Chapter 8: The Recipe
Spending weeks and months working with my R&D partner, I had two non-negotiables that I would NEVER compromise.
- I put ALL of my ingredients on the front. No hidden "tricks" on the back.
- I use organic, nutrient dense, whole foods vs. cost-saving empty calorie, nutrient deficient ingredients.
I use Organic Cassava Flour NOT grain or tapioca. Industrialized grains and refined carbohydrates like corn, oats, wheat were clearly off the table because they cause inflammation that can damage the lining of your gut and stress your immune system.
However, there was a decision of Cassava Root vs. Tapioca. Cassava is meaningfully better but it's 33% more expensive than tapioca. So it's a decision to use the best ingredient or the cheap ingredient - I will ALWAYS choose the best.
I use organic cassava because it uses the entire cassava root (after it has been peeled, washed, sliced, pressed, baked, and then milled), meaning it is a whole food flour. Unlike tapioca flour, cassava flour uses the entire root instead of just a separated starch, so cassava keeps the fiber, protein, starch, vitamins, and minerals that would otherwise be lost in making tapioca flour. Cassava flour is a good source of prebiotic fiber and is a rich source of nutrients compared to many other starches: vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin K, and folate.
I use grass-fed, pasture-raised collagen to help boost gut health and provide protein. Collagen is the most abundant protein in our bodies and holds everything together. The word collagen literally means "glue" in ancient Greek. Collagen supplementation has been shown to improve bone, joint, tendon, skin, muscle, and cardiovascular health.
Given the rise in popularity, not all collagen is created equal. I spent a lot of time researching suppliers and questioned their processing techniques to ensure that their collagen was effective and safely processed. The collagen I use is of the best quality and safest processing techniques I could find. The collagen is from grass-fed and grass finished cows that have eaten nothing but grass and foraged their entire lives. It is heavy metal tested, pasture-raised, Kosher, hormone free, pesticide free, Non-GMO, antibiotic free, RBGH-RBST free, and does not use any carriers or solvents.
I use nature to lightly sweeten NOT science. Honey is an ancient nutrient-rich superfood with healing properties. Honey has anti-diabetic effects that help control blood sugar, antimicrobial properties that help kill bad bacteria, prebiotic properties that help boost gut health, and cardiovascular benefits that help reduce blood pressure. You may walk around grocery stores and see claims of "made with real honey" don't fall for that marketing "trick". In fact, products only need a very small amount of honey to use that claim. When you check the ingredient label, you will find a whole gang of "sweeteners" that are actually driven the sweetness such as refined sugar, "natural" flavors, and natural/artificial high potency sweeteners.
Refined sugars and artificial sweeteners drive inflammation and wreak havoc on your health making it easy to avoid using in the recipe. However, "natural" flavors and "natural" high potency sweeteners sound innocent - right? Not exactly and they are often FAR from "natural".
Natural flavors are defined "as those that derive their aroma or flavor chemicals from plant or animal sources that are manipulated in a lab. In short, they are engineered to not just replicate those "aromas or flavors" but amplify those sensations to trick your body to eat more. Legally, a "natural" flavor can contain more than 20 different ingredients/chemicals/stuff. Nobody really knows what's in these "lab manipulated" chemistry experiments.
High potency sweeteners such as Stevia and Monkfruit are certainly better than refined sugar. I avoid them because they are a "trick":
- Designed to trick your body: our bodies are not designed to handle calorie-free sweeteners. Experiencing a sweet taste from a food that is not going to provide glucose disrupts our body's sugar-handling process and damages our health.
- Created in laboratories: I prefer chef aprons to science lab coats. Stevia/Monkfruit can contain many other ingredients to boost sweetness and fuel cravings.
- Can cause digestive discomfort: it's very easy to consume too much given that it's designed to trigger cravings but not satisfy them which can cause bloating and diarrhea.
- No real research on their effects: all of the above combined with limited to no research on the negative effects of Stevia causes me to stay away.