Category Archives: Good Chemicals

Raw Energy Balls (Vegan and gluten free)

  Although I try to eat nuts and seeds on a daily basis, they can get kinda boring which makes it hard to stay consistent.  That’s why I created these healthy raw energy balls; they can be eaten for breakfast or as a mid-day snack when you’re tempted to eat junk food.  To make this recipe even more healthy, you can soak the nuts and pumpkin seeds overnight and then rinse them to remove most of the phytates (phytates in nuts and seeds bind to certain nutrients which prevents your body from absorbing them).  Make sure they are completely dry again before using (wet seeds and nuts will not blend properly and will taste different as well).  Although I stay away from making chocolate goodies due to my husband and daughter’s GERD, you can also add raw cacao powder to satisfy your chocolate cravings.  

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup almonds*
  • 1 cup walnuts*
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds*
  • 4 tbsp ground chia seeds
  • 1/8 tsp of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups pitted medjool dates
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp raw cacao powder (optional)

*preferably soaked for 8 hours or overnight, and then rinsed and dried before processing.  Soaking is not a required step.  


Directions:

1.  Place the nuts and seeds in your food processor and blend until they form a coarse flour.  

 
2.  Add the remaining ingredients and blend until a dough-like texture is formed.   

 
3.  Form the dough into 20-25 balls using your hands.  Keep refrigerated. 

 

Roasted Red Pepper Spaghetti (Vegetarian Recipe)

  

Over the last year I’ve done a lot of experimenting to find healthy yet delicious alternatives to tomato-based pasta sauces.  My daughter has GERD so tomatoes are a no-no for her.  It has definitely been challenging trying to create a red sauce that looks like tomato sauce yet contains no actual tomatoes; but this one is a winner with not only my daughter but also my picky husband.  I like to add lentils for added protein, iron, and fibre, but they are not everybody’s cup of tea.  If you’ve never had them in your pasta before, try adding some to just a portion of the pasta so you can do a taste test before adding them to the whole pot.  

Ingredients:

2 cups chopped mushrooms

3 roasted red peppers

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 onion, diced

1 cup fresh chopped parsley, loosely packed

1 cup vegetable broth

1 cup grated cheddar cheese (optional, vegans can omit or substitute nutritional yeast)

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp oregano

1/2 tsp black pepper 

340g package of spaghetti, cooked and drained

1 1/2 cups cooked lentils (optional for added protein, iron, and fibre)

Directions:

1.  In a large pot, heat the olive oil on medium heat, add the mushrooms and sauté for 5-10 mins until tender. 

2.  Meanwhile, place the roasted red peppers, garlic, onion, and parsley in a food processor and purée. 

 3.  Add the purée to the mushrooms.  Add the broth, salt, pepper, and oregano.  Stir to combine. 

 4.  Simmer on medium-low heat for 10-15 mins until the sauce thickens.  Remove from heat, add cheese and stir until melted.

 
5.  Add cooked pasta to pot and stir to combine.  If you are adding lentils, they can be added now.  Feel free to add greens or any other veggies you like!

Healthy Apple Pie Recipe (gluten free, grain free, and vegan)

 
I haven’t been to a McDonald’s restaurant in ages but the one thing I miss is, believe it or not, their apple pies.  What I don’t miss is the sick feeling I would get afterwards due to who-knows-what ingredients they add to make it so artificially tasty and addictive.  So I decided to make a healthy version.  A healthy, gluten free, vegan version that I could enjoy with no guilt or sick feeling afterwards.  Not only can you have this for dessert, but you can also enjoy it for breakfast as well since it is basically nuts and apples combined into a delicious pie.  

Ingredients

For the filling:

  • 10 medium apples
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice 
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt 
  • 3 tbsp arrowroot powder

For the Crust: 

  • 1 cup almond flour 
  • 1 cup unsalted cashews
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • Water


Directions
:

1. Grease a 9 inch pie dish and set aside.

2.  Peel and thinly slice the apples.  Stir in lemon juice, maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt until well combined.  Remove 1 cup of seasoned apples and set aside.   

 3.  Cook the rest of the apples in a pot on medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until apples are fork-tender (about 10-15 mins).  Remove from heat and add arrowroot powder.  Stir until well combined. Set aside.  

4. Place the cashews in a food processor and process until powder-like.  Add the almond flour and salt and process until combined.  Add the coconut oil and combine.  Add a teaspoon of water at a time and pulse until a dough ball forms. 

