125 g Vinegar
40 g Olive Oil
1 tsp (5 g) Flax Seed Oil
30 g Whey Protein Powder
30 g Brewer's Yeast (GNC Brand)
40 g Almond Nuts (dried, unblanched). May substitute Hazelnuts (also try half Hazel, half Almond)
1/4 tsp (0.2g) Sucralose
225 g Spinach
225 g Kale
8 oz (225 g) Mushrooms
300 g Unsweetened Strawberries. May substitute Cheeries (225 g) with some water (2.6 fl oz, 75 g)
175 g Sweetpotato
50 g Psyllium Husks
1 Tbsp (13 g) Peppermint Extract*
*Other flavoring choices include: 1.5 Tbsp Chocolate Extract, 1 Tbsp Licorice (anise) Extract, 3 Tbsp Coffee (instant granules), 1 Tbsp Cherry Extract, 1 Tbsp Strawberry Extract, 1 Tbsp Coconut Extract, Jerky flavor (1 tsp each of Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Black Pepper, Cayenne Pepper)
1 Chop sweet potatoes into 1" chunks, put in covered bowl with a little water and microwave for 2 to 3 minutes to soften.
2 Thaw strawberries for 2 to 3 minutes in microwave to soften.
3 Wash and cut stocks/stems from Spinach and Kale - weigh to make sure you have the right amount after removing the stalks/stems.
4 Chop nuts in food processor using an S-blade until bits are very small - almost a powder.
5 Add the first 8 ingredients (Kefir through Sucralose) to food processor and blend until well mixed.
6 Pour liquid into large mixing bowl temporarily. [Next steps may require breaking up into several batches, depending on the capacity of your food processor.]
7 Place spinach and Kale in your food processor with S-blade. Add some liquid from large mixing bowl to food processor. Run food processor until pureed, adding more liquid if necessary.
8 Puree the Mushrooms, Strawberries and Sweetpotatoes with some blender liquid in the food processor using the same procedure.
9 Combine all pureed ingredients with any remaining blender liquid in the large mixing bowl.
10 Mix with large wooden spoon or spatula to make sure mixture is uniform and all chunks have been broken up. [Optional: Refrigerate for up to a day until ready to dehydrate.]
11 Add psyllium - don't do this too early, as it will tend to thicken the mixture.
12 Add flavoring - the Peppermint or as chosen, including unflavored.
13 Stir complete mixture until psyllium and flavoring are fully incorporated.
14 Distribute mixture evenly to the thin film inserts of 7 food dehydrator trays. Each tray should receive about 345 g of the wet mixture.
15 Spread the mixture evenly on each the film as thinly as possible without creating holes, in order to speed dehydration and improve uniformity. An angled cake decorating spatula works well for spreading.
16 Dehydrate for about 6 hours at 115 F in food dehydrator. Use less time if using higher heat (not recommended unless necessary).
17 Slice into approximately 4" square pieces while still on the thin film. My dehydrator actually makes large doughnut-shaped rings of mega-leather, which I cut into 8 pie-slice-shaped pieces.
18 Slide the spatula under the pieces, and peal them off the thin film. Flip them and place them back on the dehydrator tray without the film. This will speed dehydrating, and make the leather more uniform.
19 Remove from the dehydrator. Cut into bite size chunks and store in Ziploc bags or Tupperware in the refrigerator. Can be stored at room temperature for several weeks, or if necessary, it can be stored in the freezer, although this will likely kill some of the probiotic microorganisms.
From the CR Mailing list:
Subject: Mega-Leather V1.0 - the Ideal CR Snack? (was: RE: [CR] Sulfites
for Life Extension?)
Michael Rae wrote:
> The one real stumbling block is Sherm's Bingeing Brownies which
> have become a staple of my diet, but which (as a
> baked good) are undeniably browned/AGEd (tho' clearly much less
> so than conventional brownies due to their low sugar content).
