What is it? Wednesday: Probiotics // @BobsRedMill

What is it? Wednesday: Probiotics

by Cassidy Stockton in Health, What is it? Wednesday

A few years back, we had the privileged of meeting and building a relationship with Dr Robert Martindale, MD of the Oregon Health and Science University. He spoke at length of the importance of pre- and probiotics and the role that whole grains play in our health. The Bob’s Red Mill team left so inspired that we immediately set out to create our line of Nutritional Boosters- essentially protein powders that would contain all of the health benefits of pre- and probiotics. Our mission was to create something with clean, simple ingredients that would also taste really good. That dream became a reality earlier this year when we introduced four Nutritional Boosters that contain probiotics.

What are probiotics? Simply put, probiotics are living organisms that help replenish the good bacteria that live in our intestinal tracts. These good bacteria aid in digestion, overall gut health and support our immune system. They’re a line of defense against illness. If you’ve ever been sick and had to take antibiotics, you’ve likely wiped out your beneficial bacteria and probiotics would be a good way to replenish them.

What is it? Wednesday: Probiotics // @BobsRedMill

Why are probiotics important? Probiotics in and of themselves are not super important, what is important is healthy good bacteria in your gut. Probiotics are a way to ensure that you have good, healthy bacteria keeping you in tip-top shape. Think of probiotics as a replenishment system.

When should you use probiotics? Most people will benefit from eating foods that contain probiotics. People with compromised immune systems and other systemic issues should consult with a doctor before adding them to their diet. Probiotics can be used regularly to maintain gut health, but they are essential for recovery from antibiotic use and illnesses where bad bacteria has been introduced (such as food poisoning).

What foods contain probiotics? Probiotics are found in many packaged foods (everything from chocolate to protein bars to ice cream), but are naturally occurring in yogurt, kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, miso, kimchi, and tempeh, to name a few. Many naturally fermented foods have them, but you’ll want to look for foods that advertise live cultures- specifically Lactobacillus, Bacilus coagulans, or Bifidobacterium. You can also buy probiotic supplements. They’re typically in the refrigerated section of natural food stores.What is it? Wednesday: Probiotics // @BobsRedMill

How do you know if a food has probiotics? It should absolutely be listed in the ingredient list. If it’s not or it does not list the type of bacteria, move on. Not all of these common sources (like yogurt) contain live cultures and it is the live piece that is key here. Dead bacteria, in this instance, is useless. Be sure to look for a ‘live culture’ claim.

What are prebiotics? A lesser-known piece of the good gut health puzzle are prebiotics. They are not as commonly discussed, but they are equally important. Prebiotics are the foods we ingest that feed our healthy bacteria. Anything that has a decent amount of dietary fiber can function as a prebiotic, but not all prebiotics are created equal. Whole grains and fiber-rich foods are above and beyond the best choice for gut health. It’s so simple to create the perfect formula of pre- and probiotics. You’re enjoying yogurt? Add a scoop of muesli or granola to your meal. Enjoying some tempeh? Pair it with some brown rice or whole grain bread. See? Simple. The nice thing is, high fiber foods are overwhelmingly beneficial to your digestive health anyway, so pairing them with probiotics is a win-win. Read more about this pre- and probiotic relationship here.

What is it? Wednesday: Probiotics // @BobsRedMill

Are probiotics gluten free? Yep. There is no gluten in a probiotic. HOWEVER, you’ll want to be sure that the food you’re choosing is gluten free. If you’re taking a probiotic supplement, make sure it’s gluten free, as well.

Are probiotics vegan? Yes, probiotics are considered to be vegan. Again, you’ll want to be sure that the food you’re eating is vegan. For instance, a standard probiotic-rich yogurt is not vegan. Look for vegan yogurts that contain probiotics, or stick to tempeh, kimchi and other plant-based sources. Our nutritional boosters are a great option for a vegan probiotic source.

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Cassidy Stockton Google: Cassidy Stockton
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Embracing the Paleo Lifestyle: How to Set Yourself Up For Success

by Bob's Red Mill in Health

Lately, the Paleo Diet has been generating a lot of buzz within the health industry, with talk of cavemen, meat and weight loss, this diet has everyone wondering if it’s right for them. The Paleo Diet encourages individuals to eat wholesome and unprocessed foods, cut out carbs, and to stay away from foods that are known to cause allergies and inflammation (i.e. gluten, refined sugar, candy). It is also praised for being a high-protein, high-fiber diet that allows people to lose weight without cutting calories. Although paleo may sound less restrictive than other diets, it can be tricky to understand exactly what you can and can’t eat when it comes to Paleolithic foods. Whether you’re thinking about going paleo, or just want to try it out, we’ve highlighted a few simple ways to help you set yourself up for success when following the Paleo Diet!

Understand Your Motivation for Going Paleo

People choose to go paleo for numerous reasons. Whether it’s medical issues, weight loss, or simply because you want to try and improve your health, know your reasons for going paleo and stand by them. Your motivation for going paleo will keep you encouraged throughout the process and help you define your guidelines when following the diet. Those who are going paleo for medical reasons, such as an autoimmune disease like celiac disease, will have stricter rules about what they can and can’t emit from their diet. While those who are focusing solely on weight loss may be more lenient with their carb intake and allotted cheat meals.

Know What You Can and Can’t Eat

While we’ve already said the Paleo Diet encourages individuals to eat more wholesome, unprocessed foods, what does that mean?

