I’ve been gluten-free for 28 years now. The gluten-free food world has definitely come a long way since then. I remember trying gluten-free products when I was first starting out on what seemed like, for back then, an impossible and boring diet - because in addition, I was also vegan.
Although I had fierce conviction and significant health reasons for these choices, my food options felt entirely too small. Gluten-free products were literally hard as bricks. They were often full of fillers like highly processed fats and sugars and lacked any real nutrition - and taste for that matter. Also, not many at that time were supportive of vegan diets so I always felt like I had to explain and defend my crazy diet.
Today is a completely different story, thank goodness, and there are countless options for these types of diets and the world has now accepted them with open arms. Fortunately, the gluten-free world is being approached with a more nutritious and whole foods concept that is filled with taste, pleasing textures, and whole grains rather than simply a shoddy substitution that turns out like a brick and lacks any real nutrition. I guess we needed time at the drawing board.
A little about Buckwheat
Despite its name, buckwheat is not a type of wheat. Officially, it's not even a grain but rather a seed (or pseudocereal) that's harvested from a flowering plant related to rhubarb. But the pyramid-shaped kernels share many similar properties to other gluten-containing grains from both a culinary and nutritional perspective. This makes it very versatile and easy to bake with and use in place of other more traditional grains.
Buckwheat is a great source of protein, fiber, and energy in the form of complex carbohydrates. It is also rich in vitamins & minerals including several of the B vitamins and vitamin K.
Buckwheat has a high content of magnesium, so it's nourishing and relaxing for the muscles. It also contains high levels of iron and rutin, which is a compound also found in apples and citrus fruits that may make blood vessels and capillaries stronger and more flexible, helping to reduce blood pressure and increase circulation to the hands and feet. This makes buckwheat an excellent blood tonic.
Several studies suggest that eating buckwheat may help lower cholesterol levels and keep blood sugar levels in check, making this a great choice for those with high cholesterol and diabetes.
Due to its high fiber and protein content, buckwheat is also helpful in managing weight as it provides satiety, which is that full and content feeling.
Speaking of its high fiber content, this will assist digestion by creating bulk and moving food smoothly along the intestinal tract. It also has a warming quality that benefits colder-type digestions like Vata and Kapha, but it doesn't overstimulate a hot, Pitta digestion. These qualities make it fantastic for digestive health.
Buckwheat also has a drying and astringent quality to it and a slight diuretic effect, so this grain is beneficial for Kapha dosha to help dry up any excess mucus and reduce water weight. Because of this quality, those with a dryer constitution like Vata, will need to pair this with ample fat to retain moisture.
So that brings me to these delicious Buckwheat Blueberry Muffins. They're packed with so much nutrition that they can make a great breakfast that is rich in fiber, protein, sustainable energy, and several vitamins & minerals. Please see notes on how to make a vegan version of these, as well.