Q: What is Paleo?
A: We follow the Paleo diet because it is a healthy way of eating that helps to further heal leaky gut when going gluten free isn’t enough. The focus is on whole, nutrient-dense foods such as grass-fed meats, fresh fruits, veggies, eggs, and healthy fats while removing processed foods. There is no gluten, grains (oats, corn, rice, etc…), legumes, or soy allowed. Grass-fed dairy is allowed if you can tolerate it. We are not 100% Paleo but try to eat that way most of the time.
Q: What is leaky gut?
A: This is where gaps are formed between the intestinal cells (think of the gaps in a fence as opposed to a wall), allowing contents of the intestines to leak into the body. This can happen from toxic overload, Celiac disease, chronic stress, poor diet, antibiotics, nutritional deficiencies, infections, or too much harmful bacteria and not enough good bacteria. When this happens, our bodies launch an attack against the “invaders” that have leaked into the body and causes the immune system to attack them leading to food sensitives because the food that is being leaked has now been “red flagged” by the immune system. This not only causes the immune system to act up and can eventually lead to all kinds of auto-immune disorders, but now you can also have a build up of toxins and yeast in your body along with not absorbing the nutrients from the food that you need.
In many people, especially kids with autism, gluten and casein are often hard to digest and are “leaked” into the body. The gluten and casein can effect the brain in the same manner as an opiate (think of morphine) and causes many symptoms. When Lance has gluten especially, he acts “out of it”, obsessive, has a higher pain threshold, can’t concentrate, and just acts different.
Q: Are there any substitutions for almond flour?
A: Because almond flour is higher in fat and is lighter (in weight) than other flours it is very hard to substitute. While I have not tried either, I’ve heard you can use grapeseed flour as a 1:1 substitute or finely ground sunflower seeds as a 1:1 substitute. Almond meal is not ground as fine as almond flour and doesn’t always yield good results in baked goods. I always use the Honeyville brand when baking (see my Pantry Essentials page).
*Note that sunflour seeds contain chlorophyl and when mixed with baking soda can turn your baked goods green! To maintain the proper color you could try reducing the baking soda and adding some lemon juice.
Q: Are there any substitutions for arrowroot flour?
A: Yes. Arrowroot can be substituted with cornstarch or tapioca flour. If thickening a sauce with cornstarch instead of arrowroot remember that it will take longer for the sauce to thicken. You may need to stir for up to 10 minutes. If you are thickening a milk product (and sometimes milk substitutes) arrowroot can result in a gross, slimy substance so you may want to stick with cornstarch or tapioca. I rarely use tapioca. Arrowroot looses it’s thickening power under prolonged heat so cornstarch may also be a better bet for casseroles.
Q: Are eggs dairy?
A: I get this question all the time! The short answer is no. While eggs are an animal byproduct (so they are not vegan) they are not dairy. Dairy refers to any food coming from a milk bearing animal such as cows, goats, sheep, or the like.
Q: Do I have to buy gluten free mustard?
A: I never worry worry about mustard containing gluten. Some people may worry about the vinegar in the mustard because it might have been distilled from gluten grains but distillation removes gluten. If you’re worried about it, Annies, French’s, and Grey Poupon are all certified gluten free.
Q: Do I have to buy gluten free vanilla?
A: Some people worry that the alcohol in vanilla contains gluten but the distillation process will remove any gluten. So no, you do not need to buy gluten free vanilla.
Q: Does coconut oil have a coconut taste?
A: If you buy refined coconut oil it will not impart a coconut taste, unrefined will.
Q: Are oats gluten free?
A: While oats themselves do not contain gluten they are usually grown, harvested, and processed with wheat. Because of the cross-contamination I always buy certified gluten free oats. The protein structure in oats is very similar to wheat (this is also true of coffee, yeast, and dairy) and some people react to oats the same as gluten. If you buy certified gluten free oats and still have a reaction you may need to steer clear of oats altogether.
Q: How do you measure your flour?
A: I use the scoop and sweep method. If you spoon the flour into the cup, it fluffs the flower and your cup will be too light. Alternatively, if you pack the cup it will be too heavy. I always scoop the flour out with my measuring cup and level it off with the back of a knife.
Using this method 1 Cup of blanched almond flour = 4 oz.
Q: Why do you mainly use almond flour?
A: Mainly, the taste. I find it has the perfect taste for baked goods and is not gritty at all. Also, it is high in protein, good fats, minerals, low carb, and is grain free. See also my pantry essentials page.
Q: Why are most of your recipes a combination of almond and arrowroot flour?
A: I find that the combination makes the most tasty baked goods. While (obviously) I love almond flour, I don’t like all of my food to taste like almonds. Also, the addition of arrowroot makes for less dense baked goods while still remaining grain free.