Ancient Grains Are The New Kale

What goes around comes around–especially with trends. 70s flares, 80s neons, and even 90s grunge have all come back into style. Similarly, food trends manipulate the menus of our favorite restaurants. Kale has held the number one slot as the hottest ticket for a while now; and though healthy, it is only a matter of time until it falls from graces as the trendiest nourishment. Our prediction for the next #1? Ancient grains!

Now that you are a part of the Heroes family with your gym membership, supplement your hard work in the gym with some nutritionally packed clean eating. One way of doing this is by going ancient. With food trends like gluten-free and veganism on the rise, the diet staples of ancient civilizations are making a comeback. Good thing they lasted longer than their original harvesters because we are now harvesting the benefits from these tiny power-packed grains. How many have you tried?

QUINOA:

Kicking off the list is the trendiest grain that has vegans and meat-eaters swarming. This superfood tops the protein charts as it is a complete protein, which means it contains all 9 essential amino acids. Translating to “mother grain” in Inca, Quinoa contains twice as much fiber as other grains and is high in iron, which is particularly important if you are a vegan, vegetarian, or don’t intake red meat often. Quinoa is easy and versatile; and can easily be substituted in any recipe that calls for rice or couscous. This is a health club member favorite!

SPELT:

Those who maintain a gluten-free diet are probably familiar with this one because it is often used as a wheat substitute in baking. It is great for any diet because one serving of spelt contains 5 g of fiber and 6 g of protein! Traditionally used in medieval times, this tasty grain has stood the test of time as being a nutritionally packed, antioxidant filled alternative to pastas or rice. If you are wheat-intolerant check with your doctor before consuming spelt because though it is usually okay to consume, it is still a member of the wheat family.

TEFF:

Teff is from Ethiopia and is the world’s smallest grain, about the size of a poppy seed. Don’t be fooled by its size though. It may be small, but teff is tough! Surviving in rain and drought, teff has survived some of the most extreme conditions for thousands of years. Teff beats all other grains by its calcium content—about 123 mg in one cup! It is gluten-free and easily substituted for any small grain or seeds in baking cakes, breads, and pastries. Try it today in your pancakes, cereals, or sprinkle it on your salad.

FARRO:

When in Rome, do as the Romans do. Or, when it comes to farro, do as the Romans do wherever you are! It is said that ancient Romans used farro as a staple in their diet and it is still very popular in Italy. It weighs in at 7 grams of protein per serving and is very low in gluten. It is a healthy alternative and offers a nutty flavor to any dish. It can be substituted in the mornings for your oatmeal or stew it for your soup du jour. The semipearled variety is easier to work with and cooks quicker than its whole wheat counterpart which requires overnight soaking. How ever you get protein, fiber and nutrients into your daily diet, try to add these ancient grains into your routine. They are all versatile and easily manipulated. Plus, you will be leading the pack on what is the latest food trend! Have fun with it and don’t be shy to share your recipes with your healthy Heroes family.

Our helpful sources:

http://www.coreperformance.com/daily/nutrition/12-ancient-grains-you-may-have-never-tried.html

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-4994/7-Benefits-of-Quinoa-The-Supergrain-of-the-Future.html

http://wholegrainscouncil.org/whole-grains-101/teff-and-millet-november-grains-of-the-month

http://www.npr.org/2013/10/02/227838385/farro-an-ancient-if-complicated-grain-worth-figuring-out