The Paleo List Answers:IS BAKING SODA PALEO?
When you step away from your huntin’ gatherin’ open-fire cookin’ alter ego, you might find yourself with a bag of coconut flour and a bazillion pastured eggs with a mind to bake something. But baked goods require a little lift and a little air, not just nut flours and eggs. Enter: baking soda. Is it healthy? Is it Paleo?
What is Baking Soda?
Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) is a crystalline white solid formed from an “Evaporite chemical sedimentary rock.” Evaporites are minerals that are created as water evaporates from an ocean or a lake. (Halite is one such salt, which is also known by the name “rock salt.” It is the mineral form of common table salt.) The mineral form of baking soda (nahcolite) is harvest and processed into the fine white powder we all know as a natural deodorizer and important component of fluffy muffins and quick breads.
Baking soda can also be made using something called the “Solvay” method, which is an industrial chemical process for extracting the sodium bicarbonate from limestone, ammonia, and brine. Unfortunately, this method has dangers as the chemicals used to extract the baking soda are toxic, and disposing of them proves problematic. Companies are looking at traditional methods of mining and modern methods of refining in order to move away from these toxins.
Is Baking Soda Paleo?
So where does that leave us? This one is a little tricky, and it all depends on your definition of “Paleo.” Technically, baking soda is incredibly natural, but it can be processed with additional chemicals before reaching your pantry, making it something to avoid. Also, ff you’re following the cavemen’s diets, then no, they definitely didn’t whip up batches of baked goods with baking soda. However, if you’re taking a more modern approach, all-natural baking soda is indeed Paleo. Both Bob’s Red Mill and Frontier mine their baking sodas directly from the natural mineral nahcolite, without any chemical processes whatsoever. When it comes to Paleo baked goods, save the cheaper brands for cleaning and deodorizing your home, and spend a few dollars extra for the natural stuff.
Also, if you have problems with acidity in your foods (think tomato sauce), baking soda can help. Itneutralizes the acids, making it a great way to eliminate extra acidity from tomatoes or tomatillos.
Are you struggling with which foods are Paleo? Do you need help planning some Paleo meals? Check out this great Paleo cookbook: