When back pain presents for a prolonged period, the back muscles reduce in mass but increase fat content, resulting in more stiffness. This leads to chronic muscle fatigue and results in chronic pain symptoms. Adding resistance to a workout routine in weight machines, free weights, and/or resistance bands helps reduce back pain. Studies have shown that specific therapeutic back muscle weight training is safe and can help relieve pain. A sports chiropractic specialist can recommend appropriate exercises for individuals and their specific condition/s to safely participate in strength training.
Back muscles development
With time, back pain and increased fatigue can lead to a fear of moving the body and engaging in physical activity. This results in spinal deconditioning and instability. Weight training works on incrementally/progressively increasing the load that the back muscles can tolerate. This technique gradually improves the body’s ability and strength to perform regular daily activities without strain and in optimal fashion. Weight training improves whole-body health because:
Back muscles and core muscles increase in function and performance.
Muscles are strengthened.
Lean muscle mass increases.
The range of motion of the spine increases.
Body fat decreases.
Guidelines while using weights
When weight training, it is important to understand safety guidelines to help relieve back pain and not worsen or cause further injury. Weighted treatment exercises are for individuals that have been cleared by their physician or chiropractor and are specific to their injury and /or condition. Depending on the underlying pain source, weight training may not be suitable for individuals that have:
Back pain that originates from:
Previous spinal surgery
Nerve root compression
Medical professionals and chiropractors can accurately diagnose and determine if weight training is safe and which specific exercises to perform. Guidance from a trained therapist or therapeutic trainer is recommended for optimal results.
Weight training techniques to alleviate back pain are different from regular weight or resistance exercises.
Trained physical/occupational therapists and sports chiropractors can educate an individual on:
Type of training that will help an individual’s condition.
Therapeutic training can significantly reduce the risk of further injury and damage to the spine.
After initial training, individuals are encouraged to exercise to maintain back muscles and total body health.
Smaller weights build strength progressively
Effective ways to strengthen the spine.
Begin with small/light weights and exercise slowly.
Fast rapid movements or incorrect lifting and pulling techniques can cause additional damage to the tissues.
It is recommended to start with:
Low-load motor control exercises without weights activate and stretch the muscles and improve balance.
Exercise machines can be recommended instead of free weights.
Exercise machines can provide safe, effective, and progressive resistance to the exercises.
The machines can help reduce/prevent injury compared to free weights.
The machines can maintain proper support on the back and spine.
It is recommended to combine regular walking activity with a weight training program.
Low impact aerobic exercises increase blood circulation along with essential nutrients to the muscles and soft tissues.
This promotes healing and reduces stiffness.
Training program and benefits
Gaining the most benefits from strength training, tips to keep in mind:
Warm up for a few minutes using heat therapy and simple stretches.
Try for 2 or 3 times a week for 30 minutes.
Focus on building strength in the core muscles – back, abdominals, obliques, buttocks, and pelvic leg muscles.
There is no need to join a gym or buy expensive equipment.
Work out at home with small hand weights, resistance bands, and body weight.
The therapist or chiropractor will inform the individual on which exercises to avoid, which require extreme or quick moves.
Slow, steady resistance training takes advantage of muscle lengthening exercises and muscle shortening exercises for strengthening.
If back pain presents with a sustained increase, take time off or modify the strength training exercises.
Some soreness is to be expected, but sharp pain is not. If any sharp, sudden pain presents while exercising, stop immediately.
Ice therapy can be beneficial after exercising to decrease inflammation and alleviate pain.
Record the amount of weight when beginning the training and note when progressing to a heavier weight. Consistent improvements in pain, flexibility, strength, and function will help maintain motivation. Consult with a professional sports injury chiropractor today to see if weight training is a suitable and safe treatment.
Carbohydrates and Muscle Growth
Simple carbs are a quick, periodic source of energy. Complex carbs are a recommended source of steady energy. Complex carbs are not as readily available for immediate energy as simple carbs are but are more efficient and healthier. Complex carbs offer sustainable energy, meaning the energy is constant with no crash like simple carbs. Because complex carbs have slow-release properties, they should be the largest component of daily energy consumption.
Carbs prevent muscle weakness.
