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    Archive for the ‘wheat germ’ Category

    Healthify Your Baked Goods!

    toolsI find that certain weekend mornings are practically tailor-made for a muffin-and-coffee breakfast.

    Sipping freshly brewed coffee and biting into homemade baked good on a cloudy autumn morning, watching the colorful foliage slowly float down from tree branches, is simultaneously comforting and delectable.

    While many commercial baked goods are nutrition horror cliches (copious amounts of white flour, sugar, and unhealthy fats), homemade varieties can get a nutritional boost in a variety of ways.

    These tips can be used when making muffins, brownies, and cookies:

    1) Go whole or go home

    Gone are the days when “whole grain baked goods” meant a dense, rubbery concoction akin to an E-Z Bake Oven creation.

    The key to making light and fluffy 100% whole grain baked goods is to utilize either whole wheat pastry flour or whole wheat white flour.

    You can fully replace a recipe’s white flour with either of these varieties.

    Not only will the end result be higher in fiber, it will also contain more selenium, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium.

    2) Go alternative

    Alternative flours can be quite pricey, but they’re a lot more affordable if you make them yourself!

    Instead of purchasing oat flour (which, depending where you live, can be hard to track down), make your own by processing quick oats in a food processor.

    FYI: One and a half cups of quick cooking oats yields one cup of oat flour.

    Oat flour is high in soluble fiber (the kind that helps lower cholesterol and provides a feeling of fullness more quickly) and rich in phytonutrients.

    One other FYI: oat flour can only replace, at most, half of the wheat flour in a given recipe.

    Another favorite alternative flour of mine is almond meal.

    You can also make this at home by pulverizing raw almonds in a food processor or coffee grinder until they achieve a powdery consistency.

    Like oat flour, almond meal can replace up to half of the wheat flour in a given recipe.

    Like whole almonds, almond meal is a good source of fiber, protein, vitamin E, and heart-healthy monounsaturated fats.

    You can even replace half a cup of flour in a recipe with half a cup of pure wheat germ for added fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

    3) Get saucy

    Unsweetened applesauce is a healthy baker’s ally.

    You can replace anywhere from one half to three quarters of the fat called for in a recipe with unsweetened applesauce and no one will be the wiser.

    The applesauce won’t disrupt flavors, but will add plenty of moisture to your baked goods.

    4) Sprinkle away

    Whenever I make pancake or muffin batter, I like to add two or three tablespoons of oat bran and ground flaxseeds.

    Not only do they impart a hearty and nutty flavor, they also add extra nutrition in a pinch.

    5) Sugar?  Think Beyond The White Stuff

    When it comes to sweetening, think natural first.

    Raisins, blueberries, bananas, and fresh pineapple add sweetness — and great flavor — to recipes while also delivering nutrition.

    In my experience, you can halve the added sugar (whether in the form of white sugar, brown sugar, agave nectar, maple syrup, etc.) in conventional recipes and still have a tasty baked good.

    When reducing sugar, make up for it by adding nutmeg, cinnamon, and vanilla, almond, and/or coconut extract to the batter.

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    You Ask, I Answer: Choline

    1B7796CD98BAE223AFF6643CFAF1A7What is choline?  Why is it good for us and which foods contain it?

    — @Monica_San Diego, @noelty5
    Via Twitter

    I received these tweets soon after I tweeted that 90 percent of adults in the United States do not get sufficient amounts of choline in their diets.

    Choline is an essential nutrient (‘essential’ meaning we must get it from food) that is often referred to as a “vitamin-like organic substance” that has a lot in common with the B vitamins (it is not, however, an out-and-out B vitamin).

    Choline has a number of important functions, including:

    • Proper functioning of neurotransmitters
    • Overall liver and gallbladder health
    • Fetal neural and spinal development
    • Cell permeability (allowing cells to absorb fats adequately and excrete necessary metabolites)
    • Phospholipid synthesis (necessary for cellular structure)
    • Cardiovascular health (choline helps lower homocysteine levels; high homocysteine levels are a significant risk factor for heart disease)

    As far as food sources go, these are your best bets:

    • Beef
    • Broccoli
    • Cauliflower
    • Egg yolk
    • Lentils
    • Salmon
    • Shrimp
    • Soy beans
    • Peanuts
    • Wheat germ
    • Salmon

    Men should aim for 550 milligrams a day. Women, meanwhile, need to shoot for 425.

    Multiple research studies have concluded that consistent, long-term deficiencies increase one’s risk of developing fatty liver, liver cancer, and heart disease.

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    Summer Eatin’

    The latest video posted on the Small Bites YouTube channel offers tips and advice for a healthy and nutritious summer.

    Is mayo a microbiological bad guy? What’s a tasty and refreshing replacement for ice cream? Are you preparing your salad in such a way to ensure maximum absorption of nutrients?

    Find out more in this short video, where I also introduce you to a key player of the Small Bites team!

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    You Ask, I Answer: Vitamin E

    [In your multivitamin posting you mentioned excessive Vitamin E being harmful]. What kind of harm [specifically]?

