Grains have been cultivated since the beginning of time and by most civilisations who occupy this earth. Grains satisfy hunger. They are tasty and provide energy and endurance. What we are talking about though is WHOLE GRAINS , not any processed or refined grains which are common in our modern diet.
There is a lot of bad press about grains and starch and carbohydrates in general and I do agree with some of it – that white bread will kill you people! The rush that you feel after eating highly refined grain products is not something that happens after eating whole grains. In short, whole grains are great, refined grains are not so great. Even the digestion process for refined grains is different to that of the digestion process for whole grains.
Whole grains are a fantastic way to introduce fibre into your diet. Our modern diet is very low in fibre and this is a leading cause of many of the illnesses prevalent in our society. An increase in fibre is associated with lower risks in all of these illnesses. More fibre leads to increased elimination and this is helpful for the chronic constipation that is common in many modern day societies.
If one isn’t used to though it may take a while for the body to get used to digesting them. It is recommended that you chew your whole grains thoroughly as increased amounts of saliva are required for their digestion.
Well, what are all these whole grains I hear you asking? As gluten intolerance is very common in today’s society I’ve broken them down into two groups for ease.
Wheat - calms and focuses the mind. Wheat can be used for insomnia, made popular by the “wheat bag”. Wheat encourages growth and weight gain so is beneficial for those requiring some fat formation. Wheat can cause allergic reactions and this is particularly common with rancid wheat. Wheat should be refrigerated, kept in an air tight container and used within 2 weeks of opening.
Oats – help to restore nervous and reproductive systems, removes cholesterol from the digestive tract and strengthens cardiac muscles. Oats help to renew bones and connective tissue.
Rye – increase strength and endurance as well as aiding muscle formation. Rye also assists in the formation of fingernails, hair and bone.
Barley – regulates the stomach and fortifies the intestines. Barley builds the blood and benefits the nerves. It is very easily digested.
Spelt – often used for treating diarrhoea and poor digestion. It is a relative of wheat and used in much the same way.
Rice – soothes the stomach and helps to expel toxins. Whole brown rice is concentrated in B vitamins and beneficial for the nervous system.
Millet – strengths the kidneys and is beneficial to the stomach. Millet sweetens breath as it minimises bacterial growth in the mouth. It is also known to ease morning sickness.
Buckwheat – effective for treating chronic diarrhoea. Rubin, a bioflavonoid found in buckwheat, strengthens capillaries and blood vessels. It reduces blood pressure and increase circulation in extremities. Buckwheat is used externally for skin inflammations.
Amaranth – has come to the attention of world health workers as there is no malnutrition in areas of Africa and Latin America where it is consumed. It is high in protein and contains more calcium than milk. You can pop Amaranth like popcorn or roast it for a nutty taste.
Quinoa – is related to amaranth and similarly is high in calcium. Quinoa is a good source of iron, phosphorous, Vitamin B and E.
Why don’t you try some of the more unusual grains listed above. A lot of them are new to me as well so I’m going to have fun experimenting too. I’ve been told that Fundies in Paddington and Mrs Flannery’s are good places to buy your grains. I’d also recommend Sol Breads in West End for good dense bread. Two slices of Sol Bread for breakfast will keep you going all the way through to lunch! Have some fun in the kitchen and let me know what you come up with. If you need some tips for recipes using the above grains please let me know and I’d be happy to give you some ideas.
Your body is your most important asset
Take care of it!Melissa xx