Some glycogen is stored in the muscles. When those muscles are used during exercise, the body taps into the glycogen stores in that specific muscle. Lifting weights with the arms, for example, access the glycogen in the biceps. Athletes take advantage of glycogen by loading up on carbs by consuming a day or more before a workout. This maximizes the muscle glycogen stores. This delays muscle fatigue, making for a better workout and stronger muscles, and can improve athletic performance.
Carbs help muscles recover after exercise.
Recovery goes back to the glycogen stores. Right after exercising, the body needs to replenish its glycogen stores to prevent glycogen depletion. Glycogen depletion, when the stores run out, causes gluconeogenesis. What happens is the body forms glucose from new sources. This is to compensate for the lack of glucose from carbohydrates. This is when the body turns to sources like fat and protein to fill the need. Protein is the last line of defense when energy is required, meaning that energy is running low. When the body breaks down protein for glucose production, it takes what it needs from the muscle/s, causing them to shrink and break down.
Dreisinger TE. Exercise in the management of chronic back pain. Ochsner J. 2014;14(1):101–107.
Lee JS, Kang SJ. Strength exercise and walking effects on lumbar function, pain level, and body composition in chronic back pain patients. J Exerc Rehabil. 2016;12(5):463–470. Published 2016 Oct 31. doi:10.12965/jer.1632650.325
Michaelson P, Holmberg D, Aasa B, Aasa U. High load lifting exercise and low load motor control exercises as interventions for patients with mechanical low back pain: A randomized controlled trial with 24-month follow-up. J Rehabil Med. 2016;48(5):456-63.
Welch N, Moran K, Antony J, et al. The effects of a free-weight-based resistance training intervention on pain, squat biomechanics, and MRI-defined lumbar fat infiltration and functional cross-sectional area in those with chronic low back. BMJ Open Sport Exerc Med. 2015;1(1):e000050. Published 2015 Nov 9. doi:10.1136/bmjsem-2015-000050
Fact: Chiropractors are known for treating back pain. But they do so much more than that. They are licensed in all fifty states, and there are more than 60,000 practicing chiropractors in America.
Chiropractic treatment is gaining wider acceptance by the medical, legal, and patient communities because of its�beneficial record of positive results and medication-free care.
There have been several studies documenting the safety and effectiveness of chiropractic treatment/care.
Here are some facts and stats about chiropractic medicine.
Chiropractor doing pushing motion to adjust spine of a male patient
Around 35-40% of chiropractic patients’ reason for treatment involves upper or low back pain.
Chiropractors perform 95.5% of adjustments in the world.
However, people also go to chiropractors for:
Vehicle accident injuries
Repetitive motion injuries
Chiropractic care helps with rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis or any type of arthritis.
Treatments provided by chiropractors include:
These chiropractic treatments are performed around 1 million times every day.
A chiropractor can be your primary health provider. As they must:
Complete 3 to 4 years of undergraduate education
A 4-year chiropractic college program
Must be licensed by the state they practice in.
The Council on Chiropractic Education (CCE), recognized by the United States Office of Education, is responsible for the accreditation programs and institutions that offer a Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) degree.
Chiropractors do not prescribe medications as part of a treatment plan.
Doctors and physicians can provide referrals or co-workers, friends and family are also positive resources to find the right chiropractor.
Safe Adjustment Facts
A chiropractic adjustment is much safer than taking medications or undergoing surgery. A chiropractic adjustment involves some:
Expert help in body realignment
Any type of complication from a chiropractic adjustment is extremely rare.
Does it hurt
Chiropractic adjustments are relatively painless, but new�patients can involuntarily stiffen or resist the adjustment and feel slight discomfort. A qualified chiropractor will know this and wait until the patient relaxes, before continuing the adjustment.
If the patient has recently been involved in some type of trauma, like whiplash from an accident, work, sports, personal injury then there will be pain from the injury. An experienced chiropractor will know how to minimize the pain, as they perform the treatment.
And once it’s over patients feel:
A sense of well being/euphoria
Can other health professionals also perform these adjustments?
Yes, some osteopaths or DO’s can perform these treatment techniques, but make sure they are state-licensed.
Our team has taken great pride in bringing our families, and injured patients only clinically proved treatment protocols. �By teaching holistic wellness as a lifestyle, we change not only our patient�s lives but their families as well.� We do this so that we may reach as many El Pasoans who need us, no matter the affordability issues.
Sciatica Treatment | El Paso, Tx.
Sciatica is a collection of symptoms characterized by pain which extends down the length of the legs from the lower back.