I too have recently had heartburn over various health implications,
including AGE content, of Sherm's famous recipes, Mega Muffins and Bingeing
Brownies. But I took a different approach from Michael's for solving the
problem. Instead of trying to prevent AGE formation DURING cooking, I went
the route of eliminating the cooking altogether.
The result is a culinary concoction I call "Mega-Leather". It is a
dehydrated recipe, similar in form to "fruit leather" (also called "fruit
roll-ups" in the US) or "beef jerky". I considered calling it
but that name seemed to have a rather negative connotation to it. Plus I
thought "mega-leather" had a manly rugged sound to it, befitting of the end
Before presenting the recipe, I'll list the similarities between
mega-leather and Sherm's recipes, along with some of the advantages of
* Less AGE formation – The low temperature preparation of mega-leather
reduces this problem with Sherm's recipes. Heating milk products (i.e.
bingeing brownies and mega-muffins) in particular results in a lot of AGE
formation. Another muffin/brownie ingredient that is bad to heat from is
flax seed/oil, due to peroxidation.
* "Mega" Nutrition - Mega-leather has 10%+ of the RDA per 100kcal for all
nutrients except sodium and zinc. Sherm's recipes are short on those two,
as well as calcium (requires supplementing them to get to 10% RDA).
* Portable - easy to eat on the go. One of the big advantages of Sherm's
recipes for me was I could pop them in my pocket (in a plastic bag) and eat
them in the car, at my son's ball game, anywhere. With mega-leather this
even easier, since it is more compact than megamuffins or bingeing
and keeps better at room temperature (due to the low moisture content and
probiotics). Mega-leather is naturally divided into bite size chucks as
well, making it easy to sneak a bite out of your pocket every minute or two
in a meeting :-). Also, the pre-cut bite size chunks make it easy to eat
slowly, reducing mega-leather's impact on blood glucose.
* Keeps better at room temperature - The very low moisture content means
you COULD store mega-leather at room temperature for an extended period
without problem, although I keep it in the refrigerator for extra
Megamuffins and bingeing brownies need to be stored in the
* Very tasty – the flavorings and sucralose give mega-leather a very nice
taste, along with the strawberries. Flavors I've tried with great success
include licorice (anise), chocolate, coffee, strawberry, cherry,
coconut and "jerky".
* High in "good" fat - Nearly all the fat comes from monounsaturated olive
oil and nuts, as well as a little flax seed oil for the short chain Omega-3
ALA. The olive oil and flax seed oil can be easily traded off to adjust
one's ALA intake as desired.
* High quality protein - Whey protein powder and skim milk provide good,
lean protein in mega-leather.
* Favorable (Zone) macro nutrient ratio (24P:40F:36C).
* High in both soluble and insoluble fiber (total of ~4g/100kcal) –
therefore mega-leather is quite satisfying, despite its compact form.
* Contains apple cider vinegar - Both a tasty ingredient and high in
acid, which lowers mega-leather's glycemic index.
* As a result of previous three attributes, and all the low GI ingredients
it contains, mega-leather is a low glycemic index food. Test showed my BG
at 0, 30, 60, 90 minutes after eating 250kcal snack of mega-leather: 85,
83, 84 mg/dL - in other words no detectable impact on my glucose level.
This low GI and the fiber results in feeling satiated for quite a while
after eating a mega-leather snack.
* Ca:P ratio of 1:1 – near optimum for bone health. Megamuffins and
brownies are pretty bad (about 1:2) even with calcium supplementation. The
phosphate-based low sodium baking powder typically used in megamuffins and
brownies is very high in phosphorus. The calcium in mega-leather is very
bioavailable, coming from kefir (a milk product) and kale, perhaps the most
bioavailable vegetable source of calcium.
* Contains no grains – grains are calorie dense and nutrient poor. The
anti-nutrients in grains (like the wheat germ in megamuffins and the rye
flour in bingeing brownies) are not particularly good for one’s health
either, in that (among other things) they tend to prevent absorption of
minerals like calcium in other foods.