 
5.  Press the dough into the greased pie dish with your hands until flattened out and even.

 
6.  Pour in cooked apples. 

 
7.  Arrange the remaining cup of uncooked apples on top of the pie as shown below (or however you like). 

 8.  Bake at 400*F for 35-45 mins, until crust is golden.  

Now even though this is a healthy pie, try not to eat it all in one sitting. The nut base adds a good dose of healthy fats so enjoy in moderation!

Healthy Carrot Muffins (gluten free)

 My daughter has been asking for a lot of baked treats lately, so to avoid being the “mean” mom who always says no, I’m making more of an effort to bake healthy treats with hidden veggies and no refined sugar.  These muffins are a great way of satisfying your kids’ sweet tooth (and yours!) while still getting important nutrients.  The honey and coconut oil make them super moist with just the right amount of sweetness.  

Yield: 12 muffins

Ingredients: 

2 1/2 cups grated carrots

1/3 cup coconut oil

3/4 cup honey

1 chia egg* (can use regular egg instead)

1 cup oat flour (ground oats)

1 1/2 cups rolled oats

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup raisins (optional)

1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional) 

*to make a chia egg simply mix 1 tbsp of ground chia seeds with 3 tbsp water and let sit for 5 mins

Directions:  

1. Preheat oven to 350*F.  Grease a muffin pan or line with muffin cups.

2. In a medium bowl, combine carrots, coconut oil, honey, and egg.  Stir until well combined.

3.  In a large bowl, combine oat flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.  Stir wet ingredients into dry until just combined.  Stir in optional add-ins.  

4.  Spoon mixture evenly into muffin pan.  Bake for 25-30 mins, or until a toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean.  Cool for 10 mins in pan. Remove and cool on rack.

Maple Roasted Carrots, Parsnips, and Potatoes 

 These roasted root vegetables make a great side to almost any dish, as the flavor is mild but still delicious.  

 Ingredients

7-8 carrots

3-4 parsnips

8-10 small red potatoes 

1/4 cup coconut oil (or other oil of your choice) 

1 1/2 tbsp maple syrup 

1tsp salt 

Directions

1.  Preheat oven to 425*F.  Peel and slice the carrots and parsnips into “sticks”.  Peel (optional) and cut the potatoes in halves or quarters (depending on size).

2. Place all the vegetables in a casserole dish.  Toss with the oil, maple syrup and salt until coated. 

  3.  Bake for 55-65 mins, until a fork can easily be poked through all the vegetables.  Enjoy!

Nutrient Pairing: How To Get The Most Nutrition Out Of Your Food

 Edit Edit    A few months ago I found out that my daughter had an iron deficiency. I was shocked considering how many leafy greens she consumes in a day, not to mention how meticulous I am about making sure that she gets adequate amounts of all the food groups.

Her pediatrician suggested that she could be consuming too much dairy. A light bulb went off right away as I already knew that calcium blocks iron absorption, but I had failed to factor that in when planning her meals. I had not only been giving her too much dairy (she loves cheese and yogurt), but I had been adding it to almost every meal ever since I stopped breastfeeding her several months ago. She wouldn’t drink milk alone and I misguidedly thought that she needed it to replace the breastmilk that she wasn’t getting anymore. 

 Sooo I started her on an iron supplement and reduced her dairy intake. The doctor asked that I have her iron and hemoglobin levels checked again in about ten days to make sure her body was absorbing the iron. Her hemoglobin levels increased so quickly that her pediatrician said he would have expected to see those results after a month of taking supplements, not after a mere ten days. Clearly the reduced dairy made a huge difference as that was the only change I had made to her diet.

Sometimes nutrient deficiencies are not caused by an inadequate amount of that nutrient in your diet but rather by too much of an anti-nutrient, as in my daughter’s case. Bioavailability refers to how well a nutrient can be absorbed and used by your body. Just because a food contains a high amount of a certain nutrient doesn’t necessarily mean that your body will absorb it, and some nutrients need others in order to be absorbed. 

 Also bear in mind that the food that we eat today is not as nutrient dense as it was a few decades ago. By breeding and selecting for varieties that give better yield, longer shelf life, disease resistance and more durability during transport, we have lost the nutrient density that the original varieties contained1 in addition to the loss of nutrients from soil depletion. This is why it is important to be mindful of which nutrients work well together and which don’t when planning your meals in order to get the most nutrition possible from your food.

