20 Oct

There IS more than just wheat

Wheat is a healthy grain and a good source of B-vitamins and several minerals.  As with any aspect of diet, it is beneficial to add variety to your diet with different grains.  The reason for this is two-fold: first is that each grain has a different nutrient profile so you will get different nutrients, second is that it prevents food sensitivities from forming.

Natural & Organic productsOrganic Merchants offers a wide variety of grains that you can integrate into your diet.  Increasing grain consumption will increase fiber intake and improve digestive health and help to lower cholesterol.

  • Hot cereal for breakfast is an easy and healthy way to start the day.  Organic Merchants offers a 4-grain blend and an 8-grain blend.  Add fresh fruit for a perk.
  • Farro is an ancient grain that is similar to wheat and does contain gluten, in smaller amounts than wheat.  It is an excellent source of protein, fiber and nutrients.
  • Freekeh is made from green durum wheat that is harvested while the grains are yellow and seeds are still soft and then sun-dried.  Then the grain is set on fire to remove the straw and chaff while the moist seed remains intact.  Finally, it is threshed, sun-dried and cracked.  Freekeh provides probiotics along with the other benefits of grains.
  • Millet is actually a small-seeded grass that is commonly known as a bird seed but also has human benefits.  It is a good source of trace minerals copper, phosphorus and manganese.  The protein in millet is similar to wheat gluten so some with gluten sensitivities may not tolerate millet well.
  • Puffed millet, amaranth and quinoa-Amaranth, like other grains, is a good source of protein, fiber, manganese, magnesium, iron and selenium.  Amaranth is a gluten-free grain, and contains and higher content and variety of proteins than wheat.
  • Quinoa and quinoa flakes-Also a gluten free grain, quinoa has a slightly nutty flavor that is quite good.  It contains all of the essential amino acids, making it a complete protein.  It also is high in fiber.
  • Rolled oats-Guaranteed gluten free from Organic Merchants, oats are well-known for their benefits for high cholesterol.  Oats are also a good source of thiamin, phosphorus, magnesium and manganese.



18 Oct

Pass the rice please!

I’m a carbaholic, sure as they come.  Before I decided to clean up my diet I was guilty of indulging more than I should have on sugary bread-like treats.  Since I have given those up along with gluten and most dairy, rice has become one of my favorite staples (though I might eat too much of that too).

Whole grain brown rice is by far the best rice you can eat, as it retains its fiber since it hasn’t been de-hulled.  It offers B-vitamins, potassium, calcium and magnesium.  White rice tends to lose a lot of this nutrient density because it is de-hulled and the milling process strips the nutrients.

My all-time favorite rice is Lundberg’s Wild Blend.  It contains a blend of  five different varieties of rice, including whole grain brown rice and wild rice, so it has a nice variety of flavor.  There is a little sweetness with a little classic brown rice flavor, put a little butter on it and chow down!  If you don’t like the wild rice blend, they have many other single rice options or rice blends.


I tend to get bored eating the same thing repeatedly, so I still cook white rice with some meals.  Lundberg also makes a white Jasmine rice that is very tasty and highly aromatic that I integrate into our regular meals.

The other brand that I have really enjoyed is Amira and their traditional Indian Basmati Rice.  It has a a light flavor and texture and goes with most any dish.  They also make several other types including brown basmati, smoked basmati, natural basmati and Thai Jasmine.

Caution with rice consumption

As you may know, arsenic in rice has become an issue and many rice companies are producing rice with rather high amounts of arsenic.

Consumer Reports’ article from November 18, 2014 says;

“Our latest tests determined that the inorganic arsenic content of rice varies greatly depending on the type of rice and where it was grown. White basmati rice from California, India, and Pakistan, and sushi rice from the U.S. on average has half of the inorganic-arsenic amount of most other types of rice.”

This article has a very helpful chart that quantifies arsenic exposure in a variety of foods, as well as explaining how arsenic affects your health.  Read the article here.