Articles – Sondi Bruner http://www.sondibruner.com freelance writer and holistic nutritionist Thu, 21 Sep 2017 13:00:21 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.4.11 How to Make Anything Vegan http://www.sondibruner.com/2017/09/12/make-anything-vegan/ http://www.sondibruner.com/2017/09/12/make-anything-vegan/#respond Tue, 12 Sep 2017 13:00:19 +0000 http://www.sondibruner.com/?p=7283 Vegans, vegetarians and people with food allergies and intolerances are accustomed to making substitutions in recipes. This skill materializes naturally to some of us (not me!), while others develop the talent with time (yep, that’s me!). It takes some trial and error to learn how to make anything vegan, and during the early years there […]

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Mixed Tempeh Scramble

Vegans, vegetarians and people with food allergies and intolerances are accustomed to making substitutions in recipes. This skill materializes naturally to some of us (not me!), while others develop the talent with time (yep, that’s me!). It takes some trial and error to learn how to make anything vegan, and during the early years there were many things I dumped straight in the trash — unfortunately, this all happened before I had a compost bin.

In my latest column for Food Bloggers of Canada, I explain how you can easily adapt any recipe to make it vegan! Head on over and check it out.

 

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Get Your Guide to Gluten-Free Grains http://www.sondibruner.com/2017/08/01/get-guide-gluten-free-grains/ Tue, 01 Aug 2017 19:21:18 +0000 http://www.sondibruner.com/?p=7262 A decade ago, if you asked me to name all the grains I could think of, I would’ve capped out at four: wheat, rice, oats and rye. Today, my pantry is home to grains that number in the double digits and I’m always eager to try to latest and trendiest gluten-free grain. New gluten-free eaters often gravitate […]

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A decade ago, if you asked me to name all the grains I could think of, I would’ve capped out at four: wheat, rice, oats and rye. Today, my pantry is home to grains that number in the double digits and I’m always eager to try to latest and trendiest gluten-free grain. New gluten-free eaters often gravitate to rice and rice products, yet there’s a glut of delicious gluten-free grains that have a variety of textures, flavours and uses.

Gluten-Free Grains

In my latest column for Food Bloggers of Canada, I discuss the variety of gluten-free grains on the market and ways that you can use them in your kitchen.

Head on over and check it out!

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A Guide to Understanding Fats: Myths and Reality http://www.sondibruner.com/2017/06/05/guide-understanding-fats-myths-reality/ Mon, 05 Jun 2017 19:46:29 +0000 http://www.sondibruner.com/?p=7219 Let’s face it: nutrition advice can be confusing. One area that’s rife with misinformation is fat. I’m sure many of us remember the low-fat craze, where we ate low-calorie cookies (Snackwells anyone?) and low-fat yogurt and egg whites and were absolutely terrified of fat grams. We’ve spent more than half a century fearing fat and believing […]

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Gluten-Free, Vegan Avocado Toast

Let’s face it: nutrition advice can be confusing. One area that’s rife with misinformation is fat. I’m sure many of us remember the low-fat craze, where we ate low-calorie cookies (Snackwells anyone?) and low-fat yogurt and egg whites and were absolutely terrified of fat grams. We’ve spent more than half a century fearing fat and believing it worsens our health, when in fact it does the opposite — and recent research indicates that most of what we thought was true about fats is wrong.

The good news is fat is good for us! When armed with information, we can begin to make nutritious fat choices that can support our health and wellbeing.

In my latest column for Food Bloggers of Canada, I discuss:

  • What fats do
  • The different types of fats
  • Fatty myths
  • How fats can support or harm our health

Hop on over and check it out

 

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15 Savory Vegan Breakfast Ideas http://www.sondibruner.com/2017/04/18/15-savory-vegan-breakfast-ideas/ Wed, 19 Apr 2017 03:09:44 +0000 http://www.sondibruner.com/?p=7169 Throughout North America, we’ve devolved into downing sweet treats that are basically desserts for breakfast. I’m not criticizing desserts; sweetness in our lives is important, especially when they’re natural and nutrient-rich. Yet breakfast is a time when we are literally breaking the fast since we ate dinner the night before, which could be anywhere from […]

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15-Savoury-Vegan-Breakfast-Ideas

Throughout North America, we’ve devolved into downing sweet treats that are basically desserts for breakfast. I’m not criticizing desserts; sweetness in our lives is important, especially when they’re natural and nutrient-rich.

