Most whole grains that are otherwise considered healthy for the majority of the population are actually extremely toxic to those individuals with the very real problem of gluten sensitivity. Here are five grain alternatives, four of which are considered to be complete proteins:
• Amaranth – a fruit seed used by the ancient Aztecs and Incas, it is still cultivated today. Nicknamed The Miracle Grain. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator, as it tends to go rancid rather quickly if not used right away. Interestingly enough, it can be popped like popcorn. One way to prepare amaranth: Hopi Amaranth Greens & Grains.
• Buckwheat – despite having the word ‘wheat’ in its name, it is not a wheat product at all. It is a fruit seed that is cousin to rhubarb and sorrel.
• Millet (Hulled) – a seed often found in backyard birdfeeders. An ancient African and Indian food staple, as it grows well in almost any climate. Not a source of complete protein, as it is low in lysine.
• Quinoa (KEEN-wah) – a seed that is cousin to chard and spinach. Once referred to as Incan Gold or The Mother Seed. It has to be thoroughly rinsed before cooking in order to remove the bitter, waxy saponin layer that protects the seed. One way to prepare quinoa: Colorful Quinoa Salad.
• Teff Berries – at 1/32 of an inch, it is considered to be the world’s smallest grain (teffa means ‘lost’) and an Ethiopian food staple.
Since it is such a rarity to find a plant-based source of complete protein, anyone contemplating a vegetarian diet, whether they have gluten sensitivity issues or not, will benefit from incorporating these nutritional powerhouses into their cooking. Click the button on the left to shop for gluten free food.