Tips on getting more nutrition out of your food:

1. Iron. Pair your iron-rich foods (red meat, beans, lentils, pork, poultry, seafood, leafy greens, nuts, seeds, fortified cereals, bread and pasta) with some fruit or red peppers to make sure that you get enough Vitamin C to help your body absorb all that iron. Zinc also aids iron absorption. Foods high in zinc include oysters, meat and poultry, beans, nuts, seeds, whole grains, fortified cereals, and seafood.

2. Calcium. Most dairy is fortified with vitamin D to make sure that your body can absorb the calcium, but if you’re vegan or lactose-intolerant, then you should pair your non-dairy calcium-rich foods with some vitamin D to ensure that you are absorbing it. Mushrooms are the only vegan food sources of vitamin D aside from fortified beverages, so a supplement might be a good idea if you don’t get a lot of sun exposure. Inulin is also required for calcium absorption; it can be found in bananas, garlic, leeks, asparagus, onions, and certain herbs.

3. Phytates. Phytate binds to minerals and makes them less bioavailable2. Sprouting grains, beans, nuts and seeds before you eat them will reduce their phytate content, allowing your body to absorb more of the zinc, iron, calcium, and magnesium in those foods2.

4. Vitamins A, D, E, and K. These are the fat soluble vitamins, meaning that they need fat to be absorbed by your body. Pair them with healthy fats like vegetable oils, avocados, and nuts. If you follow a low-fat diet you could be hindering your body’s ability to absorb these vitamins. Healthy fats are an important part of a balanced diet.     

5. Avoid caffeine with meals. Caffeine blocks the absorption of many vitamins and minerals, so if you choose to drink coffee or tea, do so in moderation as excessive caffeine intake can lead to nutrient deficiencies.

7. Eat a variety of healthy foods in moderation.  You can eat the healthiest foods in the world but too much of anything is never a good thing.

For an example of a recipe that uses the above food pairing rules try my Mango Kiwi Banana Smoothie With Greens and Avocado

References

1. M.J. Stephey. Eating your veggies: not as good for you? TIME, 2009. http://content.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1880145,00.html

2. Sandberg, Ann-Sofie; Andlid, Thomas. Phytogenic and microbial phytases in human nutrition. International Journal of Food Science & Technology. Oct2002, Vol. 37 Issue 7, p823-833. 11p. DOI: 10.1046/j.1365-2621.2002.00641.x.

3. World’s Healthiest Foods. http://www.whfoods.com/

Mango Kiwi Banana Smoothie with Greens and Avocado

 

Smoothies are a great way to get some extra nutrition.  But did you know that your body can’t absorb nutrients efficiently unless they are paired correctly?  (Read more about nutrient pairing here).  The vitamin C from the kiwi and mango in this smoothie help your body absorb the high levels of iron in the leafy greens, while the healthy fat in the avocado will help you absorb the carotenoids from both the fruit and greens.  

Yield: 2 servings 

Ingredients: 

1 small mango, pitted and peeled 

1 kiwi, peeled 

2 cups leafy greens of choice 

1 avocado, pitted and peeled 

1 large ripe banana

Directions:  Place all ingredients in a blender with enough water to blend to desired consistency.  Blend until smooth.  Enjoy! 

My Top 5 Green Juice Recipes.

My toddler and I drink green juice every day. I just don’t feel the same if I don’t drink my green juice, sort of how people who are accustomed to drinking coffee every morning can’t survive without it. My daughter has also become accustomed to starting every day with green juice, and I’m hoping that it will remain a life-long habit. I only give her about 4-5 ounces for now since she’s just a tot.

I wish I could make fresh juice every morning, but since it’s so time consuming I make 2 days worth every other morning and store the next day’s juice in the fridge. I’m hoping that when my daughter is older and more independent I will be able to juice every day, but for now I simply just don’t have the time.

Although fresh pressed juice is the most nutritious, a cold-press juicer allows most of the nutrients and enzymes to be retained for a few days. Also, storing the juice in a glass mason jar filled close to the brim prevents oxygen from degrading the enzymes.

I alternate between 5 different recipes, so that I’m never making the same juice more than once a week (although I do drink the same juice for 2 days at a time). This ensures that we get a variety of nutrients and also because too much of a good thing can lead to trouble. No matter how good Kale is for you, overdosing on it can still cause harm. Certain leafy greens like Swiss chard, spinach and kale have a high oxalic acid content which can cause kidney stones if you have too much. But don’t worry, you would have to eat or drink a large amount of them every day for a long period of time in order for that to happen. Just make sure that you juice a variety of greens and you should be fine. Additionally, the good bacteria in your gut help to break down oxalate acid (one more reason to eat probiotic food).

