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Gluten-free, Sugar-free Raspberry Muffins

By Healthy Planet Blog Nutrition and Natural Health
on November 29, 2012
5 comments

RASPBERRY GLUTEN-FREE SUGAR-FREE MUFFINS:

 

We’ve been experimenting with quite a few sugar free, gluten-free, yeast-free breads and desserts. We have had some victories and a few disappointments, but I wanted to share them with you. This is an adaptation to our Blueberry Muffin recipe posted last week – see here. For anyone with yeast overgrowth or even just some yeast issues, these will help starve that yeast and get it eliminated from your body. Often times we don’t even realize we have yeast and the possibility that they might have taken control of our intestinal flora. Do you have lots of bloating after eating? Probably yeast. Can’t lose weight even though you’re starving yourself? Probably yeast. We have to starve it by eliminating ALL sugar and yeast from our diets. Other things need to be eliminated too, but these are the main culprits. To say it's difficult to find a sugar-free, gluten-free, and YEAST-free bread is an understatement. Let me know if you do. We've experimented with a few recipes and found some we really liked. I will be posting those recipes very soon.

Now, just a short note about these recipes. They are adapted from a book called "The Joy of Gluten-free, Sugar-free Baking" and I highly recommend the book. However, I suddenly realized with my last two recipe attempts, the authors are WEIGHING their dry ingredients. For instance, one recipe says 1 cup (4 oz/113 grams)! Well, I've been baking since I was a kid and one cup to me is 8 ounces in a dry measuring cup - so totally NOT 4 oz! So I decided to actually weigh the flour this time at 85 grams and I think they turned out better than the last batch. Which, really if you think about it, each "flour" has a different weight - it's a bit different than using all purpose flour which stays the same. The almond flour I purchased and is available in most grocery stores, but for the pecan flour, I simply ground up raw organic pecans in the spice grinder. And seriously? If you don't have yeast issues or aren't worried about the glycemic load, you could use sugar in these recipes. Hmmm - and did you notice? There are NO oils or fats added? The fats are naturally derived from the nuts - and they are the healthy fats!

Ingredients:

¾ cups (3 oz/85 grams) pecan flour
¾ cup (3 oz/85 grams almond flour
½ cup Stevia in the Raw Extract (we were able to find this at Russ's! One of our least health-oriented grocery stores.)
1/3 cup hemp seeds
1/3 cup organic dried coconut
1 tablespoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
2 eggs (approximately 3.5 oz/99 grams)
½ cup (4 oz/113 grams) unsweetened coconut milk
1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 packet NuStevia
½ to 1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries (I put them in still frozen)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line 9 to 10 muffin cups with paper liners. I like to spray them with olive oil spray (optional). Mix the pecan flour, almond flour, Stevia in the Raw, hemp seeds, coconut, baking powder and salt until well blended. In a separate bowl whisk the eggs, milk, vanilla, lemon juice, and NuStevia until well blended.  Add the egg mixture to the bowl with the flour mixture and stir with a large spoon for 1 to 2 minutes. I’ve found that this is an important step to get the correct consistency of the batter. I even set my timer for 2 minutes after I pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture but I’m a little OCD-ish. Fold the raspberries into the batter – gently of course. Again, no need to thaw them out first - easy and fast.

Spoon the batter into the muffin cups and the cups should be just about full. They don’t rise much if at all.  Place the muffin pan on a cookie sheet and place in the preheated oven. Bake for 20 minutes, then rotate the pan and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes. Test them with a toothpick and if it comes out clean, they’re ready. I like to then set them out on a wire rack for cooling. Well, truthfully, I like to pull a really hot one out and slather it with butter and eat it right then - my reward.

We liked these a lot and Warren took a few to work with him today.  I will do a nutritional analysis, but just knowing that I’m using nut “flour” (and we use organic raw nuts), NO sugar, and coconut milk – the amount of fiber and protein has to be high. The raspberries of course were not sweetened – so more goodness for you.

Let me know if you try these and how they turned out. If you have any questions, let me know!

Thanks for listening!

