Now we know a bit about the digestive system and about what is going on in the food and chemical industry, the question now becomes: what do we do.
I think it’s important to first emphasize that changing eating habits is not for losing weight or being politically correct, it really is a matter of life and death. don’t ever think you’re a “health freak” and ignore people who make fun of you. One thing is for sure without a doubt, the more careful you are with what you eat, the better quality of life you’ll have, the longer life you’ll experience and the less illness and disease you’ll have to contend with as you get older. This, by the way, is not my opinion, but very well documented in tons of research studies.
Did you know that doctors want to start prescribing cholesterol lowering medications for all children 12 and older? did you know that more and more children are developing “Adult Onset Diabetes – Also Called Type two Diabetes)? Did you know that there is a direct link between fatty diets and breast cancer, processed meats and colon cancer. The incidence of Alzheimer’s disease is through the roof as is depression. Thus, lets take steps starting today to make ourselves healthier and attempt to certainly prevent all these illnesses. Remember, Scientists believe (and backed by research), that 90% of today’s illnesses are lifestyle related.
First: Get the thought out of your mind that changing eating habits is difficult or impossible. It’s really quite easy, but the main point is that you start very slowly and start educating yourselves. Do not expect to change over night or even in a month. Habit changes are a slow gradual process and in time you’ll be amazed at how far you will come and how really easy it is.
Second, throw out the concept of dieting, diets do not work, period. Perhaps you’ve been on one of the myriad of diets, lost 20 pounds and than but on 25 pounds. It is well known, that losing weight and than regaining weight (as so common with dieting), is more dangerous to your body, than just being overweight (not to say that being overweight is healthy). Diets are also a big business as evidenced by all the ads on television, etc. You certainly don’t want to spend your life watching calories, eating pre-prepared made meals sold by some companies and most importantly not being able to enjoy and indulge with the occasional piece of cheesecake or bowl of Hagen Daz ice cream. This is no way to live, as food can and should be an enjoyable experience.
Third, get that thought out of your head that you will have to be careful and watch everything you eat for the rest of your life, this certainly is not true.
Last, erase the thought that it’s about less calories and more exercise as this is only a tiny part of the picture. After all, how many people have you seen who have followed this and have really lost weight, kept the weight off and became healthy?
Okay, lets begin, what will be an interesting and certainly and enjoyable journey. Lets start with Grains. Unfortunately most Americans believe that grains are white rice, or perhaps brown rice, without realizing that there are many other grains available that are delicious and nutritious.
A Couple of More definitions.
Whole grains undergo the least amount of processing of any form of grain because only the outer hull is removed. This means that whole grains require the longest cooking time of any form of grain, but they are the most nutritious form of grain because the nutrient-rich bran and germ are left intact.
Grain that has been pearled refers to the removal of the bran layers resulting in grain with much less fiber. One advantage of pearled grain is that it cooks faster and is more tender than whole grain.
Grits are a form of grain in which the kernels have been cut into smaller pieces so that they cook much more quickly.
Grain flakes are created with a process in which the grain is steamed and rolled to produce flattened, or flaked kernels, which allows the grain to cook at a much faster rate.
Bran is the nutrient packed layers covering the inner kernel of grain. Bran is basically indigestible, but it is loaded with fiber, which is important for digestive health.
The germ is the embryo of a kernel of grain, located at the bottom center of the kernel. It is the oily part of a kernel or seed from which a new plant sprouts. It is loaded with vitamins and minerals so it is highly nutritious.
Flour is a form of grain created by grinding and sifting grain into a powdered form that varies from very soft to coarse in texture.
Okay, now lets list the types of Grains that you can buy, eat and enjoy!
Rice varieties are available in both white and brown forms. White rice has had the husk, bran, and germ removed (polished), which allows it to cook rapidly. This makes it the most popular, but it is also the least nutritious because of the removal of the bran and germ. White rice is often enriched with nutrients (especially in Western nations), such as iron, niacin, thiamine, and riboflavin, to help restore some of the lost nutritional value. The bran and germ are used to produce rice oil, also known as rice bran oil, which is used as cooking oil.
Quinoa (pronounced “KEEN-wah”) is not a true grain, but the seeds are used as one. When cooked in water, the seeds increase in size significantly, swelling three or four-fold. The cooked seeds become tender, with a springy texture. Delicious!
Kamut is a brand name for an ancient Egyptian grain that is closely related to durum wheat and is often considered a specialty grain.The grain has a nutty, buttery flavor and is sold as a whole grain, as flour, and in the form of flakes. The delicious chewy grain is excellent in soups, salads, pilafs, or savory side dishes.
Flax is a plant native to Europe and Asia that is grown for its fiber. Very very healthy and can be taken as an oil or sprinkled in seed for on a salad. Great Omega -3’s
Rye is the one of most widely used grains in many of the northern and eastern European countries including much of Scandinavia and Russia, rye grain has a very assertive and hearty flavor with a slightly bitter taste. The color of the grain may range from beige to dark gray. Rye can be used in a variety of dishes, such as soups and stews.
Wild rice is not actually a type of rice, but an aquatic grass bearing edible seeds that grows wild in marshy areas of lakes and rivers. Wild rice has a very pleasing chewy texture and a distinctive nutty flavor. Wild rice is popular when eaten on its own or used as an ingredient for soups and casseroles. A small quantity added to steamed vegetables makes an excellent side dish. It adds flavor to tossed salads and it is one of the best accompaniments for poultry and fish.
