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    Amaranth and Quinoa: Pseudo-cereal Super Foods


    Jennifer Nyce


    • Journal of Gluten Sensitivity Winter Issue - Originally published January 14, 2015


    Image Caption: Image: CC--naturalflow

    Celiac.com 06/28/2016 - My latest obsession is creating new quinoa recipes, since my eight year old daughter absolutely loves it! Her favorite is warm quinoa with crumbled turkey sausage, broccoli, and lots of cumin. She also loves it with oil and balsamic vinegar. I like it cold with chopped veggies, garlic, and fresh squeezed lemon juice. Just a few weeks ago I tried amaranth for the first time. It seems to be the new craze these days. It cooked up very similarly to quinoa, and had a similar taste and texture. I would say the only noticeable difference is that amaranth does not get as fluffy when cooked. It seems like it would be great in soup! Now for a little history.


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    Amaranth is estimated to have been domesticated between 6,000 and 8,000 years ago, and was a staple food crop of the Aztec's. The common name, amaranth, represents over sixty different plant species called amaranthus.(1) The amaranth plant is a full, broad leafed plant that has vibrant colors. Amaranth's name comes from the Greek name, amarantos, meaning "one that does not fade." This is due to the plant retaining its vibrant colors even after harvesting and drying. The amaranth plant can contain up to 60,000 seeds.

    Amaranth is gluten-free and it contains about thirty percent more protein than rice, sorghum, and rye.(2) Amaranth flour can be made from the seeds and is a excellent replacement for those suffering from celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.

    Amaranth flour has a unique chemical composition with a predominance of albumins and globulins and a very small prolamins content with total absence of alpha-gliadin. This makes it very comparable to wheat protein(2). It also has a relatively high content of calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, and fiber and an almost perfect amino acid profile. It's particularly high in lysine, which is abundantly lacking in wheat and corn.(3)

    Another benefit of amaranth is that it is a natural source of folic acid, and in some countries, amaranth is used alleviate birth defects. Amaranth is not a true grain, as it does not come from the Poaceae family, but is considered a pseudo-cereal like it's relative quinoa. Both amaranth and quinoa belong to a large family that also includes beets, chard and spinach.(3)

    Quinoa is a broad-leafed plant that produces a small seed. It's a member of the Goosefoot family that is native to South America.(4) Quinoa is considered a complete protein that contains all nine of the essential amino acids necessary to human physiology, and it is the only plant-based source for these nutrients.(5) Quinoa cooks up like a grain, but it is actually a seed, and is an excellent source of protein for vegans and people following a gluten-free diet. According to the American Journal of Gastroenterology, it is also safe for celiac patients.(6)

    Like amaranth, quinoa can be ground into a flour and used in cooking or baking. Quinoa is rich in manganese which is vital to activating enzymes crucial to metabolizing carbohydrates and cholesterol. It is also essential to bone development. Quinoa is rich in lysine, an essential amino acid, and helps with the absorption of calcium and the production of collagen and is low on the glycemic index.(5)

    Both amaranth and quinoa are great gluten-free options, both as a flour or grain substitute, and have a nutty taste and texture. They readily absorb the flavors they are cooked with, but are also tasty on their own. They can be made hot or cold, combined with other foods, added to soups or baked goods, and made into hot porridge or cereal. They are both versatile, easy to work with, and have a high nutritional content. If you're looking for an easy, healthy, gluten-free option, why not try amaranth or quinoa? It's a staple in our home!

