With the back and forth of grains, no grains, things can get a bit confusing. Many people are sensitive to grains, and should remove them from the diet. But, does that mean that everyone should stay away from grains?
Personally, I do avoid grains, because of a food sensitivity. I did an elimination diet about one year ago, to discover which foods aggravate my sinus migraines. Unfortunately, grains are on that list. But, I believe most people can safely eat grains, as long as they are prepared properly. Our ancestors who ate grain, typically soaked and fermented them, prior to eating. This helps the body digest them more easily.
Overall, what is the consensus on grains? Should you be eating grains? Are grains bad? Can humans digest grains? All this and more can be found in this interesting article from UC Davis – Integrative medicine. Here, they dispel some of the myths surrounding grains.
Have a look:
Exploring the nutritional controversies surrounding whole grain: does it make you fat, should you include it in your diet, and more.
I have found, what just might be, the perfect gluten free flour… CASSAVA FLOUR! That may sound like an exaggeration, and maybe it is a bit. HOWEVER, being gluten free for more than 8 years, I have tried many different gluten free flours over the years. I’ve made (and thrown away) my share of gluten free baked goods. Any gluten free baker can tell you the same thing. Sometimes it turns out, and sometimes it doesn’t. It really is a gamble.
That’s why I’m so excited with this flour. Gluten free bakers spend hours trying to blend different gluten free flours together to get that “wheat like” consistency. The results are never that great, no matter how hard you try. Cassava flour is so exciting because it is so close to the real thing in taste and mannerisms in baking. (With the exception of yeast bread, see below)
What is cassava flour?
Cassava is a plant with origins in South America, and most widely known as Yuca. (2) Here are some facts about cassava…
“Cassava is the third-largest source of food carbohydrates in the tropics, after rice and maize” (2)
“One of the most valuable sources of nutrition for more than 500 million people living in Africa, Asia and Latin America.” (1)
“It is one of the most drought-tolerant crops, capable of growing on marginal soils. “(2)
“Provides a similar amount of carbohydrates as most other grain-based flours.” (1)
“It is about 60 percent to 65 percent water moisture, 20 percent to 31 percent carbohydrates, and less than 2 percent protein and fat.” (1)
“In some parts of Africa, it provides up to 30 percent of total daily calories.” (1)
It is allergy-free – free of nuts, grains, and gluten
Nutrient content of cassava flour…
Cassava flour is not a super food by any means. It is, however, lower in calories than most gluten free flours. Here is the nutrient content of cassava flour (1):
A quarter-cup serving of cassava flour has about:
2 grams of fiber
less than 1 gram of fat, protein or sugar
28 grams of carbohydrates
about 17 percent of daily vitamin C
Cassava flour and cyanide
You may have heard that Cassava contains cyanide. This isn’t ENTIRELY accurate. Cassava plants contain what’s called a cyanoglycoside.(3) That’s a scientific way of saying it contains a precursor to cyanide. When ingested, it has the potential to become cyanide in the body. (3) This is a defense mechanism developed by the cassava plant that to ward off insects and other predators. Cassava is not the only plant that contains cyanoglycosides:
Nectarine kernels (Prunus persica var nucipersica)
Plum kernels (Prunus spp.)
Cherry pits (Prunus spp.)
Not to worry, these cyanoglycosides
are easily neutralized with proper preparation.
Most of the cyanide resides in the leaves of the plant, and the skin of the roots. OTTO’s brand Cassava Flour PEELS and FERMENTS the root prior to grinding it into flour. This is enough to neutralize the cyanoglycosides. Cooking the flour also neutralizes the cyanoglycosides. Cassava should never be eaten raw. ***
Cassava flour vs tapioca flour…
You may also know that tapioca flour also comes from the yuca or cassava plant. Are cassava flour and tapioca flour the same thing….NO.
Cassava flour is a whole food – the root of the cassava plant, that has been dehydrated and ground into flour.
Tapioca starch/flour – is more processed – the extracted starch of the cassava root that has been bleached.
Think of it this way….CASSAVA FLOUR is like whole wheat flour. TAPIOCA FLOUR is like white flour.
How to use cassava in recipes…
In most cases, though results won’t be perfect, you can use it 1:1 in place of all-purpose wheat flour. This saves all of the measuring, calculating and blending that goes along with most gluten free baking. If you’re like me, you’ll be happy to do away with 5+ different kinds of gluten free flour setting on your counter!
With that said…one thing to note, you won’t get that same “rise” from cassava flour in recipes that use yeast. Yeast bread made from cassava flour is more dense. If you’re looking for a “light and fluffy” bread, unfortunately you’ll need to combine it with other flours.
I am SO excited about these tortillas! I have made them several times and they are PHENOMENAL! They look, act and taste remarkably like real flour tortillas. I wish I had discovered these years ago! I have been looking for a good gluten free tortilla for 8+ years, and I have FINALLY found one. I have also used this recipe to make sweet potato tortillas. In place of the water, I used 1 mashed sweet potato. (amazing and delicious results that even my family enjoyed!) Instead of rolling, I use a tortilla press, which speeds the process and makes it so much easier. It also produces a rounder, cleaner looking tortilla, which I prefer.
¾ c. Otto’s Naturals Cassava flour (I do recommend Otto’s, due to their technique for making the flour. Of course, feel free to use any Cassava flour you choose) – ***
1 cup almond meal or cashew meal (make in food processor or buy)
1 cup sifted Cassava Flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup olive oil.
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
3 generous tbsps honey
1/2 teaspoon Redmond Real salt
Continuing the pizza theme for today, here are 5 videos, (all quick, I promise). Each one highlights a different method to make a low carb pizza. Two of them are even “crustless”! Remember, just like with any other recipe, try to use whole food or organic ingredients. Even pizza can be healthy.
Today is my son’s 21st birthday. In honor of his birthday, I am dedicating this blog to him and his favorite food, PIZZA! Here is a list of pizza recipes, pizza crust recipes and pizza topping recipes, all gluten-free and paleo or keto friendly.
I am gluten-free and, quite frankly, there isn’t much I miss about gluten…except pizza. Now, I know there is gluten-free pizza on the market or in restaurants and some of it is down right good, but anyone who is gluten free will tell you that it just isn’t the same. Like most gluten-free cooks/bakers, I’ve made (and thrown away) my share of gluten-free baked goods. It’s not easy! However, pizza crust is one of the easier things to make.
So… I have scoured the internet for the best gluten-free, keto, &/or paleo friendly pizza recipes. My favorites are the “13 alternative crusts”, which use, among other things, cauliflower, broccoli or pumpkin. ENJOY!