Many (in fact, most!) diet books today recommend avoiding carbohydrates and particularly grains. Grains have been cultivated by ancient people and eaten for thousands of years. My opinion is that whole grains contain many nutrients essential for human development, vitality, and prevention of disease. (I do feel it’s important to soak all grains before cooking to make them more digestible.)
With that said, I generally don’t recommend grains that contain gluten when someone is trying to eat healthier or suffering from health problems. I occasionally eat gluten grains myself, especially sprouted flour. However, so many clients have sensitivity to gluten that most of my recipes don’t include grains such as wheat, barley, or rye. Everyone is different, and you may be able to tolerate gluten grains, but for optimal health I advise eating mostly gluten-free grains. You might think this means only rice, but there are four grain-like-seeds (all gluten-free) that I love: they are quinoa, millet, amaranth, and buckwheat.
Fab Four: Quinoa, Buckwheat, Millet, Amaranth
All four are delicious whole, but you can also use their flours to make wonderful gluten-free breads, pancakes, and other baked goods if you miss wheat.
I have one client in particular who is truly gluten intolerant, and she really missed eating grains and carbohydrates. When she added these yummy grains to her diet, she found that she stopped craving bagels!
I don’t recommend replacing wheat with processed gluten-free grain foods that are prominent in the markets today. Packaged gluten-free products are generally highly processed and not health promoting.
Of these four gluten-free superstars, my favorite is probably millet. Millet has a cooling thermal nature and so is perfect for this time of year. It is strengthening to the kidneys, anti-fungal, and a great grain for those with Candida albicans overgrowth. It is alkaline rather than acidic like so many grains.
Mary Beth’s Millet Burgers
My dear friend Mary Beth shared her recipe with me for these super tasty millet burgers…you’ll never miss the meat–or the gluten!
- Measure 1 cup of millet and rinse in cold water using a fine mesh strainer.
- Soak grains for 1 to 8 hours to soften, increase digestibility, and eliminate phytic acid. Drain grains and discard soaking water.
- Toast millet in a dry pan (optional– I do this to bring out a nutty flavor).
- Bring 2 cups of water to a boil.
- Add millet and a pinch of salt, cover, and turn down to simmer for 30 minutes without stirring.
- After 30 minutes, turn off and let sit for 5 minutes before stirring.
- Add ¼ chopped onion, ¾ cup chopped carrot, ½ cup of fresh parsley and ¾ cup of millet flour.
- You may add whatever seasonings you like: salt, pepper, and any dried herbs. I keep it pretty simple because I love burger toppings.
- Form into patties and sauté, fry, grill – whatever you like to turn them into into yummy burgers!