Whole Wheat Pumpkin Bread (Dairy free and made with coconut oil)

I finally tried my hand at baking at a higher altitude! I wanted to make zucchini bread however I forgot my grater in the moving process and didn’t feel like running out to the store to buy one, so I opted for pumpking bread (which is my favorite anyway)! I was a little nervous for my first time baking in Denver as I have always baked in Florida where elevation isn’t an issue. So I figured I would just create a recipe and use it as practice. I decided to make it dairy free and use coconut oil as the fat in the recipe. It came out GREAT!

Why use coconut oil?

Coconut oil is an emerging functional food that is believed to help lower cholesterol, improve immune function, and even aid in weight loss and exercise performance. The health benefits of coconut oil come from its composition, mainly Medium Chain Fatty acids (also known as Medium Chain Triglycerides) and Lauric acid. Medium Chain fatty acids are metabolized differently than most fats and are burned for energy rather than stored as fat. Lauric acid is converted into monolaurin, which has anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties. For more information, see the list of resources at the end of this post.

 Recipe:

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Bread

Ingredients

1/3 cup coconut oil

1/2 cup honey*

2 eggs*

1 cup pumpkin purée

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 3/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 cup hot water

Turbinado (raw) sugar for sprinkling on top

Directions

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 9×5 loaf pan with coconut oil.

 Beat oil and honey together.

Add eggs, one at a time, and mix well.

Add pumpkin purée and vanilla, scraping the bowl.

Fold in flour, salt, and pumpking pie spice.

In a separate bowl, combine baking soda to hot water, stir to mix. Add to batter.

Pour batter into prepared pan.

Sprinkle top with turbinado sugar

Bake for 55-60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the bread is pulling away from the sides of the pan.

Cool on wire rack for 1/2 hour before slicing.

*To make vegan you can easily substitute agave for honey and use an egg replacer such as flaxseed and water.

Resources for health benefits of coconut oil:

Beneficial-effects-of-virgin-coconut-oil-on-lipid-parameters-and-in-vitro-LDL-oxidation

  Kaunitz H, Dayrit CS. Coconut oil consumption and coronary heart disease. Philippine Journal of Internal Medicine, 1992;30:165-171

Prior IA, Davidson F, Salmond CE, Czochanska Z. Cholesterol, coconuts, and diet on Polynesian atolls: a natural experiment: The Pukapuka and Tokelau Island studies, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 1981;34:1552-1561

Baba, N 1982.Enhanced thermogenesis and diminished deposition of fat in response to overfeeding with diet containing medium-chain triglycerides,  Am. J. Clin. Nutr.,  35:379

Dr. Mary G. Enig, Ph.D., F.A.C.N. Source: Coconut: In Support of Good Health in the 21st Century (6)  Isaacs CE, Litov RE, Marie P, Thormar H. Addition of lipases to infant formulas produces antiviral and antibacterial activity, Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, 1992;3:304-308.

 St-Onge MP, Jones PJ. Greater rise in fat oxidation with medium-chain triglyceride consumption relative to long-chain triglyceride is associated with lower initial body weight and greater loss of subcutaneous adipose tissue, International Journal of Obesity & Related Metabolic Disorders, 2003 Dec;27(12):1565-71. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12975635

Geliebter, A  1980.  Overfeeding with a diet of medium-chain triglycerides impedes accumulation of body fat, Clinical Nutrition, 28:595

Fushiki, T and Matsumoto, K Swimming endurance capacity of mice is increased by consumption of medium-chain triglycerides, Journal of Nutrition, 1995;125:531. http://www.coconut-connections.com/hypothyroidism.htm

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Any excuse to drink more red wine!

Gotta love any excuse to drink more red wine!

Did you know that red wine contains a polyphenol called Resveratrol which has been found to provide various health benefits, such as anti-cancer and anti-cardiovascular disease?! These are only a few benefits of resveratrol as research continues to uncover its powerful healing properties!

FYI: Pinot Noir has the highest content of resveratrol of all the red wines!

Here is a great research article that reviews the findings of various human resveratrol clinical trials:

Resveratrol and health – A comprehensive review of human clinical trials

Happy Drinking (in moderation of course)!

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Chicken Chili with Kale and Roasted Poblano Peppers

 Chicken Chili with Kale and Roasted Poblano Peppers

Source: off the top of my head

Ingredients:

1 rotersirre chicken breast, shredded

1 can black beans

1 can of small red kidney beans

1 can of diced tomatoes

1 large clove of garlic, minced

1/2 of a large onion, chopped

1 large roasted poblano pepper, skin removed and chopped

a bunch of kale, cut into ribbons (or could use any dark leafy green)

2 chipotle in adobo, chopped fine with 1 TBS of adobo liquid

2 TBS chili powder

1 TBS olive oil

2 TBS fresh cilantro chopped

salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

(I used a crock-pot but this can be made over the stove as well)

1. In a medium skillet add olive oil, onions, kale, and garlic and saute until tender.

2. Meanwhile, pour beans, tomatoes, chili powder, poblano peppers, and chipotle in adobo into the crock-pot set on high.

3. Then add the kale and onion mixture into the crock-pot along with a can of water.

4. Cook on high for a 3 hours and then add the shredded chicken breast and cilantro.

5. Cook for another hour and serve!

It was delicious!

And a good way to sneak in those dark leafy greens which are soooooo good for you!

Did you know that kale contains fiber which can bind to bile acids and help lower cholesterol. Also, kale contains glucosinolates which are a powerful detoxifying agent in addition to the over 45 flavonoids found in kale that are powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents.

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Nutrition Tip of the Day!

Be sure to include various sources of Omega-3 fatty acids in your diet to improve blood cholesterol levels, decrease inflammation, and reduce your risk of heart disease.

A recent systematic review in the British Journal of Nutrition reviewed the benefits and risks of Omega-3 derived from algal, fish oil, plant, enriched dairy products, animal-derived food, krill oil, and seal oil. They found that no matter the source of Omega-3 fatty acids, the health benefits are similar with no adverse effects.

Article resource: pubmed

Article pdf: Dietary sources of omega 3 fatty acids: public health risks and benefits

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The Lotus Blossom Shop

This is the cutest representation of the “dirty dozen” I have ever seen! Kid friendly!!!

What is the “dirty dozen”?

It is a list of the top 12 produce items that are the most contaminated by pesticides. This means that these 12 foods contain a larger amount of pesticide residue as compared to other food items. This is a perfect representation of the dirty dozen you can share with people of all ages and spread the word about eating organic!

ORGANIC EATING RESOURCES:

Environmental Working Group

http://www.organicconsumers.org/organlink.cfm

How to Eat Organic Foods on a Budget

Free Guide to pesticides and produce

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The Lotus Blossom Shop

As seen on my B Enlightened Eco-Soy Candle product descriptions, I have mentioned that they are made from non-GMO soy! Buy what exactly is GMO?

GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organism, meaning that the genetic code has been manipulated in order to produce a modified version. To be more specific, piece of DNA from one cell is clipped out and pasted into another cell. This process is highly utilized in the agricultural/food industry. For example, a plant can be given a gene that makes it toxic to a particular pest or codes for certain nutrients. This may appear to be beneficial to our food industry; however, the risks are not fully understood.

I don’t know about you but I prefer to eat the original plant that was made by nature and not in a laboratory!

I am a PhD student in the field of nutrition, specifically nutrient gene interactions. What we eat/drink isn’t…

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