Each of the following recipes yields approximately 3 glasses of juice – you may get more or less depending on the size and ripeness of the produce that you use.

IMG_4577.JPG
1. Refreshing cucumber juice.
2 large cucumbers (or 3 small)
2 bunches of kale leaves.
1 bunch of mint
2 lemons
1 apple
2-inch piece of ginger (optional)
This juice is the most refreshing due to the cooling effect of the cucumber and mint.

IMG_4446.JPG
2. Carrot-beet juice
7 large carrots
3 small beets
3 small apples
1 lemon
1 bunch parsley
2-3 inch piece of ginger (optional)
This red juice is my toddler’s favorite because of the sweetness.

IMG_4619.JPG
3. Celery-Chard Juice
1 stalk of celery
1-2 bunches of Swiss chard
1 bunch of parsley
2 lemons
2 apples
2-3 inch piece of ginger (optional)
I find this juice to be the most bitter tasting, which is why I include 2 apples to add a little extra sweetness. If you are new to juicing, I do not recommend this recipe as both the celery and chard have a strong taste.  This one is for the regular juicers.  The picture shows a reddish juice because I used red chard.

IMG_4712.JPG4. Carrot-Apple-ginger juice.
10 carrots
3 apples
2-3 inch piece of ginger
You can add some greens to this if you like. This is a great starter juice to those who are new to juicing.

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5. Broccoli-carrot-apple juice

2 large stalks of broccoli
4 large carrots
1 bunch of leafy greens (any kind)
2 apples
2 lemons
2-3 inch piece of ginger (optional) 

If you have any leftover veggies in your fridge that didn’t get used during the week, throw them into your juicer before they go bad.  You can add spinach to any of these juices as well.  Personally, I do not juice spinach because I already add it to my smoothie almost every day and I don’t want to turn into Popeye The Sailor Man. I try to keep a balance between the veggies that I juice and eat in the same day so that I don’t overdo any one particular vegetable. Variety is key.  



The Decline of Probiotics in a Germophobic World (part 2)

   

 Ponder the above statement for a minute. What does it mean exactly? Essentially that humans are actually made up of 90% microorganisms and only about 10% human cells.

How can that be, you might ask? Because humans evolved to live symbiotically with microorganisms. We provide them with food and shelter, and they in turn help us digest components of our food that we lack the enzymes to digest ourselves. They also synthesize certain vitamins, help regulate our immune systems, and prevent invasion from harmful microorganisms that can make us sick12. Their survival is dependent on us, and our survival is dependent on them. When the balance of good germs and bad germs is thrown off, the result is termed intestinal dysbiosis1.

How do these microorganisms get inside of us in the first place?

We inherit our gut flora from our mothers. Babies in the womb are completely sterile, meaning that they have no gut flora at all3. As they pass through the birth canal they “pick up” microorganisms that are present in their mother’s vaginal tract (which is representative of the microorganisms present in her gut)9. This could be why babies that are born via cesarean section have been found to have higher rates of asthma, allergies, obesity, coeliac disease, and diabetes than babies who are born vaginally8. Recent research has also linked cesarean deliveries to an increased rate of autism but it is unsure yet as to whether c-sections raise the chances of having a child with autism or if giving birth to a baby predisposed to autism raises the chances of requiring an emergency c-section4. Babies who are born vaginally and exclusively breastfed have also been found to have more “beneficial” gut microbiota compared to babies who are born via c-section and formula-fed8.  Now that doesn’t mean that if your baby was born via cesarean he or she will be doomed to develop some sort of illness. It just means that you need to ensure your baby develops a healthy gut flora via other methods (breastfeeding, eating fermented foods, and staying away from antibiotics unless absolutely necessary).

Breastfeeding and its role in developing healthy gut flora

 Breastfeeding helps babies’ immune systems “learn” to be tolerant to different foods and things in the environment to avoid allergic reactions8. Breastmilk also contains prebiotics12 which help the probiotics in the baby’s gut flourish.  If you are unable to breastfeed there are now many probiotic formulas available to promote good gut health in your baby. Even women who breastfeed are not necessarily passing on the best probiotics to their babies unless they themselves have good gut health (although they will still pass on many other molecules that are crucial to developing healthy gut flora). Babies can be given probiotic foods when they start weaning to introduce more “good germs” into their bodies. They will also naturally pick up germs from their environment, which is good for their gut flora.  Just as long as you don’t over-sanitize everything in their environment. 

