Which Grains are Gluten Free? Archive

Identifying Gluten

Posted February 15, 2014 By Sandy

Identifying gluten in your foods can be very challenging.  Gluten comes in so many different forms and under so many different names that the average person can easily become confused.

We all know to avoid wheat, barley and rye, but are these the only places to find gluten?

Following is a list of food containing gluten that you may not be aware of:

  • Spelt, kamut, triticale (a combination of wheat and rye), durum,  farina, cake flour, matzo (or matzah), bran, couscous,  semolina — all are forms of wheat or gluten!
  • More forms of wheat:  Orzo, couscous, einkorn, farro, seitan, and freekahGrains 2
  • Wheat starch, modified wheat starch, hydrolyzed wheat protein and pre–gelatinized wheat
  • Barley malt syrup, malt extract, malt flavoring and malt vinegar.
  • Licorice, imitation crab meat, beer, most is fermented from barley.
  • Any breaded food or vegetables
  • Processed foods containing soy sauces or teriyaki sauces

Also, gluten MAY BE found in some of the following:

  • Dextrin, flavorings, modified food starch and caramel coloring
  • Oats (unless specifically marked gluten free)
  • Processed cheeses
  • Seasoning, seasoning mixes and soy sauces
  • Hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP) and Hydrolyzed plant protein (HPP)
  • Artificial or natural flavorings

Gluten can also be found in the following non-food items:

  • Pharmaceuticals, including some vitamins
  • Lotions, Soaps, Face washes, Shampoo, Hair Products, Hair Spray, Makeup and other cosmetics, Play dough and other clay modeling toys, Dental pastes and creams

Do not become overwhelmed at the lists above.  With a little work, you can quickly become familiar with these “hidden” names.  Personally, I avoid processed foods — especially those with ingredients I am unfamiliar with.

As a substitute, try some of the following gluten free grains:

  • Amaranth, Buckwheat, Cornmeal, Job’s Tears, Millet, Montina Ryegrass, Gluten Free Oats, Quinoa, Rice, Sorghum, and Teff
  • See my mini-website:  Gluten Free Grains for more info and recipes

NOTE:  For more information, check out:

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Grains and Gluten Intolerance

Posted February 27, 2013 By Sandy

If wheat, rye and barley are the main grains with gluten, how about other grains?  Can you still eat Grains with Gluten Intolerance?

First off, grains and processed foods made with grains is not quite the same thing.  According to one of my favorite experts on the Gluten Free issues, Dr. Vikki Petersen:

Should Celiacs (or Gluten Intolerants) Eat dr_vikki1-227x300Grain?

A whole, organic grain is a beautiful complex carbohydrate that the body burns cleanly for good energy. The refined version (like those in processed foods) spikes blood sugar, creating an insulin response, inflammation, weight gain and, over time, degenerative disease. So as you can see they are vastly different!

If you are keeping track of the GMO issues, you know that corn and soy are mostly GMO now (unless marked organic or non-GMO).  Personally, I don’t eat soy and I watch for homegrown or organic corn.  Also, I don’t eat corn as a vegetable — I eat it as a grain in cereal, baked goods, etc. — but mostly as my favorite snack:  Popcorn!!

And even though oats are not considered a gluten grain, they are often processed in the same facilities as wheat; thus are often contaminated.  Oats processed in a gluten free environment will be marked as such and are safe for folks avoiding gluten.

Dr. Petersen goes on to explain:
Another facet of grains to be aware of is how they may fall into the category of cross-reactive foods as it relates to gluten intolerance. These particular foods, chiefly dairy products and grains,  have a similar protein structure to gluten and can create stress for certain patients whose immune system is unable to differentiate between these foods and gluten. Yes, the foods are, themselves, gluten-free. But in susceptible individuals the protein structure is similar enough to gluten to confuse the immune system into thinking it actually IS gluten. ….

When I was first tested for food allergies, my profile for dairy products showed a high susceptibility for an allergic reaction.  So along with wheat and gluten, I eliminated dairy (and eggs — which also was listed high) from my diet.  Now, after nearly four years, I have been slowing adding some occasional dairy into my diet.  I felt that my body needed LOTS of time to recover from the gluten damage.  But since I have seen a great improvement in my health during the last several months, I have been a bit more lenient with dairy and eggs.

Dr. Petersen concludes her article  ….

