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No flour, no sugar: Tips and a brownie recipe

By Deirdre Parker Smith

deirdre.smith@salisburypost.com

Thanks to all the folks who answered my plea for help with the no sugar, no flour diet.

I got some great tips and two recipes I’d like to try. I’m going to share the responses for the rest of you out there trying to lose weight. Some things I’d heard of, some things were new.

Just knowing other people are doing similar diets and discovering solutions is a big help.

Cherie, a friend I often see at the Farmers Market, has given up all bread. She writes, “The problem is cooking, as you mentioned. You know I love to cook, and I cook every night. We buy the same foods as you – FM primarily all the way.  No bread can be very inconvenient. There is nothing, literally, to pick up and eat quickly on a Saturday for lunch around the house. I would normally eat a quick PB sandwich or wrap.  Now I have to keep food cooked  all the time, which can be very frustrating.”

Exactly. You get home from running errands, or you finish up chores and you need a little something to tide you over until dinner. Can’t do crackers and cheese or peanut butter on a slice of wheat bread. You have to stop and cook or have planned  in advance to have leftovers or cut up veggies or something.

She continues, “We need the protein, so I usually cook meat every night. Lots of brown rice, quinoa, roasted sweet potatoes, any veggies I can get my hands on.”

Yes. In particular, I crave protein. But I also have to watch my cholesterol. A nice, juicy slab of steak would be delicious, just not practical. Plus, Cherie and I both buy organic meat, which is not cheap. An organic chicken can be $15 per pound, for example. We’ve taken to eating quite a bit of lean pork, which is a good alternative to both red and white meat.

She’s eating more eggs, and that’s something to consider. A hard-boiled egg on the lunch salad is a nice addition.

She, like me, gets tired of planning. I get tired of telling my husband “I can’t eat that” when he says he’s going to fix something.

Suzi suggested garbanzo bean flour for breading food that will be baked or seared. “And don’t assume that ‘no sugar’ means no chocolate…You can try Lily’s as an alternative, sweetened with Stevia or make the black bean brownies and sweeten with stevia.”

She found the recipe, which I will share below. And this is not  bad idea for the sweeter side: “May I also suggest ice cream made in the food processor using nothing more than frozen banana chunks & cocoa powder…I HAVE made this & it is fantastic.”

Here are more tips:

Nancy: “Nuts are great snacks. Make your own toasted cocoa almonds.

You can put oats or nuts in a food processor and make them into flour for coating meats.

Learn to love cinnamon. It gives the sweet tooth a little love. Also is thermogenic. Boosts metabolism.”

Louise said she has lost weight on the diet and admits it has “been hard to adjust, but once you have been on it a while, you do not crave the desserts like you did.” She offered good advice on reading labels – sugar is hidden in things you would never dream of.

Former Salisbury Post lifestyle editor Sarah Campbell suggested substituting zucchini for pasta, a great tip with summer approaching.

Marybeth makes “a high protein fruit smoothie with the whey protein powder, plain yogurt and some frozen berries in a blender cup as a fast breakfast. You need that protein for staying power. If you like tuna, that is my quick super food to add to a salad. The new flavors in pouches are good and you can keep at your desk. They are high in protein and keep you full for a long time.

Rachel — “Look for anything Paleo.”

Brenda Zimmerman, recently retired from Lutheran Services “One of my favorite snacks that is good for protein etc….vanilla yogurt (your favorite.I use Greek low fat), stir in half teaspoon of cinnamon….then slice your favorite apple in thin slices and dip…..very tasty, filling, takes a while to eat so it satisfies the chewing thing, it is sweet…. I had that and a baked sweet potato for WEEKS at work.”

Carolie — We make a giant pot of steel-cut (or rolled) old fashioned oatmeal, then portion it into smaller containers. Reheat in the morning with a pinch of salt, a splash of water or milk, and various savory add-ins — think pilaf and kasha and risotto rather than the American super sweet breakfast porridge.

“My husband likes a handful of shredded sharp cheddar and a beaten egg. Microwave briefly and it’s high fiber, no sugar, and soufflé-like.

“I prefer a wedge of Laughing Cow light cheese and some chopped turkey pepperoni when I reheat it, for a creamy, meaty dish.

“Another option might be rice porridge (congee, okayu) with savory add-ins. Or just have a Japanese breakfast — miso soup, fish, pickles, and rice.”

No, I can’t do fish and pickles for breakfast, sorry.

Lynn — breakfast…eggs, meat, cheese…all u want…..vienna’s, pork rinds, omelets (eggs) boiled eggs,was on same diet…there’s plenty u can eat…and u need LOTS protein…protein bars….”

I think I’ll skip the Vienna’s and pork rinds. There’s that cholesterol thing again.

Dottie suggested recipes and tips from the South Beach diet books, because stage one is no bread, no sugar. “Find one of the books that has daily menu choices – you don’t need to follow them exactly, but it helps to understand the program.  Also helps with the planning and grocery list!

She lost weight and is still using some of the recipes.

Here is the promised brownie recipe. I have not made it yet, but I understand how it works. As soon as I get a chance, I will try it.

Sugar-Free Black Bean Brownie Recipe

2 cups cooked black beans or 1 14-oz. can, drained

1/2 cup chopped Medjool dates

2 eggs

1/2 cup natural applesauce

2 tsp. pure vanilla extract or scrapings from one pod

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 350.

Stir cocoa powder, soda and salt in a small bowl until fully blended. Set aside.

Place the beans, dates, eggs, applesauce and vanilla in a food processor. Puree until a nice paste forms and you cannot see individual beans or date.

Add dry ingredients and blend fully.

Scrape batter int a prepared (oiled and floured or lined with parchment paper) 9-by-9-inch pan and smooth it down with a spatula.

Bake at 350 for 2-25 minutes until set and a toothpick inserted in the cnter comes out with crumbs, but no wetness.

Next time, I’ll share some pasta alternatives, like the zucchini and one with sweet potatoes, an often-mentioned super food.

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