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Wellness Guide

Go With Your Gut with Ancient Grains

Go With Your Gut with Ancient Grains
Do you have a gut that's sensitive to processed wheat but not a full blown wheat allergy?

Consider switching to ancient grains so you can have your toast and eat it too.

Not all of us need to eat gluten free, but we could all use being guilt free.

Whenever you crave that foccacia bread dipped in olive oil, or a crisp English muffin with your eggs, or feel like you're going to scream if you have one more bowl of rice pasta instead of your delicious durum wheat penne, give the grain that's been feeding us since the beginning a try.

For many people, it isn't the gluten that's causing their gut problems, it's the type of grain that's causing their indigestion. Some people who normally have digestive issues with regular wheat can easily eat stone ground, sprouted or flourless wheat with no problems.

Used to be, people stored single kernel forms of wheat, milled or stone ground them into flour and baked fresh, nutrient rich, low gluten bread.

Unless you had a true gluten allergy or immune disorder as with celiac disease, eating wheat from these single kernel grains didn't cause any of the gastro-intestinal distress, headache, irritability or weight gain typical of true wheat allergies.

Ancient grains refer to any plant that has not been hybridized or crossbred the way the majority of modern wheat is today. Modern farmers crossbreed wheat and other crops to make it higher yield, faster growing and resistant to fungus, insects and drought. This hardier grain can be stored for much longer periods than ancient grains but is also vulnerable to developing toxins that end up in our food.

Also, agricultural geneticists have seen that hybridized plants don't have the same nutritional richness in protein and fiber that ancient grains do.

The benefits of ancient, heirloom or unhybridized grains are showing up in numerous studies.

Ancient grains such as einkorn, spelt, quinoa and khorasan, which goes by the brand name KAMUT®, are said to be more digestible. Their simple genetics (they are literally single grains that have never been cross-bred or hybridized) and lower, water soluble gluten levels make them more gut friendly than modern wheat.

The taste of ancient grains are often richer, deeper and earthier. Also, they all are generally higher in fiber and protein than most modern day grains.

You can find many of them at your local natural foods marketplace and retailers as well as websites.

Try our recipe below and see if it makes a difference in your energy level. Then, let your body be your guide!

Einkorn & Amaranth Ancient Wheat Bread

Einkorn derives its name from the German phrase for "single grain." It is considered to be the oldest form of cultivated wheat. This recipe uses the wheat berry sprouts and combines it with kamut, another lower gluten, higher protein strain of wheat.


½ cup warm water 1 ½ tbs active dry yeast 1 pinch of raw organic sugar 1 cup whole milk (or substitute almond, oat or your favorite nut milk) 1 tbs sea salt 1 ½ cups warm water ¼ cup honey 4 tbs unsalted, grass fed butter (leave at room temperature) 2 cups chopped or ground sprouted einkorn berries (instructions below) 4 ½ cups kamut flour ½ cup amaranth seeds Extra flour for dusting the dough


Sprinkle the yeast and sugar into a small bowl. Stir to dissolve and let it sit to 'proof.' In a few minutes you should have a bowl full of frothy yeast.

In a large mixing bowl or stand mixer, combine ½ cup of the chopped einkorn berries with the milk, salt and amaranth seeds.

Add the 1 ½ cups warm water, honey and butter. Mix or beat for 1 minute or until the dough is smooth and thoroughly mixed.

Add the yeast mixture and beat for another minute.

Add the rest of the einkorn berries and the kamut flour one half cup at a time, beating on a low speed, or hand kneading.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and keep kneading until it is smooth and elastic. (1–2 minutes for a stand mixer and 3–4 minutes for hand mixing with a wooden spoon.)

Dust the dough as needed while kneading to prevent sticking. Place your dough in a lightly oiled deep container. Turn it once to coat the top with oil (butter, coconut or safflower) then cover with a light dishcloth or plastic. Let the dough rise at room temperature or a warm dry place for approximately 1 ½ to 2 hours. The dough should be doubled in size when fully risen.

Grease 2 or 3 8" x 4" loaf pans. You may sprinkle more flour or amaranth on the bottom of the pan.

Turn the dough out onto a work surface again and divide it into 3 or 2 equal portions, depending on how big you want your loaves to be. Shape each portion into a rectangle and roll them into loaf shapes.

Place the loaves into the pans with the seam side facing down. Cover with plastic wrap and let them rise again until the loaves are even with the rims of the pans, approximately 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350° F. Place the pans on a center rack. Bake 45–50 minutes or until a golden crust.

If you'd like to sprout your own wheat berries, here's a simple method:

How to Sprout Einkorn Berries:

Put dry Einkorn berries in a bowl and cover them with one inch of warm water. Let the bowl of berries stand at room temperature for 6–8 hours then drain and rinse with fresh water. Divide the wet berries between two 1-quart jars, covered with a towel or cloth and secured with a rubber band. Place the jars on theirs sides in a warm, dark place. Rinse twice per day, draining the berries with tepid water poured through the cloth each time.

It should take 2–3 days for the berries to sprout. As soon as you see sprouts forming, grind the berries in a food processor with a metal blade, or hand chop.

This should make approximately 2 cups of einkorn flour.

*This is not intended as medical advice. Always consult a nutrition or health professional before starting any diet.

Written by Kim Alyce Steffgen
With a background in journalism and marketing communications, Kim's wordsmithing reflects a love of language that brings spice to many ads, articles, banners, and videos. To that spice she adds her passion for herbs, plants and alternative health.
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