Ann McIntire Wooledge, RN, CCAP

Arnica montana oil for arthritic pain

By Ann C Wooledge
on September 20, 2012

Organic Arnica oil for arthritic pain and inflammation

Arnica montana organic flowers 

Arnica (Arnica montana) is a well-known and well-established herbal cure for anyone who has ever experienced the debilitating  pain and inflammation of arthritis, broken bones, sprains, gout, pulled muscles or torn ligaments. We began infusing (also commonly referred to as macerating) our own Arnica oil several years ago when we realized that some of the most important constituents in this amazing herb can be lost if processed at high temperatures. This herb has also been referred to as Arnica chamissonis, leopard's bane and mountain tobacco. The product we use is from the flowers of Arnica montana that are collected at the end of the summer and dried for medicinal use. We are diligently looking for local growers and our dream, of course, is to have land of our own to grow and dry our own plants. In the meantime, we carefully source our herbs from a company who is extremely concerned about the environment and tests for pesticides and heavy metals. We receive fresh herbs that still have their natural color and brightness intact, as you can see from the picture. If not used immediately, we store our herbs in dark glass in dark closed cabinets.

What are the benefits of Arnica montana oil?:

Traditionally the benefits from this plant are obtained from the flowers and the roots. In countries where Arnica is indigenous it has been used as a popular remedy for pain, bruises, rheumatism, as well as many other inflammatory conditions. In North America the flower is what is used most frequently and this is in fact what we use in our organic Arnica infused oil - not to be confused with an essential oil.  Although due to its potential toxicity the internal use of Arnica is allowed only in homeopathic remedies - this caution does NOT apply to the external topical application. In fact, this particular plant is well-known as one of the best remedies for external local healing and can be used as a compress or included in a massage oil or cream. Which is why it is one of the main ingredients in our very popular Spicey Muscle Oil.

According to the most reliable authority, The Complete German Commission E Monographs, arnica contains helenalin, its most active sesquiterpene lactone, responsible for its anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects (1, 2), for those who are interested,  and 11,13-dihydrohelenalin. This plant also contains the flavanoids of isoquercitrin, luteolin-7-glucoside, and astragalin, the volatile oil (with thymol and its derivatives), phenol carbonic acid (chlorogenic acid, cynarin, caffeic acid), and coumarins (umbelliferone, scopoletin). Arnica montana is known to contain 10 different constituents which have anti-inflammatory and pain relieving benefits. According to the Aromatic Guide to the Use of Herbs by Kolbjorn Borseth, the essential oils of this plant "stimulates the mopping up and reabsorption of blood from the bruised tissue and hastened the replacement of damaged tissue with new cells.” According to Richo Cech in his classic book Making Plant Medicine, he indicates that "arnicated oil" is an excellent penetrating anti-inflammatory for treating traumatic injuries such as bruises, sprains and torn ligaments. He goes on to say that “Arnica resolves stuck blood.”  And in yet another herbal classic entitled "The Herbal Medicine Makers Handbook" by James Green, he indicates that Arnica oil can also be blended into equal parts with infused calendula and infused St. John's Wort oils for soothing traumatic injuries including small to major ones. We are also offering these two infused oils on our website and, of course, they are the base for our previously mentioned Spicey Muscle Oil.

Our organic herbal tradition process:

While making our unique infused oil, we use only the certified organic flowers of Arnica montana and infuse these flowers in a certified organic high oleic sunflower oil. The sunflower oil alone has an amazing array of benefits the details of which can be found on our website. Research has shown that sunflower oil when used on premature infants actually increased their ability to survive. Use in soaps, creams, lotions and/or massage oils. As mentioned previously, we infuse these flowers for weeks at low temperatures to ensure that we are obtaining the maximum amount of healing constituents. We are now offering this infused oil to the public on our website in a one ounce treatment bottle, or 2 or 4 ounce glass amber bottle. The amber glass is used to protect these precious healing constituents from UV light. Our prices are extremely competitive as our overhead costs are substantially lower than larger operations. Additionally, in the best herbal tradition,  we do this process in small batches and fully believe that the energy of good will and purpose as we stir these oils daily will be reflected in the overall quality of the end product. Our final infused/macerated oils are stored in recycled wine bottles with vacuum pumps to insure no benefits are lost - and we store them in a refrigerated room to insure their freshness.

SAFETY AND CAUTIONS:

All herbalists agree that Arnica montana oil should not be applied to an opened wound. Repeated application to the skin can cause irritation. Do not apply to broken skin and this herb is not recommended while pregnant or nursing. 

