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5 Gluten-Free Flours

Mel, selected from Natural Solutions magazine     April 25, 2010
By Matthew Kadey, RD, Natural Solutions

Going gluten free doesn’t have to mean forsaking your favorite flour-filled foods. Thanks to the growing popularity of gluten-free flour, baking and cooking without wheat is easier than ever. Alternative flours also have higher amounts of protein, vitamins, minerals, and fiber than white and wheat flours, increasing food’s nutritional value while adding new tastes and textures. Whether you’re avoiding gluten or simply looking for a healthier cookie or savory crust, here are five flours to tempt your tongue and nourish your body.

Almond flour
Baking or cooking with this flour, made from pulverized, blanched almonds, is a surefire way to add extra bone-building calcium to your diet: A half-cup serving has 12 percent of your daily requirement–six times the amount of that in “light” whole-wheat flour. Almond flour is also high in vitamin E and monounsaturated fat, which can help keep cholesterol levels in check. Increasing vitamin E intake may also slash lung cancer risk by more than 50 percent, according to a 2008 study by University of Texas researchers.

If you can’t find the flour in stores, buy blanched almonds, available at most natural food markets, and grind them to a fine powder in a coffee grinder or food processor, says Carol Fenster, PhD, author of Gluten-Free Quick & Easy (Avery, 2007). “But don’t overgrind,”she cautions. “Almond flour can quickly become pasty almond butter.”

Try it: Fenster says almond flour’s rich taste works well in shortbread, biscotti, cookies, piecrusts, fruit crisps, scones, and flourless cakes. “I often add as much as 1/3 cup of almond flour to bread recipes for a heartier texture.” You can also use the flour to dredge fish, chicken, or pork before panfrying.

Rice flour
Made from finely milled broken rice-kernel hulls, this pantry staple has a milder taste than most gluten-free flours. “When possible, choose brown-rice flour over white for the extra potassium, calcium, iron, B vitamins, fiber, and protein,” says Marlisa Brown, RD, author of Gluten-Free, Hassle Free (Demos Medical Publishing, 2009). One cup of brown-rice flour has three times more vitamin B6 than whole-wheat flour; this oft-ignored B vitamin may slash colorectal cancer risk by half, according to a 2009 Harvard study.

Try it: Great for mixing into bean burgers, rice flour is also ideal for making muffins, breads, pizza crust, and homemade crackers and pasta. Not everyone loves the flour’s sandy texture, though, and if that includes you, try replacing a quarter or more of rice flour in recipes with other flours, “particularly those high in protein to balance texture and build structure,” Brown says. To thicken gravies and sauces, gradually add a small amount of rice flour while stirring over low heat until it reaches desired thickness.

Hempseed flour 
Half a cup of hempseed flour boasts twice as much protein (about 20 grams) and three times more cholesterol-busting fiber than whole-wheat flour. This unique option also contains all essential amino acids, making it a good source of protein for vegetarians. Compared to other flours, hempseed contains more alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid that may reduce the risk of heart attack, according to a 2009 study published in the Journal of Oleo Science.

Try it: Hempseed flour’s nutty, earthy flavor adds a distinct taste to pancakes, waffles, energy bars, oatmeal cookies, and nut breads. But too much of this hearty flour can produce an unappetizing, gritty texture. Brown suggests replacing 25 percent of the white or wheat flour found in recipes with hempseed and experimenting from there.

Teff flour 
Indigenous to Ethiopia, the tiny teff grain is high in protein and trumps other flours in terms of iron: One half-cup serving provides up to a quarter of the daily recommendation for the mineral, essential for delivering oxygen to cells. A 2007 Penn State University study found that even a moderate iron deficiency in women can hinder memory and learning.

Try it: In Ethiopia, teff is used to make injera, a traditional sourdough-like flatbread. For more Americanized baking, blend teff’s sweet, almost malty flavor blends into brownies, chocolate cupcakes, waffles, quick breads, muffins, and gingerbread cookies. In recipes for these foods, substitute teff for as much as a third of the called-for flour. “Because of its darker color, teff should be limited to darker foods,” says Fenster. (Read: No white cakes.)

Quinoa flour
Although many gluten-free flours are nutritional stars compared to traditional options, quinoa is a true standout. Regarded as a source of strength by the Incas, easy-to-digest quinoa contains all essential amino acids, along with a hefty dose of fiber, zinc, folate, and iron–and 40 percent of your recommended daily intake of magnesium in a half-cup serving. A 2009 study of more than 64,000 women published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that subjects with higher magnesium intakes were at lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Try it: If banana bread, shortcake, and carrot muffins could speak, they would tell quinoa flour, “You complete me.” But its robust, nutty flavor can overpower baked items, so start by substituting the flour for no more than a quarter of the total volume of flour called for in a recipe. “In small amounts, quinoa flour produces a wonderful, delicate, and tender crumb,” Fenster says.

