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Monday, April 1, 2013

Sample Whole Grains + a "Whole Grain Toast"

This coming Wednesday (April 3rd) is Whole Grain Sampling Day.  If you hang out with me in places like Instagram, Twitter, and/or Facebook, you've probably noticed that I've been sampling all sorts of whole grain foods lately.  We eat our fair share of whole grains in this house - some of my favorites being farro, wheat berries, brown rice, and steel cut oats.  I love the extra texture whole grains add to a dish (mmmm...chewy) and the nutty flavor of them, as well.

And while that chewiness and nuttiness are important, there are so many other great reasons to add more whole grains to your diet.  Whole grains are grains in which the bran and the germ are kept intact (they are removed when the grain is refined), keeping the beneficial fiber and B vitamins found in the bran and the antioxidants found in the germ.

A couple of fun facts about whole grains*:
  • White whole wheat flour is made from an albino strain of wheat, and has all the nutrition of traditional whole wheat flour - but with a lighter color and milder flavor.
  • Sprouting grains increases many of their key nutrients, including B vitamins, vitamin C, folate, and fiber.
  • Refining wheat removed half or more of a wide range of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients - including 78% of its fiber.
  • Eating an average of 2.5 servings of whole grain foods each day can lower your risk of cardiovascular disease by almost one-quarter.
  • Adding whole grains to your diet can significantly lower your risk of chronic diseases and illnesses such as stroke, diabetes, heart disease, inflammatory diseases, high blood pressure, and some cancers.  Switching to whole grains also helps with weight control.  Shoot for 3 servings a day for best health results.
Maybe you want to eat more whole grains, but just aren't sure where to start or what to look for.  While it seems like it should be obvious, it really isn't always that way.  The Whole Grains Council is helping to change that by putting their "stamp" on products that contain whole grains.  Each stamp will note the amount of whole grains in one serving.  But since not all products are labeled, and to help you get more familiar with whole grains, here is a list of some to look for in whole, rolled, or flour form.

whole grains:
  • Hulled Barley
  • Brown (and colored) Rice (gluten-free)
  • Buckwheat (gluten-free)
  • Whole Corn (popcorn included) (gluten-free)
  • Whole Rye
  • Whole Wheat
  • Wild Rice (gluten-free)
  • Amaranth (gluten-free)
  • Millet (gluten-free)
  • Quinoa (gluten-free)
  • Sorghum (gluten-free)
  • Triticale
  • Teff (gluten-free)
  • Oats (gluten-free)
All the pictures in this post are the ones I've shared via Instagram in my quest to try adding more whole grains to my lifestyle.  And you know what?  It wasn't hard.  If you pay attention, you can find whole grains to add to every meal and every snack of your day.  From cereal to bread to chips to crackers to side dishes and desserts - integrating whole grains is simple!  Were you wondering what exactly I've been munching on these past couple of weeks?  Well...

What was in my Whole Grains Sampling box:
  • Whole Grain Sampling Day t-shirt
  • Among Friends Baking Mix - Gluten-Free Molasses Cookie Mix
  • Barbara's Bakery - Shredded Oats Cereal
  • Bob's Red Mill - Gluten Free Muesli
  • Carl Brandt - Mestemacher Sunflower Seed Bread
  • Dr. Kracker - Engine 2 Crispbreads (5-seed)
  • Freekehlicious - Whole Grain Freekeh
  • Frontier Soups - Montana High Plains Wheat Berry Chili
  • Goose Valley Natural Products - Brown & Wild Rice Fusion
  • HomeFree Treats - Double Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • Jovial Foods - Einkorn and Brown Rice Pastas
  • Nabisco - Classic Wheat Thins and Black Pepper Brown Rice Triscuits
  • Pamela's Products - Gluten-Free Oatmeal Cookie Mix
  • Real McCoy's Snax - Gluten-Free Sea Salt and Sweet & Spicy Brown Rice Chips
  • Tasty Bites - Garlic Brown Rice
  • Upfront Foods - Straight Up Nutty Granola
  • Way Better Snacks - Sprouted Tortilla Chips
  • Fabe's All Natural Bakery Oatmeal Raisin Cookie