Approximately 90 percent of sciatica, or sciatic nerve pain, develops when a spinal disc herniation compresses a spinal nerve along the lumbar spine.
Piriformis syndrome and pregnancy are other common causes of sciatica.
Fortunately, self-management and time can be the best treatment. Allowing the body to heal itself is the way to go. But if rest is not enough then chiropractic treatment may be just what is needed to kick in the body�s self-healing function. If you decide to give chiropractic treatment a try, don�t be nervous, as a�chiropractor will monitor progress throughout the treatment.
In any case,�chiropractors are qualified to discuss the benefits and risks of other treatments, depending on the condition.
Hopefully, this article has given you the basics of�chiropractic medicine and how it works so you can make the best choice.
Chiropractic along with Other? Natural Treatments Can Help Reduce the Opioid Epidemic
As of now, there are over 2 million Americans dependent on opioids. For most of these individuals, the addiction comes from seeking pain management for an injury or chronic condition. The opioid crisis has become a national emergency causing overdose remedies to be sold over-the-counter.
Seeking chiropractic care can provide patients with relief, and aid in reducing any negative effects of the opioid epidemic.
The most commonly abused opioids are:
Opioids are often given to people battling cancer but are also prescribed following surgery and for people with chronic pain.
Taking opioids over a long period of time is the most dangerous because the effects can trick your brain to thinking the drugs are necessary to live.
Opioids are a convenient and fast remedy for pain, but only provide pain relief, and do not treat the actual issues.
That is why opioids should be a last resort.
A chiropractor can assess your body from head to toe and provide pain relief through:
Chiropractic is a drug-free approach to pain relief and pain management.
The American College of Physicians (ACP) recommends the use of non-invasive, drug-free treatments such as Chiropractic care, first for chronic and acute lower back pain.
Lower back pain can be difficult to treat, due to identifying and the cause.
Many doctors prescribe pain killers to provide comfort, while the actual problem goes untreated.
Chiropractors can identify the root cause of the pain.
Lower back pain can be caused by issues with the feet, ankles, knees, or hips.
Chronic back pain is due to some form of musculoskeletal weakness or imbalance.
An imbalance in one or both of the feet can cause problems throughout the entire body, especially placing stress on the lower back. Chiropractors are trained to examine the feet when a patient complains of back pain. Once the cause is identified, they can treat an individual without any prescription drugs.
Treatments for chronic pain typically include:
Custom orthotics to help maintain the effectiveness of the adjustments
You can be examined for custom orthotics in less than five minutes and have them sent directly to you or pick them up.
Custom orthotics help us stand for extended periods, and with walking/working out.
Custom orthotics help you function without pain, and prescription-free.
�Treat pain without the use of surgery and addictive drugs.
Control *FOOT MOTION & POSTURE* with Functional Foot Orthotics | El Paso, Tx (2019)
If you have low back pain�or have had it, you are not alone. Experts estimate that around�80% of people�will experience some type of back problem at some point in their lives.�The Global Burden of Disease 2010 lists low back pain as the number one cause of disability worldwide. The good news is the majority of back pain is mechanical in origin or is not organic. This means that infection, cancer, fracture, inflammatory arthritis, and other serious conditions are not the cause. In fact, you may benefit by looking to your feet, knees,�and hips as the culprits.
When there are problems with the feet, it can cause problems through the legs and all the way to the spine. This can cause the ankle to pronate, meaning it rolls inward. This alters the way the�bones of the foot�line up which extends through the tibia, or shin bone.
The most commonly prescribed opioids are hydrocodone products. They are used to treat pain from injuries, dental work, and typically moderate pain. Milder pain is often treated with codeine but it is also used to treat coughing as well as severe diarrhea. Overall, opioids are used to treat everything from cancer pain to post-op pain to osteoarthritis.
There are plenty of people who say that chiropractic made a significant difference in their lives, relieving pain and increasing mobility. Still, some skeptics want scientific proof that it helps with managing pain and, in many cases, eliminating it altogether. While chiropractic patient testimonies are great, included here is a collection of cold, hard, facts � scientific studies on chiropractic care and its effectiveness in treating pain.
A Systematic review of evaluations of chiropractic care for pain management.
