Pure vanilla extract is gluten free. That’s the answer to a question that’s asked often by people who are gluten intolerant, based on the fact that vanilla extract is made using alcohol and most alcohol is made from grain.
This is particularly good news for people living with celiac disease because vanilla makes the world a happier place.
Only use trusted brands of pure vanilla extract
Remember, only brands labelled as pure vanilla extract that use naturally-distilled alcohols are truly gluten free. Always read the label on a bottle of store-bought brands and avoid any product that does not meet the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) criteria for pure vanilla extract.
The FDA classifies vanilla extract as Pure if it contains a minimum of 35% alcohol (usually ethanol) and 100 grams per litre (13.35 ounces per gallon) of liquid. The rest of the solution should only be water. The FDA limits all other ingredients used in the manufacturing process to mimic the taste and aroma of vanilla.
FDA has paid particularly close attention to vanilla extract in recent years, largely because of the amount of fraud and false claims within the vanilla industry. At the end of the day, imitation vanilla extract is made using synthetic vanillin which is made from a by-product of the pulp industry.
Most imitation vanilla contains ingredients like corn syrup, artificial sweetener and/or colour dye to mimic the flavour and look of natural vanilla extract.
Why only pure vanilla extract is safe
The vanilla extract market is not well regulated and there are hundreds of imitation brands on the market that are made using harmful chemicals and preservatives which are obviously not good for you. Even some quality brands that meet the FDA requirements of pure vanilla extract use a cheap alcohol base to keep the price down.
Imitation vanilla extract is made from synthetic vanillin which is the compound that occurs naturally in vanilla beans and what gives the extract its distinctive aroma and taste. Synthetic vanillin is made using anything from coal tar, pine-park or fermented bran to cow poop and secretions from a beaver’s castor glands (near its anus).
More commonly, synthetic vanillin is made from lignin waste (wood polymer) which is a by-product of the pulp industry, mostly from the process of making paper.
You really don’t know what goes into imitation vanilla extract but we know for sure that in order to cut costs and meet the demand for vanilla flavouring, the products are not pure and contain harmful chemicals and preservatives.
On top of that, manufacturers of fake vanilla extract add ingredients like glycerine, invert sugar, glucose, propylene glycol and sugar to the solution. These either act as flavour enhancers or speed up the extraction process.
The other thing that’s added is caramel colour dye, otherwise imitation vanilla has no colour and stands out as fake against the rich, dark-brown colour of pure vanilla extract. The colour dye used in imitation vanilla may contain malt syrup from barley, starches from wheat and even lactose.
To be completely safe, particularly if you’re dangerously intolerant of gluten, we recommend you make your own homemade vanilla extract if you can’t find a trusted brand of pure vanilla extract.
Why is pure vanilla extract gluten free if it contains alcohol?
It’s all about the distillation process.
To be gluten free, vanilla extract must be made using naturally distilled alcohol. The FDA allows distilled alcohol in foods labelled gluten-free regardless of the starting material which may be wheat, barley or rye. This is because the alcohol distillation process removes almost all traces of gluten making it safe to consume, much like distilled vinegar.
An ingredient derived from a grain containing gluten that has been properly distilled passes as a gluten-free product. Distilled alcohols are often labelled as “processed to remove gluten”, meaning the product was distilled from grains containing gluten where some or all of the gluten is removed.
To understand this better, here is an excerpt from The Gluten-Free Nutrition Guide (Tricia Thompson, McGraw-Hill, 2008).
“Alcoholic beverages are either fermented or distilled. Fermented and distilled beverages are made by first converting starch or sugar from a food source (for example, grapes, wheat, or potato) to alcohol, using yeast.
With fermented beverages, such as beer, the liquid removed from the mash (the mixture of starting materials) is boiled. If a gluten-containing grain is one of the food sources used to make the mash, the liquid removed from the mash is not gluten-free.
With distilled beverages, such as vodka, the liquid removed from the mash is not only boiled but also distilled. Distillation is used to increase the alcohol content of the beverage. When the liquid is boiled, the vapour is “captured” and cooled.
The resulting liquid is called the distillate. Distillation separates substances that are volatile (meaning they vaporize) from less volatile substances. Protein is not volatile and does not vaporize. Consequently, even if wheat, barley, or rye was used to make a distilled alcoholic beverage, gluten-containing proteins will not be found in the final distillate.”
Is vodka gluten free?
This question is important because pastry chefs and home bakers usually use vodka to make homemade vanilla extract. This is because vodka has a neutral taste and doesn’t change the flavour profile of the dessert or detract from the natural taste and aromatic flavour of vanilla.
Most vodka is made from cereal grains that contain gluten, including wheat, barley or rye. As discussed, the distillation process removes the harmful gluten proteins, meaning vodka – and all other naturally-distilled alcohol for that matter – are essentially gluten free.
