A lower-carb alternative to a classic family recipe
This recipe is a fantastic alternative for a healthier dessert. A light and fluffy dream.
Growing up, my mom and granny made the most delicious fruit cobbler for many of our family gatherings. It’s a cherished memory and is still one of my favorite desserts. I decided to work on a modified alternative that was still as good but more paleo and low-carb friendly. I finally found the sweet spot with this recipe! (I can’t even lie and say it was rough work doing all the testing to perfect it 🙂
There are two main styles of cobbler. One is the “crumble,” which I’m not a big fan of. Another type, which I much prefer, has a thicker and more bready style of crust. This recipe falls into the second camp. It is similar to a biscuit, but moister, a little more towards a bread pudding.
My favorite fruit for it is plum. The contrast of the slightly tart with the sweet is off the charts good. I use fresh plums when they are in season. It also works well with peaches. Strawberry/rhubarb or cherries are another favorite. Fresh fruit always works well, but frozen works just fine too.
½ cup cassava flour
½ cup almond flour
¾ cup coconut milk
1 egg (optional, gives more rise & sponginess, use full cup coconut milk if not used) ½ cup sugar (coconut sugar or cane sugar) 6 Tbsp. butter (¾ stick, grass-fed preferable – coconut oil can be used as alternative) 1 ½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. cinnamon
1 Tbsp. maple syrup
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups cut fruit (Fresh or frozen. My favorites are: plums, peaches, tart cherries, or strawberry/rhubarb combo) Topping: 1 small can coconut cream (whip it up as directed on the can)
In a skillet or pan, bring 2 cups cut fruit, butter, maple syrup and 1 teaspoon vanilla to a gentle, bubbling boil until fruit is softened (will be rather juicy by the end). Whisk together dry ingredients. Mix in coconut milk, egg and second teaspoon of vanilla. Pour fruit into a 10-inch (approx.) ceramic or glass baking dish. Pour the batter evenly over softened fruit mixture.
Cook at 350 degrees until done, about 40-50 minutes. Top should be lightly golden brown (the breading will remain partly moist internally, however).
Special notes: 1. Double ingredients for more servings. 2. You can substitute any gluten free flour for the cassava or almond.
In the past couple of weeks I’ve been asked by quite a few folks, “Is coconut really bad for you?” You may have seen some headlines recently citing a professor who called it “pure poison” and kicked off another debate.
However, most of the researchers I trust, who are looking at high-quality science, hold a much different view. When part of a healthy diet that includes a range of different types of healthy fats, coconut oil can be a healthy part of it.
One of my favorite researchers, Dr. Sarah Ballantyne (who has her Ph.D. in medical biophysics and spent years as an award winning researcher), had this to say in a recent article she wrote on the topic:
“The myopic view of coconut oil as harmful due to its high saturated fat content not only ignores the very real biological differences between medium-chain and long-chain dietary saturated fats, but is also refuted by recent, well-designed, human studies that show quite conclusively that coconut oil does not increase cardiovascular disease risk.”
In the article, Dr. Ballantyne really digs into the facts and science behind coconut oil. If you are concerned, I’d urge you to give it a read.
Also, a recent study found this to be true of coconut oil:
“Coconut oil significantly raised HDL (good) cholesterol with no differences in LDL compared with olive oil. Coconut oil did also did not differ significantly from olive oil in terms of the total cholesterol to HDL or non-HDL ratio.” (These are common indicators of “good” cholesterol stats.)
COCONUT OIL CAN BE PART OF A HEART HEALTHY DIET
In a nutshell, it’s smart to eat a well-rounded variety of healthy fats, leaning most heavily on the monounsaturated varieties, like olive, avocado, nuts and seeds. If you eat meat, try to get quality grassfed varieties which are much higher in heart healthy omega 3’s. If you decide to go with coconut oil as part of it, focus on high quality virgin and extra virgin coconut oil, which most of the studies that show its health benefits have focused on.
For most people, moderate amounts of saturated fats should be part of a heart healthy diet, and the medium chain varieties from coconut oil can offer many health benefits, especially when in conjunction with an overall healthy whole foods diet that is low in sugar and refined carbs, and high in vegetables (and a bit of fruit). Dr. Ballantyne and others suggest around 10-15% of daily calories from saturated fat.