Baking Tips for Gluten-Free Flours
Gluten contributes important qualities such as structure and rise to baked and cooked foods, so simply replacing white or wheat flour cup for cup with a gluten-free alternative is not recommended. To avoid frustration, “start with recipes designed for gluten-free cooking until you get the feel for how they work,” says Marlisa Brown, RD, author of Gluten-Free, Hassle Free (Demos Health, 2009). When you become familiar with gluten-free flours’ characteristics, take the next step and experiment with a store-bought gluten-free flour blend, such as Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Flour. You can also make your own blend by following Brown’s simple recipe: Combine 1/2 cup brown-rice flour with 1 1/2 cups sorghum flour, 1 1/2 cups potato starch or cornstarch, 1 cup tapioca flour, and 1/2 cup high-protein flour, like quinoa, hempseed, or almond. Use the blends, cup for cup, in any recipe that calls for traditional flour.

How to Buy and Store Specialty Flours
1. Buy in bulk bags to limit cross-contamination with gluten flours. Visit busy natural foods stores where there’s plenty of foot traffic to ensure frequent product turnover.
2. To preserve freshness, don’t mix newly purchased flour with old flour. The average shelf life for unrefrigerated flour is six months.
3. Store flour you can’t use immediately in a tightly sealed container in your refrigerator or freezer, where it can keep for one year. Refrigeration is especially important for flours made from ground whole grains, nuts, or seeds–they have a greater tendency to go rancid because their oils and proteins aren’t stripped away by processing. For everyday access, store small amounts of flour in mason-style jars in a cool, dark place.
4. Placing a bay leaf in flour canisters will help protect against infestation from pantry insects such as weevils. (The bay leaf will not affect flour’s flavor.)
5. When using flour that has been refrigerated or frozen, be sure to bring it back to room temperature before measuring. Cold flour can thwart rising, resulting in a heavier, denser baked item.

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10 Health Benefits of Buckwheat

Diana Herrington   January 23, 2013

Contrary to its name, this fruit seed is not in any way related to wheat.
Buckwheat is a gluten free power food!
It is becoming very popular for many good reasons.
It is a highly nourishing, energizing and tasty food that can be eaten instead of rice or the usual porridge.

10 Health Benefits:

1. Best source of high-quality, easily digestible proteins.
This makes it an excellent meat substitute.
High protein buckwheat flour is being studied for possible use in foods to reduce plasma cholesterol, body fat, and cholesterol gallstones.

2.  Fat alternative. 
Buckwheat starch can also act as a fat alternative in processed foods.

3.  The high level of rutin is extracted from the leaves for medicine to treat high blood pressure.

4.  Non allergenic. 
Buckwheat hulls are used as pillow stuffing for those allergic to feathers, dust, and pollen.

5. May help diabetes.
New evidence has found that buckwheat may be helpful in the management of diabetes according to Canadian researchers in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
With a glycemic index of 54, it lowers blood sugars more slowly than rice or wheat products.

6. Great for the digestion.
“The properties of buckwheat are: Neutral thermal nature; sweet flavor; cleans and strengthens the intestines and improves appetite. Is effective for treating dysentery and chronic diarrhea.”  According to Paul Pitchford in Healing with Whole Foods (1993)

7. Chemical free.
Buckwheat grows so quickly that it does not usually require a lot of pesticides or other chemicals to grow well.

8.  Buckwheat is good at drawing out retained water and excess fluid from swollen areas of the body.
Read how to make a Buckwheat Plaster.

9.  Buckwheat is a warming food.
It is classified by macrobiotics as a yang food. It is great for eating in the cold winter months.

10.  Buckwheat contains no gluten and is not a grain.
It is therefore great for celiacs and those on grain free and gluten sensitive diets.

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Gluten-free not just a fad for some

A gluten-free diet is the only medical treatment for two health conditions
By Lee Marshall, CBC News Posted: May 1, 2013

When arm pain made it difficult for Victoria Yeh to play her electric violin, she decided to make a change.

Yeh suffered from chronic headaches, nausea, sinus inflammation, stomach pain, gas and digestive issues for several years. But the pain was Yen’s biggest motivation to follow her doctor’s advice to avoid gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye.

“I consider gluten-free to be a diet of necessity. I wasn’t healthy, I was really thin and I would get sick often,” said Yeh.

Eliminating gluten from her diet had a positive effect. “I put on more weight and put on more body fat, and I’m much healthier now.”

These days, lots of people are giving up gluten. Eighteen per cent of American adults buy gluten-free products, according to market researcher Packaged Facts. Some eat gluten-free to treat celiac disease, the autoimmune disorder triggered by gluten. Some are fad dieters who think it will help them lose weight.

But Yeh is eating gluten-free for another reason.

She is one of an increasing number who are reporting non-celiac gluten-sensitivity.

Experts estimate that celiac disease affects one per cent of Canadians. It prevents the uptake of nutrients from food by damaging the small intestine and can lead to neurological disorders and vitamin deficiencies, like anemia or osteoporosis. Celiac disease has even been linked to infertility, schizophrenia and cancer. The only treatment is a strict gluten-free diet.

