitivity is another condition where sufferers have found that eliminating foods which contain gluten from their diet can help them feel less tired and bloated. Others report they have less trouble with symptoms caused by various autoimmune disorders, have skin that is clearer and less prone to breakouts, and can maintain their weight more easily.

Grains to Avoid in Gluten-Free

While followers of the diet avoid wheat and other products that contain gluten, other types of grain, such as corn and buckwheat, do not contain gluten and so can they be eaten and enjoyed on a gluten-free diet.

Many processed, pre-packaged foods contain wheat and other grains, so most commercially manufactured sauces, cereals, gravies, potato chips, pastas, soups and even food colourings must be avoided to prevent the accidental consumption of gluten.

Controversy Surrounding Gluten-Free

One of the main controversies surrounding the gluten-free diet is that both coeliac disease and true gluten sensitivity are relatively rare conditions, which means that many adherents of the diet have neither disorder. As with any other major dietary change, consult your doctor before choosing a paleo diet.

 Healthy brownies in a jarWhat is the Paleo Diet?

The new paleo diet is sometimes referred to as the “caveman” diet because it seeks to replicate the diet that humans originally followed thousands of years ago when they lived as hunter-gatherers in small tribal communities. While the paleo diet does share some of the same dietary guidelines as the gluten-free diet, it is more restrictive overall.

What Paleo Followers Can and Cannot Eat

Paleo followers avoid wheat, rye and barley just like followers of the gluten- free diet. They also avoid other processed grains, as well as highly refined sugars and salt. Some followers of the paleo diet allow natural sources of sugar to be consumed, such as honey or molasses, while others avoid all sugars both natural and man-made.

With paleo, the focus is on eating fresh fruits and vegetables that have a low-glycaemic index, as well as consuming large amounts of protein in the form of meats, fish, and nuts. The diet also emphasises the importance of drinking water and being physically active every single day.

While potatoes, dried beans, peas and peanuts are all vegetables, they are still avoided because they were not introduced into the human diet until after the advent of farming. They can also cause a rapid rise in blood sugar as they are digested. Milk and other dairy products are avoided for the same reason. Artificially sweetened, flavoured and coloured items are avoided in paleo, as are coffee, tea, carbonated beverages and more.

The Benefits of the Paleo Diet                                                        

Fresh fruits and vegetables are one of the best sources of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other nutrients that support good health. Lean meats and nuts are high in protein and other nutrients as well, so from a dietary standpoint, the paleo diet is a healthy and nutritious one.

Many followers of the paleo diet report that they could lose more weight, more quickly, because the high levels of lean protein in the diet help support the development of lean muscle mass, which supports weight loss.

The diet may also make it easier to keep blood sugar levels at a steady rate throughout the day, which may make it easier to control diseases like diabetes. Folks with high blood pressure have also found that cutting back on salt and losing weight from following paleo makes it easier to control their blood pressure.

Is Paleo the new gluten-free? What are your thoughts about it?

The Benefits of a Healthy Dairy Free Vegan Dessert

We don’t often equate dessert with healthy food. Usually we think of dessert as an excess, or unnecessary indulgence. Those following a balanced approach to food, however, see things slightly differently, and know that embracing dessert as part of an enjoyable meal can be a healthy experience.


Doing away with deprivation

Luz Almond Cacao Fudge

Luz Almond Frozen Dessert

To begin with, it should be noted that healthy ways to nourish oneself do not extend to depriving oneself of enjoyable eating experiences. We need adequate calories for our activity every single day, and we also need to fulfil our quota of pleasurable experiences to maintain emotional health. Those who never find a satisfying dessert could be setting themselves up for unhealthy food choices later in the evening.


Paying attention to what is left in, and what is left out

Heading to the cake buffet is one way to do dessert, but taking that route it is very easy to overdo sugar, gluten and trans fats, and walk away with a tired, bloated feeling. Additionally, overdoing refined and sugar-heavy ingredients can be a recipe for future health disasters, such as diabetes, according to Harvard School of Public Health chair, Dr Walter Willett.


Desserts that are not based on those ingredients are going to be more satisfying, and more in line with healthy eating habits in general, so look for natural sugars, nuts and quality chocolate. Seeking out vegan products, that contain no dairy, will ensure that many types of inflammation causing foods, especially milk products, are left out. This makes it easier for the body incorporate the food smoothly, and not disturb digestion. The added benefit, of course, is that people who are lactose intolerant can indulge in dessert without hesitation.


