up in South Texas meant that chewing on mesquite pods was a part of
childhood, like kids from Iowa sucked on honeysuckle. The sweet
taste of the bright yellow beans was a favorite treat of the young cow pokes and
Native Americans. Little did these children know that for 2,000 years mesquite
was a source of nutrition for Native Americans and indigenous peoples in the arid
regions of the earth.
most Americans about mesquite, and they will know it as a source of flavoring
on the grill. They talk of restaurants that promote their mesquite grilled meats.
They report using this extraordinary hard wood to add a distinct smoky, sweetness
to grilled foods. Some have used wood for fuel, furniture or flooring. Unfortunately,
few have experienced the delectable flavor of the ground pods.
mesquite tree grows in the desert regions throughout the world, areas not suitable
for most agriculture. These trees can be found in the US from central Texas to southeastern California and up in the Utah. On 25% of the
planet spices of mesquite, prosopis, can be found growing without any assistance from fertilizers,
pesticides, irrigation or capitalization. These trees take little cultivation.
amount of nutrition supplied by mesquite trees is quite astounding. In the Southwest
of the US, the tree is considered
a weed by many ranchers who attempt to eradicate it in order to grow grass. In
other parts of the world the pods are still harvested and ground into meal or
flour. This is sustainable agriculture at its most basic level, people supporting
life naturally off the plants that grow around them.
ForNative Americans in the Southwest and Mexico, mesquite meal was an integral
part of their daily diet. As these communities have moved away from the native
desert foods and became more sedentary, obesity and diabetes has grown at an astounding
rate. It is reported that 50% of the Pima and TohonoO’odham peoples have over 35 years of age suffer from
removal of mesquite from their diets is believed to be one of the key reasons
for these figures.
is growing in the general US
population too. Pediatricians are reporting it in children as young as 5 and
researchers have seen a 70% increase in ages 18 – 22. Why are all these figures
significant to an article about mesquite? Mesquite is a food
that works to balance blood sugar. For 2,000 years the Native Americans in arid
regions relied on mesquite as food staple. For 2,000 years a major part of their
diets helped to regulate blood sugar. Diabetes did not exist in these communities
when there diet consisted of native plants with mesquite being consumed in great
report that mesquite is highly effective in balancing blood sugar. The natural
sweetness in the pods comes from fructose. Fructose does not require insulin
to be metabolized making it safe for diabetics. The high rate of dietary fiber,
pads are 25% fiber, causes the nutrients in mesquite
to be absorbed slowly preventing the spikes and valleys in blood sugar. With
a glycemic index of 25, mesquite requires a longer time to digest then many grains.
The digestive time for mesquite is to hours unlike
wheat that digests in 1 to 2 hours. These factors result in a food that maintains
a constant blood sugar for a sustained time and as a result prevents hunger. Here
is a food that supports the diabetic’s diet and helps maintain a healthy insulin
system in those not affected with blood sugar problem.
flour not only stabilizes blood sugar but it tastes great with a sweet, slightly
nutty with a hint of molasses flavor. Further this food delivers a big hit of
nutritional value. It is high in dietary fiber and protein including lysine.
The ground pods are between 11% and 17% protein. Mesquite
is a good source of calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, and zinc. Mesquite is low carbohydrate, low glycemic and low in fat.
fragrant flour can be used in baking or as a seasoning on food and in drinks.
In baking it the taste becomes quite strong if over 25% mesquite is used. It’s
hard to beat the taste of pancakes, muffins, cakes, corn bread or cookies baked
with the addition of mesquite. It can be sprinkled generously on food as a seasoning
and used in breading for meat and fish. One mesquite specialist adds it to morning
smoothies and finds he doesn’t get hungry mid morning. Mixes are now available
Range that combine mesquite with other gluten-free flours
make experimenting with this amazing flour easy.
can you lose trying a native food that:
sustained desert dwellers for centuries
a low glycemic index
a source of calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, and zinc
vegetable protein including lysine to the diet
Topping: 1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped pecans, almonds or other nuts
Preheat oven to 375F. Combine
cookie mix with butter, vanilla and egg. Spread in greased 8 x 8 pan. Bake
25 minutes until golden. Top with chocolate chips while still warm. Spread
evenly. Top with nuts.
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and/or functions of food and/or nutritional products. These statements
have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and
these materials and products are not intended to diagnose, treat,
cure or prevent any disease.