Whole Grain Strawberry Scones (vegan, low-fat)

A friend recently posted a link to a scone recipe.  The recipe called for whole wheat flour, and the addition of fruit, making it seem like a healthier version. I opened the link only to find the recipe was anything but healthy.  It called for 1 cup whole cream, 1 stick of butter, an egg and and egg white.  Yes, whole wheat is better than white, but with all the other unhealthy ingredients still there, it hardly makes a difference changing the flour and adding some fruit.  Herein lies the problem with the way so many people eat.  Adding a single food or nutrient, or taking it out, won’t really make much difference in health outcomes.  We must pay attention to the overall pattern and big picture.  As my friend and mentor Dr. Pam Popper says, “the totality of the diet and lifestyle”.

I was determined to “healthify” (not really a word, but I’m going with it) the recipe.  I thought I would just be able to sub out good stuff for bad, but ended up basically creating a whole new recipe. I don’t use oil or vegan butter in my baked goods, but I did use a small amount here.  Scones are all about fat, and I felt I needed some for them to turn out like anything resembling a scone.  Keep in mind these are lighter than traditional scones because they aren’t loaded with fat.  The average scone has 20-30 grams of fat (a day’s worth), so you’d have to expect this healthy version, which has about 3, to be a little different.  They are still delicious, especially when you know arteries aren’t being clogged, and thighs or bellies aren’t growing during consumption!

NOTE: Use organic strawberries, as conventionally grown strawberries are very heavily sprayed with harmful pesticides.  Or, feel free to use a different type of berry.

Non-Dairy Tapioca Pudding

I have always LOVED tapioca pudding. Actually, any type of pudding – I don’t discriminate!   Once I gave up health-harming dairy and animal foods however (best choice I ever made, btw), I figured tapioca pudding was a thing of the past since the traditional recipe calls for milk and eggs.  WRONG! I tinkered with a few ingredients and ended up with what I feel is a great alternative.  I try my best not to consume or prepare things with refined sugar, but I must confess  – I did use some here, the few times I made this.  Next time I will try date or coconut sugar, which aren’t refined in the highly processed way white sugar is.  They may alter taste somewhat, and color, but it’s worth trying.

UPDATE!!! I tried date sugar and it was an epic fail.  I do NOT recommend it.  I also tried Sucanat, which is dried sugar cane juice.  Much better result than date sugar but not nearly as good as white sugar.  It gave it a tan hue, and sort of a molasses flavor, which tastes nice but the texture ends up much thicker and not as creamy as white sugar. Next I will try raw/turbinado sugar, which I’m guessing will have the same result as Sucanat.   When choosing white sugar, organic is a must!  Not only is it free of pesticides, it is vegan.  Why do you care about vegan sugar?  Well, regular, refined white sugar requires the use of animal bone char in processing.  Gross?  Definitely.  Due to health concerns, the FDA prohibits the use of bones from the United States’ meat industry. Further, the bones are required to come from animals that die of natural causes. While this makes theoretical sense, the ridiculous reality is bone char is predominantly imported from countries like Brazil, India, Pakistan and Nigeria and there is no warranty to the American consumer that the bone char used is indeed from ‘clean’ animals.  I don’t know about you, but I like my sugar without potentially contaminated bone char!