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Luckily there exist nutritious alternatives to replace gluten or starch-filled flours. For example, almond flour and coconut flour are full of nutrients and they are suitable for any healthy lifestyle — except if you are allergic to almonds or coconut. But let’s compare for example almond flour and rice starch. Almond flour is one of the most used flours in ketogenic low-carb baking whereas rice starch is one of the most used flours in gluten-free baking. The difference between the nutrient content is quite striking:
After seeing this, I just want to state that there is no justification to add rice starch to any diet. (Please note that I’m now handling the carb and the nutrient issues here. There exist resistant starches and that’s completely another story. If you want to add resistant starch to your diet, rice starch is indeed a valid option. You might want to check this post on Authority Nutrition or this post by Chris Kresser. However, if you need to restrict the amount of carbs and follow strictly ketogenic diet, you have to be really careful with starches in your diet.)
Lavender is one of the best and the most natural anti-anxiety herbs. Its wonderful smell is calming and relaxing. You can use lavender as tea, or add a few drops lavender essential oil to almond oil or jojoba oil to make a relaxing massage oil. More about lavender on my previous post and also shortly here. I think I mentioned in one of my previous posts that every evening I use calming baby oil and massage my son’s feet with that. He usually falls asleep within minutes.
But taking lavender orally helps, too. For this recipe, I’ve chosen dried lavender flowers to spice up the cookies. When you remove the freshly-baked cookies from the oven, the scent is unbelievable! It’s like a combo of relaxing spa and delicious cookie!
Sugar is one of the first things to give up when treating anxiety with diet. Luckily you can still enjoy sweet flavors if you use sugar substitutes. However, you should choose your sugar substitutes wisely. Stay away from any artificial sweeteners as well as from those which rise the blood sugar levels and are acting quite much like regular sugar. In other words, forget artificial sweeteners like aspartame (Equal), sucralose (Splenda) or acesulfame potassium. Don’t use sugar alcohols like maltitol, since those tend to rise the blood sugar levels anyway and cause stomach upsets. Also sweeteners that contain maltodextrin should be avoided: maltodextrin is just another name for blood-sugar-skyrocketing sugar.
There are better sugar alcohol alternatives, though. You can try xylitol, but even better option is erythritol. It’s also tooth-friendly (even more than xylitol!), it doesn’t rise blood sugar levels and the best: it doesn’t cause stomach problems. Naturally, it’s highly individual how you react to erythritol and xylitol, but those two are usually the best-tolerated sugar alcohols.
I have a powerful blender and I love to grind my own powdered sweetener from erythritol crystals. I use Twister jar and Grind Grains program to get super-fine powdered erythritol in just a few seconds.
Another healthy sweetener alternative is stevia. Remember to choose natural stevia, preferably a good-quality stevia extract which is made from stevia leaves (NOT steviol glycosides) and doesn’t contain alcohol. My favorite brands are Now Foods and Sweetleaf. Now Foods have Better Stevia Glycerite which has hardly any aftertaste. They also have several flavored sweeteners which are of great quality and the price is affordable. However, when choosing flavored stevias, Sweetleaf is also a brand to trust. Their selection of flavored stevias is overwhelming and the quality is exceptionally good.
My yet another favorite stevia brand, NuNaturals have also great-quality stevias. My absolute favorite is the alcohol-free vanilla stevia, though the Cherry Vanilla NuStevia and Orange NuStevia are also superb.
Oh yes, still another good-quality brand that has affordable stevia: Stevita. They also have drink mixes which I have liberally used in my Healthy Drink Recipes book (Kindle version here). The book has over 40 recipes (with lots of variations) for drinks that are sugar-free, low-carb, gluten-free, paleo, vegan and all natural.
For this recipe, I’ve chosen powdered erythritol and a touch of vanilla stevia, which go well with the lemony cheesecake filling. They don’t have any effect on your blood sugar levels. Keeping your blood sugar levels stable without ups and downs guarantee the best fuel flow also for your brains. Even better if you are keto-adapted and your brains can use ketones as fuel. Ketone bodies are clean fuel and they help in several neurological and psychological problems.
Full-fat cream cheese
If you tolerate dairy, full-fat cream cheese is one of best friends of yours — along with grass-fed butter, about which below. You can use cream cheese in sweet and savory dishes alike. Just be sure to choose as natural and unprocessed cream cheese as you can find. This means that the cream cheese shouldn’t contain any flavorings, any sweeteners (or sugar!), preservatives or food additives, like carrageenan. It can have some thickeners, like locust bean (carob) but basically nothing else in addition to cream, rennet and salt.
