I used to eat wheat on a daily basis. It was part of my breakfast, lunch and dinner and I didn´t even noticed. Why? Because wheat is everywhere! It is present in breakfast cereals, bread, pasta, grains (e.g., couscous, bulghur), not to mention cookies, cakes… Basically think about flour, think about wheat.
When we eat the same thing over and over again it is probably not good for us. Our organism needs diversity. Believe in me, I didn´t know what diversity was till I came to live in the Azores as I wrote in my book Back to Natural. Diversity is important not only because we will have access to different nutrients, but we will also avoid overloading our organism with certain foods that might not be the best for us, even the ones considered to be healthy. Remember this: “One person´s food is another person´s poison.”
I had to learn this the hard way. I developed some health issues because of the way I was eating. Ok, I didn´t consume meat and almost any sugar, but at the same time I ate the same fruit, vegetables, grains, animal protein every day. I was just thinking about satisfying my taste buds not understanding that they can be trained!
If you are sick of eating wheat, this post is for you. You will get to know other grains besides wheat, so next time you go to the supermarket or to a health food store you can bring home a different grain. The following grains are all gluten-free:
This is my favorite grain. You can find it anywhere and it is cheap. Ok, it is more expensive than white rice but it is also more beneficial as I explained in a previous post. By the way, why is it that everything that is healthier is also more expensive?
If you are a pasta fan, let me tell you that you can also find brown rice pasta in health food stores. And have you ever heard about rice cakes? They have only 2 ingredients (at least the ones I know, but check it out before buying): brown rice and salt. Rice cakes can be a bread substitute or you can simply eat them has a snack.
Considered “the golden ‘grain’ of the Andes” due to its high nutritional value, quinoa is also part of my diet. Actually, quinoa is generally higher in protein than most grains, but curiously quinoa is not a grain but a seed.
Quinoa has many varieties. Did you know that there are more than three thousand varieties both cultivated and wild? The most popular variety is quinua real characterized by a large size grain. You can also find white, red and black quinoa. I personally prefer white quinoa, but if you want to give some color to your dishes you can mix white and red quinoa, for example, as I sometimes do.
This cereal is not very common in the West, but it is an important crop in some parts of Asia and Africa. Millet is a good source of minerals copper, phosphorus, manganese and magnesium.
Before cooking millet I advise you to toast the grains first to give it a nuttier flavor. Contrary to other grains, to cook millet you will need more water: 2,5-3 parts of water, depending on your taste, to 1 part of millet.
In India you can find flatbread made from millet flour called bajra roti. I haven´t tried it yet though, but I am looking forward to. In case I like this roti you will be the first to know! I will also share its recipe with you, don´t worry.
Despite its name, buckwheat has nothing to do with wheat. Like quinoa, buckwheat looks like a grain, but it is actually a seed and this is why it is called a pseudo-cereal. Buckwheat is rich in minerals manganese, copper, magnesium and phosphorus. It is also rich in fiber.
You can also find noodles made of buckwheat in health food stores. My boyfriend loves it! Look for soba which is the Japanese name for buckwheat.
Which grain would you like to try first? I would love to hear your thoughts!