Less is known about non-celiac gluten-sensitivity.

Dr. Mohsin Rashid, a gastroenterologist at the IWK Health Centre in Halifax, says that non-celiac gluten-sensitivity is a newly coined phenomenon. “We don’t know exactly what happens. We’re just trying to probe the surface of this issue.”

What doctors do know is that people with non-celiac gluten-sensitivity have celiac-like gastrointestinal and neurological side- effects but no autoimmune reaction to gluten. There is no way to diagnosis sensitivity: the blood-tests and biopsy for celiac disease come back negative.

But some researchers think non-celiac gluten-sensitivity may be more prevalent than celiac disease and that the prevalence may be increasing at a faster rate.

It’s a lifestyle, not a diet

The gluten-free industry is valued at $4.2 billion US and it’s still growing. Industry sales are projected to exceed $6.6 billion US by 2017, according to Packaged Facts.

But eating gluten-free is still challenging because gluten is so ubiquitous. It’s in the obvious products, like bread, pasta, and cookies, but it is also lurking in many prepared foods, like soup, salad dressing, and soy sauce.

“You will never be successful with the gluten-free diet if you just simply see it as a diet. It really is a lifestyle change,” said Yeh.

Registered dietitian Alexandra Anca in Toronto says that gluten-free eating isn’t inherently healthy for those without a medical reason to follow the diet. She says gluten-free processed foods are often low in fibre and nutrients like calcium, vitamin D and folate.

Diet books, like Wheat Belly by Dr. William Davis, encourage the gluten-free diet as a weight loss strategy.

But Anca said the diet can actually lead to weight gain. “Most [processed] gluten-free foods offer a higher amount of carbohydrates, fat and calories all in all,” said Anca.

For anyone eating gluten-free, Anca recommends eating a variety of healthy carbohydrates like quinoa, flax, sorghum, millet and teff.

Potential future treatments

Dr. Rashid says it isn’t yet clear why the prevalence of celiac disease and non-celiac gluten-sensitivity seem to be increasing. “All autoimmune disorders and allergies are on the rise — celiac disease is just one of them.”

But a number of therapies for gluten-related disorders are already in clinical trials.

Larazotide acetate is the pill attracting the most attention: the theory is that it works by preventing gluten from entering the lining of the small intestine.

One therapy in development involves using enzymes to break gluten into smaller non-toxic parts. Another is thought to work by attaching a chemical to gluten that makes it too big to be absorbed during digestion.

The biotechnology company ImmusanT is developing a vaccine that will increase tolerance to gluten in people with celiac disease.

Dr. Rashid says these options may be on the market within five to 10 years. But the treatments won’t reverse celiac disease or gluten-sensitivity.

“It seems that the cure will probably not be that one can eat everything,” said Dr. Rashid. Rather, treatment will protect people from small quantities of gluten.

Even without a cure, being gluten-free is becoming easier and more affordable.

There are more gluten-free products on the market, manufacturers are labeling food that contains gluten, and people with celiac disease are eligible for a gluten-free tax breaks.

Going gluten-free is hard at first but can lead to delicious and healthy eating. “One of the ancillary benefits of a gluten-free diet is that it makes you really think about what you’re eating,” said Yeh. “You’re forced to discover new foods.”

For Yeh, the initial difficulty of changing her lifestyle has been worth it. “I had been living with this brain fog for the past number of years, and I didn’t realize that I did until it was sort of lifted away from me. My pain went away.”

She is still playing her electric violin.

source: CBC

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Millet Nutrition, Benefits & Uses

Your Guide to this No-Gluten, High Vitamin B & High Calcium Grain-like Seed

Posted April 29, 2007.  

Millet is not just for the birds. When you find out all the benefits of millet nutrition, you’ll want to include this ancient prized grain-like seed in your own diet!

Most people have not even heard of millet, much less understand the benefits of millet nutrition. And yet, millet is one of the best-kept secrets of our ancient ancestors. Traced back to its origin in China, millet has been used throughout the ages and across many countries.

For centuries millet has been a prized crop in China, India, Greece, Egypt and Africa, used in everything from bread to couscous, and as cereal grain.

Millet is even mentioned as a treasured crop in the Bible.

This tiny “grain” is gluten-free and packed with vitamins and minerals. In fact, while it’s often called a grain because of it’s grain-like consistency, millet is actually a seed. It’s often used in birdseed mixture, but if you think it’s just for the birds, you’re missing out on important benefits of millet nutrition for yourself!

Millet Nutrition

Millet is one of the four gluten-free grain-like seeds on the Body Ecology program.

