The Body Ecology Diet Grains: Quinoa, Amaranth, Millet, and Buckwheat with Recipe Ideas
I have previously hubbed about The Body Ecology Diet (BED). The “diet” is much more geared toward improved health, with weight loss as a pleasant side effect. This statement appears on the cover of The Body Ecology Diet: “A must-read for anyone who wants to be healthy or who is exhausted, overweight or has digestive problems, candida, viral infections, cancer or neurological disorders such as ADD, Autism, Alzheimer’s, and Multiple Sclerosis.”
The gluten free “grains” of the BED are becoming more readily available, and increasingly appear in recipes, particularly vegan recipes, largely due to their high nutrient content. If properly prepared, these grains are very easy on the digestive tract. Two of them are high in protein, and ideal for having a “vegetarian night”, for a nutritious meal without the cholesterol.
Soaking and Sprouting Nuts and Seeds
Soaking Body Ecology Gluten Free “Grains”
The BED does not allow wheat because the gluten makes it difficult to digest. Only four grains, all gluten free, are allowed: amaranth, quinoa, millet, and buckwheat. Actually, only millet is a grain. The others are technically seeds, but are ally typically referred to as grains. You will often hear all of them referred to as “ancient grains”.
Both Donna Gates of the BED, and Sally Fallon of Nourishing Traditions, recommend soaking, and even sprouting grains, nuts, and seeds before cooking or eating them.
Soaking deactivates phytic acid found in all nuts, grains, and seeds. This enzyme inhibitor neutralizes our digestive enzymes and the absorption of important nutrients.
Soaking makes nuts, grains, and seeds easier for us to digest, and increases B vitamin and carotene content. The BED grains should be soaked 8 to 24 hours before using.
Amaranth, quinoa, and millet are alkalizing, which is desirable. An alkaline internal environment is less hospitable to diseases, including cancer. Buckwheat is acid-forming (according to Donna; Renee Underkoffler, in Living Cuisine, states it is alkalizing), and should be balanced with lots of vegetables.
All BED grains should be eaten with lots of vegetables, including cultured vegetables, and starchy vegetables. BED grains, as starches, should not be combined with meat protein.
Amaranth was grown by the ancient Aztecs of South America, and in the Himalayan regions of Tibet, Nepal, China, and India. It can thrive in austere conditions. Amaranth is a very nutritious starchy seed. It has more protein than most meats, and is rich in amino acids lysine and methonine. Amaranth has higher calcium than milk.
I like amaranth with caramelized onion. I use it most often in soups. After soaking, I add about a cup of amaranth to a stockpot of tomato-based soup.
Photo Gallery of Amaranth DishesClick thumbnail to view full-size
Salad with Quinoa
Quinoa dates back 3000 years, grown in the mountains of Bolivia and Peru by the Incas. It is still primarily grown in South America, although some is grown in Colorado.
Quinoa is a starchy seed. There are hundreds of varieties, and different colors such as yellow, red, purple, and black. I have only seen yellow at Sun Harvest. Quinoa is covered in saponin, a bitter substance that is used to make soap. The saponin must be laboriously washed off before sold for consumption.
Quinoa has the highest protein content of any of the grains. Like amaranth, it has impressive amino acid content, including lysine. Also like amaranth, quinoa has more calcium than milk. Quinoa is also an excellent source of B vitamins, Vitamin E, iron, and phosphorus.
I have added quinoa to soups, including the Spring Kicharee. It obviously adds nutrients, but I don’t really taste or feel it in soup.
Photo Gallery of Quinoa DishesClick thumbnail to view full-size
Millet Beet Burger
Millet was grown in Mesopotamia 5000 years ago, and has been grown in China for 3000 years. There is evidence that millet was grown in Switzerland during the Stone Age.
Millet is high in protein, amino acids, and silicon. It also acts as a natural anti-fungal.
To me, of the BED grains, millet has texture closest to couscous, which I really like.
Photo Gallery of Millet DishesClick thumbnail to view full-size
Rosemary Citrus Buckwheat Shrimp
Buckwheat is an “edible fruit seed” which is easy to digest and soothes the digestive tract. Buckwheat is available raw and whole, dehydrated, and toasted. Toasted buckwheat is known as kasha. Whole raw buckwheat can be soaked, sprouted, and dehydrated for breakfast cereal.
Buckwheat is a good source of the bioflavonoid rutin, which is thought to support capillaries, improve circulation, and lower blood pressure.
Photo Gallery with Buckwheat DishesClick thumbnail to view full-size
Introduction to the Body Ecology Diet
Talk to Your Health Care Provider
This article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you think you might want to try The Body Ecology Diet, pick up a copy of the book, and do your homework, including talking to your doctor.
The Body Ecology Diet by Donna Gates, with Linda Schatz
Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon, with Mary G. Enig
Living Cuisine by Renee Loux Underkoffler