So you are trying to lose weight? The mere idea of dieting conjures up the icky feeling of saying goodbye to your favorite foods… including baked goods. Deprivation is often associated with weight loss because it doesn’t seem possible to successfully lose weight while including some tasty baked goods.
The concept of clean eating is changing the dialogue and the ingredients around what it means to lose weight. More importantly what it means to be happy and healthy.
My philosophy is to give YOU the education and food resources so that your favorite foods aren’t off limits. It’s my job to share the best quality ingredients for baking so that you can take part in the annual Christmas cookie exchange and eat them too… in proper portion sizes with ingredients that are nutritious and keep blood sugar levels stable.
So what are some of those clean eating ingredients?
Coconut flour is fiber from the coconut meat after most of the oil has been extracted to make coconut oil. Coconut flour is high in dietary fiber, protein and is gluten-free. The problem with gluten-free based flours is that most are devoid of fiber, causing blood sugar levels to quickly elevate.
Depending on the recipe you can swap out the suggested flour and replace it with 30% coconut flour. In some cookie and muffin recipes you can replace the suggested flour for 100% coconut flour.
Look for a coconut flour that is certified organic and has not been treated with sulfites to ensure best quality.
Check out my recipe at the bottom of this post for my Grain Free Chocolate Chip Cookies using coconut flour.
Coconut oil is a medium chain fatty acid said to support the thyroid gland and support metabolism. Most people swap out the oil in recipes for unsweetened apple sauce, thinking that the lack of good quality fats creates a ‘healthier’ ‘low fat’ recipe.
The thing is, without the fat you are at risk for consuming a whole lot of carbs without much else. We know that when that happens our blood sugar levels soar.
Coconut oil is solid at room temperature and turns to liquid at 78 degrees. It’s a perfect replacement for any oil, butter or margarine in recipes. It can also be used as a binder for things like granola bars or to sauté veggies in.
Look for a coconut oil that is virgin and organic.
Coconut Sugar (Coconut Palm Sugar)
Coconut sugar is made from the sap of the coconut palm tree. It is a granulated sugar that is caramel coloured and looks very similar to brown sugar. It tastes nothing like coconut as it comes from the flower bud of the coconut palm, not the coconut itself. It tastes a lot like a subtle tasting brown sugar.
One of the big selling points and health claims for coconut sugar is that it is low on the glycemic index, which ranks carbohydrate foods on the basis of how they affect blood sugar. It also contains B vitamins and several minerals including phosphorus, calcium, magnesium and iron
Coconut sugar can be substituted for white or brown sugar on a 1:1 basis in recipes. For every 1 cup of white or brown sugar in a recipe, use 1 cup of coconut sugar.
This ingredient could be controversial and is to be avoided if you can’t tolerate dairy. If you are good to go then adding in Greek yogurt or choosing recipes that includes this high protein ingredient is great.
Greek yogurt removes most of the lactose sugar, which is responsible for increasing the sugar content of regular yogurt. It’s also thick and creamy so it lends well to adding texture to muffins, dips and soups.
Look for plain Greek yogurt. Avoid purchasing the vanilla, honey and fruit flavored ones as they have had processed sugars added.
Baking recipes typically call for some sort of liquid. I like to use unsweetened almond milk in replacement for cream or cow’s milk. If you are a nut free home or doing some baking for school then try unsweetened coconut milk or hemp milk.
1 cup of unsweetened almond milk has half the calories of 1 cup of skim milk with less sugar too. Using almond milk won’t change the consistency and is much easier on the digestive system.
Look for UNSWEETENED instead of the regular one.
Grain Free Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes 20 Cookies
2 cups blanched almond flour
3 tbsp coconut flour
1 tbsp arrowroot starch
½ tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp sea salt
½ tsp vanilla extract
¼ cup pure maple syrup
2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
½ cup mini chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350° F. Lightly grease a baking sheet with coconut oil.
In a medium bowl combine the almond flour, coconut flour, arrowroot starch, baking soda and salt.
In another medium bowl combine the egg, vanilla, syrup and (cooled) oil. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ones and mix until fully combined. Stir in the mini chocolate chips.
Shape the dough into 20 cookies, flattening them slightly onto the greased pan. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until golden.
Allow to cool on the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire cooling rack. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.