It’s the tail end of zucchini season. After you’ve grown tired of zucchini noodles, zucchini bread, and all the other zucchini creations, what’s left? Zucchini brownies are a great way to use up the last of your zucchini, while sneaking in some veggies into your dessert.
Here’s how to make them.
Fudgy Keto Zucchini Brownies Recipe
Time in the kitchen: 30 minutes, including 20 minutes bake time
- ¾ c squeezed dry grated zucchini (about 1 medium zucchini)
- ¼ c salted butter
- ? c almond butter
- 50g dark chocolate (we used 90%)
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 7 Tbsp. coconut sugar (or granulated monkfruit sweetener)
- ? c almond flour
- 5 Tbsp. cacao powder
- ½ Tbsp. tapioca starch
- 2 large eggs
- 50g dark chocolate, either chips or chopped chocolate (we used 90%)
Using a box grater, grate a zucchini using the side of the grater that has small holes. Squeeze the zucchini out using paper towels or a small towel until it is quite dry. Measure out the zucchini after squeezing the liquid out.
Melt the butter and chocolate and then mix in the almond butter. Fold in the grated zucchini and vanilla extract.
Add in the almond flour, sweetener, cacao powder and tapioca starch.
Whisk the eggs and mix them into the batter. Fold the chopped chocolate/chocolate chips into the batter.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a square baking pan with parchment and pour the batter into the pan. If desired, you can also sprinkle some extra chopped chocolate on top.
Bake the brownies for 10 minutes, then remove them from the oven and allow them to rest for 6-8 minutes.
Place the brownies back into the oven for an additional 8-10 minutes, or until the center of the brownies reads 180 degrees Fahrenheit with a food thermometer.
Allow the brownies to cool prior to removing them from the pan and slicing them into 16 squares.
- Make sure to squeeze out the zucchini well after grating it.
- The double bake method for brownies helps the outside edges of the brownie cook at the same rate as the center of the brownies, so you get fudgy brownies in every bite.
- This version of brownie is dense and fudgy. If you’d rather have a cakier brownie, add ¼-½ teaspoon of baking soda to the batter and then bake according to the instructions.
- We used 90% chocolate for both the batter and the chunks for a super rich, but not too sweet, chocolatey brownie, but you can use your favorite dark chocolate.
Nutrition Info (1/16th of recipe):
Total Carbs: 10g
Net Carbs: 7g
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Research of the Week
More sugary drinks, less brain volume.
Less zinc in the blood, greater risk of COVID death.
Minorities are more likely to test positive for COVID, a disparity not fully explained by pre-existing conditions.
Some East Asian populations have metabolic adaptations to rice-based diets.
Living with kids lowers the risk of COVID.
Beyond meat, there’s a place where bones crumble.
New Primal Blueprint Podcasts
Episode 448: Tara Youngblood: Host Elle Russ welcomes Tara Youngblood, co-founder and chief science officer at Kryo, makers of chiliPAD.
Primal Health Coach Radio Episode 77: Laura and Erin chat with Jamie Shapiro about unlocking the power of both mind and body.
Whole Foods CEO John Mackey’s take on why people are obese.
Fascinating post on why you shouldn’t judge your posture by how it “feels.”
Interesting Blog Posts
Decent article on omega-6 fats that still ends up toeing the official line.
Ancient history looked a lot like Robert E. Howard envisioned it.
Human migratory history is looking a lot more complex.
Interesting podcast with Dave Feldman on the future of health tech.
A “druggable pocket” discovered on the coronavirus.
Things I’m Up to and Interested In
Just as I always say: Genes are not always your destiny.
Worth a shot: Take action.
This is awesome: Dr. Bronner creates a label for psychedelic-assisted therapy.
Seems like fairly good stats: COVID survival rates by age.
I’m not surprised: Having both intuitive judgers and analytical judgers leads to better outcomes.
Question I’m Asking
What do you think about John Mackey’s take on obesity?
- Apple bundt cake, paleo and gluten-free.
- Gluten-free battered shrimp. Dip these in some Primal Kitchen chipotle mayo.
One year ago (Sep 19 – Sep 25)
- 8 Life Lessons From a Primal Elder to Younger Groks – What worked.
