Gluten-Free Baking Guide

December 22, 2017 Leave a comment

Cooking often leaves a bit of wiggle room when it comes to ingredients, but when baking, you’re best served going “by the book.” This is especially true when it comes to gluten-free baking.

The Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services team explains why that is and provides a delicious and nutritious recipe for gluten-free Apple Date Bread.

The Scoop on Gluten

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye grains, and is a critical structural element in baked goods. To date, there aren’t any singular gluten-free alternatives to replace gluten, so a combination of gluten-free flours, starches and gums are needed.

Rice and corn are staples in many store-bought, gluten-free products; however, a whole host of alternative gluten-free options are available that offer more nutrient variety and value.

Gluten-free products are often made from refined gluten-free flours. Because they are “specialty foods,” they are not required by law to be enriched as their gluten-containing counter parts are. That means going gluten-free, despite the best of intentions, can lead to poor fiber intake and inadequate amounts of multivitamins.

You can overcome this gluten-free shortfall by reaching for gluten-free whole grains and complex carbohydrate options. Sorghum, amaranth, teff, quinoa, millet, gluten-free oats or chickpea flours can be used as primary ingredients in store-bought or home-made flour blends. Doing so can help boost the nutritional value.

Gluten-Free Substitutions

Finding gluten-free substitutions can sometimes be a challenge, but it is possible to create your own. Below are instructions on how to make sorghum flour blend, oat flour blend and high-protein, gluten-free flour blend.

1. Sorghum Flour Blend

1 ½ cups sorghum flour

1 ½ cups potato or corn starch

1 cup tapioca flour

  • Measure ingredients and whisk together
  • Makes 4 cups


2. Oat Flour Blend

2 cups gluten-free oat flour

1 cup almond flour

1 cup arrowroot starch

  • Measure ingredients and whisk together
  • Makes 4 cups


3. High-Protein, Gluten-Free Flour Blend

1 cup chickpea flour

1 cup millet, sorghum or amaranth flour

1 cup brown rice flour

1 cup potato starch or corn starch

1 cup tapioca starch

  • Measure ingredients and whisk together
  • Makes 5 cups


Apple Date Bread

Yields 15 slices (1/2 inch thick)

  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup applesauce
  • ¾ cup apple juice or water
  • 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 3 cups of any above gluten-free flour blends
  • ½ cup non-fat dry milk
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp. xanthan gum
  • 2 ¼ tsp. yeast
  • ¾ cup finely chopped pitted dates
  • 1 tsp. orange zest


  • In a medium-size bowl, mix all liquid ingredients together and set aside.
  • Place all dry ingredients, including yeast, into the mixing bowl and blend flours together on slow speed.
  • Slowly add the liquid ingredients to the dry while the mixer is on low.
  • Beat on high for 3-4 minutes. Mixture should look silky, if the dough is too dry, add additional liquid (apple juice or water) 1 tablespoon at a time.
  • Add the dates and orange zest after the dough has been thoroughly mixed.
  • Place the dough into a 9×5-inch bread pan for 60-70 minutes. Start checking for the bread being done at 55 minutes.
  • When done, remove bread from pan and place on cooling rack. Do not cut or package until the bread cools, approximately 2-3 hours.

Nutrition Information:

Serving size: ½ inch slice

  • Calories: 187
  • Carbohydrates: 39 g.
  • Fiber: 2 g.
  • Fat: 2 g.
  • Protein: 4 g.
  • Iron:7 mg.
  • Calcium: 51 mg.
  • Sodium: 208 mg.


Above recipe citation:

Case, Shelley. Gluten Free The Definitive Resource Guide. Saskatchewan: Case Nutrition Consulting, Inc. 2016. Print.








Categories: Cooper Updates

Crazy for Cocoa!

December 13, 2017 Leave a comment

There’s nothing quite like cocoa. Whether you mix it with milk to make hot chocolate or add it to your favorite post-workout smoothie, cocoa is a delicious treat packed full of antioxidants. Our Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services team provides interesting facts and figures about cocoa as well as a 35-calorie hot cocoa recipe perfect for colder months.

