Okay, so it’s no secret around here, I love baking! I not only love baking because the end product results in the most delicious of goodies (*almost* always – except for those few odd times things don’t work out), but I also love baking because I find it an incredibly anxiety easing activity.
There’s something so beautiful about stepping into the kitchen, putting on some music, and watching magic happen as you mix simple ingredients together, to come up with something heavenly smelling & tasting!
I find baking really helps with my anxiety as it helps to ground me into the present moment, brings about a sense of peace, and activates the creative, free flowing part of my brain.
However, the truth is, when you bake frequently (like I do) – if you’re using poor quality, refined ingredients all the time, baking can actually end up being more triggering for your anxiety than it might be easing for your anxiety – especially in the long run!
That’s why, I’m sharig these 3 swaps for healthier baking – you’ll get the best of both worlds!
3 Swaps for Healthier Baking – to Help Ease Anxiety
#1: Choose WHOLE GRAIN or NUT/SEED FLOURS:
Using whole grain or nut flours over refined white flours helps to ensure your body is getting the nutrients it needs, while also helping to keep blood sugars more balanced – therefore supporting in keeping anxiety at bay.
I love opting for homemade oat flour by simply placing whole rolled oats into the blender, and grinding them up until reaching a fine flour like consistency! However, there are all sorts of amazing whole grain/ nut flour options you can try out – take a look at the list below to see some of my faves!
It’s important to note that not all recipes will turn out *as well* if you directly swap white flour for oat flour (or another whole grain option). It will definitely change the texture and consistency of your baked good (especially if you use gluten free grains like oats or buckwheat).
This is why I like finding recipes that use whole grain flour to begin with, or subbing half the white flour for oat flour (or another whole grain flour). This brings me to my next point – when I do use some white flour in a recipe, like this ‘Salal Berry Muffin Recipe‘ I always ensure it’s organic and unbleached.
My Favourite Healthy Flours to Use:
- Oat flour
- Buckwheat flour
- Spelt flour
- Brown rice flour
- Hazelnut flour
- Almond flour
- Sunflower seed flour (just ground up sunflower seeds – a great budget friendly alternative to nut flours)
#2 Choose UNREFINED SUGARS
This one is such a game changer when it comes to baking for anxiety! Refined sugars are stripped of their nutrients, often GMO, laden with pesticides, and contain NO nutritional value! In fact, refined sugars show up time and time again as being inflammatory for both the brain and the body. They can definitely be considered an ‘anxiety triggering food’! You can read my blog post called; ‘Does Sugar Trigger Your Anxiety‘ here to learn more about how refined sugars can impact your anxiety levels.
At the bare minimum I do my best to avoid all:
- White sugar
- Brown sugar
- Icing sugar
- Corn syrup
Instead, I opt for:
- Raw unrefined cane sugar
- Raw coconut sugar
- Maple syrup
- Mashed bananas
- Apple sauce
#3 Choose High Quality Organic Ingredients
This is another super important one – and SO easy to make the swap for! Although you might spend more money on your recipes by choosing higher quality, organic ingredients – believe me when I say it is sooo worth it for both your health and the taste of your recipes 🙂
Quality Ingredients I Love:
- Dark Chocolate: I love Prana Organic Chocolate Chunks or even chopping up one of my fave chocolate bars like Zazu Bean or Theo and using them as ‘chocolate chips’ in my recipes.
- Pasture Raised Eggs: As you’ll see in a lot of my baking recipes, I often use eggs. However I only ever use pasture raised organic eggs – the best place to find these are from a farm stand, farmers market, or local health food store.
- Organic or Wild Berries: In the summer we pick a lotttt of wild blackberries and any other local berries we can find and then freeze to use in baking all year round! I always recommend using organic berries if you need them in a recipe, as berries are almost always on the ‘Dirty Dozen List‘ when it comes to pesticide exposure.
- Whole Grain Sprouted Flours: If you can find organic & sprouted flours – this is the best option for digestion and nutrition retention! I love using brands such as Anita’s Organic as they have many stone ground and sprouted whole grain options.
Okay so those were my top 3 swaps for healthier baking in order to help keep anxiety levels in check! I hope this helps you on your way to enjoying the ever so anxiety easing activity of baking – while also keeping it nice and nourishing – to help further keep anxiety levels in check.
Lastly, if you’re looking for something seriously delicious and completely free of flours & refined sugars – you’ve got to try the recipe for ‘The Best Ever Raw Cake‘ (pictured below)!