What Is A Grain and What is Not?

What Is A Grain and What is Not?
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When first embracing a gluten and grain lifestyle, it can be challenging to know what is a grain and what is NOT a grain. Here is a beginner’s list. This list is certainly far from complete. However, it will set you in the right direction.

People begin a gluten and grain free lifestyle because they are often suffering from Celiac disease or inflammation and problems with the body, gastro-intestinal system and/or brain or from diseases, such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s Disease Dementia.

As stated in the promotional material of his book, “Award-winning neurologist and author Dr. David Perlmutter makes a compelling case for a grain-free lifestyle in his nonfiction book, Grain Brain. Dr. Perlmutter believes and claims that carbohydrates hinder brain development, impairing cognitive function and contribute to the development of neurological diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Most diseases of the brain, he argues, are preventable when one eats properly and adopts other healthy habits. He then gives readers the insight and advice they need to improve their lives and keep their brains functioning at peak efficiency for decades to come.”

Here are the lists of gluten and grain free foods you can consume on your gluten and grain free diet.

GLUTEN FREE GRAINS:

  • Corn
  • Cornflour made from corn
  • Cornmeal
  • Rice
  • Teff
  • Montina flour
  • Sorghum
  • Oats (if certified gluten-free)

GLUTEN AND GRAIN FREE SEEDS:

Wild Rice: Wild Rice is a grain-like grass and is an excellent source of vitamins A, C, and E, folate, manganese, zinc, and iron, high fiber, phosphorus, zinc and folate. While it takes a long time to cook (at least an hour), it is well worth the wait. This grass when cooked keeps digestion easy, helps to lower cholesterol, supports bone strength, and provides energy and immunity.

Amaranth: Amaranth is a grain-like seed from the broadleaf plant family, often used as a grain in porage, polenta and pudding. It has more digestible protein than many grains and its oils help to lower cholesterol levels, LDL and triglycerides. Amaranth also possesses anti-inflammatory properties and fiber that help against chronic conditions where inflammation erodes one’s health, such as diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Being high in fiber and phytonutrients, consuming amaranth helps to lower blood pressure as well. Lysine is an essential amino acid and Amaranth is a good source, thus helping the body absorb calcium, build muscle, and produce energy. The same peptides in amaranth that protect against inflammation may also help prevent cancer.

Buckwheat: Buckwheat, when toasted called Kasha, is also a grain-like seed, related to rhubarb, from the broadleaf plant family. Despite the term ‘wheat’ in its name, buckwheat is not wheat. It is a seed not a grain and is gluten-free and safe for people with celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity. … The remaining seed material, called groats, can be ground into flour. It is considered a super food and has many health benefits, such as manganese, magnesium and cooper. It is also a good sourve of the B Vitamins, B6, pantothenic acid, niacin, folate, thiamine and choline.

Buckwheat can replace rice and corn in recipes and is low glycemic.

Quinoa: Quinoa is a grain-like seed from the broadleaf plant family. It is cooked in much the same way, boiled in water.   It is also high in protein. In fact, 100-grams of quinoa offers about 14-grams of protein. This is high in comparison to rice. About 100 grams of rice offers 2.6 grams of protein. This protein rich seed also offers twice as much fiber as grains and provides a good source of iron, lysine, manganese, magnesium and Riboflavin (B2).

GRAIN FREE FLOURS:

Here is a list of foods ground into flours, all of which support both a gluten and grain free diet: Almond meal or any other nut meal.

  • Almond meal/flour
  • Arrowroot
  • Cassava
  • Chickpeas
  • Coconut
  • Cottonseed
  • Dal
  • Fava bean
  • Flaxseed
  • Gram flour
  • Lentils
  • Manioc
  • Potato Starch/Flour
  • Sago
  • Sesame – seed
  • Sunflower seed flour
  • Taro flour
  • Soy flour
  • Tapioca
  • Glucose made from tapioca
  • Plantain flour (African supermarkets)
  • Yam (iyan) flour (African supermarkets)
  • Mesquite flour
  • Sweet potato flour
  • Banana flour

Note: Not all gluten and grain free foods are allowed in certain diets, such as Paleo.

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