“Just living is not enough… One must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flour.“
Ok, so that’s not quite how Hans Christian Anderson said it, but it fits my post today.
Sorry this is late. This post was supposed to be added this past weekend, but I ran into some technical difficulties. I have put together a table of various flours with all kinds of nutrition information, but i couldn’t figure out how to format it correctly. I am very new to the world of blogging. So I’ve moved some things around in this article and I will (hopefully) have the table ready for you next week.
There’s probably no such thing as a “healthy flour”. After all, white all purpose flour certainly won’t be found on any health food aisle (although it is important to mention that it is usually enriched with B vitamins and iron). Almond and other nut flours are great if you are focusing on low carbs, but, while it does have an impressive list of nutrients, it doesn’t have the taste, or texture, that is desired in many baked goods. It will be up to you to decide what you are wanting from your flour. Many of the people I bake for have mentioned that they are just not happy with the results, and taste, using almond flour, and I have to agree. It just doesn’t sit well with me for some reason. I have also discovered that the most commonly used starch based flours have little to no fiber or protein (and in most cases, no taste as well). In fact, most are considered “empty calories”.
That being said, when I am going to cook from scratch, I want to use the tastiest, most healthy ingredients. And for the recipes that call for flour, I’m going to go with the healthiest types I can use.
Why do I feel so strongly about this? It’s just flour. Millions of people use starch-based flours and are very happy with it. Why do I have to make such a big deal about it? Well, as I’ve mentioned before, while I have made the effort to eat a healthier diet for several years, I was pretty lackadaisical when it came to ingredients in pre-made foods. But I did eat a lot of protein and fiber every day. I enjoyed daily servings of yogurt, milk, cheese, and the occasional ice cream. I ate whole wheat bread (which I made from scratch), granola bars, and other whole grain foods. When I had to drop so many of these foods, my mind immediately went to what nutrients I was losing. Protein was top on the list. I ate Greek yogurt every day because I liked the higher protein available. My go to snack was an apple, a cheese stick and some kind of granola-type bar. I don’t follow the Keto diet, but I am weight conscious and I know that having protein often throughout the day helps to keep me from getting hungry. The same for fiber, plus all the other benefits from eating fiber, like keeping my digestive system free of gunk and my cardiovascular system healthy.
So…where do you go when you need to do a major upheaval on your diet? Pinterest, of course. I read the recipes, I found the gluten free sections in my local stores, and I loaded up on gluten free foods and ingredients. And, over the next several months, I threw almost all of it away. I couldn’t get past the taste, and the chalk-like texture and aftertaste. I figured I’d get used to that. Lots of people eat this way. According to all the Pinterest posts, these recipes and other items were God’s gift to those with gluten sensitivities. But then came the bloating, the gas, the nausea. I had just gotten rid of all that. Why was it happening again? Because in my case, gluten and dairy don’t give me those symptoms (I know – I am very lucky). My condition is something that builds up over time, not an immediate response. Through trial and error, I quickly found out that it was those gluten free flours and the added ingredients like xanthun gum that were causing my discomfort.
Great – so I can’t eat gluten. And now I can’t eat gluten free foods. Yes, I know there is life without baked goods, but I wasn’t ready to go that far yet. I wasn’t ready to give up. I remembered that my favorite sandwich bread in my pre-gluten free life was an oat blend. I looked up oatmeal and found that it is naturally gluten free. Now I know that many gluten free people also can’t tolerate oats. I also know that you have to be cautious about oats due to cross-contamination issues, but I looked into certified gluten free oat flour and found recipes and cookbooks, and I was hooked. I followed some of the recipes and found great improvement in taste, texture, and a lack of digestive symptoms, although I still wasn’t in baked-goods Nervana. The journey there will be for the next few posts.
Have a great week, sharing Good Food with Dear Friends. Until next time…