Avoid Gluten-Containing Grains! Eat These Instead

Commercial grains these days contain varying amounts of harmful chemicals, hard to digest gluten and gliadin, and other biocides. Major grains, such as wheat, rice, and corn, are no longer the staff of life.

There are grasses, leafy greens, roots, and some lesser-known cereals that are free of gluten and gliadin yet provide flavor and nutrients our bodies need. These foods can improve digestion, the microbiome, biodetoxification, and metabolism. Recommended options include quinoa, millet, buckwheat (soba), amaranth, wild rice, fonio, burdock, cress, bamboo shoots, and purslane. Combine them with root vegetables and brassicas for a delicious meal! Let’s take a look at some of the gluten-free wheat, rice, and corn substitutes that we recommend.


Quinoa is a seed from the plant Chenopodium quinoa. It’s native to the Andean region of South America.  It is a complete protein, containing all nine essential amino acids. Rich in fiber, vitamins (especially B vitamins), and minerals like magnesium, iron, and zinc. Often used as a substitute for rice or couscous, it can be cooked and used in salads, soups, stews, and as a side dish. Check out our new Bone Healthy Quinoa Salad recipe!


Millet refers to a group of small-seeded grasses, widely grown around the world. Types include:  fonio, foxtail, kodo, finger millet, ragi and bajra to name a few. Millet seeds are high in starch, protein, fiber, and essential minerals like magnesium, phosphorus, and manganese. Commonly used in porridge, soups, and as a rice substitute, millet is also used in flatbreads and fermented into beverages. Our Apple-Blackberry Chickpea Salad can be made with millet or quinoa or wild rice or buckwheat!

Fonio is a type of millet we especially like. It is native to West Africa and is rich in amino acids, including methionine and cysteine, which are often missing in other grasses and grains. It’s also high in iron and zinc. Prized for it’s fast cooking time, it is often used to make porridge, couscous-like dishes, and in baking.


Buckwheat is a pseudo-cereal, meaning it’s used like a grain but isn’t a true cereal. It comes from the seeds of Fagopyrum esculentum. Buckwheat is high in protein, fiber, and antioxidants and is rich in minerals such as manganese, magnesium, and copper. Buckwheat is commonly used in making soba noodles, pancakes, and porridge. The flour is used in baking and as a gluten-free alternative. Check out our Warming Apple Crumble with Buckwheat recipe!


Amaranth is a pseudo-cereal, similar to quinoa and buckwheat, cultivated for its edible seeds and leaves, from the genus Amaranthus. It has been a staple in various cultures for thousands of years. Amaranth is high in protein and contains all nine essential amino acids, making it a complete protein. Rich in fiber, vitamins (A, C, and B vitamins), and minerals like iron, magnesium, and phosphorus.The seeds can be cooked like rice or porridge, popped like popcorn, or ground into flour for baking. The leaves are used as leafy greens in salads, soups, and stir-fries.

Wild Rice

Wild rice consists of four species of grasses that produce edible seeds, traditionally harvested in North America. It is higher in protein than many grains and is rich in fiber, B vitamins, and minerals like magnesium and phosphorus. Wild rice is often used as a side dish, in salads, soups, and stuffings. It has a chewy texture and a nutty flavor. Try our Oil-Free Mujadara with Wild Rice recipe.

Root Vegetables

Root vegetables are underground parts of plants that are consumed as food. They include true roots (such as taproots and tuberous roots), bulbs, corms, and rhizomes.

These vegetables store energy in the form of carbohydrates and are typically starchy. They can be fleshy or fibrous and come in various shapes, sizes, and colors. Generally high in carbohydrates, dietary fiber, vitamins (especially vitamin C and several B vitamins), and minerals like potassium and magnesium. Some are also rich in antioxidants. Common root vegetables include carrots, sweet potatoes, beets, turnips, and radishes. They are versatile, used roasted, boiled, mashed, and as ingredients in soups and stews. Try our Easy No-Bake Gluten-Free Carrot Pecan Bites, our Oil Free Sweet Potato Fries, or our Festive Organic Roasted Beet Hummus.

A less common root vegetable is Burdock, from the plant Arctium lappa, which is commonly found in Europe and Asia. It is low in calories but high in dietary fiber, calcium, potassium, and amino acids. It has strong antioxidant properties and has been used for centuries to treat a variety of ailments. It also contains inulin, a natural dietary fiber, that has prebiotic properties. Burdock can be eaten raw, cooked, or pickled, and is used in stir-fries, soups, and herbal teas.


Brassicas, also known as cruciferous vegetables, belong to the Brassicaceae family. They are known for their cross-shaped (crucifer) flower petals. These vegetables are diverse in form, including leafy greens, flower heads, and root varieties. Examples include broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and kale. They often have a distinctive pungent flavor due to sulfur-containing compounds called glucosinolates, and  are high in vitamins C, K, and several B vitamins, fiber, and minerals like calcium, potassium, and magnesium. They are also rich in phytonutrients and antioxidants, including glucosinolates and flavonoids. Consume them raw, steamed, sautéed, roasted, or pickled, or in salads, stir-fries, soups, and as side dishes. Try our Broccoli and Cauliflower Soup recipe for a delicious appetizer or meal.


Cress refers to fast-growing, edible herbs such as garden cress (Lepidium sativum), watercress (Nasturtium officinale), and others. These herbs are high in vitamins A, C, and K, as well as calcium, iron, and folate and antioxidant compounds. Commonly used in salads, sandwiches, and as a garnish. Watercress is also used in soups and sauces.


Purslane (Portulaca oleracea) is a succulent plant often considered a weed but is also a nutritious leafy vegetable. It is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins A, C, and E, magnesium, calcium, potassium, and iron. Purslane can be eaten raw in salads, or cooked in soups, stews, and sauces. It has a slightly sour and salty taste.

Bamboo Shoots

Bamboo shoots are the edible sprouts of bamboo plants, commonly used in Asian cuisine. They are low in calories and fat, and high in fiber, potassium, and vitamins such as B6. They also contain antioxidants. Bamboo shoots must be thoroughly cooked to remove natural cyanogen toxins, but can be used in stir-fries, soups, and salads.


These foods are diverse in their nutritional profiles and culinary uses, making them valuable additions to a variety of diets. You won’t miss the gluten, and your body will thank you!

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