About teff – lilliputian but almighty grain (perfect for raw vegans)




 

About teff - lilliputian but almighty grain - comparisonAs promised, here is a little essay about teff. Plus found in it starch.

Teff is the smallest grain in the world. It measures less than 1 mm in diameter. That is tinier than a poppy seed!

People living in the modern-day territories of Ethiopia and Eritrea were the first to grow teff in cultivated conditions. This happened long before the birth of Christ. Around 1000 BC.

 

 

 

Injera

 

About teff - lilliputian but almighty grain (perfect for raw vegans) - injera

Injera pancake!

From antiquity and up until these days teff grain is milled into flour and made into a food called injera.

Injera is simply cherished in Ethiopia and Eritrea. To the point that it is eaten at least twice per day! And not only there! In all Ethiopian restaurants around the world injera is always a main dish.

Injera is actually a gigantic flat pancake. A very thin one and with many large holes. I think it is a splendid culinary invention. Because you don’t need any utensils to eat it. Due to its flexibility, thinness and large size, this pancake serves as an entire dinner set: a tablecloth, plate, fork and knife!

Okay, how does this look like in real life? When a pancake is ready, different foods are loaded on top of it. During a meal, pieces of injera are torn and used to grab the stuff found on a pancake. Once everything is eaten, there is no mess and dirty dishes! Smart.

A traditional preparation process of injera is simple but requires a couple days. First, raw teff flour is mixed with water and left at room temperature for 24-48 hours to ferment. Then salt is added. Then the batter is baked either on a stove or on a clay plate over fire.

 

 

 

Health benefits of teff

 

Health benefits of raw teff may surprise you. I will summarize the highlights.

 

Resistant starch

First of all, as I mentioned in the teff dessert post, teff is very filling due to the resistant starch.

Resistant starch is type of fermentable starch discovered just a while ago. FYI, all starches are complex carbohydrates. Fermentable means you cannot digest it and therefore this starch reaches your colon (large intestine) undigested. In a colon, friendly bacteria takes care of resistant starch by literally feeding on it. This gives you a much better-functioning digestive system eventually.

Remember, a healthy gut is more than half of a battle already!

As for the appetite-curbing effects, resistant starch increases insulin sensitivity and lowers blood glucose levels after meals. The end result? Your feel fuller, your appetite is suppressed and you eat less. Exactly what we need on a raw food diet!

Resistance starch truly deserves more attention. So, I will try to devote a post to it in the future.

 

Micronutrients

In term of micronutrients, one serving (100 g) of raw teff provides you with half of daily magnesium needs (185 mg). And with all the iron you need in a day (7.5 mg)!

As opposed to other grains and pseudograins which are poor sources of calcium, teff is a very decent source of it. One serving of teff provides about a fifth of suggested daily calcium intake (180 mg).

Here is a surprise. Teff has more calcium than milk! Look, milk has about 120 mg of calcium per 100 grams while teff has 180 mg per 100 grams!

 

Protein

Now, protein.

The average protein content of different teff varieties is about 14%. While some dark-coloured varieties might have up to 20% of protein. For comparison, beef contains about 25% of protein. Not bad for a plant, ha?

Besides, teff protein is easy on your gut. The reason? It gets digested quickly.

 

Fat

Teff is low in fat. But at the same time very filling. Thanks to the resistant starch.

This is a precisely the combination many raw fooders look for: low fat and filling. That is because many plant foods are not filling. On the other hand, high-fat foods (nuts, avocados, etc.) are filling but are hard to digest.

 

 

 

How to eat teff

 

Teff is perfect in raw form.

First of all, teff tastes great. Both, by itself and mixed with sweet, sour, and salty foods. Meaning, you can add teff to smoothies, soups and even salads!

Relative to other grains, teff is low in antinutrients. Just some phytic acid, that’s it. Simply soak teff flour in acidic water for 24-36 hours to remove phytic acid. To learn more about soaking, check this post.

However, because teff is high in indigestible resistance starch, start slowly. For example, on the first day, add a couple tablespoons to your smoothie. The next day, add more. The next week, make a whole meal out of it.

Teff is conveniently available as a flour. But if you buy teff grain and grind it before preparing something, the flavor is more pronounced.

 

 

Teff in Canada and US

 

Teff as a crop is resistant to extreme temperatures and many pests. So, it is surprising that in Canada (and US) it is largely unknown to farmers.

Teff’s main drawback, however, is its tiny size. In other words, it is hard to plant and harvest it.

Teff’s nutritional profile is greatly realized here though. To the point that agricultural equipment is being developed specifically for this capricious grain. Actually, some equipment is already on the market.

 

 

Where to buy teff

 

You can buy teff grain in health and conventional food stores.

In Alberta you can find it in Planet Organic, Community Natural Foods, Sobeys, Safeway. Bob’s Red Mill, for example, is available in many grocery stores. It carries teff grain and teff flour.

Are you looking for a better deal? Then go for bulk. You can get teff flour in bulk from Amazon (1-kg bags). Nuts.com is another place. It has good prices and offers teff flour in different bulk quantities.

 

 

 

To conclude? Try this amazing food. Raw, of course. There is a good chance that you will like it!

 

 

 


 

Main references:

www.authoritynutrition.com
www.ods.od.nih.gov

 

2 Comments
  1. Hi, many time I have enjoyed those Ethiopian pancakes but had no idea they where this Teff grain you have written about. It does sound like a pretty versatile grain and I think it would be great if it was more widely available as it has good nutritional value and pretty high in calcium and protein. There is so much excellent natural food available and it’s a shame that the companies who make massive profits from processed food are not allowing this information to be available to the public. So it’s awesome that you have started this website and wish you the best of luck in sharing your knowledge with a wider audience.

    • Manny you have made an important point about big companies concealing the info. Thanks.

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