I’m often asked to define various flours, which are gluten-free, how they’re made, and how best used…you asked, here it is in brief:
Brown Rice Flour (gluten-free): Has the closest structure-building properties to white rice flour and a slight graininess with a toasty caramel-type flavor. Can be used as a thickener that contains less carbohydrates for instance in gravies, sauces, etc. Has shown less effect on blood sugar levels for diabetics.
White Rice Flour (gluten-free): Made from rice that had the bran removed from the grain. Mostly used when needed for cakes that are fine-crumbed or silky puddings or pies. I prefer this used sparingly to thicken my gravies and sauces but does affect blood sugar if too much is used.
Oat Flour (contains gluten): Made by powdering oatmeal. It has a sweet, buttery flavor and nice used to make tender cakes and desserts that are delicate. Make sure you get the gluten-free variety.
Buckwheat Flour (gluten-free): Ground from roasted whole buckwheat seeds. Has an earthy yet delicate floral flavor.
Corn Flour (gluten-free): Made by grinding whole kernels – don’t confuse with cornstarch. Gives baked goods a sweet corn flavor and that appetizing pale gold color.
Xanthan Gum (gluten-free): Not really a flour but by-product that is a natural bacterial commonly used with gluten-free flours to thicken and provide structure.
Amaranth Flour (gluten-free): The “super food” of the Aztecs, it is technically not a flour but a seed. However, it contains all nine essential amino acids which makes it a complete protein and tolerated by most on a gluten-free diet.
Coconut Flour (gluten-free): Made from the meat of a dried coconut, rich in fiber, a healthyt fat and clean protein.
Almond Flour (gluten-free): Contains healthy fat, antioxidants, magnesium and potassium.
Hazelnut Flour (gluten-free): It’s high in protein and also contains vitamins and minerals essential to brain development and overall cellular health.
Chia Seed Flour (gluten-free): Made from ground chia seeds, contains fiber and protein and rich in vitamins and minerals.
Millet Flour (gluten-free): Stone ground from whole grain. It has a very subtle flavor. Has a rich history of first being farmed nearly 10,000 years ago and mentioned in the journals of Marco Polo. A great source of manganese, phosphorus and magnesium. Unlike most other grains, millet is alkaline – making it easy to digest while helping balance the body’s natural tendency towards acidity.
Quinoa Flour (pronounced keen-wa, gluten-free): Is stone ground from nutrient-rich whole grain quinoa. Used in baked goods because it provides a tender, moist crumb, is gluten-free and packed with easily digestible protein. It is one of the most nutritious grain flour available. Dubbed “mother of all grains” by the Incas centuries ago because it provides all of the essential amino acids. It imparts a unique, nutty yet earthy flavor. NOTE: If you grind your own, consider putting the quinoa in the oven to eliminate the natural bitterness and then grind.
Chickpea Flour (aka Gram flour, Besan or Garbanzo bean flour, gluten-free): Is a pulse flour stone ground from chickpeas. It is gluten-free, rich in fiber, iron, potassium, manganese, copper, zinc, phosphorus, magnesium, folate, vitamin B-6 and thiamine. One bowl of cooked chickpeas can fulfil about 20% of your daily protein requirement.
Because each type of flour has its own structure and characteristics, some experimentation must be expected when you begin using alternative to wheat/gluten.
If you’re avoiding gluten like I do, for any reason, yet you can have it occasionally or you get it without knowing when eating out for instance, I use the following supplement as soon as I begin eating to help digest the gluten. Called, GlutenDigest, it is a professional proprietary product that has helped me and many of my clients avoid the associated symptoms of consuming gluten – gas, bloating, constipation and inflammation. For those with any inflammatory disorder, including Fibromyalgia, you should especially avoid all gluten and when eating food you have not prepared, I suggest taking GlutenDigest as an added measure against hidden gluten.
Available from Natural Rejuvenation Solutions. I take 1 capsule after a couple mouthfuls of food and then another at the end of my meal – creating a type of time-release so my digestive processes get help breaking down the gluten protein in sustained form.
I am not celiac yet gluten causes me inflammation so I avoid it other than the occasional temptation of that croissant or sour dough which I find hard to resist.
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