Did you know that in 2007, The National Whole Grains Council sponsors the month of September to be “Whole Grains Month”? This year’s campaign is titled, “SHARE THE GOODNESS OF WHOLE GRAINS”. What a fabulous idea to share something so nutritious and delicious!
So, what exactly is a whole grain and how does it differ from refined grains? Whole grains come from a seed that contain the endosperm, germ and bran. Some examples of whole grains are Wheat, Barley, Oat Groats, and Brown Rice. Refined grains are when the whole grain has been milled and then stripped of the bran and germ. These kind of refined grains also lose other important vitamins and nutrition and so have to be “enriched”, meaning they have to add back in vitamins to make it worth eating.
Years ago, I was fixing breakfast for my boys and a bunch of their friends who had slept over. I was fixing my Whole Wheat Pancakes because they are delicious, easy and if I quadrupled the recipe, I knew it would make enough for a lot of hungry boys to eat as much as they wanted, plus have extra for later. They were eating them as fast as I could cook them and one boy exclaimed, “These are the best pancakes I’ve ever eaten!” I was so proud of myself since my children had never been so excited to eat their pancakes before and felt that this was a great success! I told him, “I’m so glad you like them! They are Whole Wheat Pancakes!” To which he replied, as he put his fork down, “Oh! Gross! I hate whole wheat!!” He didn’t eat another pancake. After the shock wore off, I started contemplating what went wrong in our exchange. One minute, he couldn’t stop eating them, the next minute, he was done! Then I realized, I had said the dreaded words, “Whole Wheat” and that had been the trigger that ended his love of my pancakes.
Whole grains don’t have to be “gross” to kids (or adults for that matter). I used to think if I explained to my kids that there is no nutrition in white flour that I could reason with them to eat healthy, whole grains, without complaint. I even educated them on the fiber content and large amount of vitamins and protein in them! They didn’t care. What they cared about is that the other kids at school had white bread while they had brown bread. They cared that the white bread tasted like sugar (we call it Candy Bread) and the whole wheat didn’t. My kids actually love my Whole Wheat Bread and can eat 2 loaves right out of the oven, but I believe “whole grains” still get a raw deal when it comes to a lot of people’s first notion of them. Often our first thought might be, “Oh gross!” before we’ve even tried it.
I appreciate the National Whole Grains Council attempt to educate the public on whole grains and their benefit. There are so many wonderful ancient grains such as Amaranth, Teff, Kamut, Spelt, Quinoa and Buckwheat that are delicious and so nutritious in many recipes that can help us get out of the Whole Wheat rut. I like to add Teff, uncooked, into my Pumpkin Bread and Zucchini Bread recipes. I love Buckwheat Crepes. Amaranth is wonderful when added to soups and nothing beats a Quinoa salad.
Let us know some of the ways and recipes that you love to enjoy Whole Grains and in the meantime, try my simple and delicious Whole Wheat Pancake recipe. I promise, you’ll love it!
WHOLE WHEAT PANCAKES
1 1/2 cups wheat flour
1/4 c. wheat germ
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3 TBS sugar or 1.5 TBS honey
1 1/2 cups milk (any kind will do)
3 TBS coconut oil
Mix everything together being careful to not over mix and cook on griddle until edges are slightly brown, flip and cook until light golden brown and enjoy!!