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Freekeh: A New Superfood That Can Be Compared To Quinoa

Freekeh: A New Superfood That Can Be Compared To Quinoa

Quinoa is renowned as a Superfood, or a nutrient-rich food especially beneficial for health and well-being, not only for the health benefits, but for it’s versatility. But is another Superfood waiting in the wings to take the spotlight?

As it turns out, yes. Freekeh is steadily gaining popularity, and for good reason. Before we go deeper let’s look at what freekeh is actually first.

Freekeh (pronounced free-kah) is the result of wheat harvested while young and green. It’s roasted over an open fire and the straw and husks of seeds are burned and rubbed off. The grain on the inside is too wet to burn, so you’re left with a firm, mildly chewy grain with an earthy, smoky flavor[1].

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The Great Debate: Freekeh VS Quinoa

Why eat Freekeh? Why eat Quinoa? Should you favor one over the other? Each is packed full of of nutritional goodness, but how do they compare to each other?

Quinoa is a gluten free grain, making it a great choice for the many people who suffer from gluten allergies. Freekeh is not gluten free, as it is a type of wheat. It makes up for the gluten when it comes to protein and fiber content, since Freekeh has nearly double the amount of fiber and protein that quinoa does. This may result in weight loss for those adding it to a healthy lifestyle. For those living with diabetes, Freekeh is also the better option – it ranks at a low 43 on the glycemic index, whereas quinoa is higher at 54.

Let’s break down the additional nutritional components of Freekeh and Quinoa in the table below, using 100 grams of each as the serving size:

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Freekeh[2]

  • 353 calories
  • 60.8 grams carbohydrates
  • 14.9 grams protein
  • 2 grams fat
  • 12.9 grams fiber
  • 31 milligrams zinc (207 percent DV)
  • 32 milligrams iron (178 percent DV)
  • 3.4 milligrams copper (170 percent DV)
  • 370 milligrams calcium (37 percent DV)
  • 110 milligrams magnesium (28 percent DV)

Quinoa[3]

  • 120 calories
  • 21.3 grams carbohydrates
  • 4.4 grams protein
  • 1.9 grams fat
  • 2.8 grams fiber
  • 1.09 milligrams zinc (10 percent DV)
  • 1.49 milligrams iron (19 percent DV)
  • 0.19 milligrams copper (21 percent DV)
  • 17 milligrams calcium (2 percent DV)
  • 64 milligrams magnesium

Freekeh-Out: Numerous Health Benefits of Freekeh

Freekeh is truly worthy of being called a Superfood, even if all you know about it is its nutritional value. But it isn’t just good for getting in your vitamins — Freekeh also carries amazing digestive benefits.

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  1. Because of its fiber content, it can ease a number of common digestive complaints including diarrhea and constipation. This is huge, especially considering the number of people affected by digestive issues in the U.S. alone in 2010 was 70 million people[4].
  2. The fiber content in Freekeh can also aid weight control management, since it helps avoid snacking between meals due to feeling fuller longer. It contains three times as much fiber as brown rice, so there’s a good chance your stomach won’t be grumbling hours before your next meal!
  3. Along with fiber, Freekeh also contains loads of antioxidants which can positively impact eye health. This is thanks to the antioxidants called zeaxanthin and lutein. These are known to prevent macular degeneration which typically occurs as we age.
  4. Freekeh even aids muscular growth and endurance, thanks to an amino acid called glutamic acid. This is popular with bodybuilders and athletes, as it assists with improving strength and endurance, naturally.
  5. And as mentioned earlier, the wholegrain variety of Freekeh ranks low on the glycemic index, making it ideal for anyone trying to maintain their blood sugar levels. Even if you aren’t diabetic, healthy blood sugar levels are important, as out of control levels can lead to heart, kidney, eye and nerve damage[5].

While it sounds too good to be true, Freekeh really is as great as it seems, and easily attainable! Whole Foods Market and Trader Joe’s sell Freekeh, and Whole Foods’ website even offers a few recipes. But if you’re like me and prefer doing as much of your shopping online as possible, Amazon is also a great resource to purchase a variety of Freekeh, some options even offering bulk quantities.

I’ve bought it, now what?

Aside from gluten and calories (which do not impact everyone the same way depending on lifestyle and allergies), Freekeh offers much more than Quinoa. But what does it taste like? Sure, it’s kind of smokey and earthy, but that probably rules out adding cinnamon and milk and making it a breakfast. Nope! As it turns out, it’s incredibly versatile.

Freekeh can be added in place of your usual grain (such as quinoa) for an easy side dish, or even a salad topper. It’s easy enough to cook, only requiring about 20 minutes in a sauce pan on the stove. However, if you love meal prepping and skipping the process of cooking as you go, Freekeh can be soaked in water overnight in the fridge and simply headed when you’re ready to enjoy it[6]. It’s also delicious as a savory salad, mixed with chickpeas and herbs such as parsley, mint and garlic.

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And as it turns out, Freekeh can be eaten for breakfast! Adding Freekeh and coconut milk, honey, cinnamon, a little sea salt, fruits and nuts creates a delicious, sweet breakfast bowl which can be enjoyed hot or cold. It can even be used in stews, yogurt dishes, puddings and even cakes[7].

Staying Super

Though the list of Superfoods can often seem intimidating, with the many options available for preparing said foods, it’s easier than ever to maintain a healthy lifestyle while still enjoying meals. For instance, if you simply add strawberries and cherries to the breakfast Freekeh mentioned earlier, you’re fueling your body with three Superfoods first thing in the morning. And if you add Kale and Spinach to the Freekeh salad idea, you’ve just added two Superfoods without any effort. Don’t be afraid to change your routine and substitute certain Superfoods, like Quinoa, with Freekeh. You may find recipes you can’t live without!

Reference

More by this author

Heather Poole

Heather shares about everyday lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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