Gluten-Free Blueberry Muffins

Holy cannelloni, my internet is back FINALLY.  After a month long hiatus with the world wide web at home our service has finally been restored and it’s a damn good thing because I was starting to go squirrelly.  Something about interference, weak signal, trees in the way, blah blah blah and it turned out to be a faulty radio on our roof.  Phew.  Not my problem to fix.

Anywaaaaaaays, I’m back Jack.  And this recipe has been burning a hole in my brain since my signal crapped out; I think you’re all going to love it!  I found the original recipe on FoodMatters.tv and altered it to suit my tastes.  Per muffin there’s 294 calories; 11g carbohydrates, 11g protein, 13g fat and 4g fibre.  It may seem like a lot of fat but it’s because the batter is mainly made of almond flour.  Did you know that the almond tree is very closely related to the peach, cherry and apricot trees?  Have you ever cracked open a peach pit?  Looks just like an almond seed inside.  And inside that?  Something very similar to an almond.

Fats get a bad rap.  Don’t deny it.  Everything is marketed these days as fat free.  I’ve even seen it on packages of candy, “TRANS FAT FREE!”, it’s almost like the packaging is trying to say to you, “it’s okay to eat all of me, there’s no fat inside”.  But if you take a second to think about it, the main component of an almond is fat also and what would you choose to eat first, a handful of almonds or a handful of high-gluctose candies?  There may be no fats in the candies but there’s no nutritional value either.

Almonds are high in monounsaturated fats which help to reduce heart disease and lower LDL (bad cholesterol) levels.  1/4 cup serving of almonds also contains 11% of your daily fibre intake and 40% of your daily vitamin E intake.

“Researchers at the University of Toronto, Canada have shown that a 2.5 ounce snack of almonds each day can do a better job in lowering blood LDL and raising blood HDL than a whole wheat muffin having the same amount of fat and fiber as almonds.”
Source: The World’s Healthiest Foods

Because the Farmer Senior is diabetic, I was also pleased to find out that almonds can help to lower your blood-sugar levels.  It was so interesting in fact that I didn’t want to paraphrase it at all so I inserted the entire portion of the article on diabetes below.  If this intrigues you as much as it struck my fancy, head over to The World’s Healthiest Foods and read the rest of the article, you won’t be disappointed!

Almonds Provide Double-Barreled Protection against Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease

Lessening after-meal surges in blood sugar helps protect against diabetes and cardiovascular disease, most likely by lessening the increase in cholesterol-damaging free radicals that accompanies large elevations in blood sugar. This is one reason why low- glycemic index diets result in lower risk of diabetes and heart disease.

‘Almonds appear to not only decrease after-meal rises in blood sugar, but also provide antioxidants to mop up the smaller amounts of free radicals that still result.’ (Jenkins DJ, Kendall CWJournal of Nutrition)

Researchers fed 15 healthy subjects 5 meals providing a comparable amount of carbohydrate, fat and protein: 3 test meals (almonds and bread, parboiled rice, and instant mashed potatoes) and 2 bread control meals. Blood samples, taken before each meal and 4 hours afterwards, showed levels of protective antioxidants increased after the almond meal, but decreased after the other meals. And not only did the almond meal increase antioxidant levels, but unlike the other foods, almonds also lowered the rise in blood sugar and insulin seen after eating.

Further research shows that eating almonds along with a high glycemic index food significantly lowers the glycemic index of the meal and lessens the rise in blood sugar after eating. (Jones AR, Kendall CWMetabolism)

In this study, after an overnight 10-12 hour fast, 9 healthy volunteers were randomly fed 3 test meals and 2 white bread (high glycemic) control meals on separate days. Each meal contained 50 grams of carbohydrate from white bread eaten either alone or in combination with 1, 2, or 3 ounces of almonds. To check subjects’ rise in blood sugar, blood samples were taken for glucose analysis immediately after eating, and at 15, 30, 45, 60, 90 and 120 minutes.

Eating almonds reduced the glycemic index (GI) of the meal and subjects’ rise in blood sugar in a dose-dependent manner—the more almonds consumed, the lower the meal’s GI and the less the rise in subjects’ blood sugar after eating.

When one-ounce of almonds was eaten along with white bread, the GI of the meal (105.8) was comparable to eating white bread alone, but when two ounces of almonds were consumed with the white bread, the GI dropped to 63, and when 3 ounces of almonds were eaten, the GI was only 45.2—less than half the GI of the white bread only meal.

Subjects’ blood sugar rose 2.8 mmol/L after eating only white bread. When one ounce of almonds was eaten with the bread, blood sugar rose 2.2 mmol/L. Eating two ounces of almonds with the bread resulted in a rise in blood sugar of 2.0 mmol/L, and eating three ounces of almonds caused blood sugar to rise only 1.6 mmol/L—less than half the rise seen after eating white bread alone.

Practical Tips: Don’t just enjoy almonds as a between-meal snack. Spread a little almond butter on your toast or down the center of a stalk of celery. Add a handful of lightly roasted almonds to your salad or chop and use as a topping for pasta, steamed or healthy sauteed vegetables. When eating foods with a higher glycemic index, including almonds in the meal can help keep your blood sugar under control.”
Source: The World’s Healthiest Foods

So there you have it, fats are an imperative part of a healthy diet because they help promote cognitive behaviours like mental alertness, brain function and memory strength as well as suppress blood-sugar and cholesterol increases.  So what are you waiting for?  Get making these muffins!

gluten_free_muffin

Blueberry Muffins
Yield: 12 muffins

2 & 1/2 cups almond flour (also known as finely ground almonds)
2 Tbsp coconut flour
1/2 cup vanilla protein powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
2 & 1/2 Tbsp pure maple syrup
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
2 eggs
1 & 1/2 cups fresh blueberries

Preheat the oven to 350F.  Mix everything but the blueberries together in one big bowl until moistened.  Carefully fold in the blueberries so you don’t squish them.  Line a muffin tin with papers and scoop the batter into each cup.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown on top.

I get my almond flour at Costco now because they have a massive bag for a good price.  Eat some almonds before you pick up a bag though otherwise you might have a coronary when you see the price. 😉  Cheers and blueberries!  Kim.

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