Often an entire month is needed to plan, prepare and celebrate an event happening. Like a vacation; the weeks rolling up to it are filled with excitement and anticipation, the vacation itself is fantastic then you come home and bask in vacation glory. Until your tan fades and it’s time to move on to the next exciting affair. Lucky for us in Cleveland and across the nation, September happens to be Whole Grains Month! An entire month to learn, share and enjoy whole grains, a complex carbohydrate with amazing health benefits.
I’m setting out a challenge to all my readers this month. As this is just the second day of Whole Grains Month what I would like everyone, pregnant or not, to do is; in September learn as much as you can about whole grains: what they are, what foods they’re found in, how to purchase or cook them better and incorporate this knowledge into your daily life. Reading and learning about them shouldn’t be too hard; hopefully we have 10 or 15 minutes a week to find some information; on the web, in the grocery store or at a bookstore. And I’m going to start you off with some information right now. The challenging part will be if you’re not used to buying and eating whole grains. An even better part of this challenge is to carry over your whole grain knowledge into the rest of the year.
Oldways, a “non-profit education organization” encourages Septembers’ Whole Grain Month to increase the ability of consumers to easily find which products are made with whole grains, help companies produce whole grain foods and facilitate the news media to write accurate information about whole grains. Oldways and the FDA define Whole Grains as the following; “Whole grains or foods made from them contain all the essential parts and naturally-occurring nutrients of the entire grain seed. If the grain has been processed (e.g., cracked, crushed, rolled, extruded, and/or cooked), the food product should deliver approximately the same rich balance of nutrients that are found in the original grain seed.”
The list of whole grains is as follows;
- Corn, including whole cornmeal and popcorn
- Oats, including oatmeal
- Rice, both brown rice and colored rice
- Sorghum(also called milo)
- Wheat, including varieties such as spelt, emmer, farro, einkorn, Kamut®, durum and forms such as bulgur, cracked wheat and wheatberries
- Wild rice
Some pseudo-grains and cereal grasses were left off the list such as Job’s tears, Amaranth and quinoa, but when eaten with their bran, endosperm and germ they’re considered whole grains.
What I am enjoying about Oldways Whole Grain Council website is the enormous amount of information listed. From the definition of whole grains to health benefits, serving sizes and recipes there is a vast amount of information we all can benefit from. I am encouraging everyone this September to remember its Whole Grain Month and increase your knowledge and intake of whole grain carbohydrates to decrease the incidence of stroke, type 2 diabetes, obesity and certain cancers such as colorectal. When eaten, whole grains will help you stay fuller longer and the fiber provided is essential for a clean body, inside and out.
Feel free to post any interesting information you find about whole grains, and come back for more this month about whole grains and what they can do for you.