Breaking up with wheat can be hard to do. Personally, I REALLY enjoy eating whole grains and my diet used to be loaded with wheat. Deciding to live a wheat free life may be due to a wheat sensitivity or it may be a personal decision to pull back because you need or want to be gluten-free (products labeled gluten free are also wheat free). Whatever the circumstances, there are definitely some grain alternatives out there for those that love whole grains. Keep in mind that two of these grains noted here are not gluten-free, only wheat free or differing in the gluten profile. Barley, rye, wheat, and oats that are not processed in a dedicated gluten free facility are not allowed on a gluten free diet. For those choosing to live without the ubiquitous wheat found in standard grocery stores, the challenge is to find alternative products that may be better tolerated.
Here are some other options:
Rye. Most commercial store brands of rye bread actually contain wheat. For instance, Pepperidge Farm rye bread notes: unbromated unbleached enriched wheat flour as the first ingredient, then water, then rye flour, etc. To find a rye bread made entirely of rye flour, you may need to go to a bakery. In the Chicago area suburbs, there is a little bakery that only uses rye flour so for those going “wheatless”, it is a delicious alternative. Don’t assume every bakery uses just rye flour, you will need to ask the staff.
Spelt. Spelt is an ancient grain. According to one bakery website (kolateksbakery.com), spelt needs more steps to harvest and then bake, so it fell out of favor and eventually took a back seat to our now popular wheat. Spelt is technically part of the wheat family, but it possesses a different gluten profile so it may actually be tolerated by those with some degree of wheat sensitivity. I found this bakery’s Tata bread to be very “normal tasting” and almost reminiscent of whole wheat bread days!
Buckwheat. Here’s an actual gluten-free alternative. It’s actually not a grain, which is why there is no gluten! It’s a type of seed called a pseudo-cereal. I’m trying to get in the kitchen a bit more making my own wheat-free alternative foods, because so many of the commercial mixes are just way too high in sugar and calories. Here’s a great buckwheat muffin recipe:
1.5 cups buckwheat flour
¾ cups oatmeal (use gluten-free oats for a GF diet)
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 cup skim milk or milk of choice
2 tbsp. oil of choice
¼ cup applesauce
1 mashed banana
2 tsp. vanilla
½ cup chocolate chips
Combine ingredients and mix just until all are moistened. Bake at 350º for 18-20 minutes. Yields 12 muffins. 150 calories per muffin; 5 g protein, 23 g carbohydrate, 5 g fat
There are other grains to try such as Teff which is gluten-free as well. Anyone else have experience focusing on these grains along with great recipes?