Very Healthy, Ultra Delicious

In bakery, chefs, cookbook, cooking, cupcakes, food, health, Los Angeles, New York City, nutrition, pastries, recipes, Uncategorized, vegan, wellness on July 9, 2010 at 11:08 pm

The other day one of my clients told me how worried she was about her husband’s nutrition. He eats a lot of “junk”, she said, and will automatically turn away, without even tasting anything that could be remotely healthy.

It’s not my style to simply lecture on the importance of eating fresh, whole foods.  I also didn’t lecture her on how eating healthy can also be fun and delicious.

But I did give her an example from my own experience.  A few months ago, I brought some cupcakes to a staff meeting.  These cupcakes came from a sweet little vegan bakery in New York City called Babycakes.  Everyone devoured them so quickly, and with such enthusiasm, I started to get a mental image of cats rolling around in catnip. But when a couple of people asked me what was in the cupcakes, I responded with “Finish them first and then I’ll tell you.”

It wasn’t what was in cupcakes but, rather, what they didn’t have.  They weren’t loaded with sugar, butter and other goo. They were just great-tasting little cakes made with healthy, natural ingredients and topped with agave-sweetened frosting.

The Babycakes cupcakes, by the way, won the coveted “Best of New York” this year in New York Magazine.

The bakery started in 2005 when the owner, Erin McKenna, discovered she had food allergies—and then couldn’t find a vegan bakery to satisfy her sweet tooth.  So she decided to start her own. Speaking of food allergies, according to the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN), scientists estimate that 12 million Americans suffer from them.

Babycakes offers vegan, sugar free, dairy/soy free, and (mostly) gluten free donuts, brownies, cookies, cupcakes and other heavenly pastries. Everything is natural and healthy—but, according to McKenna, “it’s important that it also tastes good.”   Agave Nectar, a natural, low-glycemic sweetener that comes from the cactus, is often used, as is evaporated unrefined cane juice.  Other ingredients might include cold-pressed virgin coconut oil (which has been shown to have many health benefits), rice flour, a garbanzo/fava bean mix, potato starch, arrow root, etc.  McKenna boasts that items are baked, never fried.  That includes the donuts (which also received the “Best of New York” a couple of years ago.)

Although many Babycakes products are gluten free,  there are some that are made with Spelt, a distant cousin of wheat. Spelt has kind of a nutty taste it’s often preferred by health enthusiasts, because it has 15-20% more proteins, is higher in complex carbohydrates, is rich in magnesium, is lower in overall carbohydrates, has not been genetically altered, and contains enzymes that assist in glucose and insulin secretion.

The moral of this story:  Health and wellness can be delicious, enjoyable and FUN!  And, incidentally, the client told her husband that story; he became so convinced, he took a trip down to the bakery that very same day.

Today, Babycakes has locations in both New York and Los Angeles, with a cookbook available.  For more information, please visit:


Irene Ross, CHHC, AADP is a NYC-based, certified nutrition and wellness coach.  She works with people to help them instantly double their energy so they avoid that mid-morning or afternoon slump, get more done in less time and balance their lives.

Her website is:

Author of the forthcoming book, 25 Ways to Fire Up Your Day:  Increase Energy, Get More Done in Less Time, Balance Your Life, she writes a twice-monthly free newsletter called “Power Wellness”–full of tips and suggestions for healthy eating and lifestyle.  To subscribe:



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