* Vitamin A and C – heat from the baking of megamuffins or bingeing
brownies likely destroys much of these temperature sensitive nutrients.
low temperature preparation of mega-leather reduces this problem. There is
undoubtedly some loss of these two nutrients due to exposure to air during
the dehydrating process, but the recipe starts out with 81% and 48% RDA for
vitamins A and C respectively, so even after preparation, mega-leather
should retain its "mega" status for these two nutrients.
* High in antioxidants – Spinach, strawberries, and kale are numbers 1, 2
and 5 on the list of foods with the highest ORAC score per 100kcal. ORAC
stands for Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity - a measure of free radical
* Enzymes? - I'm pretty skeptical of the enzyme theory of why "living
foods" are beneficial. However if you believe in such things, the low
temperature preparation of mega-leather will keep the enzymes intact.
* Probiotic – The Kefir (or yogurt), along with the low temperature
preparation means mega-leather has active friendly microorganisms, unlike
megamuffins or bingeing brownies. These microorganisms set up shop in your
digestive system, and provide many health benefits. Mega-muffins contain
some living microorganisms to start with from yogurt (a poor substitute for
Kefir in this respect) but the high heat during baking will likely kill all
the little guys.
* Contains sweet potatoes - A food favored by Walford and the
as well as the long-lived Okanawians. Who knows, maybe this is more than
* Easy to prepare – just puree, pour and dehydrate.
With all these advantages, I think an argument could be made that
mega-leather is the ideal CR snack food. If stranded on a desert island
with nothing but water and a case of mega-leather (and no refrigerator), I
believe you could live quite healthily for a virtually indefinite period of
time. With that long-winded introduction, below is the recipe. I'd be
extremely interested in feedback, particularly if someone gives it a try!
I've been eating a 250kcal serving of mega-leather instead of my previous
megamuffin/bingeing brownie snack for about a month now - and I really
it. I hope others will too!
Mega-Leather Version 1.0
Kefir, skim milk 1000g
Vinegar, cider 125g
Oil, olive, salad or cooking 40g
Oil, flax seed 5g (1 tsp)
Whey Protein Powder 30g
Brewer's yeast, GNC brand 30g
Nuts, almonds, dried, unblanched 40g
Sucralose 0.2g (1/4tsp)
Spinach, raw 225g
Kale, raw 225g
Mushrooms, raw 225g
Strawberries, frozen, unsweetened 300g
Sweetpotato, raw 175g
Psyllium husks, raw 50g
Peppermint extract 13g (1 Tbsp)
* Preparation time: about 1-5 to 2 hours including cleanup (w/o
dehydration time - approximately 12 hours). This prep time can
be split over two days - see Directions section for how t
split up the prep.
* Ingredient amounts:
- Flax seed oil: 1 tsp
- Sucralose: 1/4 tsp
- Spinach: ~3/4 lb before removing stems
- Kale: ~1 lb before removing stalks
- Mushrooms: 1 8oz package
- Strawberries: ~340g before thawing. Can be substituted
- Peppermint extract: 1 Tbsp - can be substituted (see below)
* Total weight of mixture before dehydrating: ~2480g (7 * 346g +
* Approximate weight of leather after dehydrating: 420g
* Makes 7 servings of 250kcal each. On paper, it actually makes
slightly over 7 servings, but due to losses from ingredients
sticking to the various surfaces involved in preparation, the end
result has almost exactly 7 servings of 250kcal each.
* Dehydration should reduce weight by a factor of approximately 6,
so each 250kcal serving (one tray) should weight approximately
60g. However the final weight of the leather will vary depending
on just how thoroughly it is dehydrated.
* I typically make a double batch (14 trays instead of 7) to achieve
economies of scale in preparation, and so I only have to make it
every couple weeks.
* Food dehydrator with seven trays and thin film "fruit leather"
inserts for each tray. The dehydrator I use is a Nesco/American
Harvest Snackmaster Elite model FD-40, available at Wal-mart.
You'll need 14 trays + fruit leather inserts for a double batch.
