Posts tagged healthy choices
Quick Scones, Gluten Free

I don't miss many foods now that I have to keep to a completely gluten free diet.

I don't have celiac disease, but I'm seriously gluten intolerant and eating gluten essentially shuts down my brain function. Debilitating brain fog that feels sticky and thick, headaches, difficulty forming sentences, crippling fatigue... it makes me feel like my brain injury is fresh. Which I HATE. So making a change to my diet to avoid all that was, and is, 100% worth it.

Sometimes I miss Montreal bagels, and real French pastries, but there is a bakery in Montreal that makes a mean gluten free croissant now, and they SHIP TO THE US! So I get my fix on occasion by ordering online

But good scones. Oh man, I haven't had one since I was a kid. Not too sweet, just the right crumb and texture, holds butter well... I've had few that are ok but they're all too sweet to be "real" scones in my book. I had pretty much accepted that I would never find a gluten free version that met my standard.

And then my husband made one by accident. And it was WONDERFUL. And fast, and easy, and all that good stuff.

So here's the recipe!

 

Gluten Free Banana Scones

Banana Scones

• 1 cup all-purpose gluten free flour (no gums! Get the recipe for my custom AP flour blend instantly when you sign up for my newsletter)

• 1 scoop vanilla plant protein - get my favorite from my nutrition partner HERE

• 1/4 tsp sea salt

• 1 tsp baking powder  

• 1 tsp baking soda

• 2 mashed bananas

• 1 egg

• 1 TBSP avocado or melted coconut oil

 

Preheat oven to 350º F - Makes 1 dozen mini scones

Thoroughly mix all ingredients together until fully incorporated. Dough should resemble fluffy cookie dough. Spoon golf ball sized amounts onto cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Use wet fingers to shape into little triangles, or to your liking.
Bake for 15 minutes until springy to the touch and brown on the bottom. 

Let cool completely before serving, and enjoy! 

•••

 Original/Plain Scones

Gluten Free Original Plain Scones

1 cup all purpose gluten free flour (no gums added to the flour mix!)

• 1 scoop vegan vanilla protein (get my fav from my nutrition partner HERE)

• 1 TBSP psyllium husk

• 1 tsp each baking powder and baking soda

• 1/4 tsp sea salt

• 1 egg

• 1 TBSP avocado or melted coconut oil

• 1/2 cup plain European style whole milk plain yogurt (also, no gums!)

 

Preheat oven to 350F Makes 10 mini scones

Blend dry ingredients together in a bowl until all one color. 
Blend wet ingredients in a separate bowl, then add dry ingredients to the wet and mix thoroughly.
Mix until fully incorporated. Dough should look and feel like fluffy cookie dough.
Drop golf ball sized lumps of dough onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
Shape into triangles or desired shape with wet fingers.
Bake for 15 minutes until springy to the touch and brown on the bottom.
Let cool completely before serving, enjoy!

Apple Cinnamon and Pumpkin scone attempts are up next! Keep an eye out for those before Halloween.

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5 Steps To Perfect Kale Chips
Prepared kale leaves for making kale chips.

Prepared kale leaves for making kale chips.

Making kale chips is so easy to screw up.

They're the easiest thing to make but I see so many recipes online that give terrible directions! Recipes all over the internet completely butcher the nutritional value of this amazing snack so I'm going to tell you how to do it correctly.

I love kale chips even more than potato chips when I'm craving something salty and crunchy. They really are crazy easy to make, so there is no reason to pay crazy prices for them at the health food store, but you need to do it right. Here's how:

Step One: Get a large head of kale (preferably organic) or two - here I used a full head of lacinto (dinosaur) kale and a full head of curly kale - and tear it into bite sized 1 1/2 inch pieces, removing the ribs and stems. Rinse and dry thoroughly. Toss kale pieces into a large bowl.

Step Two: Coat the kale leaf pieces in extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil. Use 1-3 tablespoons of oil, you want every piece coated but not swimming in oil. Massage the oil into the kale with your fingers.

Step Three: Season with sea salt and garlic powder to taste. I used 5-8 full grinds of sea salt and a light dusting of garlic powder, no measurements. Start with a light seasoning and add to it as needed.

Step Four: Lay seasoned kale pieces out in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Try to avoid any overlapping pieces! If they overlap, they will stay soggy.

Step Five: Place in a 200 degree F oven and allow the kale to dehydrate (NOT bake) until crisp. Check the kale after the first hour and then as needed. The oven isn't hot enough to burn them quickly but you don't want to leave them under even low heat any longer than you have to. 

Serve as finger food and enjoy your chips! My favorite thing about kale chips is how they disintegrate and melt in your mouth. So yummy.



