The first step in making healthier baked goods is to take a close look at the flour you use. Many bakers now choose whole grain flours over refined white flours. However, whole grain flours are still very high in carbohydrates and score high on the glycemic index.
High glycemic foods cause your blood sugar to spike, raising insulin levels. Your blood sugar is directly linked to nearly every chronic disease including diabetes, cancer, heart disease, metabolic syndrome, obesity, macular degeneration and many more. Even if you are not a celiac and don’t have a diagnosed gluten intolerance, regular white flour will make your waist look like the Pillsbury Doughboy if you eat too much of it.
Unfortunately, most gluten free flours use a combination of high glycemic ingredients like rice flour, potato starch, tapioca flour and sorghum flour. So while the gluten is missing, all the blood sugar-spiking effects are still there.
Hippocrates had it right more than two thousand years ago, when he said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food., says Kelley Herring of the Healing Gourmet, a company that educates on how foods promote vitality and protect against disease. Kelley is the Editor-in-Chief of the Healing Gourmet book series published by McGraw-Hill , including Eat to Fight Cancer, Eat to Beat Diabetes, Eat to Lower Cholesterol, Eat to Boost Fertility and Your Plate, Your Fate and has many gluten free foods lists and recipes.
So what are the best gluten free food list of ingredients for baking?
Almond Flour: This staple flour can be used to create everything from fluffy pancakes to crispy cookies. I often make almond flour pancakes with my own strawberry syrup….. mucho mucho yum yum!
Coconut Flour: Coconut flour might look light and fluffy, but it is actually a dense, fiber-rich flour. So take note: a little goes a long way. A good rule of thumb is to use one egg for each tablespoon of coconut flour in your recipes. Also, most recipes that call for coconut flour specify “sifted coconut flour”. One half cup coconut flour does not equal one half cup sifted coconut flour. If you don’t sift and then measure, your baked goods can end up dry and dense.
Hazelnut and Pecan Flour: These are richer nut flours that can be used in combination with almond flour to punch up the nutty flavor. They are great in pie crusts and cookies of all kinds.
Beans: A “Secret” Ingredient for Springy, Moist Cakes
Yellow cupcakes made with cannellini beans… and a chocolate cake made with chickpeas? You read that right. Beans are one of the “secret” ingredients you’ll find in Kelley Herrings dessert recipes in Guilt Free Desserts. Used properly, they provide light, springy structure, moisture and tenderness to baked goods. One word of caution: Baked goods made with beans can have a slight “beany” flavor for up to 12 hours after baking. This flavor will dissipate, so be patient. It’s worth the wait.
Because bean flours are dense, try adding bean flour for up to 25% of your gluten free flour mix.
Here are the most popular bean flours and how to use them:
Best Gluten Free Foods Lists – Recipes With Clean Ingredients
Garbanzo Bean Flour: Use 7/8 cup to replace 1 cup of wheat flour in baked goods.
Black Bean Flour: Use as part of your baking mix for chocolate cakes and brownies.
White Bean Flour or Fava Bean Flour: Mild in taste, white bean flour or fava bean flour are suitable for use in most recipes calling for white flour. Substitute 1/4 of the white flour for bean flour.
Sweetening without Refined Sugar.
Erythritol: Considered the “almost sugar” by health experts and pastry chefs alike. Erythritol is a “sugar alcohol” with a glycemic index of zero and zero calories. It has no effect on blood sugar or insulin levels and is safe for diabetics. It can be used cup for cup in recipes just like sugar, and provides about 70% of the sweetness. . Erythritol is derived from corn and should be avoided by those with a corn allergy.
Stevia: A super-sweet herb native to Paraguay that is up to 300X sweeter than sugar. Stevia is best used to increase the sweetness of a sugar alcohol, like erythritol, rather than the sole sweetener in a recipe. Pure stevia extract should be used sparingly.
Why organic? Organic foods are free of pesticides, growth hormones, antibiotics and genetically modified organisms which have a wide-range of health harming effects. While buying organic produce is important, opting for organic animal products is absolutely essential. That’s because meats, eggs and milk products are a concentrated source of the foods (and chemicals) consumed by the animals that provide them.
Don’t resist the urge to splurge… here’s how to make your cake and eat it too!
For those times when the sweet tooth strikes whip up a dessert made with all-natural, zero-glycemic erythritol – like the delicious treats found in Guilt Free Desserts.