This is a filling grain that stacks up favorably to rice and potatoes. If you can believe this, it has 170 calories per cooked cup, respectable levels of protein and fiber and relatively low fat. Roman gladiators ate this grain regularly for strength and actually complained when they had to eat meat – wow, go figure!
Studies at the University of Wisconsin show that barley effectively lowers cholesterol by up to 15 percent and has powerful anti-cancer agents, so who couldn’t afford to eat barley? Israeli scientists say it cures constipation better than laxatives – and that can promote weight loss, too. Use it as a substitute for rice in salads, pilaf or stuffing, or add to soups and stews. You can also mix it with rice for an interesting texture. Ground into flour, it makes excellent breads and muffins. We’ll have to get some recipes for this on the blog.
So I have been asked…where do you find Barley? They don’t sell is solely in Health Food stores. You might have more luck finding it in your health food section or your organics section or even boxed or bagged by your flour/sugars/cornbread. You can also ask…it really doesn’t hurt!
Beans contain one of the best sources of plant protein. Peas, beans and chickpeas are collectively known as legumes. Most common beans have 215 calories per cooked cup (lima beans go up to 260, but we know that isn’t the worlds best tasting bean). Beans have the most protein with the least fat of any food, and they’re high in potassium but low in sodium.
You can’t just go and eat beans all day without anything else. Plant protein is incomplete, which means that you need to add something to make it complete. Combine beans with a whole grain rice, barley, wheat and corn to provide the amino acids necessary to form a complete protein. Then you get the same top-quality protein as in meat with just a fraction of the fat – ever heard that saying…cool beans?
Studies at the University of Kentucky and in the Netherlands show that eating beans regularly can lower cholesterol levels.
The most common complaint about beans is that they cause gas. Here’s how to contain that problem, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA):
Before cooking, rinse the beans and remove foreign particles, put in a kettle and cover with boiling water, soak for four hours or longer, remove any beans that float to the top, then cook the beans in fresh water.
There also is the topic of mixing proteins and starches…but we’ll save that for another blog posting.