Have you struggled with natural deodorants over the years, trying to be healthier but stopping because they didn’t take care of body odor well enough when the pressure was really put on them? I have a whole basket of them in my bathroom cupboard!
I’ve been wanting to share about this amazingly effective natural deodorant for some time, which has been working amazingly well, but needed to make 100% sure I tested it out in tough circumstances before doing so. I’m now about 9 months into using it and can say with certainty that it works like a dream!
Primal Pit Paste
The company is Primal Pit Paste brand deodorants. They can be found online on outlets like Thrive Market, Amazon, and in some health food stores.
My final test came this past week. I’ve been back home in Texas, in the almost 100 degree heat, working outdoors, helping my Mom move and clear out my grandparents old house. I had LOTS of sweaty, sticky moments (I’m sure you can all relate). But the great news: not even a hint of odor the whole time.
Many of the natural deodorants I’ve tried in the past have done fine in less strenuous circumstances but wouldn’t always hold up when I was really sweating it out. This is the natural deodorant I’ve been waiting for!
I know how many questionable chemicals are in the standard over-the-counter deodorants that have been shown by numerous studies to be problematic and even toxic to a number of our body systems (for background and ratings on thousands of skin care products, see Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database: http://www.ewg.org/skindeep – I’ve shared about this before). With as many outside negative environmental influences we are exposed to in the modern world, I don’t want to add in anything else of concern.
Also, for awhile, I had really sensitive arm-pits. I was getting a lot of break-out reaction and itching with even many natural deodorants. The ones I didn’t react too didn’t always work. (This has changed a lot for the better since I’ve changed my diet, but I still want to be careful). Primal Pits doesn’t irritate at all. And as I said, it’s amazingly effective.
Seems almost crazy that such natural stuff would really work, right!?! Well, I have yet to have any odor, so I know it works for me. I’d urge anyone to try it out. It’s a little pricey but lasts a long time. Worth every penny.
When it comes to the topic of dietary fat, we’ve been sold a mountain of falsehoods over the past decades. The fats we were told were good, like industrial seed vegetable oils1, are actually largely toxic and can cause disease, while healthy fats can help protect against it. The good whole-food based fats, even quality saturated fats2, are an important part of a healthy diet.
We were told that eating fat made you fat and we heard little about sugar and refined carbs’ role in weight gain (or disease). The evidence is now clear though: Good fat is crucial to thriving health and the real triggers for weight gain are often sugar, refined carbs and bad fats.34 The healthy fats you eat in your diet, are not the same thing as stored fat in your body. There is a whole other set of mechanisms at play to trigger fat storage, and that fat storage is often born of glucose (sugar).
Having enough quality fats in your daily diet actually tends to increase metabolism and leads to sustained weight management. It’s important for most people to get enough quality fat when trying to manage weight. Our body needs nutritional caloric satiation to function properly. When you try to lose weight simply by calorie restriction, it actually reduces metabolism. It’s important to eat enough good fats so that your body isn’t overly stressed and can perform its key functions well.
Fat was also supposed to be the big cause of heart disease and a number of other health conditions. When it comes to healthy fats, the exact opposite is true. By depriving ourselves of the good fats we need, we’ve shifted towards needing to eat and burn sugar and carbs for energy, which are literally killing us!
Healthy fats are calorically very nutrient dense. They feed the body far more per calorie than carbs/sugar. Therefore, you get a much better bang for the buck and are able to satiate yourself more than you can with carbs/sugar. You have to eat a lot more carbs/sugar for your body to get the energy it needs to run than you do with fat. This is a particularly important point for those who are trying to manage their weight.
Now as I said earlier, there’s a big caveat. Highly processed and easily oxidizable and inflammatory industrial seed vegetable oils, which we’ve been told for decades are so much better for us, are actually a big villain. We’re talking canola, soy, corn, safflower, sunflower, the so-called “safe fats.” These oils are extracted through chemical processes, often using toxic substances.
