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Getting To Know Grains Without Gluten

By Jody Smith HERWriter
 
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For the gluten sensitive, the early days of trying to find something to eat can be overwhelming. Isn't wheat in everything? It can certainly seem so.

But take heart, sensitive one. There are new vistas to explore.

Chances are you've never even heard of some of these grains. But be prepared to get familiar with the unfamiliar. You can only benefit from being adventurous.

Some grains are particularly popular with the gluten-free crowd. Quinoa, millet, buckwheat and sorghum are names worth researching and experimenting with.

Quinoa is similar to rice, but is actually the seed of the Chenopodium or Goosefoot plant. It hides no gluten, has a high fiber content and is a complete protein (contains the nine necessary amino acids).

Quinoa has high levels of copper, iron, lysine, magnesium, manganese and phosphorus. It often pinch-hits for couscous, rice and some types of pastas.

Millet is a staple in Africa, China and India. It hasn't really caught on in the U.S., being used mostly for birdseed, fodder and hay. Millet has high levels of calcium, iron, lysine, niacin, protein and riboflavin.

Buckwheat is actually no relative to wheat. It doesn't even qualify as a grain, but because it's such a good substitute, I'm mentioning it.

Buckwheat is a fruit, related to rhubarb. Its seed holds a kernel called a groat, which has been foundational to diets around the world for thousands of years.

Sorghum is especially good for those with diabetes or any blood sugar irregularities because it digests very slowly. Its bland taste makes for an easier transition from wheat. No major flavor adjustment to deal with here.

Sorghum is an old stand-by in Africa and India. The U.S. is just learning the ropes where sorghum is concerned. But headway is being made. It's often used in gluten-free beer and ice cream.

These are just a few of the headliners in the gluten-free roster. You can also look into amaranth, cassava, chickpea, tapioca and taro root.

Now that you have some idea what grains and grain substitutes to look for, you'll want to research what to do with them.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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