When referring to meats and protein, the Paleo Diet recommends eating grass-fed, organic meat, as well as, wild caught fish. This farm-to-table rule also applies when picking out vegetables, fruit and eggs. If this already sounds like too much for you, don’t stress. When starting any new diet, it’s important to know when to pick your battles. Often grass-fed beef will be much easier to find than organic meat and will probably cost less, as well. As for fruits and veggies, try visiting your local farmers market for organic options that are much cheaper than those in the store. Nuts, seeds, and healthy oils are also encouraged to eat when following the paleo diet.

Now that we’ve got what you can eat covered, what can’t you eat on the Paleo Diet? Anything unprocessed and refined. Those following the Paleo Diet tend to stay away from foods such as dairy, refined sugar, refined vegetable oils, processed food, candy, potatoes, legumes and cereal grains. It may sound like a lot at first, but, as with any diet, your cravings for these foods will decrease with dedication and patience, and it will become easier to exclude them from your meals.

Start Small

Remember, you are the one in charge. Take your time, build your way up and don’t force yourself to omit every food you’ve ever loved from your diet at once. By starting slow and removing one or two items a week, the Paleo Diet will be much easier to follow. Rules such as the 85/15 rule have also been created to make sticking to the Paleo Diet easier. Following this rule means that if 85% of your diet comes from Paleolithic foods, then you’re likely to reap 100% of the benefits of the diet and can allow yourself 15% of wiggle room. Eating non-paleo, 15% of the time would mean that you’d get about 2-3 cheat meals each week, making it easier to eat out at restaurants and occasionally indulge in some of your favorite foods.

Make it Hard to Cheat

Even when starting small and following rules like the 85/15 rule, the Paleo Diet can be tough, and temptations are everywhere. After a long, hard day at work, even those who have an abundance of willpower may find a 5-minute premade meal to be a tempting choice. To make following the Paleo Diet easier, do yourself a favor and remove any and all temptations from your home, I guarantee you’ll thank us later.

Note that, clearing out your kitchen doesn’t have to be a wasteful or painful process, though! A lot of the processed food you’ll be clearing from your pantry can easily be donated or given to friends, so they don’t go to waste!

Lastly, Be Proud of Yourself and Enjoy the Benefits

Whether your 100% paleo, following the 85/15 rule, or simply adding a few paleo-friendly meals into your weekly diet you’re taking steps to better your health and should be proud of the efforts you’ve made. The Paleo Diet encourages individuals to introduce more healthy fats, fruits, and veggies, which contribute to the production of healthy cells, muscle production, more energy and better gut health. Caring for your body is essential for a long and healthy life, and you’re on the right track. We have bunch of amazing Paleo recipes that any newcomer should try out while they are easing into the diet!

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Bob's Red Mill Google: Bob's Red Mill
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Maple Walnut Creme Brulee F

Surviving the Holidays with Dietary Restrictions + Maple Walnut Creme Brulee

by Carolyn Ketchum in Gluten Free, Health

The key to surviving the holidays on any sort of restricted diet comes down to two simple words: be prepared. As with most holidays, Thanksgiving and Christmas center heavily around food and plenty of it. And so much of it is laden with sugar, gluten and all the other things you work so hard to avoid. It’s everywhere you turn, from the office cookie platter to the festive parties to the big family feast. A veritable minefield of temptation from the end of November to January 1st.

How are you going to handle that? You could go into hibernation in mid-November, avoiding all friends and family and any associated festivities, only to emerge in early January. But I don’t recommend it. Bears are pretty grumpy after their long winter’s sleep and you would be too, having missed all the fun.

Maple Walnut Creme Brulee low carb

But if you follow the mantra of being prepared, you can not only survive the holidays but enjoy them too. All while sticking to your healthy, restricted diet and not missing out on the festivities OR the great food. Now, the words “be prepared” might be quite simple, but the actual execution is less so. You have to be willing to roll up your sleeves and do a good bit of the work ahead of time. You have to be willing to stock up your freezer and pantry with foods that fit your dietary needs. And you have to be willing to stick to your guns when well-meaning friends and family urge you to “just try a little bit” of something you know you shouldn’t eat.

First steps first. Find recipes that fit your diet, purchase the ingredients and test them out. No matter how restrictive your diet, I guarantee that a quick internet search will bring up many wonderful recipes that fit the bill. Dietary restrictions are so common these days and so many people are creating great recipes and publishing them on the world wide web, so you are bound to find something. There are even many alternative recipes for traditional foods like stuffing, cake and pie. You really don’t need to abstain from these things; you just need to be prepared to make them yourself.

Maple Walnut Creme Brulee low carb

Find a recipe (or two, or three) you like? Great! Make a double batch and sock some away in your freezer for emergencies. The more you can do this, the better prepared you will be and the easier the holidays will be. If it’s something that needs to come out of the oven right before serving, do as much advanced prep work as possible. For example, many alternatives to Thanksgiving stuffing require you to make your own non-wheat-based bread, so that extra step can be time consuming. Making the bread in advance and freezing it until you need it means more free time on the actual day.

Have some quick and easy snacks at the ready at all times. We are all more likely to give into temptation when we are ravenous, so head that hunger off at the pass. Whatever snacks fit your dietary needs, keep some in your car or in your purse so that you are never caught empty-handed when hunger strikes. And eat a little handful before heading to parties and get-togethers so you don’t gravitate straight to the food table upon arrival.

