A Granular Look at the Most Healthy Grains

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Although grains have been in the human diet for about 10,000 years, for many of us, whole grains are a ‘new concept.’ With many cultures having gotten off the path from whole grains to very refined ones (think Wonder Bread, Twinkies, pastries, pretzels etc.), many people began to find themselves sick, overweight, and confused. Because a lot of us have been raised on fairly processed foods, it doesn’t feel ‘normal’ to eat whole, unprocessed grains. It feels like we’re ‘being healthy,’ often because we think we have to eat plain brown rice and hard, chewy bread forevermore in order to be healthy. This is absolutely incorrect and, in fact, whole grains can be very exciting! Simply unleashing a little creativity in that noggin of yours can have you creating delicious breakfasts, lunches, and dinners with whole grains involved. Here are a few delicious grains that have endless possibilities based on your preferences.

5 Whole Wheat

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Everyone knows about whole wheat. Its high in vitamins, minerals, and though it does contain gluten, those of us who are not gluten sensitive usually fair very well with it relative to white flour based products. Whole wheat kernels can be cooked and added to salads for a nice crunch, and sprouted whole wheat products can be found in almost any health section of any store these days. Sprouted whole wheat will help with digestibility and provide more nutrient than unsprouted.

4 Amaranth

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Amaranth, like millet and quinoa, is not a grain – it is actually a fruit. High in iron and fiber, it’s excellent for those who are anemic, pregnant, or constipated, and easy to integrate into the diet in place of other grains. Amaranth is excellent to add into baked goods, soups, as polenta, or simply plain with a dash of salt, tamari, or nama shoyu.

3 Quinoa

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Quinoa is fairly new in the American food system, and has come in with a big bang with appearances in national TV cooking shows, and even a Quinoa for Dummies Cookbook! Hailing from the highland of Peru, quinoa, like millet, is actually a seed-like grain that is alkalizing to the body. High in complete protein (unlike all other grains), it provides the body with plenty of vitamins and minerals that are needed for daily functioning. Use quinoa in place of rice for meals, and look for quinoa-based pastas for an excellent, healthy pasta dinner.

2 Millet

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Millet is a beautiful non-glutinous, high-calcium, grain like seed. Actually alkalizing, unlike grains, it is high in B-vitamins much like the grains, which means it helps the body convert energy in the body. Millet is easy to digest, provides serotonin (a mood boosting hormone), and doesn’t feed yeast in the intestinal tract, in fact feeding the good bacteria that fights yeast. Millet is easy to make, cooking in 15 to 20 minutes, and can be eaten in place of rice, in stir-fries, soups, with vegetables and for breakfast.

1 Brown Rice

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Brown rice is often seen as chewy and flavorless, perhaps because it is served plain alongside vegetables or sushi when asked for at restaurants, with no flavoring whatsoever. Brown rice can be part of an exotic meal, stir-fried with vegetables in tamari or nama shoyu (soy sauce), some sesame oil and a dash of rice wine vinegar. It can be eaten as breakfast, with a dash of almond milk, berries, and walnuts, or simply with a dash of salt and some gomasio, or crushed black sesame seeds. Incorporate brown rice into your diet in place of white rice, and soon you’ll find that white rice is now ‘boring’ and ‘tasteless.’

Integrating whole grains into our diets doesn’t have to be difficult, tedious, or unpleasant. Make changes slowly and experiment – varying the flavors and additions to the recipes will keep us having fun and enjoying healthy eating.

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