Almond (Flour) Joy!

Almond  (Flour) JoyWhen on an anti-inflammatory diet, you have to give up wheat flour, which means no traditional bread, muffins, cake, etc. However almond flour can come to the rescue if you find yourself craving bakery treats! And fyi, almond flour wasn’t something newly created just as a trendy substitute for wheat…the French have traditionally used almond flour for some of their most popular treats, including favorites such as macaroons and marzipan.

Here at Feed Your Vitality, we have a special baking room and use almond flour to make brownies, muffins, fruit bread, rosemary bread, even a special little chocolate cake! Check out our website www.feedyourvitality.com if you would like to try some almond flour products without having to bake them at home…or get in your kitchen and try baking with almond flour yourself – let us know how your creations turn out!

I thought I would pass along some “scoop” about almond flour!

Almond flour vs. almond meal – The flour is made from blanched almonds – no skin. The meal is ground from whole almonds. Almond meal has a stronger taste and is similar in consistency to cornmeal; it may be better to use as breading or topping on casseroles than in baking. Some people are extra sensitive to the lectins in the skin of the nut and it can actually increase inflammation in the body…if this is an issue for you, be sure to use blanched almond flour.

There can even be a big difference between different brands of almond flour and you may need to experiment. Many bakers believe the finer the grain, the better your baked goods will turn out. You can get almond flour from so many sources, from Bob’s Red Mill, to our local supermarket, to ordering online. It can be expensive. Online options may provide a better price, especially if you buy in bulk.

Cooking with almond flour is different than cooking with wheat flour, so you are better off using recipes specifically calling for almond flour. Don’t just substitute almond flour for wheat flour in a recipe. Due to its different consistency, almond flour can’t absorb liquid in the same way as wheat flour. It also tends to burn easier, so the recipe may require a lower oven temperature and need to bake longer.

Just because almond flour is paleo doesn’t mean it is low calorie. In fact it has more calories than wheat flour (but the calories you’re eating are full of protein and vitamin E.) Blood sugar doesn’t tend to rise as fast after a meal made with almond flour because it is lower in carbs and sugar…this makes it a better option for diabetics. But moderation is key with these treats if you are worried about calories.

And lastly, I want to suggest a gluten free flour option for people who have a nut allergy (like me!) and can’t use almond flour. Think.eat.live is a local St. Louis company that has developed Sunflour™ – a flour made from sunflower seeds, and it is gluten AND nut free. In addition to their flour, they also sell product mixes for brownies, muffins, pancakes, etc. And oh by the way, they are delicious! (Just be sure to double check the ingredient list to make sure the product you choose is paleo friendly if that is important to you.) Check out their website www.thinkeatlive.com for more information…and keep in mind that Feed Your Vitality carries some Think.eat.live products, and we would be glad to deliver them to your door!

IMG_0407

Advertisements

When it comes to Cauliflower, I was a late bloomer…

CAULIFLOWERWhen I was growing up, I would only eat cauliflower if it was smothered in Campbell’s Cheddar Cheese soup. Working at FYV, I am learning that cauliflower can actually taste delicious all on its own, without requiring cheese topping! In addition, cauliflower is really good for you…it’s a cruciferous vegetable, like its cousins kale and broccoli. It’s packed with fiber – over 9 grams in every 100 calories – so it’s helpful for your digestive system. And not to get too technical, but research investigating inflammation related health issues have found that vitamin K, and glucosinolates / isothiocyanates in cruciferous vegetables, could provide benefits by reducing inflammation in the body.

Cauliflower is also very versatile, and you can eat it raw (the little florette makes it perfect for dipping – okay I still like it with a little cheese now and then!) or it can be made into hummus, pizza crust, soup or roasted/sauted by itself – there are so many opportunities for fitting cauliflower into your diet. Check out our pinterest page for recipes using cauliflower! Its fairly neutral taste makes it a great option for mixing with different spices to completely change its taste. For example, you can actually turn cauliflower into a paleo approved “rice” and depending on the seasonings you choose, you can add an Asian seasoning mix to make it taste like it is coming from your favorite Chinese restaurant, or you can add cinnamon or stevia for a sweeter option.  Whatever way you like cauliflower, it’s certainly not your garden variety “flower”.

How to make “rice” from cauliflower

  1.  De-stem a head of cauliflower and cut into florettes
  2. Place 6 –7 florettes into a food processor and pulse until cauliflower reaches a “rice” like consistency.  Remove the “rice” and repeat with remaining florettes.
  3. Place a medium stockpot on the stove and fill with 4 cups of chicken broth.  Bring broth to a boil. (If you are planning on adding stevia or sweeter spices, use water instead of chicken broth)
  4.  Add “rice” and cook for 1 minute.  Drain “rice” and season to taste.

A few cauliflower tips

  • Avoid spotted and “dull” cauliflower
  • Don’t overcook your cauliflower, as it will be mushy and not as tasty
  • We are still in cauliflower peak season – best from December through March!