Just Ask for Whole Grains
 Issue: 56
June 2014
whole grain breads
All About Sorghum
Support Your Schools
WG & Blood Sugar
Hull-less Barley
Cooking Grains


sorghum   ................................................. 




Sometimes sorghum is called milo, but whatever name you choose, Chef Jesse Cool's salad is a fresh, clean and delicious dish. 

Recipe courtesy
of Jesse Cool;
Oldways Photo




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Dear Friends of Whole Grains,

As I write this newsletter I'm still swooning over a dish I had at a local restaurant last week: Duck, on a bed of farro and quinoa mixed with mustard greens, Swiss chard and smoked cherries. What a symphony of textures and flavors! It's exciting to see top chefs really get the hang of creating new culinary delights featuring whole grains. What's the most delicious whole grain dish you've encountered lately? 


Grain of the Month: Sorghum

Sorghum is June's Grain of the Month. Never heard of it? Listen up, because sorghum is coming soon to a plate near you. Sorghum likely originated in Africa, where even today it's a staple food in many countries. Resistant to both drought and water-logging, and naturally highly pest-resistant, sorghum grows readily on land where more finicky grains might not thrive. Other plusses for sorghum: it's gluten-free, and fairly neutral in flavor, making it easy to incorporate into a range of products.
Unlike quinoa, which has become hugely expensive because it's grown only in small quantities at certain altitudes, sorghum can grow in a wide swath of warm climates and in fact is already the world's fifth largest cereal crop. With climate change, there's a good chance sorghum will become more popular and mainstream in parts of the world -- like the United States -- where it's not currently on most people's radar.
June is a great time to try something new if you haven't yet explored sorghum. Keep it simple: just cook plain sorghum as you would any other grain, and substitute it in your favorite grain salad or stir-fry recipe. Sorghum's little round grains look a lot like couscous. Or, you can even pop sorghum -- it comes out looking like mini-popcorn. Sorghum flour is also available; the WGC website offers a range of sorghum recipes for pie crust, pancakes, bread, cookies, noodles and apple crisp. How do you cook with sorghum? Tell us, on the Oldways Forum.

Support Whole Grains in Schools!

Two years ago, US schools participating in the government's school lunch program were required to start ramping up their whole grain offerings. As of July 1, 2012, at least half the grains served in schools were required to be "whole grain-rich" -- a term that basically means they need to contain more whole grain than refined grain. Then, this July, schools were supposed to crank it up another notch, making all their grains whole grain-rich. 
While more than 90% of schools report that they've successfully implemented the new standards (which also call for more fruits and vegetables, less sodium, and other improvements in school meals), a small subset of very vocal schools is asking for a delay in fully implementing the whole grain requirements, in part because some kids are turning up their noses at what's being served. 
Are these same schools making attendance optional, or dropping homework because kids want to opt out? Who are the grown-ups here, anyway? We're saddened that some schools aren't creative enough to come up with delicious ways to serve up whole grains -- to find a way to kids' hearts through their stomachs. If you have kids, be an active parent in advocating for healthier foods for kids. Visit your school and tell them you support their efforts to serve more whole grains. 
You won't be alone in your support. Check out the list here  of important national and state organizations -- from the American Academy or Pediatrics to the National PTA -- that are protesting against efforts to dial back the new healthier school meal requirements.

Health Studies: Sorghum Goes Easy on Blood Sugar

Just in time for sorghum month in June, researchers at the University of Arkansas published a study they conducted with a small group of healthy men. They had the men eat two different whole grain muffins -- a whole wheat muffin and a whole sorghum muffin -- and then they compared the muffins' impact on blood sugar levels. Glucose (blood sugar) response averaged 35% lower after the sorghum muffin, leading researchers to suggest that whole grain sorghum could be a good ingredient choice for managing glucose and insulin levels.
Eating the right foods at one meal can benefit you for hours afterwards. In a 2008 Swedish study  researchers fed twelve healthy subjects test meals including different whole and refined grains, and found that barley and rye kernels at one meal had a long-lasting effect on colntrolling blood sugar, extending to most of the day after a whole grain breakfast, or overnight with whole grains at dinner.
Want to see more studies on whole grains and health? We added ten recent studies to the WGC website this month. Remember that you can use our Health Studies Search Engine to find studies relating to specific grains or specific diseases or conditions. For instance, you can enter "rye" and "diabetes" to find studies that show the benefits of rye in relation to diabetes.

Hulled vs. Hull-less Barley   
A WGC follower named Lisa wrote us this month (through the Oldways Forum) asking, "What is the difference between hulled and hull-less barley?" That's a great question, so we're answering it here, too.
As it grows in the field, most barley has an inedible hull adhering tightly to the grain kernel. The easiest, quickest way to remove this inedible hull is to scrape (pearl) it off without worrying too much about how much bran comes off at the same time. But this results in "pearl barley" -- which is not whole grain.
To make sure you're enjoying true whole grain barley  look for hulled barley (barley where the inedible hull has been removed carefully, keeping any bran loss to insignificant levels) or less common hull-less barley (a different variety that grows without a tightly-attached hull -- the hull easily falls off when the grain is ripe). BOTH hulled and hull-less barley are whole grain, so if you can find one and not the other, don't worry. The photo above shows hull-less barley (also spelled hulless).


Discounts Deals

Do you feel you need inspiration from an expert, to expand your cooking-with-whole-grains repertoire? If so, we have a very nice discount to share with you this month. 

This one is from a friend of the WGC rather than a WGC member company. Enjoy!

Big Bowls Online Cooking Class
Martha Rose Shulman, Recipes for Health columnist for The New York Times, is a long-time friend of Oldways and the Whole Grains Council. Talk about people who create new delights with whole grains! Martha's always coming up with great new ways to highlight whole grains. 
Now you can learn how to cook great vegetarian dishes featuring whole grains from Martha. She's offering a special 50% discount to Just Ask for Whole Grains newsletter readers, for her new online cooking class called Big Bowls: Hearty Vegetarian Meals. To get your special WGC discount, use this link to register.


Best regards from all of us at Oldways and the Whole Grains Council,  

Director of Food and Nutrition Strategies
Oldways  /  Whole Grains Council  
Mallory Cushman                                  
Stamp Program Manager                                                        
Oldways  /  Whole Grains Council        


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