All Things Good: Who Is Eating What
Going beyond what is currently popular in the health ( natural and organic) foods in the United States, there are super foods hailing from different parts of the world, some as far distant as the Middle Eastern cultures and from eastern Africa. Some are grown and consumed as staples closer to us, in Peru. Let’s take a look at what people are growing, eating and benefiting from in these regions around the globe.
Freekeh, like hummus, sheep and camel kefir has its origin in the region of the Arabian Peninsula. It is also popular in Egypt and some countries of northern Africa. It is a cereal dish made of green (young/unripe) wheat. The wheat seeds are roasted and sun-dried when they are still green, soft and have moisture content. They are then chaffed, rubbed and cracked to form what looks like bulgar. In fact, in Arabic, freekeh translates to a process that means ‘to rub’!
What is so special about freekeh (pronounced fereekeh) ? Well, to start with it is comparable in nutrition to any other wholegrain cereal but offers so many additional health gifts. 50 grams (slightly more than ¼ cup) of freekeh will deliver as many as 10 grams of protein and 5 grams of insoluble fiber! It has a very low glycemic index and serves those suffering from diabetes very well. Though it delivers 163 calories for the measure, it is low on fat (only 1.25 grams). It is obvious that most of its calories come from complex carbohydrates which accommodate 32.5 grams for the measure. Freekeh is also rich in dietary calcium and iron. (1) Apart from this freekeh is packed with potassium, magnesium and selenium too. Quite often freekeh is compared to and seen as the new quinoa.
Freekeh has a smoky flavor due to the roasting and sports a chewy texture with hints of nuttiness. You can use cooked freekeh in many dishes by just adding it to the finishing stages of a recipe spiking the health coefficient of the dish drastically! You can find freekeh cereal in any local grocer that stores ethnic, Middle Eastern food supplies. Some brands that sell freekeh are Village Harvest, Goodness Superfoods, Freekeh Foods, Nature’s Earthly Choice and Freekehlicious.
Because of its high nutritive value, it being low on fats and sugar, it’s roasted nature, freekeh is a versatile ingredient. Recipes like freekeh veggie burger patty, freekeh risotto, freekeh paella, freekeh lemon chicken, freekeh-stuffed bell peppers appeal to the western palettes; freekeh can also be had as a healthy start to the day. Here’s a simple freekeh recipe that can power your mornings in just half an hour: (2)
Freekeh Porridge Recipe
To cook, we need:
- 1 cup (225 grams) of cracked freekeh
- 2 ½ cups of water*
- 2 tsp of vanilla essence
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tbsp of low fat butter
- In a saucepan, pour the freekeh and add water.
- Bring to boil for about a minute
- Add vanilla essence, cinnamon powder and butter and stir well.
- Cover and simmer for 25 minutes
Serve warm. You can also garnish your freekeh cereal with almond slivers, nuts or diced fresh fruits.
Teff may be new to the world here but it has been commonly cultivated in the current area of Ethiopia for thousands of years. Also known as Williams’s lovegrass, teff is actually a grass. The teff grains that we use are seeds that grow from the grass when the grass matures. Teff seeds/grains are small in size and fairly easy to cook. In it’s natural state teff looks like brown, tiny, oblong grains but is a beige powder as teff flour. Teff has a very attractive nutritional profile and like freekeh has often been compared to quinoa.
50 grams of wholegrain teff delivers a punch of 185 calories but most of it comes from the very desirable complex carbohydrates. Teff has negligible amounts of fat in it and absolutely no cholesterol or sugars. This measure of teff will offer 7 grams of protein, 4 grams of dietary fiber, and a gram of fat. It will also take care of 10% of your daily calcium requirements and 12% of our iron need for the day! (3) Teff is also loaded with dietary phosphorus, magnesium, iron, zinc, copper, boron, manganese and vitamin B1.
Though a whole grain, teff is safe for those who suffer from celiac disease as the gluten compound (a-gliadin fraction) that causes the allergic reaction in those sensitive to it, is absent. Teff has a mild nutty flavor and so it’s flour is great to make breads, cookies and pancakes from. It can also be used to make porridges and sprinkled over salads. Teff may be had in grain form, flour or flakes from Barry Farm Foods, Bob’s Red Mill, Bulk Barn, Le Poole and La Tortilla Factory. We are sharing a quick teff pancake recipe that will help you get your morning mojo! (4)
Teff Pancakes Recipe
- 250 g teff grains
- 80 g gluten-free flour
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 2 eggs, whole
- 150 g organic yogurt
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- To flavor: 1 tbsp maple syrup, some frozen berries
- In a medium-sized bowl, mix teff grains with gluten-free flour, eggs, baking powder, maple syrup and live yogurt.
- Let the batter stand for 15-20 minutes.
- Put a heavy-bottomed, non-stick pan on medium heat and warm the coconut oil. Wait till the oil is moderately to very warm. Pour adequate amount of batter and even it out to form a pancake of even thickness. At this stage, you may add berries to the pancake.
- When the pancake starts to bubble, flip over the pancake carefully to cook the other side until the teff pancake is dark golden brown. *
Serve warm! You may garnish your teff pancakes with fresh diced fruits, nuts, yogurt or cheese.
