When approaching paleo baking the challenges are many, and the first reaction to the grain free baking world is “Is that even a thing”? If you are ready to go a step above gluten free cakes & pies and leave all grains on the side, here are the dos & don’ts of paleo baking.
In my first grain free period I have learned a lot through my mistakes and experience, and I want to share those lessons with you so that you always know what to do when one of those cookie cravings start biting!!
The DOs & DON’Ts of Paleo Baking:
DO Be curious and experiment!
Anytime you see a new product that sparks your curiosity, buy it and test it out, even if you have no idea what you’ll do with it. When you are on a restricted diet and the chances to get excited about food are few and far between, take any opportunity you have to create a positive and enthusiastic connection with food. The mind needs its part too!
Here you find a complete list of all the grain free flours alternatives that are out there!
But you can experiment even more! An example? I was in the island of St. Kitts once and I saw they were making flour out of their national fruit: breadfruit. Of course I had to buy it! I brought it home and started experimenting with it. Having fun and keeps you committed to your diet.
DO NOT Expect to replace regular flours with your new grain free alternatives.
Taking a traditional recipe and expecting to swap regular flour for any grain free flour, like cassava for example, is key for a paleo baking disaster. Regular gluten (and even gluten free recipes) cannot be translated into grain free ones. Each and every flour behaves differently and you need to know them well before you can start to experiment and come up with your own recipes.
To learn all you need to know about paleo flour alternatives check out my post on all the grain free baking options.
DO NOT Substitute grain free flours in a recipe that’s originally created without grains.
One of the questions I get asked the most every time I publish a new grain free recipes is about substitutions.
“Can use coconut flour instead of tigernut?” “Can I swap cassava for potato starch?”.
In order to guarantee a paleo baking success, my best advice to you is to just find a recipe with ingredient you can have and just stick to it! Grain free flours have very different properties and they are not interchangeable when baking, so make sure you always follow the recipe religiously.
Head over to my recipe collection and filter them by type of food and dietary restriction for find the one the better fits your needs! I am excited to see what you make!!
DO NOT Assume that grain free, paleo baking automatically means healthier
Pre-made paleo baking mixes can be filled with gums, lots of sugar and artificial sweeteners (on this matter, check out my post on How to Read Labels).
Also, keep in mind that some grain free flours are very caloric: 1 cup of almond meal is the equivalent of 90 almonds!! You probably wouldn’t eat that many nuts at a time, but it’s a lot easier to end up doing that when 90 almonds look like a couple slices of cake.
In general keep this in mind: “grain-free” doesn’t necessarily mean “healthier”. Some people are totally fine with grains, and, as a matter of fact, whole grains are proven to have a lot of beneficial properties for those who can tolerate them. And even those who are on a grain free diet to treat leaky gut and auto immune issues might still have to exclude some of these grain free flours (the ones derived from nuts and legumes) for an initial period (specifically during the Elimination Stage of the Autoimmune Protocol – AIP). While some other people can get upset with coconut flour or nut derived products.
Everybody is different and there isn’t a one size fits all approach when it comes to food. Listen to your body and see what makes you feel good. I tend to combine my paleo baking with some gluten free flours (like rice and others) and I am good with that. It’s all about finding what’s good for YOU!
DO NOT Assume if it’s grain free it’s good for you.
Just because a flour is on the grain free ingredient list it doesn’t mean it’s good for you. Many people who are on a grain free diet to treat auto immune issues for example also have to exclude all products derived from nuts and legumes. And some other people can get upset with coconut flour or nut derived products. Listen to your body and see what makes you feel good.
DO NOT Take anything for granted!
Gluten & grains are used pretty much everywhere. If you need to avoid them, make sure to always read the ingredient list very carefully and never take anything for granted. Sometimes even dried fruit (like dried persimmons for example) is lightly coated in wheat flour! And regular baking powder is mixed with corn starch, so make sure to replace it with a combination of baking soda and cream of tartar if corn is a no-go for you!
Anything I forgot to mention? Please, leave a comment and let me know what are the most precious dos and don’ts you’ve learned through your paleo baking experiments so I can update my post with more good content!
I am sure your experience would be super valuable for all those who are approaching the grain free world for the first time!
Thanks for reading and sharing and I will catch you next time!