* Food processor - preferably large capacity (e.g. 8 or 9 cups) with
an S-shaped blade. A blender can be used instead, but I've found
a food processor works MUCH better for pureeing.
* Scale with gram readout - sorry, except for the small ingredients,
all the ingredients are measured in grams. There are 28.4g/oz
if you want to convert to English units.
* Large mixing bowl
* Small mixing bowl
* Large wooden spoon
* Measuring spoons
* Cup (measuring cup or otherwise)
* Spatula - angled cake decorating spatula works best
* Cutting board and knife
* Chop sweet potatoes into 1" chunks, put in covered bowl w/
a little water and microwave for a 2-3 minutes to soften
* Thaw strawberries for 2-3 minutes small bowl in microwave to soften
* Wash and cut stocks/stems from Spinach and Kale - weigh to make
sure you have the right amount after removing the stalks/stems.
* Chop nuts in food processor using S-bland until bits are very
small - almost a powder.
* Add the first 8 ingredients (kefir through sucralose) to food
processor and blend until well mixed
* Pour liquid into large mixing bowl temporarily
* You may need to do the following pureeing in several batches,
depending on the capacity of your food processor.
* Place spinach and Kale in your food processor with S-blade
* Add some liquid from large mixing bowl to food processor
* Run food processor until pureed, adding more liquid if necessary
* Puree the mushrooms, strawberries and sweet potatoes with some
blender liquid in the food processor using the same procedure
* Combine all pureed ingredients with any remaining blender liquid
in large mixing bowl
* Mix with large wooden spoon or spatula to make sure mixture
is uniform and all chunks have been broken up
* Optional - refrigerate for up to a day until ready to dehydrate
* Add psyllium - don't do this too early, as it will tend to
thicken the mixture
* Add flavoring - See below for flavoring options
* Stir complete mixture until psyllium and flavoring are fully
* Distribute mixture evenly to the thin film inserts of 7
food dehydrator trays.
* Each tray should receive about 345g of the wet mixture.
Don't worry if some sticks to the inside of the blender/food
processor/bowl - the recipe and calorie count take this into
* Spread the mixture evenly on each the film as thinly as possible
without creating holes, in order to speed dehydration and
improve uniformity of leather. An angled cake decorating spatula
works well for spreading.
* Dehydrate for about 6 hours at 115deg F. in food dehydrator.
Use less time if using higher heat (not recommended if you
can help it).
* Slice the leather into approximately 4" square pieces
while still on the thin film. My dehydrator actually makes
large doughnut-shaped rings of mega-leather, which I cut into 8
* Slide the spatula under the pieces, and peal them off the thin
film. Flip them and place them back on the dehydrator tray without
the film. This will speed dehydrating, and make the leather more
* Dehydrate for an additional 6 hours at 115deg F, or until
leather is still flexible, but no longer feels moist to the touch.
It is better to dehydrate too long than too short. I've found
the leather gets more pliable once removed from the dehydrator,
so don't worry if it feels crispy.
* Remove leather from the dehydrator. Cut into bite size chucks
and store in Ziploc bags or Tupperware in the refrigerator. Can
be stored at room temperature for several weeks, or if necessary,
it can be stored in the freezer, although this will likely kill
some of the probiotic microorganisms
* Kefir: Kefir is a fermented milk product created at room
temperature. The kefir I make, and the one referred to in this
recipe, is created from skim milk, and has virtually the same
nutritional profile as skim milk. It is thicker than skim milk,
and has several other advantages over milk and yogurt. The lactose
in kefir is to a large extent broken down into lactic acid, making
it easier to digest than other milk products. It has a much
richer set of probiotic microflora than yogurt, which
have been shown to have substantial health benefits. I
recommend making kefir at home using true kefir "grains" -
self-perpetuating symbiotic micro-colonies of healthful bacteria.
