Ancient Grains

"Let food be thy medicine and let medicine be thy food"
 - Hippocrates

Mary's Gone Crackers is Conscious Eating. Our products are baked with the special nourishing powers of quinoa, amaranth, and millet grains, and chia, flax and sesame seeds—used by early civilizations thousands of years ago.

Ancient grains and seeds have retained their nutritional value and rich taste in part because they have been relatively untouched by modern plant science. In contrast, food engineers breed modern grains and seeds for high crop yields, pest resistance and improved tolerance for storage and handling—not for flavor or nutritional value.

Good Morning America Health "Ancient Grains" highlights Mary's Gone Crackers as a delicious source of ancient grains, such as millet, quinoa and amaranth.

Good Morning America Health “Magic of Chia” includes Mary’s Gone Crackers as an important source of the nutritious chia seed.


Called “the mother grain” by the Incas, the beautiful lush red and purple quinoa plant has been growing in the Andean region of South America for 5,000 years. Quinoa was so sacred to the Incas that each year the emperor broke the soil and planted the first seeds with a golden spade. Many believe that quinoa was the secret behind the Incas’ strong armies. Soldiers would eat “war balls”—a mix of quinoa and fats—to sustain them in battle. Because of its high nutritional value, today the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is considering using quinoa as a food staple on space missions.

Quinoa is a true superfood. It’s the only grain that contains a nearly perfect balance of all eight essential amino acids, including lysine, cystine and methionine, making it an unusually complete protein among plant foods. Quinoa is a notable complement to other grains (which are generally low in lysine), as well as beans (which are mostly deficient in cystine and methionine). Quinoa is an excellent source of dietary fiber and phosphorous and is high in magnesium and iron.


Cultivated for over 8,000 years, the fiery red, gold and purple amaranth plant was a staple grain for the Incas, Aztecs and other pre-Colombian civilizations. In fact, many native peoples were as likely to eat amaranth grains as they were to eat corn. The Aztecs upheld amaranth as a sacred crop, and used the grains to make ritual food and drink.

This ancient grain is high in vitamins and minerals. Each seed contains iron, calcium, potassium, zinc, copper, phosphorous, vitamin-E and vitamin-B5. Amaranth is also an excellent source of high-quality protein and fiber. Because of its high nutritional content, the National Academy of Sciences has recommended amaranth as one of the top 20 foods to be introduced into the American diet.


The ancient grain millet is one of the first grains cultivated by humans. Considered one of five sacred crops in ancient China, millet was planted by the Chinese even before they began farming rice. Today millet is a widely grown crop, feeding roughly one third of the world’s population, primarily in Asia and Africa.

Millet is an excellent source of fiber as well as B-complex vitamins including niacin, folacin, thiamin, and riboflavin. Millet has significant amounts of iron, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, potassium, calcium and zinc. This ancient grain is also high in the essential amino acids methionine, lecithin, and some vitamin E and is higher in protein than most modern grains.

Chia Seeds

The Aztecs, Mayans and other Indigenous Peoples used chia as a source of energy and nutrition. In fact, chia is the Mayan word for strength. Runners would carry the chia seeds in a little pouch, eating the seeds as they ran to give them energy for their long distance trips. Today the Tarahumara, a tribe living in the Copper Canyons of Mexico, are legendary for their ability to run long distances, which some attribute in part to a diet that includes chia seeds.

Chia is a miracle food. Chia seeds are extremely high in calcium, potassium, and iron. Chia is also the highest known plant source of omega-3 fatty acids.

Flax Seeds

For at least 5,000 years, humans have cultivated the beautiful delicately flowered purple flax plant. Babylonians harvested flax seed in the Mesopotamia as early as 3,000 B.C., though some believe planting of this seed began thousands of years earlier. In 650 B.C., Hippocrates, known as the father of modern medicine, wrote of the significance of flax seed as a healing remedy. And in 800 A.D. Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire Charlemagne, impressed with the culinary and medicinal properties of the seed, passed laws requiring its cultivation and consumption.

Flax seeds are one of the richest sources of omega-3 fatty acids in the world and are high in fiber. Flax seeds are also excellent sources of manganese, magnesium, copper, phosphorous, iron, thiamin, zinc, selenium, calcium, vitamin B6, and vitamin B3.

Sesame Seeds

This tiny, flat oval seed most likely originated in India, where its oil was considered sacred and used as part of Hindu traditions and prayers. For many Hindus the sesame seed itself was a symbol of immortality.

While records show that the sesame seed was cultivated as far back as 3,000 B.C., according to Assyrian myth, the origins of the sesame plant date back further. They believed that the gods drank sesame wine the night before creating the earth.

Sesame is a nutritional goldmine. This seed is rich in minerals such as manganese, copper, zinc and iron. Sesame is also an excellent source of calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, vitamin B1 and dietary fiber.

Enjoying ancient grains and seeds is Conscious Eating. That’s Mary’s Gone Crackers.