Dairy free vegan desserts are carefully designed to include healthy ingredients while producing maximum taste and enjoyment. For example, sugar is often replaced with coconut sugar which is harvested from the coconut blossom. It’s low GI and quite nutritious. Dairy components may be replaced with coconut cream, which is low in cholesterol and easily digestible, and macadamia butter, which is gluten-free, high fibre, and full of protein. If you are new to a dairy free diet, you will be pleasantly surprised at how healthy and delicious they can be.


Emphasising quality, observing quantity

The best dairy free vegan desserts rely on quality ingredients for their delicious results. High quality ingredients, close to their natural states, are preferred for making the most of their nutritional potential. Another key to making sure we make the most of the health benefits of dessert is to remember your portion control. As with most foods, there is no health benefit in extra large helpings. Just because a food is healthy, it doesn’t mean you can overdo it!


Here at Essential Food Services, we are stockists of the Luzalmond range of alternatives to traditional desserts. Luzalmond make a beautiful variety of almond based desserts. We chose Luzalmond because their products are exceptionally well produced. They cold-press their almond milk; a slow-speed process that ensures the maximum amount of vitamins, minerals and enzymes are retained after production.


We offer a range of light, vegan yogurts and frozen delicacies which are a perfect choice for healthy, diary free desserts. Sticking to the best ingredients, including almonds grown in South Australia, crunchy macadamias, dark organic chocolate, and premium vanilla bean, among others, the Luzalmond products are full of rich tastes that can be enjoyed by anyone whether or not they are looking to go dairy free.


To find out more about our food services and sourcing the best health foods, get in touch with us at Essential Food Services.

Exploring Gluten Free Expos in Adelaide

The weekend of 25 -26 July 2015 was a big one on the Adelaide food calendar last year when the city hosted its first Gluten Free and Healthy Lifestyle Expo. We know, because we were there. We even may have sai hello!

Picture-160-300x200Around 50 exhibitors at the Wayville Showgrounds mingled with the thousands of pastry, bread, beer craving crowd, anxious to see the latest and freshest gluten free treats all in one place for the first time in Adelaide. Coeliacs, gluten intolerant people and just those wanting to eat better, were educated and entertained by a wonderful line up of interesting guest speakers, and tempted by cooking demonstrations and treats to try and buy. And from the feedback we heard and read, people did not leave disappointed.

We were overwhelmed by the turn out, the wonderful people we met on the Silly Yaks stand, and the support of Coeliac South Australia and Northern Territory, their members, guests and volunteers. One of the best things about attending an expo is being able to talk to you all, face-toface.

The Gluten Free café was a particular hit on the day. No one had to worry that they asked too many questions when they ordered their food, or to fear that their concerns might be brushed off. Instead questions were firing because of enjoyment and anticipation of great products and service, and the camaraderie of like-minded diners added to the buzz and atmosphere of the event.

“After I was diagnosed with coeliac disease, I said yes to food, with great enthusiasm. . . . I vowed to taste everything I could eat, rather than focusing on what I could not.” ― Shauna James Ahern

If you did visit us at the Silly Yaks stand, you may recall these products are supplied to Foodland Supermarkets across South Australia, with more and more orders and outlets being added every week. We are the proud distributor of these incredible quality products (as well as many others!) for the region. The amazing taste and mouthfeel, without a hint of cardboard, are the hallmarks of our incredible gluten free range and it’s an honour to be reintroducing much loved and missed treats such as cookies, muffins, pizza bases and savoury pies and pastries to the diets of Coeliacs and gluten intolerant eaters locally.

The date for future expos has yet to be released, however based on the response and success of the 2015 we know there is more to come. We can’t wait to be exhibiting at the 2017 event, and meeting even more locals looking for gluten free options to introduce or reintroduce to their once limited choices. Watch this space, our Facebook Page or the organiser’s website for more information on the next big event. As soon as the next expo is announced, we’ll be securing our space and shouting the news from the rooftops.

Top Pick Food Markets in Adelaide

If you consume locally produced food, you cut down the use of fossil fuels that were used to transport it. You cut down on the times it has to change hands. And if it’s local it probably tastes better because it was picked when it was ripe. – Dr Tammy Faux


Fresh, locally produced, organic, gluten free. Whatever your food preference, you can find it at the food markets in Adelaide.

Adelaide Night Markets

Adelaide Night Markets

If Sunday evening television viewing leaves you cold, a far better option is the Adelaide Night Market at Prince Henry Garden, North Terrace. Whilst not strictly a food market, you’d struggle to leave with an empty stomach with plenty of international options and entertainment too. A relatively new addition to the market calendar, it’s a little early to predict what the niche is for this event food wise, but we hear gluten free and vegetarian options are available. Check out their Facebook page in advance to keep up with the fortnightly offerings and music line up.

