My dad used to refer to anything other than the eight or ten vegetables he grew on his farm as “foreign food” and he didn’t like it. LOL! My husband had never eaten Mexican or Chinese food until he met me. My point is we eat what we know, usually the same thing day after day, week after week. I am guilty of going into the grocery store and making my familiar trek without looking in any different areas. One of the reasons we inherit diseases from our parents is that we inherit their narrow eating habits. Eating a wide variety of food is vital to optimal health.
Highly glutinous, American-grown wheat and pesticide/herbicide contaminated soy and corn are the biggest offenders in the American health crisis. They cause excess belly fat, increased inflammatory diseases, and hormone disruption.  

Let’s review some healthier “foreign” grains that can be easily substituted for the ubiquitous wheat and corn.

This mild-flavored, non-glutinous grain is good for making gluten-free bread when it is finely ground and xanthan gum is added as a binder. It can also be cooked in its whole form and used like rice. Sorghum and Teff are varieties of millet. Millet is considered an ancient grain. It has been found in archeological digs and identified as cultivated and consumed as far back as 8300-6700 BC. Its drought tolerance makes it cheap and easy to cultivate in arid climates like Africa and the Middle East. Buy it as whole millet for use in salads and as a pilaf or as flour to use in baked goods. The whole form cooks in about 15 minutes and leftovers freeze well. 
The best thing about quinoa (pronounced keenwah) is that it contains all 8 essential amino acids and is considered “complete protein”. Fortunately, quinoa has become quite popular and can be purchased finely ground into flour, as flakes, and in all varieties. It is also available in packaged pasta, bread, granola and cereal blends. It can be used as flour in baked goods and cooked whole and used in salads, pilafs, and covered with gravy like rice. Cooked quinoa can be used in smoothies to boost the protein content, make them heartier, and give them a creamier consistency. Quinoa has a very mild flavor, which makes it easy to incorporate into everyday recipes. It is quick and easy to cook. Just bring two cups of water to a boil and add a cup of quinoa. Cover the pot and reduce the heat to simmer until the water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. It freezes well too.
Buckwheat is not actually wheat. It is a totally different genus of plant. Like quinoa, buckwheat contains all 8 essential amino acids, therefore it is a complete protein. My favorite source of buckwheat is Soba noodles. They are thick brown noodles used in Asian dishes. They are often made by combining wheat with the buckwheat to make them cheaper. Check the ingredients for “100% buckwheat” before purchasing these packaged noodles. Buckwheat is also called kasha. It can be found in the international food section of the grocery store. Buckwheat flour is commonly used to make hearty buckwheat pancakes. This grain has a distinct flavor so be prepared to cover the flavor with other stronger flavored ingredients like bananas in muffins and pancakes or stout oils and spices when using in salads, soups, or noodle dishes.
Oats are definitely not foreign but have much more versatility that just oatmeal. They can be ground into flour and used in pancakes, muffins, and breads. They are a good source of soluble and insoluble fiber, protein, and B vitamins. They make smoothies thicker and heartier. I use them to make all my muffins and add them to most of my desserts.
Limit All Grains
A word of caution; these grains are gluten-free and have good nutrient profiles but they are just as fattening and insulin-raising as wheat so eat them in extreme moderation. That means no more that one serving per day. Below are some recipes to introduce you to these great grains and eat like a foreigner! HA!

All the best,
Psalm 19:14
May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart  be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.

Warm Millet Salad with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Pine Nuts
By Lisa Turner
The key to fluffy millet is to toast it well before adding a liquid. Rinsing after toasting helps to remove bitter compounds from the grains’ exterior.
Recipe Yield: 8 servings
1 cup dry, uncooked millet
2 1⁄4 cups water
1⁄4 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1⁄2 cup pine nuts
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
2/3 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, thinly sliced
1/3 cup kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
1⁄2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
Place dry millet in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Dry-toast, stirring constantly, 10–15 minutes, or until slightly darker and aromatic. Transfer carefully (it’s hot!) to a fine wire-mesh strainer and rinse under cool, running water until runoff is clear. Return to saucepan and carefully add water, 1⁄4 teaspoon sea salt, and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer 25–30 minutes, or until all water is absorbed. Remove from heat and let rest 5–10 minutes. Dry-toast pine nuts in a skillet over medium heat until golden, stirring constantly, 3–5 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste. Fluff cooked millet and add to pine nuts. Add dressing, tomatoes, olives, and parsley; toss until combined. Season with salt and pepper.
Source URL:

Cozy Millet Bowl with Mushroom Gravy and Kale
Feeling cozy? Snuggle up with this comforting bowl of vegan goodness. The dish feels rich without the heaviness that usually comes with traditional gravy. Nutritional info follows.
Yield: 2 servings

1/2 cup uncooked millet (makes ~2 cups cooked)
1/2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
2 cups chopped sweet onion (1 medium onion)
3 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups sliced crimini mushrooms (300 grams)
1.5 tbsp minced fresh rosemary
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1.5 tbsp low-sodium tamari (soy sauce)
1/2 tbsp cornstarch
1 & 1/4 cup vegetable broth
1 cup fresh chopped kale, stems removed
Freshly ground black pepper & kosher salt, to taste