Also known as Peruvian Ginseng, maca is really a biennial plant whose fleshy root is used as food and in alternative medical therapies. Maca has many sub-cultivars but the one recognized by USDA is Lepidium meyenii, which you must find mentioned on the label of your maca powder pack. The roots of maca which are dried and then powdered to be used as food or medicine can be golden, red, black, green, purple or blue in colour, each with it’s unique properties. However, food brands use the cream-colored root variant for sales.
A teaspoon (or 5 grams) of maca powder will 20 calories of energy from 4 grams of carbohydrates, a gram of sugar, fiber and protein each! A teaspoon of maca powder will also address 2% of your vitamin C and protein needs as well as 3% of your iron intake for the day. Maca powder is free from fats, cholesterol and sodium. Maca comes packed with calcium and potassium. It also contains iron, copper, zinc, manganese, iodine in trace amounts and is complete with 19 essential amino acids.
According to some studies on maca, it has the potential to give us a boost in energy levels, reduce stress, alleviate migraine headaches, and improve memory and immunity. Maca is sold in powder, bar, nectar and blend forms through brands such as Navitas Naturals, Healthworks, Potent Foods, PlanetBIO, Inca’s Food, Earth Notions, Sun Food, Vega, Sunfood. Some other brands also sell maca in capsules and in fudges. So that it is possible for you to have maca in your diet more often, we include here an easy maca smoothie recipe (6):
Maca Smoothie Recipe
We will need:
- 2 cups of milk of your choice
- 1 frozen banana
- ½ cup almond butter
- ½ tbsp maca powder
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend till smooth.
- Add ice and relish chilled!
Kefir the Real Superfood
If you like the sounds of Freekeh, Teff and Macca then you will absolutely love the superfood KEFIR! Kefir is a 100% natural, probiotic, nutrient-rich and fermented drink. It has some resemblance to low fat yogurt or even thinned buttermilk. It may be made from out of dairy milk but kefir is neither buttermilk or nor is it yogurt. Kefir tastes very different from the two products as it carries a mildly tangy flavour and has an effervescent texture . In other words, kefir is a completely different product. In fact kefir can also be made from plant-based sources like soy milk, rice milk, coconut water or even almond milk!
- Kefir is a rich in calcium and phosphorus, and high lean protein content.
- Kefir is a great source of tryptophan.
- The bioactive compounds (healthy bacteria) found in kefir help develop and maintain a healthy gut flora and good digestion.
- Those who are lactose intolerant or are vegan can also benefit from consuming kefir made out of plant sources such as soy, rice, coconut, almond etc.
Easy Kefir Breakfast Recipe
We will need:
- 6 tablespoons Of ORGANIC KEFIR MILK
- 2 tablespoons organic flaxseed or organic sunflower oil or Grape seed oils.
- 1 small ripe banana (or 2 tsp honey)
- ½ lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons freshly ground flaxseeds or 6 almonds, 6 hazelnuts, or any other type of nuts, excluding peanuts
- 2 tablespoons fresh whole-wheat rice, millet, buckwheat, oats (not oatmeal)
- 1 portion of seasonal fresh fruit. (strawberries, raspberries, cherries, grapes, apple etc..)
- Mix the Kefir Milk and the flaxseed oil in a bowl with a fork, until you obtain a rich, white and creamy smoothie.
- Grind the nuts, or flaxseed and the cereals. Crush the banana with a fork. Add all the ingredients to the KEFIR MILK cheese and mix well.
KEFIRAN – an easy way to boost your probiotics with just 2 capsules per day
KEFIRAN is the best of the traditional Kefir drink in a veggie capsule. KEFIRAN contains NO dairy, lactose or gluten. KEFIRAN is vegan and low calorie. During fermentation, the L.Kefiranofaciens in traditional kefir produces kefiran a polysaccharide that – along with the probiotic cultures- is believed to be the primary source of kefir’s health benefits. If your stomach is rumbling, your colon is grumbling, and you just don’t feel as good as you’d like, try KEFIRAN – the best of kefir in a Veggie capsule.
- Calories In Freekeh Original; caloriecount.com; Web February 2015; http://www.caloriecount.com/calories-freekeh-foods-original-i283388
- Warm Freekeh Breakfast; freekeh-foods.com; Web February 2015; http://www.freekeh-foods.com/recipes/warm-breakfast-freekeh
- Calories in Teff Wholegrain; caloriecount.com; Web February 2015; http://www.caloriecount.com/calories-bobs-red-teff-whole-grain-i127160
- Get a Taste of Teff, The Ethiopian Superfood; theguardian.com; Web February 2015; http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/poverty-matters/2014/jan/23/get-taste-for-teff-ethiopia-superfood
- Calories In Maca Powder; caloriecount.com; Web February 2015; http://www.caloriecount.com/calories-healthworks-maca-powder-i430122
- A Really Thick Maca Delight Smoothie- Superfood Maca Smoothie Recipes; ; Web February 2015; http://www.all-smoothie-recipes.com/maca-smoothie.html