Am I Allergic to Almond Flour and Coconut Flour?

Food allergies plague many of us in the Elana’s Pantry community and can be at the root of various health issues. Sometimes we’re concerned that the foods we eat in our clean diets may be a problem. That leads to a question that readers ask me fairly often, which is “am I allergic to almond flour and coconut flour?”

Unlocking Solutions to Health Puzzles

I’ve dealt with my fair share of food allergies and gained incredible knowledge on my journey back to health. As I’ve unlocked solutions to my own health puzzles I’ve become more agile at analyzing health challenges overall. Now that I’m well enough I love helping you find solutions to your health puzzles.

Am I Allergic to Almond Flour and Coconut Flour?

Let’s dive into the specifics of this question so we can unlock solutions and identify ways to move ahead:

Thank you for so much great information and recipes! Do you know of any reason that a person cannot tolerate even gluten-free Paleo flours? I don’t get sick, but I DO bloat up for almost 3 days almost like the grains or flours are causing me to retain water….. I usually eat Paleo and occasionally like to bake with almond flour and some coconut flour, etc. I don’t even do well with those. No one has been able to answer my question including my allergist/immunologist. Thank you!

My Journey Back to Health

The question, “Am I Allergic to Almond Flour and Coconut Flour?” may seem simple enough, but it has several components. The first step in moving forward is peeling back each layer of the issue so that we can simplify the question. That’s what I’ve done repeatedly on my journey back to health.

Back in 1998, when I went gluten-free, I knew that the traditional high-carb gluten-free diet would not help me heal. Shortly after that, I went on a grain-free diet, now referred to as the Paleo Diet, eliminating all grains because of inflammatory properties that can cause symptoms for weeks, if not months.

Are You Allergic to High-Carb Gluten-Free Flours?

Like my own experience, it could be that this reader’s bloating response is simply to grain-filled flours that are very taxing on the digestive system even when totally gluten-free. Following a Paleo Diet means eliminating typical gluten-free flours such as corn, rice, and potatoes. This reader mentions that they eat some paleo flours and some grain-based flours, which would refer to the traditional gluten-free flours I mention above and that could be a big part of the problem.

Am I Allergic to Almond Flour?

This reader also mentions that they may be allergic to baked goods with paleo flours like coconut flour and almond flour. It could be that they are reacting to the flours themselves, or possibly other ingredients such as the sweeteners that are often used along with these flours. That could indicate candida or a number of other maladies.

Am I Allergic to Coconut Flour?

Lately, I’ve heard from many readers who are allergic to coconut and coconut-based products. They cannot eat coconut flour, coconut oil, coconut butter, or coconut milk. Often, when we eat a food repeatedly, day-after-day, we can build up an intolerance to it. That’s why I don’t eat the same foods each day and keep my diet fresh with variety.

Identify Food Allergies with the Elimination Diet

I’ve found that the best way to identify food allergies is to do an elimination diet. This means eliminating all potential allergens and sticking to simple foods including unprocessed meats and green vegetables for 4-8 weeks until symptoms clear up. The next step is to add in suspicious foods one-by-one every 3 days to see if you have a reaction. That’s the way I’ve done the elimination diet, different practitioners may implement it with variations on this basic theme.

The Green House That Almost Killed Me

Have you seen my article, The Green House That Almost Killed Me? Sometimes we may have strange symptoms that seem to be one thing and end up another. Certain foods may trigger food allergies and exposure to toxins may exacerbate existing health issues as well.

Safe Personal Care Products

We know it’s important to eat organic and avoid pesticides. It’s equally critical to be mindful of what we put on our bodies. Since our skin is our largest organ, we can be thoughtful about what we’re feeding it too. I have superlative guides to my favorite Safer Sunscreens, the best Non-Toxic Makeup, and my top Safer Skincare picks to keep you healthy inside and out! Remember, to think out of the box and challenge conventional wisdom when it comes to your health.

What are your favorite health hacks? Leave a comment and let me know!

Elana, Thank you for all the wonderful information and recipes. They are invaluable!

Comments

59 responses to “Am I Allergic to Almond Flour and Coconut Flour?”

  1. Ok. What is the alternative of flour when one CANNOT Eat All purpose Flour, Wheat/Grain Flour, Coconut Flour and Anything with Nuts ie. Almond Flour?
    When on Keto Plan?

  2. I am a dietitian and specialize in chronic inflammatory conditions and also mentor thousands of dietitians who do the same. I have been recommending your website to most of my patients and all of the dietitians that I mentor. Your recipes always taste delicious and are so easy to make. I love consuming nut flours, you can be satisfied with a little and not create cravings for more. One thing I use in my practice that has been beneficial for almost all of my patients is food sensitivity testing, primarily the MRT or Mediator Release Test. While elimination diets are helpful, there is much inflammation that is silent and can’t be noticed with an oral challenge. Since your website and recipes have been such a gift to me, my clients and my dietitian “mentees,” I would be more than happy to gift you a test if you’d like to see if that’s a missing piece of your puzzle. I’ve worked with over 4,000 clients and it really has been helpful.

    • Susan, thanks so much for your incredible comment and for all of the referrals! I’ve done the MRT test and found the results incredibly interesting. I’m so happy to hear that my recipes always taste delicious and are so easy to make!

