Part of being successful in switching to “clean eating” will be your willingness to try new things. If most people were to eliminate “un-clean” foods from their diet, there wouldn’t be much left to eat! I wouldn’t call myself a “picky eater”, but I have to admit, I was a little leery to try new “healthy” substitutions in recipes. In all fairness, foods like Quinoa and Millet don’t exactly sound appetizing! While I understood the reasons to avoid chemically processed white flour, bleached white rice, etc, I didn’t realize the health benefits to some of the alternative grains! If you can switch to some of the healthier grains you not only avoid the unhealthy aspects of white flour, you also benefit from the healthy properties the alternative grains offer! Two grains I would suggest starting with are millet and quinoa. If you are curious as to what all the “fuss” is about grains like quinoa or millet- read below!! 🙂
Millet provides a host of nutrients, has a sweet nutty flavor, and is considered to be one of the most digestible and non-allergenic grains While available. It is one of the few grains that is alkalizing to the body.
12 Health Benefits:
1. Millet is alkaline and it digests easily.
2. The Hunzas – who live in a remote area of the Himalayan foothills and are known for their excellent health and longevity – enjoy millet as a staple in their diet.
3. Millet will hydrate your colon to keep you from being constipated.
4. Millet acts as a prebiotic feeding microflora in your inner ecosystem.
5. The serotonin in millet is calming to your moods.
6. Millet is a smart carb with lots of fiber and low simple sugars. Because of this it has a relatively low glycemic index and has been shown to produce lower blood sugar levels than wheat or rice. (Kamari and Sumathi, 2002)
7. Magnesium in millet can help reduce the effects of migraines and heart attacks.
8. Niacin (vitamin B3) in millet can help lower cholesterol.
9. Millet consumption decreases triglycerides and C-reactive protein. Scientists in Seoul, South Korea concluded that millet may be useful in preventing cardiovascular disease. Nutrition Research. April 2010; 30(4):290-6.
10. All millet varieties show high antioxidant activity. A team of biochemists analyzed the antioxidant activity; all varieties showed high antioxidant activity. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 9 June 2010; 58(11):6706-14.
11. Millet is gluten-free and non-allergenic. A great grain for sensitive individuals.
12. Millet’s high protein content (15 percent) makes is a substantial addition to a vegetarian diet.
8 Health Benefits of Quinoa:
Although referred to as a grain, it is actually a seed from a vegetable related to Swiss chard, spinach and beets. Quinoa is pronounced keen-wa not kwin-o-a.
1. High quality protein with the nine essential amino acids, the protein balance is similar to milk. At 16.2 to 20 percent protein, it has is more protein than rice (7.5 percent), millet (9.9 percent) or wheat (14 percent).
2. Great source of riboflavin. Riboflavin has been shown to help reduce the frequency of attacks in migraine sufferers by improving the energy metabolism within the brain and muscle cells.
3. Inca warriors had more stamina and quicker recovery time by eating these quinoa seeds, making it a truly ancient powerfood.
4. Antiseptic. The saponins from quinoa are used to promote healing of skin injuries in South America.
5. Not fattening! Only 172 calories per 1/4 cup dry (24 of the calories from protein and only 12 from sugars, the rest are complex carbohydrates, fiber and healthy fats).
6. Gluten-free. Since it is not not related to wheat, or even a grain, it is gluten-free.
7. Alkaline-forming. Although it is not strongly alkaline-forming, it is comparable to wild rice, amaranth, and sprouted grains.
8. Smart Carb: It is a complex carbohydrate with a low glycemic index, so it won’t spike your blood sugar