Ancient Grains – Why Bother?

Ancient Grains – Why Bother
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We eat a lot of wheat—pounds and pounds a year per person, mostly in the form of bread, pasta and pizza. Another favourite grain, of course, is rice. In recent years, many “ancient grains”—sometimes called heritage grains or hyped as super grains— have been rediscovered but remain much less familiar. Some (such as farro) are types of wheat or are related to wheat; others are technically seeds (quinoa) but are often referred to as grains, since they are cooked and eaten like cereal grains. All are worth trying because, by and large, they’re more nutritious than the more common grains, plus they add variety to your diet.

The grains described below are good, sometimes excellent, sources of protein and fibre. They also provide minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron and zinc, along with phenols (antioxidants) and other potentially beneficial compounds; some are rich in vitamin E and B vitamins. In contrast to most of the wheat and rice we eat, these grains tend to come in their “whole” form, with their bran, germ and endosperm intact, which makes them more nutritious, just as whole wheat and brown rice are more nutritious than their refined counterparts. For people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, another advantage is that several of these grains—including amaranth, quinoa and teff—are gluten free. A downside is their higher cost.

You can prepare these grains as salads or use them in soups and stews (just boil as you would rice). Some, such as amaranth, teff and wheat berries, cook up well as hot cereals. You can also substitute their flours for wheat flour to increase the nutritional value of breads, muffins and other baked goods. An increasing number of packaged foods— breakfast cereals, pastas, breads and pancake mixes—contain these interesting grains, too, though sometimes in small amounts.

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Amaranth. – gluten free, protein, calcium.
Native to both Mesoamerica and the Andes and a major food crop of the Aztecs and Incas, respectively, this tiny grain resembles fine couscous and has a nutty, sometimes peppery, flavor. Popped amaranth is a popular street snack in South America. For a grain, it’s relatively rich in calcium—with about 60 milligrams per 4 ounces, cooked. Because amaranth (like quinoa, see below) contains a good balance of essential amino acids and is particularly high in lysine, it is considered more of a “complete” protein than most grains (and plant foods in general).
Amaranth is almost always whole, since the grains are too small to easily refine. Be sure not to overcook it since it will become sticky.

Farro (or emmer wheat).
Also called Pharaoh’s wheat, this chewy, nutty-tasting grain is a relative of modern wheat that originated in Egypt thousands of years ago. It’s said to have been widely consumed by the Roman legions, and in Italy today it’s a common ingredient in soups and is used as a substitute for arborio rice in risotto dishes (called farrotto). Many pasta lovers prefer pasta made from farro to pasta made from durum wheat. Look for “whole farro” on labels; if it’s “pearled,” it’s not a whole grain because the bran has been removed.

Freekeh (or farik).
Common in Middle Eastern and North African cuisine, freekeh refers to a harvesting process rather than an actual grain. The grain, typically wheat, is harvested when it is young, yellow, and soft—at its peak nutrition—and then roasted. Similar in texture to bulgur, it tends to have a smoky, nutty flavor. Though freekeh is being billed as the hottest new ancient grain, it’s still not widely available in stores. You might find it in Middle Eastern or other specialty markets; it’s also sold online.

Quinoa (keen-nyeewah) Gluten free, protein.
Called the “mother of all grains” by the Incas, who considered it sacred, quinoa from the Andes is known for being rich in high-quality protein. There are over 120 varieties, in many different colors. Pale yellow quinoa is most common, though red quinoa contains significantly more phenols and has higher antioxidant activity. Quinoa cooks up fluffy with a nutty flavor. Because the seeds are naturally coated with bitter compounds (saponins, which defend against insects), they must be washed before cooking. Even if the package says the seeds were washed, it’s a good idea to rinse them to remove any remaining bitterness. Kañiwa (kah-nyeewah), quinoa’s smaller and lesser-known red cousin, doesn’t need to be rinsed before cooking because it doesn’t have the bitter compounds.

