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You are what you eat – Great Grains

Posted Aug 15 2011 6:00am

I just have to say … I love carbs.  They are the ultimate comfort food.  A nice warm piece of bread or a steaming bowl of rice is all I want when I’m sick.  In fact, there were months at a time in my pregnancy when all I could stomach was rice cakes and peanut butter.  OK, that said … lets talk about the good carbs vs the bad carbs.

Good

Bad

None of that should be news to you.  We have been hearing this info for a while.

What I want to focus on is what I like to call multi-functional grains.  You see carbs and grains are kinda the bad boy of the nutrition world.  People are always dissing them, cutting them out of their diet, swearing they make them fat, feeling guilty for eating them (damn you Atkins and your rules!)  Its really unfair.  All grains and carbs are not created equal.  There are many varieties that are wondrous for your health and that provide a more complex nutritional profile.  Here are my top choices:

Quinoa 

A smaller grain than rice, quinoa has a similar shape and texture to couscous.  Its fluffy, has a nutty flavor and is super easy to cook.  The BEST thing about quinoa is that it is high in protein, but what even more awesome is that the protein it supplies is a complete protein, meaning that it includes all nine essential amino acids, just as a chicken breast would.

I love Quinoa as a post run meal.  The blast of protein does wonders for muscle recovery, its carbohydrates replenish your glycogen stores, quinoa’s iron content aids in the delivery of oxygenated blood to your muscles and it’s magnesium is important for bone strength, metabolism, immunity and muscle contractions.  I could go on forever … Just Eat Quinoa.  Its amazing.  You’ll thank me :)

Buckwheat Soba Noodles

Buckwheat is another grain that is rich in protein (although not as complete as quinoa).  Buckwheat is also high in omega fatty acids which lower cholesterol, benefit your cardiovascular health, stimulate muscle repair following a strenuous workout and reduce inflammation.  Um JACKPOT!!

As an added bonus soba noodles have about half the calories of traditional pasta noodles and way more fiber.

Sprouted Grain Breads and Tortillas

The flour made from sprouted grains provides more protein, vitamins and minerals than refined flours found in other breads and tortillas.  Like other whole grain breads, sprouted grains are full of fiber, rich in antioxidants and nutrients, including calcium, iron and niacin.  However the process of sprouting the grain maintains a higher level of these nutrients.  Finally … you guessed it.  PROTEIN!  Sprouted breads are a source of high quality protein with a complete balance of amino acids

As far as a loaf of bread goes, this is the best nutritional bet.

Wheat Germ

OK this one may be a little too hippie for y’all … but let me try to convince you.

Here is the scientific part:

The health benefits of wheat germ are enormous. It’s nutrients include vitamin E, folate (folic acid), phosphorus, thiamine, zinc, magnesium, essential omega-3 fatty acids and fiber.

• The Vitamin E found in it, is a powerful antioxidant when it comes to skin health and beauty. Vitamin E boosts immunity and has anti aging properties and can prevent heart diseases and even cancer.

• Wheat germ protein aids in muscle development and does wonders to overall energy, stamina and well being.

• It improves metabolism and balances the hormones in the body which in turn helps to cope with stress.

• Vitamin B boosts immunity, aids digestion, healthy skin and enables the body to heal quicker from wounds.

So how do you eat this beautifying, muscle building, metabolism boosting, healing wonder food?  

It looks like this:

Get the toasted kind (and keep in the fridge – it goes bad).  It tastes like toasted nuts and is yummy in yogurt, sprinkled on a banana, in oatmeal, in quinoa (LOL.  I had to get that in!).  Sprinkle a tablespoon or so in any of these things and you’re in for a surprise.  Its really good.


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