    References:

    1. www.wholegrainscouncil.org
    2. Vopr Pitan. 2014;83(1):67-73., Amaranth flour: characteristics, comparative analysis, application possibilities.
    3. Howard, B. C. (August 12, 2013), Amaranth, Another Ancient Wonder Food, But Who Will Eat It?, Retrieved from www.nationalgeographic.com.
    4. Laux, M. (June 2012). Iowa State University. Agricultural Marketing Resource Center. Retrieved from www.agmrc.org.
    5. Norek, Danna. (June 15, 2010), Quinoa Gives the Perfect Protein Source to Vegetarians and Vegans. Retrieved from www.naturalnews.com.
    6. Victor F Zevallos PhD1, L Irene Herencia PhD2, Fuju Chang MD, PhD3, Suzanne Donnelly PhD1, H Julia Ellis PhD1 and Paul J Ciclitira MD, PhD1 (January 21, 2-14). Gastrointestinal Effects of Eating Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.) in Celiac Patients. Am J Gastroenterol 2014; 109:270–278.
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  • About Me

    Jennifer Nyce is a creative and passionate Christian single mom of one beautiful little girl, age 6. She lives in eastern Pennsylvania and works as behavioral therapist for children with special needs. She has a diploma in health studies, and is certified in Yoga, and Green Living, and is in her third year of a Bachelor's program in Psychology. She enjoys cooking, reading, writing, music, and the outdoors. She loves spending as much time as she can with her daughter and family. She lives a healthy, wholesome, organic, gluten –free lifestyle, and her hope is that she can use her experience to help others.

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  • Related Articles

    Jen Cafferty
    Celiac.com 05/29/2009 - Quinoa is making a comeback as a "wonder grain." Before going gluten free, most people have never heard of quinoa. But, once you embrace the gluten-free lifestyle, you should learn more about this amazing grain.
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    Tuscan Quinoa Salad Recipe
    Ingredients
    2 cups cooked quinoa
    ¼ cup scallions, chopped
    2 cloves garlic,minced
    1 box cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
    ½ cup pine nuts, toasted
    ½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
    ½ cup fresh basil, chopped
    3 T olive oil
    juice from half of a lemon
    kosher salt and pepper to taste
    To Prepare
    Prepare quinoa according to recipe on package. Add remaining ingredients to quinoa. Season with salt and pepper to your liking. You may replace oil and lemon juice with Italian dressing. 


    Sources for info on quinoa:
    Quinoa Corporation
    Eden Organics
    Homegrown Harvest

    Heather Curtis
    Celiac.com 10/26/2009 - With the ever-increasing awareness of celiac disease comes an expanding market of gluten-free options.  The days of lengthy supermarket trips spent pouring over labels has given way to the tiny oasis of the “gluten-free” section is many grocery stores. 
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    http://www.zocalogourmet.com/products/floursgrains2.html
    and
    http://zocalogourmet.blogspot.com/ 
     


    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 08/03/2012 - Quinoa is a highly nutritious grain from the Andes, with low concentrations of prolamins. Even though it is regularly recommended as part of a gluten-free diet, few studies have been done, and there is scant data to support this recommendation.
    A team of researchers recently evaluated quinoa together with millet, sorghum and wheat. The research team included Victor F. Zevallos, H. Julia Ellis, Tanja Šuligoj, L. Irene Herencia, and Paul J. Ciclitira. They are affiliated with the Division of Diabetes and Nutritional Sciences, Department of Gastroenterology at King's College London, United Kingdom, and the Departamento de Producción Vegetal at Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, in Spain.
    The study was supported by the Food Standards Agency PG1017 of the Clinical Research Trust, and the European Commission QLK1-CT-2002-02077.
    The team wanted to determine the amount of celiac-toxic prolamin epitopes in various quinoa strains from different regions of the Andes, along with the ability of these epitopes to trigger immune responses in patients with celiac disease.
    For their test, the team used 15 cultivars of quinoa provided by Irene Herencia in coordination with the germoplasm bank at INIA Peru, millet and sorghum provided by F Janssen of the regional food inspection service in Zuppen, Netherlands, and peptic/tryptic digested wheat gliadin donated by Herbert Wieser German Institute for Food Chemistry in Garching, Germany.
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    Source:
    American Society for Nutrition

