first of all to those of you to whom it applies: HAPPY EASTER!!!
In our part of the world Easter Sunday and Monday are just like any other working day, but of course we don't expect anything else. Had some Gold Bunnies though...
Grains! Yes! Over and over I hear people say that they totally avoid carbohydrates in order to loose weight and it always gets me going. Yes, you might loose weight easier and quicker as you obviously burn your salad faster than your wholegrain bun, but that is the point: carbohydrates are the ones that keep you full by balancing your blood sugar level and they do NOT make you fat; it is what you eat with them and your portion size that makes you gain weight. Obviously, please note that our bodies are not made to gorge down the amounts of rice that Asian people consume. Always remember that different ethnic groups have very different metabolisms and thus need very different diets!
If you stop eating grain (I always refer to wholegrain! The essence of the grain is in the husk!) you deprive your body of essential nutrients and fiber. Many fibers even contain loads of good protein, which is especially important in a vegetarian diet. A healthy intake of fiber is vital for a healthy intestine and reduces the risk of bowel cancer. It is the amount and the quality of the cereals, which count!
Try to avoid wheat, many people cannot digest it very well. Pure rye is easy to digest, then there is spelt bread, which tastes fantastic and is easy to digest.
Apart from these grains nowadays we have the whole lot of variety at your disposal, for example:
-Quinoa (which is a pseudocereal, but still. Rich in protein, magnesium and iron)
-Barley (low in gluten and high in phosphorus, which is important for bones and teeth)
-Millet (gluten-free with similar nutrients as wheat)
There is more out there!
Use brown rice instead of white one, wholegrain pasta (I know, I know, but with a juicy, low-fat sauce it is delicious) and then there is buckwheat (see my resp. post on this healthy cerial).
You can use all these grains just as you use rice or pasta. Add grains to your salad and use them for your breakfast (e.g. Quinoa porridge).
Following a very easy Quinoa recipe as an example, to which you can add any vegetables you would like:
Ingredients (serves 4)
- 1 cup quinoa
- 3 cups water
- 1 pinch salt
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped and other veggies as you like
- 1/2 cup corn kernels
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 red onions, chopped
- Bring the quinoa, water, and 1 pinch of salt to a boil in a saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the quinoa is tender, about 20 minutes (it is ready when you can clearly see the white kernel). Once done, drain and set aside.
- Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the garlic, and cook until the garlic softens and the aroma mellows, about 2 minutes. Add the red pepper, and corn; continue cooking until the pepper softens, about 5 minutes. Season with cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper, and cook for 1 minute more, then stir in the cooked quinoa and green onions. Serve hot or cold.