April 23, 2012

My Father's Diet: Whole Grain Hot Cereal

Dad liked to grind his own wheat for hot cereal on Saturday mornings. We ate it. But I wouldn't call it my favorite. It was pretty wheaty tasting. Duh. I have no idea what we expected it to taste like when the only ingredients are water, wheat and some salt.

Mush, Daddy! Mush!
Mush, Daddy! Mush!
Mush, Daddy! Mush!
Mush, Daddy! Mush!

My father always chanted this verse in a sing-song voice when he was making hot cereal. He sung as if we were demanding he give us some right now. Like the "bring us some figgy pudding" line in the We Wish You A Merry Christmas song.We weren't buying in to the hype. But you can't blame a dad for trying. Nor a mom for that matter. I play the same trick on my kids...except my song goes something like this:

Oaty oaty oatmeal
Such a treat!
Oaty oaty oatmeal
Can't be beat!

I'll tell you something else. I haven't told my kids that normal people put sugar or honey in their oatmeal and hot cereal. Ha ha ha. And guess what? They like the taste of grain by itself. They think it's plenty sweet, especially when I add cinnamon and raisins or other fruit. If you're super observant, you'll notice Tymon sneaking off to the pantry to add some brown sugar or honey. Luckily the kids are too busy singing about loving oaty oaty oatmeal to see what's going on behind the scenes.

I've been thinking about grains for years but just recently I decided to put my money where my heart was and reorganized my pantry with organic whole grains. I love these bins and how they've enabled me to easily access grains.
Lock & Lock 50 cup storage containers.
On Friday, I took my grinder to school and taught a class of 3rd graders about whole grains. Wow, they were into it and loved my four whole grain samples (popcorn, barley pancakes, spelt muffins and multi-grain wheat bread). It turns out that Graeden's teacher also bakes her own bread as well as one classmate's mother. We're not alone. Yes!

My lesson was basically talking about the anatomy of grain, the function of the three parts and what vitamins and nutrients they contain. We briefly talked about commercial milling and stripping nutrients out of flour. One student brought up bleaching in combination with, "Bleh. That's like eating laundry detergent!" I love how kids can really condense an argument to it's most basic point. Bleached and white flours are not good for us.

We also talked about enriched grains adding back in a handful of vitamins and then whole grain flours. I found this Montana Wheat and Barley Committee resource excellent:

Bran - About 14% of the kernel weight. The bran is included in whole wheat flour and is also available separately. The bran contains a small amount of protein, large quantities of the three major B vitamins, trace minerals and dietary fiber -- primarily insoluble.

Endosperm - About 83% of the kernel weight and the source of white flour. The endosperm contains the greatest share of protein, carbohydrates and iron, as well as the major B-vitamins such as riboflavin, niacin, thiamin and iron. It is also a source of soluble fiber

Germ - About 2.5% of the kernel weight. The germ is the embryo or sprouting section of the seed, often separated from flour in milling because the fat content (10 percent) limits shelf life. The germ contains minimal quantities of high quality protein and a greater share of B-complex vitamins and trace minerals. Wheat germ can be purchased separately and is included in whole wheat flour.

My purpose with getting the vitamins and minerals out of whole grains is to fight cancer. It surprised me that these 8 and 9 year old kids were concerned about diabetes. I know how much adults talk about childhood diabetes, but I didn't realize how much children overhear. I do believe that kids won't rebel against whole grains as much as we think they will. When given an intellectual choice, they want to do what's right. I challenged them to request that their parents buy whole wheat flour at the store rather than white flour. I hope some will....I'm grateful my parents believed in the power of whole grains. Having seen their example made it a lot easier for me to branch out when I was ready.

Diet Challenge #2
Add one whole grain to your meal plans this week.

Best wishes to a healthier you. This is the third in a nutrition series.
Part Two: Lifestyle Change

2 Riveting COMMENTS:

  1. Bridget, you mean you weren't really excited when you got oatmeal and cracked wheat cereal which wasn't topped with brown sugar? I could have sworn that you kids joined in with my cereal excitement.

    I'm hurt, but I'm glad you have finally seen the light. My favorite way of explaining the diabetes industry method of making food last longer on the shelf is that they mill 31 essential vitamins and minerals out of the wheat and then bleach it with chlorine to make it whitey white (why don't you write a jingle about the whitey white bread that stays soft and white for months?). If we are so in love with white, why don't we have a third condiment shaker on the table with chlorine crystals in addition to the salt and pepper?

    The topper to this explanation which makes the whole process all right is that after removing the 31 nutrients, they add 8 vitamins and minerals and announce in large letters on the bread wrapper: "FORTIFIED!"

    The same is done with sugar. They remove the molasses from the sugar and bleach the remainder and dry it in crystals that you put on your cereal. What do they do with the molasses they remove? Other than a few bottles they can sell in health food stores to people as they do with a small amount of the wheat bran, they feed the rest to cattle which thrive on the nutrients humans reject.

    Oh yes, but Tymon likes the healthy brown sugar on his oatmeal. Is this the same Tymon who can go a full year without tasting of candy and other sweets? Brown sugar is normally white sugar with a little molasses added back in (although some is actually crystallized natural sugar without going through the bleaching process).

    Thanks, Bridget, for giving my grand kids more nutrition. They will need it for healthy lives that no amount of ObamaCare can compensate for the federally authorized crap we call food today.

    And thank you for influencing me to eat better, because I've forgotten to use a lot of the wisdom I once had. Whose ad is it that says something like "Better Living Through Chemistry?" Yeah. Right!

  2. Here's a wiki explanation of the Dupont ad campaign which ran from 1935 - 1982. Perhaps Monsanto will pick it up to promote their chemistry set recreations of God's food.



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