Protein Punch: Grains & Seeds of the Ancient World
Bored stiff with pasta day after day? Vowed to eat less white rice? Then you’ll definitely want to explore the world of hearty ancient grains and seeds like Quinoa, Teff, Spelt, and brown rice that have nourished people for millennia. Highly nutritious and packed with fibre and protein, they’re the fire and stone of the nutrition world — vital pillars of the human diet.
A nourishing source of clean, pure energy, grains and seeds are an excellent option for those with gluten intolerances. Here are some of our favourites.
QUINOA is a seed native to South America and one of the world’s superstar health foods. The gluten-free plant-based protein boasts all nine of the essential amino acids and is loaded with antioxidants. Quinoa’s earthy, nutty flavor works well mixed in salads and as a wholesome alternative to rice.
Did you know? The pre-Columbian Incas of South America not only grew and harvested quinoa, but it was so vital to their existence that they revered it as the “mother of all grains” (even though it’s actually a seed!).
TEFF is a fine seed-like grain from Ethiopia that packs a big nutritional punch with its iron, vitamin C, manganese, zinc, and other essential minerals. Gluten-free Teff has a nutty flavour (without the nuts!) and it’s a super healthy way to jazz up burgers, porridge, and believe it or not even brownies.
Did you know? Teff is the world's smallest food grain and it’s thought to be one of the first foods domesticated by human beings way back in 4000-1000 B.C.E.
SPELT is an ancient variety of wheat native to southern Europe. The nutty grain with a slightly sweet tinge is easily digestible, highly nutritious, and loaded with vitamins and minerals that other cereals and kinds of wheat can’t claim. Ground into flour, it can be used in most recipes that call for regular or whole-wheat flour, especially bread.
Did you know? Spelt has a slightly higher protein content than ordinary wheat and can be tolerated by many people with wheat intolerances.
HULLED MILLET may be “for the birds” as a popular ingredient in birdseed, but it’s also an ancient gluten-free whole-grain-like nourishing seed that’s been consumed by humans for thousands of years across the globe, from Africa to India to China. To get some hulled millet love into your life, add it to soups, casseroles, and porridge, and serve it as side dishes.
Did you know? Aside from overall health benefits, a diet including millet helps reduce inflammation, lower blood triglycerides, and control blood sugar.
CHIA SEEDS are another health food darling for good reason — they’re sky-high in protein, fibre, omega-3 fatty acids, and antioxidants. Native to Central and South America, add the seeds to baked goods and smoothies, and sprinkle them everywhere — on salads, vegetables, and desserts.
Did you know? Chia seeds are a member of the mint family and they’re one of the plant-world’s best sources of calcium making them an excellent way to get your daily dose without having to consume cow’s milk or other dairy products.
BROWN RICE may not sound as exotic as the others, but it too is an ancient grain with a mission. You probably know that white rice starts out brown and that a milling process removes the husk, bran and germ, along with most of its nutritional value. Keeping it brown, on the other hand, means removing only the inedible outer hull and then enjoying the nutritious bran and germ inside. Brown rice, like whole grain freekeh, has a roasted flavour and chewy texture and is a welcome addition to stir-frys, served solo as a tasty side dish, or made into rackers, pasta and other products.
Did you know? Brown rice is super high in dietary manganese, a little-talked-about mineral that’s critical to our overall health, from bone development to regulating blood sugar and improving wound healing and nerve function.
So, next time you’re craving some healthy clean energy to help fuel through your day, think wholesome ancient grains and seeds. Little Farms stocks a variety of options guaranteed to breathe some fresh air and major nutritional value into your meal planning, including Australian brands like Absolute Organics, Four Leaf and Teff Tribe.
Here are our sources