I've been experimenting with gluten-free baking, even though I tolerate wheat okay sometimes. And in this process, I've been perplexed about why so many nourishing food blogs and cookbooks with otherwise spectacular, traditional ingredients, feel so comfortable throwing xanthan gum right into the mix for their gluten-free recipes. First, it's crazy expensive. Second, it's not naturally occurring, and was developed in a USDA scientific experiment. (Red flag there for me.) And then, so many people seem to have allergies to it, as it's in the corn sugar/syrup family. I've also never seen organic xanthan gum, and since corn syrup comes from gigantic-scale farming with genetically modified fields, the yuck factor is pretty high here, and nowhere near anything I'd call healthy.
When you research what xanthan gum actually is, you get all kinds of answers, but the most common seems to be that it's a combination of the naturally occurring bacteria on veggies that causes black rot, added to corn sugar- a derivative of corn syrup. Some sources simplify that and call it "fermented corn" which sounds nicer, but doesn't seemt to be the case. There's also some debate as to whether the bacteria itself comes from genetically modified bacterial stock.
I've never had a problem skipping the X-yuck in any baked goods, since I use eggs, and I don't care if the final result is a bit flat or crumbly, but curious about bread-making. Some people seem to grind flax or chia seeds, but I don't think of those as high-heat friendly. I'll keep experimenting, but if you have any yummy, healthy ideas, please post them.