Every time you have to follow a special diet weather it is for thyroid or gut healing, weight loss or just trying to eat healthy I bet that your favourite desserts are not on your menu.
And here is the thing: It doesn’t matter how hard you try to keep up with your diet sooner or later you find yourself staying in front of the fridge, your favorite bakery or ice cream shop and cannot refuse the temptation any more to have one.
You probably beat yourself up afterwards. You probably told yourself that you have to have more willpower to achieve your goals and if you just tried harder you’d succeed.
The truth is that trying harder may not be the best approach.
Instead, trying to do things different and smarter can make your diet easier and definitely more enjoyable. If you feel deprived on your diet you won’t stay on it for long.
Here’s a secret:
You see, the traditional desserts have lots of sugar, are high in carbs and calories and are often made with ingredients that promote inflammation and weight gain.
The key is to use recipes with ingredients that won’t cause blood sugar spike or pack on pounds and will actually promote your metabolism.
Let’s have a look at 3 main dessert recipes ingredients you should re-consider if you want to support the thyroid, improve health and have your cake too.
This guest article was written by Editors of Healing Gourmet and Kelly Herring who is the Author of recipe book Guilt Free Desserts
The Three Ingredient Dessert Recipe for Burning Fat
The first step in making healthier baked goods is to take a close look at the flour you use. Many bakers (even so-called “healthy” bakers) choose whole grain flours over refined white flours. But whole grain flours are still very high in carbohydrates and score high on the glycemic index.
And when it comes to your waistline and health, that’s a really bad thing. High glycemic foods cause your blood sugar to spike, raising your levels of insulin, the “fat-storage hormone.” Eating high glycemic foods promotes weight gain.
If you want to avoid “muffin tops” and “dough boy bellies” then you MUST stay away from grain based flours.
And here’s another reason to avoid traditional flours: Most are made from wheat and contain gluten – an allergenic protein that causes health issues for many people.
But what about gluten-free flours and baking mixes?
Unfortunately, most gluten free flours use a combination of high glycemic ingredients like rice flour, potato starch, tapioca flour and sorghum flour. So while the gluten is missing, all the blood sugar-spiking effects are still there. Don’t be fooled.
The good news is that there is a healthy, low glycemic, gluten free option you can use: Nut flours!
Nut flours are surprisingly versatile and lend buttery richness to all kinds of baked goods – from biscotti to cupcakes. And unlike grain – based flours, they are gluten free and low carb too. Here are the best nut flours to use in your baking:
- Almond Flour: This staple flour can be used to create everything from fluffy pancakes to crispy cookies. Opt for “blanched” almond flour which contains no skins. Unblanched almonds can add an unpleasant aftertaste when baked.
- Coconut Flour: Coconut flour might look light and fluffy, but it is actually a dense, fiber-rich flour. So take note: a little goes a long way. A good rule of thumb is to use one egg for each tablespoon of coconut flour in your recipes. Also, most recipes that call for coconut flour specify “sifted coconut flour”. One half cup coconut flour does not equal one half cup sifted coconut flour. If you don’t sift and then measure, your baked goods can end up dry and dense.
- Hazelnut and Pecan Flour: These are richer nut flours that can be used in combination with almond flour to punch up the nutty flavor. They are great in pie crusts and cookies of all kinds.
Store nut flours in airtight containers away from light and heat, and preferably refrigerate. If you buy in bulk, freeze in airtight bags.
And nut flours aren’t the only low glycemic flour substitute you can use…
Beans: A “Secret” Ingredient for Springy, Moist & Slimming Cakes
Yellow cupcakes made with cannellini beans? A chocolate cake made with chickpeas?
You read that right. Beans are one of the “secret” ingredients that when used properly, provide a light, springy structure, moisture and tenderness to baked goods. One word of caution: Some baked goods made with beans can have a slight “beany” flavor for up to 12 hours after baking. This flavor will dissipate, so be patient. It’s worth the wait.
Along with canned beans, bean flours are another good option to have on hand.
Because bean flours are dense, try adding bean flour for up to 25% of your gluten free flour mix. Here are the most popular bean flours and how to use them:
- Garbanzo Bean Flour: Use 7/8 cup to replace 1 cup of wheat flour in baked goods.
- Black Bean Flour: Use as part of your baking mix for chocolate cakes and brownies.
