A Guide to Alternative Flours
Stuck on using gluten-y, whole wheat flours? Or still stuck on packing it in with bland, albeit complex ingredient gluten-free flours? Fear no more — there is likely a flour with a flavor for all of your Sunday morning baked goods needs (packing an even more powerful nutritional punch — we're all about those functional foods and fiber!). Similar to what we learned when it comes to milks (or rather, mylks), there is no one-size-fits-all. So let's dig in, shall we?
Don’t be mistaken! Tiger nuts are actually not nuts — they’re a veggie (or, a starchy fiber). And if you’ve never had them (like us, until recently) then you’re in for a treat. Tiger nuts taste earthy and slightly “nutty”, but with a twinge of vanilla. These beauties were highly regarded in ancient Egypt, and anything that Cleopatra was believed to love, we love too. These starchy fiber balls are quite lightweight and delicate, so when finely ground, they create an optimal flour for anything under the sun. The health benefits of them are beautiful as well — they’re allergy-free (because again, they’re not an actual nut), they’re a whole food full of what’s called “resistant starch” — a highly beneficial pre-biotic for gut health, and they have healthful fats unlike other tubers such as potatoes. Sold yet? We definitely are. And this isn't the first, nor the second time that we've raved our adoration.
If you’re celiac or gluten-intolerant, be forewarned: there is some debate over whether or not spelt flour is actually fully g-free. But either way, it’s a heck of a lot better than traditionally processed flours in baked goods. Plus, spelt’s nutritional punch and body benefits are choke full — spelt, when sprouted, helps to digest and assimilate, as well as act as a nutritional vehicle of nutrient absorption for the foods that it’s paired with. Due to it’s high fiber content, spelt flour is a delicious option for those with tummy upsets when eating heavier baked goods, pancakes, breads, and the like. Not only does this kind of heavy fiber help with digestion, but it lowers cholesterol levels by targeting LDL and eliminating it from the body in order to make efficient use of essential fatty acids in the bloodstream.
Quinoa hasn’t been touted as one of the world’s healthiest foods for nothing — this grain is a nutritional power house and optimal energy source for a dream-filled body. Quinoa flour is also always g-free, even though it lives in the same familial household as wheat, oats, barley and rye. Some studies have shown that quinoa flour has higher digestibility rates than other flours, as well as an ability to decrease sensitivities to other grains, like gluten-y wheat. Quinoa, in any form, is an incredibly healing food. Add this flour to cookie or muffin recipes just as you would any other traditional flour. You’ll be able to find packaged quinoa flour pastas and and baked goods in any grocery store today, but most definitely in any ol’ Whole Foods or mom + pop health food shop. Experience your energy soar.
Just like coco meat, coco flour is high in lauric acid — the healthy unsaturated fat essential for nourished skin, a healthy thyroid, a balanced metabolism, and an effortlessly operating immunity system. This flour is made from dried and ground coco meat, until it becomes a fine flour. High in fiber and protein, it will also aid in smooth digestion and microbiome health (what belly doesn’t love the tropics?). Coconut flour has also been studied for it’s ability to lower dangerous LDL cholesterol levels and serum triglycerides in those with high cholesterol and heart problems. And, because (compared to traditional flours) coco flour is so high in fiber but low in digestible carbs, it has a gentle impact on blood sugar levels — leveling you out and providing sustainable, clean energy all day. The body burns coconut as energy, rather storing it as fat. Up your coco consumption for a leaner, lighter feeling when it comes to consuming overt fats.
Hazelnut flour is serious brain and beauty food. It is made of what it sounds like — ground hazelnuts. It boats high level of essentials proteins, the B vitamin folate, skin-soothing vitamin E and tummy-loving fiber. Hazelnuts also contain the highest proanthocyanidin of any other tree nut — meaning, your baked goods could be staving off a painful UTI one hazelnutty bite at a time. It’s g-free (of course! It’s just a nut!) and doesn’t just work well in baked goods — sprinkle it on oatmeal, stir it through smoothie bowls for thickness and flavor, “bread” steamed veggies in it and bake in the oven for some time. The possibilities with this delectable flour are endless.