Updated: Mar 9, 2020
"I am confused. Is what I am eating a grain, seed or cereal?"
"Am I not supposed to eat grains?"
In reality, all of these are staples, or should be, of our diets.
A new client in my Wellness Program was concerned that she was not understanding my teaching curriculum. What could she eat if she had to avoid some plant based foods during the initial portion of her Program, her detox, during which we teach our clients how to chose better and best foods for health?
Her biggest concern was about the consumption of grains. Most people do not know the difference between grains and seeds (and, even legumes). Adding organic versions of these to your daily diet provide many healthy alternatives.
As a general rule, most seeds and grains are related to grasses. We understand that you plant a seed, and it grows in to a plant, with or without fruit. The seed is the plant equivalent to the old of an egg, and provides nutrients that allow the plant to grow. Therefore, seeds can provide us as well with these same very important nutrients.
Some of my favorite seeds (at times referred to as pseudocereal grains) to use as side dishes or as a replacement for oatmeal, include quinoa, amaranth, and buckwheat.
Personally, I add chia seeds to shakes and to other grains and seeds.
Cereal grains include organic oatmeal, and others on a limited basis, organic corn, barley, rye, and millet. Rice and wheat are in this group. One should make sure that the cereal grains indicate gluten free if possible.
There is a confusion about legumes, including peas, beans and chickpeas.
Other legumes which may be inflammatory include soybeans and peanuts. Legumes that have been genetically modified are to be avoided, resulting in higher levels of inflammatory proteins. The proteins, while important to the nutritional value of legumes, are natural insecticides modified in to the grain, which will act as insecticides in the body, destroying the microbiome (good bacteria) in the gut. This is most likely to occur in people who follow vegetarian or vegan diets. If you are in this group, make sure you purchase non-GMO products, and consult a nutritionist.
Healthy “ancient grains” supply high levels of protein, including bulgur wheat (not related to actual wheat), and farro, both of which can also be used for breakfast in place of oatmeal. Oil seeds provide essential (omega) fatty acids include sunflower, mustard, flax, poppy, and hemp.
The reality is that seeds, grains and legumes can all be a healthy and integral part of a healthy diet - you just need to understand the differences and how to select the healthy options from either or any of the categories.