I was asked the other day what wholemeal flour is as I mentioned it in the bread recipe I posted last week. (Click here to go to the recipe.) Just in case you don’t know, here in the UK it’s wholemeal, while in the US it’s whole wheat.
This got me thinking about whole grains and how important they are to what we eat every day.
What’s so special about whole grains?
Whole grains are rich in fibre and other complex carbohydrates, as well as protein, B vitamins and zinc, that help protect us against many chronic diseases.
With wholemeal/whole wheat flour the whole grain of wheat including the bran, germ, and endosperm are ground or mashed together so keeping all the goodness in the flour.
With white flour, the grain has been refined and the bran and germ have been removed, and in the process most of the goodness.
It’s the same with white rice, white bread and white pasta. They’ve been refined in some way with their nutrients being stripped from them.
The Power Plate and Grains
The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) has developed the Power Plate. Ideally we should all be filling our plates with fruits, vegetables, legumes, and grains as they’re not only our best bet for disease prevention, they’re an easy way to reverse damage already done.
Whole grains are an essential part of the PowerPlate.
Ideally, every day we should be having five or more servings of whole grains including: whole meal/grain bread, farro, freekeh, rolled oats, barley – hulled and dehulled (not pearl), maize, brown rice, wholewheat pasta, spelt, rye, millet, quinoa, amaranth, sprouted grains and buckwheat.
The secret is to build each of our meals around a hearty grain dish. (To read more about getting started on your plant-based journey, click here.)
Here are my five tips on How to Easily Eat More Whole Grains Everyday…
1. Simple Switching
Instead of eating white bread for your lunchtime sandwich, or having a white roll with your soup, swap white for brown and eat 100% whole wheat bread.
2. Go 50:50
If you can’t make the switch to eating 100% whole grains, 100% of the time, then try going 50:50. Half white rice, half brown rice, half white pasta, half whole grain pasta. Gradually increase the whole part until you eat 100% whole grain.
3. Do you find cooking whole grains takes longer than you want?
Then why don’t you save time and cook double the quantity when you’re cooking bulgur wheat or barley? Freeze half, and eat half, so when you’re in a hurry you can quickly use the frozen portion later.
4. Secretly add them
Do you struggle to add whole grains to your meals? If you do, then why don’t you add some barley to your soups and stews, bulgur wheat to your stir fries and casseroles? How about adding quinoa to your green salad?
5. Start Each Day With Rolled Oats
I have porridge every day for breakfast, including in the summer time. If you don’t like the flavour of rolled oats, you can disguise it with chopped banana and crushed nuts, apple sauce and cinnamon or fruit compote to name but a few.
To finish up…
I’d recommend ignoring what the packaging says and read the nutrition label instead.
Just because it looks like a whole grain product doesn’t mean it is. Did you know that bread can be coloured brown using molasses or caramel colour? Some are called “multi-grain,” “stone-ground,” “100% wheat,” “cracked wheat,” “seven-grain,” or “bran” but they’re usually not 100% whole-grain products, and may not even contain a single whole grain.
Try and make sure that the ingredient list always starts with “whole wheat,” “brown rice,” “bulgur,” “buckwheat,” “oatmeal,” “whole-grain cornmeal,” “whole oats,” “whole rye,” or “wild rice” as this usually indicates that it’s the number one ingredient.
So there you have my five tips on How to Easily Eat More Whole Grains Everyday.
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