I’ve been hearing a lot about gluten-free foods. Why should I go gluten-free?
Here are the numbers: 2.2 million Americans suffer from celiac disease, a debilitating autoimmune disorder caused by ingesting gluten foods. Another 10-25% of Americans experience gluten sensitivity, a milder reaction usually caused by digestive weakness and poor enzyme activity.
Here are a few conditions where a gluten-free diet is desirable:
Irritable Bowel. For people with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), going gluten-free can put an end to uncomfortable symptoms like bowel urgency, gas, and bloating after meals. While not everyone with IBS has a gluten allergy, many have gluten sensitivity and for them, eliminating gluten eliminates their IBS. Follow up with Bwl Tone IBS for gentle colon cleansing.
Candida. Going gluten-free enhances recovery for people with candida. Systemic, chronic cases of candida require aggressive dietary approaches. Eliminating gluten foods and sugars are the mainstays of successful treatment. Most people feel so much better, they don’t miss it! To improve the benefits, try an herbal anti-fungal kit like Candida Detox.
Leaky gut syndrome. Gluten protein can pass through damaged gut membranes into the bloodstream, triggering allergy symptoms and autoimmune reactions. Substituting with gluten free grains improves healing and alleviates symptoms like joint pain, skin rashes and digestive discomfort. Add a high protease enzyme formula between meals, like Dr. Enzyme with Protease & Bromelain to help detoxify the bloodstream.
What’s Left After You’ve Eliminated Gluten?
Here’s a short list of wheat-free, gluten-free grains, the forms you can find them in at your natural foods store and tips on how to cook with them.
Note: Not all wheat-free foods are low in gluten.
RICE. Rice is the staple grain for over half of the world’s population. Available as a grain, flour, bread, pasta, cereal, and in dairy-free milk and cheese, it is one of the most versatile grains known and one of the most easily digested. Choose organic whenever possible, commercial rice is often loaded with pesticides. Automatic rice cookers make cooking rice even simpler for wheat-free-er’s who eat a lot of rice. For people who are also lactose intolerant, I recommend rice cheese, which is low in fat, creamy and delicious tasting.
CHICKPEA. Chickpeas are not a true grain. They’re actually a legume that was first cultivated in Mesopotamia around 5000 B.C. Chickpeas are a nice addition to puddings, casseroles and are probably best enjoyed in humus and falafel dishes. Chickpea flour (made from ground chickpeas) is gluten-free and a good thickener in soups and sauces.
AMARANTH. There are over 500 species of amaranth. Amaranth is available today as a flour for wheat-free baking. Popped amaranth makes a good snack. After toasting, popcorn-like amaranth seeds can be added to soups or vegetables or eaten alone. Amaranth cereals are also popular in a wheat-free breakfast.
CORN. A staple food for Native Americans, corn still feeds much of America, human and animal. Like rice, it is a very versatile grain., and is excellent in baking, in cereals, and with quinoa in pasta. Sweet corn is the favorite American vegetable (next to the potato), great on the grill, roasted, gently steamed and in casseroles. You really can’t go wrong with corn. It’s inexpensive and easy to prepare.
MILLET. The ancient Egyptians used millet to make bread. The Chinese used it as their staple grain before rice came along. Millet is available today as a grain, flour, meal and in cereals. It’s especially good in flatbreads, puffed in snackfoods and to add heartiness to stuffed veggies and casseroles.
QUINOA. Considered by many health experts a nearly perfect protein, quinoa has been cultivated in the Andes mountains for 5,000 years. Quinoa has a rich, nutty flavor and works well as a wheat free grain and pasta. You can prepare quinoa just like rice, except it only takes about 5 to 10 minutes before it’s ready. Note: If you’re allergic to wheat, make sure the quinoa pasta you buy isn’t made with semolina flour.
SOY FLOUR. Soy flour is available today for baking. Because it contains no gluten, it doesn’t work well by itself in raised breads. It’s usually mixed with an all purpose flour (not gluten-free) in baking. Soy flour can also be used to add a creamy texture to fruit smoothies.
People with gluten sensitivity can also usually tolerate potato starch and tapioca, but they are not as nutritious as the grains listed above.
Sarah Abernathy has been a researcher, writer and herbal consultant in the field of natural health for over 12 years.
She is the managing editor of Healthy Healing Publications, and contributes regular articles to newsletters, magazines, and books. Sarah is a graduate of the East West School of Herbology.
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