When whole grains are complemented with a good variety of other unrefined food plants, all the elements for nutrition are available. Grains satisfy hunger and taste, provide energy and endurance, calm nerves, and encourage deep sleep. They promote elimination, quick reflexes, long memory, and clear thinking.
Whole grains, along with legumes and vegetables, are commonly called complex carbohydrates. The digestion of these whole food complex carbohydrates gives a harmonious, steady, balanced metabolism providing complete nutrients. Unlike highly refined, nutrient deficient grains (refined rice, breads, cereals, etc.) and sugars, which give you a rush followed by depression. Complex carbohydrates are lacking in our modern diet more than any other item.
Whole wheat is a rich source of vitamin E, one of the most powerful antioxidants that occur in food. It contains zinc, which is essential for over 200 biological enzymes and critical for normal hormonal levels and a healthy immune system. Magnesium, a must in over 300 enzyme activities – especially the production of ATP which helps supply energy to every part of the body – when added with the calcium inherent in whole wheat, is 16 times more effective at promoting bone density than calcium alone.
Whole wheat reduces estrogen levels in the blood stream and helps to normalize cell regeneration. It also contains necessary dietary fiber, folic acid, chromium, B vitamins and phytochemicals.
Amaranth is consumed in areas of Africa and Latin America. There is no malnutrition there. It has a high nutritional value and is able to thrive in poor soils and drought conditions. Amaranth can be used to help fulfill protein and calcium requirements. It is also rich in lysine, an amino acid low in wheat and most other grains. Amaranth is high in fiber, protein, amino acids (lysine and methionine), vitamin C, calcium, magnesium and silicon. It benefits the lungs.
Use amaranth in breads, cakes, soups and grain dishes. You can pop it like popcorn, toast it for a nutty flavor, or sprout it to use in sandwiches or salads.
Barley has a sweet and salty flavor. It regulates the stomach, fortifies the intestines, strengthens the spleen-pancreas, builds the blood, moistens dryness and benefits the gall bladder and nerves.
“Sproutable” barley is mildly laxative and much more nutritious than “pearl” barley – more fiber, twice the calcium, three times the iron and 25% more protein. Barley tea is also a coffee substitute.
Buckwheat has a sweet flavor. It cleans and strengthens the intestines and improves the appetite. It contains rutin, a bioflavonoid that strengthens capillaries and blood vessels, inhibits hemorrhages, reduces blood pressure and increases circulation to the hands and feet. It tastes absolutely wonderful in pancakes!
Rice expels toxins, strengthens the spleen-pancreas, soothes the stomach, and is hypoallergenic. Whole brown rice is rich in B vitamins and therefore benefits the nervous system and helps relieve mental depression.
Short grain rice has a nuttier flavor and chewier consistency. Whole grain basmati rice is slightly aromatic and is lighter than other rice. Sweet rice is rich in gluten and contains more protein and fat than other rice. Wild rice is not true rice but has a sweet and bitter flavor and benefits the kidneys and bladder.
Other whole grains you may want to look into that have excellent nutritional and healing abilities are millet, oats, quinoa, rye, and spelt.
Bread is the major medium for the consumption of grain in America. For people to adapt to grain in its whole, un-milled seed state is not practical, nor necessary. The milling of grain causes some loss of nutrients but at the same time natural leavening contributes more vitamins and enzymes through the action of beneficial fermentation. It’s important to find or make bread that is naturally leavened. This makes it light and totally digestible.
Commercially yeasted breads, even the whole grain varieties, typically contain flour bleach, which forms alloxan, a compound known to cause diabetes in animals by destroying the beta cells of the pancreas. Flour bleach does more than bleach. It acts chemically to soften and age flour, and to repel insects.
Some natural leavening agents are sourdough from a culture, miso, rejuvelac, and fermented cooked grains.