*** Keeping the heat in the oven low helps to preserve the nutrient value of the kale. High heat destroys vitamins. High heat will also burn the edges of the leaves.
*** If you have a dehydrator, use that instead! Your chips will be even better and will retain most of their nutritional value.
*** Organic kale is important because it is a crop that consistently lands on the EWG's Dirty Dozen.
*** Using oils like extra virgin olive oil and avocado oil add healthy fats to your chips instead of the inflammatory oils high in Omega-6 essential fatty acids typically used on potato chips. Their flavors also work well with the kale!
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Why I Don't Count Calories and You Probably Shouldn't Either

It's Holiday time! This is my favorite time of year with all the good vibes, cool weather and amazing food. It's such a time of gratitude and celebration, and gathering around a table to eat together is something I love. Food is nourishment, for our bodies but often for our souls too. It should feel good. We have senses to experience the taste, texture, temperature and smell of food for a reason. Food is SUPPOSED to feel good.

But too often we just so caught up in the "supposed to" and "shoulds"  of eating and the joy is lost because we've come to care more about how we look, or we guiltily eat junk foods, knowing they're bad for us.

I love food and after having the experience of being "fed" through a feeding tube when I was in the hospital (I can't describe having flavored goop delivered to my stomach, through a tube that went up my nose, as anything close to pleasant), and being unable to bite into anything even verging on firm in the four years I wore partial dentures, I value every moment I get to eat and chew and sink my teeth into something delicious. And I don't worry about Calories. EVER.

The photo on this post is the breakfast I had the day after a full Thanksgiving dinner last year. I am not fat. I just eat the food, provided it's real food, and not too much of any one thing. I strive for balance, not deprivation.

I recently discovered gluten free croissants that I got shipped to my door from Baked2Go.ca in Montreal, and talk about the joy of eating! It's been YEARS since I had a croissant because I have a pretty serious intolerance to gluten. And I had kind of lost hope that anyone would be able to create a GOOD gluten free version of that yummy French pastry. But these... warmed in the oven, that crisp flakiness on the outside giving way against my teeth to the soft, layered, buttery inside... bliss.

Is it "healthy"? Nope. Fattening? If I ate them all the time, probably yeah. But do I care? No. Because it was a treat. And giving myself permission to enjoy a food I love, when I know it's still real food, made in a bakery, is way better for me than stressing, feeling guilty, or hating myself for indulging! All that does is release stress hormones that can contribute to gaining weight probably more than eating the food one time.

*** Obviously if you have medical condition or are under the care of a physician, you may need to take a different approach. And everyone is different. Do what is best for you!

Because of things like stress hormones and many other factors, getting to and maintaining a healthy weight is not as simple as calories in, calories out. The food and diet industry would like us to believe it's that simple though!
Why isn't it?
All calories are not created equal. Our bodies digest, process and use different foods in completely different ways. Take, for example, 100 calories of candy and 100 calories of broccoli. About five Hershey's Kisses would have 100 calories but 100 calories of broccoli (raw) is four cups!

There's not much nutritional value in five Hershey's kisses, and four cups of broccoli is a lot to eat, and requires way more energy to chew and digest. Carbohydrates and protein contain 4 Calories per gram and fat has 9 calories per gram. So while food that contains a lot of fat does have more calories, that doesn't mean fatty food will make us fat. Many fatty foods are also laden with sugar, but healthy fats like extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil, while calorie dense, have a lot of nutritional value. Our bodies get a lot from just a little, and it's hard to overindulge on food that contains those healthy fats.

My rule of thumb is to just eat real food that doesn't come with a label or a list of ingredients. If I do that, I don't have to watch my weight because I don't fall into craving unhealthy snacks and my body gets all the nutrition it needs. I like sweets a lot, but I definitely notice that when I don't eat much sugar, I don't crave sugar. And vice versa, if I eat too much, I crave it ALL THE TIME and I have to make myself detox and make better choices. Date rolls (dates smushed up and rolled in chopped nuts) are my go-to to satisfy a sugar craving and replace the junk I might eat otherwise. Dried fruit is awesome that way.

As the holidays approach, maybe you're worrying about "holiday weight gain"? Well I have some good news for you... it's pretty much a myth. If you do gain weight at this time of year, it's probably more of a reflection of your overall lifestyle and weight as a whole, not a once-a-year anomaly, so if you do gain significant weight, take it as a signal that shifts need to happen in your life beyond declining dessert at Thanksgiving dinner.

So enjoy your holidays, and enjoy the food! Don't worry about the Calories, now or ever. Life's too short not to indulge a little bit. Just stay mindful and notice how you feel in your body. If you feel tired and cranky all of a sudden, think about what you ate. That might be more relevant than your previous night's sleep. Eat real food - the turkey, the stuffing, the veggies, the HOMEMADE pie made with real ingredients... avoid the junk - it doesn't serve you. And have a wonderful time!

XOXO Maggie


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