- Dear Mark: Oily Fish Limit, Diet and Posture, Acid Reflux, Whey Replacement, Milk and Fasting, and Remembering to Live – Answering questions about all of this stuff.
Comment of the Week
“Kids so happy. They have an half hour teleconference in the morning, work on their assignments every so often over the course of the day, and really just play a lot. We have to essentially hire a full time governess, but they like it. When they eventually start spending two days a week in person, I expect their satisfaction to drop.”
-Glad to hear, Ion. I also wonder how the “hybrid” approach will work. Worst of both worlds?
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Feel like you’ve got the weight of the world on your shoulders? I can totally relate. If the struggles of living in an overly busy, stressed out society weren’t enough, the fear of navigating it all mid-COVID is the proverbial icing on the cake.
Whether it’s the overwhelm of managing day-to-day tasks or deciding to get a handle on your mental or physical health, it can be hard to go it alone. Which leads me to the question: why do we feel compelled to do it all ourselves?
Do You Have a Do-It-All-Myself Mentality?
I ask my health coaching clients this question anytime I can feel them slinking back into their old patterns of avoiding asking for help. We sort of live by this notion that we should all be able to handle anything that comes our way. And if we can’t handle it ourselves, well, that’s a sure sign (at least in our own minds) that we’re weak, incompetent, or somehow unworthy of achieving success in that area. New health diagnosis? Sure, no problem. Relationship problems? Got it all under control. Global pandemic like we haven’t seen in our lifetime? No freakin’ sweat.
The trouble is, asking for help can bring up similar, uncomfortable feelings. Research done in the fields of neuroscience and psychology confirm that there really are social threats involved in doing so. In fact, researchers found that an emotionally painful threat activates the same parts of the brain as physical pain does — which of course gives us even more reason to avoid asking and continue struggling in silence.
Reasons You Avoid Asking for Help
You may avoid asking for help for several reasons:
- You’re unsure where to turn
- You don’t want to be seen as weak
- Fear of being rejected
- Showing vulnerability
- Not sure how to ask
- Feeling like a burden
- Worrying people won’t like you
- Relinquishing control
- Admitting you can’t do it all
- Feeling like your problems are less significant
- You grew up with a pattern of being let down in childhood
There’s no shortage of reasons why it feels hard to ask for help, but here’s where it gets wild. Studies show that people actually like helping other people — they get a huge benefit from it.https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26575283/‘>2 Physiological responses like heart rate, blood pressure, salivary alpha-amylase, and salivary cortisol, as well as self-reported stress were collected and measured throughout the experiment. They found that participants who had written the supportive notes had lower sympathetic-related responses than their counterparts who just wrote about their routine.
Asking for help makes people like you more too. This concept is called the Benjamin Franklin effect and is based on cognitive dissonance theory,https://trace.tennessee.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=https://www.bing.com/&httpsredir=1&article=1544&context=utk_gradthes‘>1
Don’t worry about any negative things you might hear about “animal collagen”; it’s what we’re made to eat. Heck, it’s what we’re made of.
Marine collagen is not extra-strong collagen derived from the battle-hardened sinews and bones of fallen heroes from the US Marine Corps. It is collagen derived from marine animals, usually fish but also invertebrates like squid, cuttlefish, and jellyfish.
Marketing types selling fish collagen claim that due to its lower molecular weight, marine collagen will be more bioavailable than collagen from land animals. This could be true. Fish collagen drawn from fish waste does have lower molecular weight than mammalian collagen, and that should lead to slightly higher bioavailability.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5998056/‘>1
- Exhaustion, e.g., “I feel completely run down by my role as a parent.”
- Contrast with previous parental self, e.g., “I don’t think I’m the good father/mother that I used to be to my child(ren).”
- Feeling fed up, e.g., “I feel like I can’t take any more as a parent.”
- Emotional distancing from one’s children, e.g., “I’m no longer able to show my child(ren) how much I love them.”
