Strengthening Barley

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By Valerie Wilson

Yes, I know; you have heard barley has gluten, so you should avoid it, right? Not so fast. Barley is an ancient whole grain that has been eaten for thousands of years. It helps cleanse the body of toxins, helps keep you strong and flexible, plus gives you energy. Barley is one of the signature whole grains of spring. It has a chewy texture, becomes creamy when cooked, has a slightly sweet taste, and helps cleanse the body of toxins. Barley strengthens and nurtures the liver, gallbladder, and nervous system, the organs associated with the spring season.

It is an ancient whole grain, and humans have eaten it since about 8500 B.C. In Roman times, the Gladiators, who had to be very physically strong, ate a diet of mostly roasted barley. The whole grain barley contains manganese, selenium, copper, vitamin B1, B6, chromium, and phosphorus, and contains all eight essential amino acids making it a complete protein. It also contains beta-glucans making it good to help reduce high cholesterol, manage a good blood sugar level, and decrease inflammation. Barley also contains a trace mineral called molybdenum, which is essential for your health and the key to many vital functions, such as detoxing the body of deadly sulfates and toxins that build up in the body. And suppose that was not enough reson to consume barley. In that case, it also breaks down the hardened accumulation of fat, helps to restore smooth organ function, helps loosen rigid muscles, and restores flexibility and graceful movement.

Colorful Barley Pea Salad

½ cup barley
1 ¼ cup water
2 scallions (sliced thin rounds)
1 cup peas
½ yellow summer squash (diced small)
1 carrot (diced small)
¼ cup parsley (minced)
¼ cup toasted sunflower seeds
Dressing:
1 T. olive oil
2 T. stone ground mustard
1 T. tamari
2 tsp. brown rice vinegar
½ tsp. tyme
½ tsp. tarragon

Put the barley in a pot with the 1 ¼ up water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to the lowest possible temperature, cover, and simmer for one hour until all the water has been absorbed and the barley is soft. Put the hot barley in a large mixing bowl and mix in the peas and carrot. The hot barley will lightly steam the peas and carrots. Let sit to cool. To make the dressing, whisk together all of the dressing ingredients. Once the barley is cooled, add the yellow summer squash, parsley, and toasted sunflower seed, pour the dressing over, and mix all together. Serve right away or refrigerate and serve cold.

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