Whole Grains

Learn to Love Whole Grains and Don’t Trust Anything White

Noodles. Saltines. Pretzels.  Refined grains are junk food.  They have calories and little more.  Don’t eat them or at least when you do eat them, acknowledge to yourself that you are eating junk food.  That sounds harsh I know.   But I think it is the kind of tough love most of us need.  It will push you include whole grains whenever you can and shun the refined.

What are whole grains and why should you eat them?  A grain is a seed and the whole grain contains all 3 parts–the bran, the germ and the endosperm. The USDA recommends that we eat 3 servings or more of whole grains every day.  Whole grains provide fiber and nutrients. Study after study shows people who eat whole grains are thinner, healthier and live longer.

What are refined grains and why should we avoid them?  A refined grain is any grain–wheat, corn, rice, barley,  etc–that has had the wheat and the germ removed, leaving just the endosperm. Anything made from white flour or enriched flour is a refined grain.  “Enriched” means vitamins, which were removed with the bran and the germ, are added in again.

If you make more rustic unfussy sorts of baked-goods (not fancy cakes or cresants for example) it is relatively easy to make the switch. Simply substitute WHOLE WHEAT PASTRY FLOUR for enriched white flour, but it must be pastry flour. Try it.  Take your favorite cookie recipe for example and substitue whole wheat pastry flour.  No one in your family will even notice.

So if you’re going to take the time make homemade sweet treats, make them a bit healthier by using whole wheat flour.  Don’t delude yourself into thinking that just because it is a whole grain food made from scratch and with love, you can eat as many as you’d like. Don’t you remember the stick of butter you added and those 2 cups of sugar?  I once or twice became fat operating under that delusion quietly eating batches of whole wheat oatmeal chocolate chip cookies alone in the privacy of my pantry after the kiddies were tucked in bed.  A whole grain, whole food is not necessarily a low-calorie food.

By the way I do love fancy cakes and cresants.  I just don’t make them.  I buy them from a talented pastry chef who owns a bakery very near to here.  Just one more way I try my best to contribute to the local economy!

4 thoughts on “Whole Grains

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  3. I need further discussion with you on the use of WW pastry flour. I tried one muffin recipe that was perfect. Another muffin was a flop. Pancakes were a no too. Are there guidelines for which recipes work best? I like to bake (and eat) please advise 🙂

  4. Wheat flour has less gluten and produces a denser product generally. However, the less fussy the recipe with more bits of stuff in it like oats, chips, chopped nuts, etc. the more likely it will work and no-one will be the wiser. Fussy recipes like a rolled out sugar cookie will probably neither taste nor look right. You could try substituting incrementally. Start with only substituting 1/3 of the white flour for whole wheat and work up to 50:50. You might also try sifting it a bit more to fluff it up. White Whole Wheat Flour also works nicely as a substitute for all-purpose flour. I’ve only seen King Arthur brand carry this but I bet bulk places like Whole Foods has it too.

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