TEFF | The World’s Smallest Gluten-Free GrainTom Levin
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Whilst there seems to be a minor stigma attached to being Gluten Free, I think it’s pretty cool! First, it requires you to think outside the box, experiment with alternatives and find solutions to problems that arise in GF cooking! When it comes to gluten free grains, PSHHH, we sure do have an abundance of options to choose from. So, my newest discovery and absolute favourite, most flavourful grain of them all has to be the Teff grain! Pardon? Yes, it seems that most people are still yet to discover this ancient Ethiopian superfood grain which is strong, versatile, and sweet in taste. The grain itself is the world’s smallest grain and is able to sustain and thrive in even the most difficult of climates; making this grain a staple in Ethiopian cuisine. If you didn’t know about it, I am so happy you now do as it opens up a brand new door in GF & Vegan cooking. It can be eaten whole, ground and used as flour, cooked, boiled, or baked.
The Super-Powerful Health Benefits That Exist in the World’s Smallest Grain:
- Excellent source of protein
- Contains a balance of all 8 essential amino acids to promote our body’s growth & repair
- 180 mg of Calcium per 100g (a great essential source of calcium for Vegans!)
- Manganese, phosphorous, iron, copper, aluminium, barium, thiamin and Vitamin C!
- Recommended for anaemic’s as the iron is Teff is absorbed easily into the blood stream
- Has a low-glycemic index and has 20-40% resistant starches which helps regulate the blood sugar levels in diabetics
- Contains fibre to ease constipation and keep you fuller for longer
- Low in fat
- Benefits colon health
- Anti-inflammatory and can help you out on the month that mother nature comes along – can help reduce cramping and flow (sorry not sorry)
Food for Thought…
Forgetting our health for just a moment. Let’s think about the source of our food from cradle to grave. Let’s be honest, most of today’s health and superfoods are grown and harvested in underdeveloped countries stricken by hunger and poverty. Do you ever stop to think about what it takes to get that grain, berry, or seed on to your plate? Let’s think beyond the short journey of sourcing the product online or at your local supermarket for 5 minutes…
Maybe you never thought about it, maybe your initial reason for buying exotic superfoods was purely for their plethora of health benefits which we all seek for our external and internal beauty. I am always seeking ways to purify my skin, stop my unwarranted hair loss, and manage my digestive issues. More often than not, these health foods are exported from underdeveloped countries, resulting in an increase in exports to Western countries such as the US and the UK. Teff flour is exported from Ethiopia, and with its increasing rise in popularity, Ethiopia’s returns on exports are increasing, contributing to curbing hunger and poverty.
On August 6th, 2015, The USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) released a statement: “Ethiopia is preparing to export limited amounts of teff flour to the United States and other foreign markets to capitalize on the growing demand for gluten-free grain products. Exports are expected to begin in early 2016 with annual totals the first year expected to reach between 6,000-8,000 metric tons. To avoid potential inflationary pressure from the export of teff flour, the Government of Ethiopia (GOE) will tightly control the volumes produced for export. In addition, to meet foreign countries’ import requirements, the GOE will institute the proper food safety and quality-based measures.”
We can assume that when it comes to trying to fight poverty, products such as Teff can be a way to contribute to third-world countries by increasing demand and in turn accepting the inalienable high prices; except for the fact a rise in global popularity can sometimes cause their exports to become industrialised, therefore, those countries can result in further suffering from the corruption of large corporations exploiting farmers and not increasing pay, and instead taking advantage of it. This is a problem, and so it was with Quinoa. Now that’s some food for thought…