Voted Best Farmers Market in Australia by Australian Traveller Magazine, the Adelaide Farmers Market has two locations, Wayville and Gawler. Established in 2006, the goal is to inspire consumers to consider the production methods of the food they eat and also where it comes from. Shoppers can buy their fresh produce direct from the grower so they know exactly where every item comes from. With a real family focus, the market even has a kid’s club so that the little ones can be entertained and educated with things to grow, learn and cook each week.

Adelaide Central Markets

Adelaide Central Markets

The 2015 South Australian Tourism Award Bronze award winners, Adelaide Central Markets, was established in 1869 and remains the ‘Heart of Adelaide’ to this day. From small beginnings this iconic market has grown to over 80 stalls and statistics suggest it is South Australia’s most visited tourist attraction with over 8.5 million visitors a year. With that many people passing through, the food has to be fantastic and varied, local or tourist, you won’t be disappointed. Whilst known as the mecca for International food, the largest contingent are the fruit and vegetable sellers.

Divided into an array of laneways and broadways, food is the major attraction, whether you are looking for a great feed, aromatic coffee or to fill your fridge and pantry for the week ahead. Open 5 days a week, and with a monthly theme as well as live music on Friday’s, you’ll find all you need to know online as well as seasonal recipes and even a merchandise shop, like any popular tourist attraction. Turning 147 years old on 23 January 2016, a special tribute to the original traders and a BBQ breakfast for charity is the perfect way to celebrate this amazing milestone which will include food demonstrations and recipes with an 1869 theme.

Adelaide Hills Farmers Markets

Rain, hail or shine, you will find 25 passionate and committed producers at the Adelaide Hills Farmers Markets, selling their produce in its simplest form along with any other products that can be made from these primary products. Held every Saturday in Mt Barker, you will find a group of dedicated Hills residents who created this vision and event to promote regional and seasonal food and establish community events with a local and sustainable focus. Regular or even day visitors are invited to become a member (fees apply and vary) to receive a 10% discount on all purchases.

We all need to eat, and the markets around Adelaide provide a wonderful experience as well as a full belly. With a local focus, keeping the profits close to home, they showcase the best our region and State has to offer. Consider visiting one soon!

Adelaide, Now You Can Enjoy Gluten Free at Home

If you’re a coeliac or gluten intolerant, especially if you’ve been diagnosed for some time, chances are there are foods that you haven’t been able to enjoy for a long time, that make your mouth water at the memory.

The crunch of the pastry from the first bite of a steaming meat pie. The flakiness of sausage rolls as they melt in your mouth…

When was the last time you were able to enjoy a pie or sausages roll? It was probably a long time ago. Then you had to start learning about gluten free eating and everything changed,

You might have tried gluten free foods but cardboard that fell apart in your hands was more appetising than some of the options that used to be available, so you were forced to rely on memories of pastry gone by. Food just wasn’t the same, so you gave up on your choices altogether.

You were THAT person at the dinner table or the restaurant. The person who had to specify the restaurant, flat out refused to go out for pizza, and wherever you ended up, couldn’t have the banquet or anything resembling what everyone else was having. You were the person who asked the wait staff dozens of questions before settling on the most boring meal on the menu or asking for meat and vegetables or fish and salad…. Again! Or worse, the person everyone stopped asking out for dinner at all.

Well, now you no longer have to be the black sheep at the dinner table. We bring you Silly Yak food, a delicious choice for people on a wheat free, gluten free diet. This is how food used to taste, so get ready for a taste sensation.

Born of necessity, from a coeliac who was very frustrated at the lack of gluten free, quality food options, Silly Yak foods more than fill this gap in the market and in your dining and food choices. Just because food is gluten free, doesn’t mean it has to be bland to the tastebuds and uncomfortable and stodgy on the tongue. In fact, it tastes so good you’ll be checking the packaging more than once to make sure you didn’t pick up the wrong product by mistake! You can even serve these pies, pizzas and breads to your non coeliac friends and they won’t notice. (You could, but you won’t! It’s too good to share!)

Essential Food Services are privileged and excited to be the sole distributor for the Silly Yaks range of gluten free products in Adelaide, both to retailers and direct to the public. Knowing that people all over Adelaide will be able to satisfy that pizza craving, either at home or at their favourite pizza place gives us immense satisfaction. Imagining your face as you bite into the best muffin or cookie you’ve tasted since your diet change, knowing it’s as good as you remember but without the unpleasant side effects of gluten, makes us smile almost as big as you will. We can’t wait to hear your feedback as you return again and again to stock your fridges, freezers or pantry with the treats you missed for so many years. We look forward to introducing you to new options, to, as the Silly Yaks range expands to meet demand.

