Most of us were brought being offered two choices – white or wheat. Both of course are made from wheat, white flour differentiates itself by having been bleached (also leaching even more of the nutrients out of it).
Wheat crops have been tainted by genetic engineering and no longer offer whole nutrition, instead feeding us a mutated man manipulated version of wheat causing allergic reactions including Celiac Disease and gluten intolerance in many.
Gluten is a protein in wheat, barley, and rye flours that can cause dietary distress for many. For celiac sufferers going gluten-free is a literal life-changing event. This autoimmune disorder causes a number of intestinal health problems that negatively impact their lives. A gluten-free diet enables the intestine to repair itself and reverse many of the health problems associated with celiac.
For low-carb dieters, the problem isn’t gluten; it’s carbohydrates. Most wheat and grain flours are high in carbohydrates. Low-carb dieters avoid carbs because of the causal relationship between weight gain and increased levels of insulin, a naturally occurring hormone that helps to regulate the amount of sugar in the blood stream.
So, what are the alternatives?
Coconut Flour: Coconut Flour is a delicious, healthy alternative to wheat and other grain flours. It is very high in fiber, low in digestible carbohydrates, a good source of protein and gluten free. It lends baked goods an incomparably rich texture and a unique, natural sweetness. You can replace up to 20% of the flour called for in a recipe with Coconut Flour, adding an equivalent amount of additional liquid to the recipe.
Potato Starch Flour:
Unlike potato flour (which because of its strong potato flavor and heavier weight should never be substituted for potato starch in baked goods), potato starch flour / potato starch has a neutral taste, and is an excellent choice for thickening sauces, gravies, stews, and soups. It also produces superior flour-free sponge cakes, for it absorbs and retains moisture to a far greater degree than wheat flour and produces cakes with a lighter texture.
Tapioca Flour is a grain-free flour derived from cassava root. It is a starchy, slightly sweet, white flour. Use about 1/4 to 1/2 cup per recipe to sweeten breads made with rice and millet flour. It’s excellent in pie fillings.
Cornstarch & Cornmeal:
A refined starch that comes from corn, it’s mostly used as a thickening agent for puddings, fruit sauces, and Asian cooking. It is also used in combination with other flours for baking. Corn Flour This flour is milled from corn and can be blended with cornmeal to make cornbread or muffins. It is excellent for waffles or pancakes. Cornmeal can be ground from either yellow or white corn. This is often combined with flours for baking. It imparts a strong corn flavor that is delicious in pancakes, waffles, or muffins. Please make sure to look for 100% USDA Organic Non-GMO for all corn products.
Brown Rice Flour:
Made from unpolished brown rice, brown rice flour retains the nutritional value of the rice bran. Use it in breads, muffins, and cookies.
Kamut and Spelt Flours: These are ancient forms of wheat. While they aren’t appropriate for gluten-free diets, they can be often be tolerated by people with gluten sensitivities.
Gram and millet:
Made from ground chickpeas, gram (or Besan) flour is an essential ingredient in Middle Eastern and Indian cuisine and has now made its way into the gluten-free pantry. Use it to make savory pancakes, fritters and dumplings. Not just for the birds, millet can be used like rice and is also a great replacement for couscous. Serve it creamy or fluffy, and dress it up with savory or sweet toppings.
Amaranth and Quinoa:
They come from old civilizations in South America. Amaranth is the common name for more than 60 different species of amaranthus, which are usually very tall plants with broad green leaves and impressively bright purple, red, or gold flowers. The name for amaranth comes from the Greek amarantos, “one that does not wither,” or “the never-fading.” True to form, amaranth’s bushy flowers retain their vibrancy even after harvesting and drying, and some varieties of ornamental amaranth forgo the production of fancy flowers in favor of flashy foliage, sprouting leaves that can range from deep blood-red to light green shot with purple veining. Although several species can be viewed as little more than annoying weeds, people around the world value amaranth as leaf vegetables, cereals, and ornamental plants.
Xanthan Gum – Xanthan Gum is used by people who are allergic to gluten to add volume and viscosity to bread and other gluten-free baked goods. It is made from a tiny microorganism called Xanthomonas campestris and is a natural carbohydrate.
Guar Gum – This powder comes from the seed of the plant Cyamopsis tetragonolobus. It is an excellent gluten substitute.
Pre-Gel Starch – This gluten substitute helps keep baked goods from being too crumbly.
So as you can see, there are many options out there besides wheat for breads, cooking and baking.