Want to know which grains gluten free? Learn more with our Guide to Gluten Free Grains! This month we are highlighting a variety of gluten free grains and whole grains! We will be covering what they are, why they’re good for you, how to use them in recipes, and so much more!
With this post, we’re introducing our Gluten Free Grains Month, during which our goal is to help educate and inspire you to include gluten free grains into healthy gluten free meals the whole family can enjoy without missing out on the taste, texture, or flavors they love!
Get Ready for Grains…Gluten Free, Of Course!
Okay, you guys. Are you ready for this full month of gluten free grains?! Clearly, we’re excited about it. But, before we get ahead of ourselves, we thought we’d kick things off by letting you know what you can expect over the next four weeks! If you weren’t aware, May is National Celiac Disease Awareness Month. Given that gluten free is what we do, we thought it would be a great idea to join the cause in spreading awareness of Celiac Disease.
So, to help provide valuable educational information (and delicious recipes, of course), we will be covering our favorite wholesome gluten free grains talking about what they are, the nutritional benefits they offer, how to cook them, tasty recipes, and even more! Our goal is to help you understand these grains and bust a few myths along the way! Don’t worry, we’ll also share how to include them in a gluten free diet for meals the whole family can enjoy whether they have Celiac Disease or not!
Keep reading to learn all about our favorite grains!
More About Celiac Disease
If you’re unfamiliar, Celiac Disease is an autoimmune condition in which the ingestion of gluten causes harm to the small intestine. When gluten is ingested, the body attacks the small intestine which damages the villi that promote nutrient absorption. As a result, nutrients cannot be properly utilized by the body, and side effects such as bloating, diarrhea, constipation, fatigue, and more can occur. Read more about the disease, symptoms, and treatments here.
What is Gluten?
Gluten is a protein found in grains such as wheatberries, durum, semolina, spelt, farino, farro, rye, barley, and more. It helps these grains maintain their shape and is often referred to as the “glue” that holds foods together. (Source)
What are Whole Grains?
Whole grains are those that have not been processed to remove any part of the grain kernel. This means they contain the bran, germ, and endosperm. As a result, they are high in fiber and nutrients.
What Whole Grains are Gluten Free?
While all grains have bran, germ, and endosperm, they do not all contain gluten proteins that cause digestive disruptions to those with Celiac Disease or gluten intolerances.
Therefore, to help you navigate which are “safe” to consume, we narrowed the list down to 7 of our favorite gluten free grains including buckwheat, oats, quinoa, millet, sorghum, amaranth, and teff.
- What It Is: Considered a “pseudo-grain,” buckwheat is a seed that is often consumed as a cereal but does not grow as a grass.
- Health Benefits: Although heaviest in carbs, one serving of buckwheat contains 13.3 grams of protein and is high in fiber. It’s also rich in minerals such as manganese, copper, and magnesium. As a result, buckwheat can help improve blood sugar control, improve heart health, and more! (Source)
- Taste: The flavor is nutty, similar to that of whole wheat flour or rye.
- What It Is: Oats are a type of cereal grain derived from grass plants. The edible seeds of the oat grass are harvested and used to create the many variations of oats sold in stores including oat groats, steel cut oats, rolled oats, and quick oats.
- Health Benefits: Oats are high in fiber and provide a wide variety of vitamins and minerals. As a result, they can help regulate digestion, lower cholesterol levels, and improve blood sugar levels. (Source)
- Taste: On their own, oats are pretty bland. However, they easily take on the flavor of whatever they are paired with!
CROSS CONTAMINATION NOTE: Not all oats found in the store are gluten free! Due to the fact that oats are often produced in factories alongside other grains, cross-contamination often occurs. Therefore, it is important to make sure that the oats you purchase have been manufactured in a guaranteed gluten free facility!
- What It Is: A “pseudo-grain,” quinoa is an edible seed that comes in a wide variety of colors including black, red, yellow, and white.
- Health Benefits: Extremely nutritious, quinoa is high in protein, fiber, and healthy fats. It’s also a great source of vitamins and minerals including manganese, phosphorous, magnesium, folate, and vitamin B1! (Source)
- Taste: Depending on what color you use, every variety of quinoa has a slightly different taste. The lighter colors are milder while the darker varieties have a slightly more earthy flavor.
- What It Is: Millet is a type of cereal grain that is part of the grass family.
- Health Benefits: Millet is high in protein and fiber and contains quite a few antioxidants. It can assist with managing diabetes conditions and improve digestion. (Source)
- Taste: As far as grains go, millet has a fairly sweet flavor similar to that of corn.
- What It Is: The smallest grain in the world, Teff is a nutrient-rich pseudograin that originated in Ethiopia and packs 13.3 grams of protein and eight amino acids per serving. (Source)
- Health Benefits: As a result of its nutrient content, consuming teff may help maintain strong bones, boost the immune system, manage diabetes, improve digestion, improve heart health, and more! (Source)
- Taste: Containing a fairly mild flavor, the flavor of teff is slightly nutty or earthy but can easily take on the taste of whatever it is paired with.
Two More Bonus Gluten Free Grains We Love!
- What It Is: Part of the grass family, sorghum is a cereal grain that originated in Africa. It’s commonly used in recipes and exists in a variety of forms such as whole grain sorghum, pearled grain sorghum, sorghum syrup, and popped sorghum.
- Health Benefits: Sorghum is a low fat gluten free grain that is rich in protein, fiber, B vitamins, and micronutrients.
- Taste: Sorghum has a mild, earthy flavor that is often described as being very similar to wheat.
- What It Is: Another “pseudo-grain,” amaranth is a complete protein and is loaded with manganese, magnesium, phosphorous, and iron. (Source)
- Health Benefits: Amaranth can help reduce the risk of heart disease, decrease inflammation, support your immune system, aid in weight management, and more. (Source)
- Taste: One of the more distinct gluten free grains, amaranth can be described as having a nutty flavor.
Common Gluten-Containing Grains
Okay, now that we’ve covered our top gluten free whole grain oats, we thought we should mention a few whole grains that do contain gluten. Of course, there is nothing bad about these foods. In fact, they offer some great health benefits! However, if you do suffer from Celiac Disease or gluten intolerance, it’s probably best to avoid including them in your diet.
Alright, that was a lot of information all at once, wasn’t it? But, we hope you gained some good knowledge and have a better understanding of what exactly we mean when we say gluten free grains. Basically, all we’re trying to convey is that there is a wide variety of options to include in a healthy gluten free diet, and they all offer different benefits. Of course, what might be healthy for one person isn’t always the best for the next. So, be sure to consult your doctor with specific issues or concerns, but rest assured that grains can be included as part of a well-rounded diet – gluten free or not!
We aren’t stopping here, though! For the rest of the month, we’ll be diving deeper into specific gluten free grains to help you gain an even better understanding of what they are and find easy ways to incorporate them into your everyday life.
How to Follow Along
How to Contact Us
If along the way, you find yourself with additional questions, needing help with recipes, or just want to say hey, feel free to leave us a comment down below. Or, shoot over an email to [email protected]! We’re always happy to help you in your health journey whatever ways we can!