Sunday, January 22, 2012

Ingredient Swap

Since I just did a recipe review that uses Coconut Oil, Coconut Flour and Agave Nectar, I thought I would expound a little bit on some of the health benefits of each. 

Even if there is no real need for you or your family to eat gluten free, there are still some advantages to adding some alternatives to your regular baking ingredients.

Coconut Flour:  it's high in fiber and protein while being low in carbohydrates.  This means it helps your blood sugar to stay balanced instead of spiking and then crashing like you get from eating simple carbohydrates.  This is important for people with diabetes and people like me, who are sensitive to their blood sugar levels. It also smells amazing!  You can, of course swap this for white or whole wheat flours.

Coconut oil:  Can be found in a heath food store near the oils.  When it's in it's solid state, it actually looks more like a shortening.  It doesn't go into it's liquid state until it's heated up.  It's and anitfungal, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and improves nutrient absorption.  There are many, many uses for coconut oil from baking to using it for diaper rashes (and it's cloth diaper safe! whoohoo!) .  Here's a list of 80 uses of Coconut Oil in case you want to experiment with it.  You can swap this for your oils or butters.  You can also use it to grease your baking pans.

Agave Nectar:  It's a real sugar as opposed to an artificial sweetener or non-nutritive sweetener.  It also has a much lower glycemic index than the other sugars.  (glycemic levels are the sugar's immediate effect on the blood sugar levels - the lower the levels the slower effect it has.  Again, this prevents against sugar rushes and crashes)  There is a lot of information about Agave Nectar so feel free to read more!  Use this instead of sugars.  

Hope you found this information helpful!

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