- White Bean Flour or Fava Bean Flour: Mild in taste, white bean flour or fava bean flour are suitable for use in most recipes calling for white flour. Substitute 1/4 of the white flour for bean flour.
Get creative with canned beans, bean flour and nut flours in your baking!
Now that we’ve explored the healthy “flour” options, it’s time to tackle the one ingredient with which we all have a love–hate relationship: Sugar.
Low Glycemic Sweeteners: Sweeten Up, Slim Down
Few of us have the willpower to resist a freshly-baked, melt-in-your-mouth chocolate chip cookie. The smell wafting out of the kitchen and the sight of their gooey goodness is just too enticing to pass up.
Unfortunately, most of us go through life indulging, only to suffer from post-dessert guilt, sugar-induced sluggishness and a body we’re less than proud of.
Then there are those who choose deprivation for the sake of good health and a trim waistline.
But thanks to all natural, low glycemic sweeteners, desserts are back on the menu for the health-and-body conscious crowd – guilt free!
Unlike the chemical-laden, artificial sweeteners (like sucralose, aspartame, neotame, and ace-K), these natural sweeteners provide a powerful punch of sweetness, without the toxic side effects.
And because they are low glycemic, they won’t spike your blood sugar the way sugar does. Here’s the rundown on nature’s sugar substitutes that will sweeten your life… while helping you slim down:
Erythritol: Considered the “almost sugar” by health experts and pastry chefs alike, erythritol is a “sugar alcohol” with no-calories and a glycemic index of zero. It has no effect on blood sugar or insulin levels, so it won’t shift your body into fat storage mode. It can be used cup-for-cup in recipes just like sugar, and provides about 70% of the sweetness. However, getting the ratios right can be a trick and if you don’t know how to “temper” erythritol with one simple trick, your fudge and candy can end up sandy.
Stevia: This super-sweet herb, native to Paraguay,is up to 300X sweeter than sugar. Stevia is best used to increase the sweetness of a sugar alcohol, like erythritol, rather than as the sole sweetener in a recipe. But beware! Stevia is potent and a little goes a long way. If you use too much, you’ll have to toss out your whole batch of goodies. We’ll show you how to achieve the perfect ratio of stevia in your recipes and some of the stevia blends that can take the guesswork out of you sugar-free baking.
Xylitol: Like erythritol, xylitol is also a sugar alcohol. It has the same sweetness as sugar but with 40% fewer calories and a glycemic index of 11. Xylitol tends to have a minty “cooling” effect, which can be reduced by combining it with erythritol. Most xylitol is derived from corn, but Emerald Forest Erythritol is derived from birch. Xylitol has a number of health benefits ranging from reducing cavities and Candida, to boosting bone health.
Luo Han Guo: Consider this the Asian cousin of stevia. A member of the pumpkin family, the extract of this gourd is also about 300 times sweeter than sugar and rich in antioxidants. Luo Han Guo (or just lohan) has been used medicinally in China for centuries for treating cough and sore throat. Like stevia, use sparingly in baked goods. Look for Jarro Luo Han Sweet or Lakanto – a combination of luo han and erythritol.
Palm Sugar: Made from the evaporated sap of the coconut flower, palm sugar (also called coconut sugar) tastes very similar to brown sugar. But unlike sugar’s score of 65 on the glycemic index, coconut sugar ranks 35. A word of caution: while it’s lower on the glycemic index, palm sugar still has 60 calories and 16 grams of sugar per tablespoon. So this should only be used sparingly to add a rounded, rich, brown-sugar taste to baked goods that are primarily sweetened with the above zero calorie options. Try Navitas Naturals Organic Palm Sugar.
Agave: One of the most popular “alternative” sweeteners in recent years has become agave – a sweet syrup derived from the cactus that brings us tequila.
While agave nectar has a low glycemic index (around 32) and has been favored over sugar by the health – conscious crowd and raw foodists alike, agave may not be the safe sweetener it has been touted to be.
That’s because agave is high in fructose – a six carbon sugar that promotes insulin resistance and weight gain.
If you do choose to use agave, be sure to use it very sparingly. Despite the health claims that made it popular, it has – and will always have – 60 grams of sugar per tablespoon.
Healthy Fats for Baking: Get Slim By Eating Fat!