In this recipe, I’ve used cream cheese in both the cookies and the filling. In the cookies cream cheese acts as binding agent (and fluid), whereas in the filling cream cheese is an essential part of cream cheese filling, which is really like lemon cheesecake.
Your brain is mainly fat, so including fats in your diet is essential. Your brain cannot work without fat in your diet. If you suffer from anxiety and you have been following a low-fat diet, it’s about a time to increase the dietary fat and decrease carbohydrates, no matter whether the carbohydrates are from “healthy” (not!) sources like whole grains or fruit. Especially whole grains you should avoid at all costs.
In a healthy anti-anxiety diet, grass-fed butter plays a very important role. Dairy fats are extremely healthy and when you follow ketogenic low-carb diet (that is the best anti-anxiety diet) fats play a big role in your daily energy. Therefore it’s very important to pay attention to the quality of the fats and use only the healthiest fats. If you get the majority of your energy from unhealthy fats like margarine, canola oil or soy oil, you’ll very soon start to feel terrible and cannot follow the diet very long. Taking the fats from healthy sources like butter or other animal-based fats, coconut oil or olive oil will keep you both nourished and healthy.
It still amazes me that the food industry managed to brainwash us for so many years to believe that something so unnatural like margarine or highly processed vegetable oils are better than natural fats. For your own good, I hope that you don’t believe that utter BS for a second. Those unnatural fats make us ill in every way, from brains to gut and everything in between.
If you hear somebody claim that butter contains trans fat and thus is unhealthy, you can enlighten the issue and emphasize that it’s natural trans fat which is completely different from artificial trans fats which are produced when those unhealthy vegetable oils are heated in high temperatures. Natural trans fats are beneficial and good for health, unlike their artificial counterparts.
But, not all butters are treated equal, there are good and not that good butters around. What is most important, you should choose butter from grass-fed cows. However, if you don’t find any, don’t worry: the regular butter still beats any processed vegetable oil in all cases.
In case you don’t tolerate dairy, you can still try to include ghee (clarified butter) in your diet. It doesn’t contain casein which is problematic for some people. Ghee is very easy to make and it stores pretty well, so you don’t have to buy ready-made ghee — unless you want to.
So, now you know that these cookies contain only the healthiest ingredients that nourish both your body and your mind. You get vital stuff and even if you enjoy several cookies at once, your blood sugar levels won’t skyrocket but remaing stable. This, in turn, affects positively in your mood and keeps anxiety at a bay.
But now, you must eagerly wait for the recipe, so here we go. Enjoy!
- 2 cups = 480 ml blanched almond flour
- 2 teaspoons dried lavender flowers
- 1/2 cup = 120 ml powdered erythritol
- 2.5 oz = 70 g full-fat cream cheese without food additives, softened
- 4 oz = 115 g full-fat cream cheese without food additives, softened
- 1/4 cup = 2 oz = 60 g grass-fed butter, softened
- 1/4 cup = 60 ml powdered erythritol
- 2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon peel (only the yellow-colored part)
- 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 10 drops alcohol-free vanilla stevia
- (optional: 1 teaspoon juice from blueberries for coloring)
- Preheat the oven to 250 °F or slightly lower (100 °C).
- Use pestle and mortar to grind the lavender flowers into fine powder.
- Place the almond flour and the ground lavender flowers in a large bowl. Sift in the sweetener and mix well.
- Add the cream cheese. Mix and knead until smooth dough.
- Divide the dough in 2–3 pieces. Take one piece at a time for handling. Keep the rest of the dough in the fridge.
- Place a piece of dough on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and place another parchment paper on the dough.
- Roll out the dough until it is approximately 1/6 inch (0.4 cm) thick and remove the topmost parchment paper. Use your favorite cookie cutter to cut out cookies.
- Transfer the cookies with a spatula or a cheese slicer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Repeat rolling and cutting with the other piece(s) of the dough. Combine the scraps, reroll and cut. Repeat this until there is no dough left.
- Bake the cookies for 30–40 minutes, or until golden brown but not overbaked. Let the cookies cool completely on a cooling rack.
- Combine the cream cheese, butter, sweetener and the lemon peel in a deep, narrow bowl. Beat with an electric mixer until smooth and fluffy.
- Add the rest of the ingredients and also the blueberry juice for coloring if you use it. Beat again until smooth.
- Store in the fridge or use immediately to fill the cookies.