Millets are in the spotlight and for all the right reasons! With the year 2023 being the International Year of Millets, there is a growing awareness about millets and their nutritional values.
Relegated to obscurity over the past few years, millets are back in trend these days. Being a healthy alternative to gluten grains, it is a favorite among fitness enthusiasts, people suffering from gluten allergies and celiac disease, among others. However, there are many myths associated with millets.
Today we will look at the 5 most common myths and bust them.
1. Myth: Cooking with millet is difficult.
Cooking millets is not difficult, you just need to know the right way to cook them. The right way to cook millets is simple. Make sure you wash millets thoroughly with water, and soak it for 5-12 hours or overnight. Different millets have different soaking times, a minimum of 5-6 hours is needed. An easy way to incorporate it into your daily meals is to substitute your rice and wheat roti with millets like Kodo, boiled bajara, or jowar millets roti.
2. Myth: Millet is not as tasty as rice or wheat
Millets can be delicious too. The way you cook them, the combination and the spices you use are more important. You can make a one-pot millet bowl and even a burger using millet. Adding colorful veggies, healthy Indian spices and serving them beautifully can make it look appealing and pleasing to the eye, and even kids would love them. These days anything and everything can be made with millets. For example, popular food items like pizza, pasta, pancake, noodles, all can be made healthy by switching to millet based pizza base, millet pancake flour, millet cookies and cakes and millet noodles.
3.Myth: Millets are a poor man’s food.
Millets were once considered a poor man’s food, as the wheat and rice were marketed in a way that made people believe that our staple should be rice and wheat only, but the fact is over 1000+ years millets were a staple food for Indians. It was once the farmer’s first choice as it was easy to grow and sell millet, but with passing years, people’s food preferences changed and millets took a backseat. With the advent of western cuisine, refined food got added to our daily meals. And then slowly even the farmers and state policies began favoring rice and wheat over millet. In recent research, it was seen that farmers are more healthy as they grew wheat and rice for earning, but their daily meals comprised of millets, which made them healthy and gave them strength, helping them to improve their immunity. Different regions of India grow millets with different names.
4.Myth: Digestion of millets is difficult.
If you cook it the right way, i.e. soaking it well and giving it enough time to cook, it is not difficult to digest. People with digestive issues need to be careful, but the majority of people can easily digest it. Millets are rich in fiber and cooking it with the right food combination and cooking it properly is important. Your gut flora contributes to digesting millet when cooked the right way.
5. Myth: Millets are expensive
Millets have been used for over 1000+ years and are popular with many people in India. One of the reasons for it being called a poor man’s food was its price point and easy accessibility. It is regional, local, and easily available at any grocery store. Even if you are looking for a specific millet that is not grown locally, it is still less expensive than western imported food like kale, quinoa, avocados, etc., and nutritionally richer than most of these western foods. Millets are easily available even at the smallest grocery store across India. With new government policies and 2023 being declared as the International year of millet it is more pocket friendly and easily available.
And a surprising fact is people overseas have started adopting millet in their meals, as it is gluten-free and nutrient-dense. On your next trip abroad, don’t be surprised if you find menus with millet dishes in the kerb side cafes and restaurants.
Hope this post debunks the myths about millet. Don’t let myths stop you from including millets in your daily diet. If you have come across some more myths around millets, do share it with us and we will work to debunk them.