Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Benefits of Coconut Flour.

Many of you readers (hello! long time no see!) know how much I loooove coconut flour.  Coconut flour has been such a great option for me, for many reasons, and I know many of you have learned the ins and outs of baking with coconut flour too and love it just as much as I do.

For those of you who are still on the fence, or just haven't hopped on the coconut train (it's a serious train that's been chugging very strong for several years now) then I'm here to convince you to give coconut flour a try.

My journey with coconut products began several years ago when I first learned about the paleo way of eating. Focusing on the paleo / primal template for my food choices was a great option for me, and during this time I discovered the awesomeness of coconut flour.

What makes coconut flour so awesome is mostly its nutrition stats, its affordability and its versatility. Today I'm here to tell you about why coconut flour is a healthy choice, so that will be my main focus, but I'll also touch on the other two points near the end.

Disclaimer - While I do have extensive training in nutrition, I am not a doctor, nutritionist or registered dietitian, so implement this information with your own discretion.

  Why I Love Coconut Flour 101

1) Contain healthy fats
- Healthy fats are so important for our bodies.  We need fat in order to make healthy skin, hair, and nails.  Fat is an essential part of our brains, as well as ALL our cell membranes which are basically a double stack of fat molecules, called a phospholipid bilayer.  Many sources of fat also contain cholesterol, which is an essential building block of almost all hormones.  Pregnant women need a higher intake of essential fatty acids (EFAs) in order to make the babies brain (most importantly).
- Coconut flour contains medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) aka medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs). You've probably heard about these before. What's great about MCTs is that they are metabolized very quickly by the body and so are used as an energy source right away, in contrast to LCFAs (long chain fatty acids) which need a more involved process in order to be broken down and utilized. MCTs are also very antimicrobial.
- Coconut flour is also rich in a type of fat called lauric acid, which along with MCTs, are very antimicrobial. Both together can help contribute to a healthy balance of body flora, on our skin and in our gut.
- In less than one ounce of coconut flour, it contains about 3 grams of saturated fat.
- It is also worth mentioning that coconut flour is low carb, which makes it a great alternative for those who medically need to choose a low carb diet, and for others who eat low carb diets by choice.
- Fats also contribute to feeling satisfied with the food you're eating, so you are more likely to stop eating and be satisfied with how much you've eaten, when you are feeling full.

2) Fiber content
- Many baking flours on the market are devoid of certain nutrients, and other properties like fiber, but coconut flour is NOT one of them! Coconut flour is rich in fiber, and if you've ever worked with coconut flour before you know that if not used properly, it will suck up all the liquid in your recipes and the end product will be very dry! That's because of all the fiber.
- In less than 1 ounce of coconut flour, there is 11 grams of fiber.
- Fiber is necessary in our diets because it is needed to detoxify hormones, to help move our bowels, and to feed the bacteria in our colons.

3) Protein
- Most flour products contain little or NO protein, but coconut flour actually does!
- In less than 1 ounce of coconut flour, there is 4.5 grams of protein.
- Both the fat, fiber, and protein contents of coconut flour make it very nourishing and satisfying at the same time. Making brownies or cookies or waffles with coconut flour will keep you full for hours, instead of lifting your blood sugar and crashing you down 2 hours later. Say good-bye to the blood sugar roller coaster. ;)

Many of my recipes use coconut flour - but these are some of my absolute favorites. They're also all grain-free! All the photos in this post feature recipes I've created using coconut flour.

I hope you all found this post to be useful, informative, and inspiring! Get baking ;)

Love to you all,

I am wrote this post for Nuts.com because they are passionate about sharing information about healthy food!  It was good opportunity to join forces in order to spread information about making healthy choices.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Olive Oil Roasted Cabbage.

I thought I was a foodie before I tried roasted cabbage. I was clearly wrong. Prepare to have your culinary minds blown. After all, it's only four, if you could even call it four, ingredients!!

I've been wanting to share this recipe with you guys for a while!! It's just too good to keep to myself. But I can also hear you saying: but Meg it's a simple recipe, so how can such flavor come from such simple ingredients? Cabbage? Come on!

You're right, this is a simple recipe. It's easy to prepare, easy to make, and easy to eat since it pairs well with many different foods. The taste of this dish, however, is anything BUT simple. The olive oil creates a rich flavor that compliments the sweet taste of the roasted green cabbage, and there are soft and sweet bits of cabbage intermingled with darkly browned crunchy delicious pieces.  Heaven!

