I was chatting with a friend today. We were commiserating on our struggles with the extra time and dedication needed when we set our sights on eating high quality whole grains instead of the pasty, white refined grains. Our dilemma was that even though we wanted to avoid refined grains, they are what we find more of in our neighborhood grocery stores. Regardless of how we sliced it up, we concluded that whole grains were better by far but refined grains were often more convenient.
It makes one wonder (ok, maybe just me), why are refined grains this readily available? Why do they take up so much more shelf space than whole grains? Why aren’t whole grains more common? I mean, a refined grain once started out as a perfectly good whole grain, right? What happened?
Here’s what I believe was a big part of the problem. At one time when whole grain, let’s say wheat, for example, was being transported in its natural state, bugs were attracted to it. As they happily munched away on the wheat bran and germ, it was pretty much ruined before it got to the people. So, of course, the powers that be, stripped it of bran and germ, successfully removing fiber, B vitamins and essential fatty acids — the good stuff. Low and behold, no more bugs! It could then be transported bug free. The bugs moved on to find something else while we were left with what the bugs didn’t want. I’m wondering. In this scenario, who was smarter? Bugs or people?
The bugs may have won that battle. But we’ve learned a lot since then and I think we are winning the war. Whole grains are making a strong comeback. If you really want to eat whole grains, you can. Even gluten free grains are easier to find. Branch out a bit when you grocery shop. Rolled oats, steel cut oats, brown rice, barley, popcorn and bulgar are common whole grains. Find even more variety at a whole foods store. Look for wheat berries, quinoa, spelt, buckwheat and wild rice.
Do the smart thing. Eat whole grains! (The bugs will take care of themselves, I promise.)