Low Glycemic, Gluten-Free Grain
Lately I’m on a detox due to an overgrowth of Candida Albicans, a very insidious yeast that can cause a variety of inflammation-related disorders, from IBS to sinus and allergy symptoms, brain fog etc. Unfortunately, mainstream medicine has not done much to address this problem; in fact, the excessive use of antibiotics in treating infections is one of the main factors in candida’s “population explosion”.
I successfully got this under control about 20 years ago but the Standard American Diet is very yeast-friendly, allowing proliferation through an excess of gluten, sugar and molds found in common allergens like dairy, soy and peanuts.
The Anti-Candida Diet is not an easy one for someone (like me) who does not consume many animal products: High protein and low glycemic for about 90 days, avoiding certain foods is the best way to starve off the yeast. I can manage fish about once a week and have added eggs about every other day. Fruit is a no-no because of the sugar, which means that I am sorely missing my daily Green Smoothie.
Buckwheat to the Rescue
Buckwheat has been the base of most of my meals these days! Although it contains the word “wheat” it does not have anything to do with that grain and is not even technically a grain. More like a seed, it is part of the rhubarb family (one of the few fruits that are not verboten on the cleanse.) It is very high in magnesium and manganese and a powerful antioxidant, quercitin. Buckwheat is low-glycemic and does not spike blood sugar, so also good for diabetes and any weight loss. It is also a great vegan source of Vitamin B’s and has 8 essential amino acids. Best of all, when prepared in a variety of ways, it is tasty and filling, so I have not had much feeling of deprivation on this very strict candida cleanse.
Soaking and Sprouting
Raw foodists use this seed/grain in some very original ways and will always start with soaking and sprouting to activate the living essence. Buckwheat sprouts so easily that all you have to do is soak it for at least 3 hours, drain and rinse and then let it sit in a colander with a moist paper towel overnight or while you are at work. A tiny tail is all you need to see to be ready to use it.
Even in my cooked recipe below I like to start with soaked and sprouted buckwheat as it is going to be easier to digest and have enhanced nutrition. If you don’t have time to sprout it, at least soak it for a couple of hours and give it a good rinse.
CHECK OUT THIS VIDEO TO SEE HOW EASY IT IS TO SOAK AND SPROUT
Once it’s sprouted, I give it a good rinse and then place on a parchment paper-covered dehydrator tray. It takes about 5 hours at 115 degrees. Just heard about a super creative idea if you don’t own a dehydrator from one of our Natural Wellness Coaching candidates – put a heating pad in a box and make a try with tin foil to put over it and place on top. It’s not an exact science, temperature wise can fill in until you decide to invest in one!
Dehydrated buckwheat makes a fantastic cereal base. Ordinarily I would add some fruit or dried berries but those are a no-no on the Candida Cleanse. I have some almonds and pumpkin seeds in this one, along with lots of cinnamon, erythritol (a sensible sugar substitute that does not spike blood sugar) and some hempseed or almond milk.
Another fantastic use for dehydrated buckwheat is to give a crunchy texture to carob and chocolate bars. Check out the recipe for Carob Crispy Candies.
My other “go-to” buckwheat breakfast is to saute and steam and serve with chopped leafy greens and fried or poached eggs on top. (see photo above and recipe below) I would ordinarily flavor the broth with some Bragg’s liquid aminos or tamari, but soy is also not allowed on the cleanse. I substituted with some dulse (seaweed) strips and that gives it a nice broth-y finish. Turmeric is optional but it’s a powerful anti-inflammatory so I add it to just about anything I steam or saute.
Savory Sauteed Buckwheat
1 1/2 cup buckwheat, soaked for at least 2 hours and well-rinsed
1 cup of filtered water (you may need more)
2 TB. grapeseed or coconut oil
1 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
2 cloves of garlic, minced
3-4 scallions, chopped all the way down to the bottom
1 cup baby spinach, chopped
sea salt to taste
Optional: 1 TB. tamari (gluten-free soy sauce) or 2 strips of dulse or any other sea vegetable you like
Directions: Heat oil in pan and lightly saute the garlic and the lower, white portions of the scallions. Add the drained buckwheat and stir for about 1-2 minutes, not exactly browning, just to coat it well in the oil. Add turmeric and about a teaspoon of salt to start (you can add more as needed). Pour in water and add dulse or tamari. Let it come to a fast boil and then reduce temperature to simmer. Stir well and cover. Check every couple of minutes to stir and make sure it is not burning. You may need to add more water – the idea is to have it be moist but not mushy. All together it should take only about 10-15 minutes to cook.
Place the chopped spinach and the rest of the scallions in a bowl and ladle in some of the cooked buckwheat, tossing everything together. You can serve as a side dish for lunch or dinner or with a couple of fried or poached eggs on top.
NOTE: Because buckwheat is so protein-packed and low-glycemic it makes a much better accompaniment to meat dishes, for better food combining.