Cocoa Fun Facts:

  • The fruit of the cocoa plant grows directly from the tree trunk and looks like small melons.
  • The pulp inside the fruit has 20 to 50 seeds or beans.
  • The first seed pods develop when the plant is five years old.
  • 3 million tons of cocoa is produced worldwide ever year!

Nutritional Benefits of Cocoa:

The cocoa bean is loaded with antioxidants and contains trace amounts of minerals such Hot-Cocoaas calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc and potassium. The little gem also consists of oleic acid, a heart-healthy essential monounsaturated fat, as well as fiber, vitamin E and multiple B vitamins.

Raw cocoa beans offer the greatest health benefits, as some of the nutrients are destroyed when the beans are processed into chocolate. The beans can be eaten raw, as powder and made into a tea or incorporated into various foods. Cocoa extracts are also available.

Cocoa is also full of flavonoids. These antioxidants can help fight free radicals which can build up in the body and cause damage to cells. Because of the flavonoids, cocoa has been shown to reduce the risk of developing certain cancers.

Unroasted cocoa powder is second best to raw cocoa, followed by dark chocolate. These types have greater concentrations of cocoa powder and lower levels of processed sugar.

Watching your caffeine intake? An ounce of semi-sweet dark chocolate contains an average of 20 mg. That’s about the same amount as 3 oz. of brewed regular tea.

Nutritional Facts of Cocoa Powder (per 1 Tbsp.):

  • Calories: 12
  • Total fat: <1 g
  • Saturated fat: <1 g
  • Sodium: 1 mg
  • Total Carbohydrates: 3.1 g
  • Dietary fiber: 1.8 g
  • Sugar: 0.1 g
  • Protein: 1.1 g
  • Caffeine: 12 mg

Recipe for 35-Calorie Hot Cocoa: 

Add all ingredients to a small saucepan and whisk together until the cocoa powder is mostly incorporated. Cook over medium-low heat, whisking frequently for three to five minutes.

*Any milk or sweetener may be substituted for the cashew milk and vanilla crème stevia.

Nutritional Facts:

  • Serving Size: 1 cup
  • Servings: 2

Per Serving:

  • Calories: 35
  • Total Fat:5 g
  • Saturated Fat: 0 g
  • Sodium:225 mg
  • Total Carbohydrate:4 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 2 g
  • Sugars: 0 g
  • Protein:1 g

Recipe from:

Blog provided by: Elana Paddock, RDN, LD, CDE, and Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services.

Categories: Cooper Updates

Cooper Fitness Center Sports Pros Discuss Holiday Favorites

December 1, 2017 Leave a comment

The holiday season is here and our Cooper Fitness Center Sports Pros are filled with holiday cheer! The group took time to share what they enjoy most about the holiday season. Read on to find out which pro says a dishwashing rack was the worst gift they ever received, and which pro says serving others on Christmas Day is what makes the holidays so bright.

Marni Kerner, Swim Pro               Marni Kerner

  • What’s your favorite winter athletic activity? Snowshoeing
  • What’s your favorite holiday food? Mashed potatoes.
  • What’s the worst gift you’ve ever received? I do white elephant holiday parties with my friends, so I’ve gotten several bad gifts over the years. The snow globe with cats inside may take the cake.
  • If you competed in the Olympics, which winter sport would you choose and why? Biathlon. Cross country skiing requires the highest level of fitness and provides similar, and in some aspects, better health benefits when compared to swimming. Combined with the breathing control and steady nerves required for target shooting, it’s an event I would love to say I competed in.
  • What’s your favorite holiday activity? Even though my children are grown, I still love watching them open their gifts on Christmas Day in their matching pajamas.
  • What’s the most memorable gift you gave to someone? 18 years ago, I gave my parents a cockatiel for Christmas. They were not excited about it at the time, but he has since become the most spoiled pet I’ve ever seen. They love him so much and we laugh about it all the time.


Andre Vahdat, Tennis Pro  Andre-Vahdat

  • What’s the worst gift you’ve ever received? A dishwashing rack.
  • What about the best gift? A new car.
  • If you competed in the Olympics, which winter sport would you choose and why? I would choose snowboarding. I actually used to be a snowboarding instructor in Colorado.
  • Do you have any holiday sport activity tradition? The day after Christmas, I always get together with my high school friends and we play a game of flag football.
  • What’s your favorite holiday activity? I enjoy putting up the Christmas tree and decorating the house. It puts me in the holiday spirit!