Maple Walnut Creme Brulee low carb


Be prepared to stand your ground with well-meaning friends and family. This is a tough one, even for some of us battle-hardened veterans. I find it particularly difficult when I am a guest in someone else’s home and didn’t prepare the food myself. But even close loved ones will often say “but just a taste can’t hurt, right?” Well, sometimes that little taste can actually hurt. Don’t be afraid to politely decline; it’s not rude when your health is at stake. And if you are worried there won’t be anything you can eat at an event, bring some of your own. Bring enough to share and consider it a hostess gift.

Treat yourself right. You don’t need to go through the holidays denying yourself any and all desserts and goodies. I find it much easier to stick to my low carb diet if I can indulge in some low carb sweets and satisfy that craving. But again, you need to be prepared to make your own. Good recipes can rival even their conventional counterparts (I pride myself that some of mine fit this description) and you won’t miss the old stand-bys. And these can make the perfect hostess gift for holiday parties too!

So, ready to face the holidays in style?

Maple Walnut Creme Brulee low carb

Maple Walnut Creme Brulee

Creme Brulee:

  • 2 cups Heavy Cream
  • 4 large Egg Yolks
  • 6 Tbsp Swerve Sweetener or other erythritol-based sweetener, divided
  • 1 ½ tsp Maple Extract

Candied Walnuts:

For the creme brulee, preheat oven to 300F.

In a medium saucepan, warm cream over medium heat until steam just rises from the surface. Do not allow to simmer. Remove from heat.

In a medium bowl, beat egg yolks with ¼ cup sweetener until thickened and pale yellow. Add hot cream very slowly, stirring continuously. Stir in maple extract.

Divide custard between 6 small ramekins or a singe 1-quart ceramic or glass baking dish. Set into a larger baking dish and pour hot water to within 1 inch from the top of the ramekins.

Transfer to oven and bake 40 to 45 minutes or until custard is just set but still slightly wobbly in the center. Remove and let cool, then wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

For the candied walnuts, line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine sweetener and water, stirring occasionally. Bring to a boil and then cook until mixture darkens, about 7 minutes. Stir in Walnut Baker’s Pieces and salt, tossing to coat walnut pieces well.

Spread out onto prepared baking sheet and let cool and harden.

Just before serving brulee, divide remaining 2 tbsp sweetener over tops of custards. Heat with a kitchen torch until topping bubbles and browns. Let sit for a few moments to cool and harden. You can also place ramekins a few inches under a preheated broiler, watching carefully and turning cups to ensure even browning.

Divide candied walnut pieces over the tops of each brulee and serve.

Carolyn Ketchum | All Day I Dream About FoodCarolyn Ketchum is the writer, photographer and almond flour wizard behind All Day I Dream About Food, a low carb and gluten-free food blog. Her mission is to prove to the world that special diets need not be boring or restrictive and that healthy dishes can be just as good, or better, than their sugar and gluten-filled counterparts. It’s astonishing what you can do with a bag of almond flour, a stick of butter, and a willingness to experiment. Follow her on FacebookTwitterGoogle Plus and Pinterest for inspiring ideas for the low carb, gluten free lifestyle.

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Carolyn Ketchum Google: Carolyn Ketchum
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Charlees Kitchen 1

Food as Medicine Symposium: April 5-6, Portland

by Cassidy Stockton in Featured Articles, Health

While it still seems like there is a big disconnect between how a person eats and how a person feels, we are making great strides towards better understanding of food as medicine. The benefits of healthy whole-foods continues to trend upward. We can find books, magazine articles, Facebook pages and even movies sharing the latest news as more and more people realize there’s a link between a poor diet and poor health.  Since 2011, our friends at National College of Natural Medicine (NCNM) have worked with us to share their expert nutrition knowledge with the Portland community through the ECO Project (“Ending Childhood Obesity”). There’s so much interest in learning about nutrition that they have created the Food As Medicine Institute, (FAMI), a community-education initiative dedicated to providing nutrition education—not only for healthcare providers but for the public, too.

To celebrate its official launch, FAMI will host its inaugural Food as Medicine Symposium at NCNM on April 5-6, featuring a keynote presentation by Bob Moore, Bob’s Red Mill founder: “Whole Grain Foods, Life Insurance You Eat.

Charlee's Kitchen at NCNM | Bob's Red Mill

The two-day event is geared to satisfy a variety of interests and discerning palates. Whether you’re a chef or an aspiring cook, a physician or other healthcare professional, a foodie or just someone curious learning practical tips about preparing tasty, good food—there’s something for everyone. Depending on the level of your interest, you can register for all or just part of the conference.

The public symposium is scheduled on Saturday, April 5, from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and will include workshops on “Death by Food Pyramid;” “Avoiding Inflammatory Foods & Cooking Methods;” “Strategies for Detoxification;” “Gluten-Free Nutrition and Avoiding Junk Foods;” “Breast Milk: The Original Superfood,” and more. Speakers will include some of the most renowned chefs and naturopathic physicians in the Northwest!

Charlee and Bob Moore at NCNM

The professional symposium, targeting healthcare practitioners, will take place Saturday and Sunday, April 5 and 6, from 8:30 a.m. – 4:15 p.m. Healthcare professionals of all stripes will gather for an in-depth examination of the role clinical nutrition plays in their patients’ state of health or disease. Practitioners will get a chance to augment the “clinical pearls” found in the kitchen to any treatment plan as they rediscover nutrition, the crucial foundation of natural medicine. NCNM has applied for 12 hours of continuing education units for the symposium.

