Just Ask for Whole Grains
 Issue: 63
January 2015
whole grain breads
2015 WG Trends
See Conference Videos
Health: Rye & Cholesterol
5 Oatmeal Topping Ideas
African Heritage & Health Week


january grain of the month   ................................................. 




This oatmeal bake is a must  for chilly winter weekends. You can use a variety of fruits, but the blueberry and peach are sure to please.

Courtesy of Taste of Home magazine




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Dear Friends of Whole Grains,

The New Year is a great time to reprioritize wellness and work to strengthen healthy habits. Whole grains have long been recognized as a central component of nutritious diets by health experts around the world (new research even links whole grains to longevity -- more on this below), so this year, let's resolve to make even more of the grains on our plate whole, and find whole grain versions of our refined grain favorites. After all, small swaps can add up to a big difference in nutrition and health!

Make it a habit to ask for brown rice at your favorite Asian restaurant, whole wheat crust at the local pizzeria, and whole grain bread or wraps at delis and sub shops. At home, stock your pantry with oatmeal (5 creative topping ideas later in this issue!), whole wheat pasta, and whole grain breakfast cereal. From there you can branch out to other whole grains, such as quinoa, teff, barley, and farro. Also, for anyone resolving to get healthier this year, be sure to check out our blog post on four ways to make healthy habits stick.


Start Planning Your Whole Grain Sampling Day Promotion!

Whole Grain Sampling Day is an annual event held the first Wednesday in April (this year, April 1, 2015) that has just one goal: to get as many people as possible to try more whole grains. Any activity, no matter how big or how small, can be a part of Whole Grain Sampling Day (WGSD), but now is the time to start planning!

Check out all of the resources we offer for WGSD 2015, from downloadable brochures and handouts about whole grains, to a Whole Grain Grocery Store Tour Kit, to Whole Grain Trivia Contest Kit, to a database of sample Tweets for WGSD.

Are you interested in joining the movement to promote whole grains this April? Get in touch with Kelly Toups ([email protected], or 617-896-4884) to brainstorm ideas and find out how the Whole Grains Council can support your whole grain promotion efforts. We love to hear about fun, new ways to encourage whole grains, so reach out to Kelly to share your whole grain event, whether you're a dietitian, a teacher, a manufacturer, a chef -- or simply an individual planning to do something special!

Health: Whole Grain Intake Can Lower Death Risk
whole grain cereal Eating more whole grains may help you live longer! Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health analyzed data from over 110,000 adults. The scientists found that every one-ounce serving of whole grains (from everyday foods such as breakfast cereal and breads) was associated with a 5% lower total risk of death, or a 9% lower risk of death from heart disease, although it wasn't significantly associated with cancer mortality. The researchers of this study conclude "these results are in line with recommendations that promote increased whole grain consumption to facilitate disease prevention." For a more in-depth look at this study, be sure to check out our post on the Oldways Table Blog.

Myth of the Month: Wheat is Addictive (Not!)

Extreme dieters preach avoiding wheat for its "addictive" properties. As ammunition, they say that wheat proteins, called gliadins, can stimulate opioid receptors, thus paving the way for addiction. However, these peptides are also found in milk, rice, and even spinach. And spinach addiction certainly isn't a problem! Additionally, these studies weren't done with actual food, just isolated peptides or in-vitro (test tube) experiments. 

In a recent study in the Journal of Cereal Science, Fred Brouns confirms that there is "no evidence that gliadin either stimulates appetite or induces addiction-like withdrawal effects." Additionally, some studies have actually found these peptides to be beneficial to health, with the potential to improve both blood pressure and learning performance.

5 New Ways to Top Your Oatmeal           

If you must get out of bed on a cold, January morning, then there had better be warm oatmeal at the ready! From instant and quick cooking varieties, to old fashioned and steel cut oats, you can rest assured that all oats are whole grain, as the bran and germ aren't removed during processing. While this creamy, unassuming porridge always had a small, yet devoted following, in recent years, oatmeal enthusiasts have multiplied, and they're changing the way we think about hot cereal.

Raisins and brown sugar are a classic way to dress up January's Whole Grain of the Month, but we urge you to use the New Year to experiment with new oatmeal recipes. Looking to reimagine this classic pantry staple?
Try our Baked Blueberry and Peach Oatmeal, featured in this issue, or check out recipe sites (such as this oatmeal blog) to get ideas. Below are 5 creative topping combinations to get you started:
  1. Peanut Butter  + Fresh Berries or Berry Jam
  2. Pears + Cinnamon + Honey + Almond Butter
  3. Pumpkin Puree + Pecans + Dried Cranberries + Maple Syrup
  4. Cocoa Powder + Bananas + Chia seeds or Flax Seeds
  5. Olive Oil +Sea Salt + Peas + Bacon
Celebrate African Heritage & Health Week Feb 1-7!

Coinciding with Black History Month, African Heritage & Health Week commemorates the foods, flavors and healthy cooking techniques that were core to the wellbeing of African ancestors from Africa, South America, the Caribbean, and the American South.

Many delicious whole grains, such as millet, teff, and sorghum, have strong roots in African cooking, so this is the perfect week to experiment with some of these increasingly popular "ancient grains".  Schedule a potluck of African Heritage recipes, such as Millet with Cauliflower and Mushrooms, Jollof Rice with Black-Eyed Peas, Cornmeal Crusted Okra, and Brown Rice and Red Beans in Light Coconut Milk (Congris). Or, dine at a local African restaurant!

To learn more about the African Heritage and Health program, contact Sarah McMackin at [email protected].


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

Kelly Toups, MLA, RD, LDN                                   
Program Manager                                                        
Oldways  /  Whole Grains Council       

Cynthia Harriman
Director of Food and Nutrition Strategies
Oldways  /  Whole Grains Council  
Harley Songin                                   
Stamp Program Assistant  Manager                                                        
Oldways  /  Whole Grains Council          


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