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Journey into Gluten-Free Baking

  • baking in the kitchen

Let's talk about baking. 

With a family of hungry boys and a love of playing in the kitchen, you can almost guarantee that I will have one baked good or another sitting out on the counter. Baking (and cooking) is something my family and I find immense joy bonding over. The kids weigh, mix and taste-test, and I get to watch their faces light up while consuming breads, muffins and biscuits that I can feel good about feeding them.
 
But that gluten...

Let's talk about that. I grew up in a time where nutrition was whatever your doctor spewed out to your parents (whole grains, low-fat, sugar-free etc.). It was a time where (if you grew up in Florida and had a latin background, especially), you enjoyed beautiful Cuban breads, flour tortillas, pupusas and empanadas with reckless abandon. There was no thought as to how those over-processed, pesticide-laden grains were going to come back and get you, and the idea of a leaky gut just wasn't on the radar. My parents had no idea, so why or how could I?

Ten years, two babies, a highly-educated husband and lots of self-educating later, I find myself hyper-aware of how my gut has been wrecked by all the things I didn't know in my youth.  Gluten, while once a delicious, standard part of my life, is now something I really only allow myself on rare occasions and even then, only if the quality is something I can justify putting into my continually healing gut. 

Limiting gluten is something we've been pretty diligent about, however, we don't necessarily invest in marketed "gluten-free" products. Breads, crackers, noodles, and baked goods are probably the biggest hurdles we've had to manage, but after multiple trial and errors, we've been able to find our own blends and recipes that work with and for our health. After reading the ingredient lists on so many gluten-free products, we knew that consuming them would mean trading out one issue for another. 

The problem with so many of the gluten-free products is that while they are free from gluten, they are almost always still damaging to your gut. Since most people searching for gluten-free options are, like myself, also trying to heal their guts, it almost seems counter-productive. Processed soy and sugars along with industrial, oxidized seed oils and rice flours full of heavy metals make lots of these gluten-free mixes a ticking time bomb. While your gut may start feeling better at first, the inflammatory issues brought on by those other ingredients, could leave your worse off than when you started, which is why we started our Gluten-Free Shopping Guide

As someone who has been baking gluten-free and learning the ins and outs of running a food company for some time, it saddens me to see just how little thought goes into making some of those gluten-free options. The added cost of making the mixes with organic ingredients is minimal for something that could be so incredibly beneficial to a person's health. Substituting processed sugars or harmful oils for healthier options isn't necessarily cheap, but does make so much more sense to do for an item marketed to so many trying to heal themselves from the inside out . Unfortunately, profit is ALWAYS bottom line and while they market  themselves as healthy options, more often than not, it's just another way to get more of your money without too much more of theirs.

So, at Nate's Raw Harvest, we make our own gluten-free, baking mixes. We use ONLY organic ingredients and the highest possible quality we can. We toss out the rice flour and potato starch and a use blend of organic, unpasteurized almond  and coconut flours. Profit margins are much smaller, but our guts are happier and at the end of the day, and we can feel proud of what we help other families put into their bodies.

We stress the importance of listening to your body, reading your ingredients and investing your time and money into food options that don't perpetuate the issues you are working hard to overcome. Check out our recipes, read our blogs, and ask questions. We are here to support you, too!

~Christina