Teff. Gluten Free. Calcium.
Originating in Ethiopia more than 2,500 years ago, teff (sometimes called taf) remains a staple there, where it’s mostly used to make a spongy sourdough bread. It is one of the smallest grains in the world—so tiny (like poppy seeds) that its bran germ, and endosperm cannot be separated, so it can be consumed only as a whole grain.
According to the Whole Grains Council, there are about 3,000 teff grains in just one gram (1/28th of an ounce). Like amaranth, teff has about 60 milligrams of calcium per four ounces, cooked. Teff is slightly sweet, with white varieties mildest in flavour; darker varieties taste earthier, even chocolate-like.

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Wheat berries.
These are the whole kernels of the wheat plant, from which all wheat products, including wheat flour, are made; only the inedible outer husks are removed. Available in red and white varieties, they resemble short-grain brown rice. When boiled, they have a chewy texture and nutty flavor. Since they are the least processed form of wheat, wheat berries can be even richer in nutrients and fibre than whole-wheat flour. That’s because the processing of whole-wheat flour, even if less extreme than for refined wheat flour, can still degrade some of the kernels’ healthful components.

Are They SUPER?
Labeling these grains as “super”—the latest trend—is over stating their place in a healthy diet. I tend not to label any clean food a ‘Super-food’ we all need a wide variety of foods for health. All whole grains are healthful, each in its own way. Besides the ones listed here, there are other healthful options, including barley (a cereal grain that helps lower blood cholesterol), spelt (an ancient wheat species), millet (a food staple in Africa and Asia), buckwheat (not related to wheat), khorasan wheat (Kamut is the registered brand name) and a variety of pigmented rices, such as Thai black rice (which get their dark colours from antioxidants called anthocyanins). If your regular supermarket doesn’t carry them, look for them at health food stores, specialty markets and on the Internet.

There are many recipe ideas for exchanging modern, processed, nutrient sparse grains with these nutrient dense, unprocessed, whole, ancient alternatives.

Eat Clean. Stay Active. Feel Great

Jax.

Is Modern Wheat Making You Fat and Sick? – for Kim xx

The scientific explanation for why WHEAT is destroying your body

I saw this and knew I had to comment and pass it on! Especially for Kim as we were talking about inflammation in Pilates last night… This is very relevant.

The government and the media tell you to eat MORE wheat… they call it phrases like “wholesome and healthy”. Cereal boxes claim that it’s a “nourishing breakfast of champions”… But more and more scientists, nutritionists, and researchers are finding very troubling health issues related to wheat components that most people are eating in almost every meal.

And this is about MORE than just gluten too…there are many other problematic components of wheat as well.

I saw this article below the other day and wanted to share it with you:

Is Modern Wheat Making You Fat and Sick?
by TheAlternativeDaily.com

Our hunter gatherer ancestors collected all they could from the ground for food including insects, berries, roots, nuts, etc. In their gathering, they found that the animals were eating grass, and they became curious. They broke it down and somehow incorporated wild wheat into their diet. This grass was called Einkorn and had only 14 chromosomes.

Plants can mate with each other and combine chromosomes. At some point in time, the wild grass Einkorn mated with another type of wild grass and the offspring Emmer ended up with 28 chromosomes – this is the wheat that is mentioned in the Bible. However, this is not the wheat of today, that is for sure.

In the Middle Ages (different from the Paleolithic era) bread was a staple and very common food. Emmer mated with another grass which contributed more chromosomes to result in Spelt, Triticum landraces with 42 chromosomes.

In 1960, when the threat of world population explosion was imminent, there was an investment made in agricultural research where lots of money and time were devoted to new ways to increase wheat yield. At this time, different strains of wheat were crossed over and over again to select certain characteristics and to introduce unique genes.

The resulting wheat yielded up to 10 times more per acre. When this wheat was introduced to many third world countries, famine was greatly reduced within one year. Dr. Norman Borlaug received the Nobel Peace prize for his work creating this high yield strain of wheat.

Because this wheat is so prolific, it has taken over almost all of the world’s wheat supply. There are also about a million acres of what is known as Clearfield Wheat being grown in the Pacific Northwest. It is a semi dwarf strain of wheat that has had its seed and embryos exposed to a chemical, sodium azide, which is an industrial toxin.