Some of the key reasons millet is part of your healthy Body Ecology diet is because it:

  • Does NOT feed pathogenic yeast (candida),
  • Acts as a prebiotic to feed important microflora in your inner ecosystem
  • Provides serotonin to calm and soothe your moods.
  • Helps hydrate your colon to keep you regular.
  • Is alkaline.
  • Digests easily.
  • Millet is full of nutrients your body needs, such as:
  • Magnesium
  • Calcium
  • Maganese
  • Tryptophan
  • Phoshorus
  • Fiber
  • B vitamins
  • Antioxidants

And that’s not all. Many studies have been done on millet nutrition to identify its benefits for your health. Here are some of the findings:

  • Magnesium in millet can help reduce the affects of migraines and heart attacks.
  • Niacin (vitamin B3) in millet can help lower cholesterol.
  • Phosphorus in millet helps with fat metabolism, body tissue repair and creating energy (phosphorus is an essential component ofadenosine triphosphate or ATP, a precursor to energy in your body)
  • Millet can help lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
  • Fiber from whole grains has been shown to protect against breast cancer.
  • Whole grains have been shown to protect against childhood asthma.

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Gluten: What You Don’t Know Might Kill You

Something you’re eating may be killing you, and you probably don’t even know it!

If you eat cheeseburgers or French fries all the time or drink six sodas a day, you likely know you are shortening your life. But eating a nice dark, crunchy slice of whole wheat bread-how could that be bad for you?

Well, bread contains gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, spelt, kamut, and oats. It is hidden in pizza, pasta, bread, wraps, rolls, and most processed foods. Clearly, gluten is a staple of the American diet.

What most people don’t know is that gluten can cause serious health complications for many. You may be at risk even if you don’t have full blown celiac disease.

In today’s blog I want to reveal the truth about gluten, explain the dangers, and provide you with a simple system that will help you determine whether or not gluten is a problem for you.

The Dangers of Gluten

A recent large study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that people with diagnosed, undiagnosed, and “latent” celiac disease or gluten sensitivity had a higher risk of death, mostly from heart disease and cancer. (i)

This study looked at almost 30,00 patients from 1969 to 2008 and examined deaths in three groups: Those with full-blown celiac disease, those with inflammation of their intestine but not full-blown celiac disease, and those with latent celiac disease or gluten sensitivity (elevated gluten antibodies but negative intestinal biopsy).

The findings were dramatic. There was a 39 percent increased risk of death in those with celiac disease, 72 percent increased risk in those with gut inflammation related to gluten, and 35 percent increased risk in those with gluten sensitivity but no celiac disease.

This is ground-breaking research that proves you don’t have to have full-blown celiac disease with a positive intestinal biopsy (which is what conventional thinking tells us) to have serious health problems and complications–even death–from eating gluten.

Yet an estimated 99 percent of people who have a problem with eating gluten don’t even know it. They ascribe their ill health or symptoms to something else–not gluten sensitivity, which is 100 percent curable.

And here’s some more shocking news …

Another study comparing the blood of 10,000 people from 50 years ago to 10,000 people today found that the incidences of full-blown celiac disease increased by 400 percent (elevated TTG antibodies) during that time period. (ii) If we saw a 400 percent increase in heart disease or cancer, this would be headline news. But we hear almost nothing about this. I will explain why I think that increase has occurred in a moment. First, let’s explore the economic cost of this hidden epidemic.

Undiagnosed gluten problems cost the American healthcare system oodles of money. Dr. Peter Green, Professor of Clinical Medicine for the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University studied all 10 million subscribers to CIGNA and found those who were correctly diagnosed with celiac disease used fewer medical services and reduced their healthcare costs by more than 30 perecnt. (iii) The problem is that only one percent of those with the problem were actually diagnosed. That means 99 percent are walking around suffering without knowing it, costing the healthcare system millions of dollars.

And it’s not just a few who suffer, but millions. Far more people have gluten sensitivity than you think–especially those who are chronically ill. The most serious form of allergy to gluten, celiac disease, affects one in 100 people, or three million Americans, most of who don’t know they have it. But milder forms of gluten sensitivity are even more common and may affect up to one-third of the American population.

Why haven’t you heard much about this?

Well, actually you have, but you just don’t realize it. Celiac disease and gluten sensitivity masquerade as dozens and dozens of other diseases with different names.

Gluten Sensitivity: One Cause, Many Diseases

A review paper in The New England Journal of Medicine listed 55 “diseases” that can be caused by eating gluten. (iv) These include osteoporosis, irritable bowel disease, inflammatory bowel disease, anemia, cancer, fatigue, canker sores, (v) and rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, and almost all other autoimmune diseases. Gluten is also linked to many psychiatric (vi) and neurological diseases, including anxiety, depression, (vii) schizophrenia, (viii) dementia, (ix) migraines, epilepsy, and neuropathy (nerve damage). (x) It has also been linked to autism.(ix)

We used to think that gluten problems or celiac disease were confined to children who had diarrhea, weight loss, and failure to thrive. Now we know you can be old, fat, and constipated and still have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.