However you can also buy "pseudo kefir" in the health food
section of many supermarkets. Pseudo kefir is not made using
kefir "grains" and therefore probably does not contain quite as
good a mix of bacteria. Pseudo kefir is probably preferable to
store bought yogurt however, which has even fewer varieties
of healthful bacteria, and which has been heated for an extended
time (resulting in AGE production). So in a pinch, you can
substitute pseudo kefir or commercial yogurt for homemade kefir
in the recipe. If your pseudo-kefir or yogurt has more cals/gram
than the skim milk kefir called for in the recipe, reduce the amount
to keep the calories the same, and add additional water to make
up for the reduction in liquid. This will be particularly important
if using yogurt, which will be much thicker than the other milk
I DO NOT recommend using regular milk in place of the kefir, as
regular milk is not protect from spoiling during the dehydrating
process (or storage) by friendly microorganisms like the kefir and
(to a lesser extent) yogurt is.
* Flavorings: The peppermint extract is just a place holder for
various flavorings that can be added in order to add variety to
your mega-leather. In fact, the flavor of plain mega-leather,
without any added flavoring, is pretty good - the strawberries come
through reasonable well. Added flavorings I have used with great
success include the following. Note: the quantities refer to
amount required to flavor the entire recipe, scale down if making
more than one flavor per recipe:
Chocolate extract: 1.5 Tbsp
Licorice (anise) extract: 1 Tbsp
Coffee (instant granules): 3 Tbsp
Cherry extract: 1 Tbsp
Strawberry extract: 1 Tbsp
Coconut extract: 1 Tbsp
Jerky (garlic powder, 1 Tsp of each
Don't be limited to these. Be creative and experiment
with adding different flavors!
If making multiple flavors in one batch, scoop the amount o
unflavored mixture you want of a single flavor into a separate
bowl (343g for 1/7th the entire batch). Add the flavoring
(typically 1/2 tsp for 1/7th the entire batch), and spread
on the thin film. Then proceed to the next flavor.
* Strawberries: Other fruit can be substituted for the strawberries,
as long as you keep calories and amount of liquid the same. For
example you can substitute 225g of cherries plus 150g water for the
375g of strawberries. This substitution will keep calories and
liquid the same.
[EDIT by Joe C.: Cherries sub should be 225 g with _75g_ water.
And normal amount of Strawberries is 300g not 375g.
* Oils: The olive and flax oils can be traded off one-for-one to
adjust the amount of monounsaturated vs. omega-3 polyunsaturated
fat in the recipe. This will not effect the calories or the other
nutrients in the recipe.
* Nuts: I usually use a combination of half almonds and half
hazelnuts. Hazelnuts have more monounsaturated and less
polyunsaturated fat than almonds, but are harder to come by
Nutrient Levels per 100kcal serving:
Macronutrient Ratio: 23P:37F:40C
Calories 100.03__cal 5%
Protein 5.78__gm 11% RDA
Total Fat 4.07__gm 6%
Sat. Fat 0.55__gm 3%
Mono. Fat 2.51__gm 9%
Poly. Fat 0.76__gm 11%
Carbohydrate 13.26__gm 4%
Fiber 4.01__gm 13%
Cholesterol 2.48__mg 1%
Vit. A 4086.85__IU 82% RDA
Vit. B6 0.24__mg 15% RDA
Vit. B12 0.44__mcg 22% RDA
Vit. C 29.12__mg 49% RDA
Vit. E 1.27__mg 16% RDA
Thiamine 0.19__mg 17% RDA
Folacin 41.81__mcg 23% RDA
Riboflavin 0.29__mg 22% RDA
Niacin 1.52__mg 10% RDA
Panto. Acid 0.92__mg 18% SA
Calcium 118.68__mg 10% RDA
Copper 0.23__mg 11% SA
Iron 1.89__mg 13% RDA
Magnesium 42.30__mg 15% RDA
Manganese 0.38__mg 13% SA
Phosphorus 125.58__mg 10% RDA
Potassium 368.39__mg 18% RDA
Selenium 6.33__mcg 12% RDA
Sodium 53.91__mg 2% SA
Zinc 0.73__mg 6% RDA
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