Cereals, Millets & Pseudocereals - The CMT rule and Why eating a variety is essential!

We are a country that predominantly eats Wheat and Rice as staple grains, and we are also a country where a large segment of the population is vegetarian. I mention the above two points in the same sentence because together they aren't a very good combination and is primarily the cause of rising malnutrition, obesity and diabetes in India.


Why! the simple answer is that it narrows a person’s nutritional intake profile, and the broader, more detailed answer is the remainder of this article.


Let's start with understanding what exactly are #cereals, #millets and #pseudocereals -


Cereals - they are the seeds of grasses that were domesticated by humans a few thousands of years ago and cultivated in greater quantities for a constant year long supply. This was the onset of civilisations leading to larger societies

and development of cities, countries, the world as we know today. Some of the more popular grains are - #wheat, #rice, #maize and #barley. A whole grain comprises of endosperm, germ and bran. However, the genetic makeup of these cereals have changed a lot over the last few thousand years.


Millets - they are a small grained, annual, warm weather seeds of grasses found mostly in Africa and South Asia. Some popular millet varieties are pearl, kodo, foxtail, finger, barnyard and proso of which pearl millet - #Bajra is the most widely grown. Sorghum, also called as the great millet is what we popularly know as #Jowar. These all together are a family of high fibre, high iron, high calcium and over all high mineral content seeds.


Pseaudocereals - these are specifically NOT seeds of grasses but of plants, and that's what differentiates pseudocereals from cereals/ millets; however, they are commonly consumed as cereals and flours. Examples of pseudocereals are - #buckwheat, #quinoa, #chia and #amaranth. They are a high protein, with more balanced amino acid profile, antioxidant rich alternative to grains.


The CMT rule and five reasons why eating a variety is essential -


As per this rule you must eat only one from either cereals, millets/ pseudocereals or tubers per meal. One, since they each have different digestibility they must be had separately and two, anyone trying to lose #weight or regulate their #bloodsugar levels must avoid making their meal heavy on starches. You may however combine different millets together.


1. You are vegan/ vegetarian - we need 20 different kinds of amino acids, of which 11 are synthesised in the body while we need to get the remaining 9 essential amino acids from food. Vegetarian sources of protein do not contain all 9 together, even though quinoa comes close to being a complete #protein, and hence eating a variety of foods is crucial for vegetarians. Also, pseudocereals and certain millets have a higher percentage of protein as compared to wheat and rice.


2. You feel low on energy - the more simple #starches (potatoes, rice, bread) we eat, the quicker it gets absorbed in our blood and then the liver stores it away as fat, making you feel low and hungry much sooner than if you ate a high protein complex carb wholesome meal. Eating buckwheat, millets, quinoa, sweet potatoes, yam etc are broken down and absorbed slowly in the blood, providing you sustained energy in fewer calories.


3. You experience indigestion, brain fog, shortness of breath frequently - #gluten sensitivity and #celiac disease can go on for years without being detected since its symptoms are mostly ignored or misinterpreted. Few of the common issues with eating too much gluten, everyday and for every meal that it impacts the lining of your gut causing frequent indigestion and at times even trigger #autoimmunity.


4. Your fasting blood sugar score is > 85 - even a brown bread scores a whooping 74 on the #glycemicindex scale while a white rice scores 73. A diet heavy on wheat, rice and potatoes tends to result in higher fasting blood sugar eventually with time and making a person pre-diabetic. We live in a diabetes pandemic, that is far worse than the #Covid pandemic, with over 40mn people estimated to be suffering with diabetes in India, and most getting it as early as in their 30s. The National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad released a report this summers attributing it to the carb heavy diet that we Indians eat. It's high time we took care of ourselves and had low glycemic whole grains such as barley, quinoa, millets.


5. You are on the lower end of the haemoglobin scale and/or deficient in some essential nutrients - lower #haemoglobin and #nutrition #deficiency seems to have been normalised these days. Every person seems to be deficient in one or the other vitamin or mineral and they feel that taking a course of supplements will solve it for them. Sadly, vitamins and minerals not just affect what we used to study as kids - vitamin A for eyesight, vitamin D for bones etc. but also our mental health and several other little functions that ensure healthy functioning of our bodies. Why else do you think that the medicines given to covid patients are 90% just multivitamins, zinc & vitamin D!


Eat a variety of whole grains, not flours, Whole Grains! Add pseudocereals and millets to your diet for holistic health & nutrition.


*data and numbers have been referred from harvard.edu , nin.res.in , cadiresearch.org .


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