Gluten sensitivity is actually an autoimmune disease that creates inflammation throughout the body, with wide-ranging effects across all organ systems including your brain, heart, joints, digestive tract, and more. It can be the single cause behind many different “diseases.” To correct these diseases, you need to treat the cause–which is often gluten sensitivity-not just the symptoms.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that ALL cases of depression or autoimmune disease or any of these other problems are caused by gluten in everyone-but it is important to look for it if you have any chronic illness.

By failing to identify gluten sensitivity and celiac disease, we create needless suffering and death for millions of Americans. Health problems caused by gluten sensitivity cannot be treated with better medication. They can only be resolved by eliminating 100 percent of the gluten from your diet.

The question that remains is: Why are we so sensitive to this “staff of life,” the staple of our diet?

There are many reasons …

They include our lack of genetic adaptation to grasses, and particularly gluten, in our diet. Wheat was introduced into Europe during the Middle Ages, and 30 percent of people of European descent carry the gene for celiac disease (HLA DQ2 or HLA DQ8), (xii) which increases susceptibility to health problems from eating gluten.

American strains of wheat have a much higher gluten content (which is needed to make light, fluffy Wonder Bread and giant bagels) than those traditionally found in Europe. This super-gluten was recently introduced into our agricultural food supply and now has “infected” nearly all wheat strains in America.

To find out if you are one of the millions of people suffering from an unidentified gluten sensitivity, just follow this simple procedure.

The Elimination/Reintegration Diet

While testing can help identify gluten sensivity, the only way you will know if this is really a problem for you is to eliminate all gluten for a short period of time (2 to 4 weeks) and see how you feel. Get rid of the following foods:

• Gluten (barley, rye, oats, spelt, kamut, wheat, triticale–see http://www.celiac.com for a complete list of foods that contain gluten, as well as often surprising and hidden sources of gluten.)

• Hidden sources (soup mixes, salad dressings, sauces, as well as lipstick, certain vitamins, medications, stamps and envelopes you have to lick, and even Play-Doh.)

For this test to work you MUST eliminate 100 percent of the gluten from your diet–no exceptions, no hidden gluten, and not a single crumb of bread.

Then eat it again and see what happens. If you feel bad at all, you need to stay off gluten permanently. This will teach you better than any test about the impact gluten has on your body.

But if you are still interested in testing, here are some things to keep in mind.

Testing for Gluten Sensitivity or Celiac Disease

There are gluten allergy/celiac disease tests that are available through Labcorp or Quest Diagnostics. All these tests help identify various forms of allergy or sensitivity to gluten or wheat. They will look for:
• IgA anti-gliadin antibodies
• IgG anti-gliadin antibodies
• IgA anti-endomysial antibodies
• Tissue transglutaminase antibody (IgA and IgG in questionable cases)
• Total IgA antibodies
• HLA DQ2 and DQ8 genotyping for celiac disease (used occasionally to detect genetic suspectibility).
• Intestinal biopsy (rarely needed if gluten antibodies are positive–based on my interpretation of the recent study)

When you get these tests, there are a few things to keep in mind.

In light of the new research on the dangers of gluten sensitivity without full blown celiac disease, I consider any elevation of antibodies significant and worthy of a trial of gluten elimination. Many doctors consider elevated anti-gliadin antibodies in the absence of a positive intestinal biopsy showing damage to be “false positives.” That means the test looks positive but really isn’t significant.

We can no longer say that. Positive is positive and, as with all illness, there is a continuum of disease, from mild gluten sensitivity to full-blown celiac disease. If your antibodies are elevated, you should go off gluten and test to see if it is leading to your health problems.

So now you see-that piece of bread may not be so wholesome after all! Follow the advice I’ve shared with you today to find out if gluten may be the hidden cause of your health problems. Simply eliminating this insidious substnace from your diet, may help you achieve lifelong vibrant health.

Are you one of the millions that have been lead to believe gluten is perfectly safe to eat?
To your good health,
Mark Hyman, MD

