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  • Betty Wedman-St Louis, PhD, RD

    Gluten-Free Cookie Exchanges

    Betty Wedman-St Louis, PhD, RD


    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

      Journal of Gluten Sensitivity Winter 2014 Issue


    Caption: Image: CC--Aniket Thakur

    Celiac.com 12/13/2016 - Cookie exchanges are fun social occasions but let's resolve to make cookies healthier next year. They don't need to be 7 layer high fat, high sugar indulgences that contribute to many chronic diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular damage and dementia. Yes, high sugar is now identified as a major contributor to dementia and even has its own classification called Type 3 diabetes. As the levels of obesity and diabetes continue to generate headlines, emphasis on reducing sugar will continue to make news. Stevia now has a global market over $300 million as a sugar substitute but it continues to lag behind other sugar substitutes in the U.S. Stevia leaf has been valued for centuries throughout South America for its sweetening properties. It is about time Americans started using a healthier sugar substitute that the Japanese have enjoyed for decades.

    Using sugar substitutes like stevia, erythritol and xylitol can modify calories without sacrificing taste. These sweetening agents are better choices than the other sugar substitutes used in sugar-free foods.



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    Whole grain gluten-free flours like hemp and quinoa provide more protein, fiber, calcium and iron than whole wheat so gluten-free cookies are healthier than conventional choices. These flours impart a nutty taste to delight any appetite. Quinoa is the Andean cereal that originated in the Ecuador, Bolivia, Columbia and Peru region of South America. Quinoa and hemp are both becoming increasingly popular throughout the United States and are available in most health food stores. What was once considered "peasant food" now sells for a higher price per pound than chicken! Quinoa flakes are easy to use in cookies, yogurt or soups for added protein and nutrients.

    Butter and coconut oil add the most calories to each cookie. Don't pay any attention to all those negative comments about saturated fat content of butter and coconut oil. There is no science to demonstrate they are unhealthy. Coconut oil is made unhealthy when hydrogen is added to the oil to make non-dairy cream or whipped toppings. Theron Randolph, M.D. described it best when he stated "analytical dietetics" (what can be assessed by a machine) is not "biological dietetics" (how food is used in your body).

    Many recipes and commercially baked products contain xanthan gum to make the dough more sticky. This recipe does not use of xanthan gum because it is derived from the fungus, xanthomonas campestris (the black mold on broccoli, cauliflower or leafy greens). This fungus is grown on corn, wheat, dairy or soy to produce the powder. Since no studies have been done about sensitivities to xanthan gum produced from these foods, anyone with sensitivities to these foods should limit or avoid products that do not state the source for the production of xanthan gum. Remember, it is a thickening agent that can be present in many foods like salad dressings, ice cream, egg substitute products, etc. As a thickener, xanthan gum is a very effective laxative

    This one basic cookie recipe can provide lots of variety for health snacks throughout the coming year. Cookies can provide a quick snack so numerous options mean healthy eating for everyone.

    Chocolate Chip Quinoa Cookies

    Ingredients:

    • 1/4 cup coconut oil
    • 1/2 cup butter or margarine
    • 3/4 cup Xylitol sweetener or 3 tablespoons stevia- erythritol sweetener
    • 2 eggs
    • 3/4 cup brown rice flour or hemp flour
    • 3/4 cup coconut flour
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/2 cup quinoa flakes or hemp hearts
    • 1 cup (6 oz) chocolate baking chips
    • 2 tablespoons water

    Directions:
    Cream together coconut oil, butter, sweetener and eggs. Add rest of the ingredients and mix thoroughly. Drop by teaspoons onto lightly oiled baking sheet. Press down and bake in 350 degree oven 10-12 minutes, or until browned. Makes 3 dozen.

    To make Oatmeal Spice Cookies: add 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg and 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves instead of chocolate chips.

    To make Hemp Raisin Cookies: add 1/2 cup raisins instead of chocolate chips and use hemp flour

    To make Peanut Butter Cookies: add 1 cup peanut butter to creamed mixture. Top with chocolate chip, if desired.

    Calories per cookie: 158; Protein: 3 g; Carbohydrates: 16 g; Fat: 8 g, Sodium: 69 mg.


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    There is nothing "healthy" about this recipe. Substituting gluten free junk food for regular junk food, is still junk. It's not to say you can't have a treat now and then, but health food? Really! It has been shown that any artificial or alternative sweetener can raise insulin resistance by tricking the system into thinking it should release insulin in response to the endorphins released in your brain when you taste something sweet. Move along. Nothing to see here!

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    There is nothing "healthy" about this recipe. Substituting gluten free junk food for regular junk food, is still junk. It's not to say you can't have a treat now and then, but health food? Really! It has been shown that any artificial or alternative sweetener can raise insulin resistance by tricking the system into thinking it should release insulin in response to the endorphins released in your brain when you taste something sweet. Move along. Nothing to see here!

    Thank you health police...but this is about cookies!

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  • About Me

    Betty Wedman-St Louis, PhD, RD is Assistant Professor, NY Chiropractic College, MS Clinical Nutrition Program Nutrition Assessment Course & Food Science Course.  She is author of the following books:

    • Fast and Simple Diabetes Menus, McGraw Hill Companies
    • Diabetes Meals on the Run, Contemporary Books
    • Living With Food Allergies, Contemporary Books
    • Diabetic Desserts, Contemporary Books
    • Quick & Easy Diabetes Menus Cookbook, Contemporary Books
    • American Diabetes Association Holiday Cookbook and Parties & Special Celebrations Cookbook, Prentice Hall Books

     

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