This review, published in August 2016, examined six randomized controlled trials and three full economic evaluations to determine the effectiveness of chiropractic care as compared to exercise therapy, physical therapy, and medical care. Chiropractic care was found to be comparable to or better than all three of these, particularly when managing pain.
They found �moderate evidence� that showed chiropractic care helps just as much as, physical therapy. The evidence in the other areas was limited, but still gave chiropractic high marks.
Spinal manipulation for treating low back pain is as effective as more traditional treatments.
Chiropractic patients can have more days of being pain-free while avoiding surgery, invasive medical procedures, and medications that have harmful side effects. In one study, they found that chiropractic care is as effective as or better than more conventional medical care for as many as 18 months.
Chiropractic patients are less likely to use prescription pain-killers like opioids.
James �Jim� Whedon, DC, MS, is a researcher at the Southern California University of Health Sciences�and is co-chair of the Research Working Group of the Academic Collaborative for Integrative Health. He examined the records of 33,000 adults in the New Hampshire All-Payer Claims Database who registered as experiencing lower back pain. A little more than a third of those received chiropractic care. Of that group, only 38 percent had one or more prescriptions for an opioid, but that number jumped to 61 percent in the group who did not receive chiropractic care.
Upon examination of the related circumstances, Whedon concluded that the chiropractic patients were 57 percent less likely to fill an opioid prescription. This is a testament to the effectiveness of using chiropractic for pain relief.
Overwhelming research shows that chiropractic care is usually the best option when treating pain.
The American Chiropractic Association summarizes a number of studies and research findings that support the use of chiropractic care for pain. These studies recommended chiropractic as a safer, effective alternative to pharmaceuticals.
Others advocate incorporating chiropractic care with physical therapy and exercise for optimal results. One study (Goertz et al. (2013), Spine) asserts that using chiropractic manipulative therapy along with standard medical care provides a �significant advantage for decreasing pain and improving physical function…� Others show that it reduced the chances of the patient having to undergo surgery and could manage their pain without drugs.
The evidence is overwhelming. Yes, regular chiropractic care can really help a person to live pain-free. It also helps to follow the chiropractor�s recommendations regarding lifestyle changes and diet as well as taking any supplements that he or she advises.
While spinal manipulation is a big part of chiropractic care, it isn�t the only part. The chiropractor may recommend special stretches to do in between sessions or special supplements that can help the body to heal. That is what makes chiropractic so effective; it treats the entire body, not just the symptoms.
I stopped eating gluten because couple of friends suggested it might relieve some unexplained symptoms I was experiencing, like fatigue and mild joint pain. I had strong doubts, but my primary care doctor and I had run out of ideas (I was waiting to see a specialist), so I figured I had nothing to lose.
Before you throw away your pasta and cereal in search of joint pain relief, consider these factors:
Going gluten free isn�t for everyone.�
Whole grains are a recommended part of a healthy diet. No research suggests everyone should start eating a gluten free diet. But for people experiencing painful joint inflammation, eliminating gluten and other �pro-inflammatory� foods may be one treatment approach to consider.
Food products labeled �gluten free� aren�t necessarily healthy.�
It�s almost always better to eat whole foods as opposed to processed foods that are gluten-free, but still full of sugar or saturated fats. For example, skip the gluten-free sugar cereal and make yourself a bowl of gluten-free oatmeal or a fruit smoothie for breakfast.
Eating a gluten-free diet isn�t a magic bullet.�
Adopting other healthy habits, such as making time for exercise, is essential to eliminating joint pain.
A health professional can help.It�s always a good idea to tell yourdoctor about lifestyle changes, including achange in diet. A doctor may refer you to a registered dietician who can recommend certain foods, helping ensure you get enough nutrients and fiber in your gluten-free diet.
You might experience gluten withdrawal.Many people report that their inflammatory symptoms initially got worse after starting their gluten free diet. This withdrawal stage can last days or even weeks, so you may not want to go gluten free right before a big event, like a vacation, holiday, or the start of a newjob.
No single treatment or lifestyle habit can eliminate the symptoms of arthritis, but going gluten-free may be an option worth trying as part of your overall treatment plan.
Chiropractor, Dr. Alexander Jimenez talks about strengthening the body without pain through pilates.
More than 20 years ago in a small walk up studio with hardwood floors that are creaky, several dancers and exercise enthusiasts would join several times for ‘ballet exercise’. In actuality, the motions of Joseph Pilates (Pil-lah-tees) (1880-1967) were in practice. The advantages from his approach removed stress, provided physical and mental balance, and helped to assemble in each individual streamlined and a strong musculature.
