Gluten free flours and binders/thickeners…

Why mix your own gluten free flour mix?

When suffering from HIT AND a wheat allergy or gluten intolerance and alike, you should definitely mix your own gluten free flour mixes. Gluten free flour mixes you can buy and gluten free processed foods often contain ingredients which are rather problematic with HIT, e.g. lupine protein, cellulose, carob gum, yeast, glucose syrup, soy bean flour or guar gum. Some of those you just don’t want to eat in general (cellulose for example), others are actually problematic when it comes to excess histamine, like yeast, xanthan gum, carob gum, guar gum and soy. Most of those are added to enhance the baking properties respectively consistency.

This is because gluten free flours derived from corn, rice, quinoa, coconut, millet, etc. need binders, because gluten is missing, so that the baker’s ware does not fall apart.

Today I’ll provide you with some tips when it comes to combining low histamine and gluten free baking. Further down there are more notes to other intolerances.

Gluten free, low histamine binders (& vegan notes)

Binders hold the dough together. Too little and the bread or cake will fall apart, too much and everything becomes sticky and slushy. When starting to go gluten free it’s best to stick exactly with the amounts of binders given in the recipe you use.

The following binders are low histamine and gluten free:

  • chia seed (flour)
  • flax seed (flour)
  • psyllium seed husk
  • flours containing starch respectively corn-, potato- and tapioca starch
  • egg
  • maple syrup or honey
  • sauce or puree, e.g. apple sauce or pumpkin puree
  • agar-agar, actually a vegan gelatine substitute

I like chia seed water mix (1 part chia seed & 3 parts water) the best when it comes to baking. You stir this mix once and then set it aside for about 10 minutes to thicken. The result is pudding-like and binds very well. You can use flax seeds the same way.

Psyllium seed husk can also be prepared with a little water beforehand or it is just added to the dough like it is. If prepared with water beforehand it binds better, though.

(Flour containing) starch makes the baking product soft. When prepared with some water flour containing starch can serve as thickener/binder as well. The rule of the thumb for gluten free flour mixes is 1 part starch : 2 parts gluten free flour, by the way.

Eggs can also be used as binders. Most gluten free baking recipes you’ll find contain lots of eggs – at least, in my experience. Yet, it is not so hard to veganise recipes successfully. Chia seed water mix will serve you well here, too as egg substitute.

If you like sweet bread, like I do, honey or maple syrup for the vegan option bind as well. This method is especially suitable for sweet pastries, cookies, muffins, cake and alike of course.

Apple sauce and lots of veggie purees can be added to muffin- or bread dough. This will produce an extra when it comes to taste, but this also binds gluten free dough. The added liquids can be reduced a little when working with apple sauce or veggie puree.

Agar-agar is derived from red algae. When buying a binding agent declared “agar-agar” be sure that it is 100 percent agar-agar. I’ve seen products containing other binding agents besides agar-agar although the product was headlined “agar-agar”. Vegans use agar-agar as gelatine substitute, but it can be used for binding as well. You’ll need really just tiny amounts (otherwise the baking product will turn out to be slushy).

HIT and other intolerances

In the following I’ll write a little more about HIT and other intolerances. Allergies are a different topic again I’ll have to address in a separate post.

Gluten intolerance/celiac disease

When suffering from gluten intolerance or celiac disease one cannot tolerate a kind of protein called gluten that occurs in many grains.

The following grains contain gluten and should therefore be avoided:

  • wheat
  • (oat)
  • spelt
  • rye
  • barley
  • triticale
  • green spelt
  • kamut

special case oat:

usually oat contains gluten because of hybridisation. In special shops (organic shops etc.) you’ll find gluten free oat and oat flakes that are labelled as such. I could not find gluten free oat milk though. Yet, from gluten free oats you can make gluten free oat milk yourself.

The following grains and pseudocereals are gluten free and can be used as alternatives to the ones named above. Notes about histamine in brackets. Since gluten is missing, baking properties are different from “regular” flours.

