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Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Virtues of My Splendid Gluten-Free and Low-Carb Bake Mix

Found an article at the George Mateljan Foundation, a not-for-profit foundation with no commercial interests or advertising, is a new force for change to help make a healthier you and a healthier world.

I found the above site and will quote some stuff from their article that really jumped out at me.  My bake mix contains almond meal, oat flour, coconut flour and a small amount of xanthan gum.  It is a truly healthy bake mix in my opinion and any low-carber who is finally allowed some grains, should be able to tolerate this bake mix since it is still low-carb.  It is much better than going whole hog and having a whole wheat muffin, say, or whole grain bread; no, keep it low-carb and the fact that it is gluten-free won't hurt.  It can only benefit all of us to keep gluten in our diets to a dull roar.  I don't have to be gluten-free but I actually like the food I'm eating so no problem. I prefer my gluten-free bake mix to the really low-carb Splendid Low-Carb Bake Mix. At home it's easy; but eating out or visiting the city is more of a challenge.  I need to plan ahead and take food with me.  The Splendid Guten-Free Bake mix can be substituted for the Splendid Low-Carb Bake Mix.  Just read the instructions for the bake mix.  However, if one must be very low-carb, the latter bake mix makes sense for the duration of that period of dieting.  Keep this bake mix for a bit later or for occasional indulgences.  Remember desserts are not dieting.  Eat regular food 99% of the time and keep desserts for planned treats once a week or once a month or twice a year (ha, that last one made me pause....have to hand it to the savory peeps able to do that!!).  In any case, I need my "breads" made with the gluten-free bake mix. 

First of all almonds are very heart healthy - a quick Google will point that out.  That's the number one ingredient in the bake mix.  The omega-6's in almonds are not the villains they are made out to be.

Second of all the oat flour - some people have a query as to why I would include it as it is a bit carby to be sure.  Here is the quick answer:  I like my baking to taste like the real thing.   I don't like flax meal and I don't like soy (both contain phytoestrogens which can affect thyroid function and my men don't want it) and I don't like anything with gluten in it these days (my DH needs to be off gluten and thus the new recipes I create will be gluten-free and low-carb, as well as sugar free) and most other flours are either high carb or taste yucky to me (quinoa flour and apparently millet flour and not sure about buckwheat flour).  Oat flour tastes good and is definitely quite a bit lower in carbs than white flour and that doesn't hurt - although I use so little in my bake mix that it gets diluted.  I avoid peanut flour as I already eat plenty of peanuts and peanut butter and don't want to overdo the aflotoxins (sp?).

Good things about oat flour which is a whole grain (remember I use the garden variety oat flour from Arrowhead Mills - my DH is merely intolerant, not Celiac, so very slight possible gluten contamination is not a problem for him.).  First some background.  My DH has had high blood pressure for about 10 years or so.  His blood pressure is incredibly normal since going gluten-free and guess what?  Oat flour also lowers blood pressure!  I use the bake mix all the time to make him neutral-tasting artisan buns (will share recipe soon) and other baked goodies as can be seen on my blog.  He used to have a runny nose after eating and that has gone.  He would put on weight like magic if he indulged in white flour goodies and now no longer eats things like that and his weight does not fluctuate so wildly.  He has actually lost a lot of weight since going gluten-free.  He is definitely intolerant of gluten.  I guess had I not used gluten in my baking, we would probably never have figured it out - but when I suddenly cut it out almost completely, things came right for him.  

"consuming just 3 grams of soluble oat fiber per day (an amount found in one bowl of oatmeal) typically lowers total cholesterol by 8-23%. This is highly significant since each 1% drop in serum cholesterol translates to a 2% decrease in the risk of developing heart disease.

Antioxidant compounds unique to oats, called avenanthramides, help prevent free radicals from damaging LDL cholesterol, thus reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, suggests a study conducted at Tufts University and published in The Journal of Nutrition.

Eating a serving of oats, at least 6 times each week (still quoting that site) is an especially good idea for postmenopausal women with high cholesterol, high blood pressure or other signs of cardiovascular disease (CVD).  (See why my DH's blood pressure came down?  Besides the fact that the internet is full of folks claiming lower blood pressure or normal blood pressure on a gluten-free diet)
A 3-year prospective study of over 200 postmenopausal women with CVD, published in the American Heart Journal, shows that those eating at least 6 servings of  oats (oat flour!!) each week experienced both:
  • Slowed progression of atherosclerosis, the build-up of plaque that narrows the vessels through which blood flows, and
  • Less progression in stenosis, the narrowing of the diameter of arterial passageways.
The women's intake of fiber from fruits, vegetables and refined grains was not associated with a lessening in CVD progression.

Enhance Immune Response to Infection
In laboratory studies reported in Surgery, beta-glucan significantly enhanced the human immune system's response to bacterial infection. Beta-glucan not only helps neutrophils (the most abundant type of non-specific immune cell) navigate to the site of an infection more quickly, it also enhances their ability to eliminate the bacteria they find there.

Stabilize Blood Sugar
Studies also show that beta-glucan has beneficial effects in diabetes as well. Type 2 diabetes patients given foods high in this type of oat fiber or given oatmeal or oat bran rich foods experienced much lower rises in blood sugar compared to those who were given white rice or bread.

