Whole grains are super healthy and super fun! Why do I say that? Because it’s true! First of all, a recent long term study from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health indicates that eating more whole grains can lower cardiovascular disease related mortality by up to 15%. WOW! In other words, swapping up highly-processed refined carbs with whole grains is super healthy. Second of all, getting to know all the different varieties of whole grains and how to use them in new recipes is super fun. Every time I get a chance to learn about a new food, or better yet, try it in a recipe, it’s a good time! This is how you expand on your “culinary arts” skills without having to go to college. So let’s get to know our whole grains, how super healthy they are, and have some super fun!
The Whole Grains Council has a wonderful website to make learning about whole grains very easy. Click on the link to learn about whole grains, their benefits, and more – Whole Grains A to Z . Or you can click here and download the pdf file, which I obtained from their website.
Some whole grains that are “new to me” and I have experimented with are:
I buy this as a seed and grind it to use in recipes for smoothies and baking. I love it because it’s a complete protein, so if I’m having a Meatless Monday, I can add more of this to my diet that day. The seeds are super small and hard so I recommend grinding them, especially if you want to add them to your smoothies. You can buy amaranth flour instead of the seeds but I have never used the flour. [blockquote]“Amaranth has a high level of very complete protein; its protein contains lysine, an amino acid missing or negligible in many grains.”[/blockquote]
This is one of my all time favourite whole grains. I absolutely love the nutty flavour. It’s high in protein, fibre, and vitamin E. My favourite is to get it in the form of pasta. Kamut has replaced my old white spaghetti noodles, fo’ sho’! I also buy Kamut flakes and use them in baking, great for apple crisps, and homemade cereals. Kamut flour is also available but I have never used it. [blockquote]“Kamut® grain has higher levels of protein than common wheat, and more Vitamin E.”[/blockquote]
This whole grain is growing in popularity, and actually it’s not even a grain, it’s a seed, like amaranth. I’m pretty sure you have heard of it, or something like it, as it’s commonly mispronounced (took me months to get it right in my head). I use quinoa just like rice – in soups, stirfrys, baking, and the list goes on. It is a super fun easy versatile food that you can use in almost anything. You can even make quinoa chocolate chip cookies. What? Yup! (Click here for the recipe.) Quinoa flour and pasta is also available. I have used quinoa pasta but not the flour. [blockquote]“The abundant protein in quinoa is complete protein, which means that it contains all the essential amino acids our bodies can’t make on their own.”[/blockquote]
I have tried purple rice (also known as passion rice) and it is da bomb! Lovely texture and flavour. White rice is too refined and void of much nutrients. We need to look for varieties that are less refined and more nutritious. Seek out purple, black, red, and brown rice. You want the germ and the bran in tack. [blockquote]“Rice is one of the most easily-digested grains – one reason rice cereal is often recommended as a baby’s first solid. This makes rice ideal for those on a restricted diet or who are gluten-intolerant.”[/blockquote]
Oh yea baby, another one similar to Kamut that I love. I use spelt in place of oats and also in the form of pasta. You can also get spelt flour, which I have used. I use spelt flour in place of white flour as a 1:1 ratio and find it has a much better flavour than white or whole wheat flour. I make a homemade cereal and apple crisp with spelt flakes and homemade spaghetti with spelt noodles. [blockquote]“Spelt is higher in protein than common wheat. There are anecdotal reports that some people sensitive to wheat can tolerate spelt, but no reliable medical studies have addressed that issue.”[/blockquote]
Whole grains that I have not experimented with but I am super excited about trying are: bulgar, einkorn, farro, freekeh, kaniwa, sorgum, teff, and triticale. So cool, eh? Other healthy whole grains I have tried which are much more common are oats, barely, corn, wild rice, buckwheat, etc. All of these healthy whole grains have some thing fantastic to offer us. Start using more of these in place of those nasty highly-processed refined carbs and you may even see the scales go down. Not only do whole grains provide a lot of nutritious value to our diet, they also help us to stay fuller longer, provide an abundance of energy, and do not spike our blood sugars like refined carbs due. As you begin to eat more whole grains, you may even notice your food cravings disappear.
So have I made you excited about trying a new whole grain? Most of the whole grains listed in the A to Z directly you can buy locally. Pick one, read about it, investigate some recipes (or email me for ideas), and then go and experiment. Eating healthy can totally be super fun. You just have to open up your mind. Let me know what you decide to try. I’m excited to know.
Now, get off the computer and go play with your new food!