Whole Grains are GREAT

I was just watching Dr Oz's show this morning and on it he had "celebrity" health guru, Dr Andrew Weil.

In part of his Optimal Healthy Eating Dr Weil recommends whole and cracked grains as something people should eat often.

And, I couldn't agree more.... depending on the person.

What drives me nuts about our "Healthy American Food Pyramid" is that the definition of whole grains is whole wheat bread, pasta and crackers.


People! Those are NOT whole grains!

Whole grains are where you can actually see the whole grain itself; items like barley, buckwheat, oats, bulgur, brown rice, to name a few.

When's the last time you actually ate a whole grain?

In my house, I cooked my husband and I up some Whole Wheat Berry Kernels (pictured above). To do this, I soaked the grains for a few hours beforehand and then just cooked them on the stove like you would rice.

Wheat berries are the whole wheat kernel except for the hull. They look like a whole grain - fancy that!

We ate this dish with wild salmon and steamed whole green beans. Yum!

And, it was super easy to make - I just added some olive oil and sea salt to give it a different flavor and that was it! So good! The entire cooking time was probably about 35 minutes, which wasn't a big deal since I used that time to feed April and do other food prep.

As far as who should eat whole grains and who should not, there are some people that are intolerant to certain grains (like wheat) due to intestinal disorders (like celiac or crohn's). Then, there are some people that just don't tolerate any grain or starchy carbohydrate at all due to blood sugar control issues.

The nice thing about whole grains like wheat berries is that they do not raise blood sugars like other so-called "whole grains" such as bread or pasta because they are digested slower and are higher in fiber and naturally-occuring vitamins and minerals.

People don't have to eat grains every day, but if you do, ensure you're really eating whole grains. They're not hard to make and they're really satisfying. Try it out and realize how good they really are :)

Posted Nov 04, 2010 by Cassandra Forsythe.

Comments for This Entry

GravatarLauryn10:04AM on November 04, 2010

Had brown rice for dinner last night and steel cut oats for breakfast. The problem is that most Americans think that eating a whole wheat sub at Subway is going to fulfill their needs. There is a fear of the unknown when dealing with non-white rice, wheat berries, and bulgar, because they're not what most people grew up eating. The message is getting across, but the real answers are blurred.

GravatarCassandra10:36AM on November 04, 2010

Yes, you're right Lauryn - I don't know if my mother served me anything but white rice and potatoes as a kid. Not that we ate a ton of bad food, but it sure wasn't all whole grains.
Soon people will figure it out, but in the mean time, you and I will have to tell them how easy it is to eat a real whole grain :)

GravatarSue02:13AM on November 06, 2010

I think most people shouldn't be eating any grains. Have you read Robb Wolf's book - the Paleo Solution?

GravatarCassandra01:06PM on November 06, 2010

Hi Sue

Yes, I've read it and I don't agree with it. I function well on whole grains and so eat them. But, everyone is different and has different reactions to food. If grains are something that makes Rob Wolf's GI upset, then, it's good to stay away. Also, there is no research supporting increased inflammation from whole grains. But, thank you for your comment. It is appreciated :)

GravatarSue03:36PM on November 06, 2010

Thanks Cassandra. Are you saying that there is no research supporting increased inflammation from whole grains but for a high carbohydrate diet it may cause inflammation. You did that study with Volek where he stated that from the data carbohydrate is more implicated in inflammation rather than fat:

I suppose if you are very active and weight train grains would be good to include. Plus as you said you eating actually whole grains not what people think are whole grains. What do you think about the correct preparation of grains as per Weston Price Foundation?

GravatarCassandra10:20AM on November 07, 2010

Hi Sue

Our study on low-carb vs low-fat for people with Metabolic Syndrome was not comparing whole grains to no grains, it just looked at every type of carb versus no carb. If we did a study that looked specifically at whole grains versus processed whole grains (like quinoa vs whole grain bread vs no grains at all, that'd be a different story). Plus we studied people with a specific health condition and that were not tolerant of carbs. So, overall, we can't say grains increase inflammation or no grains decrease it, because that wasn't the study. Plus, the low fat diet with grains didn't increase inflammation anyhow, it's just that the low carb diet decreased it more.

I'm not sure what WP's stance on grain preparation is - can you send me a link? I make grains when I cook them by first soaking them, rinsing them several times, then boiling them on the stove. That's all I eat for grains when I do eat them, and I don't eat grains every day - just when I'm more active. If I'm less active, I don't.

GravatarTara03:19PM on November 07, 2010

I think it's all about what makes you feel good, and I don't mean that "a chocolate bar makes me feel happy" kind of good. I recently tried having a day without grains recently and felt AWFUL. So I reported back to my nutritionist and now I'm having 1/3 cup 3-4 times a day and I feel great, plus I'm still losing weight. It was a real eye-opener for me because I'm so used to reading everywhere that it's best to stay away from carbs. Now I'm just staying away from refined carbs.

GravatarCassandra07:52PM on November 07, 2010

Tara- Exactly :) You nailed it right on the head. We're all different and we all have different responses to foods and diets. What works for Jane won't necessarily work for Mary.

GravatarSue01:26AM on November 12, 2010

Cassandra, re the grains I was just talking about soaking them.
Have you seen this, it comes from the comments section of Denise Minger's blog (she is the lady who wrote that China Study review):

"If you’re interested in the wheat/disease/mortality links, Mark Hyman recently wrote a very good article on gluten:

From it:
“A recent large study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that people with diagnosed, undiagnosed, and “latent” celiac disease or gluten sensitivity had a higher risk of death, mostly from heart disease and cancer.
This study looked at almost 30,00 patients from 1969 to 2008 and examined deaths in three groups: Those with full-blown celiac disease, those with inflammation of their intestine but not full-blown celiac disease, and those with latent celiac disease or gluten sensitivity (elevated gluten antibodies but negative intestinal biopsy).
The findings were dramatic. There was a 39 percent increased risk of death in those with celiac disease, 72 percent increased risk in those with gut inflammation related to gluten, and 35 percent increased risk in those with gluten sensitivity but no celiac disease.
This is ground-breaking research that proves you don’t have to have full-blown celiac disease with a positive intestinal biopsy (which is what conventional thinking tells us) to have serious health problems and complications–even death–from eating gluten.”

Just thought it was interesting.

GravatarCassandra10:29AM on November 12, 2010

That is an interesting study Sue. But, for all the people that are not gluten sensitive and do not have any gut inflammation from eating gluten, is this still the case?

GravatarSue12:01AM on November 13, 2010

Cassandra, I don't think its still the case.

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