Yet breakfast is a time when we are literally breaking the fast since we ate dinner the night before, which could be anywhere from 10 to 14 hours earlier, depending on when you eat dinner and when you wake up. Our bodies need protein, complex carbohydrates, and a good source of fat and fibre to keep our blood sugar levels balanced, boost brain function and keep us energized and satiated throughout the morning. Often, sweet breakfasts like pastries or waffles or cereals don’t offer us those results.

This is where savoury breakfasts can step in and save the day. If you’re vegan or don’t eat eggs, the typical scrambled eggs or omelette with bacon or sausage just won’t work. Thankfully, there are many savoury vegan breakfast ideas that will get your day started off in a delicious, satisfying way.

In my latest column for Food Bloggers of Canada, I share 15 awesome savory + vegan breakfast ideas. Hop on over and give it a read.

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5 Inexpensive Cooking Tools You Need in Your Kitchen http://www.sondibruner.com/2017/02/09/5-inexpensive-cooking-tools-need-kitchen/ Thu, 09 Feb 2017 19:50:35 +0000 http://www.sondibruner.com/?p=7127   Whipping up recipes from scratch is much easier (and quicker) when you have the right tools to do the job. I love my fancy appliances like my Vitamix, my food processor, my juicer and my food dehydrator, but the truth is you don’t need them to get a delicious meal on the table. All […]

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Culinary Tools

Whipping up recipes from scratch is much easier (and quicker) when you have the right tools to do the job. I love my fancy appliances like my Vitamix, my food processor, my juicer and my food dehydrator, but the truth is you don’t need them to get a delicious meal on the table. All you need are a few inexpensive cooking tools to help you with your meal prep.

Over on the Academy of Culinary Nutrition’s blog, I’m sharing my favourite inexpensive cooking tools for you to consider. I use them daily and they didn’t cost me an arm and a leg – but the value they’ve given me in terms of my health is invaluable.

Hop on over and check it out!

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A Guide to Plant-Based Milks http://www.sondibruner.com/2016/10/17/guide-plant-based-milks/ http://www.sondibruner.com/2016/10/17/guide-plant-based-milks/#comments Mon, 17 Oct 2016 13:00:56 +0000 http://www.sondibruner.com/?p=7050 Years ago, if you were allergic to dairy or lactose intolerant you had only a couple of options: soy milk or watery rice milk. If you’ve consumed either of these, you’ll understand why some people gag at the thought of dairy-free milk. ‘Cause soy milk and watery rice milk are straight-up gross. Now that allergen-friendly and […]

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Guide to dairy-free milk

Years ago, if you were allergic to dairy or lactose intolerant you had only a couple of options: soy milk or watery rice milk. If you’ve consumed either of these, you’ll understand why some people gag at the thought of dairy-free milk. ‘Cause soy milk and watery rice milk are straight-up gross.

Now that allergen-friendly and vegan options are far more popular and present at the grocery store, there’s a wide array of choices.

In my latest column over atFood Bloggers of Canada, I’ll walk you through everything you need to know about dairy-free milks: how to make it (and why you should), what to look for if you choose to buy it, how to use non-dairy milks and where you’ll get your calcium. Check it out!

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Your Complete Guide to Using Coconuts in Baking + Cooking http://www.sondibruner.com/2016/09/14/complete-guide-using-coconuts-baking-cooking/ Wed, 14 Sep 2016 13:00:35 +0000 http://www.sondibruner.com/?p=7047 You might not have considered this before, but there are a lot of different ways to enjoy coconuts. A lot. Coconut products are a charismatic combination of flavour and nutrient density; I’ve encountered very few people who are coconut haters — if you’re one of them, I won’t hold it against you. Each coconut product has […]

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Gluten-free and vegan coconut macaroons

You might not have considered this before, but there are a lot of different ways to enjoy coconuts. A lot. Coconut products are a charismatic combination of flavour and nutrient density; I’ve encountered very few people who are coconut haters — if you’re one of them, I won’t hold it against you.

Each coconut product has its own special nutrient powers and charm, but from a general health perspective they are:

  • Rich in healthy fats that are great for digestion, immunity and cardiovascular health
  • High in minerals, protein and fibre, which makes them great for lowering blood sugar
  • Satisfying and satiating, which can encourage weight loss
  • Allergen-friendly and nut-free (coconut is actually a fruit, not a nut, so it’s safe for people with tree nut allergies, as long as there is no cross-contamination with nuts)

In my latest column over at Food Bloggers of Canada, I talk everything coconut: coconut oil, coconut meat, coconut milk, coconut flour, coconut water, coconut butter and more.

Check it out!