Mike Proctor, Martial Arts Pro  Mike-Proctor

  • What’s your favorite Christmas carol? “What Child Is This?”
  • What’s your favorite holiday activity? I love watching It’s a Wonderful Life every holiday season. I have my own copy of the classic movie.
  • What’s the most memorable gift you’ve given to someone? The Marine Officer Sword at the Commissioning Ceremony for Lt. Daly Montgomery.
  • What’s the best gift you’ve ever received? The Bible, given to me at age nine by my grandmother. It’s engraved with my name and 60 years later, I still have it.
  • What’s your favorite holiday activity? Every New Year’s  Day, my yudansha (Black Belts) and I celebrate with a very formal and intense class for several hours.


Corey Noel, Tennis Pro    Corey Noel

  • What’s your favorite winter athletic activity? We live in Texas, so, sunbathing?
  • What’s your favorite holiday food? It would definitely have to be pumpkin pie.
  • What’s your favorite Winter Olympic sport to watch? I actually love watching figure skating. It’s so precise and any mistake can cost you the entire competition.
  • If you competed in the Olympics, which winter sport would you choose and why? I always thought hockey would be really fun to play, but I don’t even know how to ice skate, so learning that might help first.
  • What’s your favorite holiday activity? We are blessed here in Dallas with beautiful Christmas light displays, so I love driving to different neighborhoods and enjoying them.


Derrick James, Boxing Pro  Derrick James_boxing 3

  • What’s your favorite holiday food? I love dressing.
  • What’s your guilty holiday treat? Any kind of holiday cake is my guilty pleasure around the holiday season.
  • What’s your favorite Christmas carol? “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” by Jackson 5.
  • What’s your favorite holiday activity? My favorite holiday activity is viewing holiday lights with my family.
  • What’s the best gift you’ve received? My favorite gift is actually to give to others. Every year, I spend Christmas Day serving others at the Salvation Army and I really enjoy that.


Steve Wahl, Tennis Pro    Steve-Wahl

  • What’s your favorite holiday food? It has to be homemade noodles.
  • What’s the most memorable gift you’ve given to someone? I gave my nephew and nieces LEGOS®, a karaoke machine and an Easy Bake Oven one year for Christmas. It was great to see how happy they were to open those gifts.
  • If you competed in the Olympics, which winter sport would you choose and why? I would choose snowboarding, just because I’d like to fly off ramps.
  • What’s your guilty holiday treat? Sugar cookies.
  • Do you have any holiday sport activity tradition? I usually go home for the holidays and I’ll play tennis with my high school friends.


Coleman Crawford, Basketball Pro   

  • What’s your favorite holiday food? It’s too hard to choose one, so I’d have to go with all of it.
  • What’s your favorite Christmas carol? “Silent Night.”
  • What’s your favorite Winter Olympic sport to watch?
  • If you competed in the Olympics, which winter sport would you choose and why? I’d have to go with bobsledding on this one too. I like this sport because, much like basketball, it’s all about teamwork.
  • What’s your guilty holiday treat? Coconut cake.


The Cooper Fitness Center Sports Pros wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and happy holiday season. For more information about our sports pros or to schedule a session with them, visit


Categories: Cooper Updates

Martial Arts: A Family Affair

November 1, 2017 Leave a comment

When Chris Rowley would watch his 4-year-old son practice martial arts at a gym in Dallas, there was one thought that always popped in his mind.

“I wished there was a way we could take martial arts together,” explained Chris. “It was not something I did as a kid but I always had an interest in learning.”

Chris searched for father/son classes, but didn’t have any luck. That is, until he found Cooper Fitness Center Martial Arts Pro Mike Proctor’s class in 2014.

During Saturday afternoon classes, which Chris takes frequently, all ages train at the IMG_7613same time, with the exception of certain youth classes. Interacting with all different age groups and experience levels creates a unique, multi-generational experience Chris says enhances learning.

“I actually love the fact that many of the juniors are higher belts than me,” laughs Chris. “It’s funny and humbling to go into a class and learn from young kids.”

