Originally posted on 09/01/2014 for Huffington Post
Happy Labor Day and welcome to Whole Grains Month and a big shout-out to the fab folks at the Whole Grains Council, a celebration of amaranth, barley, buckwheat, millet, oats, quinoa, rye, sorghum, spelt, teff, triticale and other whole grain wonders. They’re complex carbs for good energy, and offer a host of vitamins, minerals and nutrients refined wheat products lose in processing. Whole grains deliver:
–plant-based protein, that necessary nutrient people think vegans don’t get
— fiber to balance blood sugar, lower cholesterol and reduce risk of cardiovascular disease
— satiety, that delicious happy tummy feeling you get when you eat a bowl of wonderful — even if you’re gluten-sensitive .
They’re shelf-stable, and once cooked, they freeze well and don’t fall apart when you thaw them like white rice does. They’re cheap, nourishing and built to feed a crowd. From bubbly quinoa to chewy spelt, each whole grain has its own mouth feel and unique but mild flavor that welcomes all manner of flavorings and produce. What’s not to love?
I love the Whole Grains Council and the traditional nourishing whole foods of the world they advocate.
You don’t have to go old school like me, though. Go for an abundance of whole grain products including cereals, pastas, pilafs, breads, muffins and more.
— Chewy, satisfying udon (buckwheat) noodles instead of white flour ramen noodles.
— Quinoa instead of white rice — more protein and fiber, cooks faster, too.
— White whole wheat flour has the nutritional benefits of whole wheat flour but performs and tastes more like processed white flour.
Ellen Kanner is the award-winning author of Feeding the Hungry Ghost: Life, Faith and What to Eat for Dinner ( VegNews’ Book of the Year, PETA’s debut Book of the Month Club pick), Huffington Post’s Meatless Monday blogger, Miami Herald syndicated columnist the Edgy Veggie and soulful vegan writer and recipe developer for numerous publications.