Gluten for Punishment

It seems many people are going gluten-free these days. Medical and personal reasons are cited as the explanations for this. Anecdotal evidence suggests that a gluten-free diet results in weight loss and improved health. Experts, however, are not unanimous in their support of these claims. Is gluten really the enemy? If you have Celiac’s disease, the answer is yes but if you don’t, why forsake it?

Variety is the spice of life and also the foundation for a healthy diet. As much as I enjoy eating gluten (freshly baked bread, real pasta and the occasional cake/cookie), I also enjoy experimenting with different types of flour in baking.

Legume-based
chickpea/garbanzo bean, red bean, black bean, green pea, soy
These flours help provide structure to baked goods and provide a source of plant-based protein for vegetarians/vegans.

Grain-based
rice, teff, sorghum, millet
These grains can be cooked like porridge or ground into flour. Kamut is an ancient grain and often given the moniker ‘King Tut’s wheat’ (legend has it that it was found in the Egyptian boy King’s tomb). The others are widely used in Africa and Asia.

Pseudo-grain
quinoa, buckwheat, wild rice
Quinoa is related to beets and buckwheat is related to rhubarb; both add a nutty flavour to baked goods. Wild rice is actually a grass and pairs well with real rice.

Vegetable-based
potato, corn, cassava/tapioca, sweet potato
These flours provide starch which mimics the adhesive action of gluten.

Eating a combination of gluten grains with non-gluten ones in moderation makes for a well-balanced and creative diet.

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