Saturday, 29 June 2013

In the Kitchen: Paleo Cooking, Carrot/Oatmeal Cookies

Have you heard of the Paleo Diet? It's a healthy approach to dieting by going back to the eating style of the Paleolithic Era, also known as the Stone Age. The people, then, were sourcing their food through hunting and gathering what ever they could find. This period goes back to 2.6 million years ago up to the start of the agricultural revolution, roughly about 10,000 years ago.

Dr. Leon Cordain, author of the modern-day Paleo Diet - along with his colleagues, in their research of the hunter-gatherers of the Stone Age period, discovered that the ancient people did not suffer from chronic diseases so prevalent in many populations, today. Applying their eating principles to our modern day diet means that we need to go back to incorporating a lot of fresh and unprocessed foods. This diet includes fresh meats from animals that are cage-free and grass fed (beef, pork, poultry, lamb); fresh fruits and vegetables; nuts and seeds; and healthy oils derived from  coconut, avocado, flaxseed, macadamia, and walnut. The excluded food categories are dairy products, cereal grains, legumes, and any packaged foods that have been refined and processed.

I came upon this diet when I was looking for recipes that used the healthy coconut products - oil, flour, and sugar. I began using coconut ingredients when I changed course in my eating habits and decided to be on the healthy path.

The coconut comes from Cocos Nucifera and is dabbed as the Tree of Life as it is a source of food rich in vitamins and minerals, fiber, and with healing properties at the same time. Coconut oil is anti bacterial, anti viral, and anti fungal. It is a healthy oil that is recommended for cooking as it does not degrade nor become rancid when subjected to high heat. It also aids in losing weight. Coconut sugar is made from the sap of the coconut buds that is simply cooked down to a concentrated level to produce the sugar. It has a low glycemic index of 35 and is, therefore, diabetic friendly. Coconut flour is rich in high fiber and is low in calories.

When I discovered the Paleo Diet, I was pleased. I incorporated some of it aspects into my Raw-Food Diet. SInce I am a vegetarian of sorts, I did not include the foods in the meat category. Although, I do eat them only when I am in the company of others, when celebrating an occasion. I also eat whole grains, dairy products, legumes from time to time. If I may just point out here that I prefer to buy the organic versions of the foods I eat, so as to eliminate chemicals and pesticides from my diet.

The weekend counts as my cheat days. I was wanting to eat some cookies today. So, I looked at my ingredients on hand and decided to make some organic Carrot/Oatmeal Cookies. It helps me to stick to healthy choices when I don't buy the off-the-shelf versions of what I am craving.

1. In a mixing bowl, beat 3 eggs - I used a whisker.
2. Add -
     1/2 c. almond flour
     1/2 c. coconut flour
     1/2 c. coconut sugar
     1/2 tsp. baking soda
     1/2 tsp. baking powder
     1/4 c. oatmeal
     1 c. organic carrot pulp (a by-product of my juicing)
     1/2 c. coconut oil
     * Optional - you make add some chopped, raw nuts.
Mix all together, with a spatula.
3. Add 1/4 c. of water - mix in and let the soft dough stand for about 30 minutes to an hour. This gives the coconut flour and the oatmeal time to hydrate.
4. Prepare for baking -
     Preheat oven to 375°F or 190°C
     Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper
     With an ice cream scooper, fill up with dough and let go of it on the paper, then flatten the top a bit with the scooper or with a fork.
     Space them 2 inches apart
5. Bake  for about 25 minutes, or until you  get a whiff of the cookie aroma which indicates that it is done. I used a toaster oven to bake 2 batches.
* The cooking time for a regular oven may vary.

My first attempt at this turned out well. 
The finished product measured 2 1/2 inches in diameter, 1/2 an inch thick. It was a little crusty on the outside and a bit soft on the inside. I had 14 cookies in all.

As of this writing, I only have 10 left as I gobbled down 4 as soon as they got out of the oven. That  gave me a sugar fix. But I was not worried as the carrot/oatmeal cookie was high- fiber, with a low glycemic index, and they gave me healthy calories. 

Except for the oatmeal, this would pass as a Paleo cookie recipe. I am inspired to come up with more recipes using these healthy ingredients, plus more.

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