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High-Protein Plant-Based Foods

Journal of Gluten Sensitivity Autumn 2015 Issue - Originally published October 19, 2015

Celiac.com 02/09/2016 - The top 8 food allergies in Canada are eggs, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, seafood, sesame, soy and wheat. If you have a food allergy and feel limited by it, it's a good idea to explore plant-based options. Plants offer so many benefits—they alkalize your body, reduce inflammation, beef up your vitamin, mineral, phytonutrient, antioxidant and fiber intake, and much more!

And if you think that plant-based foods lack protein to get you going and keep you satisfied, guess again! Certain plant-based foods contain all of the essential amino acids we need and can completely replace animal protein.

Image: CC--naturalflowHere are four choices that are high in protein and loaded with additional nutrients. Enjoy each one in their whole form in a variety of ways—they are also available in flour form for baking!

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Amaranth

Amaranth—a gluten-free grain that is high in fiber, manganese, magnesium and calcium—is a complete protein, containing all of the essential amino acids. It actually has more protein than quinoa, gram for gram—one cup of raw amaranth contains 28.1 grams of protein. Another benefit is that it can lower hypertension and cholesterol. Amaranth can be enjoyed as breakfast porridge, in muffins or as a side dish.

Buckwheat Groats

Buckwheat is the seed of a fruit in the rhubarb and sorrel family. Another complete protein that does not contain wheat or gluten despite its very misleading name, buckwheat is a great source of folate and zinc, which have both been shown to support fertility/virility in women and men. Both of these nutrients are also excellent for our immune system. Buckwheat is a good source of fiber and magnesium. It can be enjoyed for pancakes, as porridge or a side dish replacement to rice. One cup of raw buckwheat contains 22.5 grams of protein.

Quinoa

Quinoa functions like rice. Like amaranth and buckwheat, quinoa is also a complete protein. And like buckwheat, quinoa is technically not a true grain or member of the grass family either. Referred to as a "chenopod," quinoa is related to species such as beetroots, spinach and tumbleweeds. In addition to protein, quinoa contains many nutrients, including fiber, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, folate, iron and zinc. Quinoa can be served in its whole form as a main or side dish, and quinoa flour is great in baked goods. One cup of raw quinoa contains 24 grams of protein.

Teff

Good things come in small packages! Last but not least, teff is the smallest grain in the world. Teff contains many amino acids and is high in protein—it just isn't a complete protein. It contains an excellent source of calcium, magnesium, zinc and iron, which are all important for immune function. Teff can be eaten as a hot cereal and is also available as tortilla wraps. One cup of raw teff contains 25.7 grams of protein.

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It took me 20 years or more Barry so I wouldn't claim any great insight on this I had a 'eureka' moment, up until then I was walking around with multiple symptoms and not connecting any dots whatsoever. It is very, very difficult to diagnose and that's something that's reflected in so many of the experiences detailed here. A food diary may help in your case. It helped me to connect the gaps between eating and onset. It could help you to track any gluten sources should you go gluten free. It is possible for your reactions to change over time. As to whether its celiac, that's something you could explore with your doctor, stay on gluten if you choose to go that way. best of luck! Matt

I took Zoloft once. Loved it until it triggered microscopic colitis (colonoscopy diagnosed it). Lexapro did the same. However, I have a family member who is fiagnosed celiac and tolerates Celexa well.

Thanks for the update and welcome to the club you never wanted to join! ?

Jmg, I am glad you were able to come to the realisation that the culprit was in fact gluten. For me its not so simple. IBS runs in the family, as do several food intolerances. Its just in the last while that I can finally reach the conclusion that for me its gluten. The fact that it is a delayed effect-several hours after, made it harder. Friday I had some KFC, felt great. Saturday evening felt sleepy, Sunday felt awful and my belly was huge. I think I have gone from mildly sensitive to full blown celiac over the course of five years-if that possible. Thanks for all your help.

I thought I'd take a moment to provide an update, given how much lurking I've done on these forums the last year. It took a long time, but I've since had another gastroenterologist visit, many months of eating tons of bread, and an endoscopy where they took several biopsies. I have to say, the endoscopy was a super quick and efficient experience. During the procedure they let me know that it looked somewhat suspicious, causing them to take many biopsies, and then did comprehensive blood work. About a month later, I received a call telling me that the TTG came back positive a second time, and that the biopsies were a mix of negative (normal) results and some that were positive (showing blunting of the villi). As a result, I've been given a celiac diagnosis. It's been about a month now that I've been eating gluten free. Not sure if I'm really feeling all that different yet. It's a bit twisted to say, but in some way I was hoping for this diagnosis ? thinking how nice it would be to have an explanation, a plan of action, and feeling better. It's certainly no small change to be totally gluten free, but I'm hopeful.