The Weston A. Price Way

Saturday, April 20, 2013

The New-Ancient Grain-Seed...I Think I'm in Love!

One of many varieties, even the leaves
are eaten with relish...but today,
we focus on its seeds...
photo credit: (Dysviz)
It's one of the newer 'buzz word' foods.

But it's not new. In fact, it's part of ancient history.

It's considered, and often called, a grain.

But it's actually the humble seed of an often grandiose flower.

A seed that can be ground into gluten-free flour.
A seed that can be popped like popcorn and eaten as a snack or garnish, used as a cereal and even baked in bread.
This is a seed that acts much like a grain in usage, but instead of being high in carbs, is high in protein, as well as lysine, methionine, iron, calcium and fiber...three times as much fiber as wheat, in fact. It is gluten-free and highly digestible even for those with celiac disease.

It's called Amaranth.
A very, very special seed.

I've been hearing about it, and perhaps you have too, for a while now, but only in connection to bread, but the GF part of it scared me off because I know there are extra steps to take to get bread to rise when there is a lack of gluten, and I haven't felt ready to embark on a new mission. I haven't been completely thrilled with the gluten-free photos of bread I've seen, either. (If I just stepped on toes, I'm sorry, but I need to be truthful about the reasons for my aversion.)

But, someone gave me some amaranth and because they did, I had to find a way to use it.

I looked up bread recipes, telling myself it couldn't be that hard, right? Well, I've still to put it to the test because every single recipe I found required the use of three or more flours, and of them, at least one other, besides the amaranth, was something I didn't have on hand.

So, I compromised and used some in my tibicos bread and it did turn out nicely, but I really didn't use that much, so I still needed to find another way to use it.

My results from popping.
With a bit of research, I discovered the merits of amaranth are rather profound, as stated above. So today, I chose the easiest way to incorporate it into my diet...well one of the two easiest ways. I popped it. (See HOW-TO video above.) It was sort of fun, even if a little more time-consuming than I would have liked. But a little seems to go a long way and I love the light, vaguely crunchy and toasty taste of it. It was delicious topping my yogurt at lunchtime and later, after this cooler weather passes, I think I'll try it on ice cream.

Loved the taste and texture! This is a keeper!
(Okay, folks, I just went to take pictures to post here and remembered as I was clicking away that someone had told me popped amaranth is similar to popped corn, only smaller. Well, I'd have to say it's almost microscopic in size comparison,
   however......while clicking, I wondered if it would taste as good as popcorn if prepped similarly? It was an experiment worth merit to me since I am a popcorn fiend. Unfortunately, unless I am psyched up to accept my body's negative reactions, I must usually refrain from the indulgence. But what if, what if my body says yes to popped amaranth? So, I took about 5 heaping Tbs, added about one Tbs. melted coconut oil- there's one way to get in that wonderful, nutrient-dense fat!- and sprinkled it lightly with sea-salt.)

I ate the whole little bowl (seen in the photo above), relished every bite, felt full and concluded that although it's not something I'd eat with my fingers, it's certainly comparable to popcorn. So much so, in fact, I would be tempted to sneak it into the next movie I attend. I am awaiting pop-cornish side effects, but have a feeling they won't happen. I'm fairly certain, in fact, that I've just stumbled upon a winner.

The other easy way to use amaranth is to soak it much the same as I now soak oatmeal before eating. Sarah Pope has a recipe for home-made soaked cold cereal and I'm thinking after grinding, this could be used in place of other flours for a gluten-free, fast and easy summer breakfast.

Why gluten-free? Because the more I read and study, if begrudgingly, about gluten's connection to gut disease and how it affects body and mind, the more I think it would be good to at least substitute some gluten-free foods for gluten-full foods. So, just as I recommend that newbies to traditional cooking and food prep take it in baby steps, I am doing likewise in my own toe-testing of GF food prep.

See, from what I am learning, if there is a serious gut problem, our nifty probiotic beverages, grass-fed meats and coconut oil alone...which are great and good and I don't want to take from that...cannot completely fix it. They can do the job of ensuring less toxins in my diet, adding substantial nutrient-dense quality and creating an intestinal environment attractive to gut-enhancing flora, but they cannot re-create that flora because the problem is that there are other critters, bad ones, that are feeding off all starches and most sugars. Those critters have to be starved to death and the only way to starve them is to not feed them those starches and sugars. (I understand date sugar, very ripe fruits and honey are okay.) So, that's a very big sacrifice to me...bread, potatoes, starchy veggies...Therefore, what I'm approaching it all via the low and slow method.

The good thing is that it's reported those who go on a GAPS type diet...a diet that eliminates bad-critter great results in how one feels and bodily reaction within short order. The total healing may take as much as two years, but the truth is, it does heal and it makes its clients feel better relatively quickly. This is not just a matter of being healed of a gut disease but auto-immune disease, which stems from gut disease, as well!

So, you see, I may not be all in at this time, but I sure am listening. I'm trying a few new-to-me things with this old non-grain, too. And if I find it a lot to my liking, I may get my Little Red Hen on and plant some in my garden...

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