FAQ: Other Ingredients


Eggs
Q. Are you concerned about the quantity of eggs in your recipes?
A. I’m not concerned about using eggs. In fact, I see them as a good, reasonably priced source of protein, which lowers the glycemic index of many of my recipes.

Soy
Q. Why do you avoid soy?
A. I avoid soy because it is highly estrogenic and some forms of estrogen are not good for people with autoimmune conditions. We have enough xenoestrogens in the environment without adding more via food; my take at least.

Yacon
Q. What is yacon?
A. Yacon is a perennial plant grown in the Andes for its crisp, sweet taste. This root, sometimes called “apple of the earth”, is composed primarily of water and Fructooligosaccharide (FOS). These short chain sugars have a lower caloric value (as they are digested anaerobically) and high fiber content. FOS is a functional food that is also considered a prebiotic and extremely helpful to the digestive tract. In fact, it is often added to other foods such as yogurt to increase nutritional content.

For more information please see my yacon syrup ingredient page.

Nutrition
Q. How can I find the nutrition content in your recipes?
A. Eating healthy is a passion of mine, however, you may notice that I don’t provide nutrition information for my recipes. While some might find this odd, even a paradox, I find that calculating the nutrition information for my food is not of interest. For me, this exercise is not necessary and I don’t see how it would aid my enjoyment of a meal or digestion.

Of course, I respect those who are in a position that requires them to know exactly what is in their food. For this reason, I provide a link to calculate nutritional content. Feel free to share your results with us in the form of a comment on any post.

Please note: If you are trying to calculate the nutrition for almond flour, you will need to enter “almonds”, then select “almonds, blanched” from the list.

Grains
Q. When eating gluten free, should all grains be avoided?
A. I really think that it is up to each individual to figure out what works for them. I went through several elimination diets to come to the food plan that I now follow. I know my digestive process and energy level are much better without grains, however, I do feed gluten free grains to my boys; so it’s a case by case type of thing.

Oils
Q. Why do you use coconut oil and grapeseed oil in the majority of your recipes?
A. Coconut oil is full of lauric acid, a medium chain fatty acid that purportedly has various health benefits. I am following a dairy free diet for now and have found that grapeseed oil has a neutral flavor that closely approximates the texture and taste of butter in baked goods.

For more information, please see my ingredient pages for coconut oil and grapeseed oil.

Agave
Q. Why do you use agave nectar? I heard it’s not a good sweetener.
A. First off, there really is no perfect sweetener, so I recommend everything in moderation!

We often take sugar and other sweeteners for granted, forgetting that they were not widely available to humans until the modern era (excluding of course, those living in the tropical regions feasting on mangoes and pineapple). Processed sugar was invented between the Medieval Period and the Enlightenment (roughly 500 years ago), it became more widely available during the 1400 and 1500′s. By 1750 (with the advent of the Industrial Revolution and the invention of sugar mills) sugar became wildly popular.

So if we really think about it, up until a couple of hundred years ago, the majority of the human race (at least those living in colder climes) only experienced the taste of sweetness by eating fruit when it was in season (or when nursing, of course). The fruit that was eaten was not the overly ripe, super sweet fruit that is bred today. Think of wild blueberries –they are tiny and tart. The fruit we eat today has been cultivated for its juicy, sweet flavor.

I think the spike in diabetes and other diseases we see today may partially be due to the fact that humans are not accustomed to eating large quantities of sugar and are not able to efficiently metabolize this substance. Sugar is sugar. Agave is sugar. An apple is sugar with some good vitamins, minerals and fiber. Basically, many of us (especially those with celiac) would be prudent to monitor our intake of sugar in any form (celiac and diabetes ride on the same HLA gene, so the presence of one increases the likelihood of the other).

While I do use agave in my dessert recipes, I am very cautious about my overall intake of this (and all other sweet substances) because I find that unfortunately, I am one of those whose body rebels against too much sugar. Of course, my husband and children can eat a lot more of this substance than I do and still feel great. That’s what keeps me baking like a fiend. They want their treats and they do just fine with them.

For more information check out my post, The Great Agave Debate.

Altitude
Q. Do I need to adjust the recipes and baking time for various altitudes?
A. I think it’s because these recipes do not use yeast and therefore do not have a rising time, that they work equally well at high altitude and sea level without any adjustments.

I have baked them at 5000 feet, 9000 feet and sea level (both my mother and mother-in-law live at sea level, one at each coast and I bake voraciously when I’m with each of them).