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Originally published August 25 2010

Mesquite flour is a high-protein, low-glycemic superfood from desert trees

by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, NaturalNews Editor

(NaturalNews) When I lived in the Sonoran desert in Arizona, I used to take long daily walks for exercise and adventure. I would go far off the beaten path and hike through dry washes, weaving my way through all the astonishing desert plants, many of which are highly medicinal, by the way.

I also happened upon many creatures in the desert, including falcons, which have an amazing audible scream that just sends shivers down your spine when you hear it live and in person. But the most interesting creatures I saw were the desert Javelina.

Sometimes incorrectly called "desert pigs," these are wild pig-shaped creatures with thick spiny hair, and they're not really related to pigs at all. They often travel in family packs of a half-dozen at a time, with three or four large adults and a few children javelina tagging along.

I actually have pictures of these creatures right in my back yard in Tucson. They also love carrots, I quickly discovered one night after they rooted up my carrot beds. And they're quite aggressive about going after any kind of food or garden plants you might have outside.

Food from desert trees!

In observing these creatures, I noticed that they also eat mesquite pods. These are the long, beige-colored seed pods from the mesquite tree (a type of legume tree) which is extremely common in the Sonoran desert.

Seeing them eat this surprised me, because not being a person who grew up in the desert, I had no idea these seed pods were edible. But over time, I observed javelinas eating the seed pods, and I also found lots of examples of javelina poo which contained the rather obvious elements of digested seed pods. So I knew they were using them as a food source. (You can learn a lot about animals by studying their poo, by the way...)

Curious to try these seed pods myself, I began harvesting them off the trees and chewing on them as a snack. Over time, I learned that indigenous American Indians relied quite heavily on mesquite pods as an important food source. I even went to the local Desert Museum where I saw demonstrations of how the native people of the area would grind mesquite pods into a high-protein flour using a large mortar and pestle tool. This was serious work requiring a high level of stamina, by the way. A real grind. Literally.

To this day, there is a non-profit in Tucson, Arizona that runs around each year with a mesquite pod grinding machine, and they'll grind your mesquite pods into flour which you can use in baking or cooking. It replaces regular white flour or whole wheat flour cup for cup.

Why American Indians suffer from diabetes

Over the years, the more I learned about the native diets of the indigenous people from the Southwest of the current United States, the more intrigued I became about mesquite flour. Diabetes was virtually unheard of before processed foods were introduced to American Indians, but once processed white flour began to replace the mesquite flour in their diets, American Indians soon became diabetic. (All the liquid sugars in soda certainly didn't help either...)

The same is true with people of Latino descent. White flour doesn't go well with Latino genetics. In just one generation when people switch to processed food diets, they begin to suffer all the ravages of degenerative disease: cancer, heart disease, obesity, depression, you name it.

Mesquite flour as a superfood

Today, mesquite flour is a little-known specialty food used only by two groups that I know of: 1) People who live in the desert and whose ancestors used it as food, and 2) People in the raw food / vegan foods community who have popularized this amazing superfood.

Vegans and vegetarians use mesquite flour in all sorts of ways in the kitchen. It's like a low-glycemic flour that's rich in protein and micronutrients. You can make healthy, low-glycemic breads, pancakes and tortillas out of it (as American Indians have done for as long as history has been recorded). It bakes and mixes just like wheat flour, but obviously without the wheat allergens.

It's also gluten free. Yep, no gluten in mesquite flour. Very cool.

I've also heard of people using it in raw food recipes and even in smoothies. This is a highly versatile and very nutritious ingredient that very few people know about.

And even among those who do know it, most have never eaten raw mesquite pods right off a tree. I consider myself privileged to have enjoyed that opportunity in the Sonoran desert (in fact, to this day, I still miss the Sonoran desert plants, as they are some of the most majestic and intelligent plants you'll find anywhere on the planet).

Where to get mesquite flour

Today, most of the mesquite flour produced in the world comes from Peru. It's grown quite successfully in the high desert areas of this fertile country. Then it's ground, packaged and exported to the United States (and other countries) where it's incorporated into a number of high-end health products.

You can buy two types of mesquite flour: Organic and conventional. The conventional stuff is obviously sprayed with pesticide chemicals, and we don't recommend eating that. I have no idea what pesticides are legal to use in Peru, but I bet it's a nasty list of chemicals, so I avoid conventional products from that country (only organic is ok).

On the organic side, we've acquired a medium-sized shipment of organic mesquite flour at a very considerate price that we're passing on to NaturalNews readers. Normally, a 16-oz. bag of organic mesquite flour sells for $20 or so online. At our store, we would normally carry it at $14.99.

But right now, while the inventory of this shipment lasts, we have a supply of organic mesquite flour from Peru available at just $9.95 per 16-oz. bag. This is the price you might typically pay for "conventional" mesquite flour, except ours is organic (which is usually twice the price).

Once again, NaturalNews buying power has enabled us to make this available to you at an amazing discount. And it gets even better: When you buy three 16-oz. bags of our organic mesquite flour, the price drops to just $8.96 per bag (a 40% savings over the regular price in our store).

Click here to take advantage of these specials right now.

This is probably the best price you'll see anywhere on 16-oz. bags of organic mesquite flour, so if you've never tried this ingredient before, there's no better time that right now to pick some up and see what it's like.

What does mesquite flour taste like?

Mesquite flour has a sweet, nutty taste. It has a texture like wheat flour, but perhaps a bit more grainy. It's about 17% protein, making it ideal for those who wish to avoid high-carbohydrate foods. It also has a significantly lower glycemic index than regular white flour... or even wheat flour, for that matter.

Now I know it costs more than wheat flour. So the best way to use this is to stretch your supply by mixing it 50 / 50 with your traditional wheat flour. If you're making recipes for kids (like pancakes in the morning), use even less mesquite powder at first: Maybe 20% in the recipe, until they get used to it. Then you can slowly increase the percentage over time.

Mesquite flour actually tastes really good. I've been known to just chew on the seed pods for fun. People living on the Kohala Coast of the Big Island of Hawaii may also be familiar with mesquite pods because they grow there in large numbers (they were brought by ranchers to provide a high-protein food source for the cows!). The pods in Hawaii also taste really amazing (sweet!) because they're often grown near ocean water. The increased mineralization, it turns out, makes the mesquite pods taste even sweeter, almost like a cake.

Cool huh? Here's a natural food, straight off a hardy desert tree, that can replace wheat and other processed grains in our diets. In fact, I have no doubt that if the Latinos and American Indians still living in the Southwest of the USA would go back to their traditional diets -- which included mesquite flour -- they would see a sharp drop in diabetes, a disease that is right now devastating the Latino and Native American communities.

Mesquite flour alone isn't a cure for diabetes (or any disease), but it can be part of a dietary strategy that emphasizes natural, unprocessed foods straight from nature while avoiding liquid sugars and other highly refined foods which we now know greatly increase the risk of type-2 diabetes.

Try some yourself! I think you'll really enjoy this. And you won't find a better price than what we have right now with this limited supply. This price is only good while our inventory lasts:

Organic Mesquite Flour 16 oz. bag for just $9.95
Click here to order from the NaturalNews Store.


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