(i) Ludvigsson JF, Montgomery SM, Ekbom A, Brandt L, Granath F. Small-intestinal histopathology and mortality risk in celiac disease. JAMA. 2009 Sep 16;302(11):1171-8.
(ii) Rubio-Tapia A, Kyle RA, Kaplan EL, Johnson DR, Page W, Erdtmann F, Brantner TL, Kim WR, Phelps TK, Lahr BD, Zinsmeister AR, Melton LJ 3rd, Murray JA. Increased prevalence and mortality in undiagnosed celiac disease. Gastroenterology. 2009 Jul;137(1):88-93
(iii) Green PH, Neugut AI, Naiyer AJ, Edwards ZC, Gabinelle S, Chinburapa V. Economic benefits of increased diagnosis of celiac disease in a national managed care population in the United States. J Insur Med. 2008;40(3-4):218-28.
(iv) Farrell RJ, Kelly CP. Celiac sprue. N Engl J Med. 2002 Jan 17;346(3):180-8. Review.
(v) Sedghizadeh PP, Shuler CF, Allen CM, Beck FM, Kalmar JR. Celiac disease and recurrent aphthous stomatitis: a report and review of the literature. Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol Oral Radiol Endod. 2002;94(4):474-478.
(vi) Margutti P, Delunardo F, Ortona E. Autoantibodies associated with psychiatric disorders. Curr Neurovasc Res. 2006 May;3(2):149-57. Review.
(vii) Ludvigsson JF, Reutfors J, Osby U, Ekbom A, Montgomery SM. Coeliac disease and risk of mood disorders–a general population-based cohort study. J Affect Disord. 2007 Apr;99(1-3):117-26. Epub 2006 Oct 6.
(viii) Ludvigsson JF, Osby U, Ekbom A, Montgomery SM. Coeliac disease and risk of schizophrenia and other psychosis: a general population cohort study. Scand J Gastroenterol. 2007 Feb;42(2):179-85.
(ix) Hu WT, Murray JA, Greenaway MC, Parisi JE, Josephs KA. Cognitive impairment and celiac disease. Arch Neurol. 2006 Oct;63(10):1440-6.
(x) Bushara KO. Neurologic presentation of celiac disease. Gastroenterology. 2005 Apr;128(4 Suppl 1):S92-7. Review.
(xi) Millward C, Ferriter M, Calver S, Connell-Jones G. Gluten- and casein-free diets for autistic spectrum disorder. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2004;(2):CD003498. Review.
(xii) Green PH, Jabri B. Coeliac disease. Lancet. 2003 Aug 2;362(9381):383-91. Review.
Mark Hyman, M.D. practicing physician and founder of The UltraWellness Center is a pioneer in functional medicine. 

 Posted: 01/02/10         source: Huffingtonpost.com 

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Whole Grains: Teff (Eragrostis)

by Karen Railey

Teff is an intriguing grain, ancient, minute in size, and packed with nutrition. Teff is believed to have originated in Ethiopia between 4000 and 1000 BC. Teff seeds were discovered in a pyramid thought to date back to 3359 BC.

The grain has been widely cultivated and used in the countries of Ethiopia, India and it’s colonies, and Australia. Teff is grown primarily as a cereal crop in Ethiopia where it is ground into flour, fermented for three days then made into enjera, a sourdough type flat bread. It is also eaten as porridge and used as an ingredient of home-brewed alcoholic drinks. The grass is grown as forage for cattle and is also used as a component in adobe construction in Ethiopia. At this time it is not widely known or used in the U.S., though it is cultivated in South Dakota and Idaho and is available in many health food stores.

The word teff is thought to have been derived from the Amharic word teffa which means “lost,” due to small size of the grain and how easily it is lost if dropped. It is the smallest grain in the world, measuring only about 1/32 of an inch in diameter and taking 150 grains to weigh as much as one grain of wheat. The common English names for teff are teff, lovegrass, and annual bunch grass.

Because the grains of teff are so small, the bulk of the grain consists of the bran and germ. This makes teff nutrient dense as the bran and germ are the most nutritious parts of any grain. This grain has a very high calcium content, and contains high levels of phosphorous, iron, copper, aluminum, barium, and thiamin. It is considered to have an excellent amino acid composition, with lysine levels higher than wheat or barley. Teff is high in protein, carbohydrates, and fiber. It contains no gluten so it is appropriate for those with gluten intolerance.

The color of the Teff grains can be ivory, light tan to deep brown or dark reddish brown purple, depending on the variety. Teff has a mild, nutty, and a slight molasses like sweetness. The white teff has a chestnut-like flavor and the darker varieties are earthier and taste more like hazelnuts. The grain is somewhat mucilaginous. It is interesting that documents dated in the late 1800’s indicate the upper class consumed the lighter grains, the dark grain was the food of soldiers and servants, and cattle consumed hay made from teff.

Teff is a fine stemmed, tufted annual grass characterized by a large crown, many shoots, and a shallow diverse root system. The plants germinate quickly and are adapted to environments ranging from drought stress to water logged soil conditions. It is a reliable low risk crop. There are 250 known species of Eragrostis, or love grasses, but only a few are of significant agricultural value.

Teff is a very versatile grain. Teff flour can be used as a substitute for part of the flour in baked goods, or the grains added uncooked or substituted for part of the seeds, nuts, or other small grains. Due to it’s small size, only 1/2 Cup of teff is needed to replace 1 cup of sesame seeds. It is a good thickener for soups, stews, gravies, and puddings and can also be used in stir-fry dishes, and casseroles. Teff may be added to soups or stews in either of two ways: 1) Add them, uncooked to the pot a half-hour before serving time. 2) Add them cooked to the pot 10 minutes before serving. Cooked teff can be mixed with herbs, seeds, beans or tofu, garlic, and onions to make grain burgers. The seeds can also be sprouted and the sprouts used in salads and on sandwiches.

To cook teff place 2 cups purified water, 1/2 cup teff, and 1/4 tsp. sea salt (optional) in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer covered for 15 to 20 minutes or until the water is absorbed. Remove from heat and let stand covered for 5 minutes.