Can’t attend, but you wish you could? No problem. Both segments will offer a live webinar! The webinars will be taped for anyone who can’t attend that day.

Click on this link to register or get more information!

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Cassidy Stockton Google: Cassidy Stockton
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Getting Enough Dietary Fiber on Your Low Carb Diet + Mocha Chocolate Chunk Chia Seed Brownies

by Carolyn Ketchum in Gluten Free, Health, Recipes

There are a great many misconceptions about low carb diets, and one of them is that they must be very low in dietary fiber. We all know fiber is good for us. It fills us up, keeps us regular, slows the absorption of glucose into the bloodstream, and may contribute to heart and colon health. It’s pretty important stuff. Since low carb diets eschew many commonly accepted sources of fiber, such as whole grains and legumes, many people believe low carb diets to also be low fiber diets. And if they are low in fiber, it logically follows that they can’t possibly be good for us, right? Wrong. Don’t mind me if I just gently blow a few holes in that idea.

Mocha Chocolate Chunk Chia Brownies Low Carb, Gluten Free | Bob's Red Mill

First, let’s consider the best source of dietary fiber. It is not, as many people believe, whole grains and legumes but vegetables and fruits that give us the bulk of our daily fiber intake. Or at least it should be. It goes without saying that any healthy diet should include a variety of vegetables and fruit every day. We’re all supposed to be getting our 7 to 9 servings or more per day and that holds just as true on a low carb diet as it does on any other. And thankfully, the vast majority of vegetables, and some fruits as well, are both low in carbohydrates and high in dietary fiber. No matter what diet you follow, if you’re skimping on these foods, you’re cheating yourself of the best sources of fiber and other nutrients.

You might also be surprised to find that many of the low carb alternatives to whole grains have just as much as much or more fiber than their conventional counterparts. Nut meals typically contain 3 or 4 g per serving, which is as much fiber as a serving of whole wheat flour. Coconut flour varies between 5 and 10 g of fiber per serving, depending on the brand, and almost all of the carbohydrates in flax and chia seeds are from dietary fiber. Many low carb recipes also substitute veggies like cauliflower and zucchini for rice and pasta, increasing the fiber and nutrients of many dishes even further.

Mocha Chocolate Chunk Chia Brownies Low Carb, Gluten Free| Bob's Red Mill

A great part of the confusion surrounding low carb diets comes from the misperception that they are high protein diets. They aren’t, or at least they shouldn’t be. Done correctly, a low carb diet should be low in carbs (obviously!) and high in fat, with moderate amounts of protein. I know the high fat part scares many people, but science is increasingly coming out in favor of the idea that fats, even saturated fats, are not the enemy. Admittedly, it’s still a bit of a hard sell, and with low carb diets being so misunderstood, they are easy to vilify. I get that; it was a hard sell for me too at first.

I recently read an article about two men, identical twins, who decided to put low carb versus low fat to the test. For a period of one month, one twin ate low carb and the other ate low fat. In the end, the twin on the low carb diet lost more weight, but says he felt sluggish, his breath stank and he was constipated. Well no wonder, since his version of low carb consisted solely of meat, fish, eggs and cheese. He didn’t do a low carb diet, he did a NO carb diet, eating zero fruits, vegetables, nuts or seeds for a whole month. There was nary a gram of dietary fiber to be seen and I don’t know anyone who would advocate this kind of extreme dieting. Naturally, the article gained traction on many news outlets across the globe. Is it any wonder that with this kind of press, low carb diets are so misunderstood?

Mocha Chocolate Chunk Chia Brownies Low Carb, Gluten Free | Bob's Red Mill

One more thing that should convince you how important fiber-rich foods are if you’re going low carb is that they count against your overall carb count. Fiber is indigestible and is not absorbed into the bloodstream. It has no effect on blood glucose levels and many countries don’t even consider it a carbohydrate in their nutritional labeling. The US lists it as a carbohydrate, however, and most low carb diets suggest calculating “net carbs” by subtracting the grams of fiber from the total grams of carbohydrate. Bingo. Right there, you just ate less carbs than you thought you did.

I advocate eating a variety of fiber-rich foods on a low carb diet, as they will help you feel full, healthy and energized. With so many great sources of fiber available, there is simply no need to limit yourself to meat, fish, eggs and cheese. And why would you want to? You can enjoy an amazing variety of foods without blowing your low carb goals. And you’ll be much happier and more likely to stick with it.

Mocha Chocolate Chunk Chia Brownies Low Carb, Gluten Free | Bob's Red Mill

Mocha Chocolate Chunk Chia Seed Brownies

  • ¾ cup Chia Seed Meal (about ½ cup whole seeds – I grind them in my coffee grinder)
  • ¾ cup Swerve Sweetener or other Erythritol
  • ½ tsp Baking Soda
  • ¼ tsp Salt
  • ½ cup Butter
  • 3 oz Unsweetened Chocolate
  • 4 large Eggs
  • ¼ cup strongly brewed Coffee
  • 2 oz Dark Chocolate Chunks (70 to 90% cacao)

Preheat oven to 350°F and grease a 9 x 9 square baking pan. Line with parchment paper, with some overhanging the sides for easy release. Grease parchment.

In a medium bowl, whisk together chia seed meal, sweetener, baking soda and salt.