Where that leaves us is that there is no ‘pat’ answer to the question of grains being acceptable or not. But I do disagree with a viewpoint that eschews all grains for everyone. I find that not only unnecessary, but many gluten-free grains in their organic, whole form are very nutritious. These include rice, tef, quinoa, millet, amaranth, buckwheat, tapioca, arrowroot – the last few are not actual ‘grains’ but they are treated as such in many grain-rich gluten free foods.

Which grains do you eat?

My favorites are quinoa and rice (not including my organic popcorn!) although I do occasionally eat teff, millet, amaranth and buckwheat.

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Arsenic in Rice — An Alternative Approach!

Posted October 24, 2012 By Sandy

You may remember back in February we posted an article about Arsenic in Rice.  At the time, it was the most widely read article on this blog with searches coming in from all over the internet.

Of course, this was very impactful to the Gluten Free Vegan community as we tend to consume lots of rice.  Well, thankfully, there are studies going on that are looking that this problem and looking for solutions.

One of my favorite doctors on the subject is Dr Vikki Petersen with the Health Now Medical Center in California.  She recently published an article on Arsenic in Rice:  A Clinical Nutrition Report.  Here are some of her comments:

Just when you think you’ve found a great food, someone has to go and rain on your parade. …

Rice is grown in water and the grain has a high affinity for arsenic found in water. It’s just a characteristic of the grain. …

Is arsenic bad for you? In high amounts it definitely is toxic and according to the FDA, long-term exposure to high levels of arsenic is associated with increased rates of skin, bladder and lung cancers, as well as heart disease. In children, high levels are known to lower IQ and hinder intellectual function. Do notice the bold above –” long term exposure to high amounts”. That is what needs to be determined. Does the amount of rice that you or your family is consuming equate itself to high amounts that will have an adverse effect on your health? Or, an equally important question: Are the small amounts that are being ingested enough to accumulate in the body over time to create health problems? …

There are some things you can do to lessen your exposure to arsenic while still enjoying your rice.

  1. Find out where the rice is grown. Rice hailing from Thailand (Thai jasmine) and India (Indian basmati) had some of the lowest levels found – ½ to 1/3 of the amount of American rice. Within the US, the southeastern states grow, unfortunately, rice with some of the highest amounts of arsenic.  … Rice grown in California is a much better bet due to not having arsenic-laden soil.
  2. Unfortunately, the nutrient laden brown rice has higher arsenic levels than its white counterpart. The polishing process that white rice undergoes removes the surface layer, or bran, of the grain providing a reduction in the arsenic level. One report cited the bran to have 10 to 20 times higher amounts of arsenic than the remaining grain. …
  3. Happily, one nice fix is quite easily accomplished. Wash the rice before cooking it and then cook it in extra water (4:1 or 6:1 ratio)– pour this water off before serving. According to Consumer Reports this process can remove about 30% of the arsenic. Yay!
  4. Variety is the spice of life. Just the way I encourage my patients to eat a broad array of fruits and vegetables, so too should you consume variety in your grains. …
  5. Organic rice vs. inorganic? While you would hope that organic would provide some benefit, that has not necessarily been found to be the case as regards arsenic levels. …
  6. Lastly, young infants and children are likely more at risk than adults. Why? The detoxification pathways by which the adult body rids itself of arsenic are not developed adequately to perform that function in young children. …

Dr. Vikki sites some interesting facts and ways to still enjoy rice.

I appreciate her comment “Variety is the spice of life. Just the way I encourage my patients to eat a broad array of fruits and vegetables, so too should you consume variety in your grains.”

Exactly the way I approach these types of issues.  So many of the reports that come out are really slanted to drive fear into the consumer.   If a particular product is a problem, just don’t eat it often!  (Of course, I am not talking about food allergens — they have to be completely avoided).

What are your thoughts?



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My Pantry — Flours

Posted October 20, 2012 By Sandy

After finding out I was gluten free, out went all the flour which were all wheat based!  But I found there is a whole array of gluten free flours that are wonderful – and taste good too.

Following is a list of the most common gluten free flours:


Beans & Nut flours

Most gluten free flours alone cannot mimic the properties of wheat flour.  Gluten Free Flours need to be mixed in different portions to have the right mouth feel, the right texture, and so they rise correctly. Personally, rather than stocking numerous different flours and mixing my own, I typically use a commercially-made gluten free flour mix.

I really like Pamela’s Products Amazing Wheat Free & Gluten-free Bread Mix.  We purchased a 25 lb. bag and I store it in a plastic pail in the freezer.  Pamela’s flour makes great bread!

When I make cookies and desserts, I prefer Jules Gluten Free All Purpose Flour.  Jules flour is not as heavy as the Pamela’s and tastes light in baked goods.