So, why martial arts? Chris, an avid Cat 3 cyclist who enjoyed racing criteriums for a number of years, felt he needed to try a different form of exercise with new challenges.

“I felt like I was good with my cardiovascular health, but was weaker in more complex body movement – balance, coordination, speed and spatial awareness,” explains Chris. “I was also looking for something that challenged my brain in a new way. I read a lot of brain science and it shows the combination of memorization, focus and performing complex muscle movements is very good for your brain.”

What’s even better Chris says? The top-notch expertise and coaching he receives from Mike.

Pro-Zone-Mike-Proctor“Mr. Proctor is not a self-promoter, so most people do not know how accomplished and respected he is nationally and internationally,” says Chris. “He is one of the top martial arts instructors in the country, and a tremendous asset available right here at Cooper.”

While exercising his mind and body is important, Chris says teaching and emphasizing life lessons such as respect is another great foundation of martial arts.

“I think this is valuable particularly for kids, as we all know that respectful behavior is something that doesn’t always get the focus that it should in our culture today,” says Chris. “Teaching the importance of respect is just another thing that impressed me about Mr. Proctor and the group.”

Chris continues to take lessons with Mike on Saturday afternoons and tries to squeeze in practice a few days a week. Since he began practicing martial arts several years ago, he’s noticed a big change.

“I have noticed significant improvements in my own performance─better balance, increased focus, improved memory and performance in other sports,” says Chris. “I have also developed much greater confidence in the precision of my movements that I can execute. I recommend anyone to consider adding martial arts to their fitness and well-being routine. Take the plunge and give it a try for a few months.”


Categories: Cooper Updates

The Season Is Changing, So Should Your Skincare

October 30, 2017 Leave a comment

The environment can have a huge impact on your skin. As the weather turns cooler, it can be beneficial to change your skincare routine to help improve and maintain a healthy, glowing complexion just in time for the holiday season.

As a licensed esthetician at Cooper Spa, I suggest combining professional skincare treatments with an at-home beauty routine which include clinically-proven products.

Facial Treatments

Fall is the ideal time to have a series of microdermabrasion treatments or facial peels performed by a licensed esthetician. These services can help improve:

  • Dry, flaky skin
  • Fine lines
  • Wrinkles
  • Pigmentation
  • Acne

During the cooler months, we typically spend less time in the sun. Microdermabrasion and facial peels can help erase signs of sun damage your skin accumulated throughout the summer.

Hydration Is Key

blog_woman in mirrorAs we head into the cooler months, your skin will be yearning for added hydration. The Antioxidant Hydrating Facial at Cooper Spa is the ideal remedy.

The 60-minute facial relies on essential lipids and moisture-binding elements to recharge the skin. Powerful antioxidants also help intercept skin-damaging free radicals that may contribute to further skin damage.

At-Home Products

Time is precious and if your schedule doesn’t allow for regular trips to the spa, there are things you can do at home to maintain healthy skin. In fact, now is a great time to take an inventory of your current skincare products.

Here are a few Cooper Spa esthetician favorite products:

Our estheticians recommend following this six-week facial plan below for glowing, holiday-ready skin:

  • Week 1: Glycolic Treatment
  • Week 2: AOX Hydrating Facial
  • Week 3: AOX Hydrating Facial
  • Week 4: AOX Hydrating Facial
  • Week 5: Glycolic Treatment
  • Week 6: AOX Hydrating Facial

Follow the at-home routine listed below in-between services to ensure your skin is the cleanest and healthiest it can be:

Morning Steps

  • Cleanse- Dermalogica Essential Cleansing Solution
  • Prevent- SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic
  • Protect- Dermalogica Dynamic Skin Recovery (SPF)

Evening Steps

Visit Cooper Spa Dallas to learn more about skincare and what might be best for your needs. Book an appointment with an esthetician for a facial today and have healthy, glowing skin just in time for the holidays.

 Article provided by Heather Giddens, Cooper Spa Esthetician.

Categories: Cooper Updates

Breast Cancer Screening Controversy

October 26, 2017 Leave a comment

At what age and how often should women receive mammograms?