The makers of Clearfield wheat claim that their wheat is a result of “enhanced, traditional plant breeding techniques,” making a distinction between genetically modified wheat. However, although no gene splicing techniques were used, many other methods were, such as the purposeful induction of mutations using chemicals, high dose x-ray and radiation techniques to induce mutations coupled with cross breeding. These methods might be far worse than genetic modification, according to Dr. William Davis, author of the popular book, Wheat Belly.

The government says eat more wheat – what is up with that?

The government tells us that we need to eat more grain, which generally means more wheat. In the food pyramid, we are advised to eat 60% of calories from grains like wheat. The new food plate design also tells us to get at least 1/4 of our calories from wheat. Here is why we need to stop listening to what our government is telling us about the food pyramid:

Modern Wheat is a Serious Appetite Stimulant

It is estimated that up to 10% of the population has a sensitivity to the protein in wheat known as gluten (some experts estimate it may be higher, possibly closer to 30%). However, the other 90% of people who consume wheat really should not be eating it either…

Here are a few reasons why:

1. Gluten is a two part protein that is comprised of gliadin plus glutenin. Glutenin has a unique elasticity that gives us the ability to stretch our pizza or bread dough or even spin it over our heads, if we are inclined to do so. Gliadin, the other part of the gluten protein, was heavily studied in the 1970′s by psychiatrists who found that if they took all of the wheat out of the diet of their patients with schizophrenia, they improved markedly.

When they put the wheat back, they found that the condition worsened. So the question asked was what was in bread that led schizophrenics to hallucinate? It was traced back to the gliadin protein which, when ingested, enters the brain and binds to opiate receptors where it stimulates appetite.

In addition, gliadin, acting like an opiate in the brain, has other disastrous effects. For example, people with ADHD become hypersensitive and have behavioral outbursts, people with schizophrenia have major hallucinations, people who are bipolar become increasingly manic and those with eating disorders, such as binge eating, will develop food obsessions.

By 1985, in the USA everything at the supermarket with wheat in it came from the prolific semi-dwarf strain or a spinoff. Interestingly enough, if you compare what happened to America’s weight prior to and after 1985 it is evident that there was an obesity explosion that is still happening today shortly after the “new” wheat was introduced.

A huge increase in the number of diabetics also followed. Although cause and effect cannot be proven scientifically – it seems evident that we have all been fed an appetite stimulant.

2. Modern Wheat Destroys Blood Sugar

Two slices of whole wheat bread raise blood sugar higher than 6 teaspoons of table sugar. How does this happen when whole wheat is considered a complex carbohydrate that we are encouraged to eat more of?

The complex carbohydrate of wheat is called Amylopectin A, which is highly sensitive to amylase, which we have in our stomach and mouth. This makes it very easy to digest and raises blood sugar rapidly — even more rapidly and to a higher extent than pure table sugar. Wheat for breakfast (cereal, bagels, bread, muffins, etc), wheat for lunch (sandwich bread), wheat for dinner (pasta, bread, etc), and wheat for snacks (crackers, cookies, etc) results in visceral fat that encircles the intestines, heart, liver and kidneys. Repetitive high blood sugar over and over results in what Dr. Davis calls a “wheat belly.”

3. Modern Wheat Causes Inflammation

When bacteria or a virus enters the body our immune system responds in many ways. Plants do not have the same type of immune system, but they have lectins which are proteins that are toxic to mold, fungi and insects. Some lectins are benign to humans like the lectin found in spinach while some are very toxic. The lectin in wheat (Wheat Germ Agglutinin) is a four part complex molecule.

When this lectin is isolated and given to rats in very small amounts, it destroys the small intestine. Average Americans consume about 10-20 mg of the wheat lectin in a day, that’s enough to do significant damage.

When we consume wheat, the gliadin protein unlocks the normal intestinal barrier and allows foreign substances entry into the bloodstream – substances such as wheat lectin. This is why people who eat wheat have autoimmune and inflammatory distress such as joint inflammation, bowel inflammation, acid reflux, inflammation of the brain, inflammation of the airways etc. In fact, there is not one system that fully escapes the inflammatory assault of wheat.

