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The Body Ecology Diet Gluten Free Options to Grains: Quinoa, Amaranth, Millet, and Buckwheat

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In health care since 1977, but keenly aware of Western medicine's shortcomings, Rose Mary began exploring natural health in the late 1990s.

I have previously written about The Body Ecology Diet (BED). The “diet” is much more geared toward improved health, with weight loss as a pleasant side effect. This statement appears on the cover of The Body Ecology Diet: “A must-read for anyone who wants to be healthy or who is exhausted, overweight or has digestive problems, candida, viral infections, cancer or neurological disorders such as ADD, Autism, Alzheimer’s, and Multiple Sclerosis.”

The gluten free “grains” of the BED are readily available compared to when I first bought my BED book. They increasingly appear in recipes, particularly vegan recipes, largely due to their high nutrient content. If properly prepared, these grains are very easy on the digestive tract. Two of them are high in protein, and ideal for having a “vegetarian night”, for a nutritious meal without the cholesterol.

Buckwheat, Quinoa, Amaranth.  Personal photo.

Buckwheat, Quinoa, Amaranth. Personal photo.

Soaking and Sprouting Nuts and Seeds

Soaking Body Ecology Gluten Free “Grains”

The BED does not allow wheat because the gluten makes it difficult to digest. Only four grains, all gluten free, are allowed: amaranth, quinoa, millet, and buckwheat. Actually, only millet is a grain. The others are technically seeds, but are ally typically referred to as grains. You will often hear all of them referred to as “ancient grains”.

Both Donna Gates of the BED, and Sally Fallon of Nourishing Traditions, recommend soaking, and even sprouting grains, nuts, and seeds before cooking or eating them.

Soaking deactivates phytic acid found in all nuts, grains, and seeds. This enzyme inhibitor neutralizes our digestive enzymes and the absorption of important nutrients.

Soaking makes nuts, grains, and seeds easier for us to digest, and increases B vitamin and carotene content. The BED grains should be soaked 8 to 24 hours before using.

Amaranth, quinoa, and millet are alkalizing, which is desirable. An alkaline internal environment is less hospitable to diseases, including cancer. Buckwheat is acid-forming (according to Donna; Renee Underkoffler, in Living Cuisine, states it is alkalizing), and should be balanced with lots of vegetables.

All BED grains should be eaten with lots of vegetables, including cultured vegetables, and starchy vegetables. BED grains, as starches, should not be combined with meat protein.


Amaranth was grown by the ancient Aztecs of South America, and in the Himalayan regions of Tibet, Nepal, China, and India. It can thrive in austere conditions. Amaranth is a very nutritious starchy seed. It has more protein than most meats, and is rich in amino acids lysine and methonine. Amaranth has higher calcium than milk.

I like amaranth with caramelized onion. I use it most often in soups. After soaking, I add about a cup of amaranth to a stockpot of tomato-based soup.

How to Cook Amaranth

Tabbouleh Salad with Amaranth


Quinoa dates back 3000 years, grown in the mountains of Bolivia and Peru by the Incas. It is still primarily grown in South America, although some is grown in Colorado.

Quinoa is a starchy seed. There are hundreds of varieties, and different colors such as yellow, red, purple, and black. I have only seen yellow at Sun Harvest. Quinoa is covered in saponin, a bitter substance that is used to make soap. The saponin must be laboriously washed off before sold for consumption.

Quinoa has the highest protein content of any of the grains. Like amaranth, it has impressive amino acid content, including lysine. Also like amaranth, quinoa has more calcium than milk. Quinoa is also an excellent source of B vitamins, Vitamin E, iron, and phosphorus.

I have added quinoa to soups, including the Spring Kicharee. It obviously adds nutrients, but I don’t really taste or feel it in soup.

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Salad with Quinoa


Millet was grown in Mesopotamia 5000 years ago, and has been grown in China for 3000 years. There is evidence that millet was grown in Switzerland during the Stone Age.

Millet is high in protein, amino acids, and silicon. It also acts as a natural anti-fungal.

To me, of the BED grains, millet has texture closest to couscous, which I really like.

Millet Veg Fried Rice


Buckwheat is an “edible fruit seed” which is easy to digest and soothes the digestive tract. Buckwheat is available raw and whole, dehydrated, and toasted. Toasted buckwheat is known as kasha. Whole raw buckwheat can be soaked, sprouted, and dehydrated for breakfast cereal.

Buckwheat is a good source of the bioflavonoid rutin, which is thought to support capillaries, improve circulation, and lower blood pressure.

How to Cook Buckwheat

Buckwheat with Prawns

Introduction to the Body Ecology Diet

Talk to Your Health Care Provider

This article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you think you might want to try The Body Ecology Diet, pick up a copy of the book, and do your homework, including talking to your doctor.


The Body Ecology Diet by Donna Gates, with Linda Schatz

Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon, with Mary G. Enig

Living Cuisine by Renee Loux Underkoffler

© 2010 rmcrayne


Vespa Woolf from Peru, South America on August 13, 2016:

We live in S. America and since quinoa is readily available, we eat a lot of it. The yellow is more common since the red and black quinoa is exported. I like that you offer many delicious recipes to enjoy these healthy grains (seeds). Thank you!

rmcrayne (author) from San Antonio Texas on March 05, 2012:

kayleighjean I do not have the millet bun recipe, I sellected the photo from Flickr. I googled "millet buns" and got lots of results.

kayleighjean on February 22, 2012:

I want the Millet Buns recipe! I searched all the links for it, the martha stewart, allrecipes, etc and could not find it! Please post it! or send it to me!

wellnessguidesja on January 16, 2012:

Thanks for this post. Will be trying this in my own wellness journey

rmcrayne (author) from San Antonio Texas on January 24, 2011:

Thanks for your great compliment Rouillie. You may be interested in getting Donna's book.

Rouillie on January 17, 2011:

I'm into nutrition and the research is endless! This is a fabulous article, very informative!

rmcrayne (author) from San Antonio Texas on December 16, 2010:

Thanks Smiling Man.

The Smiling Man from USA on December 11, 2010:

Good stuff. Thanks.

rmcrayne (author) from San Antonio Texas on December 10, 2010:

Thanks for reading eric.

ericscholes on December 03, 2010:

Thanks for sharing. Good Work.

rmcrayne (author) from San Antonio Texas on May 11, 2010:

Thanks diabetes. Here is a recipe I found for ancient grain, vegetable and nut patties. I think it sounds pretty good, but haven't tried it yet.

diabetesreporter from Eureka, California on May 11, 2010:

Thanks much for the great article. Sounds like these would fit very well in to a vegan diet. Will definitely give them a try. Thanks, again!

rmcrayne (author) from San Antonio Texas on March 30, 2010:

Thanks so much Pamela and Paradise for your ongoing support.

hypno I like the amaranth, millet, and quinoa. I'm having a little trouble getting past the stronger taste of the buckwheat.

Andrew from Italy on March 26, 2010:

These grains are really great, and they are also good to eat. And luckily they are OGM free, beside gluten free. Thumbs up.

Paradise7 from Upstate New York on March 26, 2010:

Really good research and videos, we're coming to expect just that from our RM!

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on March 25, 2010:

Interesting article.

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