Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Gluten free chocolate pumpkin muffins

The new health benefits of dark chocolate are legendary.  If you are pregnant, supposedly you'll have happier babies.  Chocolate can lower blood pressure because of its magnesium conent.  And it supposedly works as well as that daily baby aspirin to keep clots at bay.

So I went to this vegan bakery and had the world's best gluten free pumpkin muffin.  It was a one-time thing, because they were seasonal, so I've tried to recreate my own, based on what the nice lady at the checkout said was in them:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 6-muffin tin with paper cupcake liners--I prefer making my own by cutting out squares of parchment paper and mushing them down with a glass.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together (organic when possible):

1 1/4 cup sorghum flour
1/3 cup amaranth flour -- I buy it whole and grind it myself
1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 cup potato starch

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger 
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Add in:

1 cup evaporated date sugar or organic light brown sugar 
1 cup pumpkin puree

1/3 cup grapeseed or other neutral oil
2 free range organic eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Now add in:

about 1/2 cup soy milk or other kind of milk

Beat until sooth, add in a little more milk or sorghum flour as necessary to achieve slightly thicker than cake batter consistency.  Add in 1/2 or more cup chocolate chips (use dark, at least 50% cocoa mass to achieve antioxidants)

Spoon the batter into six muffin cups, bake about 20 minutes.  They can stay out a day uncoverd, but after that I would freeze them or put them in a container.  

Note on sources:

The vegan bakery obviously did not use eggs--you can subst. 1 tsp flaxseed and 1 tsp water for each egg.

They also used coconut flour, which is contraindicated for me on my Blood Type Diet.  But by all accounts, these turned out pretty well!

You can get a lot of the interesting gluten free flours by Bob'd Red Mill at Amazon

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Seaweed is a sea vegetable

Seaweed has got to be one of the world's most underrated superfoods.  It has all sorts of trace minerals, plus IODINE, which is good for the thyroid and good for fertility and is sorely lacking in the American diet (hence iodized salt--however the iodine they use in that is not naturally occurring--just sayin').

Seaweed is also great for detox.  It sounds strange, but it absorbs a bunch of toxins including radiation.  A doctor working with survivors of Hiroshima made his staff eat tons of seaweed soup--and none of them got radiation poisoning.

Even better, it's free.  On a trip to the pristine Block Island, I read in a histiography how settlers used to fight over the copious Irish Moss and kelp that washed up on the beach after storms.  I even found a recipe for blancmange, a traditional pudding type thing Block Islanders made from seaweed, and after I harvested a bunch of Irish Moss, I made some.  It did taste delightfully like pudding.

In Korean culture, we already eat a lot of seaweed (and traditionally, that's why they say Koreans have such nice hair).  For people unused to the salty, somewhat marine flavor, it can take some getting used to.  Irish Moss is not easily available unless you harvest your own, but kelp is.  I like wild harvested kelp, also because it is done in an eco conscious way.

If you are local to Rhode Island check out She Sells Seaweed; she has a booth at the Pawtucket Winter Farmer's Market where I was first introduced to her yummy Sesame Kelp Snacky Treat.

(p.s. I'm a bit of a raw foodie; I don't even bake mine.  It is a little stickier that way, but yummy.)

Sesame Kelp Brittle
½ cup brown rice syrup
¼ cup olive oil
Dash of shoyu or tamari soy sauce
1 cup sesame seeds
½ cup crushed almonds
¼ – ¾ cup or to your liking of finely crushed kelp (bake kelp at 250 for 10 min or until crisp and grind in food processor)
2-3 tsp of fresh finely chopped ginger root
Heat syrup, oil and shoyu in a small sauce pan. When mixture begins to foam up add seeds, nuts, kelp and ginger and stir thoroughly.
Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper. Spread mixture onto parchment and then cover with another piece of parchment. Roll out flat with a rolling pin. Remove top parchment.
Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes- and then for last few minutes check to avoid burning. Remove from oven and rip away parchment after 5 minutes.

To mail order, I highly recommend my friends at BC Kelp, where they also sell a lot of interesting varieties for you to branch out as you get more adventurous.  They have recipes, too.

COMMENT if you want more recipes, like my Korean seaweed tofu soup.  A comforting way to eat seaweed in the winter!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

New 3D mammogram, double the radiation, double the fun

There was an article in the NY Times today about how recalled medical equipment was severely lacking in safety data BUT was still approved by the FDA.  Yay!

So now the FDA has approved a new kind of mammogram with DOUBLE the radiation (they are parsing it as "slightly more but still safe") and no testing on long term effects of that.  Buyer beware:

FDA approves Hologic 3-D breast scan, radiation unclear

Posted 2011/02/11 at 2:14 pm EST
WASHINGTON, Feb. 11, 2011 (Reuters) — U.S. health officials have approved Hologic Inc's 3-D mammogram system in hopes that it may help doctors better detect and diagnose breast cancer, even though women may be exposed to more radiation.

NY Times bonus: "Most Recalled Devices Untested": Most medical devices recalled in recent years by the Food and Drug Administration because they posed a high risk to patients were not rigorously studied before being cleared for sale, according to a study in a medical journal released Monday. 

Read more here using GreenFertility/GreenFertility as your username/pw:

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Take thyroid meds in evening for better results

This is so interesting. I presumed you should take meds in the morning to get that thyroid energy all day, but here's what Mary Shomon,'s trusted thyroid guru says:

But two important studies -- a 2007 study published in the journalClinical Endocrinology, and a follow-up larger randomized trial reported in the December 2010 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine -- have found that taking the same dose of levothyroxine (i.e., Synthroid) at bedtime, as compared to first thing in the morning, may be better.
read more here.

It's always best to take the meds on an empty stomach, so nighttime dosing might not only be convenient it makes sense especially if you drink coffee....and or something with milk...or multivitamins as both coffee and calcium are shown to interfere with thyroid hormone absorption.  

Here's Mary's post on coffee/calcium. 

Check her posts out on Twitter: @ThyroidMary