Newborns and small infants should however be kept away from sick people since their immune systems are still developing (sick people harbour pathogens, the harmful kind of microbes that you don’t want invading your baby’s body). 

What is happening to our gut health?

 The cumulative overuse of antibiotics across multiple generations is resulting in our children lacking healthy gut flora1. Add to that the negative effect that birth control pills and vaccinations have on our gut flora, and its no wonder that we seem to be getting sicker and sicker. Each generation is passing on less beneficial microbes to the next. There are scientists who are studying and saving microbes found in fecal samples from people living in the amazon and villages who have had little to no contact with the modern world and also have not contracted our modern diseases3. The hope is that some of the beneficial microbes that have gone extinct in our bodies can one day be salvaged from those people and reintroduced into our bodies to protect or even cure us of our modern diseases3. If you are interested in reading more about how and why beneficial microbes are going extinct and why they are so important, I highly recommend this book by Dr. Martin Blaser.  

What happens when we don’t have good gut health? 

The beneficial microorganisms in the gastrointestinal tract directly affect the immune system, therefore the absence of “good germs” in the gut can lead to inflammatory diseases due to a lack of regulation of the immune system11. Microorganisms in the gut also influence how a potentially toxic environmental chemical is metabolized by your body (if its absorbed or excreted)7.  Basically, good germs in your gut can protect you from bad chemicals.  Antibiotic use has even been linked to coeliac disease10  which infers that the bacteria in your gut are crucial for proper digestion of food. It is very likely that antibiotics alter gut flora to the extent of causing disease.

So what does all of this research mean?

It means that we need to be more conscious of nurturing the trillions of “good germs” in our bodies that have such a profound impact on our health. We need to be mindful that when we get vaccinated and take antibiotics or other medications, we also need to restore the good germs that may have been lost. In order to maintain optimal health we also need to maintain the health of all of our microfriends living inside of us. This is where probiotics and prebiotics come in (read more about them in my previous post here).

All of the above information DOES NOT mean that we shouldn’t get vaccinated or take antibiotics and other medications when necessary. Without them, infectious diseases would still be the number one cause of death in humans as it was prior to their invention. We just need to be aware of the effect that they have on our gut microbiota and take measures to reverse that effect. So if you get bronchitis and have to take antibiotics, follow up with a round of probiotic supplements or increase the amount of fermented foods in your diet. The same logic applies to other medications and vaccinations.

For pregnant women, probiotic foods are a must and I cannot emphasize enough the importance of maintaining a healthy gut during pregnancy. Babies who have gut dysbiosis from birth are essentially immunocompromised and will react differently to vaccinations and antibiotics or medications than babies with healthy gut flora. Any medical intervention can end up being the straw that breaks the camels back when it comes to already immunocompromised infants and children, possibly resulting in disorders like asthma, diabetes, autism, obesity, coeliac disease, and others.

Let me be perfectly clear. I am in no way saying that the above listed illnesses are caused by medical interventions. I am saying that they can be triggered by them in babies and children who are already immunocompromised due to gut dysbiosis.  Those medical interventions are necessary and can be life saving.

Think about it this way; if children with gut dysbiosis can be triggered by certain medical interventions, that’s not to say that avoiding them completely will prevent them from being triggered. Those children can also be triggered by a virus or environmental exposure to a toxic chemical, basically anything that their immune system is not equipped to handle. So avoiding medical interventions isn’t the answer, it will only delay the onset of illnesses and disorders that some children are bound to contract as long as their gut microbiota are unbalanced. The answer is to heal their immune systems by healing their guts.

Or, if possible, give them the best start in life by ensuring they are born with healthy gut flora so that they don’t need to be healed in the first place.

I wish I had known all of this when I was pregnant as I could have possibly prevented a lot of my daughter’s “gut issues” (acid reflux, gas and overall stomach discomfort, irritability, poor eating habits) that caused her to be such a fussy baby. I’m grateful that I at least know it now so I can work on balancing her gut microbiota by feeding her plenty of fermented foods. Hopefully this post will help other parents recognize their children’s gut issues. And even better, I hope it will reach expecting mothers who may have unbalanced gut flora themselves, so that they can fix the imbalance before delivery to ensure that their babies have healthy guts from birth.

