Not only does living a lectin-free lifestyle support your overall health and wellbeing, but it can also be a great opportunity for more fun in the kitchen! That’s because a shift from your cooking and baking routine can lead to experimentation with new baking recipes and the discovery of some great new healthy baking substitutes.
You may think if you opt to be truly responsible for your health and ditch lectins altogether that you’ll end up getting to eat fewer baked goodies. But it’s just not true. Instead, allow yourself to be creative in the kitchen with certain baking substitutions.
Replacing unhealthy cooking ingredients with healthy baking substitutes can help get you on track towards better digestive and overall health starting now.
Removing All-Purpose Flour From Your Ingredients List: Try Gluten-Free Almond Flour And Coconut Flour
Now, there are some potential traps you could fall into if you simply decide to go gluten-free. For starters, not all gluten-free all-purpose flour is created equal. There are several gluten-free products out there that aren’t actually grain-free. And therefore these products aren’t lectin-free.
First, take a look at the flours listed below. Though these are gluten-free, they’re NOT lectin-free:
- Oat flour
- Rice flour
- Bean flour
- Quinoa flour
- Chickpea flour
- Amaranth flour
- Buckwheat flour
- Potato starch flour
The following flours however ARE lectin-free.
- Blanched almond flour
- Arrowroot flour
- Cassava flour
- Chestnut flour
- Coconut flour
- Grape seed flour
- Green banana flour (raw)
- Hazelnut flour
- Millet flour
- Sorghum flour
- Sweet potato flour
- Tapioca flour
- Tiger nut flour
Almond and coconut flour are two great options when it comes to baking. Let’s take a closer look at each.
Why Bake With Blanched Almond Flour And How To Make Your Own Almond Flour
Now, when you select almond flour at your grocery store, make sure and read the ingredients list on the label. It should be very short. In fact, it should have only one listed ingredient — blanched almonds (blanched means that the lectin-filled skins were removed from the almonds).
Almonds are becoming increasingly popular in recipes for baked goods— and for good reason: they’re versatile, tasty, and good for you.
When it comes to the health benefits of almonds, it’s clear that the Gundry-approved nut supports better heart health, healthier blood sugar levels, and weight management efforts. Plus, almonds are wonderful options as plant-based proteins. And they are packed with fiber and healthy monounsaturated fats. Beyond those nutritive perks, almonds contain good amounts of vitamin E and magnesium.1
Baking with almond flour can lead to moister lectin-free cakes and bread with an added nutty flavor. It’s great for cakes, cookies, and bread. And you can use any recipe that calls for regular flour but replace the called-for flour with almond flour at a one-to-one ratio (you might just need to add an extra pasture-raised egg or some additional binding agent).
Bonus Tip: Almond flour is super easy to make on your own. You literally only need the blanched almonds. In a blender, grind your blanched almonds into a powdery fine flour. That’s it! Just be sure to stop short of blending it into almond butter. You’ll be able to enjoy your favorite baked goods without suffering the consequences of dangerous lectins.
Substitute Your Old Lectin-filled Flour With Lectin-Free Coconut Flour
Another great substitute for lectin-rich grains is coconut flour. Added coconut flour benefits include its high fiber content, it’s low carbohydrate content, and it’s protein-rich nature.2 There’s another wonderful quality to coconut flour — it’s toasty, fresh flavor that hints at coconut sweetness in your favorite recipes.
The one thing to note about baking with coconut flour is that you’ll likely need to add a little extra liquid to your recipe as it’s one of the most absorbent flours. A good rule is to use 6 eggs per ½ cup of coconut flour.
Replacing Vegetable Oil With a Healthier Oil: Try Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, and Other Options
Those who consume a Mediterranean diet tend to live long, healthy lives. Some surmise this is because of the prevalence of olive oil in Mediterranean recipes.
