Thursday, September 3, 2015

Living Young With Lime

As anyone who reads this blog regularly knows, I am on a constant mission to lose weight. As a result, the rest of my family rarely gets to enjoy foods most people consider ordinary. Processed foods and sweets are really unusual things around here. I often think it's good for my children that I struggle so much with weight; as a result they eat primarily home cooked, unprocessed, and if possible, home grown foods. I don't, however, want to create a situation where once they have escaped my household they eat everything in sight, chomping down "forbidden" foods with abandon. I knew many people who ate and drank excessively in college and gained well more than the "freshman 15." I actually lost 20 pounds by the end of my first semester. I found the restriction of space in my dorm room kept me from keeping food on hand and the constant walking provided exercise. Still, I can't forget the example of the great number of friends who went in the exact opposite direction and want to provide a little relief for the sweet tooth now and then.

Young Living Lime essential oil

Inspired by the gardens at the Borghese Palace in Rome, Italy, I ordered several miniature citrus trees a few years back. These make pretty, if rather sharp, house plants in winter and adorn my porch and patio in summer. I want the same classic European courtyard feeling in our yard, especially on the stone patio. All over Europe, including Pitti and Borghese Palaces and at Versailles, potted citrus trees are used to line paths, define beds, and give the garden some upright structure. It took a few years for my trees to produce, and only three, two Meyer lemons and one lime, have ever given us fruit. I have either a mandarin orange or tangerine tree that has not produced and one I ordered died. Last year we had much different weather than this and the garden had a huge yield of strawberries, blueberries, and rhubarb, but little else. This year those haven't done much at all but our tomatoes and citrus trees are doing well. The lime tree had one large lime and one of the lemon trees is just covered with fruits. With such a special event, the first and only lime for two years, I had to think of something really delicious. I remembered my Young Living Einkorn flour cookbook has a lemon bar recipe, and I decided to tweak it a bit and use my lime.

Gluten content of Einkorn wheat

Perhaps you are wondering what Einkorn flour is. Einkorn is wheat, but not the modern wheat we use today. Not long ago my best friend, Cherre, and I were discussing why, when wheat is cited throughout the Bible and other Scriptures as the Staff of Life, so many people can no longer eat it. My daughter has a slight wheat allergy and in limiting it for her I noticed a reduction in my own red, rashy allergy symptoms. The answer is, the wheat mentioned in the Bible is not the same food. As recently as 40 years ago wheat was so different our bodies can't recognize it as the same grain called wheat today. Our food production methods have so altered wheat we have actually changed the chromosomal structure of the plant, not to mention loaded it with herbicides and pesticides. For a while we were told to eat whole wheat for health, but now there is evidence that's actually worse than white flour, since the gluten content is higher and the amount of chemicals retained in the flour greater.

Einkorn is the original wheat, with a lower chromosomal count, far lower gluten content, and much higher nutrient content. Einkorn has more protein, potassium, phosphorus, and vitamin B6, five times the riboflavin, four times the beta-carotene and lutein, and two times the vitamin A of modern wheat. You can find Einkorn wheat berries to grind yourself on the Internet or order it already ground into flour from Young Living (it comes with a cookbook), and of course since it's from Young Living it's never treated with harmful chemicals.

I decided with the juice from my lime, plus some commercial lime juice since I only had one fruit, coconut sugar, and Einkorn flour I could make a sweet, gooey dessert that's really nutritious. Coconut sugar and coconut oil provide Lauric Acid, which has anti-fungal, anti-viral,  and anti-bacterial properties as well as many other nutrients largely missing from Western diets. This medium chain fatty acid is produced by our mammary glands and is present only in breast milk, coconut oil, palm kernel oil, and butterfat. It's so protective we are designed to feed it to our infants as the first, ultimate nutritional source!

There are still some nutritionists clinging to the belief that coconut, due to its saturated fat content, is unhealthy. This misinformation is the result of bad science largely funded by margarine and other trans-fat manufacturers through the 1980s and has been pretty thoroughly debunked simply through the hostorical evidence of tropical peoples whose diets abound with coconut products but who show very little to no sign of heart disease. In fact, the more coconut products people eat, the healthier and thinner they are. Unfortunately, our health care system and food industries make a ton of money marketing drugs and fake foods based on the idea that natural saturated fats are bad for you so few people, even doctors, are aware of the fallacy.

I read an article in the New York Times recently which cited "delicious but deadly Thai curries" as evidence of coconut milk's unhealthiness. Deadly Thai curries? Seriously? Has this writer ever been to Thailand or to Asia at all where EVERYONE (it seems like) is thinner and longer-lived than the average American? Are there any studies showing a link between eating Thai curry and death? There are many studies showing the healthfulness of coconut products and even of the relative lack of heart disease among the Thai population. Sally Fallon's Eat Fat, Lose Fat book lists a great many, as does Authority Nutrition.

Limes are an undisputed powerhouse for health, safeguarding your heart and protecting against all sorts of immune threats, including cancer. Livestrong has a great article on the benefits of lime juice. You can get the same benefits from drinking Young Living lime essential oil in your water, as I do.

I'm happy to say, this recipe was a hit. It has the creamy, crumbly texture combined with sweetness that makes dessert so mouth-watering, but packs a significant nutritional punch as well. The only thing I might still alter in the original recipe is the sugar content. Coconut sugar is extremely good for you and has a lower glycemic index than cane sugar, but it does still contain calories and carbohydrates, and this recipe calls for a lot. You sort of need it in the filling to make the syrupy texture, but I think next time I will replace the coconut sugar in the crust with powdered stevia. I grow this in my garden and it did very well this year, so besides lowering the calories it will also lower the cost of this dessert. Stevia is sweeter than sugar, so you can use about half as much.

Luscious Lime Bars
Serves 12-16

1 cup coconut oil
2 cups Young Living Einkorn flour
1/2 cup coconut sugar or powdered stevia

1 1/2 cups coconut sugar
1/4 cup Einkorn flour
4 eggs
2 limes, juiced (1/2 cup juice)
Zest from 2 limes (about 1/4 tsp)
1 drop Young Living lime essential oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix crust ingredients and press into a greased 9x13 inch pan. Bake for 15-20 minutes until firm and golden. Set aside. Meanwhile, whisk filling ingredients together until well combined and foamy. Pour over baked crust and bake another 15-20 minutes. Cool and cut into bars.

This recipe has the added desirability of providing young helpers with lots of fun, hands-on activity. My kids loved pressing the crust into the pan and juicing and zesting the lime (use common sense in deciding whether your child is old enough to use a microplane zester). One more health benefit I forgot to mention before: these bars have four eggs! Eggs are the most perfect and economical protein source out there. Did you know, eggs contain every single known vitamin and mineral except vitamin C? Of course, chickens who never get outside in to be in the sunlight or get to eat insects and grass don't produce eggs with adequate nutrients, so make sure to try to find verified traditionally raised chicken eggs. Local outdoor eggs, even if not organic, are better for you than the "Organic, Vegetarian" eggs sold for such high prices in stores. I really, really wish I could have some chickens so we could raise our own eggs!

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