Better Grains and grain substitutes

47 posts in this topic

QUOTE (alternativista @ May 26 2011, 07:43 PM)

Thought this would be a good place for this info on the percentage of antinutrients in various grains that people might be sensitive to:

Grain - Prolamine - % of Total protein

Wheat - Gliadin - 69%

Barley - Hordein - 50%

Rye - Secalinin - 30-50%

Corn- Zien - 55%

Millet - Panicin - 40%

Sorgum - Kafirin - 52%

Oats - Avenim - 16%

Rice - Orzenin - 5%

This came from Dr. Osborne's slide show What Is Gluten Sensitivity? from the Gluten Free Society. The video is found here: http://www.glutenfre...ity-what-is-it/

In the video, the doctor refers to all those substances as glutens, but what they all are is agglutinins because they all have the ability to cause red blood cells to clump or agglutinate. Which I don't think is entirely a bad thing. Lots of info on research on that comes up when you do a search on lectins that I glossed over. And the above chart uses the term prolamine, which also isn't quite.


Article about measuring the anti-nutrient protein content in seeds

Proteins of cereals are classified into three fractions depending on their solubility. The first

fraction are albumins and globulins, which are soluble in salt solutions, mainly in NaCl, the

second part – prolamins are proteins soluble in alcohol (ethanol) solutions and the last fraction

are glutenins, which are soluble in alkali solutions, for example in NaOH (Ciccocioppo et al.,

2005). Albumins and globulins are constitutional proteins with enzymatic activity, prolamins

and glutelins are consider to be grain-storage-proteins (Wieser, Koehler, 2008).

So plain water isn't always the best soaking medium.

Also, FYI, many of these so-called anti-nutrient proteins have antioxident qualities. I saw a study on how the buckwheat prolamine inhibited the oxidation of linoleic acid.

Edited by alternativista

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More on lectins from Cordain's Dietary Cure for Acne

Because of their specific molecular structure, most lectins are extremely

resistant to the digestive processes that normally degrade protein molecules in

the gut. Both grain and legume lectins are also not completely broken down by

cooking. Consequently, lectins arrive fully intact in the small intestine where

absorption of nutrients occurs. Most large protein molecules simply cannot get

past the intestinal cell wall barrier and into the bloodstream, and if they do,

certain elements in the immune system bind them and prevent them from getting

into the bloodstream. So for decades, most scientists and nutrition experts

simply assumed that when you ate small amounts of lectins in common foods

such as wheat, beans and peanuts, the lectins passed out of the body in the

feces and never made it into the bloodstream. That is, until someone actually got

around to feeding dietary lectins to animals and humans to see what would


Animal studies from Dr. Arpad Pustzai's laboratory at the Rowett

Research Institute in Scotland have clearly shown that wheat (WGA) and kidney

bean (PHA) lectins show up in the bloodstreams of laboratory animals shortly

after they are consumed. Once in the bodies of these lab animals, these lectins

are not harmless, but interact with and ultimately disturb many tissues and


He then goes on to cite studies on humans and the mechanism that lets this happen:

More recent studies of human cultured tissue have shown that wheat

lectin (WGA) easily gets by the gut barrier and can enter into circulation by a socalled

'back door' in intestinal cells, called the EGF receptor. Normally, the EGF

receptor acts like a lock, and only specific keys (called ligands) built by the

body's machinery can fit into this lock. But unfortunately for us, the lectin from

whole wheat products (WGA) fits perfectly into the EFG receptor of intestinal

cells. Once WGA binds the EGF receptor it is swiftly shuttled into the intestinal

cell's interior where it can wreak havoc upon the cell's inner machinery or it may

enter the lymph system which delivers it to the bloodstream where it can get into

all cells in the body bearing the EGF receptor. Other lectins found in kidney

beans (PHA), soybeans (SBA), and peanuts (PNA) also act like keys which fit

into intestinal cell's EGF receptor and can follow this same route into the body.

Notice he names only the lectins in wheat, kidney beans, soybeans and peanuts as having the ability to bind with the EGF receptor and get into the cells and bloodstream.

I'm still confused about the kidney bean thing because black beans belong to the same family and black beans are a food that supposedly few people are intolerant to.

