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How to Eat Well and Be Adventurous With New Things

By Marina Townsley

Many of you mention that you are running out of ideas what to cook for the family.

Well, it’s never been a better time to experiment with new foods and educate your palate!

Many of you have heard of buckwheat as a gluten free alternative to wheat. The truth is that buckwheat is not even remotely related to wheat and comes from a different plant family. More than that, it’s not even a true grain and is classified as pseudo-grain. Buckwheat is the seed of a flowering fruit that is related to rhubarb and sorrel.

As for its health benefits, they are numerous!

1. Buckwheat is full of healthy fibre, it’s low calorie, low fat and low glycaemic index and therefore ideal for managing diabetes, reducing cholesterol and promoting weight loss (if you have been comfort eating in self isolation, listen up!) It makes you feel full without piling on extra pounds, improves gut motility and helps to reduce blood sugar levels.

2. It is a source of rutin, a phytonutrient which is highly beneficial to blood vessel walls. Rutin strengthens blood vessels and improves circulation. Rutin supplements are taken to prevent and reduce haemorrhoids, varicose and spider veins. Some research suggests that rutin may prevent the formation of blood clots that could help prevent heart disease and stroke. It is also useful for chronic venous insufficiency, varicose veins in pregnancy and post-thrombotic syndrome.

3. It’s gluten free and non-allergenic and therefore great for coeliacs and those with grain allergies and sensitivities, leaky gut sufferers and those with IBS, SIBO and other digestive disturbances where carbohydrates worsen their symptoms.


4. It’s a good source of vegetarian protein (10-14 g of protein per 100 g serving), perhaps not as high as some beans and legumes but higher than most whole grains like rice, wheat, millet or corn.

5. Buckwheat has cancer protective bioflavonoids, phenolic compounds and antioxidants such as oligomeric proanthocyanidins, which protect your body cells against free radical damage and prevent inflammation. It is useful for breast and colon cancer prevention as well as prevention of asthma and gall stone formation.

6. It’s nutritious and contains good amounts of iron, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, vitamin E, a range of B-vitamins and vitamin K. Buckwheat isalso high in manganese, copper and zinc which are important for the immune system. It also contains all eight essential amino acids, including lysine which stops viral replication.

Buckwheat Recipe

1) Wash the buckwheat (about 1/4 – 1/3 of a 1 kg packet) in cold running water, put it into a pan and cover with boiling water from the kettle (the level of water should be 3 fingers above the level of buckwheat), cover with a lid and simmer on a very low fire or setting till all water evaporates and buckwheat becomes fluffy like steamed rice. All grains should be separate. Don’t boil it to death in too much water!

2) While the buckwheat is steaming, cut 1 aubergine, 1-2 courgettes, a yellow bell pepper, 2 red onions, add some olive oil and sauté till the vegetables are soft. Add sea salt, black pepper and dried oregano to taste. Finally add a can of chopped tomatoes and sauté for another 5 minutes.

Note: If you are allergic or sensitive to Nightshades like aubergines, bell peppers and tomatoes, you can use other vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes, French beans, leeks, etc.; you can add green olives – be guided by your taste, food tolerance and imagination!

3) You can serve this basic version or add some feta cheese. I have discovered a similar type of goats and sheeps cheese in my local Turkish shop in Golders Green. It has the same taste as feta but a creamier texture.

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4) Sprinkle some parsley and enjoy your buckwheat dinner!

written by

Nutritional Therapist & Herbalist
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