A useful list of what is a grain, and what is NOT a grain. It doesn’t include everything. But its a good start.
Foods that are grains, or are made from grains are:
- Barley, including barley malt
- Sorghum (gluten-free)
- Corn (gluten-free)
- Cornflour (gluten-free unless wheaten cornflour)
- Cornmeal (gluten-free)
- Rice (gluten-free)
- Wild Rice (this one is open to debate – some people swear it is a grain, some people swear it isn’t and is in fact another one of the grain-like seeds. I treat it as a grain myself but you are welcome to decide otherwise.
- Beer (yes, beer!)
- Glucose made from wheat
- Teff (gluten-free)
- Montina flour
- Graham flour (wheat)
- Commercially made stock: like chicken, beef or vegetable stock in either powder or liquid usually contains some kind of grain.
- (this list is incomplete)
So any thing made from these products would also have grains – like cakes, biscuits, pizzas, bread, pasta, breadcrumbs, spaghetti etc
Foods that are grain free, even though they are often used as a flour or look a bit like a grain are:
- Almond meal or any other nut meal. (OK for paleo, GAPS or SCD)
- Amaranth – is grain like seed. (OK for Body Ecology, or if tolerated, not paleo or GAPS)
- Buckwheat also called Kasha – is also a seed, and not related to wheat. (OK for Body Ecology, or if tolerated, not paleo or GAPS)
- Chickpeas (made into flour)
- Coconut (used in flours) (OK for paleo, GAPS or SCD)
- Fava bean
- Flaxseed (OK for paleo, GAPS or SCD)
- Gram flour (chickpea)
- Millet – is a grain like seed. (OK for Body Ecology, or if tolerated, not paleo or GAPS)
- Potato Starch/Flour
- Quinoa – is a grain like seed (OK for Body Ecology, or if tolerated, not paleo or GAPS)
- Sesame – seed
- Sunflower seed flour
- Taro flour
- Soy flour
- Glucose make from tapioca
- Plantain flour (can get at African grocers)
- Yam (iyan) flour (can get at African grocers)
- Mesquite flour
So any thing made from these products would be technically be grain-free (but not necessarily ok to consume – for many people they would still cause problems for various reasons). For example, bread, cakes or pasta made from grain-free flours do not contain grains. Reading ingredients is therefore important.
Grain free foods are also automatically gluten-free.
Just because something is “technically” not a grain, doesn’t make it automatically ok for many people. Paleo peeps or GAPS-diet folk wouldn’t touch any of the grain-like seeds or most of the starchy grain free alternatives in the above “not a grain list”. It’s really just the nuts and seeds for them. For myself, I do ok on soaked quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat and millet, so I eat them sometimes, although not everyday.
Dairy products, or anything from an animal like milk, cheese, butter or meat do not contain grains.
All fruits and vegetables are not grains, (except for corn, which is a grain).