Is Farro Gluten-Free?
Farro is a grain from the same family as wheat, but it is not related to either one. It is native to Western Europe and Northern Africa. Its name means “the root” because its seeds are used in making bread or other baked goods. It grows well in areas with moderate temperatures, such as arid regions where rainfall is low and soil moisture is high. Farro flour is made from the seeds of the plant. It has a mild flavor and is suitable for baking.
The main ingredient in farro flour is water, which makes up most of its weight. Other ingredients include rye, oats, buckwheat, millet and sorghum. The mixture must be stirred constantly so that all the dry ingredients do not separate out into clumps.
The mixture is then kneaded until it becomes smooth and elastic. It may be rolled into small pieces, cut into strips or crumbled.
Faro flour is considered gluten-free since it does not contain any gluten proteins. However, some people have reactions to farro flour when they eat it; these reactions usually occur within the first few days after eating farro flour. These symptoms include diarrhea, abdominal pain and bloating.
When people with celiac disease eat farro they can experience an increase in their abdominal pain. Farro contains a high level of fructans, which is a type of carbohydrate that is not absorbed by the body. Instead, it ferments in the large intestine, causing discomfort to the person who eats it.
Some farro flours contain wheat and rye, so anyone with a gluten allergy should be careful about the brand of farro flour they buy. Farro may also be contaminated with gluten when grown in fields that have been fertilized with wheat. For these reasons, people who are sensitive to gluten should buy farro flour packaged in sealed bags rather than buying it in bulk.
Is Quinoa Gluten-Free?
Quinoa is a member of the goosefoot family, which includes leafy vegetables such as spinach and beets. It is native to the Andes Mountains in South America. For centuries, people living in the Andes have grown quinoa as a staple food because it can thrive in harsh terrain. They eat the seeds of this plant in the form of grain, similar to how people eat rice in other parts of the world. The plant grows quickly and easily without the need for much fertilizer.
Quinoa contains no gluten, but some people may be allergic or sensitive to other components of the plant. If you have celiac disease or a gluten intolerance, quinoa should be avoided.
Quinoa is high in several essential nutrients, including magnesium, iron, phosphorus, potassium and fiber. It is also a good source of protein, making it a healthy part of a balanced diet. Because the seeds are so small and delicate, they are very easy to eat and prepare.
They can easily be cooked like rice. They can also be used in breakfast cereals or added to salads and soups.
Quinoa is naturally gluten-free; no brands need to label their quinoa products as such. Even pre-packaged, pre-washed quinoa is gluten-free. However, it is important to purchase only quinoa that has been thoroughly washed to remove its bitter, saponin coating.
Saponins can cause vomiting and diarrhea in some people, particularly if consumed in large quantities.
Rice Is Gluten-Free
The term “gluten-free” usually applies to food products that do not contain wheat, rye or barley, or any ingredients made from these grains (e.g. spelt, kamut, durum).
However, rice is also a grain yet it is gluten-free. This means that rice flour can be safely categorized as a gluten-free ingredient. Some people with gluten sensitivities may also have problems with other grains, such as corn or oats.
Rice can be eaten in a wide variety of ways. It can be boiled and eaten alone or mixed with other ingredients to make rice cakes, puddings or pies. Brown rice takes longer to cook than white rice.
Jasmine and basmati are popular varieties of rice eaten by themselves or used as an ingredient in cooking various dishes. Glutinous or sweet rice is a starchy variety of rice that is used to make mochi in Japan and desserts and side dishes in other parts of the world.
Rice itself is gluten-free, but it is often grown alongside other grains in fields that are also used to grow gluten grains. For this reason, some people who suffer from celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity still experience negative reactions when consuming rice.
Gluten contamination is especially likely with commercially grown rice since it is often grown in the same fields as wheat, rye or barley without being harvested and planted again between the different crop cycles. Brown rice, in particular, may be contaminated with gluten grain dust since its outer layer still contains a small amount of wheat, rye or barley.
Gluten contamination likely increases when rice is grown commercially. Small scale farmers who grow rice to feed their communities tend to take extra measures to prevent cross-contamination with gluten grains since this can make people who suffer from celiac disease or gluten intolerance very sick.
Some varieties of brown rice are more likely to be contaminated with gluten than others. Carnaiflower rice and red rices have been known to cause gluten reactions in some people with non-celiac gluten sensitivity.
The ways in which rice is processed can also have an effect on how likely it is to be contaminated with gluten grains. Brown rice naturally has a protective layer of bran which helps prevent the grains from being contaminated by gluten-containing grains. This protective layer must be removed if brown rice is to be milled into white rice.
