I have spoken to many of you concerning health problems like high and low blood sugar, disorders of the digestive process, weight gain and candida infections. All of you recognize that the food we choose affects our health. This month, I am introducing you to some whole grain found in natural food stores by discussing "paste food."
Paste food is any food with little or no fiber in relation to its carbohydrate content. It derives its name from pasta and breads, which begin as flour and water and basically return to that form as you digest them. Their lack of fiber fosters a more lengthy stay in the intestines where every bit of that carbohydrate mass turns into sugar. Sugar in the gut may foster overgrowth of pathogenic yeasts and, once absorbed into the blood, affects sugar levels, triglyceride levels, appetite and weight-control mechanisms.
If we all try to eat more grains as whole grains instead of flour, then we may help ourselves avoid or recover from some of these pitfalls. For some - especially those of us who love pasta, breads and even fruit juice above all else, and who have been applauded for our efforts by the backers of the health-food pyramid - this is hard to swallow. However, by cutting down the quantity of paste food in your diet, you will feel better. And you‘ll discover some delicious foods too!
Here is a primer on some grains to eat whole. You may combine them with each other as well as with various beans and veggies, raw or cooked. Use pasta sauce or a salad dressing to top them off, and eat them hot or cold, depending on the time of day, the season or occasion.
Millet is a small yellow grain which is one of the most digestible grains in the world - you may recognize it from commercial birdseed. It can be complemented by savory or sweet spices, butter, cheeses and oils, so you can make a delicious side dish, main course or desert.
Quinoa (keen-wa) looks like white millet before cooking, but afterwards it resembles Saturn, with every grain wearing a white ring. It is best cooked with broth or bouillon, since it tastes a bit "grassy" when cooked with plain water.
Teff is another ancient grain experiencing a renaissance. It is small, brown and rich in fiber and may be a bit heavy to eat alone. However, blending it with brown rice, millet or quinoa will enhance their taste and fiber content. Teff has a wonderful malted flavor and can even be added to oatmeal, just for a change.
Finally, let‘s not forget to mention how wonderfully different whole wheat, kamut (ka-moot) and spelt are when eaten in a salad (Click here to read Debbie‘s Produce World - "Salad 101") or main dish or added to soups. These all take longer to cook, but you can shorten the time by soaking them overnight or by pressure cooking.
Look for cookbooks featuring grain and bean recipes in your natural food store, and please feel free to call me for more information on this topic or to obtain copies of previous articles
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