There are lots of other good gluten free flour mixes to chose — these are  just the ones I use.

For gravy or thickening sauces, I have glutinous rice flour on hand.  Add it to cool liquids and it thickens up nicely without add any flavor to your sauces.  I would think that any rice flour would work, but I just happen to use the glutinous rice flour.

I really like Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Pancake Mix, when I make pancakes.  Before I was gluten free, I used Bisquick.  I have not tried their Gluten Free Bisquick, but have a box on hand and am anxious to see how it tastes!

Occasionally, I enjoy playing around with other flours.  My husband bought a bag of Mommas, Gluten Free Coconut Blend All Purpose Flour, but we really haven’t used it yet.

Since becoming gluten free, I don’t bake as much as I use to. Special occasions and holidays, I will bring out the flour.  Of course, when I bake bread, I use quite a bit of it.  I notice I feel better when I don’t over do the baked goods.  I like eating my grains whole …. so we will talk about grains in my pantry in another post!

If you are interested in learning more about flours and baking bread, check out my Squidoo lens:


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Benefits of Quinoa

Posted October 17, 2012 By Sandy

Quinoa is my favorite grain.  I think I like it better than rice or corn!  One of the reasons why I like it so much is because it is so versatile:  You can eat it for breakfast, for lunch or for dinner!

The Benefits of Quinoa are overwhelming — Quinoa is more beneficial than any other grain.  Finding Quinoa was one of the most important side effect of becoming Gluten Free!!

The Made Just Right by Earth Balance website/blog featured an article on Quinoa that is very interesting and informative.  Here is an excerpt from the article:

5 Benefits of Quinoa for Vegan, Gluten Free Diets

1.it is considered a complete protein because it contains all essential amino acids.

2.it is a good source of Omega-3 fatty acids, which have important anti-inflammatory (and more!) properties

3.it is a good source of the antioxidant, Vitamin E

4.it is high in nutrients like calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, iron, and zinc (many with Celiac disease lack some of these nutrients)

5.it is high in dietary fiber (36% soluble, 64% insoluble)

The articles goes on to explain how to prepare and cook Quinoa.  Make sure to check out the extra tips included in the original article.

Personally, I eat Quinoa as a breakfast cereal.  Just cook up a cup or so, add coconut milk, raisins, and cinnamon and enjoy!

My favorite Quinoa recipe, by far, is Quinoa Tabouli Salad which works great as a lunch dish.

For dinner (or supper), Bell Peppers Stuffed with Quinoa sounds delicious

Gluten Free Vegan Living has lots of recipes and posts about Quinoa.  What is your favorite way to eat Quinoa?

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GMO and Gluten Free Foods

Posted October 12, 2012 By Sandy

I find it very annoying when people say, or worse yet, post on the web, that switching to Gluten Free is the healthiest thing they can do — regardless of what they eat.  There are plenty of bad gluten free foods out there that are far from healthy.   Of course, for us gluten intolerant or celiac folks , we don’t have a choice to whether or not we eat gluten.  But how about the QUALITY of the Gluten Free foods you are eating.  Did you know that LOTS of Gluten Free foods contain GMO.

GMO is a genetically modified organism  —  an organism whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques.  If you have been following the news, studies have shown that GMO food can cause an array of nasty side effects including cancer and premature death.

Now, back to how Gluten Free foods contain GMOs.  If you don’t eat wheat, barley or rye, what is the next most common gluten free grain?  Corn!  And corn is the most likely grain to be GMO.

The following article by Mike Adams, editor of Natural News, explains further:

(NaturalNews) In the wake of all the recent revelations about the dangers of GMOs, a special warning needs to go out to all those health-conscious consumers buying “gluten-free” foods. As it turns out, most “gluten-free” foods sold in the USA contain genetically modified organisms.

Why is this so? Because the primary ingredient in most gluten-free foods is corn. And most corn-based foods are made with genetically modified corn. Around 85% of the conventional corn grown in the USA is genetically modified corn, and that corn is engineered to produce its own deadly insecticide right inside every grain.

When GM corn is harvested and made into gluten-free foods, the insecticide stays with it and resides in the gluten-free food. As a result, people who are buying gluten-free are often exposing themselves to the risk of toxicity from GM corn.

As Mike points out, the best way to avoid GMO and still eat corn based foods is to find  certified organic corn products.

