You've probably noticed that many of the new recipes I'm sharing are sneaking in a new ingredient -- psyllium husks. Not to assume too much (or too little), but I'm guessing you're probably not that familiar with it. I know I wasn't when I first started using it. And a random sampling of my dietitian friends revealed most of them weren't either. The most recognition I've gotten is "Isn't that the stuff that's in Metamucil?" ---------- que the cringe worthy emotion ---------
While yes, psyllium is in fact the primary component in Metamucil, let's be clear that I'm not opening up a container of the orange stuff to put in my recipes each morning. I'm using a brand of whole ground psyllium husks that I purchased at my local EarthFare. I suspect I could easily have found it at Whole Foods too, and possibly at a local drugstore... in the digestive health section. Yeah, I know --- more cringing.
If it seems a little weird to you to be loading up recipes with something found in the digestive health section of Walgreen's, you're not alone. I was a little put off by the idea at first, too. But then I started researching psyllium use in recipes and found that while it's largely uncommon in the U.S., it's not so in other countries. In fact, my colleague Gemma Sampson (registered dietitian and co-founder of RDs4DisclosureUK - a sister organization to my site, RDs4Disclosure) wrote this wonderful post about how not only is psyllium commonly used in Australia, but also - and perhaps more importantly - how beneficial it is to the diet. If you're curious about the ins and outs (digestive pun intended) about psyllium, read her post. It's super informative.
Since I'm trusting you'll click over to her post, I won't recap everything Gemma shared. But I will add my own take on why it's been such a welcome addition to my recent recipes:
- Psyllium acts as a strong binder in gluten-free cooking, much like flax or gums. I wouldn't necessarily recommend replacing those ingredients with all psyllium (it's super strong and does have a slight detectable flavor), but it does offer the gluten-free cook one more tool in providing structure and binding to their baking.
- If you're not a gluten-free cook, psyllium still has a place in your kitchen. The American diet is notoriously low in fiber and falls well short of the recommended amount we should eat each day. I've tracked daily food intake off and on for years and even with the best of choices, it's really hard to reach those fiber recommendations. Adding just 1 teaspoon of psyllium powder* or 1 tablespoon of the ground whole husks* (my preferred form) to your diet each day adds about 4 g of total dietary fiber. If you don't know how significant that amount is, go check the box of your favorite whole-grain cereal and come back to compare what I just told you.... and remember, that's likely for around 1 cup. I'm talking 1 tablespoon max.
- Now that you're back, I'd add my personal encouragement that I've found its use (at breakfast, especially) amazingly filling and satisfying. I've confessed before my love of all things bready and carb-laden in the mornings, but those breakfast don't love me. Eating recipes like the one below (I often use pecans rather than chocolate chips, if it's breakfast) leave me full for hours and truly do help me avoid mid-morning hunger.
- Lastly, whether you eat gluten-free, sugar-free, meat-free.... whatever-free... heart disease is the #1 killer of both men and women in the U.S. The following quote is pulled from Gemma's post and may just be your best reason to consider adding psyllium to your diet:
If you're ready to grab a tub and get cooking, do let me offer the other side of the coin -- a word of caution. Psyllium, because of it's high soluble fiber content, loves water... and if you're going to add it to your diet, you need to love water, too (or at least, be aware of your overall fluid intake.) You'll want to drink plenty of fluid (normal amounts, nothing crazy. Just don't try to grab a mug cake made with psyllium and eat it beverage-free). And if your diet is starting from a place of very low fiber intake, start slowly adding psyllium to your diet, as you should any time you increase fiber intake. Not to get too heavy into #pooptalk, but you will notice a substantial (and I think beneficial) impact to your daily "GI habits" as you eat more psyllium. Say it with me:
This is a good thing.
I know this is a food blog and #pooptalk can be, well, a bit unappetizing. But we're all friends here, so I'm just tellin' ya... start slow and keep going. You'll be moving your digestive health in the right direction (<-- see what I did there? ha!)
Now, that that conversation's over, let's get to the recipe. If you liked my Chocolate Mug Cake from last week, you're gonna love this one. Using mashed banana absolutely makes this the best textured no-sugar-added, gluten-free, high-fiber (thanks psyllium and coconut flour!!) mug cake I've made to date. It's quick, easy and who doesn't want to eat a dessert that they know is actually quite good for them?
Check out our newest video on YouTube to see how it's made (and if you like the video, please be sure to give it a ThumbsUp, Comment & Subscribe). The full recipe can be found below. Enjoy!
(*Note: If you're confused about powder vs. husks, don't be. Powder is just what you'd expect. A more processed, finer grind of psyllium. It's essentially the same form in the Metamucil I referenced earlier. I prefer the way the husks perform in cooking. The powder is almost too dense and strong, in my opinion. But either offer the benefits shared above and some people with IBS report that the powder seems to agree with their digestive system better.)
This No Added Sugar Banana Chocolate Chip Mug Cake is a quick and easy dessert you can feel good about eating. Tweet this
No-Sugar-Added Banana-Chocolate Chip Mug Cake
- 1 tablespoon coconut flour
- 1 teaspoon whole ground psyllium husks
- 1 teaspoon ground flaxseeds (I prefer golden flaxseeds)
- 1 tablespoon bakeable sugar substitute (I used Swerve)
- 1 tablespoon sugar-free chocolate chips (I used Lily's)
- 1/2 of a very ripe banana, mashed
- 3 tablespoons egg whites
- Whipped Cream (optional)
- Combine dry ingredients in a small mug or bowl (coconut flour through chocolate chips).
- Add mashed banana and egg whites to dry ingredients; stir well.
- Microwave 2 minutes or until set (be careful not to overcook of cake will be dry)
- Let cool slightly, and top with whipped cream and additional chocolate chips, if desired.