Cocoa Black Bean Brownies (Heart-Healthy)

A rich, moist dessert with few of the typical brownie ingredients.

Did you know that cardiovascular disease is the greatest threat to the lives of women and men in the world?  Women with PCOS commonly experience metabolic syndrome which increases the risk of developing heart disease.  Metabolic syndrome is a combination of conditions including elevated triglycerides, high “bad” cholesterol, low “good” cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, and increased belly fat.

Fortunately, each day most of us can help decrease our risk of developing heart disease. Nutritional intake is important with some evidence suggesting to decrease saturated fats and other evidence to decrease trans fats. Decreasing salt intake is also recommended while increasing phytonutrient, fiber-rich foods, like fruits and vegetables. Secondly, regular exercise can reduce body weight, blood pressure, “bad ” cholesterol and increase insulin sensitivity. In addition, sleep deprivation has been shown to increase the risk of heart disease and related conditions. Finally, quitting smoking is the single greatest change one can make to improve their heart and overall health.

Now you may be wondering where brownies fit into this heart-healthy lifestyle I speak of. Surprisingly, these delicious, fudgy treats are primarily made from black beans and unsweetened cocoa powder! Carry on to find out how these two ingredients can make a crowd-pleasing dessert that can support a healthy heart. PS. The trick is to not reveal the ingredients until AFTER your loved ones have tried the brownies. I promise they will be shocked. I would love to hear what you do to protect your heart!

Vegan Gluten-Free Black Bean Brownies

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups dried black beans (must pre-soak and boil)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (or coconut oil, though may not be as heart-healthy)
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (>75% real cocoa)

How to:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Blend all ingredients, except chocolate chips, in a food processor until completely smooth.
  3. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  4. Pour into an 8×8 pan pre-greased with olive oil.
  5. Cook for 15-20 minutes being careful not to overcook as this could dry them out.
  6. Let brownies cool before cutting. I popped these in the freezer to firm up even more.

Vegan Gluten-Free Black Bean Brownies

PCOS Powers:

  • black beans = high in protein, fiber, potassium, magnesium, folate, vitamin B6 and phytonutrients which help lower blood pressure, manage blood sugar levels and prevent cardiovascular disease, contains several flavonoids including quercetin which is anti-inflammatory and may reduce the risk of atherosclerosis
  • unsweetened cocoa powder = supports the cardiovascular system by enhancing vascular function and decreasing platelet reactivity, may help improve cholesterol levels, been shown to improve cognitive function, insulin resistance and blood pressure

PIN ME:

Heart-healthy Black Bean Brownies - Low-glycemic, Vegan, Gluten-free

 

My Matcha Life

Blackberry Nice Cream (Dairy-Free, High Protein)

Dairy-free, high-protein ice cream free of animal products.

Did you know you can make your own ice cream with only a couple ingredients, none of which contain dairy? I love the texture and temperature of ice cream but would prefer to skip the animal products. This is precisely why I call it “nice” cream: cruelty-free and full of compassion. It was also quite cheap as I picked these blackberries off the side of the road (I love the bountiful berries come summertime in BC!).

Blackberry Banana Nice Cream Vegan

Cow’s milk contains insulin-like growth factor-1 which may increase the risk of breast cancer. It can also spike insulin levels contributing to inflammation and acne, especially in women with PCOS. Plus, studies have shown milk consumption doesn’t actually decrease the risk of osteoporosis and may actually rob our bones of calcium due to its acidity. So give this non-dairy cold dessert (or breakfast) option a try and let me know your thoughts!

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 frozen bananas
  • 10 frozen blackberries (organic)
  • 1 scoop plant-based protein powder (organic, non-GMO)
  • ice to thicken
  • toppings of choice

How to:

  1. Peel and chop bananas the day before (or longer) and freeze in tupperware or plastic bags along with the blackberries.
  2. Remove frozen bananas and blackberries from freezer and blend in food processor with protein powder and ice. You can add liquid if it isn’t blending well but limit liquid for a thick consistency.
  3. Add toppings like fruit or nuts and enjoy before your nice cream melts!