Personally, my husband and I had big corn chip and taco eaters.  What do we do?  Costco carries a brand of organic corn chips that we buy regularly (sorry don’t remember the brand, but it is in a big brown bag).  Food for Life Brand makes a delicious organic sprouted corn tortillas that we use for our tacos — which you could also cut up and fry into chips.

Mike also suggests to check the labels on all the food you buy.  Unfortunately, companies are not required to put GMO ingredients on the label, so look for organic corn products.  (Watch the Proposition 37 Ballot Measure coming up in California.  Passage of this measure could be the starting point for a change in the labeling laws.) Mike says …

Do the ingredients include corn? Corn syrup? Maltodextrin? These are all corn derivatives, and if they’re not USDA organic, they’re likely to be genetically modified.Of course, this is NOT true outside the USA. GMOs are already banned in many countries, and GMO labeling laws exist in prominent nations around the world. This article is written solely for American consumers who remain inundated with genetically modified corn grown from the evil seed of Monsanto and other biotech seed suppliers.
In conclusion, eating Gluten Free is good, but we need to watch our labels to make sure our Gluten Free food is really the healthiest Gluten Free food.
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Gluten Free Grain: Teff

Posted June 30, 2012 By Sandy

Teff, originally from Ethiopia, is one of the tiniest seeds in the whole grain category.

Read more about Teff on my Squidoo Lens:  Gluten Free Grains!

Awesome Gluten Free Vegan Peanut Butter Cookies


  • 1 1/2 cups teff flour ( we use Bob’s Red Mill Teff Flour)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt ( or plain salt even)
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup ( which can be replaced by agave nectar, if you can’t eat syrup)
  • 1/2 cup canola oil ( or any vegetable based)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla ( Frontier makes gluten free vanilla)
  • 1 cup peanut butter


  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. In a large bowl combine dry ingredients, set aside.
  3. In a food processor blend syrup, oil, vanilla and peanut butter.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry, blend well.
  5. Shape dough into walnut sized balls.
  6. Place on a slightly greased cookie sheet and flatten gently with the tines of a fork.
  7. Bake about 13-15 minutes.
  8. Cool on wire rack.

Recipe source:  http://www.food.com/recipe/awesome-gluten-free-vegan-peanut-butter-cookies-171561

Sources:   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teff

Amazing Grains: Creating Vegetarian Main Dishes with Whole Grains

Complete Gluten-Free Cookbook: 150 Gluten-Free, Lactose-Free Recipes, Many with Egg-Free Variations

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Gluten Free Grains: Sorghum

Posted June 23, 2012 By Sandy

Sorghum, originally grown by impoverished people in Africa and Asia.

Read more about Sorghum on my Squidoo Lens:  Gluten Free Grains!

Gluten Free Vegan Snack Cookies

 By valgal123


1 cup raw sunflower seed, finely ground (equals about 1 1/4 cups ground)
1 cup sorghum flour
1/4 cup tapioca flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder (I used our corn-free baking powder)
1/2 teaspoon guar gum or 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/3 cup grapeseed oil or 1/3 cup melted coconut oil
1/3 cup grade b maple syrup
2 tablespoons applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4-1/2 cup chopped raisins


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Grind the seeds in a food processor, coffee grinder, or the dry container of the Vita-Mix (which is what I use). Place them into a large bowl with the flours, cinnamon, baking powder, guar gum, and salt. Whisk together well.

3. In a separate bowl or liquid glass measure whisk together the wet ingredients (oil, syrup, applesauce, and vanilla).

4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry. Add the chopped raisins. Whisk together. Then continue to mix with a wooden spoon until the dough thickens, another 60 seconds or so.

5. Roll dough into 1-inch balls and place onto a greased cookie sheet. Gently flatten each ball with the bottom of an oiled glass.

6. Bake for about 15 minutes. The cookies won’t brown on top but will on the bottom. Cool on a wire rack.

RECIPE SOURCE:   http://www.food.com/recipe/gluten-free-vegan-snack-cookies-419831#ixzz1ydWqT2TK


Amazing Grains: Creating Vegetarian Main Dishes with Whole Grains

Complete Gluten-Free Cookbook: 150 Gluten-Free, Lactose-Free Recipes, Many with Egg-Free Variations

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Gluten Free Grain: Rice

Posted June 9, 2012 By Sandy

Rice is second only to corn as the most important staple food in the world.

Read more about Rice on my Squidoo Lens:  Gluten Free Grains!

