An ancient relative of wheat, Spelt is a wonderfully nutritious and ancient grain with a deep nut-like flavor. It has a higher water solubility that helps your body easily absorb its protein, vitamins and minerals. It offers a broader spectrum of nutrients compared to many of its relatives from the wheat family. It is an excellent source of manganese, and a good source of protein, copper, and zinc.
Spelt is better tolerated in the body then any other grain. Allthough it contains gluten, some Celiac patients and most wheat intolerant people find it non-problematic.
You can cook the grain like risotto, toasting then adding stock, then simmering until completely cooked. There are also lots of different spelt pastas on the market (you will find them in Organic food stores) . You can also use Spelt flour to replace wheat flour in all your baking recipes. It is much lighter on the digestion and the taste is very similar so your recipes won't taste very different.
Quinoa (pronounced Keen-wah) is a wonderful Superfood that we’ve all heard a lot about over the last couple of years. Why is it so great and more importantly how can we including it in our cooking?
The quinoa seed is high in protein, calcium and iron and is a relatively good source of vitamin E and several of the B vitamins.
It contains an almost perfect balance of all eight essential amino acids needed for tissue development in humans. The protein in quinoa is considered to be a complete protein due to the presence of all 8 essential amino acids. Some types of wheat come close to matching quinoa's protein content, but grains such as barley, corn, and rice generally have less than half the protein of quinoa. Quinoa is about 18% protein and just 1/2-cup will provide a child’s protein needs for one day! How amazing is that? The 6-7% fat of quinoa is relatively high when compared to other grains, but it boasts a low sodium content and also provides valuable starch and fiber. The seeds are gluten-free which makes this a nutritious and flavorful alternative grain for those with gluten sensitivity. Quinoa is a worthy addition to anyone's diet, supplying variety as well as good nutrition.
So now for the big question: how do we cook it and how can we include it in our diet?
A classmate of mine, gave me a great breakfast recipe for the kids:
Boil the Quinoa in a little bit of water until the grains open up, add some almond milk, cinnamon, chopped banana and a little honey to taste…It’s a great alternative to porridge and really does taste good for adults and children alike!
We cook brown rice almost daily in our home as an accompaniment to stews. I mix the quinoa in with the rice and boil them together for a more nourishing alternative. It can also be a substitute for the rice.
Cooked quinoa is excellent in hot casseroles and soups, stews, in stir-fries, or cold in salads. The seeds cook very quickly, in only 15 minutes. Uncooked seeds may be added to soups and stews as you would barley or rice. Cold salads consisting of quinoa and chopped vegetables or cooked beans make a quick, easy, and nutritious dish.
One of my favorite recipes is this Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad, sooooo delicious:http://www.glowpeople.com/5/post/2013/05/quinoa-salad.html
As cereal grains go, barley is a winner when it comes to good nutrition. This centuries-old grain is packed with fiber, contains important vitamins and minerals, is low in fat, and, like all plant products, cholesterol-free.
Barley is a great source of dietary fiber and actually contains both soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber is effective in lowering blood cholesterol and can reduce the risk of heart disease, and is also beneficial in slowing the absorption of sugar and reducing the risk for developing type 2 diabetes. The insoluble fiber found in barley may be beneficial in helping the body maintain regular bowel function. Insoluble fiber may also help lower the risk for certain cancers such as colon cancer. Like all plant foods, it is naturally cholesterol-free and low in fat. Barley contains several vitamins and minerals including niacin (Vitamin B3), thiamine ( Vitamin B1), selenium, iron, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus and copper. It contains antioxidants, which are also important for maintaining good health. Barley contains phytochemicals, which may decrease the risk for certain diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer. A 1/2-cup serving of cooked pearl barley, a typical grain serving, contains less than 1/2 gram of fat and only 100 calories.
Try this great Barley salad recipe at home:
Buckwheat, contrary to its name, is a seed not a grain and has numerous benefits that make it an excellent addition to your diet.
The first great thing about Buckwheat is that its gluten-free, so its great for people who are sensitive to gluten or simply want to eat a grain that is easier to digest. Buckwheat is a rich source of what is called "biologically available protein." It has a well-balanced assortment of essential and non-essential amino acids and is considered a superior source of protein when compared to wheat, rice and even millet. Like citrus fruits, buckwheat is a rich source of Rutin, a powerful flavonoid antioxidant, and is also a good source of Vitamin E, another powerful antioxidant that prevents cell damage and support good health.
It has a high mineral content and a comparison of the mineral content of buckwheat flour to rice flour shows that it has 4 times more iron, 3 times more calcium, over 9 times more magnesium, almost 6 times more potassium and about twice as much zinc, copper and manganese. Last but not least, buckwheat is a good source of soluble dietary fiber: Soluble fiber is a type of dietary fiber that holds water like a sponge. It forms a gel that is responsible for slowing the time it takes food to travel through the digestive tract, which means you feel fuller for longer. It supports the healthy digestion and absorption of nutrients in food. Soluble fiber also slows the absorption of glucose, which keeps your blood sugar level and is known to lower cholesterol. How can you add Buckwheat to your diet? Buckwheat is very versatile. You can use Buckwheat flour instead of your normal flour in all your baking recipes. You can also use it for making pancakes for the kids. The whole grain can be found in different forms: unhulled which means it still has its tough outer skin, or hulled where the skin is removed. Kasha is a form of buckwheat that gets toasted giving it a reddish-brown colour and a nice nutty flavor. Try this great Buckwheat salad recipe: http://www.5min.com/Video/Go-Vegan-With-This-Easy-Buckwheat-Salad-Recipe-516957984
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