Gluten-Free Almond Flour Crackers Recipe

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When you are on a gluten-free, low carbohydrate diet, sometimes you miss the familiar savory taste of a cracker. There are many options! I just tried this recipe and it turned out well. 

Recipe

  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 3/4 cups almond flour, blanched or raw, finely ground*
  • *Finely ground (rather than coarse-ground) blanched almond flour makes the crispiest crackers.

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Whisk together the egg, salt, pepper, and any additional spices or add-ins (see "tips," below.)
  3. Add the almond flour, stirring to make a cohesive dough.
  4. Place the dough onto a sheet of parchment, or a piece of plastic wrap. Pat it out with your hands, and top with an additional piece of parchment or plastic wrap. Roll the dough out to about 1/8" thickness; it should be about 10" x 12", or larger.
  5. Remove the top paper, and use a pizza wheel or knife to cut 1" squares. Move the cut crackers, along with their parchment, to the baking sheet. If you've used plastic wrap, spray the pan with non-stick baking spray, and transfer the crackers from the plastic to the pan.
  6. Bake the crackers for 14 to 16 minutes, until they're light golden brown. The crackers around the perimeter will tend to brown more quickly, so transfer those to a cooling rack and return the pan to the oven to finish baking the remaining center crackers.
  7. Cool the crackers completely before transferring them to an airtight bag for room-temperature storage.

New research on the use of a very low carbohydrate diet for diabetes treatment

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In a recent study, it was found that a very low carbohydrate (ketogenic) diet dramatically improved blood sugar makers and reduced medication use. After 1-year of following participants, the researchers found:

  • Significant weight loss
  • A reduced hemoglobin A1C, the marker of blood sugar regulation.
  • 94% reduced blood sugar medications 
  • Liver health improved 
  • The diet was well tolerated.

These are exciting findings and reveal that diet really can be medicine! 

The Ketogenic Diet: A case review

The ketogenic diet has recently become very popular. Following a diet high in healthy fats you push  your metabolism from primarily burning sugar for energy to fats. It may be useful for energy support, weight managment, diabetes and memory. 

I recently worked with a 35-year-old female. She is a full-time mom and had been experiencing low energy and trying to lose weight. Even though she had lost some weight with an intensive exercise routine she was stuck and not having any further progress. At the end of the day, she was burnt out. When I checked her labs, they all came back normal so we decided to try the ketogenic diet to switch her metabolism into a fat buring state. Her nutritional plan contained a formulated probiotic researched for weight control and key nutrients to support the transition into ketosis. I also used gentle remedies to support lymphatic drainage and her internal ecosystem. Additionally, we boosted her plant intake greatly. After 3 days of our ketosis program, she had immensely increased her energy levels with no mid-afternoon crashes that she had previously experienced. After one week she also saw progress with her weight loss goals and is down 5lbs and continues to get closer to her weight management goal. She also reported to me that she has reduced food cravings and more mental alertness since beginning the protocol. Another surprise benefit for her was a reduction in her chronic back pain that began after pregnancy. 
 

A ketogenic diet is actually a plant based diet

A ketogenic diet can definitely be a amazing way to increase energy. With a ketogenic diet the majority of calories come from healthy fats. Many people assume that it's low in vegetables. That said, fats have much more calories then vegetables. In terms of calories you are getting most of you energy from fats but by volume it's mostly a plant based diet! When preparing a keto meal start with veggies then add the fat. About 75% of your plate should be plant based foods. So go ahead, eat all the colors of the rainbow and keep out the high glycemic vegetables.  There are many awesome vegan recipes you can use to build your keto meals. 

Broccoli really is a superfood

By Nathan Jeffery, ND, BSc.

