It’s no secret that I love whole grains. They are healthy & delicious, with a wonderful chewy texture and a nuttier, fuller flavor than refined grains. They have tons of nutrients and fiber. And in moderation, they help to round out most meals.
So when I was selected to be a Whole Grain Ambassador for Whole Grains Sampling Day this Wednesday (April 3), I couldn’t have been more excited! I thought it would be a great opportunity to share some fun facts and recipes using whole grains, as well as a brand new (and really awesome) giveaway including over 15 whole grain products.
But what exactly is a whole grain?
When grains grow in the fields, they have three edible parts: the outer bran layers which are rich in fiber and B vitamins; the germ – full of antioxidants, and the starchy endosperm. If the bran and germ (the healthiest parts) are removed, the grain is said to be “refined.” Refined grains are missing about 2/3 of many essential nutrients. Those refined grains are then “enriched” – but this only returns about 5 of the missing nutrients. (So when you see “enriched wheat flour” on a food label, that’s refined wheat – not a whole grain).
A whole grain is when all three of these parts: bran, germ and endosperm are present in their original proportion in the grain (which still applies if the whole grain has been ground into flour or rolled into flakes).
Here are some more fun facts about Whole Grains:
- Most whole grains are also gluten-free including: corn, rice, oats (when processed in a gluten-free facility — look for certified gluten-free oats), wild rice, amaranth, buckwheat, quinoa, millet, sorghum, teff
- Corn has almost twice the antioxidant activity of apples, while wheat and oats almost equal broccoli and spinach in health-protective antioxidant activity
- Refining wheat removes half or more of the wide range of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients – including 78% of it’s fiber
- Eating an average of 2.5 servings of whole grain foods each day can lower your risk of cardiovascular disease by almost one quarter
- Japanese soba noodles, Russian kasha, and crepes from Brittany in France all have one thing in common: they are all made with buckwheat
- Brown rice is not the only whole grain rice. Whole grain rice can also be black, purple, red, or any of a variety of exotic hues
- Whole white flour is made from an albino strain of wheat, and has the nutrition of traditional whole wheat flout – but with a lighter color and milder flavor
- Switching from refined grains to whole grains helps acne to “improve dramatically” according to Australian research
- Three servings a day of whole grains cuts blood pressure, reducing stroke risk by 15 – 20%, according to a 2010 study from Scotland
- Sprouting grains increases many grains’ key ingredients, including B vitamins, Vitamin C, folate, and fiber
I was like a kid in a candy store when I received my whole grain box.
How awesome does that look? One lucky reader will win the exact same box, courtesy of Whole Grain Sampling Day! This box includes over 15 whole grain products and a free t-shirt – including:
- Evan’s Heavenly Spelt Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Mix from Among Friends Hand Crafted Baking Mixes
Gluten Free Muesli from Bob’s Red Mill
Mestemacher Rye Bread with Muesli from Carl Brandt
Organic Triple Seed Crispbread from Engine 2 Plant Strong
- Whole Grain Freekeh (Fire roasted Young Green Wheat) from Freekehlicious
- Wheat Berry Chili Mix from Frontier Soups
Goose Valley Natural Products – Brown & Wild Rice Fusion
Mini Double Chocolate Chip Cookies from Home Free Treats
Gluten Free Oatmeal Cookie Mix from Pamela’s Products
- Sweat and Spicy & Sea Salt flavored rice chips from Real McCoy’s (these are gluten free as well)
- Tasty Bite Garlic Brown Rice
- Upfront Nutty Granola With Pecans and Almonds
- Sweet Potato Tortilla Chips from Simply Sprouted Way Better Snacks
Now the important part –
To Enter: You can enter in one of five ways (each option below counts as a separate entry):
- Subscribe to The Picky Eater via RSS or via email
- Follow me on Twitter (@pickyeaterblog)
- Like The Picky Eater on Facebook
- Follow me on Pinterest
- Sign up for my free, monthly newsletter (it has healthy recipes and tips – no annoying ads plus you’ll get a free healthy meal plan when you sign up!)
Then post a comment here for each option above that you chose.
This giveaway will be open until Sunday, April 14th at 11:59pm PST. I’ll be selecting the winner at random (via random.org) and will contact them via email. I’ll be announcing the winner in the comments of this post on Monday, April 15th.