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Gluten-free and Wheat-free Flours

Many are allergic to gluten and wheat. Some experience clear signs of their gluten intolerance or wheat allergy, many others experience much more subtle effects of such sensitivity.

It can be argued that our human digestive system did not evolve to to eat wheat and gluten as the paleolithic hu(wo)man ate mostly meats, fish, roots, berries, and seeds, not farmed grains.

It is also a fact that most of today’s flour has been stripped from it’s nutrients, bleached, grounded so fine to prolong shelf life (so even bugs can’t survive by eating that de-natured food) or to make using the flour easier, especially in the industries that want to create tasty and good looking pastries very fast. I will write other articles to talk about what to look for when buying wheat flour, I will also talk about the best method to prepare pastries using fermentation (not using baker’s wheat) in future articles.

For those of you that want to avoid wheat and gluten all together, I have good news. There are many alternatives, many are healthier than wheat.

I listed below “flours” that are alternatives to wheat flour and that are also gluten free. Remember, you’ll have to adjust any recipes you are using and maybe do some experimentation before you get the right quantities.
Amaranth flour: Amaranth flour is made from the seed of the Amaranth plant, which is a leafy vegetable. Alternative names: African spinach, Chinese spinach, Indian spinach, elephants ear.

Buckwheat flour: Buckwheat flour is not wheat, buckwheat is related to rhubarb. The small seeds of the plant are ground to make flour. Other  names: beech wheat, kasha, saracen corn.

Millet flour: Comes from the grass family.  Don’t use too much of this as millet has been shown to not be thyroid-friendly because it limits the uptake of iodine to the thyroid.

Quinoa flour (pronounced ‘keen wa’): Quinoa is related to the plant family of spinach and beets. It has been used for over 5,000 years as a cereal, and the Incas called it the mother seed.

Arrowroot flour: Arrowroot flour is ground from the root of the plant.

Brown rice flour: Brown rice flour is milled from unpolished brown rice so it has a higher nutritional value than white rice flour.

Chick pea flour: Is ground from chick peas. Other names: gram or garbanzo flour

Cornflour: Cornflour is milled from corn into a fine, white powder. Alternative name: cornstarch. Some types of cornflour are milled from wheat these are labeled wheaten cornflour.

Cornmeal: Ground from corn. Heavier than cornflour.

Maize flour: Ground from corn. Heavier than cornflour.

Potato flour: Potato flour has a strong potato flavor. This flour should not be confused with potato starch flour.

Potato starch flour: This is a fine white flour made from potatoes, and has a light potato flavor.

Sorghum flour: Is ground from sorghum grain, which is similar to millet.

Soya flour: Soya flour is a high protein flour with a nutty taste.

Tapioca flour: Tapioca flour is made from the root of the cassava plant.

Teff flour: Teff comes from the grass family, and is a tiny cereal grain native to northern Africa.

White rice flour: This flour is milled from polished white rice so it is not particularly nutritious.

Last updated: 10/01/2010