Olive oil is considered to offer more benefits than other types of cooking oils like vegetable oil. Unlike vegetable oil, olive oil is particularly high in monounsaturated fats. Plus, olive oil contains more vitamins and phytonutrients than partially hydrogenated vegetable oil. Unlike extra virgin olive oil, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil contains dangerous trans-fats which can lead to an uptick in heart health issues.3 Olive oil, however, includes promising amounts of the following nutrients:
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin K
- Oleanolic acid
- Omega-3 fatty acids
- Omega-6 fatty acids 4,5,6,7,8,9
Coconut Oil Is Another Great Substitute When It Comes To Baking
When consumed in moderation, coconut oil can offer several health benefits and enhance your favorite recipes. And it is a wonderful substitute for unsalted butter if you’re baking (especially if you follow a vegan lifestyle).
One of the best traits of coconut oil is how quickly it metabolizes. Also, the lauric acid in coconut oil is delivered quickly to the liver where it’s transformed into energy instead of fat.10,11
Another wonderful trait of coconut oil is its MCT (or medium-chain triglyceride) content. MCTs become ketones in your body which your brain cells can use for energy. Turns out, your brain usually uses sugar as its fuel. But in lieu of sugar, your body will transform the ketones from MCTs into energy until there’s enough sugar to motor your brain again.12
Replacing White Sugar With a Healthier Sugar Substitute: Gundry Approved Sweeteners for Your Desserts
Finally, it’s easy to ditch sugar in your recipes when you know what reliable substitutes exist. There’s almost nothing on the planet as bad for you as sugar.
Check it out: Sugar can often lead to weight gain and a rise in heart health risk factors. Sugars provide an extreme excess of calories, for starters. Many studies report associations between sugar and the following health detriments:
- Weight gain
- Serious heart health concerns
- Compromised blood sugar regulation13
Not only that, but consumers of sugar-sweetened products take in more calories, exercise less frequently, and often even smoke more.14
So, focus on using the following healthy sugar substitutes in your recipes when baking:
- Boca Sweet
- Just Like Sugar (chicory root)
- Lakanto Maple Flavored Syrup
- Monk fruit
Can I Still Use Baking Powder Or Baking Soda When Baking A Lectin-free Recipe?
Yes, just make sure you choose aluminum-free baking powder. Aluminum-free baking powder is absolutely still okay to use when baking lectin-free recipes.
You see, traditional baking powder is basically just a combo of cream of tartar and baking soda. Or often baking powder consists of sodium aluminum phosphate or sodium aluminum sulfate and regular baking soda.
But you don’t really want to put aluminum in your body as it can induce oxidative stress.15 So do your best to look for aluminum-free baking soda or baking powder.
And cream of tartar is okay to continue to bake with, too. Cream of tartar can help your bread and cookies rise.
How To Make Your Baked Goods Creamy
Sometimes the best baking recipes call for milk or yogurt. Rest assured, you can almost always swap out regular milk or yogurt and use goat yogurt or sheep yogurt to make your recipe both creamy and lectin-free.
One of the biggest issues with store-bought yogurt is how the manufacturers hide ridiculous amounts of sugar in the so-called “healthy” product. Some of your favorite yogurt brands consist of much more sugar than you’re meant to consume in a serving — popular brands weigh in at as much as 13.1 grams of sugar. In these cases, the potential effects of consuming the high amount of sugar far outweigh the potential positive health effects of yogurt.16
So, in the event that your recipe calls for milk or yogurt, swap in lectin-free choices like goat yogurt or sheep yogurt. Of course, it may alter the taste slightly — but to the average palette, nobody would notice. If you’re more sensitive to taste adjustments — go for goat yogurt as it has less of a bite than sheep yogurt.
Healthy Baking Substitutes For Your Lectin-Free Success
The truth is you can always find the right substitution when baking lectin-free. Whether it’s knowing how to use goat yogurt or sheep yogurt to make your baked goods creamy or knowing to go for stevia instead of sugar — you can always find a way to make healthier versions of your favorite goodies.
So get creative and have fun with these baking substitutions. And when you share your treats with friends and family — they’ll be delighted to find you took their health into consideration.