You’ve heard of the Superfood. Now comes superflour and it just may change the food industry. Traditionally, gluten-free flours have been just that--gluten-free. Producers have not added any additional nutrients, nor have they (in my opinion) focused too heavily on taste, until now.
Think. Eat. Live., a St. Louis-based company dedicated to developing high-protein meal and snack replacements has recently developed a flour that's made from sunflower seeds, called SunFlour®. Better yet, it can be found in the baking aisle at over 50 Schnucks grocery stores.
Think. Eat. Live. founders, Dan Tegel, PhD. and Caryn Staebler, PhD. claim their gluten-free flour has three to four times more protein and fiber than traditional and other gluten-free flours. The product is vitamin-packed and offers a solid balance of protein, fiber, and healthy fats to sustain energy, blood sugar response and a healthy weight. SunFlour is gluten-, allergen- and GMO-free--it is truly the next best thing in gluten-free foods.
Call it a feel good story, this company was born from the heart. For years, Caryn suffered from allergies, stomach issues and fatigue went undiagnosed for years, and then a nutritionist suggested she and Dan both go gluten-free. Following that transition, Caryn’s stomach issues subsided, they experienced a boost in energy and both lost a considerable amount of weight.
The biggest challenge they experienced was the breakfast meal where finding protein options was limited. The morning oatmeal routine can only last so long and there are only so many times you can add nuts and seeds until you become pretty sick of the whole combination. Then, they began to look at food in a different way. They began to research the high-protein additions they'd been sprinkling on their oatmeal and discovered that sunflower seeds were the highest source of protein of any other nut or seed, so they began to tinker. What they developed is a line of tasty, perfectly nutritionally-balanced products--for muffins, brownies, pancakes, and sunflower bars.
“It took years of experimenting,” explained Dan. “Our products are balanced so you get 20-30% of your daily nutritional requirement for protein, fiber, and essential vitamins in just one serving. This balance keeps you full longer, your energy level higher, and helps maintain a healthy weight.”
That’s when the nutrition geek came out in me. I was thinking, yes, sunflower seeds are good for you, in their whole form, but when ground down to a fine flour, how much of the nutrition components would still be there and are they bioavailable? “Through the cold processing in a certified gluten-free processing mill located in New York,” Dan explained, “the nutrition is not compromised and the flour is as nutritious as the seed itself.” Caryn added that they also preserved the healthy fat that is in the seed, they did not extract it.
While explaining to me that the possibilities really were endless, Caryn boasted about "Dan’s Caveman Chocolate Cake and Frosting" recipe that uses both SunFlour and the Think. Eat. Live Brownie Mix. “I’m sitting there in front of this chocolate cake," she said, "and I’m thinking, wow, this cake is actually good for me!”
I’ve been in the specialty diet business for several years now and remember that when I converted my diet to plant-only, the packaged options were few and what was offered barely passed as food, much of it nutritionally void and tasting no better than cardboard. Consequently, the diet on the whole had a pretty awful reputation.
However, as people began to pay closer attention to their health and began to understand how good nutrition leads to a strong immune system, food manufacturers took note.
If you are on a plant-based diet and sometimes sway into the packaged food aisles, you’ll see that the industry has changed--for the better--and continues to change. Dan and Caryn (below) have upped the ante considerably in this arena, bypassing generations of semi-acceptable alternatives and offering products that are not just nutritionally packed, but actually taste great, too.