Thursday, February 1, 2018

(Whole) Grains: BMI = 29.3

If you don’t have celiac or some other condition that makes eating certain grains harmful, then don’t cut back on grain products. Grains, particularly whole grains, are an important part of a healthy diet. The Canada Food Guide recommends several servings of grains per day and advises that at least half of those servings should be whole grain.

Whole grains provide a lot of fiber, which regulates digestion, so you feel full longer. What are the other benefits of whole grains? Well, they aid in digestion, can lower cholesterol, can lower blood pressure, reduce belly fat, help to regulate blood sugar, provide a variety of micro-nutrients, may reduce inflammation, might reduce risk of cancer, and may even protect your teeth and gums. Whole grains might just be a real miracle food.

I start each day with 2 servings of whole grains. Forget those breakfast bars and muffins – they are nothing more than cookies and cake. If you want to start your day feeling energized and control your appetite throughout the day, then start with whole grains. Skipping breakfast only leads to reaching for unhealthy snacks and often late-night binging because you’ve spent the day starving yourself. By starting with a solid breakfast, my snack cravings are greatly reduced, and by the end of the day I’m not hungry at all. That all leads to me sleeping better and waking up feeling well rested and ready to cook another great breakfast.

There are more choices for whole grain breads than ever before. I try to find breads that have very little or no added sugar. Check the grams of sugar per slice and try to choose a bread with the least sugar on the nutritional label. I’ll post more about sugar later, but, essentially, I view it as the opposite of whole grain and more befitting The Inverted Diet than a healthy diet.

Ryvita crispbread is a great source for low-salt, no-added-sugar, whole grains. Slice a little ripe avocado and/or tomato on them for a delicious and nutritious snack. Sometimes I break them up to make croutons for a salad. On a side-note, I’ve never met another person who eats these things, so I have no idea why my grocery store still stocks them.

Barley and wild rice take a long time to cook but I start them in a pot and then leave them in my countertop steamer while I watch Netflix. It takes a little longer for dinner to be ready, but the results are worth the wait. For barley, I go for hulled barley rather than pot or pearl barley. Hulled barley is whole grain barley, pot barley has some of the bran removed, and pearl barley has all the bran removed. If you can’t find hulled barley at your grocery store, then don’t be afraid to check out a health food store. You might encounter some vegans, but they won’t bight unless they mistake you for a carrot.

A hearty barley stew can fill you up, provide great nutrition, and taste fantastic. I posted a simple recipe here, but a bay leaf and some fresh thyme can knock a barley stew out of the park. Eat your whole grains!

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