Just Ask for Whole Grains
 Issue: 65
March 2015
whole grain breads


grain of the month: quinoa   ................................................. 




This easy-to-make salsa is versatile as well as tasty; suggestions include serving as a side with fish or chicken, adding to burritos, or including chips for an appetizer.

Courtesy of Gretchen's Grains




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Dear Friends of Whole Grains,

"What's the next quinoa?" is a question we're often asked, here at the Whole Grains Council, by reporters and food industry members alike. While a number of other ancient grains are making headway and moving into the public sphere, quinoa remains a popular fan favorite. With its easy preparation, high protein quality, and culinary versatility, it is no surprise that March's Whole Grain of the Month nabbed a top (#34) spot in the National Restaurant Association's 2015 Culinary Forecast.   

If you're looking for a new way to spice up this ancient grain, then try our featured recipe, a Quinoa-Mango Salsa. Even if you don't have a tropical getaway planned this spring, the fresh, fruity flavors in this dish will surely transport you to a warmer clime.

With Boston's record-breaking winter behind us, we are ready to move on to a new season-one packed with lots of whole grain excitement, at that! Whole Grain Sampling Day is April 1, and we're not fooling when we say that we have plenty of fun events and great deals to share with you throughout this issue!

Whole Grain Sampling Day, April 1          

Whole Grain Sampling Day is less than a month away, with exciting activities and discounts happening across the US - and a few other locations worldwide! Check out just a "sample" of what's to come below, peruse our list of deals and discounts at the end of this email - or read our complete list of more than 40 partners on the WGC website. What's going on where you live, work, or shop?
  • Chadwick R-1 School District in Chadwick, MO, has lots of great promotions planned, including a special quirky menu featuring whole grain recipes, whole grain posters and decorations, a morning announcement on the PA, and a possible trivia contest for high school students -- with whole grain prizes.
  • At WakeMed Cary Hospital in North Carolina, the cafeteria will celebrate whole grain week from March 30 to April 3rd, focusing on a different whole grain menu item each day. Expect to see extra activities and food samples around Whole Grain Sampling Day.
  • Subway will be chatting with customers about the health benefits of whole grains, and promoting their 9-Grain Whole Wheat Bread at Subway restaurant in downtown Boston (114 Tremont St). Subway may even have a few surprises in store, so if you're in the Boston area around lunchtime, order a whole wheat sub and come see what the excitement is about!
  • Is the cafeteria at your workplace, school or hospital run by Compass Group? If so, chances are you'll see tasting samples, specials and cooking demos on or around April 1. Compass is even featuring whole grains as the "Superfood of the Month" of the entire month of April.
  • Popcorn Indiana is spreading the whole grain goodness by passing out popcorn samples to commuters at Boston's South Station on Wednesday morning.
  • The La Brea Bakery in Los Angeles will be featuring two new special menu items on whole grain bread: a Whole Wheat Panini (pictured right) and a Turkey Bacon on Multigrain.
  • Additionally, there will be plenty of Whole Grain Sampling Day events at supermarkets across the US and Canada, including select locations of Whole Foods Market, Hy-Vee, ShopRite, Martin's Supermarkets, King Soopers/City Market, C&S Wholesale Grocers, Coborn's, Niemann Food /County Market, Atlantic Superstore, Weis Markets, and more! 

To find a Whole Grain Sampling Day event near you, check out this activities page for more details.

Health: Whole Grain Intake May Decrease Heart Disease Risk 

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the US and other industrialized countries, so lifestyle changes, including diet, are important. To analyze the link between whole grain intake and coronary heart disease, researchers combined the results of eighteen different studies following over 400,000 people. The pooled results suggest that a higher intake of whole grains is associated with a lower risk for coronary heart disease. This study adds to the growing body of evidence that whole grains are a heart-healthy choice.

Myth of the Month: Whole Grains Cause Inflammation (Not!)

whole grain bread Whole grains are part of the solution, not the problem, when it comes to inflammation. That's important, because research increasingly shows that systemic inflammation may fuel many diseases, from allergies to heart disease to cancer. In a recent clinical trial, researchers at the University of Nebraska showed that eating a cup of whole grain barley or brown rice (or a combination of the two) for as little as four weeks can increase the "good" bacteria in your gut that fight inflammation. (Read our blog on this study.) In another randomized controlled trial, this time in Iran, overweight girls were divided into two groups, one eating mostly refined grains and one eating mostly whole grains. There was a significant reduction in inflammation markers among those eating whole grains.

Whole Grain Trends: Clean Labels 

WG StampHere at the Whole Grains Council, our Stamp Program Assistant, Harley Songin, spends her days combing through the multitude of products that request approval to use the Whole Grain Stamp. With over 10,000 products approved to use the Stamp, we've observed many trends over the past decade. What's popping up lately? Harley is noticing a greater variety of grains being used (like millet, amaranth, and buckwheat), instead of just the same few. Additionally, Harley is noticing more "clean label" products -- products without random fillers and complex chemical ingredients. As proponents of dietary variety and minimally processed food, we are happy to see these trends take form! What's been your favorite whole grain trend lately?

DEALS AND DISCOUNTS: Whole Grain Sampling Day Discounts Deals

Many restaurants and WGC member companies are offering special discounts on Wednesday, April 1, to celebrate Whole Grain Sampling Day. Check these out, in person or online.
  • Rubio's (with nearly 200 restaurants on the West Coast of the U.S.) will be offering $1 off any Burrito served on a whole grain tortilla or $1 off any Two Taco Plate served on stone-ground corn tortillas for their Facebook fans on Wednesday, April 1.  
  • Sweet Sassy Molassy Bakeshop, an Atlanta bakery specializing in handcrafted, satisfying and delectable baked goods (all made with whole grain flours) is offering a special discount on April 1, and the week leading up to WGSD.
  • On Whole Grain Sampling Day, Way Better Snacks will be introducing a new whole grain product on social media, and will be offering a one-day 50% sale on whole grain products ordered from their website!
  • Merchant Gourmet (one of the UK's largest suppliers of ready to eat grains) will be running a special promotion on their website (however, they only deliver in the UK), and possibly a competition on Whole Grain Sampling Day.
  • Carl Brandt / Mestemacher Bread will be hosting a Whole Grain Sampling Day sweepstakes on their Facebook page.
  • For Whole Grain Sampling Day, Lotus Foods will be holding a contest on Facebook & Instagram (@lotusfoods) for a special whole grain prize.

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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