Not long ago, gluten-free grains were hard to come by in grocery stores and could only be found lurking in the far corners of health food shops. These days they can be purchased from most supermarkets, online and everywhere else in between! It’s about time we chatted about some of these gluten-free grains and why we opt for some of them for their awesome health benefits.
Quinoa has become a household name and a pantry staple in recent years following the rise and growth of the massive health scene. Technically a seed, quinoa is an ancient food from the Andes that is considered a complete protein, meaning it provides all the essential amino acids your body needs to keep your cells in optimal health. Yes please! This is why quinoa is sometimes coined a “superfood” and would be a great addition to any diet, in particular for those who are looking to consume more protein. With a mild flavour and a slightly crunchy texture, quinoa makes the perfect base to salads, a protein-rich rice substitute, or can even be used in its flour form in baking or to make gluten-free pasta. YUM! Check out this recipe for one delicious way of including quinoa in your diet using Ceres Organics Quinoa Rice Blend.
Amaranth is another “gluten-free grain” that is technically a seed, originally grown in Mexico as a staple in the diet of Aztecs and Mayans. As with quinoa, it is a complete protein so is favourable for those wanting to consume more protein in their daily intake. In addition to this, amaranth is rich in iron, calcium and fibre, great for energy, immunity and digestion. With so many health benefits, amaranth would make a great substitute to gluten-containing grains and other starchy carbs at mealtime. It will also provide a deliciously sweet, nutty flavour!
Don’t be fooled by the ‘wheat’ part of its name as buckwheat is completely wheat-free! A relative of rhubarb and sorrel, buckwheat is another seed we treat like a grain. It contains manganese, copper, magnesium, fibre and phosphorus. Buckwheat is available roasted or unroasted, in wholegrain form or in flour form. It has a tasty nutty, earthy taste and makes a great base to mueslis and seeded bread loaves.
When corn kernels are dried and then ground into a meal, polenta is made! Polenta is delightfully sweet and mild tasting and goes down super well in the form of polenta chips. Traditionally considered one of the best foods to provide sustained, long-lasting energy, polenta was a popular staple back in Italy in the 1700s as a “peasant food” because it was plentiful and cheap. It is rich in vitamins A and C, making it a good source of lutein and zeaxanthin which promote amazing eyesight. Polenta has also been found to be gut-friendly by supporting the growth of friendly bacteria in the large intestine.
The standout health quality of millet is that it is highly alkaline, making it easy to digest with readily bioavailable nutrients. Another seed that we consume as a grain, millet is high in fibre, B vitamins, iron and magnesium, making it a nourishing addition to any diet. Its texture can vary from crunchy to mushy depending on how it is cooked, so it is very versatile for inclusion in your meals.
Sorghum is a cereal grain that has been cultivated in Africa for more than 4000 years. It is high in iron, fibre and protein. While it is commonly used as a gluten-free flour in modern cooking, it can also be made into sweetener or popped just like popcorn. So many tasty options! When cooked as a grain or pilaf, sorghum’s chewy texture is similar to that of wheat berries or farro.
Rice… Delicious rice! Oh how we love rice as a base to lunches, dinners and everything in between. White rice, brown rice, black rice, wild rice. In fact any of these we would be just as happy with! Rice is a cereal grain cultivated all over the world to feed billions of people. The nutrition value of rice varies significantly depending on the soil conditions of where it is grown and how it is processed and cooked. White and brown rice are the most familiar to us in the Western world, however there are also some more exotic varieties, such as green bamboo rice.
Ceres Organics have a delicious Quinoa-Rice Blend which is a combination of quinoa, black rice and brown rice. This makes the perfect gluten-free base to many savoury dishes. Check out the recipes section of our blog for a few recipe ideas including this product, and you can find the Ceres Organics Quinoa-Rice Blend inside the March Delight Box, on sale here… xo