The Magic of Whole Grains.

During the 80’s and 90’s, America was all about “low fat” higher carbohydrate diets. People were buying low fat and fat free cookies, candy, and white bread like somehow these foods would magically help them lose weight and turn them into health machines.  As we know, this didn’t happen.  Americans continued to gain weight and experience levels of heart disease, diabetes and cancer at higher levels than ever before.  Then Dr. Atkins swooped in and put people on diets that contained almost no carbohydrates and focused on animal proteins and fats.  People lost weight but weren’t healthy and disease continued to sky rocket.

Here’s the thing, we need all three macro-nutrients to function optimally.  Different people need different amounts of carbohydrates, protein and fat depending on their individual make up as well as their lifestyle.  For myself, I find that I am strongest, leanest, and happiest when I’m eating a diet very high in unprocessed carbohydrates– like close to 80 percent.  The difference between the way I eat and the low-fat dieters of the 80’s and 90’s is that I’m eating whole foods.  Red Vines, no matter how “fat free” and delicious they are, will make you sick if you eat very many of them.  Food companies are on to this as well.  General- Mills is no dummy.  They have listed on their cereal boxes “Whole Grains!” Sorry GM, Lucky Charms are NOT whole grains.

Whole grains are high in fiber as well as a essential enzymes, iron, Vitamin E and B-Complex.  They have been an essential part of traditional diets for thousands and thousands of years.  They are also delicious and warming and there are some great choices for those with gluten sensitivities!

Why do some modern diets say we should avoid whole grains?

Whole grains contain phytic acid.  Phytic acid is an anti-nutrient.  It binds to nutrients and prohibits proper absorption of iron, zinc, and calcium.

But here’s the deal:

Phytic acid can be removed from your grains by simply soaking and rinsing your grains before cooking them!  You can also cook them with a small piece of seaweed to add zinc back in!  It’s that simple, guys!  Not all grains need to be soaked. Below I have listed some of my favorite grains, if they need to be soaked, and how much water to use.  Soaking literally just means soaking them in water for 2-8 hours.  Drain and rinse them in a fine mesh strainer and then add the amount of water needed for cooking.  Bring to a boil and then let simmer until all the water is absorbed.

Gluten Free Grains:

Brown Rice, Soak, 1:2 Ratio Grain to Water

Amaranth, Soak , 1:3 Ratio

Buckwheat, soak, 1:1 Ratio

Whole Oats, soaking not necessary but overnight oats are da’bomb, 1:3

Rolled Oats, soaking not necessary, 1:2

Millet, Soak, 1:3

Wild Rice, Soak, 1:4

Quinoa, Soaking not necessary but since them to remove natural pesticide, 1:2

There you have it!  Eat your whole grains, but soak them first!

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