December 14, 2017 6:47 am Leave your thoughts
The Romans marched for days and days, only in straight lines, and thus conquered the world (or something like that). They fuelled themselves by eating lots and lots of grain. If you’re interested in conquering Europe, marching across continents, or any other kind of exertion (such as driving down Roman roads to get to work), then it might well be worth following their example.
Grains get a bad press sometimes. Those on gluten-free diets often avoid them (though there are many gluten-free grains, such as these here). Those following a paleo diet refuse to acknowledge them – they’re interested in diets that go much further back than the Romans. But grains, assuming you have no intolerance or serious objection to them, can be a great basis for a healthy diet.
We stock many types of grain at Naturally Good Food. This section of our website lists them all. We’ve also got a dedicated section for gluten-free grains (including amaranth, quinoa, buckwheat and millet). We’re specialists in wholegrains, particularly organic varieties. In addition to those gluten-free grains, take a look at these links to see our:
- Bulghur wheat
- Couscous and fregola
The main purpose of grains, if you’re a soldier, is to provide energy, which they do in spades. This is particularly true of unprocessed wholegrains, the kind the Roman soldiers would have eaten. There’s a lot more goodness, including fibre, vitamins and minerals, in a spoonful of wholegrain flour than in a slice of modern-day processed white bread.
How the Romans liked their grains
The Romans were huge consumers of wholegrains (their nickname in parts of the Mediterranean was ‘pultiphagonides’ – or porridge-eaters). They enthusiastically consumed barley, wheat, spelt, millet and oats. When marching, they had a daily ration of grain (probably wheat or millet), carried in pure grain form. Once camped up for the night, each sub-camp would use a small handmill to grind the grain into flour and then cook with it. (This puts a slightly different complexion on the kind of food preparation we have to do in modern times, after a hard day’s march!)
The flour might then have been made into a porridge, pancakes or flatbreads, or perhaps a dough that was twisted around sticks and baked in the fire. I’ve managed to unearth a typical Roman soldier’s grain-based meal (unearthed on the internet, that is, rather than through arduous archeological research…). Here it is:
- 1 cup ground grain
- 2 cups water
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 strips bacon, diced
Soak the grain and water together for half an hour, then heat and bring to the boil. Add the oil and simmer for some time. Meanwhile, fry the bacon. Add the bacon to the porridge mixture and season with the salt.
Not ready for the caveman diet just yet? Try the Roman soldier diet in the meantime!
Tags: amaranth, barley, buckwheat, bulghur wheat, bulgur wheat, couscous, fregola, gluten free grains, grains, millet, oats, polenta, popcorn, quinoa, Romans, rye, semolina, spelt, tapioca, Teff, wheat, wholegrains
This post was written by Yzanne