I’m a really busy person. I work all day and when I am not working I am either meditating, practising Tai Chi, studying or partying. I want to eat as nutritionally as I can but I don’t want to spend hours making gourmet cuisine (occasionally it’s nice though!). Flatbreads are brilliant for this.
Because I am a ‘Vata’ type (Ayurvedic body typing), it is important for me to be grounded and so foods such as flat breads are good for my constitution. In my opinion, they are one of the purest forms of cooked bread and are so incredibly easy and quick to make! They contain no yeast or additives and we can add only the purest, organic and nutritionally sound flours of our choice.
Shortly I will show you an incredibly easy, quick and mess free way of making these flat breads but first a little bit about their history and nutritional value……
Flat breads have been used by the ancient peoples of the world from the bedouins of Egypt to the Hunzas of the himalayas for thousands of years, and these tribes still use this simple and nutritious food as part of their diet. The Hunzas have been known to live up to 140 years old with the men sometimes fathering children at the age of ninety! The Hunzas would normally make their breads out of freshly ground wheat and barley flour. However, most of us do not have the luxury of time for grounding our flour so we have to buy it.
I like to make my bread out of a mixture of spelt and buckwheat or spelt and barley flour, and sometimes just buckwheat. It is a very good idea to alternate these recipes to avoid the development of any kind of intolerance.
How to make it:
1. Pour flour into a bowl and gradually add water. You want a doughy consistency, not too wet, not too dry. Keep adding water or flour appropriately until it feels right; this will take a little practice.
2. Kneed into small balls and roll out on a chopping board as flat as possible. Add a little flour to the board and dough ball to stop it sticking.
3. Place into a frying pan and cover with a saucepan lid. Turn over after 30 secs, then again after 30 secs, then depending on thickness, it takes about 2 minutes each side, or when it starts to puff up and turn a little brown in places.
4. Place on a plate, let it cool a little then cover with a tea towel to keep moist or add some butter or coconut butter then cover with a saucepan lid.
Spelt is a cousin of and an ancient form of wheat and its hybrids. Its nutritional spectrum is much broader than that of wheat and it does not seem to be implicated as frequently with intolerances or sensitivities. 194gs will give you 106% of the RDA of manganese which is involved in collagen synthesis, protein absorption, fat metabolism, cartilage and bone formation, blood sugar balancing and carbohydrate metabolism. This means that it may help you build muscle, keep your skin looking youthful, help reduce and maintain your weight, and help keep your joints youthful and supple and your bones strong. Spelt also contains high amounts of magnesium, phosphorous, vitamin B3, protein, zinc and copper. It is also useful in maintaining a healthy heart and effective in gallstone prevention due to its insoluble fibre content and may help prevent asthma and postmenopausal breast cancer.
Barley is very high in Selenium with one cupful giving us 52 % of our RDA. Selenium is highly implicated in thyroid metabolism and subsequently will affect our whole body metabolism, helping it to carry out all its functions appropriately including regulating weight. It has anti-cancer properties, strengthens our immune system, may benefit rheumatoid arthritis and helps detoxify heavy metals such as mercury and lead. Barley also has high amounts of trytophan, which is a pre-cursor to serotonin which is a ‘feel good’ neurotransmitter and low in those with depression. It is also a pre-cursor to melatonin which regulates our sleep patterns and governs the timing and release of female reproductive hormones, aligning the menstrual cycle. It has also shown to be protective against breast cancer. Along with a healthy gut flora, barley will help provide fuel to the cells of the intestine, liver and muscles. This will help heal the gut, improve detoxification and overall energy.
Buckwheat’s most prominent health aspect in my view is that it actually helps lower blood glucose, mainly due to the substance ‘chiro-inositol’ which makes this grain valuable in lowering the risk of contracting diabetes. This makes it ideal to add with the other two grains, making the GL of the flatbread very low. This is important as fluctuating blood glucose levels are a major health issue in today’s western society, leading to weight gain, moodiness and heart disease. Buckwheat is implicated in reducing the risk of heart disease due to its cholesterol lowering effects mainly due to the flavonoid ‘rutin’ which is an antioxidant in its own right and extends the action of vitamin C. High levels of magnesium also help lower blood pressure and are calming to the nervous system. This grain also scores high on its ability to satisfy hunger.
It is important to note that whole grains contain ‘bound’ phenolics, which are phytonutrients associated with a reduced risk of cancer, but the phenolics can only be ‘unbound’ and used by the body by healthy gut bacteria, so it is important to make sure that your gut flora is healthy to gain the most out of eating spelt, buckwheat and barley.
Subsequently, my landlady lost half a stone in 2 weeks from not eating bread from the shop and instead eating the flatbreads that I introduced her to. She started adding pumpkin seeds and other seeds to it and I have to say her breads taste better than mine!
L Soteriou(2011) Nutrient Fact Sheets. College of Naturopathic Nutrtion.