My aunt e-mailed me last night to ask what "sucanat" is and I realized many people may not know about some of the "health foods" used in the recipes. These are the "healthy" substitutes I use most often. This list will be updates as I come across new products.
Agave Syrup is a sweetener that is made from a cactus-like plant. It is sometimes called agave nectar. It is much sweeter than either honey or sugar and has a lower glycemic index than other sweeteners. When substituting for other sweeteners in baking, you only need 1/3 cup of syrup for each cup of sugar. It is high in fructose and highly processed, so use sparingly. From Natural-Health-Restored.com.
Chia is a plant in the mint family, native to South America. Chia seeds are very rich in omega-3 fatty acids. They are also a source of antioxidants and a variety of amino acids. Chia is also a good source of dietary fibre (soluble and insoluble). Chia is sold commercially as seeds or oil and is a good alternative to Flax. Some say it is better than Flax because it does not contain the naturally occurring estrogens and phytoestrogens that flax seeds contain. And unlike flax or hemp seeds, the oil in chia seeds does not go rancid, due to its high antioxidant content. There is no need to refrigerate your chia seeds or oil. Just be aware, chia seeds contain Phytic Acid, a naturally occurring compound found in the hull of most seeds, grains and nuts. Phytic acid blocks the absorption of certain minerals, such as calcuim zinc and iron, into the intestines. Use the seeds sparingly or soak for a few hours prior to use. From Wikipedia and High on Healthy.
Ghee is clarified butter, most often used in Indian cooking. The milk proteins are removed in the clarifying process so it is mostly lactose free. The result is pure butterfat which makes it perfect for shallow pan frying and other cooking. Since the milk solids are removed, Ghee does not burn like butter can. From Food-India.com.
Greek Yogurt has the whey filtered out, to produce a thicker, creamier yogurt. It is also referred to as Strained Yogurt or Yogurt Cheese (Labneh in the Middle East). You can easily make your own by straining plain yogurt through cheese cloth for several hours. Greek yogurt has nearly twice the protein per serving as conventional yogurt, is lower in carbohydrates and its creamy texture makes it the perfect choice for dips and sauces. Most Greek style yogurts are very high in fat. Liberté makes one of the only 0% MF commercially available yogurts in Canada.
Kefir is a fermented milk beverage. It's thicker than traditional milk, but not as thick as yogurt. Kefir is a natural pro-biotic and is said to have antibiotic, anti-fungal and antioxidant properties. It also contains many vitamins, minerals and essential amino acids.
Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-WA) is an ancient grain (actually a seed) that is super nutritious. It's high in protein and iron, low in sodium and has high amounts of 7 major minerals (more than found in wheat, barley or corn). It also has 10 grams of fibre per cup! It's super easy to make and use. It cooks like rice and is just as versatile. In fact, quinoa is so versatile, it can be used in soups, salads, casseroles, stir fry and even baking.
Sucanat is non-refined cane sugar. Sucanat is generally accepted as a substitute for brown sugar and contains a smaller proportion of sucrose than white cane sugar. From Wikipedia.
Turbinado Sugar is low-refined cane sugar, produced from the first pressing of the sugar cane. It has larger crystals than regular granulated sugar and teaspoon for teaspoon has less calories than granulated sugar. It is generally used as a finishing sugar to sprinkle over cookies, cakes and other sweets or stir into beverages. Also known as Raw Sugar or Golden Cane Sugar.
Wheat Germ is the very nutritious inner embryo of the wheat kernel. Unfortunately when wheat is milled into flour, the germ gets discarded. Wheat Germ contains 23 nutrients and has more nutrients per ounce than any other vegetable or grain. It is also very high in protein. Store your wheat germ in the fridge or freezer otherwise it goes rancid quickly.
All of these things can be found in your local health food store or good grocery store.