Oats Substantially Lower Type 2 Diabetes Risk
Oats are a rich source of magnesium, a mineral that acts as a co-factor for more than 300 enzymes, including enzymes involved in the body's use of glucose and insulin secretion."

Fiber:  All the major ingredients in my bake mix contain some fiber.  Staying regular is also heart-protective.

"Oats, via their high fiber content, are already known to help remove cholesterol from the digestive system that would otherwise end up in the bloodstream."


All of that said, most of us with our metabolic issues cannot sit down to a bowl of oatmeal.  There would be too much of an insulin response and later there could even be a blood sugar crash with a hypoglycemic reaction.  Nope those days are gone, however, you will find that the Gluten-Free Bake Mix is very gentle on the system as very little oat flour is ingested per baking item.  The good protein and fat content of the ground almonds also moderates the effect on the blood sugar.  I have several friends with diabetes that love my Gluten-Free Bake Mix. 


Sandra said...

Great info..thanks for sharing this! Very interesting post!

Jennifer said...

You're welcome, Sandra. Thank you for stopping by.

Patricia said...

Nice post Jennifer! At this point we are still using the Splendid bake mix and quite happy with it for cookies but I am going to either pick up some oat flour or grind up some oatmeal to make some and give the gluten free mix a whirl. I see pumpkin muffins in my future. P: Hubs and I started Atkins a year ago this August. Thanks so much for your great blog with all the recipes...we are in this lifestyle for the long haul and variety makes it wonderful, not difficult at all!

Jennifer said...

Hi Patricia. How are you?

That's cool. Love it if more people would try the new bake mix. Hope you can find the oat flour.

I know, variety really helps - and so easy to low-carb at home; no deprivation.

jo said...

Hi Jennifer -

Am conducting a small experiment on myself, cutting wheat and gluten from my diet after deliberately eating a little more than I usually do. I've been sucrose/glucose-free and low carb for a year. I want to see if removing gluten will have an impact on my blood glucose(in theory, if gluten is inflaming, my glucose will be higher, right?). The perfect opportunity to use your new mix more often!

Thank you for all of your hard work developing this bake mix and sharing it with the rest of us!

Jennifer said...

Hi Jo. You're welcome. It's a good thing to figure it out if you are gluten sensitive. Here is a link to an article I wrote that will make you think you might be on the right track:

Kim Bee said...

I am gluten sensitive although you'd never know from the way I cook. I should check this out. Would probably cut down on the tummy aches. Anything pure wheat I just avoid. Gluten is hard though, it's in everything. My sis sends me some cool products to try so I dabble a bit. Enjoy your weekend.

Eftychia said...

What an interesting post! Lately I try to find ways to use more healthy ingredients in my recipes. Thanks for the info...

Jennifer said...

Eftychia, you are welcome. It's never too late to begin slowly focusing more on healthier food. You have a wonderful gift. I hope you will go more and more into the health side of things as time goes by.

Jennifer said...

Kim Bee - You will probably go gluten-free at some point then. It's not worth the tummy aches to have the gluten. Actually not hard to do once you find lovely substitutes and then with the inflammation gone, weight loss comes more easily. Most of the blogs I link to are gluten-free as well as low-carb and sugar free.

divalou said...

Just wondering if anyone knows if ground oats are the same as oat flour?? I have a massive bag of rolled oats and if I could use these rather than buying anything else, that would be good!
Or is there a crucial difference between the two?

Jennifer said...

You can use oats and grind them to make oat flour. I wasn't able to get as fine a product, but I think after the moisture in a muffin or whatever works in it - you won't notice the coarser texture after a day. I vaguely remember that. If you have a way of grinding it real fine then you are away to the races. :)

jo said...

Thanks, Jennifer. Thanks for the link to your article. The other link is no longer supported, but it sent me researching, and i found a small mention at Jenny Ruhl's blog. Today is day 5 of no wheat - am noticing less bloating, but no noticeable impact on blood glucose yet...but early days yet. I do appreciate your encouragement. thank you!

Jennifer said...

Yes, it's very early days and I've heard tell it can take months until one actually can see the full benefits of going gluten-free.

robbar said...

Hi, my last blood test revealed that my thyroid is 5.1, maximum is supposed to be 5...
The doctor said we have to keep an eye on this next time I'll have my blood tested. I take flax meal every day in my yogurt...could this be the cause?

Jennifer said...

Robbar, one of the first things you should do is have the thyroid antibody test. This will tell you if you are merely hypothyroid (which you clearly are - anything quite a bit over 2.0 is very suspect) or whether you have an autoimmune disease - Hashimoto's Thyroiditis.

Flax has phytoestrogens and it can interfere with your body producing its own estrogen. I do not recommend flax. Chia seeds with omega 3's is a better option by far if you wanting the benefits of omega 3 and fiber.

Men should not eat flax or soy and in my opinion, women should give it a skip as well. Soy will affect the thyroid adversely - so it is quite possible that flax will as well. I don't touch those products anymore.

Jennifer said...

P.S. Which bread are you referring to? Curious me.