    Betty Wedman-St Louis, PhD, RD
    Celiac.com 12/01/2015 - Lectins are carbohydrate binding proteins which promote inflammatory responses like Crohn's disease, systemic lupus, asthma, and rheumatoid arthritis. They were discovered over 100 years ago and cause leaky gut and gastrointestinal dysbiosis yet the push for a plant-based diet focusing on legumes as meat alternatives has overlooked the damage lectins cause to the gut. Legumes offer inferior nutrition compared to animal proteins so toxicity needs to be considered when recommending food choices.
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    Tina Turbin
    Celiac.com 06/07/2016 - Where are all my Mexican food lovers? This one is especially for you. These Mexican stuffed zucchini boats are a perfect gluten-free party dish. You can cut them up into smaller pieces and serve them as a tray snack that is nutritious and protein packed. I don't know about you but I love when I go to a party and there are plates of healthy items to snack on. I never feel good filling up on just potato chips and veggie sticks. Junk food makes you feel pretty junky.
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    1. Preheat the oven to 400F.
    2. Cut each zucchini lengthwise down the middle, to make 2 halves from each.
    3. Take an apple corer and remove the inside, but be careful not to cut into the dark green. Leave about â…› inch on sides and bottom. This will be your "boat".
    4. Take the zucchini pulp and chop semi fine.
    5. Heat 1 tablespoon oil on medium until hot.
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    7. Transfer to a deep bowl.
    8. Add 1 tablespoon of oil to the same pan and heat oil on medium.
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    10. Add to bowl with onions and zucchini.
    11. Drain all but 1 tablespoon of the juices and oils and sauté Canadian bacon in same pan until slightly browned.
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    Tina Turbin
    Celiac.com 06/23/2016 - This is a very versatile gluten-free recipe. This paleo and gluten-free brownie pie crust can be made into a crust or simply eaten as gluten-free cookies. It is also totally OK to consume it raw since it is made out of all vegan ingredients. Based on the feedback I've received, it tastes delicious when prepared raw.
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    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 10/18/2016 - Whole grains, including gluten-free grains, have never been more popular, but as their fortunes grow as a whole, that of wheat is diminishing.
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    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 11/15/2017 - Quinoa is regarded as safe for people with celiac disease. For many years, some celiac support groups listed quinoa as unsafe due to cross-contamination concerns. But any grain is unsafe for celiacs if it is contaminated with wheat, rye or barley. Some grains have a higher risk of such contamination, others have a low risk.
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    The latest research shows that celiac patients can safely tolerate up to 50 g of quinoa daily for 6 weeks. The researchers in this test point out that further studies are needed to assess long-term effects of quinoa consumption. In the short-term test, the researchers looked at 19 treated celiac patients who ate 50 g of quinoa every day for 6 weeks as part of their regular gluten-free diet.
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    If you really want to be sure, quinoa grown in main producer countries of Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador, where practically no wheat is grown, is probably the safest bet for those on a gluten-free diet.

    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 12/07/2017 - Amaranth is naturally gluten-free and usually safe for people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.
    Amaranth is not actually a grain, but is considered a pseudo-cereal like it's cousin, quinoa. Both are part of the same large family that includes beets, chard and spinach.
    Amaranth is highly nutritious, and contains about one-third more protein than rice, sorghum, or rye. It also contains high levels of calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, and fiber, together with a nearly perfect amino acid profile.
    So, amaranth is good to include in just about any diet, but especially for gluten-free folks looking for more nutritious options.
    Cooked amaranth is very similar to cooked quinoa, with similar nutty taste and chewy texture, although cooke amaranth is not quite as fluffy as quinoa.
    Like quinoa, it's important to soak amaranth thoroughly before cooking.
    As with buckwheat and quinoa, you can also bake with amaranth flour. If you're looking for something more nutritious than brown rice and other flours, then amaranth flour may be a good fit. Here are some recipes that use amaranth flour.
    Also, amaranth is more comparable to wheat in terms of the chewy, sticky characters needed for baking, so it's a good addition to many gluten-free breads. You'll likely still need xanthin gum, but probably less of it.
    Like rice, or quinoa, amaranth goes great in soup.
    Here's a recipe for stuffed chicken breasts with oatmeal and amaranth.

