For Week 1, we are learning about Nutrition, and how to get the most out of what we eat! In today's blog and newsletter, Brooke told us about the differences between refined grains and Whole Wheat. Most things on the shelves and in your cupboards are probably Refined grains.... the pasta, bread, cereal, pizza dough, etc. that is all made from refined grains rather than Whole Wheat. In a refined grain, such as white bread and pasta, White Flour is the main ingredient. White flour is simply the endosperm of the grain....leaving out the bran and the germ portions and leaving behind just the center of the grain which is primarily starch. This makes it low in nutrients and vitamins, lacking in fiber, and the starch transforms to sugar in our blood stream leading to sugar spikes. White Flour has been linked to diabetes and Heart Disease, among other illnesses. It is also addictive! Because of the "sugar spike", we feel a temporary high (although our body has received very little nutrition) and then a "crash" later on where we feel tired and hungry again. So, one of the simplest ways to eat healthier is to switch to grain products that are 100% Whole Grain. This way you get the entirety of the grain, not just part of it! You get the nutrition, vitamins, and fiber that help you balance and digest the starch of the endosperm. Just as nature intended, it's better for you in it's complete form!! You want things that have the FIRST ingredient listed as Whole Wheat Flour. To help you find these items, The Whole Grains Council has created This Stamp which you will see on foods that are made with Whole Wheat Flour instead of White Flour or refined, over-processed flour. Also check out this website for more great information on the Health Benefits of Whole Grains!
I don't buy White Bread, but after this challenge I will be making sure to check the labels on all bread! Some so called "Wheat" bread simply adds Wheat Germ to the refined White Flour in order to call it Wheat Bread, but this is not the same! Look for Whole Wheat as the FIRST ingredient and check for the Whole Wheat stamp! As a bonus, the bread I found also has NO High Fructose Corn Syrup added! Score!! Here are a couple things I found at my local grocery store (not a health food store, just the grocery store I normally shop at)
Uncle Ben's Whole Grains Medley - Brown & Wild Rice - $1.29
Orowheat 100% Whole Wheat Bread - $2.99
Ronzoni Healthy Harvest 100% Whole Grain Spaghetti - $1.99
After discussing Whole Grains, Brooke at 360YourLife talked about Gluten Free options. Just switching to Whole Grains alone is helpful, but you are still possibly harming your body.... because let's face it... even too much of a good thing can be bad for you. If you eat the recommended daily servings of Grain (6 to 9 servings a day) but you are only getting grain that comes from Whole Wheat, you will be denying your body the variety of nutrition it needs. There are a number of health problems that have been linked to Gluten, which is found in Wheat products. Some people may choose to go 100% Gluten Free and avoid gluten altogether, but if you simply substitute some of your Wheat grains with Gluten Free options, you are giving yourself a more balanced intake of grains. Grains that are Gluten free are considered to be "sprouted grains", which are significantly higher in protein, vitamins, and enzymes. They are much lower on the Glycemic Index (G.I.), which means they are digested more slowly, keeping you feeling fuller longer. Also, since these grains are digested more slowly, there is a more gradual release of sugars into your bloodstream as the complex starches are converted into natural sugars; reducing the "sugar spike" you see from processed grains and wheat products.
Today's Challenge was this; Choose ONE of your favorite grain foods and swap it out for a Gluten-Free option. I couldn't pick just one! Here is what I was able to find at my local grocery store. Again, I was surprised I didn't have to go to a specialty health-food store to find these things! If you look close enough, they are available to you! Also, the price difference wasn't that much, I felt satisfied with the amount of money that I spent on these products!
This one isn't new to our household, it's a family favorite.
I found these Delallo brand Gluten-Free pastas. We eat a lot of pasta in our house, so it's worth it to try something new! These were on sale for $2.89 each.
Private Selection Wild Rice - $1.59 Wild Rice is a perfect example of a Sprouted Grain that is not processed or refined. You get all the good benefits of a gluten-free grain.
Village Harvest Quinoa - $5.19. Quinoa is another good example of a gluten-free Whole Sprouted Grain.
Blue Diamond Nut-Thins Crackers - $2.57 each. Wheat & Gluten free, these crackers are made from nuts and rice!
Food Should Taste Good brand Multigrain Tortilla Chips - $2.59
My kids LOVE to snack on chips! These ones are Gluten Free, made from Brown Rice, Flax, Sesame and Sunflower Seeds, and Quinoa.
So, in completing today's challenge, I think I have a good variety of snacks and side-dishes for the week that are either Whole Grain or Gluten Free! Off to a good start!! Remember if you're doing this challenge, the goal is to just pick ONE thing in your pantry and switch it out with a gluten free option. You don't have to go all out like I did, just pick one thing and make a change! Good Luck!