Power Grains

Power Grains

There is little substitute for the comforting nutty smell of whole grains simmering on the stove. Traditional whole grains are filled a healthy mix of naturally occurring vitamins, minerals and plant hormones along with high-quality protein in an easily digestible form that won’t block your body’s channels (the way meat or cheese do). A far cry from processed instant white rice! Incorporating them in your diet makes for a nourishing start to the day or a centerpiece to any meal.

The title “Power Grains” comes from Nancy Londsorf, MD an Ayurvedic physician in her book on treating menopause naturally.1 She recommends the 9 grains in the following table and says: “The refining process strips whole grains of their inherent cholesterol-lowering, cancer-reducing, blood sugar-balancing, and probiotic effects. Whole power grains, complete with their outer husk and nutrient-rich inner germ, provide slow-release energy along with naturally packaged vitamins, minerals, and protein. They deliver steady, dependable energy throughout the day.


Grain: Water Ratio

Cooking Time



1: 2

15-20 min

Same as rice; in fact can mix 50/50 and cook together



20-25 min

Nice mixed with quinoa, can be heavy/sticky alone


1: 2½

20-25 min

Can lightly toast in a dry pan first



40-60 min

Maybe up to 1 ½ hrs



60-75 min

Presoaking recommended

Bulgur wheat


As you like it, up to 20 min

Or just soak in hot water for tabouli



10 min

Less time or even raw if pre-soaked

Whole-wheat couscous


1 min summer, 3 min resting, covered

Great for a very quick meal



15 min

Can lightly toast in a dry pan first

The first 4 are very high in minerals and protein
All have phytoestrogenic effects for powerful yet gentle hormonal support


Use the chart above for suggestions on cooking times and water ratios.  These are not exact so it is best to check on the grains frequently as they cook until you get a feel for it with the grains or combinations you choose using your pans and stove.  It’s not hard, just takes some attention at the beginning. 

To steam, use a pot with a tight-fitting or heavy cover and don’t be tempted to stir them; it disrupts the little steam vents necessary for proper cooking.  Cook until grains are tender and most of water is absorbed.

Without a heavy cover use more water and leave the cover off so it doesn’t boil over, stir occasionally.

Time savers

  • Pre-soak grains overnight or 8 daytime hours; can add a tablespoon of yogurt or whey.  This adds health benefits as well as saves cooking time.  Yields a softer and more digestible grain.
  • Crock-pot all night for breakfast or all day for dinner.

Easy to remember, No Fail Recipe
Use the same recipe for all the grains listed.  Mix two or more varieties to equalize texture and flavors.
Won’t boil over or run out of water and burn before done. 
Excellent for breakfast. Can spoon on top a little butter, soaked dried fruit with their water, nuts/seeds, yogurt or whatever you wish.

This comes from Dr. Londsorf’s book.

Rinse chosen grain or combination in a bowl.  Use ½ raw grain cup per serving.
Not necessary, but for greater digestibility and quicker cooking cover with pure water to soak; can add spoon of whey or yogurt for aiding fermentation. Cover and let stand overnight or all day.  When ready to cook, drain the water off. 
Place 2 cups of water per ½ cup grain serving in a saucepan and bring to a boil.  (That is a 4:1 water/grain ratio for all varieties) Add 1 tsp of ghee or olive oil and the grain.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and set a timer for 15 minutes.  Check tenderness, continuing simmering until the grain is tender, can be 5-10 minutes longer if grain is not pre-soaked (except for whole rye and barley, which takes up to 40 minutes to cook.)  Stir occasionally as needed.

Adding the teaspoon of oil is important to prevent the inherent drying effect of grains on the body and intestines. 

Try half water half milk of the total liquid for a rich tasting hearty breakfast.

You may add a spice mixture to grains as they cook them or sauté in oil and drizzle over the grains at serving. “  One recommended general spice mixture from Ayurveda is 1 part turmeric powder, 2 parts cumin seeds, 4 parts each fennel and coriander seeds, ground and dry roasted for 1-2 minutes. Make fresh every couple of weeks.  Cardamom, ginger, cinnamon are nice for breakfast.


  • Perfect for breakfast; plain or with butter or yogurt, sweet spices, ground nuts or seeds - lower cost, more nutritious, less processed than boxed cereal and will sustain you for more hours.  Try up to 50% milk instead of all water.
  • Cook the grains individually or in combination
  • Add vegetable stock, spices and/or garlic to the water.  For breakfast, try sweet warming spices like cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, and ginger.
  • Serve as a simple side dish
  • Main dish with stir fry vegetables or curry on top
  • Cool after cooking and toss with fresh vegetables for a satisfying salad
  • Add to soups, stews, and curry


1. A Woman’s Best Medicine for Menopause – Your Personal Guide to Radiant Good Health Using Maharishi Ayurveda

For more information on specific grains, as well as complete recipes, please go to our website www.spiritualfoodcsa.org