Olive oil Roasted Green Cabbage. 
    makes enough cabbage for meals for one, for one week

    1 head of green cabbage - I don't buy organic here, since cabbage is part of the "clean fifteen"
    good quality olive oil for drizzling - source
    unrefined sea salt - source
    ground black pepper

To roast your cabbage:
  1)  Use a large roasting pan or baking sheet; line with either parchment paper or a Silpat silicone baking sheet.
  2)  Slice cabbage into 1/2" thick slices. The break apart leaves/pieces with your hands. (You can also cut along the inner part and keep the leaves attached in the middle - this makes "wedges" - and you can roast it that way too - I've done it both ways and like both equally)
  3)  Place in pan, drizzle liberally with olive oil (don't saturate, just get mild coverage over all cabbage), sprinkle with salt and pepper (don't be shy!) and TOSS well with your hands.
  4)  Spread cabbage evenly, and bake in a 400 degree (mine's non-convection) oven for anywhere from 20-40 minutes. Leaving in cabbage longer will give you some nicely browned pieces that get crispy and delicious. Baking for less time will give you a cabbage that isn't as fully cooked and is more on the crunchy side. I highly recommed baking it for longer :)
  5)  Remove from oven and enjoy! Keep in the fridge all week for snacks, salad toppings and as a main course side. I really enjoy pairing mine with homemade hummus, carrots and some chicken!

Yes, it's that simple, and yes, it's THAT good. Try it out!

(FYI - I haven't tried this process yet with red cabbage, but I'm sure you could do that too.)

Happy New Year my lovely readers! I go back to school today :)

Monday, December 22, 2014

Single Serving Protein Pancake.


Hey everyone :) I know it's been a while, but this blog is no longer a tip top priority! Med school has me busy busy, along with all the typical life stuff that has to happen. Talk about a balancing act!

Today I bring you a recipe for a single serving pancake. I've been eyeing pancake recipes lately, especially the "single lady" ones, but I was never quite happy with the ingredients that were used, so I chose my own.

Banana slices hiding on the bottom, with greek yogurt and cooked strawberries and raspberries.

This pancake is everything I could ever want in a pancake :) It's fluffy, has a nice nutty flavor from the flaxseed, it's full of protein, and isn't too sweet, so it's easy to top it with things like a touch of maple syrup, butter or some yummy berries and yogurt.

The secret to success in this recipe is measuring the ingredients, and also using a non-stick pan. I know that non-stick pans are not at all the best choice health-wise, but there's really no alternative when you want to make some awesome pancakes.

Single Serving Protein Pancake.
    serves one or two

    15 grams / one serving of brown rice protein powder - I use Nutribiotic plain, you could use brown rice flour here also
    50 grams / ~1/2 one normal sized banana, mashed
    8 grams / 1 heaping Tbsp  ground brown flaxseed
    3 grams / 1 scant Tbsp  ground chia seed
    12 grams / ~1 tsp  runny honey
    2 eggs / about 100 grams  give or take depending on your egg size
    1 gram  baking soda (this is a very small amount)
    15 drops  vanilla extract (I used a dropper)
    pinch each: salt, ground cardamom

To make your pancake:
  1)  Combine all ingredients into a bowl and whisk well, scraping off the sides with a spatula and getting everything incorporated. The only lumps present should be a little bit of mashed banana. The batter will appear thin, and shiny from the eggs, resist adding more dry ingredients.
  2)  Preheat your nonstick pan on medium-low heat (#4 on my stove, point at small hand on the 7 in 7 o'clock).
  3)  Pour batter onto the pan. Do two batches, or pour it all in for one pancake (this is what I do).  Cook on one side for about 5 minutes. Pancake is ready when there are some bubbles on top and you can see the edges are beginning to set. Work your rubber spatual around the edges of the pancake and also the bottom. One pancake requires one massive or two normal sized spatulas to flip it.
  4)  Flip pancake and wait another 1-2 minutes.
  5)  Remove pancake to a plate with banana slices already on it. Place pancake on top of sliced bananas. Drizzle with maple syrup or whatever is desired. I like to put some butter on top, berries and homemade yogurt. ENJOY!

My first attempt; not quite right but topped with yum!

Because someone will want the stats ;) Thanks to myfitnesspal.com

I hope you are staying both warm and well this holiday season :) Love to all my readers :)
Merry Christmas!

PS - And no, this recipe will not work if you substitute the egg for something else.