Some manufacturers may use the same machines to process both types of rice without cleaning thoroughly between processes.
Further contamination can occur during the drying process, if the grains are transported or stored in bins or trucks that have previously held gluten grains.
Even with these risks, most people with non-celiac gluten sensitivity can tolerate some level of exposure to rice without adverse reactions. Even among those who suffer from celiac disease, a certain percentage of people still experience only mild reactions when exposed to less problematic varieties of white rice.
There are a wide variety of white rices that are naturally low in gluten and unlikely to cause adverse reactions even in people who experience severe gluten intolerance. Rice varieties such as Jasmine, Basmati, Arborio, Sushi rice and Calrose are generally safe for consumption by most people with gluten sensitivities. Other varieties such as Wehani, Texmati and Carolina are moderately low in gluten and may cause mild reactions in some people.
There is some concern about the safety of white rice produced in countries other than the U.S. or Canada due to the possibility of cross-contamination during farming and processing.
Rice from China has been found to contain high levels of inorganic arsenic and excessive levels of heavy metals such as lead and mercury.
Are you looking for the gluten-free status of a particular food? Do you want to know if that food is safe for you to eat?
You have come to the right place.
Gluten is a general name for the proteins found in grains such as wheat, barley, rye and oats. Gluten can cause problems for people who have celiac disease, a serious autoimmune disorder, as well as for people who are generally sensitive to gluten due to a medical condition known as non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) or a more general sensitivity to gluten (language borrowed from Wikipedia).
It is best to avoid all foods that contain gluten but if you are curious about a particular food item, you can check the list below. The goal of the list is to provide a quick reference as to whether particular foods are gluten-free or not.
If you click a food item that is marked green, that food is gluten-free. If you click a food that is marked red, that food contains gluten. If you click a food that is marked purple, there are conflicting opinions on whether that food is safe for you.
In the case of purple foods, do not consume that food if you are highly sensitive to gluten. If you are only mildly sensitive to gluten, you may decide to take your chances with those foods.
This means that these foods that are marked “purple” are foods that have undergone a processes to reduce the gluten content of them to below 20 PPM (Parts per Million). At this level, the Food and Drug Administration classifies these foods as “safe” for consumption by individuals with Celiac Disease.
As you can see from this list, most processed foods are off-limits for people who suffer from Celiac Disease or NCGS. This is because processed foods tend to contain gluten as a key ingredient in their makeup.
The good news is that as the demand for gluten-free foods increases, so too does the variety of gluten-free foods. The even better news is that many whole foods such as meats, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds are naturally gluten-free!
Eating a diet that focuses on whole foods, while avoiding processed foods, will ensure that you and your family get all the nutrients your bodies require to stay healthy. It will also drastically reduce your grocery bill!
In order to maintain a gluten-free diet, you must educate yourself on the many sources of gluten in modern food. Gluten can be found in the following:
Grains: Wheat (including all types of wheat such as spelt, emmer, semolina, durum, Kamut, faro, bread wheats, einkorn and rye), rye, barley and triticale (a cross between wheat and rye). For a complete list of gluten-containing grains, see this link:
Processed Foods: Food additives are mixtures used to provide flavor, color or texture to food. They are found in canned foods, frozen foods, packaged mixes (such as batters and breading), flavored oatmeals, flavored coffees and even some fruit juices. These additives are usually derived from sources that contain gluten such as wheat, barley, malt and rye.
Bakery Goods: Baked goods, such as breads, crackers, cookies and cakes, usually contain flour.
Staples: Soy sauce is made from wheat and vinegars may be made from wine, which is fermented from grapes or apples which may have been contaminated by wheat exposure. Even some fruit juices are not gluten-free because they may be contaminated during the extraction process.
Beverages: Most beers contain gluten (barley and wheat). Many distilled beverages such as whiskeys and vodkas are made from gluten-containing grains (wheat, rye or barley). Most wines are made from grapes, which may be contaminated by wheat.
Plain tea and coffee is gluten-free, but most likely packaged tea and coffee products have flour in them.
Meats: Some types of lunch meats such as salami and sausage may contain gluten. Fresh meats are naturally gluten-free.
Condiments: Some brands of mayonnaise, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, jams and fruit spreads may contain wheat as a thickening agent. Most mustards are gluten-free.
Some processed foods are now being marked as “gluten-free” so you can avoid those. But, there are still a lot of processed foods that are safe to eat. So be adventurous and try out some new recipes!
You will probably find most recipes from the internet are gluten-free since gluten has only recently become a fad, so you can find most recipes online. Also, cookbooks tend to be gluten-free or have recipes that can easily be converted to gluten-free.
