Whole wheats, whole grains, and whole oats. OH MY!

Monday, April 30, 2007

The anatomy of a grain of wheat

A whole grain is mostly made up of 3 parts. The bran, the germ, and the endosperm. Check out this cool picture.
As you can see from the picture. The endosperm makes up most of the kernal, the bran comes next and the germ makes up the least amount. Manufacturers remove the bran and germ when they make refined bread flour (white flour). Which is not good at all.

The bran is the outside layer of the grain and it is a rich source of many vitamins and minerals like magnesium, riboflavin, thiamin, phosphorus, niacin, iron and zinc. Almost all of the fiber within the grain comes from the bran.

The germ is the part of the grain from which a new plant would sprout if you were to plant it. It is a concentrated source of vitamin E, magnesium, riboflavin, thiamin, phosphorus, niacin, iron and zinc. The germ also contains some fat and protein.

The endosperm has very small amounts of vitamins, not nearly close to what the bran and germ have.

So now you know the anatomy of a whole grain of wheat, and you may see a little why it's important to eat the WHOLE grain and not just the endosperm. We're not getting the much needed vitamins, minerals and especially not getting the greatly needed fiber in our diets if we eat refined grains. So let's start eating whole grains more often! After all, if it'll help you live a healthier life, what can it hurt right?

Technorati Tags: Whole Grains, Bran, Wheat Germ, Endosperm

Saturday, April 28, 2007

What is considered a whole grain?

A whole grain is whole when it has all three parts of the grain. The bran, the wheat germ, and the endosperm. Contrast to refined grains which are only made up of the endosperm (the starchy insides that have little to no vitamins and fiber).

The three parts have many beneficial vitamins that are helpful for your body and health. The bran has much of the fiber. While the germ has much of the protein and nutrients. If both of these are removed from the grain then it really leaves you with not much substance and you're left with basically empty calories.

Here are a few common whole grains:

Oatmeal (whole oats)
Brown rice
Wild rice
Whole-wheat bread, pasta or crackers

All others like white rice, white bread, and enriched pastas are just like glue to your colon...and that's not even mentioning the chemicals and preservatives put into the stuff.

Whole grains aren't that hard to eat. They may not "taste" as good as the other refined versions, but they sure are better for you and will help you in the long run. Why not "taste" more of a good healthly life instead? Try eating a few from that list. :)

My passion is to help others learn more about grains and nutrition. So I hope this information and the things to come will be helpful to you and your family! Thanks for reading, happy eating, and God bless you!

Technorati Tags: Whole Grain, Bran, Wheat Germ, Endosperm

Friday, April 27, 2007

Milling/grinding grains what to do with leftovers

When grinding grains, there is often a bit left over in the mill that won't be used in the recipe I am currently making. Since one of the whole reasons behind milling fresh grains is to immediately use them during their peak nutritional state - left overs are not something that are usually planned!

Keeping in mind that we want to be frugal and good stewards of our foods, we have to plan what to DO with those left over grains after we have milled them. Here are a few ideas:

1. Save them in a zipper baggie to add to soups, or to bread items for frying.
2. If you've ground excess corn meal, keep in freezer for dusting the bottom of pizza pans or English muffin trays to absorb moisture.
3. Save extra in a zipper bag in the freezer to add just a bit more fiber and whole grain to other recipes that may usually be made with 'dead' flours.

I hope this info was helpful to you and your family. I'll be blogging every day with new ideas, tips, and cool information about fresh whole grains!

So thanks for reading and God bless you!