In my experience, adding whole grains to a diet, particularly when they are replacing any kind of refined version, can have a significantly positive effect on energy, mood, and one’s ability to maintain a healthy weight. For busy cooks, grains lend themselves well to cooking in batches and providing multiple meals with less effort. Furthermore, they are a great bargain relative to their nutritional value, especially if you purchase them in bulk.
The basic steps to preparing grains are:
1) measure and check for unwanted material and rinse in cold water using a fine mesh strainer
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A whole grain, natural sweeteners, healthful herbs — wholesome enough to go from dessert one night to breakfast the next morning.
2 cups cooked brown rice
1 1/2 cups firm tofu
2/3 cup raisins
1 cup rice milk of your choice (if you don’t drink cow’s milk, goat’s milk has the most similar consistency)
1/3 cup maple syrup
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon kuzu*, dissolved in 2 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
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A simple method for getting a little “exotic” flavor that’s subtle enough to be enjoyed by even the more traditional eaters in your household
1 cup dry roasted quinoa*
2/3 cup coconut milk
1 cup water
½ cup red pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon of sesame oil
Pinch of salt
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- Rinse quinoa in fine mesh strainer. Bring water & coconut milk to a boil. Add quinoa, garlic, salt & chili flakes.
- Bring back to boil & reduce heat. Cook for 12-15 minutes.
- Remove from heat, stir in red pepper, sesame oil, and salt.
½ cup quinoa, cooked
2 medium acorn squash, halved and seeded
½ cup walnuts, chopped
½ cup dried cherries
2 tablespoons barley malt (a gentler sweetener)
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Grapeseed oil (or another vegetable oil)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil the squash
- Mix warm quinoa, barley malt, walnuts, cherries and cinnamon.
- Stuff each squash half with the mixture.
- Bake in a covered dish for 45 minutes or until squash is tender.
For the meat lovers in your life. A little proscuitto never hurt anyone (as my Italian grandmother used to say, emphasis on “little” is mine)
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
2 oz sliced prosciutto, finely chopped
3 dried Calmyrna figs, stems removed and coarsely chopped
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh mint leaves
2 tbsp pine nuts
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
Salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
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- Rinse the quinoa under cold water in a fine strainer to remove any bitter residue. Combine the quinoa and water in a medium-size saucepan and bring to a boil.
Here’s another twist on the classic winter-time breakfast. Finding multiple ways to eat oats that you enjoy will do good things for your heart, blood-sugar, and weight-management efforts.
3 green tea bags
1 cup whole oats
1/8 tsp. sea salt (optional)
1 cup diced organic apples
1/3 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
2 Tbs. finely chopped crystallized ginger
4 tsp. organic agave nectar
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- Bring 3 cups of water to a boil in medium saucepan. Add tea bags, turn off heat, and let steep 4 minutes. Squeeze bags into water to get maximum antioxidant benefit, before discarding.
This is a very easy substitute for cooked oatmeal at breakfast. It is especially nice in the warmer weather when hot cereal may not be as appealing. Children may enjoy being involved in putting their own bowls together the night before and are more likely to be open to something new if they have participated and selected their own toppings. Of course if many people will be eating it, it may be more convenient to make one bigger batch and let everyone choose their own ingredients as they make their bowls in the morning. And if you don’t have all the ingredients on hand, don’t let that stop you — improvise and use what’s on hand.
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I love to hear that people are thinking about whole grains and want to know how to use them. In my experience, adding these foods to a diet, particularly when they are replacing any kind of refined grain product, can have a significantly positive effect on energy, mood, and one’s ability to maintain a healthy weight. Grains also lend themselves well to cooking in batches and providing multiple meals. Furthermore, they are a great bargain relative to their nutritional value, especially if you purchase them in bulk.
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Whole grains, like millet, are an excellent source of nutrition and fiber. Because the body absorbs them more slowly than the processed variety (breads, crackers, pastas, etc), they provide a sustained source of energy and do not cause the blood-sugar fluctuations that can lead to mood swings, a lack of energy, and insulin-related disorders (including diabetes). Millet, in particular, is a heart-healthy choice because of the magnesium it contains, a mineral which has been shown to lower high blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart attack, especially in people with atherosclerosis or diabetic heart disease. Magnesium is a mineral that has also been shown in studies to reduce the severity of asthma and the frequency of migraine attacks.
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Quinoa is considered to be a “superfood,” having such a well balanced amino acid profile that it is considered a complete protein. It is also a very good source of manganese, magnesium, iron, copper and phosphorous. This makes it a great food for those who suffer from migraines, diabetes, atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease. It is also a rich source of fiber, which can provide protection against a variety of cancers, gallstones and diabetes.
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