  3. Like an earlier commenter said, I react badly to ingredients such as guar gum, xanthan gum, maltodextrin, MSG, artificial flavoring/coloring, artificial sweeteners, certain preservatives, etc. I also have a problem with baker’s yeast. Many gluten-free products and recipes include such ingredients. (If I ate a “mainstream” gluten-free diet in the US, I’d be inundated with that stuff and I’m sure that I would feel awful.)
    As a different earlier commenter noted, tapioca and millet can cause issues for the thyroid, and cooking does not inactivate the goitrogens they contain… so because I have hypothyroidism, I have strictly avoided tapioca and millet for the last 25 years — unfortunately, these also regularly appear in gluten-free foods and recipes.
    More unusually, I have digestion problems with baked goods made with baking soda (specifically the soda, not baking powder), so I just avoid recipes that require it.
    I even have digestive and skin problems from eating relatively small amounts of prepared powdered gelatin, even “paleo” kinds – I’m not sure if it’s a histamine problem. Also, collagen and protein/amino acid powders/shakes/supplements are no-go for me — cause rashes and migraines. (So if I ate a mainstream “paleo” diet that often contains those sorts of things, again, I’d probably feel yucky.)
    So far, I seem to do okay with almond flour and coconut flour, but I only eat them a few times a year when I’m really in the mood for a treat/baked good.
    As for nuts, even though I totally love them, I have learned through trial-and-error that most of them cause me joint pain, so at the moment I’m just down to almonds (maybe once a month) and macadamia nuts (three times a week).
    This year, even at my advanced age, I’ve also found that certain nightshades have *begun* to cause weird skin lumps in my groin area (which might be a condition called hydradenitis suppurativa), which is a shame because the nightshade family is so key to the general American diet as well as to mainstream paleo and gluten-free diets.
    Although my diet is so limited already by the above issues (not to mention my allergy to seafood), I am sort of dreading — but thinking that I *must* try — finally doing a full autoimmune paleo protocol (AIP) elimination diet to try to pinpoint these and other foods that might be giving me issues.
    There are a couple of great websites out there which explain the AIP elimination diet — there also are several books out on the subject. They address having bad reactions to almond and/or coconut — what might be the reason for it, ways to test it, substitutions, etc.

    • Dorie, thanks for your comment! So sorry to hear you are allergic to nightshades, but also wanted to let you know that my second and third books are 100% nighshade-free :-)

  4. I love your recipes
    My doctor put me on a paleo diet because of all my mysterious health problems, but I’m addicted to chocolate chip cookies. But I’m wondering if almonds are an issue for me too, because I get sick to my stomach if I eat a paleo treat. Or it could be the coconut sugar in them… who knows. I’m just kind of floundering my way through all of this lol. It’s very daunting.

  5. It could also be that this person has an intolerance to fructose (fructose malabsorption) coconut flour is high in 3 of the 4 sugars that occur naturally in some foods. Almonds also contain some but not as high. Considering a FODMAP diet may be beneficial.
    I’ve gone from scd to paleo still with UC symptoms until I cut out all sugars.

  6. Hi Elana,

    I enjoy all your e-mails and recipes so much…. thanks for sharing.

    I have a friend with Fibromyalgia . she doesn’t know what kind of diet she should be on. Any ideas?

    Thanks a bunch?

    • Sandi, thanks so much for your sweet comment! Some consider fibromyalgia an autoimmune disorder. If that’s the case then a grain-free diet may be called for. Here’s a link to my Grain-Free Recipes page for your friend:

      https://elanaspantry.com/diets/grain-free/

      Anecdotally, I’ve seen many autoimmune conditions respond very well to even a gluten-free diet. I hope you’ll keep me posted!
      Elana

    • Actually I have Fibromyalgia too which is said to be caused by the Epstein Barr Virus which I have. It’s been said to avoid almonds and eggs; because it feeds the virus.

  7. Hi all,
    Thank you Elana for this post.Just thought I add 2 cents :-) I see in my practice also many people who do better on a gluten free diet, but still are bloated after eating gluten free products, and this does not always have to do with the high starch alternatives out there. Some people are not allergic, but their gut can be very sensitive to certain foods / flours. The reaction could come from certain starches that are often abbreviated as ‘fodmaps’. If you respond to almond flour with bloating (which is high in fodmaps), it is definitely worth checking out if you have a fodmap sensitivity. Monash University in Australia is a reliable resource for more info on the ‘fodmap friendly’ diet. Hope this helps!

    • Chris, thanks for pointing out a low fodmaps diet, something that is so important for anyone suffering from SIBO!

    • Susanne, both are starchy flours that are hard on the digestive tract and very high in carbohydrates so I do not eat them.

  8. Elana, I’m hoping you can weigh in on my own weirdness. I react to coconut flour and coconut milk of any brand, but I can eat coconut oil, coconut butter, and shredded unsweetened coconut with no trouble at all. I don’t understand it! It seems like I should react to all coconut, but I don’t. I am very thankful for almond flour and your blog! :)

    • Jill, great question! I’m wondering if the coconut flour is conventional and the coconut milk has additives. Guessing that the coconut oil, coconut butter, and shredded coconut are organic, which could be the difference between all of these seemingly similar products :-)

  9. I have found that I’m not allergic to anything that is a real food and doesn’t contain ANY processed or grain ingredients. I have IBD and MS, so I stick to a Keto diet (around 25 g’s of carbs a day) and have been pharma-free for many years.

    I was so happy to be symptom free that I was resigned to joyless eating but then I found your cookbooks Elana and they came as a revelation! I could eat with such anticipation and bliss again. I remain so grateful for your generosity! Sorry, for the mush, but I mean every word!

    • Susan, your comment brought tears to my eyes, it is so sweet! I’m glad that my cookbooks have been a revelation that has lead to blissful eating for you :-)

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