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Great Grain Robbery
Photo: MorgueFile
You’ve been robbed! That’s right—without your even knowing it someone has been ripping you off every time you sit down to eat! What am I talking about? Food manufacturers, when they make things like bread and cereal, have been removing the most important parts of the grain and throwing them away. They leave just the kernel, which is mainly made of carbohydrates with very little nutritional value. They’re stealing your health—and you’re helping them do it! Every time you choose to eat foods made with refined grains—foods like white bread, pasta, corn chips, or white rice—you are stealing from yourself. It’s a crime!

Three Important Parts

Nutritional experts recommend including several servings of whole grains in your diet every day. Grains are things like wheat, oats, corn, and rice. A whole grain has three important parts:

  • The Bran: That’s the outer shell where most of the fiber is found. It also has important things like vitamins and minerals that are essential to a healthy diet.

  • The Germ: No, not all germs are bad. The germ is what a new plant sprouts from, and it is loaded with vitamins and minerals, protein, and some fat. This is one germ that is actually good for you.

  • The Kernel: Also called the endosperm, this is the largest part of the grain and contains mainly protein and carbohydrates.
Fight Back

Without any of the above parts the grain is no longer whole, and you’ve been robbed. But you can fight back. Here are a few ways to get more whole grains and stop the robbery:

1. Check the ingredients before you buy. You are looking for phrases like “whole-wheat flour,” “whole oats,” or “whole grain."

2. Add a couple teaspoons of wheat germ and bran to your cereal in the morning. You’ll be adding delicious nutty flavor along with important vitamins and fiber.

3. Add oats to your favorite cookie recipe.

4. Eat a bowl of oatmeal every day. Add some fruit and a little wheat germ, and you’ve got a delicious and very nutritious breakfast.

5. Try whole-grain pasta, pancakes, or muffins at your next meal.

6. Eat brown or wild rice instead of that white, pasty stuff.

7. Grab some granola or a granola bar and leave that bag of chips on the shelf.

8. Make your sandwiches with whole-grain breads; you know—the darker ones with the little seeds and oats on the outside.

Whole grains are essential for a healthy diet. Don’t let someone steal your health. Be a crime stopper! Include more whole grains in your diet today. You’ll be glad you did.

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By Richard Edison, PA-C. Reprinted with permission from Listen, November 2006. Copyright © 2007 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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