Sunday, January 16, 2011

Disgustingly healthy muffins

My Disgustingly Healthy Muffins are not really disgusting but they are really healthy. They are so healthy that the recipe was tacked up on the bulletin board at the cardiac rehab centre of the Ross Memorial Hospital here in Lindsay.

A platter of my heart-healthy muffins. Can they
help lower that bad LDL cholesterol?

That was three years ago. Joan and I were working out in the hospital’s rehab program. Joan was there because she had undergone a tricky four-hour operation at the Toronto General Hospital for a rare heart condition that had almost killed her and has left her with a permanent health impairment. I was allowed to participate because of a cardiac arrest 19 years earlier, when our hospital did not yet have a rehab program.

One day I mentioned—well, bragged, I guess—about my muffins. “Let’s see the recipe,” said the nurse, who, together with the physiotherapist and an assistant, managed the rehab program. I brought the recipe in at the next session. It was checked by the nurse, the physiotherapist, and a hospital dietician, and posted on the bulletin board.

Now I can’t say that the recipe for my Disgustingly Healthy Muffins has been approved by our wonderful Ross Memorial Hospital. But it has been checked by at least three health care professionals. And if anyone knows of a muffin recipe that is more heart healthy, please do send it to me. I would truly like to try it out.
Plain and simple, easy-to-make, extra healthy, heart- and cancer disease-fighting food. We never (or as little as possible) eat these foods: trans fat); saturated fat; refined carbohydrates; egg yoke; high-cholesterol foods; red meat; potatoes. We eat every day: fruits and vegetables (7+ servings); canola and olive oil (for poly- and monounsaturated fats); fish, poultry or soy-based simulated ground beef; ground flax seed; whole grains. We eat very often: Tomatoes, cooked with oil; legumes (including peanuts); skim milk; no-fat yogurt; seeds (e.g. pumpkin, sunflower). That’s the basis for our recipes. Can this diet and exercise lower my LDL cholesterol without statins? We learn on April 26.
Neither egg yoke nor oil are among the ingredients in this recipe: just simple, heart-healthy food: whole wheat flour, wheat bran, oat bran, ground flax seed, skim milk, egg white, demerara sugar and raisins. Like everything we bake, we use only whole wheat flour. There is no white, or “enriched,” flour in our house. Oat bran and ground flax seeds are probably the two most widely advocated foods to protect the health of your heart, and wheat bran can’t be too far behind. The demara sugar is much less refined than normal table sugar, either white or brown, and retains more of the nutrients of the raw cane sugar. If you can’t find demerata sugar at the supermarket, turbinado sugar is very similar. Both are a medium-brown colour, with crunchy, large grains or crystals. Look for them at a bulk food store.

We eat very little bread in our house. Most of the time, there isn’t a loaf to be found. We gobble these muffins instead.

I enjoy cooking but I have too much to do to spend all my life in the kitchen. So I like to cook or bake big amounts or big batches. My Disgustingly Healthy recipe is particularly big. It makes 36 muffins and two large loafs, or 48 muffins. Most of that goes into the freezer and it’s a couple of weeks before I have to make another batch. If you don’t want that many muffins, you can cut this recipe in half. If you do the whole recipe, you will need a very large metal mixing bowl.

Here’s my Disgustingly Healthy Muffiins recipe.
8 cups whole wheat flour.
2.5 cups ground flax seed.
2 cups oat bran
4 cups wheat bran
3 cups powdered skim milk
5 cups Sultana raisins
3 cups demerara sugar
1 carton (500 grams) egg white
5 tbs baking powder
3 tbs baking soda
6.5 cups water

Combine all the dry ingredients in your very large mixing bowl and mix well. Combine the egg whites and perhaps half the water in a separate bowl, beat slightly with an egg beater, and add to the dry mix. Add the rest of the water and mix thoroughly. If your muffin tins and 9x5-inch baking pans are not the non-stick type, spray with no-fat vegetable spray. Spoon into your muffin tins, and baking pans if you are making loafs as well as muffins. I cook the muffins at 3700F. for 20 minutes; the loafs will take 40 to 50 minutes.

Because they are loaded with grains, these muffins don’t rise in the oven as much and are not quite as light and fluffy as some muffins. But our friends rave about the taste and the hearty texture.

Please do send me your comments about these muffins, or any alternative muffin recipe you’d like to share.

TAGS: Muffins. Wheat bran. Oat bran. Ground flax seed. Demerara sugar. Whole wheat flour. Egg whites.

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