Jan 24, 2013

Grain of the Month Challenge

Join Us as we celebrate a new grain each month this year, to go along with the Whole Grain Council monthly topics.

 Each month I'll post on one grain and include nutritional info, photos, various forms of the grain and some recipes we use the grain in. Feel free to try them and other recipes and then send the ones you like to me and we can post yours too.

Here is some information on grains and their importance that is from www.gowiththegrain.com.

Most Americans recognize that grains are good for us, yet many remain uncertain about the health benefits they provide. The best approach to maintain a healthy diet? Variety.
There are eight common grains consumed in America: wheat, barley, oats, rice, corn, millet, rye and sorghum. These grains can be consumed as whole grains, but some can also be found in their enriched form.
Popcorn, whole grain couscous, cracked wheat and oatmeal are popular forms of whole grains found in the U.S. Pseudo-grains, including buckwheat, quinoa and wild rice are also accepted as whole grains.
When selecting grain foods consider the many types available and vary them in your diet. Eating a variety of grains not only ensures that you get more nutrients, but also helps make your meals and snacks more interesting.
All grains start life as whole grains.
In their natural state growing in the fields, whole grains are the entire seed of a plant. This seed is made up of three key parts: the bran, the germ and the endosperm.
What makes whole grains healthy?
Whole grains are composed of the entire kernel — the bran, germ and endosperm — and are an important source of antioxidants, fiber, B vitamins, vitamin E, magnesium, iron and numerous other vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. As part of a healthy diet, whole grains may reduce the risks associated with heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes and obesity.
Whole grains may be eaten whole, cracked, split or ground. They can be milled into flour or used to make breads, cereals and other 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 virtually the same proportions of bran, germ and endosperm as the harvested kernel does before it is processed.

Are All Whole Grains Good for You?
Short answer: No. 

Many People suffer from celiac disease--inflammation inside their digestive system--because of certain gluten-containing whole grains. After doing lots of researching on this topic, I have come to the conclusion that today's commercial grains typically sold are way different than those historically grown. Plus, many are for feeding livestock and are not organic, but have been genetically modified.

Our society has changed the structure of wheat, to the point that many have a difficult time digesting it. Not all whole grains are created equal. We need to be careful when consuming whole grains, especially since our society is laden with misinformation. So be wise and pay attention to the whole grains you eat. Shoot for organic, not genetically modified, and heirloom varieties. Some may want to soak their grains to break down the phytic acid which makes them hard to digest. Or, some may want to only do gluten-free grains. 

I personally don't even use wheat anymore, but there are older versions (kamut, spelt) that I prefer. I also try to stick to many gluten-free varieties (quinoa, millet, etc.; not wheat, barley, rye, etc.) so as to avoid potential problems. But the most important things are to be informed and to do what is best for you. 

Here is the Whole Grains challenge...it can help you know where to start in trying new grains. 

Will you take the challenge with us?
You can search our blog recipes for each grain by typing in the search box, or search my recipe boards on pinterest (for lots of untried recipes just waiting to be explored--but if you do this, please comment on the pins so i get feedback and can add the recipes to this blog as posts), or you can search the web for other recipes. Whatever floats your boat!

Check back each month for the new grain adventure!
Click on the month below for each new post (or find them in the right-hand column under the grains link, though you'll have to scroll through them). The new month's link will be added each month below:

January - Oats
February - Barley
March - Quinoa
April - Sprouted Grains
May - Amaranth
June - Sorghum
July - Wheat (spelt/kamut)
August - Rye & Triticale
September - Rice & Wild Rice
October - Corn
November - Millet & Teff
December - Buckwheat

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