I love using coconut flour to bake with and make paleo snacks. What are your thoughts on this while following paleo?
Coconut flour is a tasty and much healthier option for regular grain flour. Also, much better than almond flour in my personal opinion. Less PUFA, and pretty high fiber, without an overly coconut taste. I have used it in breads, pancakes, muffins, and as a batter for halibut and tilapia.
I don't personally, because I generally try to avoid eating things that are pretending to be other things. I find it more pleasant to enjoy real food for what it is, rather than making "imitation this" and "imitation that" and getting stuck in a mindset of restriction and having to work around this obnoxious set of rules all the time.
Then again, YMMV.
I use coconut flour in place of bread crumbs or crackers in hamburgers and meatloaf. I also made a cake for my son's birthday using coconut flour, olive oil, honey, baking soda, poppy seeds, and lemon zest. Non-Paleos ate up the cake like there was no tomorrow. Some were turned off when I said it was gluten-free, but then wound up coming back for seconds.
I haven't used it to bread anything. I did make oven-finished fried chicken using almond flour, but the almond flour absorbed too much of the coconut oil and I didn't care for it.
The initial source (coconut), regardless of processing, is quality. I like it occasionally. It's nice when you have something specific that calls for a similar compound, but I don't seek it out.
The processing. You're taking a natural fruit and making it a flour. The refinement it takes to do this is pretty much as anti-Paleo as it gets. Coconut flour can also develop mold quite easily. One of the big downsides with storing refined flours is they can become even worse if mold grows. Especially those living in a hot climate where moisture levels vary, keeping it in a cool/dark place becomes critical.
For me, part of following a paleo lifestyle means eating food that's as close to nature as possible. Fresh=good. In a package=not as good. I don't want to be reminded of the SAD diet I used to eat, so I usually try to avoid substitution foods. However, I don't have a problem with using coconut flour, almond milk, etc for special occasions. Like if I had to bake a cake for a friend's birthday, coconut flour would definitely be better than using white flour. Just remember to do what's best for YOU. No one is keeping score.
I sometimes make treats from recipes on elanaspantry.com; I don't think there's anything wrong with it IF you can handle having treats in moderation because not everyone can. I don't think it's necessarily bad to replacing "normal" baked goods with the "less bad for you" versions as long as you don't go willy-nilly with it; I think my almond flour cookies & coconut flour cupcakes are just as good as wheat flour versions, so it doesn't make me crave that kind of stuff.
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