Gluten in Grains
Gluten comes from the Latin word for ‘glue’ which gives dough the elastic property that holds gas when it rises. Bubbles of carbon dioxide are released from fermenting yeast, which become trapped by the visco-elastic protein, ensuring a light honeycombed texture for the dough. The elastic nature of gluten also holds particles of the dough together, preventing crumbling during rolling and shaping. Hence, gluten plays a vital role in the production of leavened baked goods.
Gluten is the name given to the protein found in some, but not all, grains:
- Grains containing gluten – wheat (including wheat varieties like spelt, kamut, farro and durum, plus products like bulgar and semolina), barley, rye, triticale and oats*
- Gluten free grains – corn, millet, rice, sorghum.
- Gluten free pseudo-cereals – amaranth, buckwheat, quinoa.
* Oats and Coeliac Disease
“One in five people with Coeliac Disease react to oats. Coeliac Australia recommends oats are not eaten by people with Coeliac Disease unless they have had a biopsy test conducted to ensure they do not react to oats.” Sourced from Coeliac Australia.
Gluten is the name given to the protein in wheat, rye, barley and oats that affect people with coeliac disease. It is a composite name and so gluten represents:
- Gliadin in Wheat
- Hordein in Barley
- Secalin in Rye
- Avenin in Oats
Some people suffer from coeliac disease and need to remove gluten from their diet. Coeliac disease is an autoimmune disease which causes severe harm to the gastrointestinal tract.
Going gluten free has become very popular over the past decade however it is quite misunderstood and demonised. Often we do feel better when we give up gluten based foods however is it the gluten that is the problem or perhaps there is something else going on within our gut? If you are experiencing gut issues such as bloating, gas, indigestion, weight gain and so on it may be worth your while talking to someone who can help you with these issues. We need to be very careful if we cut out a whole food group as we may miss out on essential vitamins and minerals necessary for healthy functioning. Whole grains are packed with nutrients, including protein, fibre, B vitamins, antioxidants, and trace minerals (iron, zinc, copper, and magnesium). A diet rich in whole grains has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and some forms of cancer.
Gluten free options don’t necessarily mean healthy options! So be aware of what you are buying. Often the foods are heavily processed with added sugars, fats and flavours to make them palatable.
If you are looking at giving up gluten or moving toward a low carbohydrate diet it is important that you do not compromise your health. Seek out advice from a suitably qualified professional such as a Registered Nutritionist, Naturopath or Dietician.
So what’s for lunch?
If you are feeling like a sandwich or burger but you are trying to avoid a processed wheat based bread then here are some options for you to try, (please note some of the following contain gluten as stated).
- Sprouted bread – the grains are allowed to sprout before processing which allows the end product much more nutritious and easily digestible. This type of bread has no added sugar but still contains gluten. If you are sensitive to gluten it is best to avoid sprouted breads (unless of course you can find one that is gluten free). Sprouted breads are available in the fridge section of your local health food store. Sprouted breads are very filling and keep us fuller for longer.
- “Cloud Bread” – Cloud bread is a no-carb style bread made from a few ingredients, eggs, cream cheese and salt (see the recipe below) it can be used as a sandwich or burger bread replacement. It can be stored in the fridge (up to 7 days) or the freezer. Cloud bread can be toasted, used as a pizza base, sandwich or burger bun.
- Rye bread – Rye is related to wheat. It is darker and denser than regular bread as well as much higher in fibre. Rye has a stronger more unique flavour. Some rye breads are a mixed blend of rye and wheat, so they are lighter and have a mild sweet flavour. Rye still contains some gluten.
- Wrap breads – corn (try to find a natural brand that is non-GMO and lower glycaemic index), coconut, or other type of grain. If you are gluten sensitive there are gluten free options available, always read the label if you are not sure.
- Sourdough breads - Sorghum or pumpkin and rice sourdough – are a great alternative to a gluten based sourdough. Sourdough bread (include wheat based) contains the bacteria Lactobacillus in a higher proportion to yeast than do
other breads. More Lactobacillus means higher production of lactic acid, which means less of the potentially dangerous phytic acid. And what does that mean? More mineral availability (particularly potassium, phosphorous, magnesium and zinc) and easier digestion! Easier digestion is made even more possible by the
bacteria-yeast combo working to predigest the starches in the grains. Pre-digestion by sourdough = less digestion for you. Sourdough is perfect toasted for breakfast with eggs, toasted sandwiches or a side for soups.
- Lettuce or large leaf wraps make a great lighter lunch option if you have a late breakfast or you are on a rest day.
3 eggs, separated
3 Tablespoons cream cheese (Room temp)
¼ teaspoon baking powder (or cream of tartar)
Optional: 1 Tablespoon Honey or some natural sweetener, salt, garlic powder, rosemary
1 Preheat oven to 150 degrees Celsius
2 Separate the eggs, there must be no yolk in the white.
3 In one bowl, mix together the egg yolks, cream cheese and honey until smooth.
4 In the second bowl add 1/4 teaspoon of baking powder to the whites and beat the whites with the hand mixer on high speed until they are fluffy, form a nice peaks and hold their peaks. It should look something like this: (see photos above)
5 Slowly fold the egg yolk mixture into the egg whites and mix carefully, you don’t want to break the fluffiness of the egg whites too much.
6 Do the following as quickly as possible or the mixture may start melting – Spoon the mixture into 10-12 even rounds onto lightly greased baking sheet, sprinkle with rosemary or your favourite spices and put it in the oven.
7 Bake for 18-20 minutes on the middle rack. Then grill (cook the top) for 1 minute or a minute and a half and watch it until they become nice and golden brown. At this point make sure you watch them so they don’t burn
8 Remove from the oven and let cool and enjoy!
- Calories 38.5
- Total Fat 2.9 g Saturated Fat 1.3 g Polyunsaturated Fat 0.4 g Monounsaturated Fat 0.9 g
- Cholesterol 60.6 mg
- Sodium 83.1 mg
- Potassium 28.4 mg
- Total Carbohydrate 1.0 g Dietary Fiber 0.0 g Sugars 0.8 g Protein 2.2 g
- Vitamin A 3.0 % Vitamin B-12 2.7 % Vitamin B-6 1.3 % Vitamin C 0.0 % Vitamin D 3.0 % Vitamin E 0.2 % Calcium 3.7 % Copper 0.1 % Folate 1.9 % Iron 1.8 % Magnesium 0.1 % Manganese 0.1 % Niacin 0.0 % Pantothenic Acid 0.1 %
- Phosphorus 4.5 % Riboflavin 3.5 % Selenium 0.2 % Thiamin 0.0 % Zinc 1.4 %