Blackberry Protein Nice Cream - Vegan

PCOS Powers:

  • blackberries = high in fiber which may help to manage blood glucose levels, a low glycemic fruit, contains antioxidants like lutein, zeaxanthin and others which can help fight inflammation, neurological diseases and cancer
  • plant-based protein powder =  may help decrease high cholesterol and manage insulin resistance, helps build lean muscle mass
PIN ME:

Blackberry Nice Cream (Vegan, low-glycemic, dairy-free)

Use code: PHRUITFULDISH for 20% off hemp protein powder by Ergogenics Nutrition

Lemon Lavender Vegan Cheesecakes (Low-Glycemic)

A low-glycemic, raw, vegan dessert just in time for summer solstice.

In anticipation for summer solstice I made these summery vegan cheesecakes which are low-glycemic, raw, vegan and gluten-free. Both lemons and lavender scream summer to me. Lemons are known for boosting our immune systems and improving digestion. They may also improve insulin and liver function. Lavender is commonly used in aromatherapy for its relaxation properties, however, the scientific evidence is limited. This herb can also be eaten and is a small source of calcium and iron.
Lemon Lavender Raw Vegan Cheesecake 1
  Maple syrup and dates are two of my favourite natural sweeteners when trying to make healthier desserts. They are both low on the glycemic index which means they help manage blood sugar levels better than other sweeteners (ex. sugar, honey). This is especially important for women with PCOS who are predisposed to developing metabolic syndrome.
Lemon Lavender Raw Vegan Cheesecake 7
Ingredients (makes 12):
Crust:
  • 1 cup nuts (I used a mix of walnuts, almonds and cashews)
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 cup dates
Filling:
  • 2 cups cashews, pre-soaked in water for 4 hrs
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice (I used 3 small organic lemons)
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 2 tspns dried culinary lavender
  • 1/2 tspn vanilla extract
Lemon Lavender Raw Vegan Cheesecake 11
How to:
  1. Use parchment paper to oil muffin pan with coconut oil (prevents sticking).
  2. Place long strips of parchment paper in each muffin mold for easier removal (I saw the Minimalist Baker do this and I think it is genius).
  3. Process dates, nuts and chia seeds together in a food processor until you get a rough, sticky mixture.
  4. Transfer spoonfuls of the mixture into the muffin pan and push down firmly and evenly. Set in freezer.
  5. Blend all filling ingredients together in a blender until smooth and creamy. You may need to add liquid to help out (ex. almond milk).
  6. Take muffin pan out of freezer and scoop filling on top of each crust, smoothing out to pop air bubbles. I used a 1/4 measuring cup to distribute the filling to each mold and then went back over with a spoon to even them out.
  7. Decorate if desired (I decorated half with lavender before freezing and the other half with lemons after freezing).
  8. Set in the freezer for at least 5 hours.
  9. Gently pull each cake out holding the wax paper. The wax paper will make indents which I smoothed out easily.
  10. Serve or store in freezer or fridge.

Lemon Lavener Raw Vegan Cheesecake 4

PCOS Powers:

  • low-glycemic = helps maintain blood sugar levels
  • lemon juice = contains vitamin C which boosts immune system, helps improve digestion, may improve insulin function, boosts liver function
  • tree nuts = no cholesterol, high in unsaturated fats which help reduce LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels, help prevent cardiovascular disease
  • chia seeds = high in omega-3s which can help decrease high testosterone and improve egg quality
  • coconut oilanti-inflammatory, may positively impact thyroid function, may improve cholesterol profiles by increasing HDL cholesterol, its use is controversial in the scientific community due to high saturated fat content so I use in moderation

Raw Lemon Lavender Vegan Cheesecake 10

Happy Solstice! I would love to see how you recreate this vegan cheesecake! Please share your photos with me on Instagram: @phruitfuldish

Lemon Lavender Raw Vegan Cheesecake 6

Raw Lemon Lavender Vegan Cheesecake

This recipe was inspired by Em at This Rawsome Vegan Life.

Pin me:

Lemon Lavender Cheesecake (raw, vegan)

 

My Matcha Life