The biggest thing with a gluten-free diet is to get used to reading labels on food packages. If you are still unsure about something get in contact with the manufacturer to ensure it is safe.
So you have decided to go on a gluten-free diet, but you are confused by all the conflicting information about whether or not oats are gluten-free. Let’s take a look at what is really going on with this popular grain.
Oats do contain a type of protein called avenin that is similar to the gluten found in wheat, rye and barley. This protein can potentially cause problems for some people, especially those with celiac disease. However, research has shown that most people with gluten sensitivity can tolerate oats.
Most of the oats consumed in the United States are processed into oat flour or rolled oats before being added to food products. Oat flour is typically made by milling whole oats and so it naturally contains gluten. Oat bran, which is the outside shell of the oat groat, is also often included as a cereal additive in breakfast cereals.
So, if you have celiac disease or severe gluten sensitivity you would want to avoid oats altogether.
For those with milder forms of gluten intolerance it becomes more of a gamble. Some studies have shown that when oat bran is consumed a few times each week it can reduce cholesterol levels and help prevent heart disease. There are also studies that suggest oats do not cause inflammation in the intestinal tract of those with celiac disease when consumed in moderation.
However, others suggest that while consuming oats may not be harmful for most people with gluten sensitivity they may actually cause symptoms to get worse in some individuals. There have also been tests done on mice that indicate consumption of oats may be the cause of intestinal inflammation due to an avenin content in the oats.
So, if you do decide to include oats in your diet it is best to start with a few servings each week and monitor how they are effecting your health. If you notice your symptoms getting worse or if you are experiencing any kind of intestinal pain, you may want to discontinue eating oats.
Oatmeal is a popular breakfast food most often eaten for its healthy qualities.
It is recommended that you eat foods that are high in fiber, low in fat, and low in sugar, but what gives oatmeal these positive qualities?
The entire grain has several vitamins and minerals and important health benefits. It is a natural source of antioxidants, which protect against some cancers and other diseases. It contains a lot of dietary fiber which can help prevent heart disease. The complex carbohydrates are slowly metabolized thus giving a more constant energy release rather than a sudden rise in blood sugar and then a corresponding crash later.
Even instant oatmeal that has been heavily processed retains these properties.
Oatmeal is nutritious and can have a positive effect on your overall health.
Gluten is a mixture of proteins that acts as a “glue” that holds bread, crackers and other baked goods together. For people with Celiac disease, gluten can cause an allergic reaction that damages the lining of the small intestine and prevents proper nutrient absorption. The only way to prevent this is by not eating any foods that contain gluten.
In addition to wheat, rye and barley, gluten can be found in foods that contain ingredients such as seitan, vital gluten and malt vinegar.
While many people are aware that common allergens such as peanuts and shellfish should be avoided if you have a known allergy, not many people realize that even a small amount of gluten can set off a reaction in people with Celiac disease. In addition to obvious gluten sources, food manufacturers often use gluten as a flavor enhancer in foods that don’t seem related such as crackers and even canned soups. Look for hidden sources of gluten by reading labels.
There is no cure for Celiac disease, but following a gluten free diet will prevent symptoms from getting worse and lead to improved health in general.
Bloating, diarrhea, abdominal pain and fatigue are all symptoms of celiac disease that can be alleviated by following a gluten free diet.
There are many non-food sources for gluten exposure such as lipsticks, fresheners and even Playdoh! If you have celiac disease it is important to check the label of these products to ensure they don’t contain any traces of gluten.
It is also important to be aware that medications can contain gluten as an ingredient. Always check the label of any over-the-counter or prescription drugs that you take.
If you have a gluten sensitivity it is best to stick to foods that are naturally gluten free such as fruits, vegetables, eggs and dairy products. There are many gluten free packaged goods available in most grocery stores nowadays so it is not difficult to follow a gluten free diet if you suffer from a gluten sensitivity.
Quinoa and farro are grains that can be used as a substitute for wheat in many recipes.
Soup is a perfect meal on a cold winter day. This recipe uses quinoa instead of rice to keep it gluten free.
Sources & references used in this article:
The gluten-free diet: safety and nutritional quality by L Saturni, G Ferretti, T Bacchetti – Nutrients, 2010 – mdpi.com
The gluten-free diet: how to provide effective education and resources by S Case – Gastroenterology, 2005 – Elsevier
Practical insights into gluten-free diets by JA See, K Kaukinen, GK Makharia, PR Gibson… – Nature reviews …, 2015 – nature.com