Grains – Let’s get Freekah, baby!

Grains

I might lose friends, but here goes.  I eat grains!  Yep, I said it…I eat grains.  I like them too!  I like the different tastes, aromas, and textures of all kinds of grains and I think they are good for me!  The key is I believe in choosing wisely when I eat grains.  I believe in whole grains, ancient grains and a variety of grains; not processed, stripped down, bleached leftover grains. I eat the real deal!  The difference goes beyond taste, it is about your health.

One of the most common grains is wheat, when you buy wheat, look for the word “whole grain”.  What’s whole grain? In a nut shell (well…kernel) a whole grain means nothing has been stripped away, it includes the bran, endosperm, and germ of the kernel. According to the Whole Grain Council a grain is only “whole grain” if the bran, endosperm, and germ are all present in the same proportions as when it was growing.  (click the link above to learn more.)   Make sure to read your labels to make sure you are getting whole grain.

Why does it matter?  When you remove parts of the kernel you remove part of the nutritional value as well as how it is digested.

Wheat is not the only whole grain out there, try experimenting and adding in grains like spelt, freekeh, bulgar, quinoa etc.  There are so many types of grains and each one has a different texture and flavor.  No need to stick to just one!

Here are some of the benefits of whole grains:

  • A good source of:
    • B vitamins
    • Iron
    • Magnesium
    • Selenium
    • fiber
  • When eating as part of a healthy lifestyle and diet they have been shown to reduce coronary heart disease
  • Helps with constipation
  • Helps promote good bacteria in the gut
  • May help reduce cholesterol
  • May help reduce blood pressure

Grains, like any other food source should be eaten in moderation and with a variety of other foods as part of a healthy lifestyle.

If you need to be gluten free, don’t give up, try these gluten Free Grains:

  • Amaranth
  • Corn
  • Buckwheat
  • Rice
  • Oats
  • Quinoa
  • Sorghum
  • Teff

Review:  Freekah Cowgirl Salad – The Live Fit Girls

Time: 30-40 minutes

Ease: Simple

Review: Freekeh is a low-fat, high protein grain with a slightly smokey and nutty taste. It is wheat that has been roasted and cracked while still young and green and it is pretty tasty!  Freekeh was a nice addition to this simple salad and works well as a substitution for cracked wheat or other whole grains.

This recipe was simple and tasty and would be a great dish to take to a covered dish this summer!  The dressing is light and tangy, but you may be able to use less.  Try adding a little at a time until it suits your taste and seems well dressed, but not overdressed.


Spelt Blueberry Muffin -Whole Foods Market

Time: 40 minutes (prep + cooking)

Ease: Simple

Review:  I like having a good muffin recipe to turn to, the kind you can just whip up on a whim, BAM!  This is the muffin.  This was as easy as using a box mix, but so much better for you.   Spelt is a species of wheat and has been cultivated for at least 5000 years, it is considered and “ancient grain”.  Spelt is also packed with nutrients and though it has gluten, it is often better tolerated.

There are a lot of blueberries in this recipe, which really brings out sweetness and provides a nice flavor.  If you aren’t used to spelt the texture is slightly different from flour, but close. Over all, I would say this was a very successful recipe and one I will make again, and probably again and again.

Note: If you are from the Greensboro, NC are you can purchase spelt at the Guilford Mill on HWY 68.  Whole foods is also a great choice and while there, check out the many different types of grains they carry.

 

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