Whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa, oats, millet, amaranth, barley, wild rice, wheat berries and buckwheat have been a central element to the human diet since early civilization and are an excellent source of nutrition. When grains are unrefined they contain essential enzymes, protein, complex carbohydrates, iron, dietary fiber, and vitamins. They provide sustained, high-quality energy and strengthen the body.
Grains contain phytic acid which can interfere with the absorption of essential nutrients. To remove, soak grains for 1-12 hours. The longer they’re soaked the more nutritious and digestible they become. They’ll also cook more quickly. After soaking grains, drain and rinse. The phytic acid will be washed away. Be sure to cook them in fresh water.
To infuse grains with minerals and improve their digestibility, cook them with a 1-inch piece of kombu (a sea vegetable) or sea salt. This is an excellent step for everyone, but especially important for anyone with a digestive disorder.
The consumption of gluten has become a health concern for many people in recent years. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, spelt, kamut and barley. Someone who has Celiac Disease should not consume any gluten or they’ll become ill. Gluten allergies, sensitivities or intolerances are different issues and have become quite common. This is due to the way grains are now grown and processed which has changed drastically over the years. Many people feel better eliminating or reducing the consumption of gluten in their diet.
Recent studies show that brown rice has become contaminated with arsenic from ground water in the soil. California grown rice contains the lowest levels of arsenic. An excellent brand is Lundberg Farms. Fortunately, it’s simple to reduce the arsenic levels by pre-soaking rice and then cooking it like pasta. Boil in a pot filled with water for 30 minutes and strain the water off when done.
Cook a batch of your favorite whole grain each week and store for use during the week. Grains are excellent additions to soups, salads and make delicious breakfast cereals.