Joseph Pilates’ exercise philosophy can help women and men of any age. It’s especially advantageous to individuals who recognize the importance of providing a business support system for the backbone. Its focus is placed by the essence of Pilates on what’s termed the body’s ‘powerhouse.’ Here is the abdominal region, the buttocks, hips and low back – the centre of the body. Pilates works the deep muscles in the body making a powerful centre.
His teachings, “The Art of Contrology” unites mind and body to create a direct connection to the muscles. Each movement that is precise needs mental concentration as well as physical control. The mind and body learn to work together as one harmonious unit. Muscles are stretched and lengthened while building strength through soft, non-impact exercises that, as perfected, are designed to flow in rhythm from one move into the following.
Although, Pilates has been related to odd looking apparatus made up of springs cables and pulleys, or equipment termed the Reformer and also the Cadillac, the foundation is the mat work. Instead of machines and weights, the body uses its own resistance.
The Pilates philosophy incorporates basic principles some of which comprise control and concentration, respiration, and centering.
Concentration and Control includes visualizing the body as movement occurs. Each command that is mental sparks and teaches muscle control that, over time, can become exact. Engram is a medical term used to denote muscle memory, which is stored in the mind ‘s cerebrum. Like learning how to play a musical instrument, diligent practice results in wonderful music. In Pilates, emphasis is positioned on the grade of the motion, not the number of repetitions.
Centering focuses attention on the ‘power station’ – the energy source that flows outward to the extremities of the body. Anatomically, the spinal column is a significant component in the powerhouse. To support the spinal structures, its muscular system (i.e., gluteals, obliques, quadratus, trapezius, scalenes) must be powerful and flexible. Pilates mat work is made to build a strong basis for the entire spinal structure.
Breathing is taking in and expelling air. Breathing properly functions to oxygenate the entire body and cleanse it. Breathing needs complete inhalations and exhalations during the entire length of mat work or exercise when done correctly.
The Advantages Of Pilates
The advantages to be obtained from Pilates are numerous – learn the capability to keep up proper position, which leads to the entire well-being of the body – long, flexible muscles – increased joint range of movement – a flat lean stomach – enhanced circulation and stamina – better dexterity – this and more without pain and soreness often due to conventional forms of exercise.
To realize the numerous benefits Pilates offers does not mean buying clothing or special equipment. All that is needed is a willing disposition to improve the body. The exercises can be performed just about everywhere when completely stretched out the body fits. Many individuals who’ve started Pilates that are in the beginner level state how well they feel after only 8 or 10 sessions.
Check out Brooke Siler’s novel entitled The Pilates Body to find out more about Pilates. This is a superb novel and source for learning the essentials to begin Pilates without attending courses*. The illustrations, photographs and prompts Ms. Siler incorporates make the book easy to use at the mat. The Pilates exercises provided for the beginner, intermediate, and advanced participant are in her novel. Plus, an all-inclusive record of certified Pilates teachers (this is essential!) is provided by the end of her book.
*It is wise to consult with your doctor prior to starting any physical fitness or exercise plan.
Doctor of Chiropractic, Dr. Alexander Jimenez shares some insights about a pain free workday.
#1. Use�Healthy Posture & Movement Patterns
Considering all the emphasis on how little or much we should sit or stand at work, there is almost no discussion of technique in standing and sitting. Inferior technique slumpsitting, archsitting, parking weight is used by many people so on, and poorly on joints.
As long as this is actually true, any place is going to stack up badly in the research�we are starting to see it for standing and �ve seen this for sitting. Sitting has been much maligned as �the new smoking�; and now standing as a replacement is being demonstrated to cause increased hospitalization due to varicose veins, atherosclerosis that is increased, etc. A good starting point is stretchsitting, to start the journey back to a pain free workday. Stretchsitting is simple, safe, comfy, and therapeutic.
Work with flannel, a towel, or a Stretchsit pillow so it contacts you at mid-back, below the shoulder blades.
Scoot your bottom all the way back in the seat.
Lean forwards from the hips, like a mini crunch is being done by you, and tip your ribcage forward.
Push downwards on the armrests/side bars/seat pan of your chair to get a soft stretch in your lower back.