Alternatively, good quality fats are essential to our existence. Here we are talking about:
sustainably sourced palm oil,
nuts and seeds,
quality animal fats (grass-fed in particular),
butter and ghee (yup, I said butter).
These are whole-food based fats. When not eating a whole food source, independent oils attained should be through expeller pressed methods, which, unlike toxic chemical processing, are safe and provide a nourishing food.
The good news is, by bringing in more healthy fats and replacing the bad, you don’t have to stop eating or cut something out of your diet, you’re simply swapping it with a form of fat that is much healthier and actually tastes even better. So it’s a win, win!
You want your fat stores to be of the utmost quality. The industrial seed oils that are often oxidized before you even use them, work against your body in a myriad of ways. Source quality is always critical! You are what you eat.
Most people find that when they shift to a diet that burns more fat for energy instead of glucose, body weight quickly stabilizes and energy is gained. Fat and glucose burn differently in the body. In most cases, good fat actually speeds up our metabolism. And it’s a more sustainable source of fuel for prolonged energy.
Oxidization is not our friend:
A key risk of consuming bad fats occurs because of a process called oxidation.5 Oxidation is a disaster for the body, and another main driver of disease, including: heart disorders, cancer and strokes. This is one reason that most vegetable oils are a problem. The bad ones oxidize easily.
Oxidation is damage caused by oxygen. It’s like when apples or bananas turn brown from air exposure. This happens with fats too, and it’s essentially what happens inside your body when you eat oxidized oils. It’s kind of like rusting on the inside. The ensuing “oxidative stress” creates “free radicals” that are inflammatory and can damage your body. Most of the bad and highly refined vegetable oils listed above cause great risk of this happening inside you.
Fried foods from industrial seed vegetable oils, leave your cells and arteries looking just like the fried foods — rugged, crusty, torn. They disable cells functioning in the short term, and ultimately destroy healthy cells, causing heart attacks and strokes. This process is also how oxidation fries arteries! While eating food fried in these bad oils is the worst of the worst, eating the oils themselves generally does the same thing over time. Eating fried foods from these oils is one of the very worst things you can do to yourself. It creates both short term damage and suffering as well as dire consequences in the long term. (You can fry your own foods in certain oils; see below for more details).
Trans & Hydrogenated Fat:
This type of fat that is now universally understood to be toxic and linked directly to coronary artery disease is called trans fat, or hydrogenated fat. Transfats and hydrogenated or even partially-hydrogenated oils are highly processed foods, typically made from industrial seed vegetable oils. They are created this way through processing, so that they can be more “shelf stable” and thus cheaper and easier to produce and store. These fats should be avoided at all times. Be mindful, even when your label says “0” trans fats, it can still include some as it allows for .5 grams or under to be listed as “0”. The more processed foods you eat with these bad oils, the more the grams will add up. ANY amount will do damage.
The lesson here: ditch the margarine and bring back the butter!
Learn more about fat from the experts: For those interested (or who need more convincing), you can really geek out on the various types of fat our body needs, and those it doesn’t. There are so many roles fat plays in thriving health. If you are interested in learning more, I’d highly suggest reading the work of Dr. Mark Hyman and/or Dr. Catherine Shanahan. Google their names along with the word “fat” for a myriad of informative articles and videos. Here are a couple of good ones:
Ever since I changed my eating habits towards a much healthier lower carb, lower sugar paleo style diet, I’ve been looking for occasional dessert treats that are healthier but still delicious and satisfying. I’ve found some nice chocolate chip cookie recipes over the years, but I’ve finally perfected one myself that I really love!
This is a mouth watering treat. The cookies are soft and tender on the inside, flaky on the outside. They’re not overly sweet, but hit just the perfect spot.
The base in these cookies is almond flour/meal. The good news about this flour is that it has about 1/3 the carbs that wheat does. Wheat clocks in over 75 grams per cup vs. about 22g for almond flour. Let’s not be too crazy by calling this a full-on health food, but it’s certainly a healthier alternative for the occasional treat. Try them out!
2 cups almond flour or meal (blanched preferred, any will do)
1/4 cup butter, ghee or *coconut oil (your choice)
3 Tablespoons pure maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Whisk together all the dry ingredients in a medium bowl.