Thanks for listening!



1. Lyss, G., T. J. Schmidt, I. Merfort, and H. L. Pahl. "Helenalin, an anti-inflammatory sesquiterpene lactone from Arnica, selectively inhibits transcription factor NF-kappaB." Biological Chemistry 378.9 (1997): 951-61. Web.

2. Lyss, G., A. Knorre, T. J. Schmidt, H. L. Pahl, and I. Merfort. "The anti-inflammatory sesquiterpene lactone helenalin inhibits the transcription factor NF-kappaB by directly targeting p65."  Biological Chemistry 273.50 (1988): 33508-16. Web.

Why you should trade your Lipitor for an avocado!

By Healthy Planet Blog Nutrition and Natural Health
on January 22, 2011

When I was around 42 years old, 100 pounds, and still barely 5 feet tall, for the first time ever I had my cholesterol levels tested in a routine annual exam. Well - they came back VERY bad and at that time I was eating your normal meat, cheese, and veggie diet and staying at the same weight for about 20 years and a size 4. I knew I had to stay away from sugar, potatoes, bread and white rice as much as possible because I always gained weight if I ate those things. No advanced nutritional science here - I just knew my body and my body told me it couldn't metabolize those things and every ounce I ate would end up as pounds on my hips and thighs. Well, to be honest, I didn't really know anything about the word "metabolize" at that time - I just simply gained weight - enough said.

 

The doctor at that time was amazed that not only was my LDL (bad stuff) very high, my triglycerides were also very high (very not good). But my HDL's  (the good guys) at that time were quite high and probably because I walked every day. He decided and I agreed I didn't need to take any medicine for it - yet. Of course, the statins such as Lipitor weren't quite as routinely given back then.  The point I want to get across is at that time they were teaching low-fat, low calorie diets to lower cholesterol. I was in nursing school and needed to do a teaching presentation for my speech class and decided to make that my subject. So, I studied everything I could find to teach others what they should eat to keep their cholesterol down. All of my research from your routine medical research journals to the registered dietitions' comments told me I could and should eat bagels because they are "low fat", and yes, I could eat those low-fat cookies even though they had an amazing amount of grams of sugar in them. Hey, I was excited - I could now eat things I thought I couldn't!! Everything I read said as long as the fat content (ANY fat) was low, regardless of the sugar or starch content, would be okay and, in fact, good. 

Follow me here a year later as I gained 30 pounds (that's a lot on a 5' frame), probably in less than a year and my cholesterol, of course, didn't go down at all. I continued this way for many years (about 20 years) until I realized on my own that this wasn't working (apparently I'm not such a quick learner.) That's when I started looking at less meat, no white stuff, more veggies and fruits and I slowly transitioned into mostly raw for one summer (which I blogged about here) and I quickly lost those 20 pounds, easily and I certainly didn't eat any less. We ate huge salads almost every day. 

Well, now the prevailing wisdom and recommendations have turned their course and the medical establishment has decided that maybe those weren't such good recommendations. They still haven't learned or are convinced that proper nutrition can in fact heal the body without pharmaceutical medications, but studies such as the one here will help convince them. Now the rest of us who knew it already can sit back and just say "we told ya' so!"  I routinely eat one avocado a day if I can find them for less than $1.50 each and I can now - thank you Trader Joe's!! Mainly because I just love them, and I knew the fat in them was good fat so I wasn't counting fat calories. Luckily Warren doesn't like avocado's - I don't like to share and besides we can only afford one avocado addict in this family.

Thank you Canadian Medical Association! Take a copy of the abstract from the original study linked to below the next time you go to your doctor - or better yet before getting that prescription refilled. Absolutely don't, of course, go off any medications without first discussing it with your doctor - but now you have something he or she might actually listen to.

ADDENDUM: October 29, 2012:

I ate an avocado for breakfast this morning - totally filling, satisfying and good. I decided to look once again at the nutritional values in eating just one. Here is a link where all of that is broken down quite extensively and clearly. The article that is linked below is about the incredible value of increasing "monounsaturated" fats into your diet to increase the good cholesterol (HDL). Avocado's are FULL of monosaturated fats.

And below is the clinical study proving that including monounsaturated fats into your diet is a very good thing.



Thanks for listening!

 

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