Curly Questions

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Thrifty low GI eating. We are often asked about food costs eating the low GI way. Have your say on how GI News readers can stretch the weekly food budget.
‘Spend as much as you can at the green grocer, as much as you need at the butcher, and as little as you can at the grocer,’ is one tip we like. Please post your suggestions.


I really miss flour-based gravies and sauces. Do you know of any thickener I can use that won’t affect the taste of a sauce or cause my blood glucose to spike?
We are often asked about the GI of starchy thickeners from arrowroot and cornstarch, to kudzu root powder and instant tapioca. None of these thickeners has been GI tested as far as we know; we haven’t seen any published results. However, you are only using very small amounts diluted in a cup or more of liquid or pie filling. So the GI of the recipe will depend really on the other carb ingredients in the recipe/meal rather than the thickener. Here’s what GI News readers have suggested:


  • ‘I thicken stews and casseroles with natural oat bran, which is virtually unnoticeable and creates a richness to the sauce that other thickeners don’t. It works best if the dish is simmered for 10 minutes or so after adding the bran.’
  • ‘I have thickened soups and stews with a small amount of pinto bean flour made by grinding uncooked pinto beans in my grain mill.’
  • ‘For thickening soups try bean flours, yellow split pea or lentil flours. If they taste too strong can be mixed with basmati rice flour – this way it stays gluten free too. It is great to make even roux. We use yellow split pea flour in making bechamel sauce.
  • ‘I have made low GI soups and thickened them with porridge oats, which I sometimes add to stews as well. Adding skimmed milk as well makes the soup very creamy and filling.’
  • ‘I have often used either flake oatmeal or carrigeen moss (sea weed picked on the west coast of Ireland).’
  • ‘An idea for thickening up soup, or making it taste more substantial, is to add some nuts to a blended mix of veggies.’
  • JBM suggests: adding a teaspoon or more of psyllium, a viscous fibre that’s now sold in most supermarkets.’

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