You may have noticed that some of the ingredients that I regularly use in my recipes are different than what you’d find in traditional recipes.
It may be frustrating at first, since you don’t have these unique items on hand and may even have a hard time finding them at your grocery store.
But I promise there’s a good reason!
You see, I’m dedicated to creating recipes that are filled with ONLY wholesome ingredients. I believe that putting nutrient-filled ingredients into your cooking and baking makes a huge impact on the health and well being of your family.
It will also help you lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.
So, let’s get to know these unique, nutrient-filled ingredients…
Coconut Oil once had a really bad reputation for being an evil saturated fat.
As it turns out, the scientists who labeled coconut oil as bad were referring to partially hydrogenated coconut oil – which creates trans fats while destroying many of the good essential fatty acids and antioxidants.
Also studies have shown that all saturated fats are not created equal.
Coconut oil’s main saturated fat is lauric acid, a medium chain fatty acid that increases levels of good HDL, or high-density lipoprotein, and bad LDL, or low-density lipoprotein, in the blood, but is not thought to negatively affect the overall ratio of the two.
Coconut oil has been proven to help normalize blood lipids and protect against damage to the liver by alcohol and other toxins, and also has immune-supporting properties and anti-inflammatory properties.
To top it off, coconut oil is amazing to cook or bake with, resulting in delicious flavor and texture.
Where to buy: Almost all grocery stores carry coconut oil these days, and certainly the healthy stores have it. Store it at room temperature.
Blanched Almond Flour
This is the absolute best substitute for wheat flour in baking. It is moist and delicious without containing pesky gluten, and is filled with healthy fat to sustain your appetite throughout the day.
Where to buy: I prefer to order 5 lb bags of blanched almond flour online through Amazon. Some health stores do carry it. Store at room temperature.
This can be used to replace wheat flour in baking, just like blanched almond flour. It is gluten-free and filled with healthy fats.
Just keep in mind that the result will be heartier and less delicate.
Where to buy: Trader Joe’s sells almond meal for a great price. You won’t find it at the large chain grocery stores, but health stores carry it. Store at room temperature.
For those who suffer from nut allergies, oat flour is a wonderful gluten-free option for baking. Make sure that your oats are gluten-free.
Click here for How To Make Oat Flour.
This golden liquid, the nectar of the agave plant, is a wonderful alternative to sugar.
It’s main benefit is that it is lower on the glycemic index than other sweeteners – 32 while sugar is 58. This means that it will not spike your blood sugar levels with the intensity that sugar does.
While agave nectar is less harmful than sugar, it is still something to be eaten sparingly.
Where to buy: Agave nectar is now a mainstay in all grocery stores. Purchase organic, light agave nectar. Store at room temperature.
Here’s another alternative to sugar. While honey is considerably higher than agave nectar on the glycemic index, 52, it is still lower than sugar. Most importantly raw honey contains natural vitamins and enzymes.
Use this sweet treat in moderation, and expect the flavor to be noticeable in your baking.
Where to buy: Health stores have many options when it comes to raw honey. Stick with organic. Store at room temperature.
Stevia in the Raw
This is an excellent herbal sweetener that contains zero calories. Think of it as a free pass sweetener – simply no ramifications.
Feel free to substitute Stevia in the Raw for any sweeteners found in baking recipes.
Where to buy: Stevia in the Raw is found in most major grocery stores and health stores. Store at room temperature.
Dark Chocolate (73% Cocoa or Higher)
Who could imagine life without chocolate? I sure couldn’t. The great news is that chocolate contains one of the highest antioxidant values of any food, as well as brain-stimulating compounds, euphoric agents, and satisfying saturated fat.
The key is to choose chocolate that has the highest percent of cocoa. Yes, the higher the percentage of cocoa the less sweet it tastes, but you’ll quickly be able to appreciate the rich taste of the cocoa.
Always choose organic chocolate, due to pesticide concerns with cocoa bean production.
Where to buy: In order to find high quality, organic, 73% cocoa or higher, visit your local health food store. Store in a cool, dry place – not the refrigerator.