6 Tips To Make Any Baking Recipe Healthier

I read this awhile back on the blog of greensmoothiegirl.com. Thought you might be interested:

At the Zermatt in December, I taught these six tips for making a baking treat healthier. You don’t have to know anything about recipe development. These are no-brainers. Three tips today, three tomorrow. (All of this information is in Ch. 11 of 12 Steps to Whole Foods.)

1.           Substitute finely ground whole wheat instead of white flour.

What you see on recipe labels as “wheat flour” is actually a toxic, nutrition-less white gluey mess. It’s the grain with the germ (vitamins) and bran (fiber) removed).

Ask for a good grain grinder for Christmas. I love K-Tecs, which you can find here. They aren’t terribly expensive, and you’ll need one in an emergency where you have to make your own bread, so it’s a good preparedness item.

For cookies, cakes, pastry recipes, I like SOFT WHITE WHEAT, ground on the finest grind setting your mill has. Your kids won’t even know the difference. A coarser grind will cause a heavier product, and red wheat will make it look darker. (I use red wheat for breads, etc.)

Some people think they don’t like whole wheat flour products, when in fact they’re just used to eating RANCID whole wheat. When the grain is ground, the protective shell of the grain is destroyed and oils inside begin to deteriorate. Consequently, those milled grains go rancid quickly and taste bad in baked goods. (Plus, rancid oils are carcinogenic.) Bags of whole wheat flour sometimes have spent months in warehouses and in transit before arriving in your home, and then you store them even longer.

Thus a grinder becomes essential, so you can have FRESHLY milled grains anytime you want.

2.           Substitute coconut palm sugar, or Sucanat, for sugar.

I recently mentioned coconut sugar in a blog entry and since then, we’ve gotten many queries from readers who can’t find it, to buy. I spent some time looking for it and have obtained the best organic product I could find for a good price in the GreenSmoothieGirl store: get some here.

Read about it here.

I’m thrilled about this product because of its low glycemic index for far less impact on your blood sugar and pancreas. It has high vitamin and mineral content, it is highly sustainable, more so than cane sugar, and it tastes lovely. Sucanat is in my baking recipes in 12 Steps (it’s dried, unrefined cane juice) but coconut sugar is my new favorite and is an easy substitute.

Substitute it 1:1 for any white or brown sugar called for in a baking recipe.

3.           Baking powder

Please buy the kind in the health food store that is ALUMINUM FREE. Don’t buy giant quantities because it’s good for only 1-2 years. Aluminum is a toxic metal your body has a very difficult time eliminating, and it’s linked to Alzheimer’s and many other health problems. And it’s in commercial baking powders. Substitute the aluminum-free version 1:1 in your recipes.

Continued from yesterday. (Yes, I know people are HEALTHIER and recipes are more HEALTHFUL, and so does my editor, but we abandon that in my book titles because “Healthful Recipes” sounds so stiff and wrong.)

4. Oil

Please don’t use “vegetable oil” for baking. It’s highly refined, heated to high temperatures, and already rancid when it’s sold to you. Instead, for baking, use coconut oil. In the summer, it’ll be liquid, and in the winter, solid. It works well as a substitute for butter, shortening, or oil. We have organic, cold-pressed coconut oil in our group buy every year, but year-round you can get it here. You can read here about why this oil is far more nutritious that most and what it’s good for.

You can also substitute extra-virgin olive oil in recipes that call for just a small amount of butter or oil or if you don’t like coconut oil. It usually doesn’t affect the flavor.

5. Organic, free-range eggs or egg substitute

If you buy only ONE thing organic, make it eggs. North Americans get far too much Omega 6 fatty acids, probably because of our high intake of refined vegetable oil, which has a toxic imbalance. Commercial eggs are 6:1 omega 6 to omega 3. Eggs in their natural state are the exact opposite, with far more omega 3 that we are deficient in–so buy organic, free range. I have a friend in my neighborhood whose chickens are fed no chemicals and range in the yard. I buy from her on the rare occasion I even use eggs. You can also pay more at Costco for organic, and most health food stores have them.

You could also use this very nutritious substitute for each large egg: let 1 Tbsp. chia seed sit in 3 Tbsp. water for 30 mins.

6. Salt

Please never use iodized, refined salt (i.e., Morton’s) for anything besides homemade play-dough. For cooking / eating, use Original Himalayan Crystal Salt for a high-vibrational frequency completely unrefined crystalline whole food. My second favorites would be Real Salt or celtic sea salt.

Now in your whole-foods lifestyle, you don’t have to throw out your favorite baking recipes. Make these 6 substitutions and you should have very good results!

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