Spelt is an ancient cereal grain related to modern wheat that originated in southern Europe. The flavor of spelt is mild and nutty with a slight hint of hazelnut. It goes well with earthy ingredients and strong sauces, such as those made with garlic and olive oil. European countries use spelt for polenta, whole grain bread recipes, and pasta. In Italy, spelt is known as “farro” and in Germany, it is known as “dinkel.”
Millet has a mild sweetness and crunchy texture and is eaten as a cereal, a side dish, polenta, and as an addition to soups and stews and desserts. The seeds are especially good if they are toasted.
Like many other grains, Job’s Tears can be prepared by boiling or steaming. It can be served as is or it can be added to soups and casseroles.
Buckwheat seeds or grains are triangular-shaped and are used for hot cereal, sausage filler, soups, and savory side dishes. It is most often ground into flour and used in pancakes, crepes, muffins, and soba noodles. Buckwheat has an earthy, grassy flavor with a slight cocoa taste and it tastes best when the kernels are roasted. It is very hearty and flavorful.
Barley has a nutty and somewhat sweet flavor and the color of the grain ranges from a light tan to various shades of brown or purple.
These are some of the grains and can usually be found in either supermarkets and certainly health food stores i.e. Whole Foods. The stores generally will have sheets of paper describing how to cook these grains, but you’ll find many uses for these delicious items which can be substituted for the plain ol’ potatoes or “Uncle Ben’s Rice”. You’ll be amazed how delicious they are and question why you never knew about these before.
Okay, some sample grain recipes: (thank you to my wife for these)
Barley and Apple 1/2 cup barley grain 1/2 tbs sesame seeds (not optional) 1 pinch coriander seeds 4 dried apple rings 1 sprinkle shoyu (optional) 1 3/4 cups water Being a nice sweet grain, barley goes well with dried apples. The other ingredients are necessary to keep if from tasting too bland or too much like a dessert. Skip this one if you have a problem with sesame seeds. Wash and then roast the barley until it's evenly browned. Washing and roasting are important with barley as they get rid of the powdery stuff on it which otherwise turns into rubber. Cut the apple rings into small pieces and pressure cook them with the barley, coriander and water for 45 minutes. While that's cooking, dry roast the sesame seeds so as to maximize their flavor, which will probably take less than five minutes. Combine the barley with the sesame seeds when they're done, and add a tiny amount of shoyu to taste. Cauliflower Marranca 5 servings 1 cup raw millet 1 1/2 cups water 2 cups chopped onions 1 pound sliced mushroom fresh ground black pepper 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon basil 1 head cauliflower, large, in flowerets 3 cloves minced garlic 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice paprika, to taste Precook Millet. Bring water to a boil by itself first. Then add 1 Tablespoon margarine and sprinkle in the millet. Stir briefly, and partially cover. Turn heat to low. Cook the millet for 15 to 20 minutes only!!! Stir with a fork halfway through cooking and again at the end. This time, it is desirable that the trapped steam escape, otherwise it will keep cooking the millet even after it is removed from the direct heat. So fluff it with a fork, A LOT, after it is cooked, and leave it uncovered. This is the best deterrent to mushiness. Add salt after it is cooked Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray cooking oil into a 9X13-inch pan. Saute mushrooms & onion in margarine in a large pot for 5 minutes. Add garlic, basil, salt, pepper and cauliflower to pan and cook 10 minutes. Remove from heat and add all other ingredients. Mix well and pour into prepared pan. Dust with Paprika. Bake 1/2 hour at 350. Quinoa with gravy Rinse the quinoa in cold water and drain. Bring the two cups water to boil and add the quinoa. Cook 10-15 minutes, until quinoa has absorbed the water and you can see the white germ ring. While the quinoa is cooking, make the following gravy recipe. Mushroom Miso Gravy 1 onion, diced 2 cups mushrooms, chopped 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour 2 cups water 1/2 cup dark miso 1/2 cup water saute onion and mushrooms in water. Add flour and stir continuously for one minute to toast the flour. Pour in 2 cups water and stir while bringing to a boil. In a separate bowl, mix miso and 1/2 cup water. Stir miso mixture into the gravy (after removing from heat) and serve over whole grains. Millet Croquettes 2 C. millet, cooked (Use 1 cup millet: 3 cups water, less 3 T if you want a fluffier texture-bring water to a boil, add millet and bring to a boil again. Quickly lower heat to a slow simmer, cover and simmer 30-45 mins) 1/2 C. celery, finely diced with the leaves 1/4 C. carrots, finely grated 1/2 C. onion, diced 1/2 C. rice flour (other flours would probably work too) 1/4 C. parsley, chopped 1/2 C. water 1/2 tsp dill 1/2 tsp oregano dash salt dash cayenne pepper, if desired Mix the millet and vegetables in a large bowl. Slowly add the salt, flour and herbs, mix well. Add water and mix once more. Form into small balls or patties and place on a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray (or oil it lightly). Bake at 350 F for 25 mins. To make them crispier either brush with a little oil or spray on a little cooking spray. Serve with some steamed veggies.