Whole Foods, Whole Grains
When food is refined, part of it is removed - in other words it's no longer in its natural state. For example, when you remove the outer bran layers from brown rice, you get white rice. It is these layers that are filled with the most valuable nutrients: B vitamins, iron, amino acids, fiber and vitamin E.

Sometimes companies will add nutrients back into a food after refining it. However, these additives are not only synthetic, they are not found in natural food. Nutrients work together in a delicate system of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, and it is thrown off balance when one component is removed. This ultimately, can effect how much you will get out of eating it.

Whole grains digest more slowly than their refined counterparts, which means they keep you fuller longer and they are more nutritious! For quick tips on eating, cooking, and using whole grains, continue reading...

How to Eat Them

  • Explore. You’re probably most familiar with brown rice, buckwheat, oatmeal and quinoa. But there are some less common options that are equally nutritions and delicious such as amaranth, barley, bulgur, cornmeal, kamut, millet, rye berries, wheat berries, spelt, and wild rice. A note for those who can’t tolerate gluten, the following grains from that list are not gluten-free: barley, bulgur, kamut, rye berries, wheat berries, spelt. Oats should be certified gluten-free as they’re often processed in the same facilities as wheat.
  • Combine. Try mixing grains together for added nutrition and to keep things interesting. For example, my mother recently told me she’s been adding quinoa to her oatmeal in the morning for a little extra protein (fun fact: quinoa has all of the essential amino acids to make it a complete protein).
  • Cook Extra. Cooking whole grains can often be time consuming. Doubling the amount you make and keeping the leftovers will save you a ton of time. You can even use the leftovers for breakfast the next morning! Keep them in the fridge for up to 4 days, or the freezer for a few months.
  • Use Them In… salads, soups, stews and baked goods.
  • Build-a-Bowl. Use whole grains as a base to build a truly delicious and nutritious meal. Read more about how to do this here.

One Week Challenge

  • Eat whole grains every day.
  • Try one type you’ve never had before.
  • Continue to eat greens every day.
  • Be sure to drink plenty of water! The daily recommendation is half your body weight in ounces.

Enjoy!

Joanna McCracken is a health coach, writer, recipe developer, and 500-hour certified yoga teacher. Her goal is to educate and assist people throughout their unique journey to better health, and to make that journey fun and delicious!

Visit Joanna’s blog, Pepper My Salt, or follow her on Facebook.