I am not vegetarian, I am not vegan. If I had to label how I eat I would call myself a healthitarian. I do eat meat, just mostly poultry and fish, and I do it dairy and eggs. I also eat gluten. I don't have any food allergies. But I mostly eat plants. I do believe plant-based foods are healthiest...and I love them!
It irks me though, when people confuse some of these other labels (vegan, gluten-free, etc.) as meaning healthy. There is a shitload of vegan and gluten-free food out there these days that is just total crap.
For this reason, I hesitated to agree to review Sweet Debbie's Organic Treats: Allergy-Free & Vegan Recipes. After all, a cupcake made with vegetable shortening instead of butter and white rice flour instead of white wheat flour, is no healthier, and healthier is what's important to me.
But boy am I glad I went for it! This cookbook is the BOMB!
Author, Debbie Adler, is the owner of Sweet Debbie's Organic Cupcakes bakery in Los Angeles. I tell you, I wish we had one of her stores here in Toronto! Yes, we have a number of vegan bakeries here, but they sell stuff no healthier than the usual bakeries. Sure, no eggs or dairy, but lots of refined flours, sugar and saturated fats, thank you very much, and no thank you.
In contrast, Debbie's recipes are right up my alley! Instead of using white rice flour, like many gluten-free bakers, she uses a blend of nutritious sorghum, millet, teff, quinoa and tapioca flours. Her oils of choice are grapeseed and coconut, and she uses stevia, erythritol, and coconut nectar for sweeteners. She even has a recipe for making your own sugar-free chocolate chips!! Oh yeah, this woman gets how to make stuff not only free of animal products and gluten...but also full of nutrition.
There are muffins, brownies, cookies, cupcakes, bars, donuts and breads. They all look so good, I can't wait to try making some. I just have to find time to get to the health food store so I can create her flour blend and pick up some coconut nectar. But don't worry, if you can't find any of these ingredients where you live, you can for sure buy them online.
She is incredibly creative, using shitake mushrooms to make faux-bacon for her Caramel Glazed Fakin' Bacon Brownies. Her Lemon Parsnipannies use, yes parsnips. I am definitely going to have to try making Debbie's Blondies with Roots, and luscious looking Vivid Vanilla Cupcakes.
If you are on a restricted diet, or just looking for healthy baked good recipes, this book is a great place to start!