Q&A: Quick Keto Meals, What to do with Cauliflower Rice, Is Exercise Anti-aging and More

Emily's Cauliflower Fried Rice aka Cauli-fried Rice

Answers to your latest Food in Session questions. Read on for details and links from episode 98.

Q: What’s the difference between baking soda and baking powder? Can I use one instead of the other?

A: Baking soda is sodium bicarbonate and when it’s mixed with something acidic, produces carbon dioxide. This creates bubbles that help doughs and batters rise. It’s commonly used in recipes that have acidic ingredients like yogurt, lemon juice or applesauce. It helps the finished product rise and have a crisper texture. Baking soda is also great for household cleaning.

Baking powder is a mixture of baking soda and cream of tartar, a dry acid. Often cornstarch is added to keep the two from reacting until liquid is added. The combo of this product helps add an acid to recipes that don’t call for acidic ingredients. Most baking powders are “double-acting” meaning they work first when something wet is added and then again to leaven when put in the oven.

Both baking soda and baking powder become less effective with age, so check your expiration dates. Test baking soda by putting some in a bowl with vinegar and test baking powder by putting some in a bowl with water. If they bubble or foam up, they are still good.

If a recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of baking soda, you’ll want to substitute with 2 to 3 teaspoons of baking powder. If a recipe calls for baking powder and you only have soda, use 1/3 the amount called for and add a teaspoon acid (like vinegar) for every 1/2 tsp baking soda.

Q: I’m cutting out dairy to see if this helps with some stomach issues. Is there anything I can use as a cheese substitute?

A: Nutritional yeast is a popular cheese substitute for vegetarians. It comes as a powder or flakes, often sold in bulk spices, supplement section or in the baking aisle of health food stores. It has a cheesy taste and is a good source of vitamin B-12. Try it on popcorn or sprinkle on pasta, like you would parmesan cheese. There are many non-dairy cheese options on the market like Daiya brand and a cashew cheese sauce from Core and Rind.

Q: What can I do with riced cauliflower? I want to incorporate it more in my low carb diet but need some ideas.

A: So many options! Try cauli-fried rice, Italian herb and parmesan rice, stuffed peppers, Mediterranean style with feta and olives, Spanish style rice, mash into cauliflower potatoes or for ketogenic diets make cheesy broccoli rice bake with crushed pork rinds for a crunchy topping.

Q: Can exercise slow aging?

A: Research published in Cell Metabolism indicates that different forms of exercise may slow down the aging process. Scientists have discovered that interval training helps cells to function more like “younger” versions of themselves, essentially slowing or even reversing cellular aging. The same research also found that high-intensity cardio exercise delivers some of the same cell-boosting benefits. There is still a lot to learn about exercise and the aging process, but there are reasons to believe that moving your body every day has the ability to help slow down aging.

Q: I thought meal prepping on a keto diet would be really simple, but I’m finding that’s not always the case. I want to do it the right way and incorporate enough fat into my meals. Do you have a few suggestions for keto meals I can prep in advance?

A: Here you go!

  • Cauliflower rice stir fry with steak or chicken, sesame oil and chopped peanuts

  • Chicken and broccoli with buffalo sauce made with butter and Franks Red Hot sauce

  • Tuna salad with olives and mayo, with the cheese “crackers” such as Whisps and celery sticks

  • Protein shake: 1 scoop whey protein powder (low sugar) like Level-1 blended with full-fat coconut milk, 2 tablespoons macadamia nut oil and ice.

  • Frozen or fresh zucchini noodles with alfredo sauce, chicken or frozen beef meatballs and parmesan cheese

Q: What is the low FODMAP diet and who is it for?

A: The low FODMAP diet is generally for people with GI issues like irritable bowel or other conditions that we can’t narrow down an obvious food offender. FODMAP stands for the foods you want to avoid on this diet. They are Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols, which are short chain carbohydrates and sugar alcohols that are poorly absorbed by the body, resulting in abdominal painand bloating.

The diet is meant for health and recovery, not to be followed in it’s entirety for life. In step one, you eliminate high FODMAP foods for 2 to 6 weeks; step 2, reintroduce high fodmap foods one at a time for 8 to 12 weeks. Try one at a time over 3 days. Most people will notice when a reintroduced food bothers them. Step 3 is personalizing your new fodmap friendly diet, avoiding those foods you didn’t tolerate during step 2. Common food offenders that are high FODMAP are garlic, onions, apples, mango, peaches, wheat, dairy, inulin and added fibers, beans and cruciferous veggies. MonashFODMAP website is a great resource for all things FODMAP.

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