If you want any more information or if your mouth is watering and you need to taste our new range, check out our exclusive range available to order online right now or email at info@essentialfoodservices.com.au. Or whilst we are feeling sentimental you could do it the old fashioned way and call us on (08) 8242 4787.

Put pizza and pastry and baked treats back in your belly and on your menu without disappointment or discomfort. Surprise your friends by inviting them around for a delicious and satisfying pizza night! Look forward to finding some more tasty gluten free options on the menu at your favourite restaurant. No longer do you have to feel different. You can enjoy your food as much as anyone!

Introducing… Lago Smallgoods

Lago Smallgoods started production in the 1970’s making a small range of quality Italian style smallgoods in the time honoured traditional techniques.

As local custom grew in numbers, Lago developed as a diverse and multi-range producer of hams, bacon products, traditionally fermented salamis along with a wide selection of continental smallgoods. Throughout this growth period at Lago, Max Davis was gaining professional experience while working with the all Australian Huttons Smallgoods group, first in Tasmania, then Melbourne and later Brisbane. Returning to Melbourne, Max decided to establish the Duncan Davis Smallgoods company and achieved major successes with customers including the Coles and Woolworths Supermarkets.


Thirty years after Max established the Duncan Davis brand name, the second generation Davis, his son Andrew, took over shared management of the business upon his father’s death. Andrew, however, could see multiple opportunities in the smallgoods industry and an opening became available with Lago Smallgoods.


In 2006, Andrew bought the now highly successful Lago Smallgoods business and invited the talented and experienced manager of Otto Wurth, Willem Derks, to support the next level of development at Lago Smallgoods. After only four years of building quality and market share, bigger facilities were required and so operations were transferred to the purpose built, state of the art, office, production, and distribution facilities at the Northcorp Enterprise Park, Broadmeadows.


Today, the 3rd generation of the Davis family work at Lago. Both Andrew’s sons, Rhett and Jake, continue to carry on the family tradition.


At Lago, our aim is to excel at all that we manufacture and sell. Our customers define our standards in terms of their needs. This customer focussed attitude has meant that Lago has grown to become a Victorian and interstate supplier to the wholesale and retail markets around Australia. Today the Lago brand can be found in all discerning pizza establishments using our pizza cotto and salami range of products. Other satisfied customers include hotels, restaurants, cafes, bistros and boutique butchers buying from our comprehensive Lago brand of products.

Introducing … Silly Yaks


Silly Yak Foods was founded in 2001, the brainchild of Rosemary Hanger and Robert Hinterding.

Having been diagnosed with coeliac disease after a long and frustrating series of illnesses, Rosemary discovered a new frustration – the lack of quality food products and dining alternatives available for people trying to live on a wheat free, gluten free diet! In response, Rosemary and Robert opened Silly Yaks Cafe, Melbourne’s first 100% wheat free and gluten free dining venue.

At first, the idea was to serve coffee and cake, offering perhaps a few gluten free biscuits or gluten free muffins as well. But the customers had other ideas. Before long, Silly Yaks had been transformed into a full service gluten free cafe and restaurant, serving breakfast and lunch six days per week.

But it didn’t stop there. To provide a full service cafe, a whole suite of gluten free recipes was required. Rosemary and Robert had already developed a small library of recipes in their home kitchen: gluten free bread recipes, gluten free biscuit recipes, a gluten free pastry recipe and some recipes for gluten free cakes. More was required to support the growing business, so they set to work in the cafe kitchen. Soon the cafe was bursting with new and delicious gluten free products, all developed to add spice to the cafe menu.

From this point on, the evolution of Silly Yaks Cafe into Silly Yak Foods was inevitable. Gluten free products developed initially for the cafe menu were offered for retail sale in the cafe. Rosemary and Robert were approached by other retailers who wanted to buy the products to re-sell – a small wholesale business developed. As the business grew, a separate gluten free bakery was set up, servicing the requirements of the Silly Yaks Cafe and the growing list of wholesale customers.

Rosemary and Robert are now retired and Silly Yak Foods is now a major Australian gluten free food manufacturer. The cafe was sold in 2008 to SACS Gluten Free, who still operate it as a 100% wheat free and gluten free environment and with whom we still maintain a close relationship. SACS Gluten Free continues to be a major retailer of Silly Yak Foods’ range of 100% wheat free and gluten free products. Silly Yak Foods manufactures and distributes a range of premium quality 100% gluten free and wheat free food which is sold throughout Australia and New Zealand. We remain dedicated to Rosemary’s vision of high quality wheat free and gluten free food.

“Here at Silly Yaks we believe that our food should be good food first and gluten free second.”