Vegan Vegetarian Cooking School

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Baking Powder

The baking powder I use in most of my books is Ener-G baking powder. It consists of two ingredients: calcium carbonate and citric acid. Both are simple, natural ingredients. When combined with water it forms calcium citrate, a highly digestible form of calcium. Use 2 tsp of regular baking powder to 1 Tbsp Ener-G Baking Powder. It can be purchased at health food stores and Azure Standard. It reacts with liquid so time is of the essence. Mix quickly and thoroughly, then put it into the oven as soon as possible. This is the only baking powder I've found so far without sodium bicarbonate (baking soda). There have been warnings about calcium carbonate, but NOT because it is harmful but because it can contain other chemicals from improper refining. Thus mass marketed antacids can be laced with these chemicals. I can't say where Ener-G gets theirs from, I did contact them years ago and they assured me it was safe.

As for baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, it “…may cause an inhibition of intestinal absorption of phosphorus and this may be followed by an increase in calcium loss.” (Spencer & Lender, 1979). One study revealed that sodium bicarbonate reduces both heart and systemic oxygenation. It may lead to actual oxygen starvation of the heart muscle in some people with that disease (Ref. THE AMERICAN JOURNAL OF MEDICINE, 87:7. July 1989). Speaking of making bread or biscuits/crackers "The use of soda or baking powder is harmful and unnecessary. Soda causes inflammation of the stomach, and often poisons the entire system." Counsels on Diet and Foods p342. However the "old" baking soda's were often laced with other harmful chemicals due to the primitive refining processes and hygiene and this could have been what Mrs White was warning against. There is evidence the new (after 1920’s) baking powers are safe, but be sure to get an aluminum free brand. Here is an article on this subject that was posted on the Ellen White estate. Dept of Home Economics - 2.32MB

In addition, using too much is also a MAJOR issue. Our bodies make sodium bicarbonate to reduce acid in the stomach and the bowels. Too much 'extra' from dietary consumption can reduce the acid and make digestion more difficult. Many recipes from that era (when Counsels on Diet and Foods was written) used copious amounts of soda. If you used 2 or 3 Tbsp of baking soda in a recipe of biscuits or bread every day (and yes, they ate bread and biscuits every day in large amounts at all meals), plus in pancakes, plus in crackers, plus in desserts, can you see how that would be harmful?

Another reason to avoid 'regular' baking powder is it can contain aluminum. READ the ingredients, it will be listed. Aluminum may cause an inhibition of intestinal absorption of phosphorus and this may be followed by an increase in calcium loss. The effect is probably due to the binding of dietary phosphorus in the intestine by the aluminum. (Spencer & Lender, 1979). Much has been written on the harmful effects of aluminum and it is fairly easy to get aluminum free baking powders. In Canada, Magic baking powder, a standard in all grocery stores is aluminum free.

So that's my research on the subject so far as of 2012-12-30.

PS: A personal note. I've tried to be unbiased in this article using both Ellen White and science. For myself and our family we do use aluminum free baking powder on occasion, but certainly not daily, and in limited amounts. We don't believe it is wrong or harmful to share in a birthday cake with friends or eat a cookie at a Christmas party. Mrs White occasionally ate things when invited out, she did not put on her table. She never advocated fanticism, but that doesn't mean we have license to eat as we please.