Contrary to its name, Tigernut flour is NOT a nut. It is instead a small root vegetable, which makes it an awesome alternative to anyone that suffers from nut allergies.
In the Paleo world, coconut and almond flour seem to be the two most commonly used flours, but as great as they can be, they’re not always ideal.
Reasons I Stay Away From Nuts
First of all, I do NOT use almond flour, eat almonds, drink almond milk or anything almond (aside from the rare, occasional treat) because I like to have a hormone-friendly and low-inflammatory eating style. (Note- I didn’t say “diet”, because try as hard as I may, that word still means restriction and temporary to me. My lifestyle is neither restricted nor a temporary way of eating.)
As I wrote in this post… I have been able to pretty much eliminate all of my symptoms of PMS, increase my energy and sleep like a baby thanks to the way I eat.
In case, you didn’t know this already…Food is LIFE!
You can use nutrition to heal and overcome all sorts of illnesses, diseases, and disorders. The food you shove down your throat is KEY to how you’re going to feel, and in turn, live your life.
I greatly limit the consumption of most nuts and seeds (including almonds) because it helps me to maintain hormonal bliss. Do I recommend this approach for EVERYONE? Hellllll no! If you know me, you know I do not advocate a one size fit’s all dietary approach. If you don’t know me, let me share with you, my nutrition philosophy…
Eat good food, feel good.
Eat bad food, feel bad.
Pretty simple huh?
We all have our own individual versions of what “good” food means to us. I thrive eating mostly paleo. I have clients that thrive eating vegan. I have others that eat an upgraded version of the American standard way of eating. Different dietary approaches work for different folks.
And in my neck of the woods, I eat in a manner that works best for MY body and My lifestyle. So keep that in mind as you read the reasons why I don’t eat certain foods or whatever. It’s because these reasons affect me, they may or may not affect you. It’s totally up to each person.
Here’s the short version why I need to steer clear of most nuts and seeds:
1. They’re a potent source of phytoestrogens. Nuts and seeds (some more than others) contain phytoestrogens which mimic the role of estrogen in our bodies and create EXCESS estrogen. This excess estrogen is what negatively impacts our delicate female hormonal balance and causes us to experience all sorts of shitty symptoms like PMS, sleep problems, fatigue, inflammation and more.
2. They have high omega-6 profiles. There are two types of polyunsaturated fats: the good Omega-3 and the bad Omega-6.
Omega-3s are ANTI-inflammatory and omega-6s in excess are PRO-inflammatory. We all know the importance of Omega-3s. That’s why the supplement companies have been getting rich off of selling fish oil supplements.
Omega-6 fatty acids are found in seeds and nuts and the oils extracted from them such as soy, corn, sunflower, safflower, etc. When you over-consume processed Omega-6’s, this creates a pro-inflammatory environment within your body that has been linked to obesity, arthritis, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and mental health problems.
Most Americans have wayyyy too much omega-6 in their symptoms and not enough omega-3s to help bring back balance. Most nuts and seeds are super high in omega-6s and have very little, or none at all, omega-3s to counter.
You can read more about the reasons why I limit nuts and seeds and learn about which ones are the exceptions and I DO eat.
Since I tend to eat paleo about 80-90% of the time, if I were to do what everyone else does in the grain-free baking world, then I could potentially be ingesting a hell lot of almonds! So having alternative flours that I can use that won’t affect my hormonal balance is super important to me.
What About Coconut Flour
That leads me to coconut flour. As awesome as it is as a low-carb alternative flour (and everyone in the paleo world seems to be all about being low-carb), it doesn’t always work perfectly.
Ever bite into a coconut flour cookie and feel like you just ate some sawdust?
Or what about making a baked good only to find out you have to add like 12 freaking eggs to the recipe, and then when it comes out, it tastes like spongy, baked eggs?
If you have any experience with grain-free baking, you know what I’m talking about.
Coconut flour to me is temperamental. Too much and it will dry the crap out of your mouth, not enough and you need a gazillion and one eggs to bind everything together.
But have hope, we now have Tigernut flour.
Tigernut Flour And It’s Benefits
Tigernut flour is the newest flour in the paleo world and is not a nut at all. They’re actually small vegetables with a misleading name. They’re more widely known in Africa and the Middle East.
A few reasons why I like Tigernuts:
1. Since tigernuts are small root vegetables, they’re autoimmune and allergy friendly. There have been no reported tigernut allergies in two MILLION years…not a bad track record huh?
2. The recipes turn out tasting LIKE THEY’RE SUPPOSED TO! Ever eat a paleo treat and then realize that it tastes like a paleo treat? I don’t like that. I don’t eat gluten, dairy, soy or most grains for health reasons, but that doesn’t mean I don’t ever miss the way they made certain recipes taste. I feel like Tigernut helps me to get some of that deliciousness back, without any weird aftertaste, or needing a gazillion binders.
3. They’re a suitable substitute for white flour. So far, I’ve found that with baking you can actually replace white flour at a 1:1 ratio with tigernut flour. So if you have any old recipes lying around that use traditional white flour, you can try tigernut flour to give them a nutrition upgrade!
4. They’re a nutritional powerhouse! According to Oxford research, not only did tigernuts make up 80% of our paleolithic ancestors diet, they’re also little-concentrated nuggets of nutrition.
Now, you can get tigernut as a whole nut, or get it as I do, in flour form. Regardless of which form you get it, tigernuts do have a high-carb content (like regular flour does), but they also contain protein and a good bit of fat (that has a similar profile as olive oil) along with zinc, magnesium, resistant starch, and a whole list of other vitamins that make it a balanced baked good or snack.