Dear Mom: Thank you for serving buckwheat pancakes and steel cut oats for breakfast when I was a child. Thank you for never introducing me to white bread during the lunch hour. And lastly, thank you for making bulgar wheat instead of potatoes for dinner. As an adult, I crave these whole grains and am so grateful to have the confidence and know-how to cook these delicious healthy foods and share them with my friends and family. Love, Liz
- Reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke.
- Reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes.
- Helps you maintain your weight.
- Improves blood pressure levels.
- Decreases risk of colorectal cancer.
- Excellent source of nutrients including selenium, potassium and magnesium.
Beyond the myriad of health benefits, I eat whole grains because they are delicious. Before I go any further, I must make a note that I’m not referring to the processed products in the middle aisles of the grocery stores that are now touting “High Fiber” labels. In case you hadn’t noticed, the amount of foods claiming to be rich in fiber has nearly doubled in recent years. Sara Lee and Wonder Bread have both developed white breads containing all the fiber and nutrients you’d find in wheat bread. How is that possible? They add a single type of fiber into the bread during the processing stage.
But Liz, is added fiber as good for you as natural fiber? The benefit of eating foods naturally high in fiber (an apple, oats, beans, etc.) is that they contain multiple types of fiber as well as a boat load of nutrients. At the end of the day, I am always going to lean towards whole foods that come from the ground of have a mother. Despite the fact that you can probably buy high fiber Fruit Loops these days, the last time I checked, there isn’t a Fruit Loops tree growing in my back yard. I’ll stick with the steel cut oats, thank you.
To help you navigate towards whole grains (and away from “high fiber cookies”), here is a list of whole grains found in nature. My favorite brands found in most grocery stores are Bob’s Red Mill and Hodgson Mill. You can even buy packaged brownie or pancake mix made of 100% whole grains.
- oats (steel cut oats are the least processed, instant is the most processed – all are good)
- brown rice
- whole wheat (look for 100% whole wheat bread, not whole grain bread)
- wild rice
- bulgar wheat
- wheat berries
Last but not least, I must give a quick warning to always increase your water intake when you are increasing your fiber in take. If you are not used to consuming a large amount of fiber in your diet, your body will punch you if you do not properly hydrate. Water is your friend.
In a large bowl, combine cooked wheat berries with chopped veggies (red pepper, carrot and onion.)
Add in feta, mint and capers.
Dress with olive oil and balsamic and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve warm, room temperature or cold. Fabulous to take on the beach or a picnic.
Excellent source of Vitamins A and C.