The Scoop on Whole Grains

16 05 2012

Article printed in the Weekly Record Herald on May 13, 2012

Hi, my name is Tammy Shellhaas. I am a yoga instructor/personal trainer and I would like you to join me on a journey to challenge your mind, body, and soul. Every other week we will explore a new aspect of a healthy lifestyle. My hope is to offer new information, or a new perspective to what you already know, or reintroduce an idea that may have been forgotten. So, let’s get started…

When our children were small, I decided to make the switch to whole grain products. I admit, I was a little sneaky about it, but it was for the benefit of our family. So, I justified my underhandedness for our healthier lifestyle.

At first, I used whole grains, solely, when making out favorite dishes. That did not go over very well with the kids or John! (I have to admit, I was not a fan at first, either.) I did not give up. I decided to make small changes. I substituted a portion of the white flour in bread, cookie and pancake recipes with whole grain flour and gradually increased the amount as we became accustomed to the texture and taste.  I did the same when substituting refined grain pasta with whole grain.

I read labels to choose the best products I could find and we learned to enjoy and savor the taste of these healthier foods. The whole foods were denser and more filling, adding nutrients we were missing from our diet. By including whole grains to our diet, we increased our intake of plant-based proteins, fiber, and antioxidants. Plus, foods high in fiber and antioxidants have been linked to reducing the risk for certain health problems: obesity, stroke, and certain types of cancers.

What is a Whole Grain?

Following is the official definition of whole grains, approved and endorsed by the Whole Grains Council in May 2004:

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.

This definition means that 100% of the original kernel – all of the bran, germ, and endosperm – must be present to qualify as a whole grain.

I take this to mean that a food labeled whole grain is as close as possible to eating the food right from the plant. Can’t get much better for you than that! The Whole Grain Stamp is an easy way to spot products with ½ a serving (8 g.) of whole grains.

What are examples of whole grain?

What is a serving size?

  • 1/2 cup cooked brown rice or other cooked grain
  • 1/2 cup cooked 100% whole-grain pasta
  • 1/2 cup cooked hot cereal, such as oatmeal
  • 1 ounce uncooked whole grain pasta, brown rice or other grain
  • 1 slice 100% whole grain bread
  • 1 very small (1 oz.) 100% whole grain muffin
  • 1 cup 100% whole grain ready-to-eat cereal

Some foods contain whole grains, as well as, refined grains. Crackers, pancake mixes, meal replacement bars, and products that contain a larger amount of whole grains, it is necessary to eat more of those foods. The recommended serving size for these foods is 16 grams.

Tammy’s Challenges

Growth does not come from one perspective. To achieve a healthy lifestyle, you must do more than concentrate on exercise alone. Diet changes will enhance your wellbeing, but it alone is not healthy. Let’s not forget the soul or spirit. It needs nurturing as well. So, here are a few mind (diet) – body (exercise) – soul (mental) challenges for you to try.

Mind: Try substituting a portion of the refined grains in recipes with whole grains.

Body: Try a new cardio machine (treadmill, elliptical, etc.) or change your workout route.

Soul: Write down 10 things that make you smile. Keep the list and refer to it whenever you need a pick-me-up.

I would love to hear from you.           Email: Tammy@TammYoga.com

Facebook: TammYoga

Twitter: @TammYoga

Namaste  (The spirit in me respects the spirit in you.)

Tammy

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