Keeping the stretch, lean back out of your hips and adhere your mid back on to the Stretchsit pillow/towel.
Relax completely, letting the Stretchsit pillow and come from the mini crunch /towel keep you in traction that is light.
Roll each shoulder back and rest your hands close into your own body.
Angle your chin down slightly, letting the back of your neck be long.
(a) Lean forward from the hips, and tilt your ribcage forward, like you are doing a mini-�crunch. (b) Push downwards on the armrests/side bars/seat pan of your chair to get a gentle stretch in your lower back. (c) Keeping the stretch, lean back from your hips and stick your mid-�back on to the Stretch-sit cushion/towel.
(a) Come out of the mini�crunch and relax completely, letting the Stretchsit cushion/towel keep you in mild traction. (b) Roll each shoulder back and rest your hands close into your body.
Angle your chin down slightly, letting the back of your neck be long.
#2. Vary�Your Baseline Posture
No matter how good your bearing, your body still needs a variety of places. Sitting and standing are the most practical positions for most occupations (example computer occupations)�I recommend switching between them every 20- 30 minutes. If other positions and motions are practical for doing your job (eg, walking when speaking on the phone), that�s an excellent bonus�the more baseline stances and movements, the better. (one sitting against backrest, one stack sitting, standing in a desk, and walking with telephone)
Sitting against the backrest.
Standing at a desk.
Walking while talking on a cell phone.
#3. Supplement With Rest, Exercise, Movement During & Outside The Workday
Use your breaks in the workday along with your time away from work to supplement your special service line spots. Do you need rest? Exertion? Stretching? Strengthening your abdominal muscles?… There are countless tissues and muscles within your body that have needs just like you are served by a diet that is diverse well, a movement regimen that is varied will also.
#4. Use Well – Designed Tools & Furniture
Experiment and learn with what constitutes furniture that is healthy this is an investment in the way you’ll be spending about half your waking life.
Gluten-free dominates the free-from category, especially the baking mix subcategory. Gluten-free product sales in 2015 grew nearly 10 percent to $25 billion, according to SPINS data.
“Gluten-free is growing,” notes Michelle Lorge, VP of marketing for Chicago-based Simple Mills. “Just in general, I would say that we are seeing the whole allergen-free world growing. What we found was that the allergen-free world is growing not just for people with allergies. Folks are realizing some of this element of bioindividuality and the fact that they’ve got sensitivities. Those sensitivities can be very different depending on the person because we’re all unique human beings; while they’re not necessarily truly �diagnosed’ with an issue, they know that they don’t feel their best, either physically or mentally, with certain food items.”
Clean and Simple
The free-from category has expanded well beyond gluten-free. “Customers are looking for clean labels completely across the board,” says Joe Hanni, president of PS Seasoning & Spices, Iron Ridge, Wis.
Lorge agrees that consumers want simple, hence, the name of her company Simple Mills. They want ingredient lists with words they can pronounce and can be found in their own pantries, she notes.
“There’s this whole group that is just looking for a cleaner product,” agrees Kasey Moss, senior brand director for Enjoy Life Foods, Chicago. “They don’t want all the fillers and the gums and all of the other ingredients that you find in a lot of mixes on those markets.” Instead, they turn to the free-from category to find the clean ingredient list.
For example, Simple Mills’ Banana Muffin & Bread Mix’s ingredient list only contains seven ingredients: almond flour, banana, organic coconut sugar, arrowroot, organic coconut flour, baking soda and sea salt.
In terms of clean label, consumers are looking further than just the flour used. “It’s beyond just gluten-free; they want non-GMO. They want all of that without giving up any type of function or flavorability,” Hanni says, crediting the company’s R&D department with formulating gluten-free flours that form the basis of the baking mixes and gives them all the function and flavor of traditional flour.
Search for Flavor
Consumers also are looking for more flavor than is just imparted from the flour. “We’re seeing customers looking for more interesting flavors in the baking mixes, not just baking flours,” Hanni says.
PS Seasoning & Spices has introduced a gourmet line of pancake mixes that includes flavors like Cookies & Cream, Fudge Brownie and Salted Caramel. “They’re looking for great, unique fusion flavors. They’re looking for free-from labeling and again, all of this without losing any type of functionality and/or without compromising any of the flavor as well,” Hanni notes. Retailers need to be aware that consumers are looking to recreate that gourmet experience in their kitchen, he says, and they want products that will make it easy to do so.
