Valerie BoeseDo you eat whole grains? Eating whole grains can be easy in theory, but actually doing it, can be a challenge with today’s meals. I have been looking and I do not see very much, if any, whole grains in our everyday American diet. I think most people really don’t know what whole grains are, let alone know how to cook them. You probably think of whole grains as whole wheat bread, raisin bran cereal, or oatmeal. While these are whole grains, there are many more types of whole grains.

Let’s define whole grains: Whole grains contain the germ, endosperm and the bran. Types include brown rice, millet, bulgur, quinoa, barley and many more. I think most people believe they need to eat whole grains for fiber, which is partly true, but whole grains offer so much more than fiber. Whole grains are good sources of the protein, vitamins and minerals that our body needs to be healthy. For example, 2 tablespoons of wheat germ has 10 minerals, with six being trace minerals, two times the daily requirement for Omega-3 fatty acid (which raises the good cholesterol in your body and removes the bad cholesterol), and two times the daily requirement of vitamin E, plus 3 grams of protein, wow, all of this in just in two tablespoons.

Whole grains

I figure we are not meant to be overweight; this isn’t rocket science, we plainly are not eating enough of the right types foods to give our body proper nutrition, so we are always hungry, eating more of the wrong types of foods that make us eat more of the wrong types of foods, a vicious circle that can lead to obesity, diabetes, etc. We really need to think about adding whole grains back in to our diet, eating foods that will provide nutrition that will satisfy our hunger.

I made the change; I decided to start adding a variety of whole grains into my everyday cooking. I started with ground flax, wheat germ, millet, barley and bulgur. I found I could add wheat germ to pancake batter, meatloaf, hamburgers and homemade breads. I have been adding millet, barley and bulgur to my broth-based soups. I found flax is easy to add to fruit smoothies and cooked oatmeal. There are many more whole grains that I am excited to try. Cooking with new grains is an adventure; they offer new flavors and textures, making meals for my family tastier and healthier. Buying whole grains today is easy; they are now readily available in most grocery stores, in the healthy food aisle.

Check out one of my latest whole grain recipe, Easy Whole Grain Focaccia. It was easy to make using my bread machine. I took my white flour recipe and substituted ground flax, wheat germ and white whole wheat flour. White whole wheat flour is a grain that has been milled using white wheat, which tastes similar to bleached white flour, except, it is way more nutritious.

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