In a large saucepan over low heat, melt butter and chocolate together, whisking until smooth.

Whisk in eggs (mixture may seize), then whisk in coffee. Stir in chia seed mixture until well combined. Stir in chocolate chunks.

Spread batter in prepared pan and bake 15 to 16 minutes for a fudgier consistency or 18 to 20 for a cakier consistency.

Remove and let cool completely in pan.

Remove brownies from pan by grasping the overhanging parchment and lifting carefully. Cut into 16 squares.

Carolyn Ketchum | All Day I Dream About FoodCarolyn Ketchum is the writer, photographer and almond flour wizard behind All Day I Dream About Food, a low carb and gluten-free food blog. Her mission is to prove to the world that special diets need not be boring or restrictive and that healthy dishes can be just as good, or better, than their sugar and gluten-filled counterparts. It’s astonishing what you can do with a bag of almond flour, a stick of butter, and a willingness to experiment. Follow her on FacebookTwitterGoogle Plus and Pinterest for inspiring ideas for the low carb, gluten free lifestyle.

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Cranberry Orange Drop Scones

Embracing the Low Carb, Gluten-Free Lifestyle + Cranberry Orange Drop Scones

by Carolyn Ketchum in Gluten Free, Recipes

Starting a specialized diet is a huge lifestyle change that many people face with great trepidation. Whether the dietary changes are by choice or by necessity, it can rock your world to find that many of your old favorite foods are now off-limits. When you embark on a diet that cuts out sugar and gluten and limits carbohydrates, you will at first feel that your food choices are incredibly limited. And you may be very disheartened, thinking that cooking, baking and eating with such limited ingredients will lose all pleasure. I know that feeling all too well, as I was there myself a few short years ago. A diagnosis of diabetes and a desire to stay off insulin led me to the low carb, gluten-free lifestyle; I thought my days of cooking and eating delicious foods were over.

In reality, nothing could have been further from the truth. First, I had to get over the common misconception that low carb diets consist of little more than eggs, meat and cheese. Don’t get me wrong, I love all of those things, but I think anyone would tire of that menu pretty quickly. One can only eat so many cheese omelets before craving a different sort of breakfast. Thankfully, there is this little thing called the internet; perhaps you’ve heard of it? I will always chalk it up to the power of Google Search that I discovered early on a veritable goldmine of information about eating low carb and gluten-free. And my own experimentation with low carb cooking and baking has added greatly to my understanding of what works, what doesn’t, and how to stay focused and on track. I feel fortunate that I am able to share that knowledge with you.

Cranberry Orange Drop Scones | Bob's Red Mill + All Day I Dream About Food

Upon embarking on a low carb diet, you do need to be prepared to cook and bake a lot of your own foods at home. Low carb, gluten-free recipes tend to take rather specialized ingredients which, thanks to companies like Bob’s Red Mill, are becoming more and more widely available. Almond flour is available in many grocery store chains now, as are coconut flour, flax seed meal and chia seeds. Nut flours/meals and coconut flour form the basis of the vast majority of low carb baked goods. And believe me, baked goods made with these ingredients can rival their high-carb, gluten-filled counterparts in both taste and texture.

Don’t confuse gluten-free with low carb or vice-versa. This is a common mistake, and many well-meaning friends and family may offer you something that is gluten-free, but is made with high-carb ingredients like rice flour or contains added sugars. And many pre-packaged low carb items are actually made with wheat-based products, so if you need to be gluten-free, steer clear of these. The sugar-free or no-added sugar labels are also not a guarantee of a low carbohydrate item. When in doubt, read the nutritional information on the packaging. If it’s a homemade item, don’t be afraid to ask what’s in it. It’s not rude when your health is at stake.

Although you do need to limit your consumption of things like grains, legumes and potatoes on a low carb, gluten-free diet, you will be pleasantly surprised at the number of delicious foods that are naturally low in carbohydrates. Did you know chocolate is low carb? Well, the unsweetened variety is, and although few people like the taste of unsweetened chocolate, adding a little sweetener of your own can produce delicious results. Most vegetables are low in carbohydrates and even some sweet-tasting fruits like strawberries and raspberries are naturally low carb as well.

Cranberry Orange Drop Scones | Bob's Red Mill

All is not lost when it comes to enjoying decadent desserts either. The fact that sugar is the predominant sweetener in our culture is something of an historical accident. There are numerous other sweeteners out there, and you aren’t limited to artificial sweeteners like aspartame and sucralose. Stevia, erythitol, and xylitol are all naturally-occurring and have little impact on most people’s blood glucose levels. They all have their limitations in low carb, gluten-free baking, however, so I keep several of them on hand and often use them in combination to get the desired results.

Like any healthy eating regimen, you need to make sure you are getting enough fiber in your low carb, gluten-free diet. Fortunately, many high-fiber foods are also quite low in carbohydrates and dietary fiber can actually count against the carbs in any given food item. Although fiber is technically considered a carbohydrate (at least on US nutrition labeling), it largely passes through the system undigested and has little effect on blood glucose levels. In fact, a significant amount of dietary fiber can actually slow the absorption of other sources of glucose into the bloodstream. You will quickly become familiar with the term “net carb counts”, calculated by subtracting the total grams of dietary fiber per serving from the total grams of carbohydrate per serving.

