Countdown to the New Year: Day 2 of 6

How did you do with your food journal yesterday? I hope you learned a thing or two about your eating habits.
Do it again today.  It will keep you accountable for what you eat and offer information you can use to make improvements.  It will give you a sense of control.

Today’s goal is to avoid all refined grains.  Or to put a more positive spin on it- Make all of your grains WHOLE.  Better still, keep at least half of your whole grains in their whole form as opposed to eating them after they have been ground into flour.  The closer a food is to it’s natural state, the fewer nutrients it loses and the lower it’s glycemic index.  Consider flour, which started out as a wheat kernel, oat groat or whatever grain it was made from.  Once that outer shell is cracked and processed into fine particles, much more surface area has been exposed to oxygen and heat…  factors that can destroy certain vitamins.  Processing also makes the food more readily absorbed by your body which can cause a faster rise in blood sugar.  Think rolled oats instead of boxed cereal flakes or squares  and brown rice or bulgur instead of crackers and breads.

Common refined grains include: white bread, white pasta, white rice and anything made with refined flour like cookies, crackers, cakes, muffins, pretzels and many other packaged products.  You will need to read ingredient lists; it’s a crucial habit to form.  You can’t determine if a food is good for you based on what the packaging looks like– and don’t be fooled by claims that shout out statements like “all-natural!” or “made with whole grains!”  You need to read the ingredient list to find out what is really in there.  Go through your pantry and kitchen and check out your packages of pasta, rice mixes and boxed snacks.  These are the types of foods that play a major role in obesity and disease.

Get them out of your life.  But… because we are going to progress with small steps and in case you are not yet ready to toss them all into the trash quite yet, start with simply staying away from them just for today.  Educate yourself by looking at ingredient lists so at least you know what is in what you are eating.  Are you surprised by how many of your usual foods are made with refined grains?

Common words to be on the alert for that mean the grain has been refined include:

  • White rice
  • Enriched wheat flour
  • Wheat flour (If the world WHOLE is in front of wheat then it is not refined.)
  • Couscous (Despite popular belief, couscous is not even close to being a healthy food.  It’s nothing but refined pasta in tiny balls.  It does come in whole wheat though!)
  • “Made with whole grains” (Often the first ingredient is refined flour.)
  • Multi-grain (Not necessarily whole grain.)

Instead, switch to products that have WHOLE WHEAT as the first ingredient.  When buying rice, get BROWN RICE or WILD RICE which have not been refined.  Try: QUINOA, TEFF, OATS, BUCKWHEAT and AMARANTH.  POPCORN is also considered a whole grain!

For more info:

Do you know why you *think* you prefer refined products to whole grain?  Could it be because that is what you have been eating your whole life and therefore that is what you are used to?  We like the foods we are familiar with eating; they feel safe.  You may need to break out of that comfort zone.  Whole grains actually have more flavor than refined and once you get your taste buds adjusted to the change you will find that the white stuff is simply not worth it.

You don’t have to switch over to 100% whole grains cold turkey.  Put something new on your grocery list and try it.  Maybe mix half brown rice into your white rice.  Same with pasta.  Try the white whole wheat bread if you are nervous about liking the regular whole wheat.  It’s still whole grain, just a different variety of wheat that is similar to white bread. The important thing today is to put your intentions into ACTION.

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2 Responses to Countdown to the New Year: Day 2 of 6

  1. Helene says:

    Your posts are interesting and informative. I was wondering if you’ve read Wheat Belly by William Davis. And if you have what your thoughts are on his premise of our Eating too much whole wheat and wheat products. Thanks

    • Corinne Goff says:

      Hi Helene, I have heard of it, haven’t read it, but will look into it! I can say that I agree most people do eat too much wheat. If you think about all the breads, crackers, pasta, cookies and other baked goods that people eat being mainly composed of wheat (typically refined), then yes, way too many calories are coming from wheat. As far as whole wheat goes, you can overdo that as well. I think it depends on how much you eat and what foods you are leaving out by eating whole wheat products. If your whole wheat crackers are replacing a piece of fruit or a salad and your whole wheat pasta is replacing a variety of healthier starches like quinoa or winter squash, then this can be a problem.

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