However, because vodka contains gluten-containing ingredients – the starting material – it is not permitted to be labelled as gluten free, even though no gluten is left in the product.
Did you know?
It’s easy to make homemade vanilla extract that’s gluten free… and it’s cheaper than store-bought
All you need are 3 to 4 fresh vanilla beans and 1 cup of naturally distilled alcohol. Most people use vodka and the brand with the highest proof of vodka, the better. Slice each vanilla bean lengthwise; open it up but keep the two pieces connected, leaving an inch intact on either end.
Place the split vanilla beans in a glass jar and pour the vodka over them. Close with a lid that seals tightly and leave in a cool, dark place for anything from 6 weeks to 3 months, allowing time for the gorgeous vanilla beans to infuse in the alcohol.
Gently shake the bottle regularly and replace the vanilla beans with fresh ones after a period of time. Homemade vanilla extract can last for up to a year and longer if stored correctly.
With Government tightening the noose around public areas through the State of Public Emergency tool, it is very unlikely that there could be celebrations this festive season.
Just this week Government, through the Government Gazette announced that hawkers will not be allowed to go inside parked buses to sell their goods; while at the same time buses will only be allowed to enter the bus rank to pick and drop.
This move is further instructive to the entertainment or creative industry that things are far from being let loose to allow for staging of festivals and gigs.
As the year comes to an end, artists normally anticipate increased rate of bookings inside and outside the country. This looks set not to be the case this year as the spread of COVID-19 remains a threat and Botswana is still under the State of Public Emergency.
As things stand large shows that attract multitudes are prohibited, as per the Emergency Regulations signed by President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi. This is the period when events such as Born & Raised, Gaabo Motho and many more normally have their bread buttered.
When COVID-19 reached Botswana shores in February other big events such as The Hamptons, Gaborone International Music & Culture week (GIMC), African Attire on Fleek, Soul Fill Up with Franco and many more who were anticipating a great return were forced to cancel due to covid-19 restrictions.
Indications point to a Christmas and New Year that would be dominated by law enforcement officers patrolling the streets to ensure adherence to social distancing. Big music industry players like Vee Mampeezy can only hope that their industry will be opened – but this end does not appear in sight.
The popular musician recently spoke to this reporter and confirmed that he is running at a loss, “usually at this time of the year I am usually fully booked,” he said.“Obviously we are affected. We are only hoping that the government will open. We believe they will open.
This year, it is very rough, we are only getting bookings there and there by people who are doing events. I have lost too much money this season. A lot of it,” said Vee Mampeezy.As for Maxy, the songstress is not sure how things are coming up this festive season but she is positive that something is in the pipeline for her.
“I really don’t know; but as for me it’s been better for I have been getting a few corporate gigs there and there due to my corporate market clientele. As for what I’m planning, only time will tell depending on the COVID-19 rules and what is presented on the table for me because I don’t do nor organise my own gigs but I only take bookings from paying event organisers,” she said.
Amidst positive news on vaccine developments and successful trials, the coronavirus is surging in Europe with some countries announcing partial lockdowns to control the spread. On the 16th November 2020, through his formal missive noted that COVID-19 remains a concern in the country as infections continue rising. “As of 11th November 2020, Botswana had recorded 9103 cases.”
So far 30 people have died due to complications linked to COVID-19. Most of the deaths have been recorded in the Greater Gaborone area with the COVID-19 task team analysis depicting that Botswana records one death for every 250 positive cases detected.
Botswana currently has 837 active cases and 6801 recoveries.
BY:MAUNGO MASIAPETO Have you been drooling over stunning make up looks posted by models, artists and influencers on social media? Have you tried to copy their looks, used the products advertised on their post, but your make up isn’t the same as theirs?
Here is the thing, you can devote hours blending out your foundation, crafting a flawless eye shadow look and mastering the perfect dewy highlight but your makeup will only be as good as its base. What do I mean by that? Well, prepping your skin correctly can make a world of a difference when it comes to applying your makeup.
Follow these steps for a flawless skin prep routine:
Step1: Cleansing has so many benefits for the skin. Not only does regular cleansing help retain pore size, but it also aids to create supple-looking and healthy skin. If you have oily skin, perhaps try the double cleansing trend as this can prevent the production of excess oils. For the best makeup application, cleanse in the remove any toxins built up from the night.
Step 2: Exfoliate, alongside your morning cleanse, it is vital to also exfoliate your skin. Not only will this get rid of any dead skin cells on the surface of your skin, but it will clear the skin of any accumulating sweat, bacteria and dirt. Alongside providing the ultimate smooth base for makeup application, it will help to minimise your pores for flawless looking makeup.
Step 3: Toner is the intermediate step, but it is a step that should not be overlooked. It is a great addition to your skincare routine because it prevents ingrown hairs, refreshes the skin and shrinks pores. For maximum hydration to the skin, toner should be applied after cleansing and before moisturising. Hydrated skin will result in a smooth, plump complexion, and therefore better-looking makeup.
