What’s November Without a Lil’ Pumpkin Superfood?: Mia’s Gluten-free Pumpkin Bread

Hey, hey, hey My Lovelies!

I hope you all survived Halloween.  I did…barely.  It was gut-wrenching to watch my boys down all that sugar.  Not because I wanted any (I only ate one piece!) but because as a reformed sugar whore, I realize how awful it is for you & it hurts my heart to see them shove piece after piece of sugary crack into their little tiny mouths.  However, that doesn’t stop me from allowing my kids to be kids…I refuse to be THAT parent.  The one whose kids are eating hairy, dirt-covered candy off the sidewalk on their way to school because “Mommy doesn’t let us eat sweets.  She says it’s the devil.”  Needless to say, by the end of the night E had a gut ache, A definitely had his fill & we decided to turn the rest over to our dentist for the hard cold cash reward she offers to her patients every year upon its surrender.

On another note, yesterday I touched on the downsides of gluten.  Gluten is a protein found in grains, including wheat, barley and rye. Gluten is found as an additive in many processed foods, making it necessary for you to check labels diligently. Wheat and barley malt are frequently listed in the ingredients for sauces, spices and packaged foods, making it complicated for you to eat out without thoroughly researching beforehand.

Three summers ago, out of nowhere I started breaking out in hives.  Nothing in particular seemed to trigger it.  I wasn’t stressed or, to my knowledge, allergic to anything.  I went to an allergist who dismissed me as neurotic & just gave me a prescription for Zyrtec.  He told me to take one every day for…ever? to prevent the outbreaks.  I don’t know about you but I’m not down with preventative medications.  I’m more about curative holistic remedies.  So I decided I was going to figure it out on my own.  After doing some research I was reading about gluten & realized I was experiencing a lot of the symptoms related to gluten intolerance–lack of energy, problems concentrating, moodiness or feeling down, joint pain, onset of sinus issues, bloating & fullness w/gas–even upon waking, frequent constipation and/or diarrhea & hives.  Folks look at you like, “Ugh, gluten-free is so now…she’s just jumping on another trend.”  They think, it’s another way to set yourself apart from the herd like claiming “gluten-free” gives you access to some sort of exclusive club.  Umm, no.  It’s a real inconvenience.  Case in point, Jennifer Espisito being put on an unpaid leave of absence because she was diagnosed with Celiac disease & needed a modified schedule to deal with her ailment after falling out on the set. Read about it here.  First of all, let’s identify the difference between celiac disease and gluten intolerance. Celiac disease is an immune reaction, a severe sudden onset allergic reaction, to the protein called gluten. This is commonly found in grains such as wheat, rye, barley and oats. While celiac disease is initially an auto-immune disorder, it is also a disease of malabsorption, because essential nutrients are not absorbed. Therefore one of the most devastating symptoms of long-term undiagnosed celiac disease is malnutrition.  Gluten intolerance often has a slower onset than celiac disease, and may be hard to diagnose due to the broad range of symptoms and causes.  With that said, I bet that if all of you nixed gluten from your diet for 4 weeks, most of you would see a dramatic shift in your health too.

When I first decided to dead gluten, I told my sister about all my symptoms & because she was experience a lot of the same things, she decided to let it go for awhile as well.  Guess what happened?  We both saw major improvements in our health.  That is not a coincidence.  In the beginning I saw it as majorly restrictive.  I thought about all the things I couldn’t have…beer, pasta, bread!  Well, I thought I couldn’t have them but half the battle was making more things at home versus buying them packaged and I was already doing that.  I just needed to, once again, tweak my relationship with food.  Instead of wheat pasta we started eating brown rice or quinoa pasta…they even have gluten-free beers.  I researched what things had gluten in them & found tons of gluten-free recipes…interestingly, I found myself baking more than I ever had before I decided to eliminate gluten from my diet.  Many of the recipes out there require you to buy a butt-load of ingredients to recreate many of your favorite cakes, breads & pastries but I have found (so far) that by just substituting the wheat flour w/ brown rice & millet flour, I can make almost any bready (is that a word?!) recipe gluten-free.  I’ll continue to do this until it doesn’t work.  So far I’m batting a 1,000…I make a mean gluten-free cornbread I even served at a dinner party.  It was a hit & I had no less than 4 people ask me for the recipe.  Try my pumpkin bread & you be the judge…

