Being gluten-free doesn't mean you are limited to just rice and corn. Explore some of these lesser known, but highly nutritious, grains! Whether you cook the whole grains or use the flour, you get the benefits of eating whole grains. Some of the items on the list are actually seeds, but are known as "pseudo-grains" because they are similar in nutrition and usability as grains.
Many people believe that oats themselves contain gluten. This is not true. The problem lies in the fact that most commercial oats are grown, processed and transported with wheat, contaminating the oats so that they contain detectable levels of gluten. There are several farms that are now growing "certified gluten-free oats" or "uncontaminated oats." So go ahead and have a bowl of oatmeal, or add oats to your baked goods -- as long as they are gluten-free oats!
Pronounced "KEEN-wa,", quinoa has a light and fluffy texture that makes it a wonderful complement to any main course - try it with dinner instead of rice. Quinoa has been called a "super-grain" because it has more protein than any other grain, and is a complete protein (similar to milk). It is high in iron, magnesium and is a good source of dietary fiber. It is also high in lysine, methionine and cystine and is easy to digest. There is red and white quinoa -- mixing them together makes a delicious and beautiful dish!
Sorghum is one of the oldest known grains and is a major food source in Africa and India . Sorghum is high in insoluble fiber, with relatively small amounts of soluble fiber. The protein and starch in sorghum are more slowly digested than other cereals, which can be beneficial to diabetics. Sorghum is high in protein. Sorghum flour is being used in many gluten-free baked goods with great results.
Despite the name, buckwheat does not contain wheat. Buckwheat is not even a grain, but is actually a fruit seed. Buckwheat contains all essential amino acids (eight proteins that the body cannot manufacture) in good proportions, making it closer to being a "complete" protein than any other plant source, even soybeans. Buckwheat is a great source of manganese and magnesium. One cup of buckwheat kasha kernels provides over 20% of dietary fiber.
Amaranth is not actually a grain, but a seed (all seeds are naturally gluten-free), that has a slightly sweet, nutty flavor. Amaranth contains large amounts of dietary fiber, iron, and calcium. Amaranth is also an excellent source of high quality, balanced protein.
Millet is an ancient cereal grain that is known in the U.S. mostly for its presence in bird seed, but it is a staple food in many other countries. Millet's protein content is very close to that of wheat. Millet is rich in B vitamins, especially niacin, B6, and folate and offers calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, and zinc. It is considered to be one of the least allergenic grains available.
Teff is the staple grain in Ethiopia and Eritrea, and is available in the United States in Ivory or Brown varieties. Teff is packed with calcium and iron, and is high in protein and fiber. Teff flour is being used in gluten-free baked goods to add nutrition.
I have been living gluten-free since 2002. All of my family is gluten-free and one daughter has severe food allergies. I write a blog SureFoodsLiving.com where I offer practical advice about living with … more