Monday, January 31, 2011

Getting The Most Out Of Your Food: Part 3 (Why Use Whole Grains?)

Whole wheat bread flour (ground from hard red winter wheat) on left, whole wheat pastry flour (ground from soft white wheat)on right.

Why Use Whole Grains?
A wide variety of whole grains is important in your diet. Switching up your grains could help avoid food allergies. Not only do I use whole wheat bread flour, pastry flour and whole corn meal, once or twice a week I serve my Three-Grain Hot Cereal (made with steel cut oats, rolled barley and quinoa - the world's highest protein grain). My kids love it. I also used this same recipe, added a little water or milk and put it in the blender to make baby food. Just pour into ice cube trays, freeze, pop out and store in a ziplock bag. Add to any other fruit or veggie for a complete meal for baby. We also have granola at least once a week, made with rolled oats and lots of different nuts.

Refined grains: White flour, white rice, etc

Are refined grains healthier for you if they are "fortified"?
*Many times these will be labeled as fortified, but it is of little value. Fortified means they added a handful of synthetic vitamins and minerals after a bunch of essential factors have been removed or destroyed. Some of the vitamins added during this process may even be dangerous. Some researchers believe that excess iron from fortified flour can cause tissue damage and other studies link excess or toxic iron to heart disease.
*The safety of bleaching hasn’t ever been established.
*Anything puffed should be avoided – process of high heat and pressure to produce puffed wheat, oats and rice. Nutrients are destroyed in the process and are very difficult to digest.

What are the Benefits of Whole Grains?
*provide vitamins E and B and minerals in abundance.
*Fiber – indigestible cellulose plays and important role in digestion and elimination
*Best to soak first to get optimum nutritional benefits from the grains – helps neutralize enzyme inhibitors. (I rarely do this - just too busy, but even if you don't do this, using whole grains it is still way better than refined grains).
*For those who have wheat allergies, make sure you use whole grain alternative flours such as whole grain cornmeal.

Not all whole wheat flours are the same:
I really recommend you use two different whole wheat flours. I made a lot of mistakes when I first started cooking because I was using whole wheat bread flour in my baked goods. That is one reason I started my blog, so that other people wouldn't have to waste their money experimenting like I did. 

-Whole wheat bread flour (usually hard red winter wheat) – high in protein, good for breads, tortillas, etc
-Whole Wheat pastry flour (usually soft white wheat) – lower in protein, good for baked goods, cookies, cakes, etc.
 *Can see the difference in color in the above picture.

My next post will be specifically about different kinds of sugars, good and bad, and how I cook with the good. So continue to stay tuned!



Mary R. said...

I find products made from whole wheat to be difficult to digest. They lay like lead in my stomach, so I avoid them. What can be done in a case like that?

Cheesemakin' Mamma said...

Mary, I would avoid it and try different whole grains that are gluten-free, like whole corn flour, quinoa, etc.

RaD said...

I like reading these posts, even though I'm far from cooking like this. But we have switched to more whole grains in the past year or two and have walked away from a lot of white flours. Gotta a long ways to go before we're anywhere at your level, but it's still fun to read.

Mary R. said...

Thanks, never thought of that.

Camille said...

Great post Jackie! I am sure the information you share will be a blessing and an encouragement to many. :)

With Love,

Catherine said...

Great post, great education, Jackie!

Rachel and Family said...

It's great to see all this stuff in writing! You are so good at it you brain you!
I just look at food and teach the kids to ask is this real food or phony-faker food. We are also heading towards vegetarian since we have so much more produce available to us living here.
We still eat junk sometimes too, but we make it an event :)
PS I really need to try quinoa!

Jenn said...

Great post! Like others who have commented here. I have in the past years incorporated more whole grains, I'm still not to your caliber, but I'm slowing working on making changes here and there! :)

Deborah Ann said...

I have already made the switch from white bread to wheat, but I had no idea there was so much more to learn about whole grains! Thanks for the info...

His bondservant said...

Changing to whole wheat has made a huge difference in my health and the health of my family. Great post Jackie!

christy rose said...

Thanks for sharing these posts. I learned a lot reading them today!

smilinggreenmom said...

You site is so great! We are a green family and we LOVE our whole foods! I have really worked hard this past year or so at switching out processed foods (yuck) for whole foods and have found it to be wonderful! Our kids love eating whole grains like Kamut Wheat, quinoa and wild rice especially :) These are great tips and I think it is so important for our kids to appreciate and enjoy!!

Freckles and Frogs said...

Great as usual. I need to check that book out. I'm getting ready to teach my nutrition component in my lifetime health and fitness classes and I'm getting more and more specific questions about htese types of sugars. Thanks !


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