Step 4: Moisturize, Lightly massaging your skin with a moisturizer will hydrate your skin, improve blood circulation and brighten it instantly. Choose a moisturizer that works well for your skin type, anything that does not absorb well or isn’t too hydrating for your skin is of no use. Opt for oil-free moisturizers such as the Ponds Super Light Gel Oil Free Moisturizer for oily skin. Dry skin should be moisturized with cream or oil-based moisturizers such as the Simple Kind To Skin Replenishing Rich Moisturizer.
Step 5: lip prep If you have ever applied lipstick on dry, chapped lips, you have probably noticed your lipstick flaking off. To combat this, use a lip scrub to ensure the best lipstick results and to get rid of any dry skin. An added benefit to using a lip scrub is that it prevents any discolouration on your lips, so you look your best makeup- free too. Be sure to use a lip balm immediately after to keep your lips soft and supple
Step 6: Prime, It is rare that your skin will always look flawless. Naturally, we all occasionally get acne, enlarged pores and imperfections. However, a primer can really help to provide a good base for your makeup. Primers fill in the pores on the skin, smooth out blemishes and provide a natural glow to the skin. Not only do they help to prevent your makeup sliding off your face, but there is now a primer for almost every skin condition. For example, if you have uneven pigmentation in your skin, you can opt for a colour correcting primer whereas if you suffer mainly from enlarged pores, try a blurring prime.
Now that you’ve let your primer sink into the skin, you’re ready to proceed with foundation. If you would like a rundown of how to get the best make up tips let me know! Go checkout a few detailed classes on our social media pages
The country’s then popular eponymous talent search show My African Dream MAD is officially back. My African Dream is popularly known for scouting talent and cultivating it to be something of great worth in the entertainment sector. The show has produced today’s prominent artists such as the notorious ATI, DJ Guyvos as well as Amanandos amongst others.
That was before the dream shuttered because the talent show has been off BTV screens for years now. Reasons for this miserable reality are still not known even up to this day. Anyway, the new virtual edition of My African Dream was launched this week at the Riverwalk Mall Courtyard.
Riverwalk Mall is famously known for birthing My African Dream back in the days. The shopping complex used the idea as a way of promoting itself, as it was relatively new in the capital city, so this was a needed shot in the arm.
The revived My African Dream 2020 shall scour the country virtually. This is obviously because of the devastating COVID-19 pandemic that had shattered the entire world. The digital submissions will be made on the My African Dream website and sorted following which the public will be invited to vote for the Top 16 finalists.
According to the My African Dream team leader, Losika Seboni, the nationwide talent search show has had a great impact in the growth of the arts and entertainment sector in Botswana. He says this is a platform that gave many aspiring creatives and artists a chance to explore their talents, abilities and aspirations.
“My African Dream has been geared towards the cultivation of arts through music, dance and performance. Since 1996, My African Dream has given thousands of Batswana youth the platform to express themselves through the arts and has had success in the form of national icons such as ATI, Han C, Samantha Mogwe, Rosemary as well as Marang.
In order to dig up more young talent, Seboni indicated that they saw it critical to bring back to life the talent search, with the help of partners that subsidized finances and technical aspects of the show, that is anticipated to bring flair, fair adjudicating, lights and red carpet event.
A local communications operator Mascom boosted the talent show with P350 000, as a way of encouraging the growth of arts and entertainment sector in the country. I must say this is a creditable gesture coming from Mascom. The arts and entertainment sector has been gravely hit by the Corona-virus blight, and having corporates and private companies coming to the party to succor the sector, is really a remarkable participation.
The organizers told Weekendlife that they will be opening up for submissions this week. Because now the world is moving towards a digital space, interested parties have been urged to record their audition and submission on the MAD official Facebook page, or alternatively the website.
Clearly not a stranger to the spotlight, the bubbly Peelo Mookodi was announced as the host of My African Dream 2020. She was a firm fan favorite on Sabc 3’s Presenter Search and week after week her fan base just kept on growing. Whereas most people would shy away from the kind of scrutiny that comes with being any sort of host (Family functions included) she dazzles with a confidence that’s somewhere between God given and self-taught & mastered
Before she was on SABC, interviewing South Africa’s power socialites, personalities and trendsetters both on red carpet and live on TV such as David Tlale and Somizi, the young woman sharpened her teeth in the Botswana entertainment industry, hosting a lifestyle show on BTV.
Not only that, she was crowned the first ever Miss Africa Botswana and was set to represent Botswana at the continental Miss Africa pageant when an unfortunate clash of victories occurred. During her reign as Miss Africa BW she participated in another pageant and was crowned 1st Princess, which was apparently contrary to her agreement with the Miss Africa pageant organizers.