Rich in vital antioxidants and vitamins, pumpkin is a low calorie fruit (100g provides just 26 calories and contains no saturated fats or cholesterol) and contains flavonoid poly-phenolic antioxidants such as leutin, xanthin, and carotenes in abundance.  It is rich in dietary fiber and extremely effective for treating gastrointestinal disorders such as constipation & indigestion. The high amount of fiber also helps in lowering the LDL (bad) cholesterol levels in the blood and in regulating the blood sugar levels. Additionally, pumpkins are natural diuretics which help in flushing out the toxins and unwanted waste material from the body, leaving you refreshed and healthy.

Pumpkins are also a storehouse of beta Carotene and many anti-oxidant vitamins such asvitamins such as vitamin-A, vitamin-C and vitamin-E which promote healthy and glowing skin. Vitamin-A, providing about 246% of RDA is a powerful natural anti-oxidant required by the body for maintaining the integrity of skin and mucus membranes. It is also an essential vitamin for good visual sight and boost immune system remarkably. Research studies suggest that natural foods rich in vitamin A help a body protects against lung and oral cavity cancers.  The fruit is a good source of B-complex group of vitamins like folates, niacin, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), thiamin and pantothenic acid.  It is also rich source of minerals like copper, calcium, potassium and phosphorus.

Pumpkins owe their bright orange color to the high amount of carotenoids present in them such as beta Carotene. Carotenoids assist in staving off the free radicals in the body, and help in preventing premature aging, cardiovascular diseases and other infections. They are also high in Lutein & Zeaxanthin which protect the eyes against free radical damage and prevent formation of cataracts and degeneration of the eye tissues.  Beta carotene is not only rich in anti-oxidants but also has an abundance of anti-inflammatory properties.  Regular consumption of pumpkin can protect against joint inflammation and arthritis. Pumpkins have been known to provide relief from inflammation quickly, without the harmful side-effects of anti-inflammatory medicines.

And a lil’ something for the fellas:  The protective compounds present within the pumpkin seeds, called phytosterols can lower the risk of prostate cancer. These work by shrinking the prostate and stimulating the secretion of chemicals that protect against the transformation of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT). High DHT levels can cause enlargement of the prostate glands.

Pumpkin seeds also known as Pepitas are a rich source of protein. One ounce of pumpkin seeds contains approx. 7 grams of protein.Pumpkin seeds are a rich source of essential fatty acids, which have numerous health benefits. From providing protection against serious health diseases such as high blood pressure, arthritis and cancer to promoting healthy skin and improving brain power, essential fatty acids present in pumpkin oil offer several health benefits.  No wonder it’s a superfood…

So if the passing of Halloween & upcoming Turkey Day has you fiending for a pumpkin fix, try my pumpkin bread.  It’s Brownboy Superhero approved, makes a great on-the-go breakfast for me & the kiddies alike, freezes awesome, tastes great & it’s great for you.  Did I mention that it ROCKS?!

MIA’S PUMPKIN MUFFINS:

1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree

4 eggs

1/2 cup coconut oil

1/2 cup apple sauce

2/3 cup water

2 cups coconut sugar

2 cups brown rice flour

1 1/2 cups millet flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 cup walnuts/pecans (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease two muffin tins or grease & flour three 7×3 inch loaf pans if you prefer bread.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin puree, eggs, coconut oil, applesauce, water & coconut sugar until well blended. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger.  Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended. Pour into the prepared pans.
  3. Bake for about 40 minutes in the preheated oven. Muffins/loaves are done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

love & light,

MK

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