Edited by alternativista

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Vegetarian recipe blog with good info on combining gluten free flours and flour substitutes to end up with a good texture. And a gluten and dairy free chocolate chip cookie recipe. It calls for 1 cup of brown sugar and a ripe banana. That's pretty low sugar for a cookie recipe that involves nearly 3 cups of flours. I wonder if it can be reduced further and still hold together. Otherwise, try substitutes.

And a vegan gluten free carrot macaroon recipe:

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This is from the above blog:

7 Steps to Gluten-Free Vegan Baking

1. Mix and match alternative flours

My favorite flours for gluten-free baking are chickpea (garbanzo bean) flour for its creaminess and almond flour for its richness. Brown rice flour is also popular, but as I learned from Allergy-Free Desserts, its gritty texture works best in things like graham cracker-style pie crusts instead of fluffy cakes. Some other nice flours are millet, amaranth, buckwheat, and fava bean. You can even whiz some unsweetened coconut in the processor for coconut flour!

Be sure to mix different types of flour so that no taste or texture dominates; for example, amaranth should only be about 1/4 of your total flour because of its strong flavor. Also, when using bean flours remember that the taste of raw beans is pretty grossâ" the batter won't taste too yummy until it is fully cooked.

2. Take the edge off with some starch

Gluten-free baked goods are known for their weird texturesâ"save yours by working with tapioca and potato starch. As I learned from The Gloriously Gluten-Free Cookbook, tapioca is a little sweet and helps your treats brown in the oven, while potato starch contributes a "delicate crumb."

From all the recipes and mixes I've researched, recipes work best when the starch-style flours are mixed with other alternative flours in a 1:1 or 1:2 ratio. So for every cup or two of mixed alternative flours you use, you need at least 1 cup of mixed starches.

Every fifties housewife knows that to make cake flour in a pinch at home you just sub in 2 tablespoons of corn starch to your cup of flour and sift, sift, sift! This works in the gluten-free world too, so when a recipe calls for cake flour increase the ratio of starches to alternative flours by throwing in corn starch as well.

3. Stick together!

You took the gluten out, now you need to put some chew back in. The most important ingredient in gluten-free baking is the gum. Xanthan gum and guar gum are used for both their volumizing and thickening effects.

I always see guar gum mentioned, but have yet to see it called for in a recipe, so stick with the xanthan gum. If you're curious, it's a microorganism that is found feeding on corn or soybeans plants, but I have no idea how it gets a cookie so chewy. Use 1/3 to 1/4 of a teaspoon for every cup of flour.

-My notes on this - 1) you mostly only want to do this in things like bread in which the whole technique is about maximizing gluten. Not in things like cakes, pie crusts and cookies. Crumbly things. Gluten makes them tough 2) you can use flax, chia and other seeds that form a gel when in contact with water. Much better than a gum. I've searched for tips on this. Apparently you use the same measurement of the seeds as he gums in the recipe, but you mix them with more water. Many say double. Then you may have to reduce the other liquid in the recipe. [/ei]

4. Don't undermine the structure -(Fats)

So many gluten-free recipes rely on eggs and fat for their richness and structure. When transforming recipes yourself, be careful not to substitute too much. Leave in most of the fat that's called for; this isn't the place to use a can of black beans in place of the eggs and butter. For shortening and butter, go with a palm oil shortening and coconut oil, or canola oil if the recipe calls for melted butter.

When it comes to eggs, flaxseed is a good exchange because of its fat content. Mix a 'flax egg' by stirring together 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed with 2 tablespoons of liquid. Coconut milk and almond milk work well in place of whole milk. Check out my post on how to veganize and healthify your baking for more ideas.

Remember not to mess too much with the sugar either. You might get away with maple syrup and agave when there is a gluten framework in place, but this time you need the real deal so your cookies don't end up like pancakes. However, it is okay to reduce the amount of sugar by a quarter to account for the sweetness of tapioca flour.

5. Do your research on secret gluten key words

Just because something is labeled wheat-free doesn't mean it's gluten free. Gluten is also in barley, rye, malt flavoring, and triticale. Look out for modified food starch and grain alcohol.

