5 Flours You Can Use to Replace Wheat That WON’T Cause Blood Sugar Spikes or Cancer
Wheat is one of the basic ingredients of the diet practiced in the United States and the situation is not much different all over the world either. However, have you ever wondered what is going on in our body whenever we consume this grain?
Any individual who is practicing a paleo diet or diet that doesn’t include gluten will tell you that it is not very simple to switch wheat with other ingredients when it comes to baked goods. They will also point out that food products without wheat have odd texture and/or taste.
They are probably right, but there is an opportunity to change this.
The texture and taste and even the appearance of products that don’t include wheat depends on the type of flour you rely on.
Baking without Wheat – Basic Information
Wheat is rich in gluten, a well-known protein that makes the dough rise fast and provides the specific texture, shape and taste to baked products. This protein is part of many different grains like barley, wheat, rye and triticale (a grain that looks like a mixture of rye and wheat).
According to many experts gluten-free baking is not simple because this protein gives specific characteristics to baked foods like cakes, cookies, breads and pastries. Gluten-free recipes usually include starch in order to boost the texture and taste of food. The most popular flours without gluten are based on:
- Fava beans
- Brown rice
- White beans
Even though these alternatives don’t contain gluten, they are not really good for paleo diet because this diet requires elimination of wheat and any other grain from the daily menu.
Paleo Baking is Complex
The paleo diet is based on the diet of our ancestors who lived in the Paleolithic age. This period lasted for thousands of years till 10.000-8.000 B.C. This is the time when our ancestors gathered food and hunted for food. In other words, they didn’t cultivate any food.
Paleo diet restricts or completely excludes dairy products, legumes, sugar and processed grains. The main point is to consume large amounts of nuts, veggies, fruits and meat.
This means that practicing a paleo diet on a daily basis is quite complicated and paleo baking is even more complicated. That’s why we have decided to share a short list of flours without gluten suitable for Paleo baking:
1. Almond Flour
Almond flour is based on blanched raw almonds. This flour is known for the rich protein content. It has no taste so it is great for baking any type of baked goods.
In addition, almond flour is packed with omega-6 fatty acids and monounsaturated fat and this is how cakes and cookies made with almond flour retain their moisture. Finally, this flour doesn’t contain many carbohydrates.
2. Coconut Flour
Coconut flour is getting quite popular these days. It is made of coconut meat that has been processed in a way that makes coconut prepared for coconut milk. This flour has strong absorbent properties and needs the same amount of liquid in order to keep the baked goods safe from drying. There are certain recipes that include coconut oil or eggs to preserve the moist.
Coconut is a fruit that is rich in fiber and has relatively small amount of carbs. If you are looking for a natural way to make baked goods sweeter than you won’t go wrong with coconut flour. Even people suffering from diabetes can use it. Coconut flour has the ability to reduce serum triglycerides and the levels of LDL cholesterol.
Due to the fact that coconut flour is packed with fiber, this flour should be avoided by persons suffering from certain digestive disorders like IBS or SIBO.
3. Cassava Flour
Cassava is a veggie that is used in Latin America, Asia and Africa for centuries. This root veggie is the basis of tapioca.
On the other hand, tapioca is a bleached starch obtained from the root of cassava. This ingredient is very popular among people who are baking without gluten because it has proven to be an excellent thickening agent. Cassava flour is based on whole roots and has fiber.
This flour is known for the powdery and relatively smooth and soft texture and the taste is neutral. People usually use the same amount of cassava flour as wheat flour in the recipes. The only exception are the recipes that include yeast.
Those dealing with latex allergy should stay away from cassava because it can trigger hypersensitivity.
4. Chestnut Flour
As you are probably aware, chestnuts are found on trees. They are packed with starch and have very low amount of fat which is not typical for nuts. Chestnuts have small amount of phytic acid too and this acid has the ability to link to nutrients and inhibit their effects.
On the other hand, this natural four is loaded with vitamin C, folate, vitamin B6, manganese, copper and potassium. Some people use chestnut flour as an alternative to almond flour. They use the same ratio.
Even though their names suggests that they are nuts, tiger nuts aren’t really nuts. Tigernuts are actually root veggies found in the Mediterranean and North Africa.
They are known for their sweet taste, so it is a good idea to reduce the amount of sugar in your recipe in case you rely on this flour. Tigernuts are also packed with fiber and starch that acts as prebiotic. In addition, these vegetables are rich in potassium, magnesium and protein.
It is the best idea to use tigernut flour together with almond and coconut flour. You can also use it separately as alternative to wheat flour (1:1 ratio).