|Whole wheat bread flour (ground from hard red winter wheat) on left, whole wheat pastry flour (ground from soft white wheat)on right.|
Why Use Whole Grains?
A wide variety of whole grains is important in your diet. Switching up your grains could help avoid food allergies. Not only do I use whole wheat bread flour, pastry flour and whole corn meal, once or twice a week I serve my Three-Grain Hot Cereal (made with steel cut oats, rolled barley and quinoa - the world's highest protein grain). My kids love it. I also used this same recipe, added a little water or milk and put it in the blender to make baby food. Just pour into ice cube trays, freeze, pop out and store in a ziplock bag. Add to any other fruit or veggie for a complete meal for baby. We also have granola at least once a week, made with rolled oats and lots of different nuts.
Refined grains: White flour, white rice, etc
Are refined grains healthier for you if they are "fortified"?
*Many times these will be labeled as fortified, but it is of little value. Fortified means they added a handful of synthetic vitamins and minerals after a bunch of essential factors have been removed or destroyed. Some of the vitamins added during this process may even be dangerous. Some researchers believe that excess iron from fortified flour can cause tissue damage and other studies link excess or toxic iron to heart disease.
*The safety of bleaching hasn’t ever been established.
*Anything puffed should be avoided – process of high heat and pressure to produce puffed wheat, oats and rice. Nutrients are destroyed in the process and are very difficult to digest.
What are the Benefits of Whole Grains?
*provide vitamins E and B and minerals in abundance.
*Fiber – indigestible cellulose plays and important role in digestion and elimination
*Best to soak first to get optimum nutritional benefits from the grains – helps neutralize enzyme inhibitors. (I rarely do this - just too busy, but even if you don't do this, using whole grains it is still way better than refined grains).
*For those who have wheat allergies, make sure you use whole grain alternative flours such as whole grain cornmeal.
Not all whole wheat flours are the same:
I really recommend you use two different whole wheat flours. I made a lot of mistakes when I first started cooking because I was using whole wheat bread flour in my baked goods. That is one reason I started my blog, so that other people wouldn't have to waste their money experimenting like I did.
-Whole wheat bread flour (usually hard red winter wheat) – high in protein, good for breads, tortillas, etc
-Whole Wheat pastry flour (usually soft white wheat) – lower in protein, good for baked goods, cookies, cakes, etc.
*Can see the difference in color in the above picture.
My next post will be specifically about different kinds of sugars, good and bad, and how I cook with the good. So continue to stay tuned!