Teff should be stored in a cool, dark, dry place in tightly covered containers such as glass jars. Cooked Teff can be kept in the refrigerator, but should be used within a few days.

This grain would be a worthy and healthful addition to your diet. Be creative, use your imagination, and enjoy this wonderful nutritious grain.

source: ChetDay.com


Amazing Amaranth

Try this gluten-free grain
by Pamela Durkin

         Does your intake of whole grains consist of the reliable, but rather mundane duo, whole wheat and brown rice? Or do you find that gluten-containing grains wreak havoc with your digestive system? If you answered yes to either question, consider adding amaranth and its health benefits to your culinary repertoire.

This ancient gluten-free grain, once prized by the Aztecs, is experiencing a renaissance fuelled by its remarkable nutritional profile, great taste, and versatility in the kitchen.


A relative of the common pigweed, amaranth was a staple in the diets of pre-Columbian Aztecs in Mexico and Peru. There are actually over 50 different plant species in the genus Amaranthus. The tiny seeds the Aztecs prized, now commonly referred to as a grain, played an intricate role in their religious ceremonies and rituals.

The Aztecs believed that consuming amaranth imparted increased energy and strength. When the invading Spanish conquistadors arrived in Mexico in the 1500s they swiftly set about eradicating the Aztecs’ beloved crop—very few plants survived. Thankfully, the plant made a comeback in Mexico, and more recently, its growing reputation as a superfood has ignited interest in amaranth in other parts of the world. It is now cultivated in the US, South America, Europe, and China.

Nutritional profile

What’s in amaranth that garners such attention? Plenty—although tiny in size, the tan-coloured seeds pack a nutritional punch that is unrivalled among cereal grains. Amaranth is loaded with calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, and B vitamins. It is also high in protein and abundant in lysine, an essential amino acid missing from most grains.

Unlike other grains, amaranth is a rich source of essential fatty acids, including the heart-healthy oleic acid normally associated with olive oil. But its nutrient density doesn’t end there—amaranth is also chock full of health-enhancing peptides and phytochemicals such as rutin, nicotiflorin, squalene, and lunasin. This all-star lineup of nutrients can improve your health in several ways.

Cancer prevention

Adding amaranth to your menu may be one of your best defences against cancer. Lunasin, a bioactive peptide in amaranth, has been shown to inhibit the development of cancer cells. While soy also contains lunasin, researchers have found that the lunasin in amaranth penetrates the nucleus of cancer cells more rapidly. There’s more good news—scientists have discovered that squalene, one of amaranth’s antioxidant compounds, may halt the blood supply to tumours.

Knocks out cardiovascular disease

Oats get most of the attention when it comes to heart-healthy grains, but amaranth is equally good for our ticker. Several animal studies have demonstrated amaranth’s ability to lower triglycerides and LDL (bad) cholesterol.

Recently, Russian researchers confirmed amaranth oil’s heart-healthy benefits in humans. They found that amaranth consumption significantly lowered blood pressure, triglycerides, and LDL cholesterol; and aided in heart rhythm normalization. Not surprisingly, researchers reached the conclusion that amaranth should be considered a functional food in the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease.

Strengthens bones

When it comes to bones, amaranth offers up a payload of minerals renowned for keeping them strong—calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and manganese. Mother Nature also wisely added high amounts of the amino acid lysine to this mix.

What’s lysine got to do with bone health? Plenty—it helps the body absorb calcium and decreases the amount of calcium lost in urine. Lysine also plays a role in the formation of collagen, a substance crucial for sturdy bones. Furthermore, studies indicate lysine and L-arginine, another amino acid, work together to make bone-building cells more active.

Irons out anemia

Anemia makes you pale and weak, and can cause headaches and a poor appetite. Not getting enough iron in your diet can increase your risk for anemia. Amaranth can help. Loaded with 5.17 mg per 1 cup (250 mL) serving, amaranth provides plenty of iron to keep anemia at bay.

Brain food

A bowl of amaranth may be as good for your noggin as it is for your heart. Rutin and nicotiflorin, two polyphenols found in amaranth, have established anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Science has now provided evidence that they also have a neuroprotective effect. A recent study found that they not only decreased inflammatory cytokines, but also aided in the repair of damaged brain cells.

Preparation and serving suggestions

To cook one serving of amaranth: 

Bring 1 cup (250 mL) liquid to a boil, add 1/4 cup (60 mL) amaranth, cover and reduce to simmer. Cook for 20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.

For a nutritious breakfast: 

Cook amaranth in milk and top with nuts and dried fruit.

As a nutritious topping and snack:

You can pop amaranth seeds just like popcorn. Popped amaranth makes a crunchy topping for salads and soups. It can also be mixed with honey, dried fruit, and nuts to make energy bars. In Mexico it is mixed with molasses to make a crunchy snack called alegria, which means joy or happiness in Spanish.

To make a savoury side dish: 

Cook amaranth in stock or juice; add your favourite seasonings and a dollop of butter. A blend of apple juice, garlic, and ginger makes a perfect simmering medium for amaranth.

