Fat, protein, and complex starches make good guards for refined flour and sugar.
In my last post I came down pretty hard on refined white flour. That’s the silky white wheat flour that bakers love to use in cakes and cookies. I was harsh with it because it’s such a soft touch! At the first sign of strong acids in our stomachs, it breaks down into the sugar our body uses for energy. And to make matters worse, refined flour likes to hang out with its pal, ordinary sugar.
The sugar police try to keep our blood levels on an even keel. But when there’s too much refined white flour and sugar around, sugar runs riot!
Sugar out of control can lead to diabetes and other serious health problems.
So, for our health’s sake, do we have to give up on refined flour completely? My answer is not necessarily. We just have to cook a little smarter. If we put refined flour under guard, we can control it long enough that blood-sugar levels remain even.
We control the bad effects from refined flour by eating other foods at the same time that make flour harder to digest. Healthy fats make a good guard. Other complex starches also do the trick, like those found in whole-grain flours and sweet potatoes. We can also be careful to keep flour’s sugar buddies away. Only the sugars that have something extra to offer are allowed in, and only a little at a time. And finally, we can invite protein into the gang, a nutrient that is much slower to digest than refined flour or sugar.
The biscuit recipe below comes with an army of guards to protect our systems from blood-sugar spikes. Can you spot them?
But there’s still enough refined flour to provide the flaky tenderness we want in a scone. Natural sugar in the sweet potato is boosted with a little maple syrup to make these biscuits a real treat. I served them with a simple salad and bowls of steaming homemade soup with tomatoes from my garden. M-M-Good!
Sweet Potato Scones
• ¾ cup sweet potato ( 1 medium potato boiled till soft, skinned, mashed and measured)
• 1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
• ½ cup whole-wheat flour
• 2 tablespoons baking powder
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• ¼ teaspoon salt
• ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
• ¾ cup unsweetened Greek yogurt
• 2 tablespoons maple syrup
• 3 tablespoons oil (coconut oil or olive oil… or melted butter, if you must)
How to make them
• if you don’t already have left-over sweet potato in the fridge, boil, peel and mash one, and set it aside to cool.
• Preheat oven to 425F and spray baking sheet with cooking oil.
• Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl and sift them together or give them a whiz in your food processor.
• Mix wet ingredients along with the mashed potato in a medium bowl.
• Add the wet ingredients to the dry ones in the large bowl and stir just until the dough forms a soft ball. The less you handle the dough, the tenderer the biscuits.
• Turn dough out onto floured parchment paper (to protect the counter).
• Roll or pat gently into a round, ¾-inches thick.
• Using a 2-inch cookie cutter dusted with flour, cut the dough into round biscuits and transfer them to the baking sheet.
• Roll remaining dough into a ball and pat it again into a round ¾-inches thick. Cut more biscuits. Repeat until all the dough is used. You should end up with 12 biscuits.
• Bake for 10 minutes or until the biscuits are a light golden brown.
• Serve immediately.—Adapted from a recipe in Looney Spoons, a great cook book Vinny would have been proud to have written (but sadly, he didn’t :( ).
Nutrition for 1 scone: 124 Cal, 4 g fat, 19 g carbs (of which 3.7 g are sugar), 1 g fiber, 3.3 g protein, 321 mg sodium. Good source of iron, calcium, potassium, folate, and vitamins A, C and B.
And that’s the story of how the food police regulate the effects of refined flour and sugar on our blood-sugar levels. Next week I’ll look at all the other good things sweet potatoes do for us. And I have a couple of other great recipes starring the sugary tuber to share with you, including the tomato soup I mentioned here.
Wheat and the glycemic index… loaded question Vinny explains why the glycemic load might be a better indication of the risk of sugar spikes from eating any one food.
Wheat is not satan… but watch out for all those little sugar devils Is wheat the cause of today’s alarming rise in weight-related problems in Canada and the US? A look at the popularity of gluten free diets.
One potato, sweet potato, bean potato, more Learn what sweet potatoes hold for you under their skin. Recipe: Baked sweet potato with goats cheese, black beans, and walnuts.
Sweet potato pancakes Find out why sweet potato is ranked the most nutritious of all veggies, and make your sweety some pancakes for Valentines Day.
Eggs and veg Check out Vinny’s recipes for hearty, egg breakfasts. Who needs toast, anyways?