This month’s Bake at Home highlight is our famous Organic Midnight Brownie Mix. Not only do these brownies make for a delicious and filling chocolaty treat, they are nourishing as well. Each and every one of our sweets and pastries are crafted with nutrient-dense ingredients in mind. Our Instagram family even helped us test the baking mix to help us truly perfect the recipe and baking times.
Beans should always be listed as a superfood. They provide fiber, vitamins and minerals, complex carbohydrates, protein, fiber, and resistant starch. Beans have been shown to combat obesity and improve the gut microbiome environment as well as inflammation within the body.(1) The dietary fiber and resistant starches found in beans are beneficial for weight management, gut microbial diversity, and even colon health. At least 45% of all colorectal cancers may be attributed to diet and lifestyle choices.(2) Diets which are low in fiber (about 95% of the U.S. population) can jeopardize the gut microbiome and pose a risk for said cancers.
If you are just starting to add beans into your diet and are experiencing gas and bloating, it’s important to know that incorporating plant-based fiber into one’s diet is a process. According to Dr. Will Bulsiewicz MD, start adding small amounts into your diet and then work your way up to larger portions. Soaking your beans before cooking and rinsing them a fews times will help to remove gas-producing raffinose.(3) It’s also helpful to cook your beans with some dried seaweed to help and neutralize carbs that could be hard to digest for some. Soaking your beans from their dried form adds extra flavor and is easier on the gut as well. Pro-tip - Add a squeeze of lemon or lime to your black beans. Vitamin C boosts your intake of iron!
You won’t find any plain white flours in our shop. Traditional pastry shops out there tend to use white flours which are stripped of their nutrients. Our organic, gluten-free almond flour contains vitamins and minerals, amino acids, proteins, carbohydrates, and fatty acids. Found in so many of our cakes, cookies, and other pastries, this impressive whole food/plant-based, nutrient-rich flour isn’t lacking any of its plant properties. Consuming almonds and almond flour has been known to show positive effects against obesity, hypertension, and diabetes.(4) Almonds have diverse bioactive compounds and are made up of macro and micronutrients. To support gut health and feed our gut microbiome with beneficial gut bacteria, researchers have confirmed the prebiotic capability of almonds.(5)
Coconut-Sweetened Chocolate Chips / Cocoa Powder
Theobroma cacao, the scientific name for the cacao tree, roughly translates to “food of the gods.”(6) Pulled from our Cacao Bean blog post last year, here is some information on chocolate benefits, what kind of ingredients we use in the shop, and how to shop for the healthiest chocolates on the market.
Active compounds, flavanols, and methylxanthines are very prominent in cacao/chocolate. Flavonols contain B2, B3, C1 procyanidins, catechin, and derivatives.(7) In recent history, the antioxidant properties of said compounds have caught the public’s interest. Pulled directly from plants, antioxidants are known to prevent and delay certain types of cell damage in the body. Providing anti-inflammatory benefits as well, studies have also shown that cacao has reduced obesity-related inflammation.(8)
“People love to hear good news about their bad habits” Dr. John A. McDougall (9)
You’ve seen the latest food news spread across the headlines, “Wine Makes You Live Longer,” “Eat Fat, Stay Healthy,” “Eat More Chocolate!” As in most cases, the untouched, whole raw plant itself is what is providing the reported nutritional boosts (grapes in wine; the good fats such as in avocados, nuts, and coconut; and the cocoa beans used to make chocolate). Just like other headlines, it’s important to know what to look for and what to avoid. Many store-bought forms of chocolate and candy can include the following ingredients which may want to avoid: (10)
High fructose corn syrup
Sugar as the first ingredient
Soy lecithin or other emulsifiers
Genetically modified organisms (GMO’s)
Artificial dyes (red and yellow dyes, caramel color)
Partially hydrogenated oils
Artificial flavors (sometimes simply listed as “artificial flavors”) or “natural flavor” which can sometimes fall under the same category as artificial flavors
Various forms of dairy (milk powders, casein, whey)
We are looking for dark chocolate varieties without unnatural additives to reap the most cacao benefits. When searching for chocolate bars, we recommend looking for about 70% cacao and more. For our plant-based readers, this does not necessarily mean it’s always dairy-free. There are more chocolate bars these days made with plant milk or other alternatives if you are looking for something a little less bitter. Some of our favorites are Hu Simple dark chocolate bars, Endangered Species chocolate bars, and Raaka bars.
Here at P.S. & Co., we pride ourselves on our clean, 100% organic, plant-based, and gluten-free baked goods and beverages.
We sometimes use Unreal candies to dress up our desserts. Not 100% organic, but hit the spot for custom requests. They offer delicious, natural dark chocolate alternatives to classic favorites such as M&M’s with their Dark Chocolate Crispy Quinoa Gems or Mounds with their Dark Chocolate Coconut Bars.
Our vendors at Equal Exchange provide our wonderfully rich and clean cocoa powder, and have a passion for changing the way food is grown, bought, and sold around the world.
Check Out Our Organic Midnight Brownie Mix!
What you need in addition to our dry baking mix : *We recommend using organic, plant-based ingredients when available.
2/3 cup (135 g) filtered water
15 oz (426 g) canned, organic, unsalted black beans (drained and rinsed)
1/2 cup (95 g) organic olive oil
1/2 tsp (1 g) vanilla extract
1 Mullins AP, Arjmandi BH. Health Benefits of Plant-Based Nutrition: Focus on Beans in Cardiometabolic Diseases. Nutrients. 2021 Feb 5;13(2):519. doi: 10.3390/nu13020519. PMID: 33562498; PMCID: PMC7915747.
3 Carroll, Chuck, (Dr. Will Bulsiewicz, MD). (2021, January 13). Gas and Plant-Based Diets: Tips from The Gut Health MD) [audio podcast], Physicians Committee, Exam Room Podcast.
4 Barreca D, Nabavi SM, Sureda A, Rasekhian M, Raciti R, Silva AS, Annunziata G, Arnone A, Tenore GC, Süntar İ, Mandalari G. Almonds (Prunus Dulcis Mill. D. A. Webb): A Source of Nutrients and Health-Promoting Compounds. Nutrients. 2020 Mar 1;12(3):672. doi: 10.3390/nu12030672. PMID: 32121549; PMCID: PMC7146189.
5 Liu Z, Lin X, Huang G, Zhang W, Rao P, Ni L. Prebiotic effects of almonds and almond skins on intestinal microbiota in healthy adult humans. Anaerobe. 2014 Apr;26:1-6. doi: 10.1016/j.anaerobe.2013.11.007. Epub 2013 Dec 3. PMID: 24315808.
6 10 interesting chocolate facts: History of chocolate. National Geographic Expeditions. (2019, April 8). Retrieved July 14, 2022, from https://www.nationalgeographic.com/expeditions/get-inspired/inside-look/10-interesting-chocolate-facts-history-of-chocolate/
7 Franco R, Oñatibia-Astibia A, Martínez-Pinilla E. Health benefits of methylxanthines in cacao and chocolate. Nutrients. 2013 Oct 18;5(10):4159-73. doi: 10.3390/nu5104159. PMID: 24145871; PMCID: PMC3820066.
9 Newsletter article index. Dr. McDougall. (2021, October 8). Retrieved July 14, 2022, from https://www.drmcdougall.com/articles/newsletter-directory/newsletter-article-index/
10 Food Babe. (2013, September 27). Are you getting conned by Cheap & Toxic Chocolate? Food Babe. Retrieved July 14, 2022, from https://foodbabe.com/getting-conned-cheap-toxic-chocolate/