3. Add in pre-softened or melted oil/butter, maple syrup and vanilla extract. Mix thoroughly.
4. Fold in chocolate chips.
5. Spoon out a rounded tablespoon sized amount. Roll and lightly compress in your hands. Place on a cookie sheet with parchment paper (optional) and gently flatten out.
6. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the outside edges turn golden brown. Let sit for about 10 minutes and enjoy!
I recently added something to my scrambled eggs that you might think crazy, but it was sooo GOOD! I added blueberries.
Might sound awful, it did to me when I heard about it last week, but it is pretty amazing.
Pasture raised eggs are already a great source of choline, b vitamins, good fat, protein and more – they really are a super-food. Add in the blueberries for a powerful burst of antioxidants to kick off the day. Be bold, try it out! I’d love to know what you think.
Here’s how I did it:
3 pasture raised organic free range eggs
1/2 cup of frozen or fresh organic blueberries
1 Tablespoon of grassfed ghee or butter
Splash of coconut milk (or substitute)
Put you ghee/butter (I used both) and blueberries into a pan on medium heat and let them soften for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Mix together your eggs and coconut milk in a separate dish, then pour into your pan. I use a small whisk and stir constantly until desired consistency. Eat and enjoy!
This paleo friendly smoothie is silky and delightful.
Veggie and fruit smoothies can be a great way to get a nutritional kick-start to your day. They are loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients, fiber, healthy fats and protein (if using powders). All crucial elements to living a vibrant life.
In my smoothie recipes, I typically go with about three quarters vegetable and one quarter fruit (no need to overdo it on the sugar). It’s easy to make and gives me a nice, clean, healthy boost of energy. Has all that I need to get rolling.
(Makes substitutes as desired or needed. All organic ingredients. I don’t use protein powders, but they can be a great addition.)
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
3/4 cup frozen mango
1/4 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup coconut water
1/4 teaspoon Himalayan sea salt
There are numerous known toxins found in the vast majority plastic products we are exposed to everyday. Those related to food and our bodies are particularly worrisome, as these chemicals can leach out into our foods, beverages and onto our skin, and are unfortunately easily stored in the body where they can do significant damage over the long-term. Especially when combined with numerous other environmental toxins we are exposed to constantly. It all adds up. Every area we can cut back, the better our body will hold up.
Some of the primary plastic toxins include: formaldehyde, phthalates, BPA and toxic flame retardants to name just a few. When stored in the body, they have been linked to obesity, infertility, endocrine disruption, asthma, heart disease and even cancer.
A recent study released by Environmental Health Perspectives showed that most plastic products, from sippy cups to food wraps to water bottles, can release chemicals that act like the sex hormone estrogen. Yikes! This is of course not what most of us want our babies exposed to. The rest of us don’t need it either.
It’s easy enough to reduce at least some of our exposure (even in a plastic filled world). Knowing that some things are unavoidable, below are some good tips.
Tips for reducing your Plastic exposure:
Avoid heat: Plastics are known to leech out trace chemicals, especially when heated. Avoid touching when you can and don’t use plastic to reheat (like in microwaves, especially in plastic or plastic coated take-out containers! By the way, most take out containers are now coated in plastics, so be mindful). And when you go to Starbucks to get that piping hot coffee, be aware that all the cups are lined with plastic. Yikes indeed! Might be good to bring your own real cup and ask them to make it in that (or save money in the long haul and buy a nice coffee/espresso device to make yourself). And, how many times have you left that plastic water bottle in the hot car for days (weeks) and it tasted funny, yup, those are likely various leached chemicals. At least you don’t have to worry about storage or shipping of the water cases to stores, I’m sure they air condition all those semi-trucks that deliver the water bottles in the scorching summer heat?!!? (Not likely.)
Drink liquids out of glass, ceramic, uncoated metal or other less toxic materials. If you like to carry a water bottle, same goes. I always keep one with me to avoid plastic water bottles (which are the cheapest material and have been shown to leach some of the toxins mentioned above). My favorite is glass that has a silicone mesh cover to protect it from breaking.
