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Whole Grains in the Diet, and Amaranth Porridge

People seem to be afraid of grains and gluten nowadays, but unless you have Celiac disease you likely don’t need to be. Learn more about whole grains and get an amaranth porridge recipe.

Gluten-Free Diet

grains_seeds_rice_amaranth_barley_oats_buckwheat_rye_millet_hearts_picPeople are becoming more and more interested in gluten-free eating, yet fail to understand why they are doing so. Some follow dieting trends they read about in a magazine and others actually struggle with celiac disease and need to eliminate gluten altogether from their diet. Regardless of the food choices you make, it’s important to understand more about the food you are consuming.

Wheat is the principle source of gluten in our diets. For those who don’t know (and yes, many probably are unaware), glutens are the storage proteins of the wheat plant. All grains start out from the farm as whole grains. They contain all three parts of the grain: the bran, the germ, and the endosperm. Most available grains you find at the supermarket are refined, which means the bran and germ have been removed, leaving you with roughly 25% less of the grain’s protein than if it were a whole grain. Yes, the processing does add back in some vitamins and minerals, but that isn’t as healthy as the natural whole grain you started out with before the refining process. Lesson learned: eat whole grains.

Now some people either need to or are highly interested in eating gluten free grains. Sometimes our bodies struggle with the protein in wheat, finding it difficult to digest. There are many options available for those who want to consume whole grains (which may still have gluten in them) or gluten-free whole grains.

Whole Grains and Seeds

bread_grains_rye_brown_gluten_healthy_picBelow are some of the whole grains I suggest using once in a while. They still contain gluten, but are not stripped of their nutrition like wheat is:

  • Barely
  • Rye
  • Spelt
  • Kamut
Here are some gluten-free whole grains (also known as seeds or pseudograins) to pick the next time you’re in the grocery store:
  • Amaranth
  • Buckwheat
  • Millet
  • Brown rice
  • Quinoa

Technically most of these aren't grains, but they act enough like them to get the honorary title.

Oats are an interesting food that those eating gluten-free need to watch out for. Although they are inherently gluten-free, they can be contaminated during the processing stages.

Grains 100 Years Ago and Now

wheat_grains_flour_rolling_pin_scoop_picIf you speak with your grandmother, she’ll probably tell you that everyone ate wheat back in her day and none of them had a problem; they all survived. Well, that’s because the wheat the average North American is putting into their bodies nowadays has drastically changed since the time your grandmother was your age.

How wheat is grown, processed, and eaten has changed over time. There are new technologies that have the ability to create lots of refined wheat at a low cost, but that refined wheat leads to spikes in blood sugar at a rapid rate. Flour is bleached and quick rising yeast has been created. Definitely not how it was for your grandparents. The people who are processing the wheat do not soak, sprout, and ferment them like they did before, and milling of the wheat has become the process to undergo before selling it in the supermarkets.

Wheat is nothing to fear, however. Simply put, it’s important to educate yourself on how your food is being grown, made, or handled before you ingest it, regardless of what it is. And with this super simple Amaranth Porridge recipe of mine, you’ll know how to make the easiest naturally gluten-free whole grain breakfast there is!


Amaranth Power Porridge

What’s In It?

  • 1 cup dried amaranth, soaked overnight
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter
  • ½ scoop Classic vanilla protein
  • ¼ teaspoon Activated Barley
  • ¼ cup chopped apricots or figs
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin seeds

How It’s Made?

Soak amaranth in water and lemon juice for eight hours.

Pour mixture into a pot and bring to a boil. Add sea salt, cover and simmer for 20–30 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in almond butter, protein powder, and Activated Barley. Sprinkle with apricots and pumpkin seeds.

Serve with almond milk, rice milk, coconut milk, maple syrup, or raw honey. Can also be topped with fruit compote.

Learn more about gluten!

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