Whole Wheat Flour vs. Whole Grain Flour
The average person in America will walk down the bread isle in a grocery store and see that a lot of the breads to choose from say 100% whole wheat bread. They automatically think it must be healthy and grab a loaf or two and continue shopping. STOP!!! I wish I could stop them right there on the spot and explain what 100% whole wheat really means. Here are the steps to get 100% whole wheat bread:
1- Heat the grain so that the germ and the bran remove themselves and only the starch remains. The starch is then ground and you are left with white flour which has no nutrition or food value.
2- After going through this refining process the refinery then adds back a fraction of the wheat germ and adds a small amounts of synthetic vitamins, minerals, and a little fiber. This basically gives it some flavor and calories. Most of the time they don’t add back any of the bran (which gives it the darker color). In fact you will sometimes see in the ingredient list…molasses, which they use to make a darker loaf.There you have it, 100% whole wheat “not good for you” flour.Whole grain flour on the other hand uses the whole grain and doesn’t remove anything from it. It contains all of the germ and bran, along with many natural vitamins and minerals. It will have a little different texture and be slightly heavier than its counterfeit we mentioned above. But it will taste wonderful and your body will love it!
Now this next part may raise the eyebrows of some but I will stand by it until I am proven wrong. If you want to feel better and improve your health cut down on the amount of wheat and dairy products that you consume. Now I didn’t say to completely cut them out- just start eating less of them. Remember this is baby steps to your health. And of course you need to replace them with even better grains of which we will talk about shortly.
Now for a little background on this topic. America produces more milk and wheat than most countries. They tell you to drink tons of milk for strong bones and to eat your wheat. We will focus on the wheat here for a while and will get back to the dairy topic later. Wheat is a great grain but it has been abused in this country. It is in everything you eat- breakfast through dinner. From soy sauce, to chili, to crackers, etc. When you get too much of anything for an extended period of time you are bound to have problems. The number of people that are becoming gluten intolerant is skyrocketing in this country. Gluten is the protein that is found in many grains. Most people are only intolerant to the gluten in wheat because it is in everything we eat and our bodies are screaming for a break. Some common symptoms are stomach problems (including digestion), allergies, weight gain, and headaches. Now everyone knows someone with one of the these problems, if not more than one. Not saying that the amount of wheat and dairy we consume is the only cause of these symptoms but they can and very often are the cause. Moderation in all things!
When stacked up to the rest of the grains in this world we have to choose from, wheat lacks in many nutrients compared to others. The #1 grain in the world can be argued but I give a slight edge to amaranth. It is a high energy grain and helps promote muscle health. It is packed with essential amino acids and contains a large amount of the lysine which most other grains lack. It contains one of the highest levels of protein and in a quarter cup contains 60% of the daily allowance of iron. Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah), I place a very close second. Quinoa has three times as much calcium and twice as much phosphorus as wheat. It contains all the essential amino acids and is extremely high in protein. I could go on and on but spelt, kamut, millet, and barley are some of my other favorites. If fact, the whole grain flour I use for most everything in my baking contains spelt, kamut, brown rice, and oat groats. The ratio for this flour and many recipes can be found on my blog. Buy small amounts of these grains and start adding them to the meals you are already making. They give meals different flavors and textures but primarily bring some awesome and much needed nutrients into your diet. Have some cooked up in your fridge so that you have no excuse not to add them into a meal. Contact me for ideas and other recipes- I want you to feel better and to like what you eat!
Brandon Kendrick, manages the Bosch Kitchen Center in Orem. Brandon struggled with some health problems growing up and chose to find another way to resolve them rather than what the doctors were giving him. That led him to a passion for health and fitness. He has put his passion to use through his research and creativity learning how to prepare healthy meals and add better nutrition to anyones diet. He has taught health/cooking classes at the Bosch store for 2 1/2 years and now does private classes throughout the state as well. Brandon will be teaching the EXL Healthy Cooking Lesson this Saturday on “Sprouting Grains”.