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    12 ounces gluten-free spaghetti 5 or 6 ripe plum tomatoes ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil 2 cloves garlic, crushed ¾ teaspoons crushed red pepper ¼ cup chopped fresh basil 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley Kosher salt and black pepper ⅓ cup pecorino Romano cheese, grated ½ cup firm ricotta, shaved with peeler Directions:
    Finely chop all but one of the tomatoes; transfer to large bowl with olive oil and ¼ teaspoon salt.
    Cook spaghetti until al dente or desired firmness, and drain, reserving ¼ cup cooking water. 
    Meanwhile, chop remaining tomato, and place in food processor along with garlic, red pepper, and ½ teaspoon salt; puree until smooth. 
    Gently stir mixture into the bowl of chopped tomatoes.
    Add cooked spaghetti, basil and parsley to a large bowl.
    Toss in tomato mixture, adding some reserved pasta water, if needed. 
    Spoon pasta into bowls and top with Romano cheese, as desired.

    Jean Duane
    Celiac.com 07/13/2018 - I went to a friend’s home for dinner.  A few days before, she called and asked me what I could eat.  I asked her what she was planning to make, and she said she was grilling meats with side dishes.  I said, “Great.  Please just grill a piece of chicken for me with salt and pepper, and I’ll be happy to bring a side.” She said, “No need to bring a side.  I’ve got this.” When I arrived, she greeted me and said, “I spent all day cooking tonight’s dinner so you can eat it. Hey would you just check this salad dressing to see if it is OK for you?” I looked at the ingredients and it contained gluten and dairy, both of which I cannot eat.  Then I glanced around the kitchen and saw evidence of wheat cross-contamination, including buns being toasted on the grill, and gluten-containing barbeque sauce spilling on the grill where my “clean” chicken was cooking. She had other guests to tend to, and I couldn’t offer instruction or read the ingredients of everything she used in the meal. 
    At social gatherings, I’ve been challenged too by those who ask if I am really “allergic,” or just eating gluten free as a “fad.” I’ve been told many times by hosts and hostesses that, “a little won’t hurt you,” or “everything in moderation,” or “if it is made with loving hands, it is good for you to eat.”  Of course, all of this is bunk for those with food allergies or celiac disease.  A little bit may kill us, and whether made with loving hands or not, it will certainly make us sick. 
    Those of us with food allergies and/or celiac disease walk a tightrope with friends and relatives. The old rules of etiquette just don’t work anymore.  We don’t want to insult anybody, we don’t want to be isolated, and we also don’t want to risk our health by eating foods that may contain ingredients we cannot tolerate.  So what do we do? 
    Etiquette books advise us to eat what is put in front of us when we are guests in someone’s home. They caution us at all costs not to insult our hostess. Rather, we are instructed to compliment the hostess on her good cooking, flavor combinations, and food choices.  But when foods are prepared in a cross-contaminated environment with ingredients we are allergic to, we cannot follow the old social constructs that do not serve us.  We need to work together to rewrite the rules, so that we can be included in social gatherings without fear of cross-contamination, and without offending anyone.
    Let’s figure out how to surmount these social situations together.  
    Each edition of this column will present a scenario, and together, we’ll determine appropriate, polite, and most importantly, safe ways to navigate this tricky gluten-free/food allergies lifestyle in a graceful way.  If someone disagrees with our new behavior patterns, we can refer them to this column and say, “Here are the new rules for those of us with food allergies or celiac disease.”  When we are guests in someone’s home, we can give them links to this column so they understand the plight we are faced with, bite after bite. Perhaps this will help those of us living with us to understand, be more compassionate, and accepting of our adaptations to keep ourselves safe. 
    This column will present a scenario such as the one above, and ask that you comment on how you would navigate it. Let’s talk about it. Let’s share ideas.  Using the example above, here’s the scenario for this issue:
    What would you do?
    Your kind-hearted friend invites you to dinner and insists on cooking for you.  You arrive and the first thing she says is, “I’ve spent all day making this for you. Oh, I bought this salad dressing for you, but you might want to read the ingredients first.”  You do, and it contains malt vinegar.  You look around the kitchen and notice evidence of cross-contamination in the rest of the meal.  What do you do? 
    Please comment below and feel free to share the tricky scenarios that you’ve encountered too.  Let’s discuss how to surmount these social situations.  What would you do?

