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Go with the Grain

By PearlPoint Nutrition Services September 26, 2012Pearls of Wisdom Blog

Gluten free, wheat free, sprouted grains; the list goes on and on and ultimately leaves us scratching our heads about which grain foods to choose as part of a healthy eating plan. The truth is that not all grains are created equal. Most of us are familiar with the standard grains including barley, corn, oats, wheat, and rice. These are the most commonly consumed grains in the American diet. These grains are not bad choices as they are considered whole grains (intact, ground, cracked, or flaked) and it is recommended that at least 50% of grains eaten daily should come from whole grain sources. Whole grains are a good source of complex carbohydrates and fiber and offer additional health benefits related to disease prevention namely cancer, heart disease, and high blood pressure.

September is whole grains month! It is a perfect opportunity to incorporate some new “old” grains into your diet. These grains are often referred to as “ancient” grains because they have been in existence for so long but are not always the “go to” grains of the current American diet. These grains are unique and have very specific qualities that common grains do not have. Here are some new grains to consider adding: Amaranth, Buckwheat, Farro, Millet, Quinoa, Rye, Sorghum, and Teff.

Try quinoa in this recipe today compliments of Cooking Light, August 2010:

Quinoa with Roasted Garlic, Tomatoes, and Spinach


1 whole garlic head

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon finely chopped shallots

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1/2 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed and drained

1 tablespoon dry white wine

1 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth

1/2 cup baby spinach leaves

1/3 cup chopped seeded tomato (1 small)

1 tablespoon shaved fresh Parmesan cheese

1/4 teaspoon salt

Cooking Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 .
  2. Remove papery skin from garlic head. Cut garlic head in half crosswise, breaking apart to separate whole cloves. Wrap half of head in foil; reserve remaining garlic for another use. Bake at 350 for 1 hour; cool 10 minutes. Separate cloves; squeeze to extract garlic pulp. Discard skins.
  3. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots and red pepper to pan; cook 1 minute. Add quinoa to pan; cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add wine; cook until liquid is absorbed, stirring constantly. Add broth; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat; stir in garlic pulp, spinach, tomato, cheese, and salt. Serve immediately.

For additional information on these grains click here.

Blog Author: Kimberly Petersen, RD, LDN
PearlPoint Cancer Support Staff

Author PearlPoint Cancer Support Staff

PearlPoint Nutrition Services is a program of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS).

More posts by PearlPoint Cancer Support Staff

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