Sunday, May 10, 2009

Whole Grains Made Easy


In our fast-paced lives, eating properly often goes by the wayside. We're content to grab something quick at a fast food place and get on with our day. But in doing so we are quickly becoming a society of unhealthy and overweight individuals.

So how do we change this? The answer is simple: whole grains.

You may be thinking . . . "fine, I'll have a slice of whole wheat toast for breakfast." But even though that is better than a doughnut or McBreakfast, it still isn't enough. Just because your bread says it's whole wheat doesn't mean it's whole grain. Whole grains have all three parts of the grain present—bran, germ and endosperm. It's in these "terrific triples" that the magic lies.

Whole grains taken daily (three servings) reduce the risk of strokes, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease, as well as helping regulate weight maintenance. And if that's not enough to convince you, this wonder food also reduces the risk of asthma, results in healthier blood pressure levels, and can even fight gum disease and tooth loss. Whole grains are also a good source of vitamins B and E and contain magnesium, iron, fiber, and antioxidants.

So how can you squeeze whole grain into your busy lifestyle and (this is the really important one) have it taste good?

Bob's Red Mill has done it for you. This company has been in business for 25 years and has over 400 products. Bob's Red Mill is the "nation's leader in stone milling and offers the widest diversity of whole grains found anywhere." They have everything from a full line of baking aids and flours to low-carb and gluten-free products made with 100% organic ingredients and conventional.

Still not sure how to incorporate whole grains into your diet? Bob's Red Mill has many prepackaged mixes from "10-Grain Bread Mix" and "10-Grain Pancake Mix" to "Whole Grain Chocolate Cake Mix." That's right! Who says chocolate cake can't be healthy?

To get you started on the road to whole grains, here's a quick, easy breakfast idea that's sure to set your tastebuds "a-singing" and kick your energy levels into high gear:

Teff Porridge with Dates and Honey
contributed by Lorna Sass

This recipe was developed especially for Bob's Red Mill by renowned whole grain specialist, Lorna Sass, author of Whole Grains Every Day Every Way.

Ingredients:
1 cup Teff Whole Grain
1 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 tsp ground cloves
3/4 cup pitted dates (halved crosswise) or Date Pieces (Oat-Covered)
1/4 tsp sea salt
3–4 Tbsp honey
1/2 cup Walnut Baker's Pieces
Milk or cream for serving (optional)

Set a heavy, 2-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the Teff and toast it, stirring frequently for 3 to 6 minutes until the grains emit a mild, toasted aroma and begin to pop. (You will notice little white dots of popped grain but may not hear the popping.) Turn off the heat and stand back to avoid the sputtering. Add 3 cups of boiling water, the butter, and the cloves. Stir well. Turn the heat to medium, cover, and cook at a gentle boil for 10 minutes. Stir from time to time to prevent the grains from sticking to the bottom. Mash any lumps against the side of the pan..Stir in the dates, salt, and honey to taste. Cover and continue cooking until the grains are tender and one color throughout. Serve immediately.

You can also use these healthier choice products in place of ordinary flour, but check for recipe guidelines.

To find out more about Bob's Red Mill, their products, and their recipe guides, check out their website at http://bobsredmill.com/.

Until next time . . . have a healthy week! :)
Sandie Lee

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