Why going gluten-free doesn't mean going grain-free
by Brandpoint (ARA) Sponsored Content
Feb 07, 2013 | 18175 views | 0 0 comments | 262 262 recommendations | email to a friend | print
(BPT) - It’s impossible to stroll the aisles in your local supermarket without seeing package after package labeled “gluten-free.” But who really needs a gluten-free diet, and how can you still enjoy grains, even if you are eating gluten-free?

Gluten is a protein found in just four grains: wheat, barley, rye and triticale, a wheat-rye hybrid. For people with celiac disease (an estimated 1 percent of the population) eating foods containing gluten can cause an immune reaction in the small intestine that leads to a host of health problems, from abdominal pain to vitamin deficiencies that can affect the brain, bones, liver and other organs. Some people who don’t have celiac disease still suffer from gluten-sensitivity or allergies to wheat, and can benefit from a gluten-free diet.

No matter the reason behind going gluten-free, for those making the switch it might seem like the end of eating grains. However, according to the Whole Grains Council that shouldn’t to be the case. The nonprofit advocacy group notes that while cutting out gluten-containing grains is important for those who are gluten-intolerant, there’s an array of other whole grains – naturally gluten-free – that can make your diet as varied, delicious and nutritious as you like.

If you’re building a gluten-free menu, it’s important to include whole grains, which provide many essential nutrients. Try some of these options in your meals, from breakfast to dinner, to get a taste of the flavors and textures that whole, gluten-free grains have to offer:

* Amaranth – Popped like corn or added to soups or a pilaf, this heart-healthy grain adds great taste and texture.

* Buckwheat – Whether used whole or ground as flour, buckwheat provides a rich, nutty flavor.

* Corn – A classic American staple that is as versatile as it is easy to find.

* Millet – Let it stand alone as a side or bake it into crunchy crackers; millet’s mild flavor ensures that it plays well with other ingredients.

* Oats – Oats themselves are gluten-free, but they’re often processed in places where gluten products are also made. Make sure your oats are certified as free from cross-contamination.

* Quinoa – This nutrient-rich grain has been a staple in the Andes Mountains for centuries, and it’s gaining in popularity for its versatility and subtle flavor.

* Brown and colored rice – Rice itself, or products made from it, like noodles, can be used to prepare delicious dishes from around the globe.

* Sorghum – Flour made from this nutrient-packed grain can be used to make everything from pie crust to pancakes. It can also be popped – it’s a fun treat that looks like mini-popcorn.

* Teff – Tiny teff grains (3,000 grains weigh just one ounce) make a flavorful flour that can be used for crepes, breads or injera, the spongy flatbread that is a dietary staple in the grain’s native country of Ethiopia.

* Wild rice – Hearty, nutty and utterly delicious, wild rice is a welcome addition on any plate. Use it as stuffing, in a salad or simply on its own.

Because all of these whole grains have their own nutrient profiles, mixing them up is a great way to make your diet healthier – the more different grains you eat, the more nutritional variety you’ll get. Recipes for each kind of gluten-free grain can be found at www.wholegrainscouncil.org. To get started, try this delicious dish, Southwestern Quinoa Salad, which pairs both quinoa and corn with flavorful, fresh ingredients that everyone will love.

Southwestern Quinoa Salad

1 cup quinoa

2 cups vegetable broth

2 ears corn, roasted and cut off cob

1 red bell pepper, roasted and chopped

1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained

3 scallions

1/2 cup chopped cilantro

3 limes, juiced

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2  teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4  teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Put quinoa and broth in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until tender.

In a large bowl, mix together quinoa, corn, pepper, beans, scallions and cilantro.

In a small bowl, whisk together lime juice, olive oil and seasonings. Pour over quinoa mixture.  Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes to let flavors set.

Copyright 2013 The Times-Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

report abuse...

Express yourself:

We're glad to give readers a forum to express their points of view on issues important to this community. That forum is the “Letters to the Editor.” Letters to the editor may be submitted directly to The Times-Independent through this link and will be published in the print edition of the newspaper. All letters must be the original work of the letter writer – form letters will not be accepted. All letters must include the actual first and last name of the letter writer, the writer’s address, city and state and telephone number. Anonymous letters will not be accepted.

Letters may not exceed 400 words in length, must be regarding issues of general interest to the community, and may not include personal attacks, offensive language, ethnic or racial slurs, or attacks on personal or religious beliefs. Letters should focus on a single issue. Letters that proselytize or focus on theological debates will not be published. During political campaigns, The Times-Independent will not publish letters supporting or opposing any local candidate. Thank you letters are generally not accepted for publication unless the letter has a public purpose. Thank you letters dealing with private matters that compliment or complain about a business or individual will not be published. Nor will letters listing the names of individuals and/or businesses that supported a cause or event. Thank you letters about good Samaritan acts will be considered at the discretion of the newspaper.