“Consumers want to be outside the norm,” he says. “One of the biggest pushes we’re seeing that retailers really need to pay attention to is that [consumers] don’t want a standard pancake. They want to try and make some these different baking items a fun, flavorful experience.”
Enjoy Life has taken a different approach to meet consumers’ growing demand for unique flavors. The company deliberately keeps its mixes’ flavor profile neutral and uses digital marketing to show customers how they can customize the end product to any flavor profile they want. For example, the company’s website offers a simple recipe to make a Cherry Coffee Cake Bread that uses Enjoy Life Foods Pizza Crust Baking Mix and consumers simply have to add sugar, vanilla, cherry preserves, flour and oil to create a completely unique and flavorful product.
Importance of Flour
Simple Mills also is looking for its ingredients to maximize nutrient density. “A lot of allergen-free products, especially in the baking world, are made with white rice or potato starch base devoid of all nutrients,” Lorge says. The company uses almond flour because it imparts all of the nutritional benefits of almonds, which have more nutrients than other tree nuts and are a good source of fiber, high in protein and naturally cholesterol free.
Enjoy Life Foods shies away from the nut flours that many manufacturers may turn to formulate gluten-free or other gluten-free products because nuts are one of the top eight allergens (milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat and soybeans) and has instead found teff flour to be an on-trend ingredient that works well in its baking mixes. Probiotics is another on-trend ingredient the company has incorporated to make the mixes as attractive as possible to all consumers.
“We took trends that you hear about maybe outside of baking mixes and put them into our mixes to create an all-encompassing product for multiple consumers, not just those with food allergies,” notes Moss.
Simple Mills products are naturally gluten-free, which helps with the clean label aspect that consumers are looking for, due to the ingredients it chooses to use, but its products are also grain-free, soy-free, dairy-free and corn-free. “We know that a lot of our consumers have issues with these elements,” Lorge says. “Not everybody has issues with all of them, but we just generally try to avoid them because we are seeing increases across the board with these ingredients.”
She notes that grain-free in general is a growing trend, some of which could be due to the increasing interest in the Paleo diet. For example, Simple Mills avoids using rice flour because rice is technically a grain and people can have sensitivity to rice. Sales of grain-free foods grew 242 percent in the past year to account for $44 million in sales, she says, adding “While it still pales in comparison to gluten-free, it is definitely a growing trend we are seeing.”
What’s next in the free-from baking mix category? Hanni notes that plant-based diets continue to be on the rise, which will continue to push dairy out of diets as well as more consumers looking to avoid soy. Also, sales of free-from products will continue to grow as the price of the items continues to go down as manufacturers figure out how to make them more cost-efficiently.
Moss also thinks dairy may be the next big food item that consumers will look to eliminate as well as more consumers who do not suffer from food allergies seeking out the free-from products as a way to find the clean labels they want in order to eat more healthfully.
“In general, consumers are becoming a lot more aware,” Moss notes. “It’s an opportunity for retailers to really offer an alternative to consumers that are wanting to explore a newer, cleaner product.”
Sweet Potato Pancake & Waffle Mix
Birch Benders’ Sweet Potato Pancake & Waffle Mix features the exclusive seasonal flavor of sweet potatoes. Real sweet potatoes are blended with vanilla, brown sugar and buttermilk to bring flavor to a traditional holiday favorite while only requiring consumers to add water. The mix is made with all natural, non-GMO ingredients, contains no trans fat and is cholesterol-free. SRP: 4.99 Birch Bender, Denver, 303-658-9271 ext. 104, www.birchbenders.com
Cinnamon Sugar Muffin Mix
Among Friends Baking Mixes introduces Francie’s Make It Your Own Cinnamon Sugar Muffin Mix made with Vietnamese cinnamon spice � a perfect snack or breakfast to go. The new muffin mix is gluten-free and made with high-quality whole grain flours that offer superior flavor, texture and nutrition. All of the brand’s mixes are free of high glycemic fillers and gums like tapioca starch and xanthan gum. Other products available include Cora’s Honey Cornbread, Papa Tom’s Perfect Pancake and Alec’s Awesomely Fudgy Brownie mix. Among Friends LLC, Ann Arbor, Mich., 202-276-1909, www.amongfriendsbakingmixes.com
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