1. Toast millet (optional): In a pot or skillet with a lid, toast the millet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until it starts popping. Be careful you don’t burn it. The goal here is a light toast. Remove from heat. Cook millet: Bring a medium-sized pot of 1 cup water, a pinch of salt, and 1/2 cup uncooked millet to a low boil. Reduce heat to low and cover with tight-fitting lid (with no air holes). Simmer for 15-20 minutes or so. Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes covered.  Remove lid and fluff with fork. Set aside.
2. Meanwhile, grab a large skillet and heat oil over medium heat. Add in chopped onions and garlic and sauté for about 5 minutes.
3. Add the sliced mushrooms and sauté for about 12 minutes longer, stirring as necessary. Now stir in the rosemary, nutritional yeast, and tamari. Cook for a few minutes.
4. In a small bowl, whisk together the broth and cornstarch until clumps are gone, and then stir into the mushroom mixture. Stir in kale. Cook for another 5-6 minutes or so, until slightly thickened. Portion millet into two bowls and serve the mushroom gravy on top.
Approx Nutritional Info (per serving, serves 2): 355 kcals, 4 grams fat, 63 grams carbs, 11 grams fibre, 6 grams sugar, 16 grams protein.
Read more:

Lemony Quinoa Tabbouleh
Quinoa stands in for traditional bulgur in this gluten-free grain salad. Like the original, it’s packed with parsley, which detoxifies the kidneys and prevents water retention. The light, lemony dressing loosens mucus and draws toxins from the liver.
Recipe Yield: 4 servings
1 cup quinoa (well rinsed and drained)
1 1/2 cups water
3/4 cup parsley (finely chopped)
4 scallions (thinly sliced crosswise)
1 cup grape tomatoes or cherry tomatoes (halved)
2 tablespoons minced fresh mint
Juice of 1/2 lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
1 large clove garlic (pressed)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Cayenne pepper (to taste)
Combine quinoa and water in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and cook on medium-low for 20 minutes, or until all water is absorbed and quinoa is fluffy. Transfer to a plate to cool. Combine parsley, scallions, tomatoes, and mint in a medium bowl; stir in cooled quinoa. In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice and garlic. Whisk in olive oil and season to taste with cayenne pepper and sea salt. Pour dressing over quinoa mixture and toss well. Serve immediately, or refrigerate for 1–2 hours and serve chilled.
PER SERVING: 237 cal, 9g fat (6g mono, 2g poly, 1g sat), 0mg chol, 7g protein, 32g carb, 5g fiber, 13mg sodium

Sweet Potato Quinoa Cakes
Serves: 6 Preparation Time:
2 sweet potatoes
1 cup dry quinoa, rinsed
2 cups water
1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas or 1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas, drained
4 large kale leaves, tough stems removed, chopped
1 cup old fashioned oats
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
1/4 cup grated carrot
4 scallions, white and light green parts, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake sweet potatoes for 60 minutes or until very soft. Remove and discard skins.
In a medium saucepan, bring quinoa and 2 cups of water to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer until water is absorbed and the quinoa is translucent and tender, about 15-20 minutes.
Place baked sweet potatoes in a food processor along with chickpeas, kale, oats, cumin, curry powder, coriander and cayenne pepper. Pulse until slightly chunky but fairly smooth. Add mixture to bowl and stir in quinoa, grated carrot, scallions and garlic.
Form into small patties. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes. Turn over and bake an additional 15 minutes.
Note: If desired, serve with a dollop of avocado topping: Mash 2 ripe avocados in a bowl, Stir in 2 tablespoons lime juice, 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.
Per Serving:

Blueberry Buckwheat Pancakes
Antioxidant-packed blueberries paired with buckwheat flour make a terrific-tasting, health-promoting breakfast.
Makes 16 ¼ cup pancakes
1 cup buckwheat flour
1 cup cornmeal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 ripe bananas, mashed
4 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons vinegar
2 cups fortified almond milk or 1 cup almond+1 cup light coconut milk (canned)
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
Directions Mix buckwheat flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
In a separate large bowl, combine mashed bananas, maple syrup, vinegar, and non-dairy milk. Add flour mixture, stirring just enough to remove any lumps and make a pourable batter. Stir in blueberries and add a bit more milk if the batter seems too thick.
Preheat a non-stick skillet or griddle. Pour small amounts of, or spoon with an ice cream scoop, batter onto the heated surface and cook until tops bubble. Turn carefully with a spatula and cook the second sides until browned, about 1 minute. Serve immediately.

Sesame-Soba Noodle Salad
For the Dressing:
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 tsp. rice vinegar
2 tsp. sesame oil
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
2 Tbsp. water
1/2 tsp. hot sauce (optional)
For the Salad:
12 oz. cooked soba noodles (100% buckwheat soba noodles)
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup sliced mushrooms (your favorite variety)
3 Tbsp. chopped cilantro Sesame seeds (optional)
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together all the dressing ingredients until well combined.
Add all the remaining ingredients and toss until coated.
Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
Makes 4 servings

Alternative Grains

Kristi Whitley

Healthy Living