Oats are another trouble ingredientâ" they are technically gluten-free but are often contaminated during processing. Even if uncontaminated, the protein in oats is very similar to gluten, and still effects some Celiacs.

Remember, not every specialty flour is gluten-freeâ"spelt flour is a reduced-gluten ancestor of wheat, but it definitely still contains gluten. Baking sprays made just for baking usually contain flour to prevent sticking, so choose a plain version.

6. Ask the package, ask the manufacturer, ask yourself

Ask the package by looking for a "certified gluten-free" label. The FDA is in the process of setting up a gluten-free standard label, but for now it is up to the company. Double check ingredients lists because some tricky foods with gluten-free main ingredients, like Rice Krispies, are not actually gluten-free.

If something isn't labeled gluten-free, ask the manufacturer by calling to see how it is processed. For example, maybe flour is sprinkled on a conveyor belt to prevent sticking. The internet is full of lists of safe and unsafe ingredients.

Finally, ask yourself about cross-contamination. The last time you used your sugar bowl, did you dip your measuring cup in wheat flour first? What about that brown build up on the corners of your glass brownie pan? Start with new ingredients and clean equipment.

7. Showcase the glory of gluten-free, not the pitfalls

Cookies and bars are a lot easier to pull off in their gluten-free versions than fluffy, sky-high layer cakes. You don't need to make only copies of wheat-filled desserts. For easy success, whip-up some naturally low-gluten desserts like fruit tarts, bananas foster, rice pudding, and poached pears that will only need minimal substitutions.

Edited by alternativista

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So, I've long used raw Jicama slices as a substitute for crackers and chips with salsa, dips, spreads etc. It's a crisp root vegetable common in Mexico and Central America where I discovered it. The Mexican family I stayed with served it as salad -sliced, drizzled with lime juice and maybe a bit of cayenne. And despite the fact that few American's seem to have heard of it, it's available in ordinary supermarkets everywhere. I was able to buy it in the supermarkets in the small Wisconsin town where my mother lives.

It's very crisp, nutritious, relatively low carb, slightly sweet but has little flavor. I brought some for Thanksgiving to have with guacamole and it was a hit. I made a few converts. And funny story, I bought it Thanksgiving day, and the checkout clerk said something like 'that's all you need for your Thanksgiving meal?' And I said I wasn't cooking, but was contributing a healthy snack of guacamole with this for chips and the kid literally went 'whoa!!' You can do that?' The bagger was impressed as well. I think I changed some lives.

You can also use it in stir fry. In fact it's a good substitute for water chestnuts which are expensive and usually obtained in a plastic lined can.

Anyway, here's an MDA article on the Jicama with some recipes for using it as a rice substitute, baking the slices for crackers, and shredding it for hash browns.


Edited by alternativista
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Mercola article on arsenic in our food. cites studies saying American-grown rice is very high in arsenic for 2 reasons- 1) Rice is good at absorbing naturally occurring arsenic from the water and 2) In the U.S. rice is often grown in land where they formerly grew cotton which was sprayed with pesticides containing arsenic.


Edited by alternativista

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Sweet-Potato Gnocchi with Mushrooms and Spinach

And you could probably find a recipe to make the gnocchi without the ricotta. i don't believe that's in most gnocchi recipes which these days tend to be made with white potato but supposedly were originally made with squash. But they do usually have some flour.


  • Gnocchi
  • 1 cup low-fat ricotta cheese $
  • 3 pounds orange-flesh sweet potatoes (often labeled $
  • 3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese $
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • About 3 cups flour
  • Assembly
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, divided $
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic $
  • 1/4 cup sliced shallots
  • 1 pound mixed mushrooms such as chanterelle, cremini, king trumpet, matsutake, and oyster* $
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 3 tablespoons butter $
  • 12 ounces baby spinach leaves $
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper $
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, divided $


