The Whole Grain. One of the healthiest, yet most misunderstood foods out there. Packed full of vitamins, nutrients, fiber, and antioxidants, whole grains are a simple, easy to use Superfood that helps support a balanced diet and have even been shown to reduce, and sometimes prevent, most major diseases.
With all these benefits, why is it that so many people haven’t, and in some cases choose not to, incorporate whole grain products into their daily diet? Before we can answer that question, we first must understand what is considered a Whole Grain.
What is a Whole Grain?
We’ve all seen the commercials, read the labels, or even seen the bold print on boxes and menu’s that says “Made with Whole Grain.” What exactly does that mean, and how do we know for sure if that statement is correct? The best way to know if something is made with whole grains is to understand what a whole grain is in the first place.
According to the Whole Grains Council, for a food product to qualify as a whole grain it must contain 100% of the original kernel. A whole grain kernel consists of three parts, the bran, germ, and endosperm. What does this mean, you ask? In simple terms, it means that the whole grain, whether baked or milled, contains all of the original ingredients found in the kernel. Most typical white flours are made in a process that extracts the bran, germ, middlings, and germ oil. Some flours on the market are then loaded with various chemicals, maturing agents, and synthetic vitamins. In short, by the time that loaf of sandwich bread arrives at your local grocer, 80-90% of the useful, natural vitamins and minerals that were originally in the whole grain it came from have been removed. Not only is that loaf lacking in all the health this Superfood once had, it’s actually picked up a few unhealthy chemical companions along the way.
Why do I Want Whole Grains?
With all these removed nutrients and added chemicals, it’s obvious to see why some people initially shy away from Whole Grains, but that’s a mistake. Whole Grains, in their natural, un-processed form are just too healthy and too beneficial to pass up. Remember, this is a Superfood, meaning that everything you’d need to sustain life is contained in these small kernels. On top of sustaining, whole grains can actually improve your way of life. Here are just a few things whole grains can do:
- Help prevent cancers, diabetes, heart disease, & stroke
- Boost metabolism, satisfy hunger, and prevent cravings
- Regulate blood sugar & sustain energy longer
- Improve digestion & aid in the elimination process
- Contain abundant antioxidants
Did you also know that many whole grains are naturally gluten free? Grains such as Buckwheat, Millet, Oat Groats, Quinoa, Teff, and Rice not only contain all the health benefits associated with most whole grains, but also are safe to consume for those intolerant to gluten or simply choosing to live a gluten free lifestyle.
How do I Incorporate Whole Grains in my Daily Diet?
Now that we know the many benefits of whole grains, the next obvious question is how to make them a part of our everyday diet. Doing so requires 3 essential tools of the trade, listed below.
A Grain Mill
Consider this the most important kitchen tool you’ll ever invest in. When it comes to incorporating whole grains into your everyday diet, a good, quality grain mill is your best friend in the kitchen. Why, you ask? Because when it comes to whole grains, 90% of the ways you’ll incorporate those grains into your diet will be in the form of fresh ground flour. Grinding your own flour at home, from grains you’ve selected, allows you to keep all the natural, life-saving nutrients of the grain, while not getting all the negative, extra chemicals found in some store bought flours. You know what’s in your food because you prepared and milled it yourself. In addition, grinding your own grains at home will save you thousands of dollars each year.
Here at Honeyville we offer two great grain mills, the Nutrimill Electric Grain Mill and the impressive KoMo Classic Grain Mill. Both are great tools for whole grain milling, with the KoMo Mill incorporating the ancient art of using mill stones to grind your grains to a fine flour.
Now that your whole grain has been milled, how do you best incorporate it into a baked bread, roll, or dessert? The BOSCH Universal Mixer is the best way to do this. With it’s high end look and 4-speed settings, this machine can mix, blend, beat, and knead your whole grains into delicious doughs, breads, pastries, and rolls, all within a matter of minutes. By far this is the best food mixer on the market.
Looking to do more with your whole grains than simply milling them? Did you know that most grains can be cooked whole? Pressure cooking has always been an easy way to create delicious, homemade meals in minutes. But, with the help of our Fagor 3 in 1 cooker, you can actually pressure cook most whole grains, locking in all the flavor and nutrients of the grain, within minutes! Chef Brad, America’s Grain Guy, actually created a delicious, Whole Grain salad, in minutes using our Fagor Pressure Cooker and a few, simple whole grains. Check out his recipe for Holiday Whole Grain Salad. Believe us, a pressure cooker is a delicious, easy way to incorporate more whole grains into your daily diet.
Whole grains are not something to shy away from. They’re definitely not something to be afraid of. Whole grains are the “staff of life” and, when used, prepared, and incorporated correctly, can make life better for both you and your family.