Health and Fitness

Alternative Ancient Grains

If you’re looking for an alternative to wheat, rye, or barley because you want to avoid gluten, you wish to reduce your consumption of these grains, or if you simply want to try new grains outside of those three in this lifelong health journey, take a look at what many are calling “Ancient Grains”.

These particular grains are referred to as ancient because they’ve changed very little since they were first cultivated, unlike wheat, which has been bred and modified heavily. Technically, rye and barley have also remained relatively unchanged for thousands of years, but they do contain gluten, so if you have a gluten allergy or would like to avoid gluten-containing grains then it’ll be best to replace them with the following “ancient grains”.

Sorghum, millet, teff, quinoa, amaranth, kamut, buckwheat, and quinoa, which is considered a “pseudo-grain” since it isn’t a grain in the technical sense, but it’s consumed like one. Now, even ancient grains may contain gluten, so if you cannot consume it, then amaranth, teff, quinoa, millet and buckwheat will be your go-to.

Now, in my experience, I have seen all of these grains sold at various health food stores like Sprouts, Lucky’s Market and Whole Foods, as well as regular grocery stores like Krogers/King Soopers, and even Target and sometimes Wal-Mart. You can also buy them online from places such as Amazon, nuts.com, iherb.com. The latter option may be more convenient, and even cheaper if you cannot find a store that sells them in bulk. However, keep in mind the weather in your area and delivery time. If you have Amazon prime, that may be your best online option for fast shipping to avoid degradation of the grain in transit. Always be sure to check the expiration date whether buying online or in store.

And don’t skimp out on local, smaller grocery stores or farmer’s markets in your area. Check out the smaller mom and pop grocery stores or foreign-based stores such as Asian or Jamaican supermarkets. Take a look around and compare prices, and be sure to try out at least more than 1 ancient grain. All of them have different tastes and are cooked differently, so buy small bags if you can and experiment with them to see which ones you like best. And if you’re really looking to get into more advanced cooking with ancient grains, you can try replacing wheat based flour recipes with the flour version of the ancient grains, like amaranth flour. However, keep in mind that because wheat contains gluten and many of the ancient grains do not, it will change everything about how the recipe is done, from cooking time, to texture, to taste, and you may even need to add extra ingredients to make up for the lack of that binding agent. I suggest first starting with recipes that have already been tried and proven with ancient grain flour before experimenting on your own, just so you can get an idea of what you’ll need to do to make it taste delicious no matter what. 

Health and Fitness

Where The Extra Weight Is Coming From

Where The Extra Weight Is Coming From

By Victoralynn Davis

Unless you meticulously chart everything you eat and how many calories it contains, likely, you don’t remember everything that you ate over the week. To determine  where excess weight is coming from. Utilize a free food tracker app or use a good old fashioned pen and notebook it can get you started with recording eating habits, and measure your carb. In addition, with food tracker app you can also determine what’s working against your health goal. 

Now you might be asking: what exactly should I be looking out for dietary purposes? In all likelihood, it’s carbohydrates.Carbohydrates are simply sugar molecules that are broken down

from long chains into simpler molecules called glucose. Glucose is the primary molecule used for energy within your body. That’s why you may like sweet things like candy, sugary snacks, and fruit to a lesser extent. Those things have a concentrated amount of carbohydrates that ultimately break down to sugar. But sugar isn’t just present in concentrated sugar foods. It’s also in what can be considered non-sweet foods like vegetables, bread, pasta, grains, and even beer. Your body may like the taste, texture, or extra boost of energy you get from those things, but where does the excess glucose go if you aren’t using it?  It is stored in fats. If you’re working out a double-time to try and lose a little or a lot of weight, and nothing is working, take a look at the foods mentioned above. Are you indulging in them more often than you should? Now, you may have heard of simple vs. complex carbs. It can be kind of confusing, especially since there are potential weight gain culprits in both groups. The best way to figure out which carbs to consume is to eat food that is as close to nature and as unprocessed as possible. The more you consume processed something is, the more energy-dense probably is, which means that extra energy will turn into fat (or negatively affect your health in some other way). Eliminating carbs consist of the following:

Bread for sure! all types of yeast: whole, sliced, seeded, wheat, so-called natural or organic, hamburger buns, hotdog buns, croissants, pizza, cinnamon rolls, cookies, donuts, pastries, the list goes on. Next is kinds of pasta. That means macaroni, spaghetti, fettuccine, ravioli, lasagna, are all off the list.

Next is concentrated junk food items, such as sodas, any beverage containing artificial sweeteners like high fructose corn syrup, candy, cereals, and gummy or granola bar snacks.

And let’s not forget about white potatoes in the form of french fries (cut out the starch from your diet ). After these eliminations, see how much your workouts and body will improve from the change. Replace all of the above-mentioned sweets with our original carbohydrate source: fruits and vegetables, and more vegetables in the form of leafy greens than anything. And don’t worry, you’re not just limiting yourself to lettuce and carrots. There’s a myriad of vegetables and fruits available for you to try .I’ve found that more exotic fruits like Fuyu persimmons and dragon fruit are great as snacks, as well as cherries, seeded grapes, blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries. Be creative with salad recipes and try. different lettuce varieties, like butterleaf, red leaf, or bibb lettuce, or mix the greens and combine them with arugula or dandelion greens. Mix them with berries to make it naturally sweeter if you’d like. And if you want avocado, have at it! This is also an excellent opportunity to check out your local health-centered grocery store, or maybe a few of them if you’re able. Sometimes you’ll find different stores that carry other foods, and be sure to research any seasonal foods. Buying in-season helps you to save money, plus you’ll be eating in a way your body has been familiar with for thousands of years (that is, eating what’s available by season).

So if you’ve tried everything you could except cutting out those processed carbs, then that might be what’s making your body hold onto that weight. It won’t be easy; processed carbs are one of the most challenging foods to leave beyond on the path to excellent health. Even if you indulge every once in a while, don’t feel bad about it. Just chart it down and make a note not to indulge again, at least for a long, long time. Take care, and don’t give up on your neverending health journey.