There are studies that show a correlation between good gut flora and having older siblings, possibly due to daily exposure to germs from other kids. However, I have my own theory as to why children with older siblings are more likely to have healthy gut flora compared to first-born or only children:



 References:

1. Blaser, Martin J. Antibiotics Overload Is Endangering Our Children. Time.com. 5/9/2014, p1-1. 1p

2. Blaser, Martin; Bork, Peer; Fraser, Claire; Knight, Rob; Wang, Jun. The microbiome explored: recent insights and future challenges, Nature Reviews Microbiology. Mar2013, Vol. 11 Issue 3, p213-217. 5p. DOI: 10.1038/nrmicro2973

3. Blaser, Martin J. Missing Microbes: How the Overuse of Antibiotics Is Fueling Our Modern Plagues. Holt. 2014. 288p

4. Curran, E. A., O’Neill, S. M., Cryan, J. F., Kenny, L. C., Dinan, T. G., Khashan, A. S. and Kearney, P. M. (2014), Research Review: Birth by caesarean section and development of autism spectrum disorder and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. doi: 10.1111/jcpp.12351

5. Dong, H., Rowland, I., Tuohy, K. M., Thomas, L. V., & Yaqoob, P. (2010). Selective effects of Lactobacillus casei Shirota on T cell activation, natural killer cell activity and cytokine production. Clinical & Experimental Immunology, 161(2), 378-388. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2249.2010.04173.x

6. Dotterud, C. K.; Storr, O.; Johnsen, R.; Øien, T. Probiotics in pregnant women to prevent allergic disease: a randomized, double-blind trial. British Journal of Dermatology. Sep2010, Vol. 163 Issue 3, p616-623. 8p. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2133.2010.09889.x

7. Holtcamp, Wendee. Gut Check: Do Interactions between Environmental Chemicals and Intestinal Microbiota Affect Obesity and Diabetes? Environmental Health Perspectives. Mar2012, Vol. 120 Issue 3, pA123-A123. 3/5p.

8. Isolauri, Erika. Journal of Paediatrics & Child Health. Development of healthy gut microbiota early in life. Jun2012 Supplement, Vol. 48, p1-6. 6p. DOI: 10.1111/j.1440-1754.2012.02489.x

9. John Penders, MSca, Carel Thijs, MD, PhDa,b, Cornelis Vink, PhDc, Foekje F. Stelma, MD, PhDc, Bianca Snijders, MScb, Ischa Kummeling, MScb, Piet A. van den Brandt, PhDa, Ellen E. Stobberingh, PhDc. Factors Influencing the Composition of the Intestinal Microbiota in Early Infancy. PEDIATRICS Vol. 118 No. 2 August 1, 2006 pp. 511 -521 (doi: 10.1542/peds.2005-2824)

10. Mårild, Karl; Weimin Ye; Lebwohl, Benjamin; Green, Peter H. R.; Blaser, Martin J.; Card, Tim; Ludvigsson, Jonas F. Antibiotic exposure and the development of coeliac disease: a nationwide case-control study. BMC Gastroenterology. 2013, Vol. 13 Issue 1, p1-9. 9p. 1 Diagram, 2 Charts. DOI: 10.1186/1471-230X-13-109

11. Round, June L.; Mazmanian, Sarkis K. The gut microbiota shapes intestinal immune responses during health and disease. Nature Reviews Immunology. May2009, Vol. 9 Issue 5, p313-323. 11p. 3 Diagrams, 3 Charts. DOI: 10.1038/nri2515.

12. Wallace, Taylor C; Guarner, Francisco; Madsen, Karen; Cabana, Michael D; Gibson, Glenn; Hentges, Eric; Sanders, Mary Ellen. Human gut microbiota and its relationship to health and disease. Nutrition Reviews. Jul2011, Vol. 69 Issue 7, p392-403. 12p. 2 Charts. DOI: 10.1111/j.1753-4887.2011.00402.x.

Healthy Black Bean and Banana Brownies

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I’ve tried out a few different black bean brownie recipes but every single recipe that I’ve found online requires chocolate chips. I wanted to make black bean brownies without them because I can’t find any without added sugar and most contain soy lecithin as well. I would love to be able to eat brownies regularly without the guilt, so I decided to come up with my own recipe and completely eliminate sugar and chocolate chips.

These are definitely not your typical brownie but they are healthy and delicious! They also make a great pre or post workout snack 💪.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups cooked black beans (equivalent to 1/2 cup dried or a 15 ounce can)
1 cup oats
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup cacao powder
2 large, ripe bananas
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
Optional: chopped walnuts

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350*F.
2. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until very smooth (if using walnuts, add them after blending)
3. Pour batter into a greased 8×8 pan.
4. Bake for 25-30 mins, then let cool in pan for 10 mins before cutting.

No one will know these are made with black beans unless you tell them 😉.