If all of this sounds confusing and a little overwhelming, don’t worry. A little bit of effort in figuring out what does, and what doesn’t, fit the low carb, gluten-free lifestyle, and it will soon become second nature. And you won’t be limited to meat, cheese and eggs for the rest of your life, either. The foods available to you are much more varied than they first appear. Better yet, you are bound to discover new foods and new ingredients that you heretofore knew little or nothing about. You will find new ways to cook and bake, and you will enjoy your food all the more knowing it’s good for you.

 Cranberry Orange Drop Scones, Low Carb, Gluten Free | Bob's Red Mill

Cranberry Orange Drop Scones


  • 1/2 cup Coconut Flour
  • 1/2 cup Almond Flour
  • 1/3 cup Swerve Sweetener or other erythritol (other sweeteners may be substituted)
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1 cup fresh Cranberries
  • 1/2 cup Greek Yogurt
  • 4 large Eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup fresh Orange Juice
  • 2 Tbsp Coconut Oil, melted
  • 2 Tbsp Orange Zest
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract

Optional Glaze:

  • ¼ cup powdered Swerve Sweetener or other powdered erythritol (if you substitute another sweetener here, it must be a powdered version)
  • 2 to 3 Tbsp fresh Orange Juice

Preheat oven to 350°F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together coconut flour, almond flour, sweetener, baking powder and salt. Stir in cranberries.

Add Greek yogurt, eggs, orange juice, coconut oil, orange zest and vanilla extract and stir vigorously until well combined.

Drop by large spoonful onto prepared baking sheet. You should get 10 to 12 scones in all. Bake 24 to 27 minutes, until firm to the touch and the tops are lightly browned.

Remove and let cool 5 minutes on pan, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the glaze, whisk powdered sweetener and 2 tbsp of orange juice together in a small bowl. Add more orange juice if glaze is too thick.

Drizzle over cooled scones.

Leftovers should be stored in the refrigerator.

Carolyn Ketchum | All Day I Dream About Food

Carolyn Ketchum is the writer, photographer and almond flour wizard behind All Day I Dream About Food, a low carb and gluten-free food blog. Her mission is to prove to the world that special diets need not be boring or restrictive and that healthy dishes can be just as good, or better, than their sugar and gluten-filled counterparts. It’s astonishing what you can do with a bag of almond flour, a stick of butter, and a willingness to experiment. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and Pinterest for inspiring ideas for the low carb, gluten free lifestyle. 

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Carolyn Ketchum Google: Carolyn Ketchum
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Mixed Legumes

Feeding Your Family While Watching Your Weight

by Liz Della Croce in Featured Articles, Health

There’s no way around it: losing weight is hard work. It requires consistency, dedication and a hefty pinch of willpower. If you are married or have children, you likely aren’t just cooking for yourself which can pose a whole new set of challenges.

As the sole cook for a family of four, I can speak first hand about dealing with picky eaters and finding creative ways to make nutritious foods taste delicious.  To help you reach your weight loss goals, here are my top tips for feeding the family while making healthy lifestyle changes.

Family Dinner

Maximize Flavor: Instead of serving steamed broccoli for dinner, try roasting it with a drizzle of sesame oil and a splash of soy sauce. When you roast vegetables the natural sugars in begin to caramelize creating a sweet flavor the whole family will love. Once you begin roasting vegetables you will say bye-bye to boring, overcooked steamed veggies. In addition to broccoli, try roasting Brussels sprouts, butternut squash, eggplant and more.

Variety is Key: One of the surest ways to get bored with healthy eating is to prepare the same foods over and over again. To keep things interesting, try new grains in your favorite dishes. If you normally make quick cooking oats for breakfast, try whipping up a batch of Slow Cooker Banana Nut Oatmeal instead. The chewy, nutty texture is a nice change from rolled oats and will keep the family excited about breakfast. To make it even more fun, let the kids pick their favorite mix-ins in the morning: fresh fruit, yogurt, nuts and seeds make delicious oatmeal toppings.  Want to take it to the next level? Try a creamy bowl of Breakfast Quinoa or Spelt Berry Porridge instead. The options are endless.

Crock Pot Banana Nut Oatmeal | The Lemon Bowl

Get the Kids Involved: The next time you head to the grocery store or farmers market, let your kids pick out one new vegetable or whole grain to try that week. Perhaps they are curious about eggplant or want to try quinoa for the first time. By letting the kids be in the driver’s seat, they will be engaged and excited to try out their special new ingredient.

Don’t Give Up: If you serve a healthy dish that the family doesn’t love, don’t give up. Children and toddlers have finicky palates. Their favorite foods might become their least favorite foods in the blink of an eye. An important part of making permanent lifestyle changes is acknowledging the fact that set backs will occur. Wait a couple weeks and try again. Perhaps you can use the same ingredient in a different recipe or prepare it in a new way. No matter what you do, don’t give up. You would be surprised how quickly little ones change their tunes.

Above all else, have fun with it and get in the kitchen with your family! Cooking at home is not only a great way to save money and calories but it is a great way to connect with the family and make memories. The more fun you have along the journey, the more likely you are to stick with it.

What are your best tips for feeding your family while watching your weight? Leave a comment below – we would love to hear from you!

