Learning Lessons!

As part of our low Carb Lifestyle we no longer eat wheat or gluten, grains, starches, sugars or any form of carbohydrate (except for fibrous vegetables, just so we still receive the phytonutrients essential for a healthy body).

You will find that most recipes, especially for baking have Almond or Coconut Flour as their recommended Flour for the ingredients. Although there are other Nut flours equally as suitable, they’re just not as readily available or popular to use.

When I first started Low Carb Baking, I ordered a bag of Almond and Coconut Flour and set straight to work.

However, we quickly learnt that we do not like Coconut Flour. It’s an acquired taste. It’s very dry and weird on the pallet. We realised this when I made bread back in November and none of us could chew it, we were drinking tons of water just to get it down whilst ‘yumming and mmmming’ to Carter to encourage him that it was indeed nice. (painful). He doesn’t mind it much to be fair. He likes Coconut Waffles my friend makes (and has a really cool YouTube Channel with fab videos, you should check it out)..

Here’s  my friend Stephanie’s YouTube Link (she has tons of really great recipes and she’s so sweet): https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTm-wCyRz4mzC1Maa_l6kcQ

But, we don’t like Coconut Flour much, hence I don’t buy it now. Almond Flour is fine, I quite like it. It’s nicer as a sweet ingredient that for savoury baking but you have to work with what you’ve got, so we ditched the Coconut Flour and stuck to Almonds.

We were plodding along, however Almond Flour is also very expensive, considering in the UK, the only source I’ve found for it is Online. When you are constantly hit with Postage costs too, it can be a very expensive cake/pizza/batch of cookies when you consider the Sweetener and Almond Flour, Sugar Free Chocolate etc. So naturally I started looking at a cheaper alternatives.

I trialled Peanut Flour and we really enjoyed Cookies made with it. The Carbohydrate content of Peanut Flour is low enough that Carter was able to eat 1-2 cookies without insulin, maintain normal blood sugars and the flavour was enjoyable.

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In fact, he really enjoyed them and insisted I made a batch of 40 for his class too! This was that batch I made for his Birthday 🙂

Post Christmas I needed to restock (expensive month) and a friend recommended Lupin Flour. The website I used to order the Lupin Flour also had Chestnut Flour on offer and I did a quick internet search to establish to Carbohydrate content to be low, so I ordered some. Lupin Flour and Chestnut Flour – easy! Done!

I furthered my search and found other suitable (LOW Carb) flours. For future reference, here’s a breakdown of macronutrient content per 4 tbsp. (1/4 cup, roughly 30g) of each flour:

Coconut flour Almond flour
Fat 4 grams 14 grams
Protein 4 grams 6 grams
Carbohydrates 16 grams 6 grams
Fiber 10 grams 3 grams

Chestnut Flour: 1/4 cup of Chestnut flour contains  21g carbohydrate, of which <1g is fiber, 1g protein, 1g fat.

Cashewnut Flour: 1/4 cup of Cashewnut flour contains 8g carbohydrate of which 1g is fiber and 1g is fat but 2g is sugar. Cashewnt flour is also equivalent to Almond flour in fat content being 14g per 1/4 cup.

1/4 cup is around 30g when counting nut flour but other ingredients differ due to weight differentiation. There is a good website to help when converting from cups to weights: http://www.goodtoknow.co.uk/recipes/531168/cups-to-grams-converter

Walnut Flour: 3g Carbs, 4g Protein, 18g Fat

Peanut Flour: 9g Carbs, 10g Protein, 6g Fat.

Sunflour Seed Flour: 10g Carbs, 13g Protein, 0.5g Fat

Lupin Flour: 4g Carbs, 12g Protein, 3g Fat.

As you can see Chestnut Four is A LOT Higher – ERROR!!

For Carters Birthday Cake and Birthday baking I used a combination of Almond Flour, Peanut Flour and Lupin Flour.

I also ordered some Walnut Flour (my friend uses this regularly with great success) and a HUGE batch of Sunflour Seeds to grind in my Bullet and make my own Sunflour Seed Flour (another friend does this to great success). At the same time I found some Coconut Sugar in Tesco that was recommended on a Diabetic Group I am in. I needed some brown sugar alternative and I didn’t know Sukrin Gold existed at that point – also a HUGE ERROR – will be using Sukrin Gold in the future for sure!!

Carter had fabulous Blood Sugars with the Almond, Peanut, Lupin and Peanut Flour and maintained his average blood sugar of 4.7mmol.

