In which OSC gets some link-love, I get grossed out by xanthan gum, and I love Bob Moore

  • The Crispy Cook recently included my blog in her top 100 gluten-free blogs.  I’m honored!  The list is well-worth a visit.  All the blogs on Rachel’s list are current and active.  She includes a sentence or two of description which I find VERY helpful.
  • Xanthan gum:  I am officially grossed out by it.  I have used it faithfully for 7+ years in my gluten-free baking, and find its counterpart, guar gum, difficult to work with.  I had been having second thoughts about xanthan gum lately anyway, because it’s not really a whole food;  it’s very derivative, though, in a sense, it is “natural.”  I find myself WANTING to prefer guar gum, as it is a ground-up seed:  very simple, no manufacturing involved, other than to grind it up.  Also, corn sugar is almost always used in its commercial production, and Fiala still cannot handle corn.  The nail on my xanthan gum coffin came when I read this very short article from on the Celiac’s online newsletter, and I about gagged.  I think I will start phasing out xanthan gum.  Maybe I’ll try chia (which, among it’s other appealing properties, is native to Arizona).
  • “Let’s start with xanthan gum; it is made from a type of bacteria (Xanthomonas campestris). It also is seen as the black rot that attacks various vegetables. In a controlled environment, it is introduced to, most often, corn sugar. This solution is kept at 30 degrees for several days until fermentation has taken place. The solution is then heated to stop the fermentation process. It is dried, ground and sieved into the fine powder that we purchase at the store.”  (from the article “Xanthan Gum and Guar Gum in Gluten-Free Baking” by Regina Petruzziello Mason, emphasis mine)
  • I read another article recently, and it made my heart swell with love for a man I’ve never met, but from whom I’ve frequently benefited:  Bob Moore.  You, likely, have too.  “Who??” you may ask.  Bob Moore is the “Bob” of Bob’s Red Mill.  I have a soft spot in my heart for privately-held companies, but recently, Mr. Moore took his one step further:  giving his company to its employees.  (BRM also recently opened a dedicated g.f. facility.)  From the article, originally published in a local newspaper:
  • “It’s not that the offers aren’t there. Hardly a day goes by that Nancy Garner, Moore’s executive assistant, doesn’t field a call or letter from someone wanting to buy the privately held company or take it public.

    “I had four messages waiting when I returned from a recent vacation,” she said. “Three of them were buy-out offers.”

    Garner said she and other employees are floored by Moore’s plan, under which any worker with at least three years tenure is now fully vested. “We’re still learning all of the details,” Garner said, “but it’s very humbling to be part of a company that cares this much about its employees.”

    An employee stock ownership plan, or ESOP, is a retirement plan in which the company contributes its stock to the plan to be held in trust for the benefit of its employees. The stock is never bought or held directly.

    Vested employees are sent annual reports detailing their respective stakes in the company. When those employees quit or retire, they receive in cash whatever amount they — and the company, through increased revenues, new sales and controlled costs — are due.

    “Eventual payouts could be substantial,” said John Wagner, the company’s chief financial officer and, along with Moore, one of four partners.”


About Karen Joy

I'm a partially-homeschooling mother of six -- 3 boys ages 19, 17 and 15 years old, and three girls: 11, 8, and 3. I like birding, reading, writing, organic gardening, singing, playing guitar, hiking, the outdoors, and books. I very casually lead a very large group of homeschooling families in the Phoenix area. I have a dear hubby who designs homes for a local home builder and who is the worship pastor of our church. I live in the desert, which I used to hate, but now appreciate.

Posted on March 8, 2010, in Blogging, Cooking/Baking/Food/Recipes, gluten-free, Random Stuff. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. I’m always trying to find a xanthan gum alternative. I’ll be anxious to see what you find. 🙂

  2. Hi, just to share, I recently found out that Canola Oil is not that good either. Canola oil comes from the rape seed, which is part of the mustard family of plants. Rape is the most toxic of all food-oil plants. Like soy, rape is a weed. Insects will not eat it; it is deadly poisonous! The oil from the rape seed is a hundred times more toxic than soy oil.

    CANOLA OIL: Deadly for the Human Body!Here’s the links: and

    • Thanks for the tip, Kathy. Interested, I read up on canola and erucic acid on Wikipedia. After reading, I do not consider canola (or the mustard family in general) to be altogether poisonous or unfit for human consumption. Does it contain minute quantities of substances that could be harmful? Yes, if consumed inappropriately or too much is taken in. But… the same could be said of WATER. Too much water and you die. Or salt. Too much salt and you die! Too much of any one thing is not good for humans or animals or plants. God calls us to live in moderation and with wisdom in our consumption. Much as I’d like to say that brussels sprouts (a member of the brassica family, along with rapeseed) are poisonous, I just don’t think I can make that claim. 😉

      It does appear that infants do not possess the ability to properly digest rapeseed oil, but that doesn’t mean that the oil, as a whole, and for everyone, is toxic. Canola/rapeseed/mustard oil is high in alpha-linoleic acids which have strong evidence of being beneficial, especially to cardiovascular health. In experiments, erucic acid is harmful to rats, but rats have a decreased ability, compared with humans, to metabolize it, so harmful to rats does not equal harmful to humans. From Wikipedia: “Experiments on animals have pointed to the possibility that erucic acid, consumed in large quantities, may cause heart damage, though Indian researchers have published findings that call into question these conclusions and the implication that the consumption of mustard or rapeseed oil is dangerous.”

      And, canola in particular, is a kind of rapeseed that was bred to be low in erucic acid, so the risk for any health problems (and, conversely, for any health benefits) is reduced, as compared to actual rapeseed or mustard oil. Canola oil has a much different nutritional profile than rapeseed, so comparing them is NOT apples to apples.

      I think that the most pernicious thing that can be truly said about canola oil is that experts don’t agree, which is not a surprise to me.

      BTW, lots of “weeds” are extremely edible. “Weed” just means a plant growing in a place where humans don’t want it. There are many extremely beneficial and edible weeds, and what one culture calls a “weed,” another culture calls a “staple.” (Amaranth — a.k.a. “pigweed” — for example! Or, pigeon peas.) So, in my book, maligning a plant as a “weed” doesn’t hold weight as a reason to dislike it.

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