Many people tend to avoid gluten foods since they have been associated with some health issues and others simply cannot tolerate gluten in their system. That is why I wrote this short guide to gluten-free whole grains, to help you on your journey.
Not being able to eat gluten which leads to whole grains being removed from the diet can be extremely disheartening. But with a little research, you will find that there are many whole grains that are gluten-free and safe for you to eat.
Remember, it’s best to get tested before going gluten-free.
Here, I will be going through some of the options you have open along with some answers to other gluten-related questions.
Reasons you Can’t Have Gluten
There is more than one reason for not being able to eat gluten. Most can be categorized into two types; either you choose to follow a gluten-free diet for no medical reason, or you cannot tolerate gluten for medical reasons.
People who choose to follow a gluten-free diet may simply be doing it for the associated health benefits. Gluten-free diet plans are popular among people who want to stay healthy or lose weight.
Then there are others who cannot tolerate gluten in their digestive tract. Gluten intolerance, celiac disease, non-celiac sensitivity, and wheat allergies are conditions where gluten is off-limits.
They all share the same reaction to gluten in which the immune system mistakes gluten as an invading threat to your body, therefore attacking it. When it does this, it damages the proximity area, resulting in immense discomfort and some damage within the body.
It is safer to avoid gluten completely when you have any level of gluten intolerance. But no need to fret because rather than missing out, you may be gaining from a gluten-free diet.
Benefits of a Gluten-Free Diet
The obvious benefit when you steer from gluten is not experiencing any of the above-mentioned conditions. No discomfort, no confused immune system, no damage caused to the body. However, there are also other benefits to reap when avoiding gluten.
Gluten has been associated with digestive issues such as bloating and striking stomach pain, along with other symptoms related to digestion. Even if you do not suffer from any gluten-related conditions, you can reduce some of these issues by keeping gluten out of your diet.
A gluten-free diet is a great way to start a weight loss journey. Keeping the gluey and sticky substance out of your meals can help you rapidly lose excess weight and is a fan-favorite kick starter for many diet plans. It provides quicker results and helps you feel more energized with less heaviness holding you down.
What is Gluten Found in?
Gluten is a two-compound protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. It is gluten that holds the secret to elasticity and a dough’s capability to rise. Yes, there are downfalls to gluten, but nonetheless, gluten is the component that makes most of your whole grains so enjoyable.
That chewy texture most people work hard to get right in their recipes is initially sourced from the gluten found in your ingredients.
So, remember items to avoid include wheat, barley, and rye. To be cautious, also look for gluten-free symbols on all your store-bought foods, cooking, and baking edibles.
Guide to Gluten-Free Whole Grains
The first and one of the most well-known gluten-free whole grains is quinoa. This grain is a versatile solution for many potholes that formerly needed filling with whole grains with gluten.
Quinoa is a plant-based protein and a very reliable source of dietary fiber. It is considered one of the healthiest gluten-free whole grains with all eight amino acids and plenty of protein.
Try this delicious Mediterranean Quinoa Recipe.
You can turn quinoa into flour and replace your regular wheat flour. Make homemade bread or pancakes, crusts, and casseroles with your supply of quinoa flour. It can also be part of your side dishes and salads with a pleasant crunch in every bite.
Before you do anything to quinoa, let it soak in water for a minimum of 2 hours if you are on a time crunch.
To prepare quinoa, you let it cook in boiling water for about 10 to 20 minutes. The time will vary based on how much you are making in one go. Once it’s done cooking, you let it sit for 5 minutes and fluff before serving.
Oats give you nutrients and fiber. But you have to be careful when buying oats.
Though they naturally have no gluten in them, many oats get contaminated during processing and therefore may not be safe. The best way to avoid this is by buying only gluten-free certified oats.
Oats can be used to make smoothies and shakes increasing their fiber content. They can also be used as a topping and breakfast cereal or oatmeal. You can even make homemade granola bars or decorated parfaits with oats.
It is also possible for you to eat oats uncooked. All you have to do is soak them for few hours placed in the fridge. You can do so in either water or milk depending on the end result you want.
Milk creates a thicker, creamier solution while water will minimize the stickiness of the oats. For best results, however, many people often combine two parts of milk with one part of water. You can also use nut milks like almond and coconut milk.
I make these Overnight Oats for breakfast; no cooking is required.
To cook oats, you can boil them in either milk or water, once again, based on your desired outcome. You also need to follow recipes if you’re making a proper dish out of them. For oats to soften properly, you have to let them cook for 25 to 30 minutes.
Corn, also known as maize, contains several plant pigments that operate as antioxidants. It is also high in fiber and is very versatile in use. You can boil, grill, and roast corn to your liking.
It also makes an amazing snack with fresh corn on the cob or a colorful topping and addition to salads and dishes.
The cook time for corn depends on how fresh it is. The fresher the corn, the quicker it will cook. Generally, 3 minutes is the minimum time while corn that is not fresh will be done in about 7 minutes. Make sure before, that the corn’s husk and silk are removed before you place it in to boil.
Brown and white rice are gluten-free whole grains. Brown rice is a healthier option. It has more fiber, micronutrients, and is even up there with quinoa as one of the healthiest gluten-free whole grains. It makes a spectacular side dish that you can partner with veggies, meat, or enjoy on its own with dressings.
To prepare your brown rice, soak it for 90 minutes. This will give you the best results from your rice, making it soft and pleasantly textured. However, if you are short on time, then a 20-minute soak will suffice as well.
The brown one does take longer to cook but it is healthier than white rice. Once the water is boiling cook the rice for around 30 minutes. After you have turned the heat off, let the rice soak up the remaining water for 5-10 minutes until you finally take it out.
These gluten-free grains are the easiest to implement into your daily routine replacing flour, sides, and main dishes so you don’t miss out on anything gluten can provide. These are also the easiest and the most readily available options but if you want, there are also some other options that you can incorporate into the diet for versatility and taste.
- Amaranth– Another protein-dense food, amaranth contains all nine essential amino acids almost doubling the amount of protein in rice and corn. You can use it to replace pasta, couscous, or rice. Or mix it into soups and stews for thickness. Another way to use amaranth is to eat it as a breakfast cereal with nuts, fruit, or cinnamon.
- Buckwheat-With a slightly nutty and grainy flavor, buckwheat has a high mineral and antioxidant content. It mainly contains carbs with decent amounts of fiber and a small amount of protein. You can use it to replace other carbs like potatoes, rice, couscous, or pasta, or use it in a salad, risotto, or even baked goods.
- Millet– Millet is a starchy grain that also packs in several vitamins and minerals. When compared to other cereals it contains more essential amino acids than other grains. It is a great option for using within salads, stir-fries, stews, or as a breakfast cereal.
- Sorghum– This is another nutrient-dense cereal grain that is gluten-free and yields decent amounts of protein, vitamins, minerals, carbs, and fiber. You can use it whole, milled as flour, popped like popcorn, flaked like oats, or even as a syrup used as an alternative to molasses.
So, whether you want to try new grains because you want to go gluten-free or are just looking to add more variety into the diet, these choices will keep you full and satiated while also giving your meals a makeover.
If you still want more information about gluten-free options, then feel free to check out the Plant-Based Eva YouTube channel and for more tips on preparing and cooking gluten-free foods.