Type the question into an internet browser and it brings up a multitude of answers. While some organizations recommend screenings begin at age 40, others recommend 50. Where some say annual screenings are a must, others say every other year will suffice.

“It’s unfortunate that this controversy exists because so many women don’t know what to do,” says Cooper Clinic radiologist and breast imaging subspecialist R. Vance Dell, MD. “In fact, a lot of physicians, no matter their specialty, don’t know what to do.”

So, which recommendation should women follow?

Age Recommendation

“Based on scientific evidence, Cooper Clinic, along with the American College of Radiology and Society of Breast Imaging, recommends women undergo annual screenings starting at age 40,” says Dell. “It’s been proven to save the most lives.”

Statistics show approximately 40 percent of all breast cancers occur in women under the age of 50. Of those women, more than 20 percent are between the ages of 40-50.

“These are women at the peak of their lives. They have young families, careers, social circles and are huge influencers in their community and society,” says Dell. “It’s a tragedy.”

What’s even more shocking? Dell says only about 60 percent of women over the age of 40 who should be screened are getting screened.

Screening Recommendation

“I see a lot of patients who have skipped years or their doctor told them to get them every other year,” says Dell. “But, we have to practice evidence-based medicine, which shows annual mammography saves the most lives.”

Dell says there’s been no study that shows skipping years between mammograms, also known as random mammography, saves lives.

In 1992, the Mammography Quality Standard Act was passed, which mandates that breast imaging performed in certified breast imaging centers must be of a certain picture quality.

Since then, mortality rates from breast cancer in the U.S. have fallen 40 percent. Radiologists are also finding breast cancer approximately 30-40 percent smaller than before.

What indirect evidence do we have that annual screenings save lives? Dell says all you have to do is compare male breast cancer statistics with those listed above.

“There are about 2,000 new cases a year of male breast cancer,” explains Dell. “About 500 men die from breast cancer every year. Male mortality has not changed at all since 1992. The same treatments exist for men, the difference is men are not screened.”

Dell spends a lot of time giving his patients facts about breast cancer screenings and lets them make their own decisions from there. The facts are so overwhelming supportive of yearly screenings, Dell says most women make up their mind right then to continue with annual screenings.

“My real passion in life is to educate and do my part to change people’s thinking about yearly screenings,” says Dell. “I know for a fact that the education alone has helped saved lives.”

For more information about breast imaging and 3D mammography at Cooper Clinic, visit or call 972.560.2651.



Categories: Cooper Updates

The Incredible, Edible Egg

October 12, 2017 1 comment

Egg GettyImages-622050064

Eggs are a smart choice for breakfast or any time of day as they are nutritional powerhouses, providing high-quality protein, amino acids and more. Learn more about the incredible, edible egg from our Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services team below.

  1. PROTEIN. A protein-packed breakfast can help sustain mental and physical energy throughout the day. Did you know eggs have 6 grams of high-quality protein and only 70 calories?
  2. ZERO CARBS NO SUGAR. Eggs contain zero carbs and zero sugar. That means you have room on your plate to add whole grains and maybe something snazzy, such as avocado slices.
  3. AMINO ACIDS. Eggs contain all nine essential amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins and cannot be made by the body, thus they must come from food.
  4. MORE BANG FOR YOUR BUCK. Eggs don’t come with a complicated, jam-packed ingredient list because they only contain one ingredient—egg! At 17 cents a serving, eggs are the least expensive source of high-quality protein.
  5. NO GLUTEN? NO PROBLEM. Eggs are a fantastic option for some individuals who are avoiding gluten for medical reasons. Combine your eggs with a whole-grain corn tortilla and salsa. Olé!
  6. THE YOLK OF THE MATTER. Enjoy the whole egg while being mindful of your daily total saturated fat intake. Each yolk has 2 grams of saturated fat. Throw in a few extra egg whites (three egg whites have 9 grams of protein) for an amazing omelet and a dose of high-quality protein (15 grams of protein for the omelet). In the past, the dietary cholesterol content of the egg yolk was a concern for heart health. However, according to the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines and the American Heart Association, dietary cholesterol is a nutrient of non-concern.

For more information on Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services, visit or call 972.560.2655.

Article provided by Kathy Duran-Thal, RDN, LD

Categories: Cooper Updates