Hello to everyone. I'm relatively new to the paleo scene, and this is the first time I've reached out to the community in any real way. I've gone paleo as an extension of my attempt to eat whole foods (some of which was driven by reading a lot of Michael Pollan), and I've come across a whole group of recipes that substitute in non-grain flours. This poses a problem for me on a theoretical level (one of my guiding principles - admittedly oversimplified - is that I have to be able to recognize the species of organism on the fork), but I'm interested to see what the community thinks about it. One of the benefits I see from the paleo diet is the absence of any processing (currently, my processed foods include olive oil, vinegars, and the occasional pint of cider or glass of wine), and while nut flours aren't specifically prohibited, it does seem to be against the spirit of the lifestyle. My question is two-fold: Is this view held by others (i.e. do I belong to a subcommunity I'm just unaware of?); Can anyone recommend a collection of recipes that doesn't cross this line?
Thanks - I hope this post is in line with the spirit of the board, and I look forward to becoming an active member of the community.
asked byJCentonze (319)
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on October 17, 2012
at 09:32 PM
Most, I'd say, will say that those "flourless" treats should remain just that--treats. Not everyday fare. But my guess is that you don't really need to be told that.
But baking is my hobby, so I have an additional opinion or two on this subject! As for processing, my personal opinion is that nut meals are less processed than coconut flour, but when I'm making something decadent for a party or something, I'll reach for a flourless recipe that involves eggs. I also tend to reach for traditional recipes that never required flour in the first place. Once upon a time, flour was more expensive than nuts!
on October 17, 2012
at 06:18 PM
Flours are technically processed foods, pulverized into a powder. This processing could potentiate glycemic load and/or pose digestive issues for some that would not be inherent to the whole-food form. This could be of concern to those with autoimmune conditions or poor digestive health. That being said, most of these flours will typically be combined into recipes and not consumed alone or as the primary ingredient (like a little almond meal in a meatloaf or meatball recipe) while not totally paleo, might serve to make a recipe more complete and in small amounts probably well-tolerated by most.
Against all Grain is a site that have many grain free recipes labelled as paleo but I think that depends on your own POV. There are a lot of yummy looking recipes that use a good amount of "borderline" ingredients, IMO. But, to those strictly following a grain-free diet, items like these eaten occasionally can provide a nice treat. So "probably not for every day" but "OK for once in a while" is my thinking.
on October 17, 2012
at 09:09 PM
One thing you'll find is that as you eat nutrient dense paleo foods there is less need to make "psuedo" SAD foods like cakes, cookies, breads, etc, even though they are with paleo ingredients. You'll be satisfied without them. However, I find there are still occasions when I want a sweet treat, or crispy crunchy crackers to go with my dip or soup.
That said, using nut flours is OK in moderation. Most nuts have higher Omega 6 profiles, and ideally you want to get a better ratio of Omega 3 to Omega 6, so too many nuts in whatever form is not so great.
There's a brand new book out called "The Joy of Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free Baking" by Peter Reinhart (and a partner whose name escapes me at the moment). All of the recipes are based on nut flour, and the book explains how to make your own (does it count to you if YOU are the one doing the processing?). Many recipes call for artificial sweeteners (stevia, which some people say is OK on Paleo, and Splenda which is NOT) but if sugar isn't an issue for you the book explains how to use whole food real sweeteners like granulated sugar, honey and maple syrup instead.