My family and I live in the southwestern United States, but my husband and I are products of Midwest America, where meat and potatoes are considered a way of life and vegetables a consequence of backyard gardens. That we are now more flexitarian than omnivore may imply that we are trendy people, but the reasons for this dietary deliverance from fat and salt has little to do with social consciousness, and much to do with staying alive.
We follow a low-fat, low sodium diet not because it’s fashionable, but because at 48 years of age, my husband underwent a triple bypass. The cardiologist was clear: Change your diet or die of heart disease.
An estimated 785,000 people in the United States suffered a heart attack in 2010, and an additional 470,000 suffered from a reoccurrence of a coronary incident, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC).
Several factors lead to heart disease with unhealthy dietary habits and a sedentary life style being among the most common, and most preventable of causes. A sensible diet and regular exercise reduces your risk of heart disease. So I take the time to cook nutritional meals, avoiding foods high in fat and sodium, and I see to it that our meals include more than a token nod to greens and vegetables.
If that makes me a fussy foodie, so be it. The extra effort is worthwhile.
My son has celiac disease and is unable to eat any foods that contain gluten, the protein found in wheat, rye, oats and barley. Wheat by-products are used as an additive in a host of packaged foods, from soy sauce to ice cream. I have to read every label.
Approximately 1 in 33 people suffer from celiac disease in the United States alone. The only treatment for celiac disease, and the similar condition gluten intolerance, is a gluten free diet.
I learned to cook and bake gluten free foods because this specialized diet greatly reduces the risk to my son for stomach cancer and an early death.
If that makes me a fussy foodie, so be it.
My daughter is allergic to eggs, and is now and always has been a vegetarian. I’ve always respected her choice. When I cook a meal, I include vegetarian main dishes, not just side dishes, for her. Sometimes, I have to cook three separate types of meals for one family dinner. Everyone, though, gets the right kind of food for their nutritional needs. I confess; I’m a fussy foodie for my family.
There is one recipe though that all of us enjoys, one low in fat and sodium, high in vitamins A and C, gluten free and made without eggs. It’s an adaptation of The Cooking Channel’s Hungry Girl’s Yum Yum Brownie Muffins.
Gluten Free Chocolate Pumpkin Muffins
1 15 oz box of dairy free, gluten free chocolate cake mix
7 1/2 oz of pureed pumpkin
4 oz of applesauce (no sugar added)
Use a vegan butter spread and grease the bottom and sides of a 12-muffin tin. Empty the packet of chocolate mix into a medium-sized mixing bowl. Add the pumpkin and the applesauce. Stir until well blended. This may take several minutes. Do not be tempted to add egg or butter. When the mixture comes together, scoop into prepared 12-muffin tin.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes. Cooking times may vary. Let cool for 10 minutes before removing the muffins from the tin. Let cool for additional half an hour before serving.