What is a wholegrain?

I get asked this question a lot, what exactly IS a wholegrain?

A whole grain is simply that – a grain, which is whole.

Here are some examples of things that are referred to as grains, some of them are seeds but we tend to call them grains.

·         Rice

·         Wheat

·         Corn

·         Quinoa

·         Millet

·         Oats

·         Buckwheat

Imagine these little grains attached to plants, swaying in the gentle breeze in nature.  Not a single hand has yet come along to pummel, heat, bleach, add crap to, and mould them.  They are perfectly formed, whole, grains.

Now, I’m not much of a grain eater myself and everyone has their own opinions on wholegrains.  This article is about defining the wholegrain, not whether you should or shouldn’t eat them.

When we talk about a serving of whole grains, we are typically talking about something that might fit into a cupped hand – somewhere around the 1/3 – ½ cup mark.

So, if we go and get a slice of *ahem* “wholegrain” bread and go and pick out all the grains that are whole (or somewhat whole, halves are ok).  How many whole grains do you have in your hand?  Is it a serving size?

No, of course it’s not.   Your ½ cup of uncooked oats, quinoa or whatever you choose is a serving of whole grains and there really is no comparison with any processed product claiming to be wholegrain, and this applies to wholegrain bread, crackers, breakfast biscuits and some muesli bars.  Don’t be fooled into thinking that a slice of oat and honey bread will give you the same nutrition as oats with a drizzle of honey.

For those who tolerate and enjoy grains, go for the super natural nutrition that you get out of whole grains, and for an even greater nutrient punch, soaked and sprouted whole grains are the best.

Stacey Hancock
February 2013

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