Alternative Grains – Going Wheat Free

Many people have trouble tolerating wheat for one reason or another.  People have told me that despite testing negative for Celiac disease (a disease where the body creates an immune response to gluten), they experience gastrointestinal discomfort when they consume wheat products.  This blog is intended to give the reader ideas on non-wheat sources of grains and grain products.  It is not meant to provide dietary guidance for Celiac disease.  Please see your doctor if you suspect that you have Celiac disease.

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley.  All wheat varieties contain gluten and sometimes the variety name is used rather than the term “wheat:” einkorn, durum, faro, graham, kamut, semolina, and spelt.  Triticale is a hybrid of wheat and rye. 

Grains that are naturally gluten-free can become contaminated with gluten when they are processed in a facility that also handles wheat, rye, and barley.  As well, many processed foods use gluten as an additive to improve stability, flavor, structure, and protein content.  See Celiac Disease Foundation’s Diet & Lifestyle Guide for more information about hidden sources of gluten.


Gluten creates an excellent springy structure perfectly suited for bread.  When you switch to gluten-free flours, you will have to learn how to make bread with other ingredients to provide structure.  There are a lot of great recipes on the web – simply search for “gluten free bread recipes.”  Ideally, choose whole grain flours to insure adequate dietary fiber intake.  As well, grocers such as Whole Foods sell prepared gluten-free breads.

If you make muffins (quick breads), then simply bake in paper or aluminum foil muffin cups in a muffin tin.  The cups will provide enough structure to hold the muffin shape.  I have made great muffins with 100% quinoa flour, buckwheat, and/or soy flour. 

Gluten-free Grains

·         Amaranth

·         Arrowroot

·         Bean

·         Buckwheat

·         Corn (maize)

·         Flax

·         Garfava (garbanzo and fava bean mix)

·         Millet

·         Montina (Indian rice grass)

·         Nut flours

·         Potato

·         Quinoa

·         Rice

·         Sorghum  

·         Soy

·         Tapioca

·         Teff (African grain)


What about oats?  Oats may or may not be contaminated with gluten.  If you have Celiac disease, then you will want to avoid oats unless you can be sure that the oats are gluten-free.  Here are some companies that sell gluten-free oats:  Gluten Free OatsBob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Oats, and Cream Hill Estates.

Web Resources

Amazing Grains

Alternative Field Crops Manual – technical but thorough

Celiac Disease Foundation

Celiac Sprue Association

Cooking – Gluten free section

Cook’s Thesaurus – useful for cooking/baking, includes lots of photos

Ener-G – loads of modified products, including gluten-free

Gluten-Free Mall

Whole Foods Gluten Free Bakehouse 


Please share your favorite gluten-free or wheat-free recipes and cookbooks with other readers by leaving a comment.  Thank you for reading my blog!


Katherine Isacks, Registered Dietitian, LLC  

4 Responses

  1. Nice writing style. Looking forward to reading more from you. Chris Moran
  2. [...] original here: Katherine Isacks, Registered Dietitian, LLC » Blog Archive … Share and [...]
  3. Good article. Very well written
  4. Celiac disease effects more people than we know, and most of those people don't even know they have it. It is a hidden epidemic, and can make it difficult for some people to find a good source of fiber that they enjoy.
  5. thank you so much, I was just diagnosed with celiacs disease and still don't wuite know what I'm doing or what to look for at the store.