I remember the first time I made cream puffs. I was a senior in high school and our very fun and lax French teacher gave us the assignment to make a french dish of our choosing and bring it in the next day for everyone to try.
I followed the recipe just right and was delighted with my little pillows of gluten filled with whipped cream. I ended up eating the whole first batch with my friend and having to make a new one for school. I even remember falling asleep on the couch after my gluten-induced coma set in!
I was really excited to find this recipe using cassava flour instead of regular wheat. The texture and consistency are just as I remember and these were a hit with the whole family. This has been by far the most popular video I’ve ever made, so I think it’s fair to say that you’re in for a treat!
The problem with most baked treats
It’s not that having a treat every once in awhile is such a bad thing, but the ingredients that go into many of them should be avoided. When you buy pre-made baked items, not only are they usually made with white flour, white sugar and conventional seed oils, they often have artificial colors and flavorings that have been carefully selected by food scientists to make hyper palatable to your tastebuds.
Sugar and refined grains actually set off the dopamine receptors in your brain, similar to if you were taking drugs. When you say “my kid is addicted to sugar”, this is quite literally true!
Even when you make at home, but use these ingredients, you’re doing yourself a disservice since you can so easily use better ingredients, make them healthier and taste better!
It’s not just the gluten
Over the last decade, we have all become familiar with gluten and all of its many alternatives. But why has gluten just become a problem even though we’ve been eating it for hundreds of years? And why can some people eat some versions like spelt, sourdough and whole grain versions and feel ok?
Turns out that the actual gluten protein may be a real problem for some people, but for many, it’s the combination of the hybridized high-gluten versions of wheat on the market combined with compromised immune systems and digestion.
According to The Healthy Home Economist*:
“The real crux of the problem is the complete mess that the vast majority of Westerners have made of their gut environment with all the processed foods, sugar, rancid vegetable oils, antibiotics and other pharmaceutical use.
An imbalanced gut environment will most assuredly not be able to digest wheat that is high in gluten and undigested food rots in the gut producing excess gas, bloating, growth of pathogens, and breakdown of the gut wall that results in – you guessed it, “wheat belly” as well as autoimmune symptoms such as food allergies or gluten sensitivity.”
All that said, most people feel better on a gluten-free diet, and are well-served by it as long as the gluten is not simply replaced by other refined grains without any health benefit. Over time as the gut heals, many can reintroduce some high-quality grains especially if they have been soaked, sprouted or fermented as was done by traditional cultures.
A grain-free alternative to gluten that actually tastes like it!
A gluten free flour that I have come to love is called cassava flour. Both cassava and tapioca come from yuca, but cassava uses the whole root with the fiber intact while tapioca is just the starch extracted from the root. This means that cassava root flour is the healthier option as the fiber helps blunt the blood sugar spike that comes with carbohydrates stripped of fiber.
As far as alternatives for gluten, cassava is the only one I have found that I can oftentimes swap in recipes without using several others as well. The brand Otto’s Natural has produced the best results for me.
Otto’s Cassava flour has become one of my go-to paleo flours because:
- It is an all-natural, amazing, grain-free replacement for wheat flour and can often be used as a 1:1 substitute in countless recipes
- No fillers. Only 100% Yuca (Cassava) and water are used to create this single-ingredient wonder.
- Does not have that familiar dry or “alternative flour” taste or texture that often comes with gluten-free flours.
- Baked goods made with Otto’s are often indistinguishable from their wheat-based counterparts in taste and texture.
- Use it in sweet recipes like cakes, cookies, brownies, pancakes, and crepes.
- Use it in savory recipes like tempura, sauces, gravy, and searing flour.
- Very highest quality cassava flour available using a proprietary method that leaves no chance for mold or fermentation to develop.
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