Gluten Free Grains Your Body Will Love!
Going gluten free is a great way to get healthy and clear up a number of problems, including celiac disease, psoriasis, and even IBS. For people who have a gluten intolerance, eating even a small amount of this protein can cause extreme health problems. Even those who avoid gluten because of related allergies can suffer if they accidentally ingest this protein. Wheat is off the table for anyone following a gluten free diet, but what some people don’t realize is that this means you should also pass on barley, rye, spelt, farro, and spelt among other grains. For this reason it’s important to find some good gluten free grains to replace those in your diet that you can no longer consume.
What is Gluten?
One of the first questions people ask when they are faced with giving up foods that contain gluten is “what is gluten”. It’s become such a buzzword recently and has a bad reputation, but it’s important to remember that gluten is simply a protein that wheat contains. This protein is what gives bread structure when it rises and creates elasticity in the food. It also is a main ingredient in a lot of commercial kinds of beer, leading to a rise in gluten free beer as companies become more aware of gluten intolerance and sensitivities.
What Grains are Gluten Free
Although giving up all sorts of wheat can be frustrating and difficult at first, there are a large number of non gluten grains that you can eat when gluten free. These include rice, millet, polenta, amaranth, teff, sorghum, and sometimes oats. A lot of people wonder if oatmeal is gluten free and while it technically is, it is often grown in the same field as wheat and processed on the same equipment, making it easy for people to experience a cross-reaction. If you suffer from a gluten intolerance or sensitivity it’s important to buy your oats from a company that has them certified as gluten free. Another great option to eat is quinoa, but this is technically a seed, not a grain.
A lot of people struggle with baking and cooking when they’ve gone gluten free as it can be much harder to recreate your favorite foods when you can’t reach for the regular wheat flour. Luckily, there are a number of commercial blends made from non gluten grains that you can easily use in baking. If you’re feeling more adventurous, recipes abound online of how to make your own blend of gluten free flours from a number of non gluten grains, especially brown rice, teff, and oat flour. These can easily be ground in your home kitchen and mixed with starches to create a flour that will work similarly to wheat flour.
Gluten Sensitivity Symptoms
There are a number of symptoms that you may experience if you have a sensitivity to gluten. One of the most common complaints is bloating after eating foods that contain gluten. This can be in conjunction with abdominal pain, diarrhea, and tiredness. Depression, nausea, joint pain, and skin problems have also been linked to a diet that contains gluten. It can be tricky to tell if you have a sensitivity to gluten, as the symptoms between eating the food that contains gluten and suffering symptoms can vary from person to person. For some people, the physical reaction is almost immediate, while others may go for days without knowing that something is wrong. Gluten sensitivity symptoms also vary, as one person may experience severe abdominal pain while another may have a psoriasis outbreak to deal with.
Foods that Contain Gluten
Gluten is tricky and hides in a lot of foods that you may not think of containing wheat. The obvious ones, like bread and pasta, can easily be replaced with gluten free options at the store. Other sneaky places to look are in your soy sauce, salad dressings, and ice cream, as wheat can sometimes be used in all of these. Beer, of course, should always be suspect, although there are some very good gluten free alternatives and hard ciders to enjoy now. Food colorings can sometimes be made from barley, and rye shows up quite often in cereal. Natural food colorings and rice cereals can replace these, as rice is a naturally gluten free food that is a great replacement in some recipes.
Benefits of Going Gluten Free
If you are thinking about going gluten free to help with health reasons it’s important to know what benefits you can stand to gain by giving up this protein. A lot of people who go gluten free find that their symptoms of IBS are lessened. If you have a sensitivity, you will see an immediate reduction in your symptoms, especially bloating. Eating gluten will exacerbate your symptoms, so if you do stop eating foods that contain gluten, be ready for some discomfort if you decide to indulge in some wheat. Of course, if you have celiac disease then you will have to give up foods that contain gluten for the rest of your life. It’s the only way to stop the damage in your intestines and heal your body. People with sensitivities may suffer when they consume gluten, but people with celiac disease can cause permanent damage to their bodies.
The next time you’re shopping, try an alternative non gluten grain, such as millet, quinoa or sorghum. These are delicious cooked as is for a side with your meal or ground and used for a flour. All of these non gluten grains they offer wonderful health benefits that you may not be getting when you only consume wheat. Foods that contain gluten are everywhere, but the non gluten grains mentioned above are naturally gluten free and delicious. You can pick them up at most grocery stores or order them online. Try breading your chicken in a mixture of brown rice and oat flour, or use teff or quinoa as a binder in meatloaf or meatballs. You may be surprised at how delicious being gluten free can taste!