Mexican Rice

2 ounces tomatoes, very ripe and cored (see note below)
1 medium white onion
3 medium jalapenos
2 cups long grain white rice
1/3 cup canola oil (or coconut oil)
4 minced garlic cloves
2 cups vegetable broth (original recipe called for chicken broth)
1 tablespoon tomato paste (may omit if using canned tomatoes)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, minced
1 lime


  1. Adjust rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350.
  2. Process tomato and onion in processor or blender until pureed and thoroughly smooth. Transfer mixture to measuring cup and reserve exactly 2 cups. Discard excess.
  3.  Remove ribs and seeds from 2 jalapenos and discard. Mince flesh and set aside. Mince remaining jalapeno. Set aside.
  4. Place rice in a fine mesh strainer and rinse under cold running water until water runs clear- about 1 1/2 minutes.Shake rice vigorously to remove excess water.This step removes the starch from the rice so it will not stick. IF YOU OMIT THIS STEP YOUR RICE WILL NOT BE DRY AND FLUFFY.
  5. Heat oil in heavy bottomed ovensafe 12 inch straight sided sautee pan or Dutch oven with tight fitting lid over low-medium heat about 2 minutes. (The recipe is very specific about this but I used a 10 inch dutch oven and it worked out fine.) Drop a few rice grains in and if they sizzle then it is ready. Add rice and fry stirring until rice is light golden and translucent, about 6-8 minutes. Be careful that the oil doesn’t get too hot too fast or the oil will splatter.
  6. Reduce heat to medium, add garlic and 2 minced jalapenos and cook , stirring constantly until fragrant, about 1 1/2 minutes.
  7. Stir in broth, pureed mixture,tomato paste, and salt. Increase heat to medium high, and bring to a boil.
  8.  Cover pan and transfer pan to oven to bake until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender, 30-35 minutes.Stir well after 15 minutes.
  9. Stir in cilantro, minced jalapeno to taste, and pass lime wedges separately.


  • If you can’t get good fresh tomatoes you are better off using canned tomatoes. Don’t use those awful hard and underipe tomatoes that are at most supermarket chains. Just be sure that the processed tomatoes and the one onion equals 2 cups. One the other hand- if you find that after processing your tomatoes and onions that you have less than 2 cups- simply add enough bottled salsa to make up the difference.
  •  Do not skip any of the steps. It may seem stupid- but rinsing the rice to remove the starch is very important if you want fluffy rice. It will only take two minutes of your time but it makes the difference.
  •  Leftovers are just as delicious the next day so this is a perfect dish to make ahead time for potlucks. This rice also freezes well. For Freezing Ahead: Cool, portion and freeze in a ziploc bag. To reheat from frozen: Place in a pyrex dish and warm in the microwave, stirring every 2-3 minutes until heated through.

Recipe Source: http://www.food.com/recipe/mexican-rice-117892#ixzz1xKUoiJZn

Other Sources:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rice;   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_rice_varieties

Amazing Grains: Creating Vegetarian Main Dishes with Whole Grains

Complete Gluten-Free Cookbook: 150 Gluten-Free, Lactose-Free Recipes, Many with Egg-Free Variations

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Gluten Free Grains: Quinoa

Posted June 2, 2012 By Sandy

Quinoa, nicknamed “the mother of all grain” for its high nutritional value, is actually a pseudo grain belonging to the Goosefoot family

Read more about Quinoa on my Squidoo Lens:  Gluten Free Grains!

Quinoa Salsa Salad

3 tablespoons gluten free salsa
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons chili powder
Salt and freshly ground pepper

SaladGluten Free Grains -- quinoa
1 cup cooked quinoa
1 cup cooked wild rice
½ cup rinsed and drained canned black beans
½ cup rinsed and drained canned red kidney beans
½ cup corn kernels
½ cup chopped celery
½ cup chopped red bell pepper
¼ cup chopped red onion
2 Tablespoons snipped fresh cilantro

1.    Prepare the dressing:  In a small bowl, whisk together salsa oil, vinegar, chili powder and salt and pepper to taste.  Set aside for at least 1 hour.  Store in a covered jar in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.

2.    Prepare the salad:  In a large bowl, combine quinoa, wild rice, black beans, kidney beans, corn, celery, red pepper, red onion and cilantro.

3.    Pour dressing over salad and toss well to coat.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight to allow flavors to develop and blend.

Recipe Source: Complete Gluten-Free Cookbook: 150 Gluten-Free, Lactose-Free Recipes, Many with Egg-Free Variations

Resources: Amazing Grains: Creating Vegetarian Main Dishes with Whole Grains



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