Silicone is a better replacement. Silicone is believed by many to be far safer. If you buy plastic coated products, especially cooking utensils, consider swapping out for heat resistant silicone.
Use glass for food storage. Glass containers are much better than plastic. They don’t leach. For some bulky things, like my cleaned lettuces, I use zip lock bags but line them with unbleached paper towels first to minimize exposure.
Buy food staples stored in glass instead of plastic. I buy most of my staple items, like mayonnaise, beverages, etc. in glass jars. There are plenty of good options.
Skip the receipts! Almost all receipts now are printed on thermal paper which are lined with BPA and other harmful chemicals. Research has shown even touching these can cause BPA to leech into your skin and it shows up in urine and blood tests. If you don’t need it, ask them to toss it.
Metal cans are coated in plastic. Almost all metal cans that store foods in the grocery store (tomato sauce, beans, soups, etc.) are lined with plastic coatings, often with BPA. There is not really much you can do on this front except to prepare whole foods.
BPA alternatives may not be any better. I always look for non-BPA products. That being said, there is emerging data showing that the alternatives may not be much better. The jury is still out, but best to be cautious and just avoid plastic as much as possible.
This and more information will be part of my upcoming book Eat Your Way to Awesome: 3 Most Impactful Steps To Feel Amazing. You can sign-up to make sure you are alerted upon its release.
This pumpkin custard recipe makes a great lower carb paleo alternative to pumpkin pie. It’s really decadent while also a nutrient dense, healthy dessert treat. The custard still has a similar consistency to the “meat” of pumpkin pie, without the crust – though it’s lighter, fluffier and more silky.
1-15oz canned organic puree pumpkin (or 2 cups fresh roasted pumpkin, sugar pie pumpkins have best flavor)
4 large eggs (use 2 whole eggs and 2 egg yolks*)
½ cup full fat coconut milk
1/3 cup organic maple syrup, or coconut sugar, or Lakanto’s Monkfruit no-sugar alternative sweetener
3 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg (plus extra for dusting)
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon Celtic or Himalayan sea salt Optional: coconut cream for “whipped cream” and chunks of dark chocolate
In a food processor combine pumpkin puree, and eggs (just enough, don’t overmix)
Pulse in coconut milk, maple syrup, cinnamon, vanilla extract, nutmeg, ginger and salt
Place empty ramekins into a deep cookie sheet or baking pan
Pour filling into ceramic ramekins until almost full (leave about 10% empty space for rising)
Pour boiling water around the ramekins in baking dish, try to cover at least ¼ ideally ½ of the height of your ramekins
Lightly dust top of each filled ramekin with nutmeg
Bake at 350° for 45 minutes or until a knife or toothpick comes out relatively clean
Allow to cool then refrigerate for 2 hours to set up
For whipped cream alternative: Take a can of coconut cream (not milk) and chill it for at least a few hours, overnight ideal. Whip it until frothy, like you would regular whipped cream. Doesn’t take as long to whip. Add in a small amount of vanilla before whipping as desired.
To roast your own pumpkin: Buy a small sugar pie pumpkin. Cut it in half. Scoop out seeds. Turn them face down on cookie sheet and bake for approx. 1 hour at 350 degrees. You want the pumpkin flesh to be very soft.
The items listed below are a few of my favorite healthy foods! They are all very tasty, paleo friendly, gluten free and on the healthier side compared to mainstream options. It is not an exhaustive list of things to eat, just some that I have found, especially things that are good replacements for unhealthy alternatives.
They are linked to Amazon. However, another really good option is Thrive Markets online. They have really good prices and deal exclusively in health foods. They do have a yearly membership fee, but the cost savings are pretty significant. Amazon doesn’t always have the best prices. You can also find most of these items at a local health food store, like Whole Foods (believe it or not, Whole Foods can have better prices than Amazon.)
These are lower glycemic load “carb” alternatives that won’t wreak as much havoc on your body as many refined flours. You can bake with these or use them for a number of cooking needs. They taste great. They are paleo friendly and gluten free. You should still be mindful about how much you indulge.