 

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Is baking with flaxseeds dangerous? http://www.sondibruner.com/2016/08/25/baking-flax-seeds-dangerous/ http://www.sondibruner.com/2016/08/25/baking-flax-seeds-dangerous/#comments Thu, 25 Aug 2016 20:56:34 +0000 http://www.sondibruner.com/?p=7032 Is baking with flaxseeds dangerous? An excellent question! Five and a half years ago, I wrote a blog post answering this question. Well, sort of. I initially wrote the post when I was in the throes of nutrition school. I was totally overwhelmed by new, exciting and terrifying information, and overly enthusiastic to share it with […]

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Is baking with flaxseeds dangerous? An excellent question!

Is baking with flaxseeds dangerous?

Five and a half years ago, I wrote a blog post answering this question. Well, sort of. I initially wrote the post when I was in the throes of nutrition school. I was totally overwhelmed by new, exciting and terrifying information, and overly enthusiastic to share it with others. I was afraid that baking with flaxseeds would oxidize them and create dangerous free radicals.

Now, years later, I’ve learned to distinguish between the bad, the not-so-bad, the okay, the good and the freaking great. I strive to be mindful and balanced when it comes to what I eat, but also temper my passion and Type A extreme tendencies with realism and practicality.

Soon after I published my thoughts on baking with flaxseeds, a number of readers directed me to some scientific studies that show ground flaxseed remains stable in baking. After being armed with new information, and also through my own research, I’ve concluded that ground flaxseed is safe for baking and I’d like to outline a few key studies that illustrate this. (If you’re not into the science of baking with flax seed, I invite you to drool over chocolate brownies.)

Let’s take a look at some of the evidence.

1. Study: Bioavailability of alpha-linolenic acid in subjects after ingestion of three different forms of flaxseed

In a nutshell: In this study, people were separated into three groups and given different types of muffins: one group ate muffins with whole flaxseed, one group had milled (ground) flaxseed and the third consumed muffins with flaxseed oil. Each group ate their muffins every day for 3 months. After analyzing blood samples, researchers concluded that baking didn’t affect the integrity of flaxseed’s alpha-linoleic acid (ALA), and omega-3 fat. The flaxseed oil group had the highest ALA levels, followed by the milled flaxseed, while the whole flaxseed participants didn’t have an appreciable difference in their ALA levels.

Another thing the researchers learned is that flaxseed in baking didn’t change cholesterol or triglyceride levels, or increase levels of EPA or DHA. (EPA and DHA are long-chain omega-3s that are especially anti-inflammatory; DHA is exceptionally awesome for the eyes and brain.)

You can read the full study here.

2. Study: Effect of processing and storage on the stability of flaxseed lignan added to bakery products

In a nutshell: This study looked at the processing and storage of a flaxseed compound called secoisolariciresinol diglucoside (SDG) baked into doughs, breads, buns and muffins. The baked goodies were tested right after baking, a week later, a month later and two months later. In all of the products, the SDG (the flax compound) was able to stand up to normal oven temperatures.

You can read the abstract here.

3. Study: Effect of thermal heating on some lignans in flax seeds, sesame seeds and rye

In a nutshell: Researchers tested unheated and heated sesame seeds, sesame products, rye grains, rye flour, rye bread and flax seeds. At 100 degrees celsius, the lignans were not affected in the dry products – in fact, the heat helped extract the compounds, while the products with moisture began experiencing degradation. Interestingly, at 250 degrees celsius the lignans in sesame and rye had deteriorated but not the lignans in flaxseeds.

You can read the abstract here.

4. Study: Processing and cooking effects on lipid content and stability of alpha-linolenic acid in spaghetti containing ground flaxseed

In a nutshell: When researchers examined ground flaxseed incorporated into spaghetti, they found that the alpha-linoleic acid (ALA) stayed stable.

You can read the abstract here.

5. Study: Nutritional characterization and oxidative stability of α- Linolenic acid in bread containing roasted ground flaxseed

In a nutshell: In this one, researchers toasted brown flaxseed in a pan and then baked into bread with wheat flour. The roasted flaxseed bread was higher in fibre and lower on the GI scale than the control bread, but protein digestibility decreased. Scientists also discovered that after 2 days of storing the bread there was a “significant and gradual increase in peroxide value,” meaning some oxidation or rancidity had occurred. Overall, the researchers concluded that the flaxseed can improve the nutritional properties of bread, though they did emphasize that the biological effects of baking with flaxseed in the breads on humans would need further study in clinical trials.

You can read the full study here.

6. Study: Incorporation of ground flaxseed into bakery products and its effect on sensory and nutritional characteristics – a pilot study

In a nutshell: The main focus of this study was to evaluate the sensory properties (tenderness, colour, chewyness, dryness, etc.) of breads and muffins that were baked with varying amounts of ground flaxseed. The baked goods were sampled and judged by a panel of study participants (they liked the 30% flaxseed bread and 50% flaxseed muffins the most).