    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 07/12/2018 - Previous research has shown that the oral administration of Bifidobacterium infantis Natren Life Start super strain (NLS-SS) reduces of gastro-intestinal symptoms in untreated celiac disease patients. The reduction of symptoms was not connected with changes in intestinal permeability or serum levels of cytokines, chemokines, or growth factors. Therefore, researchers suspected that the reduction of symptoms might be related to the modulation of innate immunity.
    To test that hypothesis, a team of researchers set out to assess the potential mechanisms of a probiotic B.infantis Natren Life Start super strain on the mucosal expression of innate immune markers in adult patients with active untreated celiac disease compared with those treated with B. infantis 6 weeks and after 1 year of gluten-free diet.
    The research team included Maria I. Pinto-Sanchez, MD, Edgardo C. Smecuol, MD, Maria P. Temprano,RD, Emilia Sugai, BSBC, Andrea Gonzalez, RD, PhD, Maria L. Moreno,MD, Xianxi Huang, MD, PhD, Premysl Bercik, MD, Ana Cabanne, MD, Horacio Vazquez, MD, Sonia Niveloni, MD, Roberto Mazure, MD, Eduardo Mauriño, MD, Elena F. Verdú, MD, PhD, and Julio C. Bai, MD. They are affiliated with the Medicine Department, Farcombe Family Digestive Health Research Institute, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada; the Small Intestinal Section, Department of Medicine and the Department of Alimentation at Dr. C. Bonorino Udaondo, Gastroenterology Hospital and Research Institute at the Universidad del Salvador in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
    The team determined the numbers of macrophages and Paneth cells, along with the expression of a-defensin-5 expression via immunohistochemistry in duodenal biopsies.
    Their results showed that a gluten-free diet lowers duodenal macrophage counts in celiac disease patients more effectively than B. infantis, while B. infantis lowers Paneth cell counts and reduces expression of a-defensin-5.
    This study documents the differential innate immune effects of treatment with B. infantis compared with 1 year of gluten-free diet. The team calls for further study to better understand the synergistic effects of gluten-free diet and B. infantis supplementation in celiac disease.
    Source:
    J Clin Gastroenterol

    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 07/11/2018 - For people with celiac disease, finding decent gluten-free bread is like searching gold. Many have given up on bread entirely and others begrudgingly relate themselves to the ignominious frozen aisle at their supermarket and content themselves with one of the many dry, shriveled, flavorless loaves that proudly tout the gluten-free label. 
    For these people, the idea of freshly baked bread is a distant, if comforting, memory. The idea of going to Paris and marching into a boulangerie and walking out with a warm, tasty, gluten-free baguette that was freshly baked on the premises that morning, is like a dream. Now, in some Parisian bakeries, that dream is becoming a reality. And the tear of joy from the thankful gluten-free masses are sure to follow.
    These days, a single sign on the awning speaks to hungry customers who peruse the tarts and chou buns, and the loaves that fill the cooling on racks behind a glass pane at Chambelland boulangerie and café in Paris’ 11th arrondissement. The sign lettered in French translates: “artisan baker; flour producer; naturally gluten free.” That’s right. Naturally gluten-free. At a bakery. In Paris. 
    Only the flat, focaccia-style loaves, and the absence of baguettes, tells customers that this bakery is something different. Chambelland opened its doors in 2014 and continues to do a brisk business in delicious, freshly baked gluten-free breads and other goods.
    The boulangerie is the work of Narhaniel Doboin and his business partner, Thomas Teffri-Chambelland. They use flour made of grains including rice, buckwheat and sorghum to make delicious gluten-free baked goods. Doboin says that customers queued in the rain on the first day, hardly believing their eyes, some began to cry. 
    For gluten-free Parisians, there was a time before Chambelland, and the time after. If you find yourself in Paris, be sure to search them out for what is sure to be a gluten-free delight.
    Or maybe book your ticket now.
    Read more at: Independent.co.uk