Gluten-Free White Chocolate Chip Cookies- The Perfect Holiday Treat

I really don’t make cookies often. That’s because if I make them, I end up eating all of them way too quickly. However, this holiday season I decided to treat myself.

One of the things that I have learned along my health journey is that the act of indulging in treats can be either really rewarding or very guilt-provoking. It really depends on what the remainder of your diet looks like. I have figured out my own balance of eating healthy 80-90% of the time and allowing myself a treat  10-20% of the time. Now, when I eat a treat, I am able to enjoy every bite, without feeling guilty about it.

Another aspect that helps reduce the “guilt factor” is the selection of ingredients I choose to bake with. By using natural ingredients, we I am choosing to avoid the conventional ingredients that cause inflammation in the body. Conventional ingredients are stripped of 90% of the nutrients during the refining process, whereas natural ingredients still contain valuable vitamins, minerals and fiber content.

Here are the ingredients that I substituted in this recipe:

  • a blend of almond flour & coconut flour instead of white or whole wheat flour
  • coconut oil instead of vegetable oil
  • organic raw honey instead of white sugar

Gluten-Free White Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Ingredients

  • 2 cups blanched almond flour
  • 3 Tablespoons coconut flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup raw organic honey, melted
  • 1/2 cup organic coconut oil, melted
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 organic egg
  • 1/3 cup organic white chocolate chip cookies

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 325F degrees.
  2. Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl: almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda, cinnamon, sea salt. Mix well.
  3. In a separate bowl combine all wet ingredients together: honey, coconut oil, vanilla, egg. Mix well.
  4. Combine wet ingredients with dry ingredients. Mix until well incorporated.
  5. Fold in the chocolate chips until spread throughout the batter evenly.
  6. On a large parchment lined baking sheet, scoop out 1 Tablespoon of dough for each cookie. Leave room for cookies to spread. (You will need to use 2 baking sheets if you are using small baking sheets)
  7. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until bottom of cookies are cooked.
  8. Set out on a cooling rack for 15 minutes before serving.

Servings 24

If you are looking for more baking recipes that use natural ingredients, take a look at some of my favorite blogs:

www.elanaspantry.com

www.againstallgrains.com

www.civilizedcavemancooking.com

Summer Fruits – Affect on Blood Sugar and Weight Loss

Going into summer, we are surrounded by a lot of amazing, fresh, and flavorful fruit. It is good to know that  some fruits have a larger impact on your blood sugar than others.

Fruits in general have a high mineral content, thus they are important to incorporate into the diet.

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The glycemic index is a scale that measures how fast sugar for various foods releases into the blood stream. Foods that are high on the glycemic index scale will give us a quick release of energy but they will be followed by a crash in blood sugar. Whereas, foods that are lower on the glycemic index scale will have a less dramatic affect on blood sugar. We want to limit foods in our diet that are rated higher on the glycemic index.

  • High= 71-100.
  • Medium = 50-70.
  • Low = < 50

Fruits that are low on the glycemic index scale

  • Apples – 39
  • Berries- low to mid 20s
  • Cherries- 22
  • Grapefruit – 25
  • Figs- 35
  • Oranges- 40
  • Peach- 42
  • Pears- 38

Fruits that are medium-high on the glycemic index scale

  • Mangos- 55
  • Pineapples- 66
  • Kiwi- 52
  • Bananas- 55 (high on glycemic index but a good energy source- better than tropical fruits
  • Cantaloupe Melon- 65
  • Watermelon- 72

It is interesting to compare natural sugars to processed sugars on the glycemic index scale. Remember that fruits, vegetables and whole grains are much better options than processed carbohydrates. Don’t be scared of fruit! Eat it in moderation.

You can search for the Glycemic index of other carbohydrates on the Harvard Health Publications website.

Other articles you may be interested in:

Spring Veggie Wrap

This Spring Veggie Wrap makes for a great light snack! You also have the option to load it up with additional veggies, tofu, or animal protein to make it a more substantial meal option.

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Nutrition Suggestion: Consume at least 1 salad, smoothie, or veggie wrap each day

Prep Time: 5-10 minutes
Serves: 1

Ingredients
1 Tortilla*
1 Tablespoon of Pesto (Recipe: Kale & Almond Pesto)
4-5 leaves arugula or spinach
Broccoli sprouts
Cucumbers, thinly sliced
Radishes, thinly sliced
Salt & Pepper to taste
Optional: organic feta or goat cheese

* Whole wheat, organic corn, or gluten-free tortillas are widely available alternative to white flour. I like the Rudi’s Brand! If you’re looking for a lighter meal or snack, you can also try wrapping your ingredients in collard greens.

