Buckwheat; delicious, gluten free and good for everyone

The only ingredients in the entire history of the earth since the big bang that contain gluten are these cereals; wheat, barley, rye, some oats and a few less well-known grains such as khorasan, spelt etc. The history of the human includes a diet almost exclusively gluten free until the beginning of agriculture about 8,000 years ago, when, in The Middle East, people started saving and sowing the seeds of some grasses. We ALL benefit from ensuring our diet contains the broadest range possible of grains, just as our ancestors did. We ALL benefit from removing processed grains of every sort from our diet and replacing them with whole grains, as our ancestors did. In doing that, we need to learn how to cook them, just as our ancestors had to.

Buckwheat is a bush, not a grass and therefore has no gluten. The seeds are small, pretty and pyramid like. It grows well in cool climates with an acid soil and dislikes too much nitrogen. It is native to China and is a good crop for Tasmania. I sell buckwheat grown in northern Tasmania.

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Buckwheat can be used as a whole grain or ground into flour. It has become popular all over the world as peasant food because it is so easy to use. In south west France buckwheat pancakes with Roquefort cheese are a speciality not to be missed! Here is my recipe for quinoa and buckwheat pancakes with hot, buttered walnuts.

Phytic acid in grains, nuts, seeds and beans represents a serious problem in our diets. This problem exists because we have lost touch with our ancestral heritage of food preparation. Some people eat a lot of high-phytate foods like commercial whole wheat bread and all-bran breakfast cereals. But raw or instant are definitely not Nature’s way for grains, nuts, seeds and beans. . . nor are quick cooking or rapid heat processes like extrusion.

Buckwheat and rye are very high in phytase which is the enzyme that neutralizes phytic acid and liberates the phosphorus. This enzyme co-exists in plant foods that contain phytic acid, in varying amounts from very low to very high.

In general, humans do not produce enough phytase to safely consume large quantities of high-phytate foods on a regular basis. However, probiotic lactobacilli, and other species of the endogenous digestive microflora can produce phytase. Thus, humans who have good intestinal flora will have an easier time with foods containing phytic acid. Sprouting also activates phytase, thus reducing phytic acid. The use of sprouted grains will reduce the quantity of phytic acids in animal feed, with no significant reduction of nutritional value.

Soaking grains and flour in an acid medium at very warm temperatures, as in the sourdough process, also activates phytase and reduces or even eliminates phytic acid. Combining a high phytase grain, such as rye or buckwheat, when soaking other grains, nuts legumes can help increase the phytase and thereby decrease the phytates present after soaking.

Here is a wonderful article on phytates, phytase and how to eat grains, nuts and legumes.

Buckwheat pancakes with walnuts

Buckwheat pancakes with walnuts

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