Picking your Brains about Grains!
15 May

Picking your Brains about Grains!

I’ve heard a lot of people throwing these words around and wanted to delve a little further into why we should be omitting grains from our diet. Or just keep eating them. Well… good ones that is. As a kid I was always told a diet high in grains was good for you. So why all the negative talk around grains?

It’s one of those confusing dietary issues I think… from doing some research it turns out some grains aren’t that bad and some are definitely no-goers!

Whole grains.

Whole Grains contain the entire grain kernel – the bran, germ and endosperm.

What are some well known Whole Grains?

There are quite a few on the market at the moment and a lot of new ones coming through which just makes everything confusing. Also, a lot of people react differently when they ingest whole grains. Some people can graze on whole grains until the cows come home and some are so sensitive that even a slight smell can send them into anaphylactic shock!

There are also things on the market called, “Pseudograins” and “Pseudocereals”.

Pseudograins contain no gluten like wheat and rye and they also have more carbs, vitamins and minerals and nutrients like B Vitamins and Iron.

I generally go by the following, however, I am a completely different person to you all and you to me. So it’s always a process of illimination which can be frustrating but rewarding in the end.

Pseudocereals & Whole Grains that agree!

Brown Rice Image

Brown Rice (whole grain) – I have always loved brown rice and it is certainly something that agrees with me. I use it to thicken out soups, make salads heartier and I run it through the Vitamix Dry container to make Brown Rice Flour for when I am baking.

Brown rice, unlike white rice, still has the side hull and bran. This renders a quicker cooking time and makes is a lot lighter in the stomach, making it easier to digest.

It’s rich in Selenium, Manganese, naturally-occurring oils, is a great source of fibre, rich in antioxidants, a slow release sugar and is perfect for those treating candida. The natural digestibility of brown rice together with its high fibre content can help sensitive digestive systems heal from candida overgrowth.

I can’t praise brown rice enough!

Amaranth Original Image

Amaranth (pseudo cereal) –is native to Peru and was a major crop from the ancient Aztecs. It’s also known to be called a ‘pseudo-cereal’ as it is not like wheat, oats of barley. It has a long history of being used like a grain hence it’s inclusion in the whole grain group. It’s legume-like seed also gives it a quality similar to a bean.

Amaranth contains a substance called lunasin, which has been shown to help reduce cholesterol and inhibit the release of pro-inflammation molecules in the body.

It is naturally gluten free and high in protein and several minerals. So why not try adding some to your salads, pasta dishes or smoothies!

Amaranth! It is considered a grain but actually has anti-inflammatory properties and is considered a great addition to your diet.


Buckwheat (pseudo cereal) – a super food that is a fantastic substitute for rice or the normal breakfast porridge that everyone eats.  It boasts a whole lot of benefits as it’s high in fibre and essential minerals like zinc, manganese, copper and magnesium. It’s high protein content making it an excellent meat substitute and as it’s fibre is soluble, it helps reduce blood cholesterol levels and promote bowel health. It’s rich in anti-oxidants including rutin which helps reduce blood pressure and it’s also a great anti-inflammatory.

What I love about Buckwheat is that it is a warming food. What does this mean? It is classified by macrobiotics as a yang food which makes it perfect for eating in colder winter months and for those with a  spleen qi deficiency. It’s also Gluten Free so perfect for Celiac sufferers.

Pseudocereals & Whole Grains in moderation.

Millet (pseudo cereal) – Millet is fantastic if you suffer from a Gluten Intolerance however, it contains goitrogens. Goitrogens is a substance found in food that suppresses thyroid activity and can lead to goiter, an enlargement of the thyroid. Hypothyroidism is a serious condition that can result in Depression, difficulty losing weight, loss of hair and cold hands and feet. This is the very reason why I tend to steer clear of Millet.

Millet  Image

Oats (pseudo cereal) – First of all, if you are consuming oats and have an intolerance to Gluten make sure you purchase organic oats as most commercially produced oats contain gluten.


Quinoa (pseudo cereal) – Quinoa (keen-wah) is a fantastic alternative as it is completely gluten free. It has a nutty flavour and great to use in salads, in place of rice, baking and ground up into a flour. It is a fantastic source of protein for all those vegan and vegetarians out there however, there was a grim consequence from Quinoa’s sudden high demand.

Sales took off and consequently the price shot up, tripling since 2006. You would think this was a great move for Quinoa’s producers however, the appetite of countries such as ours has pushed up prices to such an extent that poorer people in Peru and Bolivia who relied on this nourishing food can no longer afford to eat it. Importing junk food is easier for them.

Quinoa Image

Spelt (pseudo cereal) –  Although this is a fantastic alternative to just regular flour, Spelt contains gluten so it is best avoided if you are a celiac or a sensitive to gluten.

Spelt is high in Niacin and minerals such as copper, iron, zinc, magnesium and phosphorus. It also has a high water solubility which makes it easier to digest for those with a  wheat intolerance. The soluble fibre content is also beneficial for lowering blood cholesterol and regulating blood sugar levels.


Kamut (pseudo cereal) – Again, although Kamut is a fantastic alternative to just regular flour it still contains gluten so it is best avoided if you are a celiac or a sensitive to gluten.

Kamut does have many benefits though if you can stomach gluten. Kamut if low in fat, cholesterol-free and higher in protein than wheat. It also boasts the benefits of many nutrients that are essential for good healthy including dietary fibre, manganese, magnesium and niacin.


Feeling like some crackers? Here is a wonderful GRAIN FREE recipe that I have whipped together. You can always add different spices to make the flavour suit your needs however, I thought I would just make this a simple recipe so you could use it as a guide and create a masterpiece from there.

Recipe Image

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