Liz Della Croce | The Lemon Bowl Liz Della Croce is the creator and author of The Lemon Bowl, a healthy food blog. Since 2010, Liz has been creating delicious recipes using real ingredients with an emphasis on seasonality. Liz has appeared live on the TODAY Show and tapes regular cooking segments for her local NBC affiliate station. Through healthy eating and regular exercise, Liz has successfully achieved a personal weight loss milestone and has a passion for helping others reach similar goals. New in 2013, Liz launched Healthy Habits, a feature on The Lemon Bowl where her loyal readers and growing audience can find practical advice, resources and information on creating and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

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Liz Della Croce Google: Liz Della Croce
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Meals for New and Expectant Families

by Cassidy Stockton in Featured Articles, Recipes

The first few weeks of life with a newborn, whether it is a first child or not, is an incredibly challenging time for any family. Mom and Dad are likely exhausted and cooking a meal may seem like an insurmountable task. Bring them the best gift ever by delivering a delicious, home-cooked meal to their door. It saves them from having to even think about what to make for dinner.

Here are some simple dos and don’ts for a meal delivery and some ideas for meals that would work well in this situation.

  • Do your research: find out what food allergies or preferences may need to be taken into account for the family (and we’re talking about siblings, too). Are they vegetarians? Do they need gluten free? Is someone allergic to eggs? Find out what should be avoided up front. If mom and dad are fresh from the hospital, ask a family member or communicate with a simple text. Don’t call and expect a new mom to remember everything that needs to be avoided.
  • With that in mind, don’t make it a surprise. In this instance, a surprise is absolutely the last thing in the world they need. You don’t have to tell them what you’re bringing, but a heads-up that you’re going to drop off dinner tomorrow will be all the surprise they need.
  • Do plan ahead: dropping off a frozen meal pre-baby is a kindness every mom and dad will appreciate once they have the baby. They may not realize it when you give them the food, but they will.
  • Do create an inventory: if you’re dropping off several meals, make the new parents a list so they can easily read what you brought in their sleep-deprived state.
  • Don’t get crazy elaborate: no matter what kind of birth, mom is exhausted and healing. A meal with too many wild ingredients (even if she loves them) may be too much for her. A meal that takes a lot of preparation on their end is also out.
  • Don’t have high expectations about a visit with baby: sure, everyone wants to meet the new baby, but those first few days are for mom and dad to bond with the new addition. Call or text ahead and find out if you can visit when you drop off a meal and don’t be offended if they say no. They are likely bombarded with well-meaning folks who want to visit. Not to mention that when you want to visit might be the only time mom (or baby) has slept all day.
  • Do be the loved one who says it’s okay if they want to be alone. Take your food in a cooler, drop it off and leave a note or text them to let them know what you brought. They’ll be grateful and doubly likely to approve a baby visit in the near future.
  • Do give clear and concise written instructions. They might not eat your meal right away, especially if it is a frozen one. Save them time and energy by providing preparation and serving instructions.

Black Bean Tortilla Soup

Meals that make a great gift: 

  • Black Bean Tortilla Soup: easy to freeze, easy to make vegetarian or vegan, gluten free convertible. A hearty soup, perfect for warming and comforting a tired family. If dropping off for immediate consumption, bring a bag of tortilla chips, sour cream and chopped avocado.
  • Ginger and Onion Whole Grains and Beans Soup: easy to freeze, vegetarian, gluten free convertible. A light, brothy soup- perfect for a healing body. If dropping off for immediate consumption, bring a green salad and loaf of crusty bread.
  • Butternut Barley Risotto: easy to freeze, vegetarian-friendly, make gluten free by using gluten free steel cut oats or rice. Nutritious and filling, this dish is the perfect comfort food without being insanely unhealthy.  If dropping off for immediate consumption, bring a green salad and loaf of crusty bread.
  • Summer Squash and Portabello Lasagna from Herbivoracious: easy to freeze, vegetarian, gluten free convertible. When you’re exhausted from being up all night and nervous about the night to come, there is nothing like a lasagna. If the new family is more likely to enjoy a meat-based lasagna, try this one from Simply Recipes. Gluten free? Try this one from Gluten Free Girl and the Chef. What is beautiful about lasagna, in particular, is that you can assemble everything and hand it off to be cooked. You can also freeze it uncooked and give them cooking directions (depending on the size and depth of the lasanga, this is typically 350°F for 60-90 minutes).
  • Spinach and Cheese Strata from Smitten Kitchen: easy to freeze, vegetarian friendly, gluten free convertible. This can be a breakfast, lunch or dinner- it’s so versatile.

Other great ideas: chicken (or vegetable) pot pie, quiche, macaroni and cheese, enchiladas. Don’t have time to make a meal?  Takeout is always an option. 


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Cassidy Stockton Google: Cassidy Stockton
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Coconut Flour

A Little More About Coconut Flour {Guest Post}

by Guest in Featured Articles, Whole Grains 101

What in Bob’s Red Mill Is Coconut Flour?

Do you ever hear some people talk about different kinds of flour, new seeds, or see a word on a menu that you have no idea what it really is? Sometimes when I walk into the “natural foods” section of the grocery store, I see things that look pretty cool, but sometimes just keep walking because I’m not sure what they are or how I’m supposed to use them. I just wonder “What in the world is that? And how am I supposed to use it?” When I heard about coconut flour, that was exactly how I felt, except for this time, with Bob’s help, I have done some research, experimented with some recipes, and feel like I know a little more about coconut flour. Hopefully I can share what I’ve learned with you so that you can add it to your shopping list and add a little healthy touch of coconut to your family’s diet instead of walking on by.Coconut Flour

What is coconut flour?

