Betty Wedman-St Louis, PhD, RD, LD

Licensed Nutritionist & Environmental Health Specialist

Archive for the ‘cinnamon’ tag

Good Luck Cake

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Good Luck CakeRing shaped cakes are a symbol of good luck especially around celebrations of a new year. The ring expresses the full circle of a year in some cultures while Asian cultures regard it as a symbol of eternity. Bundt cakes are a healthy addition for any celebration at time of the day.

The honey sweetened walnut apricot bundt cake can be made with organic whole wheat flour or organic brown rice flour. Both versions are seen in the photo (one with walnuts on top is made with rice flour).

A recent monthly news magazine presented a very biased article entitled “The Truth About Gluten”. The article stated that gluten-free offers no nutritional advantage “and may be less so”. As stated in my Living Gluten-Free book (Charles C. Thomas, 2008) a nutritional comparison of flours shows brown rice flour has significantly more Vitamin B6, Pantothenic Acid (B5), Magnesium and Manganese. Eating foods made with rice flour does not compromise nutrition.

Another issue alledged against gluten-free choices is extra cost. What consumers do not realize is the politics of the USDA food subsidy program that Congress passes annually in the Farm Bill. The US consumer pays twice for wheat products- the price at the supermarket is less than gluten-free products because they have already paid a subsidy that allows overproduction and low cost wheat prices.

Gluten-free does not produce weight loss if you over-indulge. Portion control and healthy lifestyle habits make for better weight management than changing from wheat to rice flour. But gluten-free can improve gut health for those with gastro-intestinal issues. Over seventy percent of your immune system resides in the Peyers Patches of the small intestine so less sugar and healthy fats + easy to digest rice protein can mean better digestion and increased energy.

So if you are afraid of using rice flour in your bundt cake because of arsenic, chose organic. California rice used by organic producers has significantly lower inorganic arsenic than Texas rice. Processed rice dishes are usually made with rice from India and Pakistan so cooking California Basmati rice is the best choice. Coconut flour can be used as a substitute if brown rice flour is not available.

One nutritional pearl to remember is that all grains contain some gluten. In the US, a food can contain up to 25 ppm and still be called gluten-free. Some people with gluten sensitivity need strict adherence to gluten-free food choices- wild rice and brown rice. For them, amaranth, buckwheat, millet, oats, quinoa and teff may state gluten-free but they can only be tolerated in small quantities, if at all.

The truth about whole grains and gluten does not make for sexy reading but consumers have a right to know what influences what they are eating. Enjoy this symbolic cake with whatever flour you chose.

Walnut Apricot Bundt Cake

1/2 cup dried apricots, cut in small pieces
1/2 cup boiling water
3 cups whole grain flour (wheat or rice)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 eggs
1 1/2 cup coconut “milk” beverage
1/2 cup unsalted soft butter
3 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon organic vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Pour boiling water over apricot pieces in small bowl. Let stand 15 minutes. Combine flour, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg in bowl. Stir to blend. Beat together eggs, coconut beverage, butter, honey and vanilla until mixture looks like scrambled eggs. Stir egg mixture into flour mixture. Add apricots and water. Beat well. Pour into lightly oiled and floured bundt pan. Bake in 350 degree oven 40-45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes on rack. Invert pan and cool before slicing. Makes 16 servings.

Calories per serving 124
Protein 3g
Carbohydrates 23g
Fat 4g

Written by bwsl

January 6th, 2015 at 4:37 pm

Pumpkin & Eye Health

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Pumpkin Banana MuffinsDon’t throw that Halloween pumpkin away! It could help improve your eyesight better than the carrots your mother told you to eat. As we age our eyesight begins to diminish and carotenoids from orange and green foods become more important.

Research suggests that oxidative damage on eye lens leads to cataract formation- one of the leading causes of age-related blindness in the U.S. A cataract is the process of clouding in the lens caused from free radicals. Carotenoids reduce free radicals within the eye and body.

While most canned pumpkin is really winter squash (pumpkins are in the squash family), it still contains lutein and zeaxanthin for macular eye health. I recently watched how the macular carotenoids were calculated in foods and dietary supplements. The darker green and deeper orange foods were the best foods to support eye health. Trace amounts of these carotenoids were even found in 21 samples of fish, shrimp and sea turtles. Eggs from chickens fed marigold flowers, oranges and peaches even showed levels of zeaxanthin, a carontenoid speciifically evaluated for macular degeneration protection.

A daily intake of 6 mg lutein/zeaxanthin is recommended to provide cataract and macular degeneration benefit. This equals 1/2 cup cooked pumpkin/winter squash or 1 cup cooked kale/spinach or broccoli daily.

Enjoying fresh cooked or canned pumpkin year round in tasty nutritious recipes like Pumpkin Banana Muffins is a great way to maintain eye health. The recipe is features whole grains and hemp hearts, the most nutrient packed gluten-free grain grown for centuries. Don’t risk eye health problems like glaucoma, macular degeneration or diabetic retinopathy by using convenience foods loaded with sugar and unknown vegetable oils. Fresh homemade foods are better!

Pumpkin Banana Muffins

1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup hemp hearts or hemp flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 cup cooked or canned pumpkin
2 ripe small bananas, peeled and mashed
1/3 cup honey
2 eggs
1/3 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup chopped almonds or pecans

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line baking pan with muffin cups. Combine flour, hemp hearts, baking soda, cinnamon, and cloves in mixing bowl. Beat together pumpkin, bananas, honey, eggs and oil. Pour into center of flour mixture. Stir until blended. Spoon batter into muffin cups. Top with chopped nuts. Bake 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool or serve hot. Makes 12.

Calories per muffin 265
Protein 5 g
Carbohydrates 24g
Fat 11g
Sodium 189 mg

Written by bwsl

December 24th, 2014 at 7:32 pm