For a large segment of the American population, gone are the days of comfortably consuming gluten containing foods like wheat, rye and barley. One does not have to suffer from celiac disease to adopt a gluten-free diet—even the average person can benefit from restricting this troublesome protein. When gluten is banished from the diet, often times weight normalizes, digestive issues calm and reactions like rashes, headaches and fatigue begin to lift. As an added incentive, several gluten-free flours offer unsurpassed nutritional benefit.
Coconut - Loaded with healthy fat, protein and fiber—you cannot beat coconut flour. It is also a good source of lauric acid which helps to support the immune system along with radiant skin. An exceptional source of manganese, coconut helps the body utilize choline, biotin, vitamin C and thiamin. Additionally, manganese keeps blood sugar levels balanced and promotes bone health. Coconut flour contains very little phytate so it does not need to be soaked before use.
Almond - Another high protein and nutrient dense food. Almond flour is brimming with fiber yet low in carbohydrates—encouraging steady blood sugar levels. Almonds also supply copious amounts of potassium, magnesium, vitamin E, calcium and iron. Healthy fats found in almonds keep the cardiovascular system in top shape and help with weight loss. Rich in manganese, copper and riboflavin—almonds boost energy. Gallstones are prevented by consuming a mere ounce per week. To make almond flour, simply pulse whole nuts in a food processor until a fine granular consistency. Use non-pasteurized almonds for ultimate flavor and nutrition.
Teff - An ancient and nutritious grain. Brown and ivory varieties are available. Although both types are slightly sweet in flavor, ivory teff has a milder taste. Teeming with calcium and vitamin C, teff flour is a smart choice. Approximately 20-40 percent of the carbohydrates found in teff are resistant starches—a type of dietary fiber that helps with weight and blood sugar management. Teff is a great source of protein.
Millet - Digests easily and is considered alkaline—rare in the world of grain-like seeds. Millet supplies serotonin and tryptophan—two compounds that work synergistically to uplift mood. Millet is also safe for individuals suffering from candida as it does not feed yeast. It is an excellent source of magnesium, calcium, B vitamins, phosphorus and fiber. These important nutrients reduce the risk of Type II diabetes and migraines. Millet flour imparts a fine cake-like texture to baked goods.
Always choose organic, gluten-free flours to avoid genetically modified organisms. Xanthan gum is a good binder for gluten-free baking—just make sure it is a non-GMO variety. Source baking powder that is made from GMO-free ingredients as well. With these suggestions in hand, gluten-free baking can be healthy, nutritious and delicious.