Gluten-Free and Resistant Starch Flours: Have Your Cake and Eat It Too!

Gluten-Free and Resistant Starch Flours: Have Your Cake and Eat It Too!
Sourdough bread, buns, pastries, cakes, pancakes, muffins ......... Is your mouth watering yet?

If you have been newly introduced to the gluten-free lifestyle, you may be wondering if you will ever be able to eat some of your favorite bakery items again. Well....no worries! I have been avoiding gluten for many, many years and I am still learning how to cook and bake gluten-free.

The truth is there is such a huge variety of options at your disposal such as gluten-free grains like rice, sorghum and teff, nut, seed and legume flours. Most of these flours cannot be used alone as a substitute for wheat.  However, by combining different flours you can get a texture closer to what wheat provides.  Here is a good gluten-free all-purpose flour recipe:

Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour
3 C Almond Flour (or seed flour for nut-free)
1 1/2 C Arrowroot
3/4 C Coconut Flour
3/4 C Tapioca Starch

There are several non-grain flours that are commonly used as substitutes in recipes.

Non-Grain Flours
Almond Flour - substitute for regular all-purpose flour 1:1
Coconut Flour - soaks up moisture due to high fiber; substitute 1/4-1/3 C per 1 C regular flour
Cassava Flour - cookies, cakes, breads substitute 1:1 for wheat

Alternative flours made from seeds (sunflower, millet, quinoa, buckwheat) and beans (fava, garbanzo) can add their own unique nutritional benefits including protein.

Resistant Starch Flours
There are certain flours that contain resistant starch.  We want resistant starch.  It is very beneficial for our digestion. Resistant starch means that the fiber is resistant to digestion or break down in the stomach. It then continues to pass through the small intestine and on to the colon where this fermentable fiber feeds the "friendly" gut bacteria.

When the "friendly" gut bacteria feeds on this resistant starch, a short-chain fatty acid called "butyrate" is produced. Butyrate is the preferred fuel for cells that line the colon.  Interestingly, fermentable fibers and resistant starches feed approximately 90% of our cells.  Most foods feed only 10%.  

Besides providing fuel for our cells .... what are some other benefits of resistant starch?

1) Lowers pH level - high pH values mean acidic conditions which contribute to inflammatory digestive disorders:
  • IBD
  • Ulcerative Colitis
  • Crohn's
  • Constipation
  • Diverticulitis
  • Diarrhea 
 2) Lowers inflammation - lower pH contributes to reduced inflammation 
  • Decreased risk of colorectal cancer
  • Increased absorption of minerals
These 3 flours contain high amounts of "resistant starch":
  • Tigernut  Flour - safe for those with nut allergies; this is a tuber not a nut; use with a 1:1 ratio for wheat substitute 
  • Green Banana Flour - No worries....does not taste like banana!!!  Use about 1/3 C less than wheat flour as a substitute
  • Chestnut Flour - only use if no tree nut allergy; use a 1:1 ratio for wheat substitute
Our digestion can be greatly improved simply by substituting a "resistant starch", gluten-free flour in recipes.  Which one are you most excited to try first?