Monday, September 27, 2010

Too Good To Be Gluten Free Brownies

These brownies are just delicious.  Regardless that these are suitable for both "O" blood type diets and Gluten Free diets.  Even if you want to sneak a bit more fiber and protein in your diet, these little babies will do the trick.  Don't let the beans fool you - these are better than some of the other gluten free brownies I've tried using gluten free flour.  The brownies come out super moist on the inside with the goodness of crumbly edges on the outside. 

Look for adzuki beans (small sweet red beans popular in Japanese cooking) in health food stores, Asian supermarkets and some regular supermarkets.  If you can't find them, use 1 3/4 cups (425ml) drained, rinsed canned or cooked black beans.

1/2 cup butter
6 oz bittersweet chocolate (chopped)
1 can (14oz/398ml) adzuki* beans, drained and rinsed
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Line 9 inch square metal cake pan with parchment paper leaving a 1 inch overhang.  Set aside.

In a small saucepan, melt butter with chocolate over low heat and set aside. Meanwhile, in a food processor, puree beans until smooth.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat eggs and sugar until pale and thickened.  Beat in the vanilla. Stir in chocolate mixture until combined.  Stir in beans until smooth.  Scrape into prepared pans.

Bake in centre of 350 degree (F) oven until cake tester inserted comes out with a few moist crumbs clinging - about 45 minutes.  Let cool in pan on rack.  Cover with plastic wrap and refridgerate tunil cold, about two hours.  Using paper handles, remove brownies from pan and cut into squares.

Make-ahead:  Refrigerate in air tight container for up to five days or wrap individually and freeze for up to two weeks.

*adzuki beans are 'highly beneficial' on the O-type diet.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Eat Right For Your Type

An amazing book by Dr. Peter D'Adamo with Catherine Whitney - I was skeptical when I was first introduced to the concept.  It was just coming off the whole Atkins and South Beach fad when carbs were considered 'evil' and bacon & eggs were 'fashionable'!  I thought this book was yet another ploy to separate us from our hard earned cash while promising new found health and weight loss.

I had quite a few people comment on how eating according to your blood type really worked - that being feeling better and of course, dropping those unwanted pounds.  As I've never been too overly concerned with weight, I did notice I was putting on a few extra pounds (ah, the joys of aging I guess) and felt very lethargic, bloated and just plain crappy. 

You see, I love food.  I don't necessarily eat a lot of it, but what I do enjoy are flavours, fat and the oooooh so good feeling of a gooey piece of chocolate cake as you wash the last bite down with a full bodied red wine.  Ohhhh so good.   I have loads of friends who are extremely happy to eat steamed fish and veggies every night. I can hardly stomach leftovers the next day let alone eat the same thing day after day after day.   These are the same people who can go to the best restaurant in town and order a bowl of lettuce with a plain piece of bony white chicken for $20.  Why bother....

The idea of going on any type of cleanse, diet or restricted meal plan was not my idea of fun.  I tried a ten day Wild Rose cleanse which almost killed me.  What?  I can't have gluten, diary, vinegar, coffee, tea, alcohol, sugar?  What was I expected to eat then????  In and around the same time I was told about the book, my girlfriend was just diagnosed with Celiac disease and was forced to go on a restricted diet.  So as a sign of solidarity, I decided to change my diet as well - just to see if I could do it.

The executive summary - different blood types react to different foods.  As not all foods are created equal, not all people are created equal as well.   The book explains in detail how and why this is and gives great examples of what foods and exercise programs work for the various blood types. The book breaks out all foods into three categories (highly beneficial, neutral and avoid).

Being an "O" blood type,  you will be pleased to know that I was ecstatic to learn that some of my favourite foods were listed under the 'highly beneficial' or 'neutral' category.  Yes, red wine was listed as well as chocolate.  Thank God!  But alas, the dreaded gluten and dairy had to rear its ugly head under the 'avoid' category.  I decided to give it a go for one month. 

I took a good look at all the ingredients and did an internal summary - if I was going to do this I needed to be creative.   As I got more and more into it, I realized I could continue to eat more or less along the same lines as I have previously have if I took a creative substitution versus an elimination approach.

For example, peanuts are a "no no" while almonds are considered 'neutral'.  So instead of having peanut butter on toast, I substituted almond butter on either gluten free bread or a rice cracker.  Or instead of ordering regular french fries (white potatoes bad), I happily indulged in a delicious side of yam fries. I order red wine instead of white wine or beer.  Sure it was an adjustment but it became quite easy to identify various options that still satisfied the pallet and allowed me to maintain some sort of commitment to this way of eating.

Within a few weeks, I started to feel really energetic and the bloating and fatigue I normally experienced disappeared.  I had more energy and became more active - not only did the weight start coming off, I felt great.  When I did occasionally cheat, I'd get instantly gassy and bloated.  It became really obvious what foods would react with my system.  It basically becomes a choice as to when you want to indulge (yes, bring on those five star restaurants), and when you try to follow the program as best you can.

My thoughts - it's a lifestyle thing (yes, we have all heard that before) - but this is pretty easy to follow as long as you are creative and cut yourself some slack once in a while.  I try to follow it as best I can but being a 'foodie', I'm kidding myself if I think I'd be living a full and authentic life if I only ate steamed fish and veggies every night. O blood types don't do well with condiments and I do cheat once in a while.  Some days I am giving it 100% while other days, I strive for 80%.  This seemed to work for me. 

Once you get into it, it gets much easier.  I now enjoy experimenting with recipes and seeing what substitutions work well.  I also identify tricks, tips and products that are available in some of our local grocery stores to help with the plan.  For now, my priority is the "O" type but I hope to post some good food finds for the other blood types as I come across them. 

I really recommend picking up a copy of the book and giving it a try.

Watch for recipe postings on my blog.