However Last week I baked using the Chestnut Flour, I had read it was sweeter and suitable for cakes/biscuits due to the naturally sweeter taste.

I made Lemon Cake Bars and Chocolate Chip Cookie Sheets. They were Yummy! I was quite proud of myself. Everyone liked them..

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BUT: Carter has had poor Blood Sugars since he’s been eating the cake-bars I made. I know partly due to the Coconut Sugar which I learnt spikes him fast and high (it’s evident on his Dexcom). It was a huge error and I won’t be buying that again.

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But then, he would rise AGAIN a short time after the Coconut Sugar’s initial spike and I couldn’t work out why. He would go up and then come back down again as the Insulin was working, but then he’d start rising again and it’s taken me 2 days but I’ve realised; it’s the Chestnut Flour. It is Starchy (starch – sugar). I didn’t know this and when I initially searched for Chestnut Flour Carb Content, I had come up with Cashew Nut Carb Content and not read the page properly. ERROR! I now realise that Chestnut Flour is high carb AND starchy so it raises the Blood Sugars and keeps them up for longer – Not Good!

In reality, Chestnut Flour is pretty unsuitable for a Diabetic. It’s almost as poor as standard Wheat Flour. I didn’t realise until his levels started rising, continued rising with insulin and then had a second rise later on. I’ve been scratching my head since I baked and today I hit the research and worked it out, I had to share. I don’t want anyone making the same mistake – when you realise you caused the problems – it hurts!

It really had thrown his blood sugars for a nine, even with the small amounts he’s been eating. Because he has such good control, it’s very identifiable AND because I chart his number daily, I can see exactly what’s going off and link it back to what he ate. This is exactly how I realised my error today, and then again when searching about Chestnut Flour and found very different results to what I had when I initially ordered it. I realised again, my error – Cashew Flour – Good! Chestnut Flour – Bad!

It’s really thrown him for a loop In fact. It’s raised his average blood sugars (the last 3 days) from 4.6mmol to 5.1mmol! WOAH!!! We need to get this back under control – FAST!!!lessonsdex

This is usually how Carter’s profiles read:

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You’ll notice the odd spike from activity / swimming or just because he farted 3 times on the trot (LOL), he is a Type 1 Diabetic after-all, he Dexcom isn’t 100% accurate AND I am not a real pancreas, the human pancreas works much more effectively than me and some synthetic insulin. But we try and we don’t do bad with an average 4.7mmol. Generally he’s low, steady and stable. Flat. We Like a Flatline – the ONLY time you want to see a FLATLINE medically! AND as he maintains an average blood sugar level of between 4.7-4.9mmol, he’s at much less risk of developing Diabetic Complications as he ages. He has a whole lifetime to live with this disease, it’s important to maintain his health NOW to not compromise his life later!!!

Because of my error, he’s running higher. 5.1mmol right now, is not BAD high, BUT it’s too high for my liking – it should be better. NORMAL is lower than that. So, we need to be better – for him and I will!

STILL! It’s a LOT better than it would be on a higher carbohydrate diet. Before, when he was eating the recommended diet his average blood sugar was 6mmol! I was delighted when I got it down to 5.9mmol! It was bloody hard work achieving that, so, this is still OK, but it should be and can be better and I caused this (with the flour error). I need to fix it for him now.

SO, tonight I baked him a raspberry cake bar:

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It was easy to make, it was 5min prep and 20min in the oven but it tasted pretty bland. Very low carb but a bit bland. So we topped it with shredded coconut, swerve and I served it with some whipped cream – much better and normal blood sugars – YAY!

The link for the recipe I used is here: https://uk.pinterest.com/pin/398076054550385133/

Tomorrow I’ll make him some cookies with either Almond or Peanut Flour and throw out the Bad Baking we have left from earlier in the week.

I won’t feed him anything that damages him, I wont eat nor will I allow myself to create anything that could be damaging to his health or the health of anyone in the house. Therefore I feel pretty bad about my mistakes and when you see the impact it has on his Blood Sugars, thorough no fault of his own, it makes you feel REALLY bad. BUT all I can do is learn and move on and never make the same mistake again.

I will never make that mistake again, and I’ll stick to what I know in future OR I’ll make sure I do enough research and double check my sources – and not read the wrong information (doh!)..

Low Carb Baking is an art, it’s weird and difficult and there’s so much more to think about than something looking and tasting nice, the impact it has on Carter is more important than how pretty it looks. I need to be better and I have learnt from my mistakes.

I’ll let you know how the cookies go..

Rose ❤ xx

https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/CartersDex?utm_term=awx85zR94

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