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Embrace Your Sweet Tooth

Humans are naturally inclined to favor sweet flavors. What we do not naturally crave is artificial sweeteners. Now more than ever, people are strongly addicted to the artificial sweet flavors and much higher levels of sweetness than the body needs. Sugar brakes down to carbohydrates which converts to energy in the body. We really do need carbohydrates in our diet but we have to make sure we are consuming the type of carbohydrates that are going to give us energy rather than sucking energy out of us.

In order to curb the addiction to artificial sugars and higher levels of sugar intake, I highly recommend buying the “unsweetened” version of packaged food products and sweeten them yourself. This way you can control the quality and quantity of the sweetener you are adding.

Some foods that you would look for the “unsweetened” version of are:

  • Yogurt (no flavor, no added sweetener, add your own fruit and natural sugar)
  • Oatmeal
  • Almond milk
  • Morning coffee (try going for plain instead of flavored and add your own sweetener)

Refer to Natural Sweeteners to find out which sugars are healthy alternatives to add.

No need to deny that sweet tooth. It’s all about being in control of your sweet tooth rather than it being in control of you.

All Time Favorite Green Juice Recipe

Okay, so I know it is important to switch it up every now and then to keep a wide variety of fruits and vegetables in your diet but I just can’t help make this juice over and over again because it is so damn good!

Ingredients

  • 1 handful kale, de-stemmed
  • 1 handful spinach
  • 1 green apple
  • 1/2 lemon, peel removed
  • 1-2 inch piece of ginger (depends on how much spice you like)
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1/4 cup celery or parsley

Drink the juice ASAP or store in a closed container in the fridge for up to 12 hours.

Click here to find out how to make your juice experience more health-supportive!

Natural Chef’s Opinion on Protein Powder & Other Supplements

As an athlete in high school and college, I was always trying to get adequate amounts of protein. The quickest and easiest way to get protein was through protein powders and protein bars. Once I began learning more about nutrition from a natural/holistic approach, I started to understand more about a “whole foods diet.” This idea simply entails eating foods that nature creates rather than food that is created by machines. It also encourages eating unprocessed foods that are either stripped of their natural nutrients or that have unnatural ingredients added to them. I am a strong believer in eating “clean” and natural foods as the main platform for achieving optimal health. However, there are several situations in which I believe supplementation is an appropriate option:

1. When an honest attempt at a whole-food diet still doesn’t reverse the deficiency

2. When a person has several food allergies, lending to a very limiting nutrient intake

3. When a person has made the decision to go vegan or vegetarian and are deficient in certain nutrients

In these cases, I believe that supplementation should be ‘supplementary’ to an already existing conscious diet as opposed to simply a replacement for a whole nutrient group. For example, consuming protein powder as the main source of protein in your diet as opposed to vegetarian or animal protein sources. There are some supplements that can be used as a bridge to get to a more stable level of health.

Before choosing supplements, I recommend meeting with someone who is educated in nutrition to make sure that you are making sound supplement choices. Taking supplements that are not required for the enhancement of your health is a waste of time and money. Many supplements today are packed with harmful additives which can actually send you in the completely opposite direction of health. Be sure to do your research and/or work with a professional to choose the supplements that will lead improve your health.

Natural Sweeteners

Do you have a sweet tooth? Do you find it hard to stay away from sugar? Well, you are not alone. As humans, we are naturally inclined to be attracted to sweet flavors. The problem is that we are consuming low-quality, highly-processed sweeteners rather than quality whole ingredients that provide nutritional benefits.

Sugar is hidden in many different packaged-food products using different alias names such as:

Sucrose, Glucose, Fructose, Sorbitol, Mannitol, Corn Syrup, High fructose corn syrup, Saccharin, Aspartame, Sucraloe, Aceulfame potassium, Neotame

Agave is another controversial sweetener that is made out to seem like it is healthy. When an ingredient is overly controversial, I choose to use an alternative ingredient.

It is not necessary to deprive yourself from sweets and desserts all together. If you do so, you are setting yourself up for stong-cravings and failure. The point is to choose high-quality sweeteners as opposed to poor quality products. You are SO much more worth it than to slump down to low-quality sweeteners. One parallel example that I have heard is “choosing low quality standard sweeteners is like lowering your standards for your intimate relationships. It may be easy and feel good at the time but later on you are bound to regret it.” 

Rather than buying food products that have harmful sweeteners in them, you can buy the unsweetened version and add your own natural sweetener.

Natural sweeteners

  • Coconut Palm Sugar
  • Raw Honey
  • Maple Syrup (grade B)
  • Blackstrap Molasses
  • Fresh or Dried Dates
  • Fresh or Dried Figs
  • Berries and other fresh fruits

Set your standards high. Start living with more energy and less mood swings.