Pumpkin pie, cookie exchanges, eggnog sipped by the glassful at family gatherings…
For the avid baker, this is what Thanksgiving and Christmas is all about! And yet, what if you have candida, a gluten intolerance, or other gut issues, like leaky gut? These visions of joy may easily turn into visions of dread.
The simple truth: Healing one's gut is hardest during the holiday season. For these few months, it means saying “no” over and over and over again… to sugar, inflammatory foods like gluten and dairy, or even stressful Christmas shopping. All for the sake of your gut health!
And then, you realize that you have to say “no” to holiday baking, too! Will anything ever be the same?
Well, no. 😉 Yet thankfully, there are ways to tweak our baking so we can still enjoy special treats without further damaging our guts or reversing our healing progress! How is this possible? By…
- Using gluten-free flours like almond flour and coconut flour instead of wheat.
- Using stevia instead of sugar.
Let's dive in!
How To Use Grain-Free Flours (Almond & Coconut)
I was nervous the first time I tried a gluten-free flour. We all know the quintessential cookie texture you get when using white flour… Can almond or coconut flour ever compare?
Yes! If you're willing to learn, almond and coconut flour yield delicious baked goods. They are different, but still wonderful. Learn more about baking with coconut flour and baking with almond flour.
Here are my top 3 tips for baking with almond and coconut flour:
#1 — You Only Need A Little Coconut Flour
It may seem counter-intuitive, but most recipes call for only small amounts of coconut flour at a time. When you're used to using 1 cup of almond flour (or whole wheat, for that matter!), it might not make sense to use only a few tablespoons of coconut flour.
Rest assured — that's just the way coconut flour works, and it'll turn out fine!
#2 — Freeze Your Flour
Almond and coconut flour don't last long at room temperature. They go stale much faster than wheat flour. Instead, buy only small amounts at a time and keep them in your freezer!
#3 — Stick To The Recipe
At least at first, follow recipes as written. Don't experiment too soon.
Wheat is a relatively forgiving flour — we can tweak and play to our heart's content! When you're just getting used to grain-free flours, however — learning how they feel, how they work, what they like (coconut flour loves eggs) — give yourself enough time and then experiment!
For gut-friendly, grain-free treats that are delicious and really work, check out Sweet Without Sugar: A Collection Of Nourishing, Allergy-Friendly, Low-Carb Desserts! (Read more below!)
How To Bake With Stevia
In addition to grain-free flours, I love baking with stevia! It's a sugar-free, low-glycemic sweetener.
Here are my top 4 tips for baking with stevia:
#1 — Find Your Favorite Brand & Stick With It
There are more brands of stevia than you can shake a stick at!
Some brands are sweeter than others (meaning you'll use less of them to achieve the same degree of sweetness); some have a bitter aftertaste… My point is, find your favorite reputable brand (I like Now Foods Better Stevia, Wardee likes Sweet Leaf), and stick with it!
Learn to bake with that one brand. It's easier than switching all the time only to find that stevia B doesn't work in the recipe where you were used to using stevia A.
#2 — Taste Test Frequently
Stevia is 200 to 300 times sweeter than sugar. To ensure that you don't over-sweeten accidentally, use small amounts of stevia at a time and then taste test. There's definitely such a thing as too much stevia!
#3 — Stevia & Salt Are Old Friends
Some things simply taste better when they’re together. Like stevia and sea salt!
You’ll find that nearly every recipe in my eBook The Sweeter Side of Candida calls for “a pinch of Celtic sea salt” and “stevia to taste“. Something about sea salt works really well with stevia.
#4 — If Cooking Or Freezing, Add More Stevia
Both cooking and freezing subdue stevia's sweetness, so add stevia to taste, then add just a tad more. When it's almost too sweet, it's perfect!
In the end, holiday baking while healing your gut is an adventure in the kitchen. Have fun and enjoy the experience! Here's a simple pie crust to get you started.
It's A Gingersnap! Pie Crust (grain-free, dairy-free, & sugar-free)
Yield 1 crust
In a small mixing bowl, combine ingredients with a fork or pastry cutter. Press into a pie plate.
For a pre-baked crust, bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool slightly before filling.
Want More Nourishing, Grain-Free Holiday Dessert Recipes?
And you don't have an autoimmune gut issue like Crohn's or IBS or need to follow a low-FODMAP diet…
If you're ok using sugar alcohols like erythritol in moderation (find out what it is, if it's healthy, and why you might consider it here)…
Then you may notice it's hard to find tried-and-true nourishing dessert recipes using it.
Yes, there are lots of low-carb, sugar-free, and grain-free recipes on the Web with xylitol or erythritol, but the other ingredients are not necessarily nourishing, whole foods, or allergy-friendly. The recipes are pretty scary, actually!
Which is why Wardee recommends the recipes in Sweet Without Sugar — especially the holiday recipes like Double Layer Pumpkin Pie and Thin Mint Tart!
40% OFF — Sweet Without Sugar eCookbook: A Collection Of Nourishing Allergy-Friendly Low Carb Desserts
If you want nourishing, no-sugar recipes for those special occasions, like the holidays!, and you're ok with using erythritol now and then, you've got to check out the eCookbook Sweet Without Sugar. (Its author Lindsey is our content director here, by the way…)
The Sweet Without Sugar eCookbook contains 59 original recipes for cheesecakes, tarts, curds, pies, cakes, ice cream, brownies and more using nourishing ingredients like butter, coconut oil, eggs, gelatin, and collagen. It's high fat, high protein, low-carb, THM-friendly, Paleo or Primal, and allergy-friendly. And… it's currently on sale for 40% off!
Wardee and her famiily absolutely love these recipes because they eat treats only occasionally — these 59 recipes (plus a bonus free recipe… see below) will last them for years to come! Literally! 😉
P.S. If you purchase the Sweet Without Sugar eCookbook through this link, Wardee will throw in a sugar-free recipe of her own — Sugar-Free REAL ice cream (pictured above). Just forward your receipt from Lindsey and Wardee will reply with her recipe! (Forward to wardee at traditionalcookingschool dot com.)
Do you have any tips for holiday baking while healing your gut?
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