By this definition, burnout is more than just stress, worry, or fatigue, which all parents experience sometimes. It’s a deep, deep weariness that drains your ability to parent effectively, leaving you empty and unable to connect to your kids. Left unchecked, it can lead to parental neglect and violence. Burnout also correlates with depression, sleep disturbances, and addictive behaviors, though it’s unclear if burnout causes those issues or vice versa.https://www.economist.com/graphic-detail/2017/11/27/parents-now-spend-twice-as-much-time-with-their-children-as-50-years-ago‘>3 We’re overscheduled and overcommitted, which means we’re overstressed.https://academic.oup.com/sf/article-abstract/98/1/31/5257458‘>5
The pressure to live up to the ideal is intense, and it’s both external and internal. A study of 1725 Finnish parents, mostly mothers, revealed that the biggest risk factor for burnout was “socially prescribed perfectionism,” especially when coupled with self-expectations of perfectionism.https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10826-012-9615-z‘>7
How Common Is Parental Burnout?
It’s hard to know how many parents experience burnout according to the academic criteria described above. Studies suggest it’s anywhere from 1 percent to 20 percent, depending on where the study is done.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5974116/‘>9 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19912139‘>11
You might not reach the official threshold for Parental Burnout with a capital P-B. Still, most of my fellow parents can probably relate to sometimes—or often—feeling exhausted, like you have nothing left to offer at the end of the day. A March 2020 survey asked more than 3,000 American moms, “In the past month, how often have you felt ‘burned out’ by motherhood?” Thirty-five percent of respondents said they frequently do, while 6 percent said always.
That’s a lot. Only 14 percent said they rarely or never feel this way. That doesn’t mean these moms don’t find parenting to be rewarding and enjoyable overall, but it reinforces just how demanding modern parenting is.
What about Fathers, Can’t They Experience Burnout?
Definitely. However, parenting and burnout research focuses mainly on mothers. On average, mothers spend more time than fathers on parenting activities, and by and large, mothers bear the brunt of societal and self-imposed pressure to live up to ideals of parenting perfection.https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24635763/‘>13
Of course, there are standards for fathers, too, and those standards continue to rise. Fathers who feel overwhelmed by them, or who expect too much of themselves, can absolutely succumb to burnout. According to a 2015 Pew Research Center study, equal numbers of mothers and fathers said that parenting is extremely or very important to their sense of identity, but working fathers are especially likely to feel that they don’t spend enough time with their kids.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5298986/‘>15 Another study published earlier this year found that while mothers were more likely to experience burnout, the consequences were more severe for burned out fathers.https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/stress/2020/stress-in-america-covid-june.pdf‘>17
Coping with Parental Burnout
In case it’s not perfectly clear, you can feel burned out without experiencing “parental burnout” in the academic sense. Whether or not you hit that threshold, which is admittedly a bit murky, the following practices are worthwhile.
Focus on the positive
It’s easy to get sucked into a negativity spiral when you’re feeling overwhelmed and anxious. Plus, self-deprecation is the norm nowadays. We’re much more likely to say, “I’m a hot mess, send wine,” than “I did some A+ parenting today and am feeling great about my kids.” That’s no good for parents already on the verge of burnout.
Experts recommend taking the time each day to focus on what went right. This might mean going around the dinner table and each naming something that made you happy, or writing a simple gratitude statement in your journal each night. Even on the worst days, it’s usually possible to find one small ray of sunshine.
The usual self-care stuff
Taking a bath or getting regular exercise isn’t a cure-all for burnout, but it can’t hurt. All of us parents should be taking the time to fill our own buckets whenever possible.
Lower your expectations
This is a big one: actively reject the intensive parenting ideal. Remind yourself it’s ok if the laundry isn’t done, your kid is five minutes late to soccer practice, you forgot to brush their hair on school picture day, and the Tooth Fairy failed to pick up the tooth last night.
This is not an overnight process, but it helps to realize that a lot of burnout stems from buying into societal standards—standards that you don’t have to live up to to be a kind and loving parent.
Here’s the real kicker: It’s not even clear that putting ourselves through all this stress pays off in terms of having happier or more successful children.http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/04/040401080031.htm‘>1
Coumarin in Cinnamon
Note that Cassia contains significant amounts of coumarin, which humans metabolize to 7-hydroxycoumarin, a toxin that damages the liverhttps://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20024932/‘>21 The German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment has gone on record in cautioning against high daily intakes of coumarin.