Free radicals and chemicals are everywhere. For many, this may pose a significant challenge to reaching personal health and wellness goals. Luckily the body has many pathways to neutralize and clear them. There are times when a person may benefit from some additional nutrients to support these elimination pathways. Broccoli and other members of the cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower, cabbage, and kale have powerful antioxidant capabilities. The phytonutrient responsible for these properties is called sulforaphane glucosinolate (SGS). Interestingly it has to be converted to its active form by our gut bacteria! This is a wonderful example on how your good gut bacteria helps to promote health and detoxification.

At the cellular level, sulforaphane modulates expression of detoxifying and antioxidant genes. SGS increases phase 2 detoxification in the liver. This is important because Phase 2 detoxification takes toxic waste products and neutralizes them for elimination from the body. SGS may also provide a form protection for some cancers. This may be due through the elimination of toxic waste products that if not dealt with could cause damage to our genetic material. A diet of 3 to 5 servings of broccoli or related vegetables per week may decrease your risk of cancer by about 30-40%.

It turns out that broccoli sprouts offer the highest amount of SGS in food. Mashed cauliflower or broccoli is also a great way to get SGS in food. This also offers a great alternative to mashed potatoes because it does not increase blood sugar. Cauliflower can also be used to make a great gluten free great pizza crust!

Not only do we need food for caloric and nutrient value, food also influences our genes. Therefore it’s also beneficial to view food as information that can communicate with our internal programming to support optimum health. Broccoli is a great example that food really is medicine.

References

Tortorella SM, Royce SG, Licciardi PV, Karagiannis TC. Dietary Sulforaphane in Cancer Chemoprevention: The Role of Epigenetic Regulation and HDAC Inhibition. Antioxidants & Redox Signaling. 2015;22(16):1382-1424. doi:10.1089/ars.2014.6097.

Jeffery EH, Keck AS.Translating knowledge generated by epidemiological and in vitro studies into dietary cancer prevention. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2008 Jun;52 Suppl 1:S7-17.

 

Choosing a quality probiotic

With the school season quickly approaching we also see an increase in the cold virus. Prevention is key and a probiotic is a great starting point for some additional immune support. It is important to understand that not all probiotics are created equal. I have found that most people choose a probiotic based on a mega dose, price or whatever is available. 

There are a lot of factors that go into picking out a quality probiotic. Below are some things to look for when choosing a high-quality probiotic:

  • Look for specific probiotics that have clinical research. 
  • Look for a strain code next to the name and look for research supporting your health concern.
  • Look for human strains. These tend to have more research for specific conditions.
  • Look for strains that are not killed by your stomach acid. Mode of delivery (capsules, fortified yogurt, powder) is not as important if you have acid resistant strains of probiotics. 
  • The CFU level should be guaranteed up to the date of expiration

In a study published in the journal Pediatrics (2009), Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM was found to reduce incidences of fever, runny nose and duration of colds in children. Kids that took this probiotic along with Bifidobacterium lactis Bi-07 had even better results! Antibiotic use was decreased with this combination. 

Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG is another specific strain of bacteria showing promise for immune support. In another article published by Pediatrics (2010) this strain was found to reduce incidences of gut and respiratory infections at a pediatric hospital. 

As we learn more about the microbiome and its role in health outside the gut we will see specific strains of probiotics being used for a variety of other health concerns in the near future. Although probiotics have a very good safety profile it is important to check with a health provider and focus on prevention by supporting overall health. 

By Dr. Nathan Jeffery, ND, BSc.

References: 

Probiotic Effects on Cold and Influenza-Like Symptom Incidence and Duration in Children Gregory J. Leyer, Shuguang Li, Mohamed E. Mubasher, Cheryl Reifer, Arthur C. Ouwehand. Pediatrics Aug 2009, 124 (2) e172-e179; DOI: 10.1542/peds.2008-2666

Lactobacillus GG in the Prevention of Nosocomial Gastrointestinal and Respiratory Tract Infections Iva Hojsak, Slaven Abdović, Hania Szajewska, Milan Milošević, Željko Krznarić, Sanja Kolaček. Pediatrics May 2010, 125 (5) e1171-e1177; DOI: 10.1542/peds.2009-2568