'Peanut Allergy Princess' is the story of one mom, one Princess with food allergies (to peanuts and brazil nuts) and our journey through the stress of life with food allergies. Here you will find many recipes, tips on living (and enjoying life) with food allergies, thoughts from a mother of 3 kids (The Brothers and The Princess) and insights into our life. Welcome!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Whole Grains 101

In case you haven't noticed, I LOVE whole grain flours. Maybe because they actually have some nutrition (where white flour does not) and because they taste yummy. For those who are new to whole grains, I am going to give you a run down of the grains that I use frequently and why they are so good for us.


Barley is one of the oldest grains that is eaten today. It is great in soups and stews. It is excellent  
combined with other flours because it is high in protein but low in gluten. Used (along with spelt and brown rice) to make wonder flour.
*Contains mucopolysaccharides, which stimulate the immune system, lower cholesterol and help blood clotting.
*It is good for carbo-loading (think marathon runners here or other endurance athletes) because it is
more easily digested and has double the carbohydrates of wheat.
*It is an excellent source of riboflavin (vitamin B2) which helps with energy production.
*It contains niacin (vitamin B3) which helps regulate cholesterol.


Most of you are familiar with brown rice. It is a super easy substitute for white rice. It is used (along with spelt and barley) to make wonder flour.
*Relieves muscle cramps, tension, soreness and fatigue and helps aid in recovery after exercise (thanks to gamma oryzanol)
*Stops muscle spasms and lung spasms
*High in magnesium which helps keep your blood sugar stable and aid in the proper absorption of calcium
*Reduces cholesterol
*Can help reduce menopausal symptoms

This is one the the newest grains for me, but so far, I love it! It is the only grain that is trademarked, which means when you buy kamut, it is always organic. It is fairly new in the US. It was an ancient Egyptian staple which a Montana farmer brought to the US in the 1950's.
*Kamut kernals are 3x bigger than wheat kernals
*Has 30% more protein than wheat
*Is high in magnesium, zinc and vitamin E
*Excellent choice to replace white flour in pastries and baked goods (that are best when light and fluffy) that don't need to rise


Oats in their whole form are called oat groats. To make old fashioned or rolled oats, the oat groats are steamed and pressed. Oat groats can be boiled and made into cereal or pulsed in a blender to make oat flour. Oat flour makes really yummy cookies, quick breads and cakes when mixed with other flours.
*Good for lowering cholesterol due to beta-glucan
*Oats are rarely processed to remove the outer germ and bran making them an easy way to get whole grains into your diet
*Higher in protein than most types of wheat
*High in soluble fiber


This is a very familiar grain in our diet (although usually it is popped and covered in butter and salt or sugar). It can be a very healthy snack though if air-popped.
*High in vitamin A - more than 10 times the amount found in other grains
*High in fiber
*Corn is high in manganese
*High in vitamin C
*A great source of antioxidants
*Corn can decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease


A favorite grain of the Incan people - it was a staple in their diet and was so revered that it was only planted with a golden shovel. Quinoa is a powerhouse grain and is great in either a sweet or a savory dish.
*All essential amino acids, making it a complete protein
*Contains a combo of magnesium and riboflavin that can help reduce migraines
*Helps reduces cholesterol
*Can help with restless leg syndrome
*Low in the glycemic index
*Supplies prebiotics which are the good bacteria in the gut


One of my favorite grains because it is easy to substitute for white flour (or even whole wheat flour) in baked goods. It is used (along with barley and brown rice) to make wonder flour.
*It has 60% more protein than wheat
*Contains the 8 essential amino acids, It also contains B vitamins, iron, potassium, magnesium and fiber
*Stabilizes blood sugar levels
*Just as effective at lowering cholesterol as lipid-lowering and statin drugs but without the side effects
*Good source of niacin (vitamin B3) which is used for energy and strength. Niacin also helps process fat
*Has selenium, which protects against degenerative diseases
*Helps the lungs fight off asthma attacks
*Can help prevent gall stones. Detoxifies the liver
*Lower cancer risk, especially colon cancer
*Relieves arthritis and repairs body tissues
*Contains prebiotic fibers which feed good bacteria in the gut

This is by no means a full listing of all the whole grains that are available - these are just some of the ones that I am most familiar with and use in my kitchen. To read about other whole grains or to learn more about these, visit Whole Grains Council.

As you can see, there are so many health benefits to whole grains - and to switching things up and using a variety of whole grains in your cooking. Each of the grains brings something else to the table and can benefit our bodies.

In another post, I will explain how to substitute whole grain flour for white flour in your baking - so stay tuned!


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