  1. 1. Make gnocchi: Drain ricotta in a strainer over sink, stirring occasionally, 1 hour.
  2. 2. In a large bowl, combine 3 cups sweet- potato purée (save extra for another use), strained ricotta, sugar, cheese, salt, and nutmeg. Gently stir in flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until a soft dough forms.
  3. 3. Working on a floured surface, divide dough into 8 portions. Roll each portion with your hands into a 15-in. rope, then cut into 1-in. pieces, sprinkling dough with flour if it gets sticky. Transfer gnocchi to a rimmed tray lightly dusted with flour.
  4. 4. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Working in batches of 15 to 20, drop gnocchi into water, stirring to prevent sticking, and cook until gnocchi are firm and float to top of water, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer gnocchi to a strainer and then to a lightly oiled rimmed pan to cool.
  5. 5. Assemble gnocchi: Heat 2 tbsp. oil in a large nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat. Add gnocchi to pan and cook, stirring often, until browned, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a large serving dish.
  6. 6. Meanwhile, heat remaining 2 tbsp. oil in a second large frying pan over medium-high heat. Cook garlic and shallots until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add mushrooms and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add broth, butter, spinach, salt, and pepper; cover and cook until spinach wilts, about 3 minutes.
  7. 7. Spoon vegetables over gnocchi and pour in broth. Sprinkle with thyme and half of parmesan. Serve with remaining cheese.
  8. *Leave whole any soft mushrooms such as oysters and slice or quarter large, dense mushrooms like the cremini and king trumpets.
  9. Make ahead: Prepare through step 3. Cover and chill up to 3 days or freeze up to 3 weeks.
  10. Note: Nutritional analysis is per serving.
Edited by alternativista

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Nut & Seed Butter Tip

Ok, this is about sunflower seeds, not a grain or even grainlike thing, but I didn't know where else to post it. It's very helpful instructions on making sunflower seed butter. Which, as she talks so much about preserving moisture, perhaps can be easily made with just soaked/sprouted seeds.

anyway, the important tip is that you have to keep processing it, long after it's ground into powder in order to extract the oils. Which I imagine applies to other nut butters. I tried making almond butter once, but only succeeded in making ground almonds. This is probably why.

Edited by alternativista

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Study showing the bifidobacterium lactis strains may prevent intestinal hyperpermeability from wheat.

Article on the Finnish study:

Good site on preparing foods in the best ways, including soaking and fermenting:


Site with online courses in such things including how to make sourdough into just about anything: Some kind of paid membership required.

And yogurt from oats instructions:

Post in the ZAG enzyme thread that describes the lectins in several grains and explains about the chitenous substance they bind to which is the very same substance the mucin linings of your digestive tract (and elsewhere in the body) are made from. Not by accident. Plants don't 'want' their seeds to be eaten. They can't grow into new plants if you chew and digest them.

Edited by alternativista

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if you eat nuts or seeds sprout them first and make sure they are raw, as in they can be planted and grow if you wanted...roasted nuts are no good, all the enzymes are cooked out.

grains are generally hard for people to digest, just make sure your stools agree with that...if you have intact grains in your stool you may want to rethink about eating them.

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Buckwheat - Not a grain but a seed of a plant related to rhubarb and sorrel.

So my breakfast concoction has become mostly buckwheat with a little whole oats because I like the texture. Raw (untoasted) buckwheat is kind of mushy. And coconut and of course spices (ginger and cinnamon), topped with fruit, etc. So I knew that oats were a pretty good protein but there was so little in my concoction I was wondering about the protein content. So I looked it up on and it turns out both buckwheat and coconut are even better than oats!

They give buckwheat an Amino Acid score of 99. The omega 6 EFAs seem to be almost entirely linoleic acid which is a good. 1 cup has a low glycemic load. It is very high in minerals with 1 cup providing 98% of the RDA of magnesium. 20 something % of zinc and selenium.

It, like most seeds, is rated as strongly inflamamtory - so you need to counter that with the spices and fruit. I use a lot of cinnamon and ginger. Plus have it with my morning cup of white tea with ginger and lemon. Also, I've always soaked which would reduce antinutrients and perhaps the inflammatory effect. And I have begun sprouting it. Nutrition data doesn't have data on sprouted buckwheat. Sprouting generally reduces protein content while boosting the various antioxidant vitamins veggies tend to have C, E, etc. So sprouted buckwheat should be less inflammatory.

