The Hippo


Jun 27, 2019









What’s in a grain?

A breakdown of gluten-free ancient grains and mineral sources
Farro: a strain of wheat that’s high in fiber, vitamin B3 and zinc
Spelt: a strain of wheat that’s high in protein, vitamin B6, iron and zinc
Kamut: a strain of wheat that’s high in zinc and magnesium
Chia seeds: a gluten-free seed that’s high in multiple minerals and is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids
Teff: a gluten-free grain that’s high in calcium and vitamin C
Amaranth: a gluten-free cereal/seed that’s high in calcium, potassium, iron, magnesium and manganese
Quinoa: a gluten-free grain seed that’s high in protein and multiple minerals
Sorghum: a gluten-free cereal grain full of antioxidants
Millet: a gluten-free seed grain that’s high in magnesium
Buckwheat: a gluten-free grain-like seed that’s high in fiber, manganese and copper
Swap for an ancient grain
Incorporating spelt or sorghum into your diet doesn’t mean you have to redo the way you plan and cook your meals. Most ancient grains can be added into dishes in simple ways, like mixing with vegetables or using it in place of rice or noodles in a recipe. Murray cooks with quinoa every other day, either adding it to soup or mixing it with vegetables in a salad. 
“It’s very easy to cook, it takes about 15 minutes [and] it can be stored in the fridge,” she said. 
One of her go-to meals is cold lentils and quinoa on top of a salad. 
“I have used chia before and I’ve made a vegan pudding with it — it’s kind of like a version of tapioca that’s a little bit different and fun,” Curtis said. “I personally love hemp. I use hemp [protein powder] a lot.” 

The comeback grains
Uncommon ancient grains becoming mainstream

By Allie Ginwala

 You may know quinoa, but how about spelt and kamut? They’re all examples of ancient grains, a healthy food trend that offers alternative nutrient sources to rice, corn and wheat. 

While they may be new to mainstream America, these grains are anything but modern. Originating in places from Egypt to Ethiopia, ancient grains are a group of grains (and some seeds) that were cultivated many years ago and continue to be harvested in the present day. 
“Their demand is increasing, and there are several reasons,” said Lisa Murray, registered and licensed dietitian for A Market in Manchester. 
She said during a phone interview that there are a few key factors that help explain the rise in popularity of ancient grains. 
The first and foremost is the fact that more people are choosing gluten-free diets. 
“Most of these grains are gluten-free with the exception of the wheat strains,” Murray said. “Teff, amaranth, quinoa, sorghum, buckwheat, they’re all gluten-free.”
Jen Curtis, purchaser for Earthward Natural Foods and Co-op in Amherst, noticed that a number of brands in their gluten-free section have branched out using ancient grains. 
“It used to be a lot of gluten-free [products] were made with rice, and now we have a pasta line that’s made with quinoa, we have some cookies that use quinoa,” Curtis said in a phone interview. “They’re definitely trying to use the ancient grains more.”
Another factor is that many of the ancient grains are sources of complete protein, which is essential for vegans and vegetarians who follow a plant-based diet. Murray said that quinoa, amaranth and buckwheat are all considered complete proteins, which means that have the nine essential amino acids. “The human body requires nine essential amino acids that we have to get from our food,” she said. “Quinoa is an example of a grain that provides all nine of these essential amino acids in the proper balance.”
The final factor to explain the popularity is the public’s overall increase in health consciousness. 
“[The] nutrients that they offer, they are very high in fiber, both soluble and insoluble, which again has a lot of health benefits,” Murray said. 
Each ancient grain provides important minerals and is a great source of B vitamins, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc and copper. With growing concern over genetically modified organisms (GMOs), many people are looking for alternatives to corn, rice and wheat, which are higher risk crops for GMOs, Murray said. 
While many of these ancient grains can serve as a protein substitute for meat, they’re useful for more than plant-based diets. 
“I would say that the vast majority of people who incorporate these ancient grains into their daily life are omnivores who eat all kinds of food,” Murray said. “These ancient grains provide additional sources of nutrition that complement our diet and provide a lot of nutrition.”
The purpose of ancient grains shouldn’t be solely focused on replacing meat protein or gluten, but as another way to improve overall nutrition. 
“If we are used to eating rice four times a week [and] add in a variety of other substitutions, we increase the nutritional value of our diet significantly,” Murray said. 
As seen in the January 15, 2015 issue.

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