So, you love your bread and your pasta? I have to admit that they are of those things that really get to me, too. Particularly as several years ago I had the indulgence of 6 months living in Italy, often eating pasta twice a day, with bread and pizza atop of that. Fond memories!
It was in fact in Italy that I first came across spelt, an ancient form of wheat. I was told that it was more digestible, and I found it interesting, but didn't think more of it at the time. That is, not until I made the switch to a conscientiously more nutritious diet. Since then I have discovered the wonders of spelt; an ancient version of wheat that can help you to lose weight, lower cholesterol, manage IBS, reduce allergies, prevent diabetes and reduce the incidence of migraines among a plethora of other health benefits.
Spelt was one of the first grains used to make bread and it's heritage can be traced back 7000 years. Here are some interesting nutritional facts about spelt:
- Spelt has a higher protein content than wheat.
- Spelt has a broader spectrum of nutrients than its poorer, more common cousin, wheat. This is partly why it has so many health benefits.
- Spelt is higher in fibre than wheat, helping to slow down digestion and release even energy, as well as assisting in the effective transit of food through the digestive system and reducing toxic build up. (Yes, it helps you to poo!)
- The gluten in spelt is far more fragile than the gluten in wheat, making it much easier for the body to break down. For this reason, many who have problems digesting wheat can eat spelt without the same side-effects.
- Thanks to its tough outer hull, spelt does not need (and therefore doesn't contain) enzyme inhibitors to protect itself from bugs and other predators. Common wheat does contain enzyme inhibitors – over time these stop the body from being able to break down and absorb certain nutrients. Spelt contains a large amount of B-complex vitamins needed for good digestion, energy production, a healthy nervous system and good hair skin and nails. As B-complex vitamins are water soluable they are not stored and need to be consumed regularly.
This is all great, but is spelt tasty? The answer is: YES! YES! YES! It has a delicious slightly nutty flavour and replaces wheat in the vast majority of dishes without compromising on flavour. Spelt bread is not as fluffy because of the more fragile gluten, but as pasta it's awesome. I personally love whole spelt pasta from Biona, and sprouted spelt bread (which is never fluffy, but more like a sticky fruit loaf). You can get these from Goodness Direct.
Check out this spelt pasta recipe.
I love spelt for it's flavour, and it also appeals to me as a more natural, more digestible form of the much loved wheat. Have you ever tried it? What did you think? If not, have I inspired you yet to have a go?! I'd love to know, please share below.