Ever been a guest at someone’s house, and after a great dinner and great conversation, they bring out cream puffs for dessert? Whether they’re store bought or homemade, those tiny golden pastries always have me drooling. They’re a favourite with kids and adults alike, and they’re a personal weakness of mine. But (there’s a big “but”) … They’re made almost entirely of ingredients that my whole family steers clear of.
The Dangers of Cream Puffs
Many people already know that gluten, which is a group of proteins found in wheat and some grains, is a deadly threat to people with celiac disease. But most people don’t realize that gluten intolerance and gluten sensitivity are much more common conditions that are often left unnoticed. Intolerance and sensitivity to gluten cause milder reactions to digesting wheat, but many people with these conditions won’t make any efforts to eliminate it from their diet, leading to serious long-term repercussions.
Your gut’s main reaction to gluten (or any unwanted substance that makes its way to your intestines) is inflammation. This is more serious than getting a stomach-ache. Over time, it can cause what’s known as leaky gut. This is when the cells in your intestinal lining spread out, making it easier for toxins to enter your bloodstream and spread throughout your body, instead of getting eliminated as they should. You have no idea what gluten might be making you at risk of.
According to David Perlmutter, author of “Grain Brain: The surprising truth about wheat, carbs, and sugar; your brain’s silent killers”, gluten’s inflammatory effect can be directly linked to neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis. His solution? Take grains out of your diet altogether.
“But wait, I was told I need dairy as a source of calcium.” Yes, your body absolutely does need calcium for bone and teeth health. However, doctors and scientists agree that the popular advice of consuming 3 servings of dairy products every day is actually a lot more than your body actually needs. Calcium is found in many other sources like vegetables and even fish. You can reach a healthy level of calcium consumption every day without pouring a single glass of milk. And there are reasons you should do exactly that.
First, dairy has a lot of saturated fat, which can negatively affect your heart health. Many people don’t consider this source of fat when they try to manage their cholesterol and saturated fat intake. Even more shockingly, consuming dairy has been shown to increase risk of prostate and breast cancers!
High Sugar Content
On top of the sugar content that’s already a part of the wheat and dairy ingredients, cream puffs have lots of refined sugar. One scientific review points out that processed foods, including refined sugar, are depleted of nutrients and can throw off the balance of one’s diet, as well as lead to nutrient deficiencies and even chronic diseases. That’s why using naturally sweet whole ingredients in your cooking and baking is so important, and a habit not be overlooked.
DIY HEALTHY Cream Puffs
Thankfully, I’ve found a great solution to my unhealthy cream puff cravings. I’ve learned to make them at home, without wheat or gluten, dairy, or refined sugar. And let me tell you, it is delicious. I’ve served this to a number of my friends and their kids, and they always ask for this recipe!
How to Make Dairy-Free Filling
What You Need:
1 can coconut milk
1 tsp vanilla
What to Do:
Chill can of coconut milk in the fridge for 8 hours (or overnight).
Scoop out top, thick layer only into a bowl.
Beat on high speed until it forms soft peaks. (about 3-5 minutes)
Add vanilla, beat again on low speed until combined.
Paleo Cream Puffs
What You Need:
1 cup water
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup arrowroot powder
whipped coconut cream
What to Do:
Preheat oven to 425°F .
Combine water, coconut oil, and salt in a medium pot. Bring to a boil.
Add arrowroot powder, stirring quickly until ingredients combine and gather together in a ball. Take off heat.
Beat in eggs, one at a time, until evenly combined.
Use a spoon to plop small rounds of the dough onto a greased cookie sheet.
Bake 30 minutes (puffs won’t look moist when done).
After completely cool, cut ¾ into the top (like a flap). Fill centre with whipped coconut cream.