Whole Grains
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Whole Grains

When people decide to eat better, and incorporate whole grain foods in their diet, they are often a little dismayed at how to do so. Whole grains are just not a part of current American culture. We only eat 1% whole grains! We should be eating 50%, not a mere 1%. You can't get whole grains in the fast food restaurants. You can rarely get any whole grains in regular restaurants. Even Asian and other ethnic restaurants rarely have whole grains. Natural food restaurants are rare even in places like New York City and Los Angeles. Most homes have almost no whole grains, unless it is a box of Quaker Oats.

Well, you shouldn't be at the fast food restaurants anyway, and you should be eating most of your meals at home. You should be taking your lunch to work every day. The chain grocery stores are full of whole grain foods, natural foods, and other good things to eat now. You don't even have to go to a health food store anymore.

First of all, buy some good brown rice. This can be your staple food. Buy a 10, or even a 25, pound bag of organically grown rice. Jasmine tastes the best. Asian stores are good for this. Surprisingly, you'll find the Asian stores have almost no whole grain noodles at all. Korean stores are the best for other whole grains. Buy some barley, and eat steamed barley instead of rice, and make barley soup. And, yes, make sure you have some old fashioned (not quick) rolled oats. Oatmeal is the best breakfast you can eat. Buy polenta. Bob's Red Mill is the most popular. This is quick and easy to cook. Buy 100% whole wheat and other flours. Get some whole cornmeal. Buy whole wheat pastry flour for baking. Get some buckwheat, millet and whole grain cous cous and try them. Quinoa is rather a fad, but a good whole grain. Buy lots of whole grain pasta, both whole wheat and brown rice. Lots of whole wheat pastas are available. Find a store to get 100% whole grain bread without preservatives. We have a Great Harvest, Trader Joe's, and Aldi here in Wilmington. Walmart fails here. The chain stores now offer a wide variety of inexpensive whole wheat pastas. The brown rice pasta is a little more expensive and trickier to cook, but excellent. Find some whole grain cold breakfast cereals by companies like Barbara's or Kashi. Now look for some whole wheat bread flour, whole corn meal, and any other whole grain flours you want.

Now go to the bean section and the ethnic food section. Buy some lentils, chickpeas, black beans, navy beans, northern beans, red beans, pintos, favas, and any other kind of bean you can find. Shop in a Latin store for even more selection. Be sure to find a variety of soy (or rice, flax, almond, or  oat) milk you enjoy. Chain stores now offer a wide variety of non-dairy milks. Read the article Non-Dairy Milks.

Skip breakfast and just eat two meals a day. The idea that breakfast is, "the most important meal of the day" is silly. Or you can eat breakfast and skip lunch. You only need two meals a day. If you eat a light breakfast, eat some hot or cold whole grain cereal and whole grain toast.

Take your lunch to work for a whole lot of reasons. You can make whatever you like the night before and put it in the refrigerator. When you travel or fly take your next meal with you. You can still eat well when you're on the road. Eat in Asian restaurants even though they'll serve white rice. Buffets like Golden Corral let you eat what you want. You'll save a lot of money.

Don't eat dinner out more than once a week. It really is easy to eat well at home. Start with a good homemade soup. Have brown rice or whole wheat pasta with a fresh green or yellow vegetable. Have a serving of well flavored beans. Add a fresh salad with a simple dressing. Add a slice of whole grain bread. Eat seafood if you want to in moderation. Have fresh fruit rather than a sugared dessert. There are macrobiotic dessert books with recipes using whole grains and whole fruit. You don't have to be a vegetarian, and can eat 10% seafood. Natural food costs no more than refined food and less than junk food. Your grocery bills could even go down.

Get some cookbooks and learn to cook tastier food. Learn to flavor food without fat. Asian cooking in general is the healthiest and easiest to use. You can modify most recipes to use whole natural foods and don't need special cookbooks. You do not need to spend much time in the kitchen at all. You can cook 3 or 4 days worth of rice and keep it refrigerated. You can cook a whole bag of dried beans and freeze what you don't eat. Vegetables can be stir fried in five minutes. Homemade soups can also be frozen. Be creative, and most of all ENJOY your food. This isn't deprivation, but rather eating whole foods with all their natural goodness. It's a way of life, and no amount of money can buy good health. Health is your real wealth. Without good health we have nothing.

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