Friday, March 6, 2015

Ancient grains

Question: What is Amaranth?
  1. A city in the Holy Land where Jesus reputedly lost his sandals
  2. A flowering bulb similar to Amaryllis
  3. The latest celebrity baby name
  4. An gluten-free ancient grain
You probably have a frenemy who sings the praise of a gluten-free lifestyle when you’re tucking into Eggs Benny at brunch, so you know the answer is 4. You also know that ancient grains and their grassy-eyed acolytes need to be ground into a fine flour.

Along with spelt, ancient grains like quinoa and teff sound more like onomatopoeia describing a punch to the gut than a digestible alternative to wheat. And Quaker Oats had to go and get on the picky foodie bandwagon. They just rolled out quinoa granola bars. What’s next? Millet Pop Tarts? Kamut Krunch cereal?

Ancient grain devotees think there’s some magical quality associated with something that’s old, that rated a mention in the Bible. Newsflash: that prophet in Ezekiel eating millet? It didn’t give him the key to eternal life. Back in the BC days, they suffered a high infant mortality rate, plagues, short lifespan, and a host of problems that were not going to be cured by a bowl of wheat berry porridge. Now, if these foods had antibiotic-infused kernels that would keep my UTIs in check or heal a wound, I'd be the first in line to cook up this stuff for consumption or a poultice.

Ancient grains may be healthy but they’re not the way to the promised land. That’s what kale is for.