Have you ever heard of teff flour? I hadn’t either until I started experimenting with gluten free flours to use on the candida diet. Teff grass, botanical name Eragrostis tef, is an ancient grain that can thrive in a variety of extreme weather conditions, which makes it a very reliable grain choice. Teff grass is native to Ethiopia where it has been used for centuries as food for cattle and a component of building materials. Teff is the smallest grain in the world but despite its small size it is an extremely versatile grain. In Ethiopia today it is milled into flour and used to make a flat bread call injera, porridge and as an ingredient in alcoholic beverages. Although teff has proven to be a reliable grain it has gone pretty much unrecognized and unused in North America until now.
Increasing awareness of medical conditions such as celiac disease, autism, gluten allergies/sensitivities and candidiasis in which eliminating gluten from one’s diet is necessary or may be beneficial has brought non-glutinous flours such as teff to the forefront in North America. As we search for alternatives to our staple gluten filled grains, wheat, barley and rye, we are starting to search the globe far and wide for useful alternatives. Using teff flour as part of your diet to treat these conditions is of particular interest because teff flour has a very impressive nutritional profile when compared to that of other flours, both glutinous and non-glutinous. Teff flour contains a large amount of bran and germ which makes it an excellent source of dietary fiber, protein and iron. Teff is also a good source of calcium. Since teff flour does not contain gluten, is such a nutritional powerhouse and is slightly lower in carbohydrates than some other grains it is an ideal choice for the candida diet also known as the yeast free diet.
The candida diet is used to treat candidiasis, an overgrowth of yeast in the intestinal system. This is why it is often referred to as the yeast free diet, as the goal is to eliminate all foods and ingredients containing yeast and ingredients that feed yeast, in order to reduce the amount of yeast in the intestinal system. The biggest offenders tend to be sugar, processed foods, quick-acting carbohydrates, vinegar and fermented foods. Many candida diet resources also suggest giving up glutinous grains such as wheat, rye and barley because they are not only hard to digest, which puts an added burden on an already compromised digestive system, but gluten may also contribute directly to the yeast overgrowth problem by feeding the yeast. Symptoms of candidiasis include but are not limited to digestive problems, mental confusion, premenstrual syndrome, depression, eczema and acne.
The cornerstone of treatment for candidiasis is the candida diet. The candida diet is the most important part of the treatment but can be the most difficult part because of the amount of foods that are eliminated. Having options such as teff flour opens up new possibilities on the candida diet. Using teff flour along with other non-glutinous flours can help the candida dieter to create a variety of yeast free dishes. You can substitute teff flour for about one fourth of the flour called for in a recipe.
For more information on living yeast free by following the candida diet visit yeast free living.