As a thickener: 

Add a few tablespoons of amaranth to help thicken soups, stews, or gravies.

As a rice substitute:

Cooked amaranth can be refried in place of rice.

It can also be added to muffins or cookies for added nutrition and texture.

Nutritional all-star
1 cup (250 mL) cooked amaranth contains~
   9.35 g   protein
   5.2 g     fibre
   116 mg  calcium
   364 mg  phosphorus
   332 mg  potassium
   5.17 mg  iron
   2.12 mg  zinc
   0.37 mg  copper
  13.5 mcg selenium 
   0.58 mg  niacin
   0.05 mg  riboflavin 
   0.28 mg  vitamin B6 
   54 m       folate

About the Author

Pamela Durkin is a registered nutritional consultant and freelance writer. She adores all-star grains such as amaranth.

source: Alive.com

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8 Great Gluten-Free Foods You Need to Know

By Katrine van Wyk

You can certainly live a delicious and gluten-free life without resorting to cardboard crackers or highly processed, gluten-free baked goods and cookies!

There are plenty of nutritious alternatives out there that also happen to be gluten-free. Whether you just want to cut back on your intake of this hard-to digest, glue-like protein, have an allergy or sensitivity to gluten or you simply want some new ideas to supplement in to your diet – these foods will rock your boat!

1. Quinoa

Quinoa is actually a seed, a member of the grass family and not even a grain at all! It is however often referred to as a grain because of having similar flavor and cooking properties. This now hugely popular (read trendy!) food can be found in all sort of salad combination, in protein bars, crackers and even chocolate! I love making a bowl of quinoa, topped with steamed vegetables and a big poor of creamy sauce from herbs and nuts (very much inspired by Café Gratitude! ) One of the huge benefits of quinoa, especially for someone living on a plant based diet, is that it contains all nine essential amino acids, making it a complete protein!

2. Millet

This is quinoa’s somewhat dryer sister and another great source of protein for people on a plant based diet. Millet is in fact a mineral-rich seed often found in birdseed mixes (fun fact!) It makes a mean mashed potato substitute when mixed and mashed up with some steamed or roasted cauliflower. Leftover cooked millet makes an easy breakfast porridge when mixed with some almond milk, cardamom, raw honey and fresh berries.

3. Amaranth

Amaranth is a super tiny seed similar to millet and quinoa and also a great plant source of protein, especially of the essential amino acid lysine, which other grains are low in. It is even thought to help lower cholesterol. Amaranth works great in soups, stews and porridges. The seeds are very fine and tend to get bit creamier and binding when cooked (think pudding and porridge texture!) Amaranth flour also works well in pancakes and breads. And talk about sustainability! Amaranth grows very rapidly and is thought of as a weed in many areas.

4. Brown Rice Mochi

You may have heard of mochi int eh form of  ice cream treats at Japanese restaurants. But, did you know there is also a delicious baked pastry version. Made with only brown rice this is as clean as it gets. With plenty of different flavor varieties to choose from for flavor (from dried fruit , nuts and seeds) you can satisfy both a sweet and savory craving with these warm and chewy treats. Cut up a few squares, pop it in the oven for 10 minutes and watch them rise to the occasion. I love dipping mine in some applesauce and almond butter!

5. Buckwheat Noodles

Love yourself some stir-fry or udon soup? Try using 100% buckwheat noodles next time. They have a really smooth texture and a hearty flavor that can stand up well to spicy foods.  Buckwheat is good for your cardiovascular system and great source of magnesium!  And despite it’s name, buckwheat is not related to wheat and does not contain any gluten! 

6. Chia Pudding

Folklore attests that the chia seed was cultivated by the Aztec and was so valued that it was given as an annual tribute by the people to the rulers. So, we’re talking real, ancient super food here, people! You already know these six reasons why you should eat chia, so let’s get right into the cooking!

It can be turned into a delicious and decadent pudding simply by adding your nut milk of choice, some vanilla extract, a spoon of raw cacao or carob and something sweet like honey, maple syrup or stevia. You can also stir and sprinkle chia seeds in to any smoothie recipe or your morning porridge!

7. Zucchini Noodles

That’s right. This is a great pasta and noodle alternative and it’s all about the cutting technique. If you are looking to cut down on calories, carbs and starches, these “noodles” are sure to satisfy that pasta craving! Use a spiral slicer or a mandolin to get the thin, long spaghetti like strips, dress with some fresh tomato sauce or a nutty pesto. Tada!

8. Lettuce Wraps

Need a carrier for all your stuffing? You can certainly skip the grains and pseudo-grains all together and go for leaves. Romaine and Boston lettuce leaves are big enough to hold a variety of fillings, just like a taco-shell or tortilla. You can also try to quickly blanch large collard green leaves and use those as alternative wraps. I also love using nori – think sushi maki and hand rolls. Roll up some nut butter, your favorite chopped vegetables, some avocado and a sprinkle of sprouts.