Processed to whole grains (Part 1 of 3)

Possibly the trickiest part about this is adjusting your taste buds or those of your entire family. So, if that is a huge problem I would pick one battle at a time. Correct me if I’m wrong (really), but it seems to me that people eat most of their refined grains in the form of white rice, white flour products, and pasta.
My solution to the pasta has been two fold. We don’t eat very much pasta and what we do eat is made from whole grain flour. Some brands taste better than others so don’t give up if the first one you try is a flop. The best ones seem to use whole wheat semolina, semolina being the traditional strain of wheat used in pasta. Although, I have had some unusual pastas that were still good and used ingredients like artichoke flour (don’t ask, I’m not sure how you get that either).
White rice can be traded for the brown variety. I’ve found short and long grain as well as varieties like jasmine available as brown rice. I don’t cook with white rice at all, and I can’t imagine how I ever managed to eat it regularly, it tastes sort of glue like to me now. The trickiest part of this transition seems to be cooking time, because while white rice cooks up in 15 minutes, the whole grain version takes 40 -45. I start cooking rice before I do any other prep. for the meal, that is one solution. Another option is to cook a lot of rice once a week and store it in the fridge, or freeze the extra.
White flour products might be the trickiest one overall. The problem is that almost any processed or prepackaged food you buy (even at a health food store) contains white flour. I think this is part of what makes people feel so much better when they cut processed food from their diets, it cuts out so much of the white flour and sugar. So, besides the tip to read labels and be aware that ‘wheat flour’ does not mean whole wheat flour, I’ll let you know how I switched. I started off realizing that at least there was no point in buying bleached white flour, so I switched to unbleached, it’s not much, but it’s a start. Then I began to use whole wheat flour for half of the flour in most things I baked. After awhile I started wondering why it wouldn’t work to cut out even more of the white flour and I started experimenting with more and more wheat flour in my baked goods. This gradual approach also has the advantage of acclimating your families taste buds slowly, as opposed to a sudden overnight switch. I think the slower transition can result in fewer complaints, especially if everyone is not supportive of the switch. Now I never buy flour, at all. I do however own a wheat grinder that also grinds beans, and corn (most cornmeal has been de-germinated to make it more shelf stable). So, I grind wheat or spelt and store the flour in the fridge, and do the same thing with field corn for cornmeal. Occasionally if I need chickpea flour or something I can also grind that. And that brings up an interesting point, which is that whole grain flours can go rancid because the naturally present oils have not been removed from them. It’s best to buy whole grain flours from a store with a high turnover rate or where they grind them fresh for you and then store the flours in the fridge.



3 thoughts on “Processed to whole grains (Part 1 of 3)

  1. Thanks for this post. We’re eating whole wheat pasta but white jasmine rice. I make my own bread and use about half whole wheat and half white.

    Where do you buy wheat that can be ground? I’d be interested in grinding my own.

    • Many health food stores have wheat in their bulk bins, some of the local grocery stores here carry bags of wheat, or you can have it special ordered if no one seems to stock it. Just be sure they compare available options and prices when placing the order for you instead of going with the first supplier they see, so you can get a good price.
      I order through Azure Standard which has drop points in most of the Western U.S., also if there is a local Co-op you can order through they might be your best option.

  2. Okay. I’m weighing in on the WWF (whole wheat flour) and brown rice thing. Our family used to be all pasty white. Everything we ate was processed. Now we don’t own any white rice or flour. We still haven’t converted our pasta. That will be next.

    At first the change was hard on the fam. They complained. The boycotted me. They bought their own food. But now, they love it. They ask questions like, “Why does this taste so bland?” when they eat white bread or rice at restaurants.

    Converting can be done! And unprocessed tastes sooo much better!

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