Coconut flour is a soft, flour like product made from the pulp of a coconut. It’s actually a by-product made during the coconut milk making process. When making coconut milk, you have to soak coconut meat. That pulp is then dried out and ground into this powdery flour.

What are the health benefits of coconut flour?

Many people look to coconut flour to help create gluten free baked goods. Gluten free is definitely a great reason to use coconut flour, but that’s not all it has to offer. Coconut flour is also extremely high in fiber with almost double the amount found in wheat bran. In just 2 tablespoons of coconut flour, there are 5 grams of fiber (20% of the recommended daily value) and 8 grams of carbs. Mayo Clinic says a diet with plenty of fiber can help keep you regular, help maintain weight, and lower your risk of diabetes and heart disease.

How do you cook with coconut flour?

Cooking with coconut flour can be a little tricky. I have had a couple of recipes completely bomb. Once you get the hang of it though, it’s a super easy way to add nutrients and fiber to a ton of dishes. There are two things to keep in mind when working with coconut flour. Since it is so high in fiber, it requires a ton more moisture. There is also no equal substitution when working with coconut flour. You can usually substitute about 20% of the flour in a recipe for coconut flour and add at least 20% more liquid. My personal experience also says that when working with baked goods, you should also add about 3-5 eggs for every cup of coconut flour you are using. You can also add a tablespoon or two of coconut flour to sauces and gravies. It is a little clumpy so take your time when adding it in. Coconut flour has a naturally sweet flavor that can really add a nice little something extra to dishes.

Honestly, when you’re beginning to bring coconut flour into your cooking, stick to already established recipes. Once you start to get a little more comfortable, you can begin to experiment. I speak from experience… botched recipes can be costly and a little disheartening. Practice with some great recipes online first. You can even check out my first great coconut flour recipe success: Whole Wheat Coconut Blueberry Muffins.

Resources for More on Coconut Flour

–          Mayo Clinic article on benefits of high fiber diet

–          Nourished Kitchen: A great blog with tips on baking with coconut flour

–          Livestrong article on the benefits of coconut flour

–          Bob’s Red Mill coconut flour facts

–          Bob’s Red Mill Hangout on Google+: Tips for Baking with Coconut Flour

About Ashley – Ashley is a mom, wife, sister, daughter, and friend working to navigate through the mysterious world of Mommyia. Read more about her adventures at Momicles and follow her @Momicles2010.

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Prebiotics and Probiotics

Getting Gastrointestinally Groovy: Prebiotics and Probiotics

by Cassidy Stockton in Health, Whole Grains 101

It’s hard to miss the probiotic trend in the food industry these days. Probiotics are good bacteria that aid in the balance of our digestive tract. These microorganisms aid in digestion and support our immune system. They can help prevent intestinal upset and aid in the treatment of certain infections. In fact, if you’ve recently taken antibiotics, you’ve likely wiped out your good bacteria. Probiotics will help replenish your bacteria stash and get you back to your old self.

Prebiotics and Probiotics

These good bacteria are found in many packaged foods (everything from chocolate to protein bars to ice cream), but are naturally occurring in yogurt, kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, miso, kimchi, and tempeh, to name a few. Notice that each of these foods is a fermented product. Fermentation is the result of active bacteria growth. To cause fermentation, bacteria is introduced to the food. This bacteria converts the foods sugars to acid, gas or alcohol. When ingesting these fermented foods, you add a live organism (more like millions of live organisms) into your digestive system. These organisms work to breakdown foods in your body and out-compete the bad bacteria that make us sick.

Probiotics are awesome, but they can’t work alone. That takes us to prebiotics. Prebiotics are the food that probiotics need in order to survive and get busy in your body. It makes sense, in order to out-compete the bad bacteria and thrive, these good bacteria need some fuel. Just like you combine sugar and water with yeast to activate it in order for your dough to rise, you need some kind of sugar to get these probiotics charging.

Not all sugars are created equal, however, so don’t grab a doughnut and think you’re helping out your kombucha with some fuel. The best prebiotics are whole grains, legumes and fruit, but other foods high in fiber are also good prebiotics. Fiber is key because it is the “waste” from your food that sticks around in your digestive system. This waste product is exactly what the bacteria need to thrive. Any food without fiber won’t offer up much of use to the good fauna in your system.

Prebiotics and Probiotics

Here are some great ways to combine prebiotics and probiotics for a healthy, happy digestive system.

  • Muesli and Yogurt– the ultimate in a healthy breakfast or snack. Pick yogurt that lists either Lactobacillus or Bifidobacterium in the ingredient list as a live culture. Choose a plain or vanilla flavor that is low in sugar for the most nutritious choice. Muesli is unsweetened, but contains dried fruit that will add a nice sweetness to your meal. The whole grains provide the prebiotic fiber and the nuts and seeds will give you an extra omega-3 bonus.
  • Brown Rice and Tempeh– combine a whole grain brown rice with tempeh for a one-two prebiotic/probiotic punch. Add vegetables sauteed in olive oil for a heart-healthy complete meal.
  • Whole Grain Crackers with Yogurt Dressing/Dip – Replace sour cream in your favorite dressing or dip with a probiotic-packed yogurt and pair with whole grain crackers, bread or even drizzle over a whole grain salad. Try this Creamy Avocado Yogurt Dressing from Mother Thyme and these Savory Hemp Crackers for a wonderful omega-3 rich snack.



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Cassidy Stockton Google: Cassidy Stockton
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