With my new cookbook well under way and keeping me very busy, I’ve lined up some fellow bloggers to do guest posts for me two Saturdays a month. My autoimmune condition is heavily fueled by stress, so in an effort to stay healthy, these friends will help relieve some of the stress and keep recipes still coming your way! Today we have Maria from Maria Nutrition. She is a wellness and nutrition expert focused on grain-free recipes. Maria and her husband adopted 2 boys from Ethiopia last year and she has still managed to put out a new cookbook on top of her other three! Please give Maria a warm welcome to Against All Grain!
I first want to thank Danielle for letting me post on her beautiful blog. I can't wait to see her new cookbook! It will definitely be a book on my kitchen counter, no doubt!
For those who aren't familiar with me, I am a food blogger and author who specializes in making comfort foods without sugars or grains. My background in nutrition science has taught me what my body shouldn't be consuming which is why I have a passion for helping people live a healthier lifestyle and making healthified alternatives to the comfort foods people love. I also have a special passion for helping kids since it is so critical that they have proper nutrition in order to thrive and develop. I adopted 2 boys, Micah and Kai, from Ethiopia last year and want them to enjoy special treats, just “healthified.”
One of the treats I loved growing up was Betty Crocker Lemon Bars. In addition to the sugar and flour, they contain “Partially Hydrogenated Soybean and/or Cottonseed Oil”. This makes these bars very bad for our bodies. The trans fats that result from man-made hydrogenation methods have been proven to act as “decoys” that our body’s cells uses in place the healthy fats it needs. Since trans fats are not chemically active and evolutionary wise, quite new to our body, our cells don’t know what to do with them. So they act as metabolic massacres.
They have 3 main issues:
1. Trans fats reduce cellular integrity. This will affect the:
a. Digestive tracts causing digestive issues
b. Lungs, causing asthma
c. Internal cells, causing allergies
When this happens the digestive tract, lungs and internal cells start to allow undigested foods, viruses, and even potential carcinogens into the bloodstream. Undigested proteins causes antibodies to produce, which begin to attack similar proteins native to the body! This will cause autoimmune diseases, as well as allergies and inflammation.
2. Trans fats (Yes, Jiff Peanut Butter! And Coffee Mate!) cause you to eat 6 times as much as you ordinarily would! This happens because the body needs chemically active essential fatty acids. Our body can’t make them, we must consume them. Essential fatty acids are needed for a healthy central nervous system, hormones, brain cells, membranes as well as other organs of our body. When this begins to happen this causes obesity, diabetes and heart disease. Dr. Johana Budwig was way ahead of her time when she proved that trans fats were causing extreme harm to our body in 1950’s!!! She was silenced by the food producers.
3. When the cells reliability, the cell membranes can’t interact as they should; therefore, the immune system gets confused. Every cell in our body has essential fatty acids and proteins on the outer walls that aid as little helpers for the immune system. They identify what is good and bad for your body and cells. But if we ingest trans fats, the “little helpers” are replaced by trans fats and they are no longer present to help out the immune system…enter autoimmune diseases.
So I hope you enjoy this healthified version of my childhood favorite; without the grains, sugars and trans fat. I am very thankful for the opportunity Danielle has given me to do this guest post and share some nutrition information and this recipe.
I use erythritol and stevia sweeteners for many reasons. Most of my clients have very damaged metabolisms or diabetics and are unable to even use natural sweeteners like coconut nectar or honey. Swerve is a specific brand that I like because it uses ingredients that are GMO free, doesn't affect blood sugar, zero calories and gluten free.
Swerve has two primary ingredients, Erythritol and Oligosaccharides. Erythritol is made by fermenting glucose with Moniliella pollinis (a natural microorganism found in honeycomb) which breaks down the glucose and yields erythritol. Erythritol also naturally occurs in many fruits and vegetables like melons, grapes, asparagus as well as fermented foods. It is classified by the FDA as a zero calorie, 4-carbon sugar alcohol that does not affect blood glucose. Oligosaccharides are sweet, non-digestible carbohydrates extracted from fruit and vegetable sources. They are similar to fiber and can help stimulate beneficial bacteria in the large intestine.
So instead of telling my clients that they can no longer have desserts, I like to help re-create some favorites for them. I find that they stay on track better and heal faster.
From Danielle: Note that she does use alternative sweeteners than what we normally use on this site. While I haven't tried it, I imagine you could sub in honey or maple but you may need to reduce another liquid just a bit.
3/4 cup blanched almond flour
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup coconut oil or butter
1/2 cup Swerve (or erythritol and 1 tsp stevia glycerite)
1/2 tsp Celtic sea salt
CRUST: Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease a 8 x 8 square glass pan. In a medium bowl, mix ingredients. This will be a thick cookie crust; press onto bottom of pan. Place in oven to pre-bake the crust. Bake for 15 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
FILLING: In a medium bowl, beat the ingredients for the filling until well combined. Pour the mixture evenly over the pre-baked crust and bake again for about 15-20 minutes or until set. Let cool. Store in fridge or freezer in an airtight container. Makes about 16 bars.
NUTRITIONAL COMPARISON (per bar)
Traditional Lemon Bar = 160 calories, 8g fat, 1.9g protein, 19g carbs, trace fiber
“Healthified” Lemon Bar = 112 calories, 10g fat, 3g protein, 2.5g carbs, 1.2g fiber
Maria Emmerich is a wellness expert and best selling author of several books. The latest edition of her book “Secrets to a Healthy Metabolism” has the foreword written by New York Times #1 Best Selling author of “Wheat Belly” Dr. William Davis. She has a passion for helping people start a healthier lifestyle. Weight loss is often a side effect of helping treat any number of problems including diabetes, cholesterol issues, alopecia, hashimoto's, autoimmune diseases and much more. Maria has also authored a handful of other grain-free cookbooks – find them here on her website!