Many gluten-free and Paleo bakers find that standard baking additives like xanthan gum and guar gum give them digestive issues. An often-recommended substitute is a little-known ingredient called psyllium husk. What is it? Is it Paleo?
What is Psyllium Husk?
Psyllium seed husk is an indigestible source of dietary fiber, and is the exterior husk of the psyllium seed.
Frequently used as a dietary supplement to relieve constipation, the ground husks are great at absorbing water and expanding. Much like chia seeds and ground flaxseeds, when they absorb a liquid, they expand to create a gel. This means they’re also excellent at creating stretchy dough for pizza and other breads when you’re baking with non-gluten flours such as almond or coconut flour. This expansion is so effective that doctors recommend drinking plenty of fluids when consuming psyllium seed husks, especially as a supplement.
Is Psyllium Husk Paleo?
Well, as a supplement, it’s not exactly Paleo. You should be getting enough nutrients through whole foods to have a regular intestinal tract, and even Mark Sisson is against it. Some people even consider insoluble fibers to be “junk food” because they are devoid of accessible nutrition, and they can bind to other nutrients, preventing absorption and dragging them out of our system. However, it is an otherwise innocuous ingredient in baked goods, since it is used in such small amounts, and most people consider it Paleo. You’ll have to look at your individual lifestyle and decide if psyllium seed husks are right for you!