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Whole Grains to Explore With Me

Debra Redalia

 

One of the things I plan to do on this blog is explore all the whole grains. For each whole grain I want to

  • find out if and how it is available
  • how to prepare it (cook, sprout, pop, etc)
  • the nutritional benefits
  • the characteristics and what I can do with it

About fifteen years ago I did a similar research project on natural sweeteners in a blog called Sweet Savvy. My only objective at that time was simply to understand and document how to use the new unrefined and natural sweeteners that were coming on the market at that time. I learned a lot and now those natural sweeteners are much more widely used.

I’m looking forward to exploring how we can use whole grains in their whole form (such as cooked brown rice instead of brown rice flour, or whole wheat berries instead of whole wheat bread. [See Why We Need to Eat Whole Food That is Really Whole to learn why]

Much of this research has already been done by a great website called Oldways Whole Grains Council.
 

 
Here is their list of whole grains I will be exploring in this blog:

  • Amaranth
  • Barley
  • Buckwheat
  • Corn, including whole cornmeal and popcorn
  • Millet
  • Oats, including oatmeal
  • Quinoa
  • Rice, both brown rice and colored rice
  • Rye
  • Sorghum (also called milo)
  • Teff
  • Triticale
  • Wheat, including varieties such as spelt, emmer, farro, einkorn, Kamut®, durum and forms such as bulgur, cracked wheat and wheatberries
  • Wild rice

When you click on the link given above, you can click through to a whole page that gives general information, history, nutrition information, and a few recipes. But their recipes often contiain other ingredients that are not whole, taking the approach of “adding whole grains to the standard American diet” rather than looking to create dishes that use whole grains and other wholefoods.

I see my contribution to whole grains as exploring their uses in their whole form and really pushing the envelope on how these grains can be turned into foods we love to eat.

Another good page on their website to become familiar with the different whole grains is their Whole Grains A-Z , which gives a brief description for each grain in alphabetical order.

DEFINITION OF “WHOLE GRAIN”

Oldways Whole Grain Council has a great page at What Is a Whole Grain? that gives a good explanation of “whole grain.” They show a drawing of a whole grain with all it’s parts, and tells what is removed in processing.

But then they say

Whole grains may be eaten whole, cracked, split or ground. They can be milled into flour or used to make breads, cereals and other processed foods. If a food label states that the package contains whole grain, the “whole grain” part of the food inside the package is required to have the same proportions of bran, germ, and endosperm as the harvested kernel does before it is processed.

 
Note part of their definition is, “They can be milled into flour or used to make breads, cereals and other processed foods.” They consider whole grains milled into flour to still be “whole” because the flour contains the brand the germ, and the endosperm that define “whole grain.” But they don’t take into consideration that flour is not in the “whole” form of the grain as it appears in nature. [Again see Why We Need to Eat Whole Food That is Really Whole to learn why this is important]

WHOLE GRAINS STAMP

This organization has a Whole Grains Stamp that manufacturers can place on their products to indicate the product contains at least half a serving of whole grains.

But again, most of these products are industrial food products made from processed whole grains.

OTHER RESOURCES

This really is such a great resource because it gives so much information about whole grains.

Their Sprouted Whole Grains page tells all about sprouted grains and how to sprout grains yourself.

Their Mail Order Grain Sources gives a complete list of where you can purchase all the whole grains—in their whole form—online.

Their Cooking Whole Grains page gives complete cooking instructions for all the grains.

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