    I’ve been taking 1/2 a teaspoon full of wheat germ every day for the past 6 months or so.

    Should I be worried? Scale it down a bit?

    — Anonymous
    Via the blog

    Although Vitamin E is an antioxidant, large amounts have been found to increase heart disease risk and act as pro-oxidants.

    That said, let’s put all this information into numbers.

    The Recommended Dietary Allowance for Vitamin E is 10 milligrams per day. Negative health consequences are seen with megadoses of 180 milligrams or more a day. That figure may sound absurdly high, but you will find supplements offering that amount.

    Which brings me to another point — you will often see Vitamin E listed in International Units.

    When dealing with synthetic forms of the vitamin (supplements), you convert from IUs to milligrams by multiplying the IU value times 0.45. So, 180 milligrams is equal to 400 IUs.

    Onto your other question.

    Half a teaspoon of wheat germ contains approximately 0.4 milligrams, so it is by no means cause for concern.

    I would suggest having an entire tablespoon each day — it covers 20% of your daily requirement.

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    You Ask, I Answer: Inflammation

    My mum asked me to look into foods that increase or decrease inflammation and related chronic pain conditions.

    I don’t know if such a thing is even possible, and Google leads me to thousands of quacks and charlatans. Can you help?

    — Rachelle T.
    Location Unknown

    Nutrition plays an important role in promoting — and reducing — inflammation.

    Before we even get to actual foods, though, it’s important to address weight.

    Excess body fat heightens inflammation, so working towards shedding any extra pounds is the first step in my book.

    Foods that I suggest your mother eat sparingly include refined carbohydrates (mainly white flour and added sugars), trans fats, and Omega-6 fatty acids (found in most processed plant oils)

    A point of clarity regarding Omega-6 fatty acids: although they absolutely serve a purpose (and are essential, meaning we can only get them from our diet), the traditional U.S. diet is overly abundant in them.

    Moving on, then. There are also many foods that help manage — and even decrease — inflammation.

    These include whole grains, monounsaturated fats (think avocados, olive oil, peanut butter, and almond butter), Omega-3 fatty acids (walnuts, flaxseed, salmon, tofu, wheat germ, and some legumes) and a wide variety of fruits and vegetables.

    In the case of fruits and vegetables, the more variety the better.

    Why? Research suggests that different compounds (i.e.: anthocyanins in blueberries, carotenoids in sweet potatoes, and phenolics in tart cherries) can aid in the reduction of inflammation.

    Keep in mind, though, that for optimal results, these foods should be consumed on a daily basis for a prolonged period.

    Additionally, the above mentioned foods should not be consumed with excess calories or sugars (putting a spoonful of walnuts into a Coldstone ice cream bowl or having a Reese’s peanut butter cup are not effective ways to manage inflammation.)

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    Quick and Healthy Recipe: Whole Grain Pancakes

    I spotted a simple pancake recipe in the back of an Arrowhead Mills pancake and waffle mix I bought, threw the kitchen sink at it, and ended up making these delicious — and super healthy — pancakes!

    YIELDS: 4 Pancakes

    INGREDIENTS

    ¾ cup whole grain/multigrain pancake mix (i.e.: Arrowhead Mills)
    1 Tbsp. canola oil
    3/4 cup milk of choice (dairy, soy, rice, almond, etc.  I used unsweetened soy)
    1/3 cup chopped walnuts
    1 Tbsp. egg whites or egg replacer
    1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
    1 Tbsp. coconut extract
    3 Tbsp. ground flaxseed
    3 Tbsp. oat bran
    2 Tbsp. wheat germ
    1 Tbsp. cinnamon
    2 medium bananas, sliced
    1 cup strawberries, sliced

    INSTRUCTIONS

    1. Combine pancake mix, canola oil, milk, chopped walnuts, egg whites/egg replacer, vanilla extract, coconut extract, ground flaxseed, oat bran, and wheat germ in medium bowl.

    2. Stir lightly until ingredients are evenly mixed. The batter will be a little lumpy; this is normal. DO NOT OVERMIX.

    3. Lightly grease skillet and place over medium heat.

    4. Gently pour batter into skillet (remember, this batter makes four pancakes.)

    5. Flip pancakes as soon as bottoms feel firm when prodded with spatula.

    6. Once pancakes are evenly cooked, serve on plate and top with bananas and strawberries.

    NUTRITION FACTS (2 pancaked, made with unsweetened soymilk and topped with fruit):

    552 calories
    1 g saturated fat
    12 grams monounsaturated fat (the fat that helps reduce LDL cholesterol and heart disease risk)
    1.8 grams Omega-3 fatty acids (in the form of ALA; 85% of a day’s worth)
    412 milligrams sodium
    13 grams fiber
    3.5 grams added sugar
    14 grams protein

    Excellent source of: Fiber, monounsaturated fat, Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, vitamin C,whole grains,
    Good source of: Folate, niacin, manganese, potassium, protein, riboflavin, thiamin, vitamin B6

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