Benefits of buckwheat:

-Good protein source.
-Easy to sprout.
-The amount of antinutrients is pretty low compared to grains, even the more benign grains. and the antinutrients it contains are pretty harmless. It contains no gluten.
-the buckwheat prolamine inhibits the oxidation of linoleic acid a major component of sebum that works and is defficient in acne & other problem prone skin. Study somewhere in the linoleic acid thread.

-Buckwheat contains a glucoside called rutin, a phytochemical that strengthens capillary walls.
-Buckwheat is high in d-chiro-inositol which is a component of the secondary messenger pathway for insulinsignal transduction found to be deficient in Type II diabetes and polycystic ovary syndrome sufferers. It may also lower testosterone and Blood Pressure as well, likely side effects of improved glucose metabolism.

In double-blind studies, women with PCOS who received DCI experienced the following statistically significant benefits when compared with a control group: lowered free and total testosterone, lowered blood pressure, increased insulin sensitivity and a corresponding improvement in glucose disposal, and increased frequency of ovulation.[4][5]

There's a form called Buckwheat Farinetta that is extra high in DCI. Carob is another good source.

The trick to sprouting buckwheat is to soak the grains briefly. 20 minutes or so. Too long and they won't sprout. Then drain and rinse, let sit at room temp for about a day. Rinse and drain a couple more times because buckwheat is starchy, then put in the fridge when tiny tails are just visible. They don't taste so good when you let the tails get longer. So far, I haven't tried cooking the sprouted buckwheat, just stirred them in with the cooked oats, spices, coconut, etc.

A Tea is often made from toasted groats. I've seen buckwheat leaf tea mentioned as well but have found very little info on that.

Coconut also has an amino acid rating of 99, low glycemic load and high in minerals similar to buckwheat (98% magnesium RDA, 20 something percent zinc and such) It's very high in healthy fats such as medium chain sat fat and much of the omega 6 content is linoleic acid. But it's also rated as strongly inflammatory.

Edited by alternativista

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I used to have black rice from asian stores which is a super-antioxidant like blue berries. Gave me glowing skin but needs to be soaked overnight.

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Alfredo sauce. Yet another use of cauliflower: From a poster on the forums of the Bulletproofexec,com a paleo type diet guru.

I found a recipe on Pinterest that used cauliflower to make a creamy Alfredo sauce, and I knew I had to try to bulletproof it! I was really pleased with how creamy and delicious this turned out. The only thing this was missing was a suitable protein source - any suggestions there would be greatly appreciated!! I will definitely be making this again!!

1 lb. 100% Rice Fettuccine
2 smallish heads of organic cauliflower chopped
1 carton (4 cups) organic vegetable broth
6 cloves organic garlic
6 Tbls. Organic grass fed butter
2 tsp. pink Himalayan salt
A good handful fresh organic basil torn or rough chopped

In a large sauté pan, bring broth to a boil. Add cauliflower and simmer for about 10-15 minutes until cauliflower is very tender. In a separate pot, boil pasta according to package directions. In a small pan sauté the garlic in 2 Tbls. of butter until slightly golden and fragrant. When cauliflower is tender, transfer in batches to a blender and purée with the sautéed garlic and salt until very smooth (around 5 minutes in a regular blender) adding 2-3 cups of the remaining broth to keep the sauce flowing. Once smooth, transfer the sauce back to the large sauté pan and heat on low. Add remaining butter and basil and stir until butter is melted and flavors combined. Once pasta is done drain and rinse before tossing into the sauce. Toss in steamed broccoli, spinach, or any other veggie that makes you happy!

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A whole lot of dishes to make with oats, including many savory, non-breakfasty and nonbready things. If you want to eat a grain, oats are one of your best bets. I think the benefits outweigh the negatives. It's pretty benign anti-nutrient and allergen-wise. And it's high protein, benefits cholesterol & plaque formation in arteries, and high in nutrients beneficial for sleep (seratonin/melatonin production)

I thought the first one had an interesting technique. Where you pour your cooked oats into a baking dish and let it cool and gel into a cake like thing you can slice and pan fry.

Edited by alternativista

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Over 80 Coconut Flour Recipes- Easy Grain Free Goodies

And with many, you can instead use dried shredded coconut. Cheaper & better for you because it contains the fat which is removed in the flour. YEs, the texture is different. So what? It's good.

