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Enjoying Baking a Little Too Much During the Quarantine? Here are 9 Helpful Tips

With extra time on your hands lately, have you found yourself spending too much time in the kitchen during quarantine baking yummy delights? If so, here are some tips to help cut the sugar, fat, and calories so you can have your cake…and eat it too!

 

Sugar Replacements

 

  1. Figs.  Replace up to ½ the amount of sugar in your recipe with figs. Place the figs in a little water to soften. Drain. Then for every 8 oz. of figs, puree them with ¼ to 1/3 c. water until smooth.
  2. Dates. Dates add even more sugar than figs. Place 1 c. dates in a blender with ½ to 1 c. hot water. Puree until it becomes a thick paste. Use this to replace up to ½ of the sugar in your recipe. You may have to experiment a little in order to get the right texture.
  3. Spices. Cut the sugar in your recipe by 1/3 to ½. Then double the spices and extracts. Try experimenting with spices or extracts not mentioned in your recipe such as cloves, nutmeg, allspice or almond extract.

 

Fat Replacements

 

  1. Avocado. Peel, pit and mash an avocado to make a puree. Add 2 tsp. lemon juice. For every cup of fat in your recipe, substitute ¾ to 1 cup of the avocado puree. Avocados contain more water than butter or shortening, so you may need to decrease the oven temperature by 25% and bake your food a little longer.
  2. Beans. If you are baking something dark, such as a chocolate cake or brownies, replace some of the fat with black beans that have been pureed. The beans will not only cut down on fat, but they will add protein, fiber, and potassium. If you are making something lighter in color, canellini beans or chickpeas can be substituted.
  3. Greek Yogurt. Yogurt can be used to replace the oil in muffins. Whole milk or full-fat versions will give you the best taste. (Non-fat yogurt will change the taste and texture quite a bit. It is not recommended.) Equal amounts of yogurt can be used in exchange for the oil. Add ½ tsp. baking soda per cup of yogurt to help with the rise.

 

Other Helps

  1. Whole Grains. For every cup of white flour in your recipe, use ¼ c. whole grain flour and ¾ c. white. You may need to experiment until you get the ratio just right.
  2. Gluten. To reduce the amount of gluten in yeast breads, replace ¼ of the total flour in the recipe with oat flour. Add more yeast to help it to rise better.
  3. Egg Substitutes. Each egg can be substituted with either 2 tsp. chia seeds or 1 tablespoon of flaxseed. Add ¼ c. water and let sit for 5 minutes to soften. When using these substitutes, you will need to add ¼ o ½ tsp. baking powder or baking soda to the recipe.

Image courtesy of Hal Nguyen on Unsplash

a glass of milk

Could “Low Fat” Be Making You Gain Weight

Back in the 1960’s agribusiness and the medical establishment began to instill fear into Americans about the fat in our foods. There was no scientific documentation to back up their claims. It all started as a solution to a problem.

 

When the farmers got milk, they skimmed off the cream to make cream and butter. What was left was just a waste product once the fat was gone. What could they do with this? Rather than throwing it away, they decided to give it to the farm animals as a cheap way to feed them. What they discovered was that this low-fat or even fat-free milk actually made their animals fatter! This was a welcome, but unexpected result of their decision.

 

Later, they switched gears and began fattening their animals with soy and corn and touted this new “low fat” milk as a “slimming” food for humans (at a much higher price than they could get for it as animal food!) No wonder that our population has become more and more obese. A study was conducted at Tufts University over a 15 year period. They compared people who consumed full fat dairy foods with those who had eaten lower fat versions. The result of their tests showed that those who ate the full-fat foods had a 46% lower risk of becoming diabetic. Women who ate the full fat had an 8% less chance of becoming obese than those who ate low-fat dairy.

What Removal of Fat Does to Dairy

 

Milk, in its natural state is very high in sugar. When the fat is taken out, milk is left with a much higher concentration of sugar as well as a higher protein content. The excess protein is more than the body can utilize at one time, so it produces even more sugar. The lactose can then create an insulin effect.

 

Another problem with low-fat foods is that, without the fat, the fat-soluble vitamins in them are not able to be assimilated by the body. For example, without fat to activate the Vitamin D, the calcium in the milk cannot be absorbed. Consequently, low-fat milk has been associated with an increased risk for osteoporosis.

 

Often, to boost the flavor, additional skim milk powder will be added to low-fat milk products. It is then heat processed which oxidizes the cholesterol. It is when cholesterol becomes oxidized that it becomes pro-inflammatory by releasing Interleukin 6, the major inflammatory factor in atherosclerosis.

 

The End Result

 

This not only applies to milk but also to any dairy, especially milk, yogurt, and cottage cheese. Since the middle of the 1900’s, when low-fat dairy came into vogue, we have seen people move from whole foods naturally high in fat to foods which have radically changed our diets:

 

  • Our consumption of starches and sugars has risen exponentially
  • We have seen an increase in the number of heart attacks
  • Strokes are much more common
  • Diabetes is on the rise.

 

So the take-away from this is not to be afraid of putting good fats into your diet. If you keep at a good weight and are burning the number of calories you consume in a day, your body actually needs those fats. We don’t need to be afraid of them after all.

See also:

The #1 Addiction in America May Surprise You

5 Tips to Help You Eat Less and Feel Better

7 Tips for Success in Your Weight Loss This Year

*The information in this article is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition and does not substitute for a thorough evaluation by a medical professional.  Please consult your chiropractor or physician to determine whether these self-care tips are appropriate for you.

Image by Devanath from Pixabay