Healthy HOLIDAY Baking

Personal Training  in Nanaimo - Northridge Health Performance Centre

I don’t know about you, but I think there is no nicer smell than a kitchen is that is filled with the  aromas of Christmas; nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, molasses…If you like to bake you can actually make some healthy treats when you know what ingredients to use and what to avoid.

Our grocery stores are filled with baking supplies, but be aware most of them aren’t great for you.  Traditional recipes call for bleached white flour, food colorings, shortenings and other unhealthy ingredients. I want you to avoid the “holiday baking display” filled with GMOs and other chemicals.

You don’t have to sacrifice your health in order to enjoy a Christmas cookie!

Let’s dive into healthy holiday baking. Shall we? This excellent advice and recipes are from Dr. Ilona Berkomen who is a certified Health Coache, a LiveWell Consultant and medical adviser  to Northridge Health Performance Centre.

Dr. Ilona


What to avoid and what to use instead

  • EGGS…traditional eggs filled with antibiotics and growth hormone. Use organic, free range instead.
  • FLOUR.. white flour can be treated with many chemicals, including bleach. The processing destroys nutrients, such as Vitamin E and fiber, so companies “enrich” it with synthetic vitamins (niacin, reduced iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid) that are not from nature. Other important fact, when the wheat is not organic it is sprayed with Roundup (Glyphosate), which stays in the flour too.

Good alternative: organic sprouted while wheat flour, nut flours (which I prefer by far) such as almond and coconut flour. Also quinoa, brown rice and chickpea flours are great alternatives.


  • BUTTER… the conventional non-organic butter comes from cows that are fed GMO grains (co used on GMOs corn and soy). The toxic pesticides can end up in the milk and thereby in the butter. Healthy alternative is organic, grass fed and cultured butter. Did you know that milk of grass-fed cows contains 50% more Vitamin A and E and 400 percent more beta carotene (the nice deep yellow color of the butter).
  • SUGAR…comes from GMO sugar beets that is sprayed with Roundup or cane sugar (better version). You know all the side effects of eating too much sugar. Healthier alternative: coconut sugar, monk fruit, Stevia. Do not use artificial sweeteners!!! Organic powdered sugar is acceptable.
  • WHIPPED CREAM…popular brands Reddi Whip are filled with milk full of toxins, carrageenan, cellulose (all inflammatory and some linked to cancer). Cool Whip is even worse (made with high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, artificial flavors and emulsifiers). Healthy alternative..Whipped cream made of coconut milk (refrigerate the coconut milk overnight, turn the can upside down, drain the liquid and scoop out the white cream. Add 1 tablespoon vanilla and coconut sugar and beat on high speed with mixer until fluffy and creamy).

  • SPICES…many of the non-organic spices are treated with chemicals and pesticides, added artificial colors, preservatives and anti-caking agents. Use organic spices instead. Be aware of “imitations” like Vanilla for example. It is made with vanillin, that is sourced from petrochemicals and wood pulp. They are often times filled with artificial coloring like caramel color and propylene glycol.
  • FOOD COLORING…you will want to avoid artificial food dyes made from petroleum (Red 40, Yellow 5, Blue 1), preserved with parabens. Healthy alternatives are natural coloring kits made from real food like beets, spirulina and turmeric.
  • BAKING POWDER…the conventional brand contains aluminum and also GMO ingredients. Healthy alternative is aluminum free and non GMO.

I hope this short guide will be helpful for you. We don’t have to sacrifice our health in order to enjoy Christmas cookies.

Dr. Ilona's favourite Christmas Cookies



  • 6 cups flour ( I combine almond, coconut and chickpea 4+1/2+1)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup butter (organic grass fed)
  • 1 cup coconut palm sugar
  • 4 teaspoons ginger
  • 4 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs (organic, free range)
  • 1 cup molasses (blackstrap, unsulfured)

Cream butter, sugar and eggs and add the rest of the ingredients.  Wrap in a plastic wrap or better n a cheesecloth and chill for at least 1 hour. Cut the ginger men figures and refrigerate for another 15 min. Bake 350* for 20 min. Decorate with cream made from coconut milk.



  • 4 cups flour ( I use almond)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup butter (organic, pasture raised and cultured)
  • 2 cups coconut palm sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • Zest of 2 lemons

Creamy the butter with sugar and spices. Add rest of the ingredients and mix well. Refrigerate the dough for at least for an hour. Cut the cookies and refrigerate again for 15 minutes.

Bake on 350* for about 15 minutes

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