October 24 – Strategy 24 – Healthy Baking Tips
As I said earlier I did, and still do, love sweets. In the early days of my treatment, this was a huge issue in my diet. When I revamped my cupboards, I threw out white flour, sugar and sugar substitutes. Before diagnosis, I had always been weight conscious and used Splenda for baking. Now I won’t touch artificial sweeteners under any circumstances. Thank goodness I love to cook, because my new whole food based diet regime would require baking muffins, cookies and breads with wholesome and natural ingredients.
The basic premise for adjusting recipes is to use whole grain flours and natural sweeteners with low glycemic indexes. The glycemic index of a food is a measure of its effect on blood sugar levels. Since cancer is fueled by sugar which increases insulin levels in the blood, this is an important part of an anti-cancer diet. Low glycemic sweeteners include agave nectar (pure, raw, organic) stevia, erythritol, and coconut sugar.
Coconut sugar and erythritol can be substituted in the same proportions in any recipe. Stevia is not as useful in baking since a very small amount provides the same amount of sweetness as a cup of sugar. In fact, one tsp. of powdered or liquid stevia is equal to one cup of sugar.
Using agave is possible but a bit more involved. Here’s how to adapt a recipe:
1. List the amounts of white and brown sugar and the liquid (milk, water, juice) you need.
2. Find the temperature the dish will be baked at in the oven. Preheat the oven to 25 degrees F below the temperature named in the recipe. Agave browns faster than sugar. Without lowering the temperature, the food will brown too quickly and be dark on the outside and undercooked inside.
3. Add the total amount of added sugars needed for your recipe and multiply it by 2/3. For example, if your recipe requires 1/2 cup of white sugar and 1/2 cup of brown sugar add these together to get 1 cup total sugar. Multiply this by 2/3 to get the replacement amount of 2/3 cup agave nectar. For every 1 cup sugar in a recipe, you will use 2/3 cup agave.
4. Reduce the total amount of liquids in your recipe by 2 tbsp. for each 1 cup of sugar you replace with 2/3 cup agave nectar. This means that if your recipe only has 1/2 cup sugar, you will replace that with 1/3 cup agave and put in 1 tbsp. less of liquid.
5. Bake your dish in the oven, but increase the cooking time by 6 percent at 25 degrees F lower than required in the recipe. For example, if your recipe says to bake a cake for 60 minutes at 350 degrees F, you will bake it at 325 degrees F for 64 minutes.
In addition to natural, low-glycemic sweeteners, I changed to using healthy oils. Use olive oil for cooking and coconut oil for baking. As states in an earlier blog, oils should be organic and cold-pressed since heating oil destroys some of nutritional value and can produce free radicals. Coconut oil in baked goods does not give them a coconut flavor as you might expect but does yield a much moister product. Baked goods with coconut oil keep better in the refrigerator if not consumed right away.
Check out a new video on the Cleveland Clinic Breast Cancer Vaccine:
To see all the tips for prevention, go to www.sisters4prevention.com.