4. What Happens When We Remove Wheat From Our Diet?

First of all, taking wheat out of the diet is not as easy as might think (although it IS easy if you simply avoid any and all processed foods) – wheat is in a lot of foods – even ones we would not associate with having wheat. For example, wheat is in Twizzlers, Campbells Tomato Soup, taco seasoning, frozen dinners, cereals, salad dressings, granola bars and a lot more.

5. Why is there wheat in so many products?

In 1960, we could find wheat only in things where we would expect to find wheat – breads, pastas, pancake mix, etc. Today is an entirely different story – wheat is in all kinds of foods where we would not expect to find it.

Is it possible that food manufacturers know a little something about wheat as an appetite stimulant (on top of the fact that is it heavily subsidized by our government and therefore artificially inexpensive)?

6. Impact of a Wheat-Free Diet

Dr. Davis tells us that taking wheat out of the diet will result in the following:

Improved weight loss
Reduced appetite
Lowered blood sugar
Reduced joint pain
Reduced inflammation
Improvement in cognitive function
Reduced anxiety
Reduced food obsessions
Reduced blood pressure
Reduced triglycerides
Increased energy
Improved sleep

7. What About Gluten-Free?

Although going gluten free is a good thing because you avoid problems with gluten and gliadin, wheat germ agglutinin and amylopectin A, gluten-free foods contain other potentially harmful ingredients if eaten in large quantities, mainly potato starch, rice starch, tapioca starch and corn starch. These are the only foods that raise blood sugar almost just as high as the amylopectin A found in wheat.

Warning: If you choose to be gluten free, avoid the commercial gluten-free products, at least until you educate yourself on the differences between the various gluten free products on the market.

(note: If you choose gluten-free products, look for products made from nut flours, coconut flour, and bean flours as opposed to rice flours, tapioco, corn and potato starch… my good friend Kelley Herring shows you how to make amazing gluten-free and low-carb desserts here, which all use healthy low-carb, high-fiber flours and natural sweeteners instead of the blood sugar disasters that are most gluten-free products on the market today)

8. What Can I Eat?

Most people make eating gluten-free and wheat-free seem too difficult, but it’s actually quite simple and enjoyable… Eat real, single ingredient non-grain foods as much as possible…

You can focus most of your diet on nuts, healthy fats, organic fruits/vegetables, grass-fed beef and bison, organic chicken and turkey, wild caught salmon, quality aged cheese, organic eggs, coconuts, avocados, seeds, olive oils, grass-fed butter, coconut oil, as well as a variety of other foods that are in their natural state. The more processed and refined a food is, the more likely it contains wheat and other byproducts of the refinement process that are just too dangerous to your health.

Enjoy the amazing health benefits of eating wheat-free!

-The Alternative Daily

There are plenty of foods you can enjoy that are wheat free – I think the best result is that you will have to MINDFULLY select your breakfast. No more grabbing toast or cereal boxes- you can cook scrabbled eggs and a variety of veggies in the time it takes to zap quick cook porridge ( which is the best way I know to gain belly fat and work your way towards diabetes!) look at your shopping list, swap some foods and your weight, bodyfat, gut and skin will all improve!
GO GO GO Wheat Free!!
Jax xx20140610-093751-34671405.jpg

Best Tip To Cut Belly Fat – EVER!

Best Tip To Cut Belly Fat – EVER!

If you’re trying to cut body fat, this will help you understand that the No. 1 step is to eliminate wheat, even before sugars.

In fact, given the choice of two slices of whole wheat bread or a Milky Way bar, I’d take the Milky Way. I’d rather choose neither, but the wheat is worse.

That’s not what we’re being told, of course.
We’re given the same story that’s been popular for 40 years- the years that’s seen us fatter and more unhealthy than ever. In fact wheat is the most flagrant trigger of visceral fat, and removing wheat is the most effective path to remove it [visceral fat]. Anyone trying to get cut for a competition will eliminate wheat and reduce carbohydrates for the most effective way to get results.

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Thanks Jax