Wednesday, April 26, 2017

BEAUTY BITES: GRAIN-FREE CRACKERS & CHIPS



B E A U T Y   B I T E S  |  G R A I N - F R E E   C R A C K E R S   &  C H I P S
A guide on grain-free, auto-immune friendly chips, sustainability, & resistant starches, from companies that are all woman-owned or -led . . .
PLUS a preview of an upcoming dairy-free Nacho cheese platter recipe


M I S S I O N   H E I R L O O M
Yucan Crunch dressed with a spread from my upcoming book 
There are many brands on the market that offer alternative chips, but very few are processed without pesky ingredients like hydrogenated vegetable oils, iodized salt, and even the devil's breastmilk that is sugar. Out of the clean options, many don't satisfy the crunch that gluten-filled options delight in. 

Enter: yucan crunch.  These crunchy morsels are handmade by artisinal groups around the Caribbean Sea by local casaberos and only contain one ingredient: yuca or cassava/tapioca root. Like plantains, they're a form of resistant starch that feed the healthy micriobiome of our digestive system. As it "resists" digestion, it doesn't spike blood sugar or insulin levels like other sources of carbohydrates do, i.e. corn or potatoes in chips. You can read more about the critical role they play in a healthy digestive system here

I delight in these crackers as a savoury toast replacement with avocado, a smearing of ghee, and smoked Maldon salt; serve it as amuse-bouche with a variety of toppings including grass-fed liver pâté; and enjoy them as dessert with royal jelly honey, cardamom, and ghee on top. 

A M A Z I | These plantain chips are the only ones I have found that are sustainably-sourced and not cooked in refined palm oil that's destroying our ecosystem and rainforests. The plantains are responsibly-raised in Uganda that not only nourish you but an emerging economy. Every purchase supports their commitment to building communities through their Community Development Premium initiative, which donates a portion of the profits directly to farming communities on their chosen projects. This allows the community to speak for themselves rather than the help many foundations assume they need.

A platter of Amazi plantain chips & Jica Chips
Compared to store-bought plantain chips fried in @#$% full of refined vegetable oils, these come baked in either coconut or olive oil. According to the unbiased feedback of my sister, these might have to be the best chips she has eaten. She has the exaggeration level that's opposite of Trump's. I could not deny the statement as I snagged my bag away from her. I may not be the greatest sharer that you'll meet ever

Another reason why these chips are a favourite of mine is their versatility. They can act as a crunchy cereal topped with coconut milk, be added to trail mix for a non-nut based crunch, or simply used as a chip. Plantains are also a great source of resistant starch and prebiotic fiber, which prepare the digestive system to receive any following probiotics and prime it with "food" for the microbiome. 


J I C A   C H I P S | These are the ultimate snacking chips as they come in convenient little one-serving bags. Made out of the Jicama root native to South America, they're made of only three ingredients: jicama, olive oil and sea salt. They contain five times more fibre and 80% less fat than do conventional chips. 

They're the only jicama-based chips on the market that I'm aware of and are gently baked to preserve the nutrition of the root. Jicama contains inulin, which is a prebiotic that feeds healthy gut bacteria, heightens immunity, and increases calcium absorption, pivotal for those who experience nutrient malabsorption due to Celiac's. I carry these with me during road trips to incorporate as a treat to an easy and otherwise sad car meal.

S I E T E | These chips called for two cheers and a clap at our household for the light crunch and flavour so reminiscent of tortilla chips. They were even preferred over the corn chips served alongside them. A local TX and family-owned company, Siete Foods is dedicated to crafting other grain-free options such as tortillas. Caution for those with Celiac's Disease though—the tortillas (but not the chips) are produced in a facility that also processes wheat. Siete Foods, if you're reading this, please make your tortillas safe for us all!

J I L Z  C R A C K E R Z | Although not autoimmune-friendly due to nuts & seeds, these crackers are clean to boot. With only a few ingredients, it's Jilz Crackerz à gogo for me during a quick lunch or a post-lunch why-am-I-still-hungry snack. I love them far too much that I tried to replicate them to save the hole my love has been digging in my pretty pennied pocket, but to no avail. If you especially like sesame flavours, these are your crackers. They also have a Mediterranean variety with lavender . . .

S I M P L E   M I L L S | I, along with many others, can attest to the addictive quality of these crackers. I bought them on a whim then frankly made it a mission since to stray from the box. They're de trop. (Un)lucky for me, my autoimmune symptoms flare with even small amount of vegetable oils, which these crackers contain in the form of sunflower oil. If you tolerate that fine, enjoy the last crumbs of the box you might eat at one sitting for me.

T H E   R E A L  C O C O N U T | These grain-free and AIP-friendly chips* are the last but not least as they're part of the dairy-free nacho cheese plate recipe I will soon be sharing on the site. I presented these with the punchy chipotle BBQ version to my husband as he doesn't have dietary restrictions—this version contains nightshades, cane sugar, and maltodextrin that are inflammatory for those with autoimmune like myself—but I nosh on the plain or Himalayan Pink Salt version myself. You can purchase them here.

These chips are so incredibly crunchy and satisfying to the point that I unashamedly once ate a whole new plate's worth of them after a meal. What makes these chips even more satisfying though is the mission of the founder, Daniella Hunter. In aiming for sustainability, she drew away from sourcing coconuts from Asia and started the Belize Sustainable Development Corporation. There, they grow plantains, yucca, and coconut to benefit the regional environment and support local farmers.

*If you have just began the protocol, be mindful of the fact that these chips do contain guar gum which can cause sensitivity.