  • amaranth (not always tolerated with HIT, try in small amounts maybe)
  • buckwheat (not always tolerated with HIT)
  • corn (often tolerated, corn only fresh otherwise – not canned) 
  • rice
  • millet (teff, sorghum, milo) 
  • quinoa (not always tolerated with HIT, try in small amounts maybe)
  • chick peas, soy (legumes are often not tolerated, not high histamine, but known as triggers/liberators)
  • chia
  • chestnut
  • grape seed / flour (debates here, contain oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs) known as antihistamine with anti-inflammatory properties and also antioxidants – use grape only, not with nuts mixed and try in small amounts)
  • potatoes, sweet potatoes
  • coconut
  • almond (not always tolerated with HIT)
  • hazelnut (not always tolerated), macadamia nut (usually tolerated), cashew (stone fruit), peanut (legume), pecan nut, walnut, pistachio (stone fruit)

To enhance baking properties one can add starch 1 part starch ” 2 parts gluten free flour.

Many HIT sufferers tolerate gluten free baking products better than those containing gluten. Spelt and (normal) oat have to be tested individually with HIT, but are usually tolerated.

All gluten free recipes can be found under the category gluten free.

Lactose intolerance

People suffering from lactose intolerance have to omit (most) dairy products or have to purchase specially produced lactose free dairy products. I’ve read many times that lactose free milk is not tolerated as well with histamine intolerance. To produce lactose free milk the enzyme lactase is added. This enzyme is derived from either mold (aspergillus) or yeast (kluyveromyces). This explains why it can be problematic with HIT. On top of that there is an discussion if dairy is good for us in general…

If you want to substitute milk with regards to histamine, here are some alternatives:

  • rice milk
  • oat milk
  • almond milk (not always tolerated with HIT – maybe try in small amounts)
  • coconut milk – especially for desserts and for baking

Soy milk is not an alternative when also suffering from HIT.

All lactose free recipes on this blog can be found under “lactose free” in the categories.

Fructose intolerance

People suffering from fructose intolerance or fructose malabsorption have to pay attention to their sugar intake. The fruit sugar fructose, but also glucose, are not really well degraded. As with histamine- or any other intolerance fructose intolerance you can be born with or acquire it at some time in your life (hereditary or intestinal FI)

The category “low fructose” shows you posts concerned with fructose intolerance. As yet, there is not much in there.

The problem with fructose intolerance does not end with added (refined) sugar or cane sugar, but also concerns different kinds of foods.

Rather much fructose can be found in apple, pear, date, fig, mango, plum, grape, raisin, dried fruits.

Sweeteners like fruit sugar, fructose syrup, fructose-glucose syrup, honey, sugar replacements (sorbitol, isomalt, xylitol, maltitol, mannitol), apple syrup, concentrated pear juice also contain a lot fructose.

As an alternative dextrose, stevia, rice syrup, spelt syrup and (Aztec) sweet herb can be used.

Sorbitol intolerance

When it comes to sorbitol there are some “common enemies” that are shared with fructose intolerance sufferers. Sorbitol is a sugar alcohol, that people with sorbitol intolerance cannot degrade correctly. Sugar replacements (sorbitol, isomalt, xylitol, maltitol, mannitol) are bad here as well. Especially food labelled with “diet” should be avoided therefore. Moreover, sorbitol is used by food producers as humectant agent (E 420). It’s a substance that often can be found in chewing gum and toothpaste. It can also be found in dried fruits and canned food. Dextrose and regular sugar are known to be alternatives here.

Salicylate intolerance

There will be a separate post on that topic soon.

(c) The Histamine Pirate

Muffins for everyone…

Blog birthday – celebrating 1 year (German blog)

Joanna came to my “birthday party” (a recipe contest I started for the German blog) and she came up with this great recipe. It is lactose free, low fructose, gluten free and of course low histamine – therefore a recipe for everyone, no matter what intolerance(s) bother(s) you.


Blueberry coconut muffins


preparation time:

ca. 10 minutes + ca. 20 minutes in the oven






ingredients for about 8 muffins :

  • 2 eggs
  • 50 g rice syrup
  • 100 g grape sugar
  • 70 ml thistle oil or coconut oil
  • 90 ml coconut milk
  • 140 g corn flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 50 g coconut flakes
  • ca. 100 g blueberries




  1. Whisk up the eggs with rice syrup and grape sugar. Mix the oil with coconut milk and add this mixture to the whisked eggs. Mix baking powder, flour and coconut flakes and add it to the rest.
  2. Pour the dough into a muffin tray and place the blueberries on top.
  3. Bake for about 20 minutes in the preheated oven at 160°C. Before you enjoy the muffins leave them to cool down.





(Joanna’s recipe for the blog’s birthday)


Enjoy & thank you, Joanna!