Monday, March 16, 2009

It was terribly disappointing for me to see an article in a recent magazine - one that is devoted to food no less - do a whole grain article that was almost devoid of whole grain. I'd love to give them the skinny on what the difference is. They are saying their pizza crust or pasta dish are just as good as the brown rice, millet or quinoa. Sorry foodies - that's false. Once those delicious wheat berries (or brown rice, etc.) are crushed up into flour they lose most of their nutrients quite quickly and then the oxidizing flour also becomes rancid fairly rapidly as well. Whole grains are full of water and nutrients that bodies can absorb. Flour products, especially hard dry ones, can rob you of invaluable fluids, while the body tries to utilize what you have just eaten.

Do you get tired after you eat? Probably compromised digestion. Your body is working diligently on that food so it doesn't have as much energy for you. Whole grains can build you up and give you more energy instead of draining it. Not to mention all the incredible nutrition in whole grains where the germ and bran are still intact. Protein, b-vitamins, phosphorus, calcium, iron, etc. are all inside of these tiny seeds. Quinoa and amaranth are so nutritious that they have been dubbed super foods and are especially good for athletes and pregnancy.

If you grew up opening boxes of cereal or bags of bread, you might be wondering what do people do with all of the various whole grain options? While some grain products are still a fun part of many a meal and you can buy or make some good quality bread products, pastries, cereals and pasta. Those are only a fraction of what makes up a healthy daily diet. They are more like condiments and the main stage is the whole grain, vegetable and protein based meal. Millet can be fun used like polenta or cooled in a pan and then cut into wedges or squares it's fun to top with all sorts of things from pate to taco salad. Salads are one great way to toss in some whole grains. They work both warm and cold. Many a country has some sort of stew type of dish over brown rice or barley or what ever they grow in their region. Adding a little herb or spice to just cooked rice gives it a gourmet flare in less than a minute. Mint and peas and parsley, garlic and lemon, cinnamon and carrot just to name a few. Play and experiment to see what you like. Roll up some brown rice sushi rolls or make a Thai curry. You'll start seeing your energy soar and your waistline be slender....

Remember you only get those whole grain goodies from real whole grain!!!
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Anonymous said...

Could you clear up the confusion between hulled/unhulled grains? For instance, are buckwheat groats considered a whole grain? What about hulled millet?

Susan Marque said...

Most whole grains are seeds like brown rice that have a hard outside hull that holds the seed. That part is removed so we can enjoy the seed much like cracking the hard white shell on a pumpkin seed to eat the green inner "fruit". We consider that inner part whole when it has all of its layers intact. A grain of brown rice has three distinct layers. The bran, the germ and the starch. The inner starch is white rice and contains barley any of the nutrients that you will get from the germ and the bran. Eating the whole seed is superior to the parts.

Some hulled grains are really seeds that only have one layer such as Jobs tears barley as opposed to pearled barley which is more like the white rice described above. I believe buckwheat groats are just hulled buckwheat and are gluten free, high in lysine and take longer to digest so you feel full longer from eating them. I would say skip the buckwheat those if you have skin sensitivity for they can sometimes make skin conditions worse.