I would have put this in the better breads thread, but it's been archived.

And the coconut flour thread: also archived.

Anyone know what causes that to happen? I've seen far older long inactive threads that you can still post to.

Edited by alternativista

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About bread & the modern wheat grown today that was bread to be milled into white flour for the rapid-rise crappy white bread industry. It isn't the same as the stuff that used to be the 'staff of life.'

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Hey Alternativista,

I just added millet in my diet, any tips or tricks to cooking millet etc.?

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Hey Alternativista,

I just added millet in my diet, any tips or tricks to cooking millet etc.?

I've never cooked millet, but I would bet you can substitute it in any quinoa or couscous recipe.

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Gluten is actually a combo of proteins found in all grains.

From a a blogger elaborating on the previously mentioned video & slideshow explaining the anti-nutrients in grains.

There is much confusion surrounding the enigma that we call 'Gluten'. This is largely because almost all of the data that the majority of the medical community is going on has not been revisited or updated in as much as 60 YEARS. Now that's some old information! And from the looks of it there are no plans to update that anytime soon.

So before we move on, let's try to define gluten. If you look up 'gluten' in the dictionary, you will find that webster's definition is ALSO based on that old and outdated information; referring ONLY to wheat, rye, barley and oats. However, what we now know from modern studies is that "gluten" is actually a mixture of proteins found in ALL grains. It is composed of two primary 'subfractions' known as Prolamines and Glutelins.

The prolamine known as "gliadin" is the most studied in medical literature; primarily as it relates to Celiac Disease. Many people, including doctors, do not understand that the prolamine, "gliadin" is not the ONLY type of gluten out there, nor is it the ONLY one reeking havoc in peoples bodies. It is, however, the ONLY one that is routinely tested for and since recent studies have identified least 400 other gluten proteins out there, you may not be getting the right test done!

So, let's take a look at some of the other 'prolamines' out there...

The Prolamine Fraction of Proteins in Grains

Grain Prolamine % Total Protein
Wheat Gliadin 69%
Rye Secalinin 30-50%
Oats Avenin 16%
Barley Hordein 46-52%
Millet Panicin 40%
Corn Zien 55%
Rice Orzenin 5%
Sorgum Kafirin 52%

*This is excerpted. There's more to the full web page, including a video by Dr. Peter Osborne.

Here's the study on Buckwheat's anti-oxidant activity.

Buckwheat Prolamin and Its Antioxidative Activity

Buckwheat Prolamin and Its Antioxidative Activity (2001)
Takanori KUSANO, Hiroko CHIUE and Kimikazu IWAMI

Department of Nutrition, Kobe-Gakuin University
Ikawadani-cho Arise, Nishi-ku, Kobe 651-2180, Japan
Department of Biological Resource Chemistry, Kyoto Prefectural University
Shimogamo Nakaragi-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto 606-8522, Japan



Buckwheat prolamins were most effectively extracted from buckwheat (Fagopyrum
esculentum Moench) flour by 55% n-propanol and were 3.37 to 4.95% of total protein under
the most efficient conditions for extraction (at 60°C). Amino acid analysis data showed that
buckwheat prolamin didn't exhibit one of characteristics of cereal prolamins, the high
glutamate/glutamine and proline content.
The antioxidative activity of buckwheat prolamin
was investigated. The peroxide value under powder model systems and radical scavenging
effect were evaluated. Buckwheat prolamin was effective inhibitor of the oxidation of linoleic

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Soon I will not be able to eat grains as I am going to do the Paleo diet. I am looking forward to making cauliflower rice, which I think will be fantastic.

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Coconut flour-based tortilla/crepes plus many good filling ideas/recepies.

See also the Better Breads and Bread substitutes thread where I would have put this if it hadn't been archived. Breads, pancakes, crackers, chips, cookies, ets.

Edited by alternativista

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I've just learned the way to cook spaghetti squash for the best noodle-like results when you shred is cut side up, not down.

Then you might need/want to pick out the dried crispy top bits before going nuts with the shredding.

See the great recipe in the second post of this thread.

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