Food of the Month~ Whole Grains

This months, ‘Food of the Month’, is a group of essential foods called, “whole grains”. There has been a lot of commercialization of whole grains, and it has caused confusion about exactly what is and is not an actual whole grain. Whole grains are foods that have been eaten for tens of thousands of years. No matter where you are from, it is what all our ancient ancestors ate as a main source of food.

They are the seeds of plants that the main source of nutrition comes from– the outer shell of the grain, the bran and germ. These whole grains are what gives the body energy. When eaten, they release glucose very slowly into the body. This gives you long, sustainable energy to last all day. Very high in fiber, also high in B vitamins, whole grains have also been studied for their anti cancer properties.

The human body is designed to eat and assimilate whole grains. In your mouth you have 32 teeth; 4 canine, 8 incisors and 20 molars. These molars are the majority of the teeth. Designed to grind whole grains, this indicates the majority of your food should consist of them.

There are three main sources of nutrition for the human body: carbohydrates, protein and fats. Only two of these gives you energy, carbohydrates and fat. The carbs need to be in their whole form or whole grains. Take the bran and germ away,
which is all the nutritional value, and what you have left is simple carbohydrates. These simple carbs is what the majority of people are eating in our modern culture.

The confusion as to what an actual whole grain is has become a dangerous trend of cutting out carbs from our diet. We cannot cut out the complex carbs. To have a balanced diet and live a pain free, disease free life you have to eat all three important nutrients: carbs, protein and fat.

Whole grains are not an ingredient in a box cereal, crackers or a loaf of bread. They come in the bulk section of health food stores. They look like little seeds. To consume them in their whole form you will have to pot boil them. Flour made from whole grains can be a healthy part of your diet, but they are not whole grains. Once you grind the grains, they react differently in your digestive system. Here is a list of whole grains: brown rice, quinoa, millet, amaranth,
kasha or buckwheat, whole wheat, spelt, oats, faro, corn, barley and rye.

This recipe features kasha or buckwheat. It is the signature grain for winter. Known for feeding and nurturing the kidneys and bladder, kasha imparts warmth into your body, which is why it is great for our cold winter season.

Spicy Kasha and Portabella Mushrooms
1 onion (thin half moons)
1 (6 oz.) package portabella mushrooms slices
toasted sesame oil, tamari
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. curry
1 1/2 cups kasha
3 cups water
4 cups sweet potato (peeled and cut into small cubes)
2 cups cabbage (diced)
1/4 cup minced greens (kale, collards)
1 T. tamari
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. curry

In a large pot, sauté the onions in a little toasted sesame oil and tamari. Once they are translucent, push onions to the side, and add the mushrooms. Season with a dash of tamari, 1/2 tsp. paprika, 1/2 tsp. cumin, 1/4 tsp. curry and
sauté until soft. Remove from pot and set aside. Add the water and bring to a boil. Add the kasha. Layer the sweet potato and cabbage on top.
Do not stir. Reduce to a simmer, put lid on, and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the mushrooms and onions back to the pot, on top of the vegetables. Do not stir. Keep simmering for another 10 minutes. When all water has been absorbed, add the minced green, tamari, sea salt and rest of the spices. Mix all together and serve warm.

Val Wilson

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About the writer: Valerie Wilson

Valerie Wilson is a chef, author, counselor, and host of "Healthy Cooking with Macro Val" on BMSRadio. She teaches macrobiotic, vegan cooking classes in Westland, Mi.

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