“LJ, what does “eat like the ancestors” sound like to you?” “To eat simple whole foods?” “Yes, I think we need to up our food game. It needs to be easy to find, cheap, whole, fresh, and densely nutritious. I’ve been researching ancient grains and realize that incorporating some of them into our diet will help support and sustain our health status. I want to do this because we are healthy now and I want to make sure we stay healthy.” “It’s got to taste good, Annie; I’m not interested in eating awful boring food.” “Okay, let’s start with identifying the top five grains our ancestors ate, and then we can explore tasty recipes.
Barley – is the fourth most-produced grain worldwide after corn, rice, and wheat. It was first cultivated over 10,000 years ago and has the highest fiber content of all whole grains. Barley is known as a cereal grain that is high in selenium, manganese, copper, zinc, and iron. It also contains beta-glucan, a soluble fiber known to help lower blood sugar and cholesterol.
Farro – is a strain of wheat that is the oldest cultivated grain in the world. Because of its high fiber content, Farro is a go-to energy staple in many cultures. It is a powerhouse source of protein, iron, zinc, and manganese, as well as vitamins C, B, A, and E.
Freekeh – comes from green durum wheat. For centuries it has been a part of the Middle Eastern and Northeastern African diet. Freekeh’s impressive nutritional profile includes protein, fiber, zinc, iron, copper, calcium, magnesium, and contains antioxidants that help prevent macular degeneration. Freekah has a distinct nutty, smoky flavor, and takes only twenty minutes to cook. Despite its carbohydrates, it is a low-glycemic index food
Millet – is a grain that emerged in China about 7000 years ago. It is still cultivated in India, Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, and Romania. Millet has the water-soluble B vitamins and the fat-soluble E, and K vitamins. It is high in magnesium, which helps lower blood pressure, and potassium which helps maintain low blood pressure. Its high fiber content contributes to gut health and it is Gluten-free.
Teff – originated in Ethiopia, about 4000 BC. The famous Ethiopian long-distance runners attribute their endurance to Injera, the sourdough bread made from Teff. This grain is 75% water, 20% carbs, 4% protein, has a nutty, grainy taste, and is gluten-free. Teff is super high in manganese, iron, and magnesium, calcium, zinc, and vitamin B6. It contains 20 to 40 percent resistant starches and has a low glycemic index that can help people with diabetes regulate blood sugar levels.
“Annie, let’s try the Dirty Millet recipe from the Afro-Vegan cookbook by @BryantTerry. You know I like dirty rice so I’m curious to taste how it compares.” Annie thoughtfully paused and thought, “Wow, LJ is interested in a vegan dish!”