Can I Substitute?

When it comes to substitutions, I wish I could answer each and every one of your questions. Unfortunately, I can’t. You see, I don’t have a crystal ball with the answers; they’re not in my head, they’re in my hands, but I’ll get to that later.

For me, baking involves the use of techniques and ingredients that come together in a magical way –each recipe is unique. Like my hero Virginia Satir, I believe in “leading the change process a half a step behind,” which has meant learning to use my senses and see what is called for in each recipe. In some ways, my recipes develop themselves as I test them. I let things happen and unexpected outcomes can be my friend during this process.

This observational experience in which I arrive at answers by using my senses –of sight, touch, smell and taste (sometimes sound too) is an organic process. I test and test my recipes until I arrive at something that appeals to me. After that, I give samples to my family. If they approve, I test the recipe without changing it, a few more times just to make sure I have something that is reproducible.

Paleo Pumpkin Bread, a newer recipe; I use honey to sweeten it — just two tablespoons in the entire loaf.

If you are looking for a substitute, I encourage you to validate these findings for yourself through trial and error. Feel free to experiment with the ingredients in my recipes and customize them to your needs, whatever those may be.

If you like to customize recipes to your individual preferences in terms of taste and nutrition, by all means, go wild and experiment! Just make sure to stop back by and leave a comment on your alchemical experience –and let us know your results.

So here’s my answer to your substitution questions. I don’t have a magic wand that I can wave to come up with the answers. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find them –just get out that bowl and spoon and start stirring!


91 responses to “Can I Substitute?”

  1. I was wondering if anyone has used lemon as a substitute for vinegar or apple cider vinegar? I know it reacts with the baking soda for rising? I really need an idea for the rising action other then vinegar. I cannot have it. Thank you

  2. How would I go about substituting Stevia for another type of natural sweetener? There are many wonderful recipes that use Stevia but I am not a big fan.


  3. Agave is bad news. Just because it is lower on the glycemic index doesn’t mean it is better, just that it breaks down more slowly. And because it breaks down more slowly, it will end up as visceral fat around your liver. Using agave is like using high fructose corn syrup.

  4. Does anyone have a COFFEE substitution for vanilla creamer? I have recently gone wheat free….except for this & I know I need to replace this in order to receive optimum health benefit. Also, though stevia is fine in yogurt, I can’t seem to adjust to it in my coffee…any suggestions for sweetners?
    Thanks so much!
    just me…AT :)

  5. Hi! I tried the brownies and they came out very well. However, after I made them I learned though various websites (as well as people) that agave nectar is very dangerous. It is actually worse than high fructose corn syrup! So I suggest that everyone do research on agave & consider removing it from the recipes. One article is on the website, and another article just came out yesterday on the email. The article (from a Dr. who wrote a book) stated that agave is one of the 5 worst metabolism killing foods on the planet. For example, Agave has the highest fructose content than any sweetener. High fructose corn syrup has 55% fructose while agave syrup is between 55-92% fructose. It puts the risk on heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s & cancer.

    Thank you for your recipes that do not use Agave.

  6. Wonderful, just got the book and was so disappointed with all the agave (friend has allergies so I removed it from my cooking) so nice to see substitutes. I have been experimenting with coconut sugar (not palm) and have good luck with it. The recipes look great.

  7. Hi, I just made your chocolate cake. It tastes great and is very moist. I did make one substitution. I used half agave nectar/half maple syrup for sweetener. Unfortunately the cake “fell” in the middle. I was surprised, as I often bake with maple syrup and this does not happen. I will try again with an extra egg. Any advice you might have would be helpful. Thanks for your recipes!

  8. I am newly identified as allergic to Gluten and it’s cross-overs, as well as dairy & sugar, eggs soy & yeast! So I am struggling to find recipes I can use. However, I’d like to comment on what my Cardiologist just told me when I mentioned finding recipes using Almond or Coconut flours & oils. He is a Very updated Cardiologist who is involved with Heart Disease research. He says he has “Not seen one thing” in the Medical literature to support the Coconut Oil craze and he told me Not to use any of the cocunut products as the Saturated Fat content is too high. He said I can use the occassional bit of shredded coconut atop a muffin. Then I discussed his comments with my Nutritional counselor for Berkely HeartLab and she said she totally agreed with the Doctor, and that she & other counselors have had some patients who’s Cholesterol numbers suddenly shot up and the only change in diet,exercise or lifestyle they could find was that those people had begun using some form of the Coconut products that they thought were healthy, because of their current popularity.
    The Doctor said using the Almond flour and Almond Nuts were Heart Healthy and I can use them.
    In my short week of research, I have also read there may be some sort of controversary regarding the Agave use, but I have not found an article so far.
    I would appreciate any comments that any of you more experienced people can offer to me.

  9. I just realized because of pains in my chest and having flu-like symptoms since I started eating products with xanthum gum that I am allergic to xanthum gum which seems to be in many of the pre-made products. I need a recipe for bread and pancakes that doesn’t have that in it.

    Thanks so much.


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