In my last blog post I discussed the Hippocratic Theory of letting food be medicine for the body. I also focused in on various fruits and vegetables showing the array of vitamins and minerals that naturally occur which our bodies need in abundance.
This blog post will focus in on whole grains and naturally gluten free grains and my discovery that helped my son overcome the brutal cancer treatments and is now in remission. This post will not be extensive regarding whole grains but I hope to encourage the reader to research whole grains and the ones naturally gluten free.
It was the year of 2005 that I began to experiment with various whole grains to make a basic easy to use natural flour for baking. I also shared my basic flour mix with others who would give me their empty ice cream buckets that I would fill with my whole grain flour blend. Later when our son Ethan was diagnosed with cancer, discovering he could not tolerate gluten very well due to the cancer treatments and knowing whole grains are essential to a healthy diet I delved deeper into whole grains that were naturally gluten free. What I learned was amazing and figuring out how to bind those grains was a paradigm shift!
In 2012 during Ethan’s initial cancer treatment and over the course of several months I was able to make the whole grain flour blend into a gluten free blend without the use of starches and gums. The grains are ancient grains, meaning they have been consumed since the beginning and these particular grains are naturally gluten free and not genetically modified.
I have created two flour blends. One that is a multi-whole grain made of sorghum, millet, brown rice and flax seed meal. The second blend specifically for making breads and for cup for cup use in most recipes like cookies, is sorghum.
The biggest conundrum in the gluten free world is how to make those grains and seed flours stick together without being gritty, gummy, fall apart or dry out. Gluten is quite literally the glue that holds breads and other baked items together. Xanthum gum and Guar Gum are two most used ingredients in gluten free cooking and baking are also responsible for the drying out of end baked products. Xanthum and Guar gums absorb moisture so you must eat the bread or whatever item you have quickly because it continues to absorb the moisture even after baking. This is the reason most gluten free products are frozen to keep the gums from drying the product out.
Then we have some baked items that are able to sit on the shelf like regular bread items with drying out. The reason for that is a chemical called Methyl cellulose fiber. I urge you to research this ingredient being used more and more in gluten free items especially breads because it is NOT a natural occurring fiber but a chemically created ingredient. Basically what this ingredient does in baking is when a certain temperature is attained the methyl cellulose goes into a suspended animation or freezes in place. I liken it to putting hair spray in the bread to make it stay put. But as the saying goes, I report YOU decide. So look it up!
Back to the grains. Sorghum, a cereal grain is grown and consumed the world over. It is drought resistant and interestingly it becomes more nutritious the more it is stressed as it grows. Sorghum is rich in antioxidants and depending on the type of sorghum grain grown there is strong research showing consuming sorghum can help lower risk of cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some neurological diseases.
Millet a basic grain with many varieties. Pearl, Foxtail a couple of the most used millet’s are high in antioxidants and especially magnesium which is an essential mineral for normal muscle and nerve function.
Brown rice flour is also a whole grain because it has not been stripped or bleached like white rices are. The entire grain is intact.
Studying these grains is really interesting and I encourage people to do just that. A wonderful online resource is The Whole Grain Council. This website was an enormous help to me when starting out with gluten free grains. You can see it here: wholegrainscouncil.org
The main benefits of whole grains
The benefits of whole grains most documented by repeated studies include:
- stroke risk reduced 30-36%
- type 2 diabetes risk reduced 21-30%
- heart disease risk reduced 25-28%
- better weight maintenance
Other benefits indicated by recent studies include:
- reduced risk of asthma
- healthier carotid arteries
- reduction of inflammatory disease risk
- lower risk of colorectal cancer
- healthier blood pressure levels
- less gum disease and tooth loss (source: wholegrainscouncil.org)
Being on a gluten free diet doesn’t mean you cannot eat grains that are highly nutritious and there are more whole grains available to the gluten free person than just a few. Combined with a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, lean meats and plenty of fresh water a gluten free diet can be very healthy.
I created two mixes which I call Genesis 1 Baking Blend and Genesis 1 Bread Blend. Genesis meaning ‘beginning’ and these ancient grains were truly going back to the beginning for the health and recovery of our son. I also developed what I like to call a ‘proprietary blend’ that are all natural fibers that bind the gluten free grains together without the drying out or crumbling. And it doesn’t take like cardboard! A very important feature! lol
To learn more about what you can make with these blends and how it works without gums and starches visit www.versameal.org
The body requires a delicate wholesome balance of nutrients to be healthy. It doesn’t have to be a daunting experience to take time to arrange your daily food consumption to include a rainbow of fruits and vegetables, (i recommend a bit heavy on the darker items that have more antioxidants and potent nutrition) whole grains and seeds, lean meats, poultry and fish and plenty of fresh clean water. As you can see even with a specialty diet it is common sense and truly the definition of the Hippocratic Theory… LET FOOD BY THY MEDICINE AND MEDICINE THY FOOD.
Until next time….
Mom on a mission for nutrition