Paleo Pancake and Waffle Mix by Birch Benders. This mix is sooo good. Totally hits my need for occasional pancakes, without the giant carb hit.
Cassava Flour by Otto’s Naturals: This flour is made from Yucca root. Another great alternative baking flour that is a staple in low glycemic non-wheat flour baking.
Siete Grain Free Tortilla Chips: These are AMAZING! So light and crispy. Tastes surprisingly like corn chips. They are made from Cassava and fried in Avocado oil. Both are much better for you than other chips made with cheap industrial seed vegetable oils which are rancid and toxic.
Lesser Evil Organic Paleo Puffs: These delicious treats are made with quality, simple and nutritious ingredients – lower glycemic cassava root, sweet potato, coconut oil, Himalayan salt. They are baked not fried and come in a variety of flavors, including Salt ‘N Apple Cider Vinegar, Himalayan Pink Salt, “No Cheese” Cheesiness and Fiery Hot (these last two taste a bit like Cheetos). All of them are super tasty! The brand Lesser Evil makes some other great products as well, like their Veggie Sticks.
Sweet Potato Chips or Blue Corn Chips: Jackson’s Honest chips are fried in coconut oil, which is a better option than cheap vegetable oils.
Quinn Paleo-friendly Pretzel Chips: Grain-free and gluten-free pretzels that actually deliver on great taste. They are very crunchy and great with dips. Made with cassava flour, a root vegetable. Baked and topped with rock salt.
CoconutAlmond Butter: by Maranatha. This is so tasty! Creamy and delicious. A blend of almond butter with coconut cream. One of my favorite treats is a tablespoon of it.
Roasted Seaweed: by SeaSnax. This is one of the only seaweed snacks that uses olive oil to roast in, not a cheap, crappy oil like canola.
Love these. Ghee is a great alternative for butter. Both of these are grassfed. Ghee has a high smoke point, so you can sauté with it at higher temperatures. I use the plain for cooking and the sea salt version for snacking.
Avocado oil: I use La Tourangelle for more delicate flavorful needs, like salad dressing. I use Primal Kitchen or Chosen Foods for cooking. Avocado oil has a high smoke point, and doesn’t oxidize as easily. So you can sauté with it at higher temperatures. Or even for frying. Chosen foods makes a pan spray as well.
Avocado Oil Mayo: Primal Kitchen. Tasty and much better than almost all other mayo’s, as they all use cheap, unhealthy vegetable oils.
Macadamia Nut Oil: by Roland. Mac oils are great for salad dressings. Healthy oil, don’t need a lot though, just a splash mixed in with olive and avocado. Another option is Piping Rock.
Avocado Oil Salad Dressing and Marinade: By Primal Kitchen. These dressings and marinades are delicious! And the best news is that they use avocado oil instead of the unhealthy industrial seed vegetable oils that 99% of other dressings use. They have a wide variety of flavors.
CoYo Coconut Yogurt: This coconut-based yogurt is very delightful and surprisingly creamy. It also makes a great substitute for sour cream. A similar consistency. Since it’s refrigerated, it’s at stores only. Check here to see if it’s in a store near you.
Real Salt, by Redmond: This “sea salt” comes from an ancient seabed in Utah that was not exposed to modern toxins like sea salts are often today. Another bonus is this is one of the only sea salts that has iodine.
Balsamic Vinegar: Amphora makes these barrel aged vinegars that really are pretty amazing. My favorites are the red “cinnamon & pear” and the white “apricot”. These are slightly thicker and a touch of sweet. But it doesn’t take much to flavor a great salad dressing or for a drizzle.
Swiss Chard Powder by Dr. Cowan’s Garden: This delightful flavoring powder is nutrient dense. If you have a hard time squeezing in enough vegetables in a day, try this out. They also have Kale and number of other great options. I put a spoonful in salad dressings, sprinkle into soups, etc. Great way to spice up and packed with nutrients!
Bone Broth, Grassfed: by Kettle and Fire. Great source of nutrients for your gut and skin health, plus so much more. Should be a dietary staple.
Wild Salmon: by Wild Planet. These are a great alternative to tuna (which is high in mercury). Loads of good omega 3 fats and decadent.