Going Against The Grain

| July 17, 2016 | 0 Comments

Going against the grain requires educating yourself on alternatives to the foods that keep Americans sicker and fatter than other countries. I get the question about the difference between grains and seeds a lot. Its not a relevant question as far as health is concerned. What is relevant is how fast the food turns into sugar that will feed germ overgrowth and stimulate the fat storage hormone-insulin. To get the answer to this question, you’ll want to look up the food’s “Glycemic Index”. This measures how fast a food turns into sugar. There are many sources on the web. Using the glycemic index, you’ll find that although millet is a seed rather than a grain, it has a high glycemic index and is therefore not on the BALi list of “grains”. Barley, on the other hand, is a grain with a very low glycemic index. In general, you want to pick foods 55 and lower on the glycemic index. Using zucchini to make pasta is a great idea. Buckwheat is one of your best choices for a healthful “grain”. Black rice is another. The darker your “grain”, the more health properties it will have. Sorghum, a grain, is another good choice. Don’t get so caught up in botany that your meal turns into a science project. Leave that to me.

1. Quinoa

Quinoa is actually a seed, a member of the grass family and not even a grain at all! It is however often referred to as a grain because of having similar flavor and cooking properties. This now hugely popular (read trendy!) food can be found in all sort of salad combination, in protein bars, crackers and even chocolate! I love making a bowl of quinoa, topped with steamed vegetables and a big poor of creamy sauce from herbs and nuts (very much inspired by Café Gratitude!) One of the huge benefits of quinoa, especially for someone living on a plant based diet, is that it contains all nine essential amino acids, making it a complete protein!

2. Millet

This is quinoa’s somewhat dryer sister and another great source of protein for people on a plant based diet. Millet is in fact a mineral-rich seed often found in birdseed mixes (fun fact!) It makes a mean mashed potato substitute when mixed and mashed up with some steamed or roasted cauliflower. Leftover cooked millet makes an easy breakfast porridge when mixed with some almond milk, cardamom, raw honey and fresh berries.

3. Amaranth

Amaranth is a super tiny seed similar to millet and quinoa and also a great plant source of protein, especially of the essential amino acid lysine, which other grains are low in. It is even thought to help lower cholesterol. Amaranth works great in soups, stews and porridges. The seeds are very fine and tend to get bit creamier and binding when cooked (think pudding and porridge texture!) Amaranth flour also works well in pancakes and breads. And talk about sustainability! Amaranth grows very rapidly and is thought of as a weed in many areas.

4. Brown Rice Mochi

You may have heard of mochi in the form of ice cream treats at Japanese restaurants. But, did you know there is also a delicious baked pastry version. Made with only brown rice this is as clean as it gets. With plenty of different flavor varieties to choose from for flavor (from dried fruit, nuts and seeds) you can satisfy both a sweet and savory craving with these warm and chewy treats. Cut up a few squares, pop it in the oven for 10 minutes and watch them rise to the occasion. I love dipping mine in some applesauce and almond butter!

5. Buckwheat Noodles

Love yourself some stir-fry or udon soup? Try using 100% buckwheat noodles next time. They have a really smooth texture and a hearty flavor that can stand up well to spicy foods. Buckwheat is good for your cardiovascular system and great source of magnesium! And despite it?s name, buckwheat is not related to wheat and does not contain any gluten!

6. Chia Pudding

Folklore attests that the chia seed was cultivated by the Aztec and was so valued that it was given as an annual tribute by the people to the rulers. So, we?re talking real, ancient super food here, people! You already know these six reasons why you should eat chia, so let?s get right into the cooking!

It can be turned into a delicious and decadent pudding simply by adding your nut milk of choice, some vanilla extract, a spoon of raw cacao or carob and something sweet like honey, maple syrup or stevia. You can also stir and sprinkle chia seeds in to any smoothie recipe or your morning porridge!

7. Zucchini Noodles

That’s right. This is a great pasta and noodle alternative and it?s all about the cutting technique. If you are looking to cut down on calories, carbs and starches, these ?noodles? are sure to satisfy that pasta craving! Use a spiral slicer or a mandolin to get the thin, long spaghetti like strips, dress with some fresh tomato sauce or a nutty pesto. Tada!

8. Lettuce Wraps

Need a carrier for all your stuffing? You can certainly skip the grains and pseudo-grains all together and go for leaves. Romaine and Boston lettuce leaves are big enough to hold a variety of fillings, just like a taco-shell or tortilla. You can also try to quickly blanch large collard green leaves and use those as alternative wraps. I also love using nori – think sushi maki and hand rolls. Roll up some nut butter, your favorite chopped vegetables, some avocado and a sprinkle of sprouts.

Category: Food Health

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