Quinoa: Whole Grains for a Gluten-Free Diet

quinoaGluten free diets are becoming more and more prevalent and more people are diagnosed with celiac disease and gluten intolerance. One of the challenges most people face when switching to a gluten free diet is figuring out what to eat.

With wheat, barley and rye off limits, do you know which grains are safe for a gluten free diet? One of the most popular gluten free grains, besides rice, is quinoa.

Quinoa is gluten-free, 100% whole grain (or rather the seed of a beet relative) that was first cultivated more than 7,000 years ago near the equator in South America. It was the staple grain in the Inca, Maya and other Native American cultures for centuries. In the Quechua language, quinoa means “Mother Grain.”

In recent decades, quinoa has again become popular for its superior nutrition, mild flavor and convenience in cooking. Versatile, it can be substituted for any grain, used whole as a hot cereal or ground into flour. It adds wonderful moisture to baked goods.

The most commonly available forms of quinoa are red, black and white. White cooks up fluffier whereas red and black quinoa are crunchier and the grains don’t stick together as much.

A healthy gluten free grain choice, quinoa offers the perfect ratio of all nine amino acids that are essential to human nutrition. Quinoa also provides a nice dose of fiber and iron.

Cooking quinoa takes less time than cooking white rice (only 12-15 minutes), so it’s a delicious alternative to having the same grain over an over again.

red-quinoaWhere to Buy Quinoa

You should be able to find quinoa at your local health food store (or even at many conventional grocery stores). This month, Healthy Planet also offers Eden Organics Red Quinoa for only $7.99! This red quinoa is a rare pasankalla variety organically grown on family plots at 12,500 feet in the Andes.




About the Author:


Chrystal Johnson, publisher of Happy Mothering and founder of Green Moms Media, is a mother of two sweet girls who believes in living a simple, natural lifestyle. A former marketing manager, Chrystal spends her time researching green and eco-friendly alternatives to improve her family’s life. She enjoys sharing those discoveries with anyone who’s willing to listen. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest.


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