Let’s talk about grains.  The food pyramid says we should eat 6 to 11 servings of whole grains every day.  We get these in our breads, pastas, and cereals.  Taking a look at cereals, here are a few examples of what the cereal industry does.  They appeal to kids, but they know moms are the ones who do the buying.  So, they rename their products.  Instead of Sugar Smacks, we now have Honey Smacks.  This cereal contains 57 percent sweeteners, but only 7 percent of this sweet taste comes from honey.  It is the same with Honey Nut Cheerios.  In 1977, Kellogg took out ads reassuring us they added 25 percent of the U.S. RDA of 7 essential vitamins and 10 percent of the U.S. RDA of vitamin D and iron.  To attract the kids, the ad declared, they added a “sparkle” of sugar.  Later, by their own figures, we found the “sparkle” of sugar to be 11 grams per one-ounce serving (just shy of one tablespoon) or 40 percent of the contents.

A general rule of purchase:  look for ready-to-eat cereals made from whole oats, wheat, rye, millet, corn, and rice that are naturally fortified with wheat germ, nutritional yeast, nuts, seeds, flaxseed, and dried fruit.  Accept molasses, maple syrup, brown rice syrup, or fruit juice sweeteners only when used judiciously.  Avoid refined sweeteners, artificial color, artificial flavors, and preservatives.  Lastly, when looking at cereals in the grocery store remember, the fewer the ingredients the better.

Breads are another interesting topic.  What has “technology” done?  Why are we told to avoid white bread?  It tastes so good.  Let’s look at what is done to the wheat berry.  First, the germ or the seed portion of the kernel is removed.  Then, the bran or fibrous covering of the kernel is removed.  These two foods are among the most healthful foods known to man.  Wheat germ is actually a tiny embryo nestled at the base of the wheat berry loaded with nutrients, rich in B vitamins.  Bran, as we all know, is a terrific source of fiber.  Once they strip the wheat kernel of its nutrients, then they bleach it to make it whiter, and then they chemically attempt to add back the nutrients they removed.  So, you can see why anything made with white flour is virtually void of nutrients.  That includes macaroni, spaghetti, cake mixes, bread mixes, any packaged baked food, rolls, biscuits, etc.

When looking to purchase breads or pastas, look for breads that do not have the word “enriched” next to the work “flour”.  Instead of “wheat flour”, look for 100 percent whole wheat.  These breads are usually heavier, they may crumble easily, and generally stay with you longer after eating.  Look for whole food ingredients, no chemicals.  Also, there are many different kinds of grains for those who have wheat sensitivities.  For example, spelt makes a terrific bread.

Rice is another good grain.  However, all rice is brown, not white!  Man decided again to intervene and scrub the nutrient-rich bran off and then refine it over and over to make it quick and easy.  Brown rice has almost three times more B6, two times more iron, three times more magnesium, five times more thiamin, three times more niacin, three times more fiber, 50 percent more zinc, and five times more vitamin E.  Why would you want to serve your family white rice?

Tomorrow we will talk about oils, fruits, and vegetables.

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