Grains are from the class of foods known as carbohydrates, and, as athletes know, they are a dependable source of long-term endurance and energy. However, not all carbohydrates are created equal. Many of the grains we eat in our typical American diet—white bread, commercial cereals, baked goods—are highly refined and devoid of vitamins, minerals and fiber. This refining process strips whole grains of their inherent cholesterol-lowering, cancer reducing, blood sugar-balancing and probiotic effects.
“Power grains,” because they are whole grains complete with their outer husk and nutrient-rich inner germ, provide slow-release energy along with naturally packaged vitamins, minerals and protein. They deliver steady, “real” energy throughout the day, helping to prevent that “dip” many of us experience as the afternoon wears on.
Gather Your Power Grains. In order to begin to gain the benefit of power grains, make a trip to your local whole foods market to stock up on the following grains: quinoa (keen-wah), amaranth (am-uh-ranth), millet, rye, barley, bulghur (bul-gur) wheat, whole wheat cous cous (coos-coos), and buckwheat. All of these grains have phytoestrogenic effects, as well as being rich in minerals and protein. The first four are particularly high in minerals and protein, and are considered especially auspicious for health by Vedic medicine. Quinoa is a South American grain used by indigenous people since ancient times. If available and desired, you may add organic, non-GMO (non genetically modified) soy granules (available in many whole foods stores) for complete protein balancing effect, and added phytoestrogen action.
Preparing Your Power Grains. Place 2 cups of water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Add 1 tsp. of ghee or olive oil and 1/2 cup of grain. Use any one grain at a time, or mix two or more for variety and to equalize texture and flavors. (For example, amaranth is a little heavy and sticky when cooked alone, so you may wish to mix it 50/50 with quinoa.) Boil for 10 minutes and then lower to a simmer. Cook until the grain is tender, usually about 15-20 minutes longer, with the exception of whole rye, which takes up to 40 minutes to cook. Adding the teaspoon of oil is important to prevent an inherent drying effect that grains otherwise have on the body and intestines, which is particularly unwelcome at and after menopause. You may add your spice mixture to your grains as you cook them, or sauté your spices in oil and drizzle over your grains at serving.
Eat Power Grains Daily. Include at least 1 serving of power grains in your diet each day. Prepare them for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Use of a crock pot overnight or during the day while you are at work can make grain preparation easy and convenient.