Five Healthy Flour Alternatives

Most recipes we come across call for good old white flour, also known as all-purpose flour.  What’s so wrong with that? A lot. All-purpose white flour is basically just empty calories – short-term energy that makes our blood sugar spike without any nutritional value. Did you know that white flour is actually wheat stripped of the whole-grain elements, the bran and the germ, meaning that it lacks the fiber and nutrients. It is also commonly bleached white with chemicals.

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Whether you’re making cookies, muffins, pancakes, scones, or dessert, substituting white flour for one of the following healthier options will upgrade your recipe into a lighter, more nutritious, easier to digest option simply with this one easy switch.

  • Coconut flour is made of the superfood coconut, making it gluten-free, paleo, high in fiber, protein, energy, and low in carbohydrates. It’s dense and yields great pancakes (like these Delightful Banana Pancakes) and baked goods.
  • Almond flour/almond meal is made of almonds, also gluten-free, paleo, high in protein, and healthy fats. The difference between the two is simply that almond meal includes the whole nut while almond flour is made from blanched (skinless) almonds, both packed in vitamins and minerals. Try these Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins made with almond flour.
  • Quinoa flour is made of grinding the seed we all know and love, quinoa! You can buy quinoa flour or you can grind your own uncooked seeds. High in fiber and nutrients, this gluten-free flour is light, a bit nutty, and a complete protein, making the perfect post-workout treats.
  • Spelt flour is a species of wheat that is light, nutty, and high in protein, carbohydrates, and fiber. It is one of the oldest crops in history and very versatile. Although spelt does contain gluten, it is known to have many health benefits, including numerous minerals necessary for bone health. You can read more about spelt flour here.
  • Oat flour is simply ground oats. You can purchase it at a health food store or just grind up your own raw oats in a blender or coffee grinder. Oats are super high in fiber and other vitamins and minerals, so you can’t go wrong with this healthy option. Just be sure to search for “gluten free” if you’re sensitive to gluten. (Oats don’t actually contain gluten; however, they can be processed in a plant with gluten.)

One Healthy Breakdown: get empowered with healthy flours!

One Healthy (or not so much) Paris Recap

Travel does wonders for the mind and soul, especially traveling to Paris! Here’s a quick recap of our trip along with some healthy tidbits we can all learn from the Parisians.

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Say this three times fast: fresh French food. Food is fresh in France. Whether it’s fish, fruit, veggies, meat, bread, or wine, fresh and locally made is the standard. You can taste the difference, from the simplest salad to a baguette to a gourmet meal.

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Restaurant menus change often because seasonal goods are preferred and expected. Everything is less processed. Interestingly, people sensitive to gluten or dairy often don’t feel the effects abroad, which leads us to believe that it may actually be the processing and not the food itself.

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During the cooking class we took, the first 90 minutes was dedicated to walking through the market, the butcher, the cheese vendor, and the fish market, seeking the freshest of fresh, which included dover sole, asparagus, tomatoes, and the herbs in the vinaigrette.

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As a nutritionist, I often encourage clients to grocery shop with a list; having a strategy as to avoid extras like Oreos sneaking into the cart. Interestingly, the people of Paris shop for groceries almost every day. Instead of stocking up on bulk items, they tend to buy just what they need for that nights’ meal, every day. Less freezing, thawing, bulking, and money. Smart.

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Regulations on meat and poultry are also more specific and there are simply no antibiotics or GMOs allowed…at all. Again, smart. As for wine,  there’s a push for biodynamic/organic wine, made without sulfates or chemicals. The wine tastes cleaner, goes down smoother, and doesn’t result in a headache or hangover the following day. Super smart.

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Being that we live in such a young country, it’s amazing to see such extensive history, like the palace of Versailles. Paris exemplifies the statement “worth the wait.” From the architecture to the wine and cheese, Paris is about the end result, not instant gratification.

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Cheese and refined sugar. Two things I rarely indulge in, but vacation (especially Paris!) calls for  complete indulgence. And with that, it’s time to get back on track with all things green.

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Last note: one thing we’ve far surpassed is our incidence of smoking. Ew. But if sitting is the new smoking, all of the walking around the beautiful city may just cancel it out? Definitely not promoting smoking – less smoking, more walking. And remember, Paris is always a good idea.

One Healthy Breakdown: travel, learn, drink, and eat your way around the world!