Fats provide moisture and tender texture to baked goods. They give rich mouth feel to soufflés, the silky finesse to mousse and golden, flaky goodness to pie crust. But what they do in your body is even more important than what they do in the kitchen.
The fats you eat influence inflammation and metabolism. They affect how cells communicate with each other. They affect how your genes express themselves! And when they are used at the wrong temperatures (above their flash point) they can cause oxidative damage that can mutate cells and encourage cancer.
But using the right fats, in their appropriate temperature range, is one of the best things you can do for your health. Healthy fats can help reduce inflammation, boost brainpower, discourage wrinkles and even flip your body’s fat – storage switch “off”. And these are the kind of fats you should rely on.
Stock your pantry with these heat stable, REAL fats for delicious baked goods with benefits:
- Coconut Oil: Coconut oil provides rich, buttery flavor to your favorite baked goods. Coconut oil is slow to oxidize and resistant to rancidity. It’s also rich in medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) and lauric acid which kill a myriad of bacteria, protozoa and fungus, including Candida albicans – the fungus responsible for yeast infections. Because MCTs are not metabolized by the liver, they’re used as energy – not stored as fat.
- Palm Shortening: Another great alternative to traditional shortenings (that contain trans fat) or butter, palm shortening can help you achieve light, tender, flakiness you desire in crusts and cookies. Like coconut oil, it is resistant to rancidity thanks to its high saturated fat content.
- Butter: When it comes to baking, it’s hard to beat the taste of real butter. With its creamy flavor, high vitamin A content and versatility, butter can be used in almost any baked good. But be sure to choose organic, pastured/grass – fed butter that contains no hormones and the healthy fat, CLA. You’ll learn how CLA boosts fat burning and the best butter to buy in Guilt Free Desserts.
- Macadamia Nut Oil & Almond Oil: These light and delicious oils can be used in any recipe that calls for liquid oil (ie. – melted butter, canola oil). Plus, they’re rich in inflammation – fighting and belly-flattening monounsaturated fat.
But just as important as using the right fats is AVOIDING the wrong ones.
In fact, there are seven fats that actually PROMOTE weight gain by flipping on your fat-storage genes. And many so-called “health gurus” still tout these as healthy.
While we’ve covered a lot of ground today in this article about the basics of healthy and fat-burning baking, there’s SO much more to learn. If you are interested in truly sugar-free thyroid friendly baking I would like to introduce you to my comprehensive book about sugar-free cooking that includes 50 delicious dessert recipes.
For years, we’ve served up with the latest, cutting-edge health and nutritional research and the world’s most delicious (and healthy!) recipes.
But when it came to dessert, there were very few options that were truly decadent and good for you too. So we set out on a mission…
We tested all the latest sweeteners, many of which most people have never even heard of. We talked to the manufacturers.
And we studied the scientific research. Our mission was to use these ingredients in the right proportions to create divinely, delicious, all-natural desserts.
And we did!
But, we refused to settle for anything less than extraordinary. That means every dessert had to taste just as good as what you might find in a restaurant.
And they had to be truly healthy too – decadent indulgences that you can enjoy without a moment of guilt.
We are proud to report that we have succeeded on both counts. In fact, some of these desserts are healthier than what most people have for dinner.
Just imagine biting into a luxuriously rich, dark chocolate cake that (serving for serving) provides more fiber than whole grain cereal, more protein than chicken, less sugar than an apple and fewer calories than a serving of yogurt.
Well, now you can…
Guilt Free Desserts has taken everything we’ve learned and brought it together in one simple guide.
In this book you’ll find 50 delicious, easy-to-make desserts – most of which can be prepared in 30 minutes or less.
And best of all, these are desserts you can feel good about making… and enjoying!
You’ll also learn how to make your favorite family dessert recipes healthier… with just a few simple substitutions.
If you love desserts and you value your health, then this is the only dessert book you’ll ever need.
With the recipes in this book you can indulge in the best of the season’s bounty without paying for it later. So don’t resist your urge to splurge. We will show you how to have your cake…and be well too. So learn how to make desserts that you and your family will love, without sacrificing your health.
P.S. This book also makes a great gift for those you know who are health conscious and love to bake.
Disclaimer: This publication does not provide medical advice. Always consult your doctor. No parts of this article may be reproduced without written permission of its authors.
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