From a nutritional perspective, there was a 15-fold increase in ALA in the flaxseed bread, and both breads and muffins contained increased fibre, potassium and protein (however, given the roasted flaxseed study mentioned in #5 I wonder how digestible that protein is?).

You can read the full study here.

7. Study: Effect of processing and storage on the stability of flaxseed lignan added to dairy products

In a nutshell: This study investigated the stability of the flaxseed compound secoisolariciresinol diglucoside (SDG) once it was added to milk and then used to make a variety of dairy products. The milk was heated to varying temperatures, from 72 degrees celsius in pasteurized cheese, to 80 degrees in bottled whey drinks, to 90 degrees in yogurt. Researchers found that the SDG remained stable throughout heating and fermentation, and deemed it a good supplement for dairy products.

You can read the full study here.

8. Study: A lignan complex isolated from flaxseed does not affect plasma lipid concentrations or antioxidant capacity in healthy postmenopausal women

In a nutshell: Postmenopausal women in Copenhagen ate a daily muffin, either with or without SDG, for six weeks. After analyzing blood samples, researchers determined that the SDG didn’t impact oxidation or affect the antioxidant capacity of the women. Blood levels of total cholesterol, LDL, HDL and triglycerides were not affected by baking with flaxseeds.

You can read the full study here.

Conclusion: Overall, after reading the above studies and others, I think it’s safe to say that baking with flaxseed isn’t going to cause you any harm.

Another thing I found interesting after reading more about baking with flaxseeds is it doesn’t cause any improvements in cholesterol or triglycerides. This doesn’t mean that flax seeds won’t help reduce cholesterol or triglycerides – research indicates it does – but baked goodies aren’t the way to do it.

Finally, while the studies didn’t identify the ingredient list of the muffins, breads, buns and other pastries they baked with flaxseeds in these studies, I speculate they weren’t the clean, whole food, real-ingredient baked goods that can help support our overall health. I recognize that gluten-free, vegan baked goods are still a treat, but if I’m going to be enjoying a treat, I want to pack as much nutrition into it as I possibly can.

So if I baked flaxseeds into these gluten-free blueberry sage muffins, these prune chocolate brownies or these oatmeal almond breakfast cookies, I wonder if the flax would increase their health properties more than the flax did for the baked goods used in the studies?

Someone needs to do a study on that!

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What To Do With Hemp + Chia Seeds http://www.sondibruner.com/2016/08/09/hemp-chia-seeds/ http://www.sondibruner.com/2016/08/09/hemp-chia-seeds/#comments Tue, 09 Aug 2016 17:25:31 +0000 http://www.sondibruner.com/?p=7027 “Superfood” is a word that’s bandied about and often it’s a piece of fluffy marketing lingo that capitalizes on our need for quick fixes. I believe most whole ingredients have superfood qualities — we just need to recognize them. Still, there are some foods that are more nutrient dense than others. And in my latest column for Food Bloggers of […]

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Organic Hemp Seeds and Chia Seeds

“Superfood” is a word that’s bandied about and often it’s a piece of fluffy marketing lingo that capitalizes on our need for quick fixes. I believe most whole ingredients have superfood qualities — we just need to recognize them.

Still, there are some foods that are more nutrient dense than others. And in my latest column for Food Bloggers of Canada, I offer a guide to two of them: hemp seeds and chia seeds.

Want to learn about the health benefits of hemp and chia seeds and how to use them seamlessly in recipes? Hop on over and check it out!

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Get Your Guide to Gluten-Free Flours http://www.sondibruner.com/2016/04/13/get-guide-gluten-free-flours/ Wed, 13 Apr 2016 13:00:39 +0000 http://www.sondibruner.com/?p=6908 The world of gluten-free flours is a fun one to explore. When I was a ‘regular’ baker, I used all-purpose flour and that’s about it. Now, I have more than half a dozen flours in my pantry I can use to play and create. There are a multitude of gluten-free flours you can use for baking […]

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Guide to Gluten-Free Flours

The world of gluten-free flours is a fun one to explore. When I was a ‘regular’ baker, I used all-purpose flour and that’s about it. Now, I have more than half a dozen flours in my pantry I can use to play and create.

There are a multitude of gluten-free flours you can use for baking and cooking. Hop on over and check it out, which can be irritating to the fervent bakers and liberating to those of us who passionately love treats but are impatiently inept.

In my latest column for Food Bloggers of Canada, I share my personal guide to using gluten-free flours. Hop on over and check it out!

 

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