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


WG April   ................................................. 




Use this as your main, base recipe for making bread and rolls from sprouted wheat flour - then add poppy seeds, herbs, chopped sun-dried tomatoes, or chopped olives for variation. One recipe; many flavors.

Courtesy of Janie Quinn




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Dear Friends of Whole Grains,

Spring is a season of growth and renewal, so it's only natural that our Whole Grains of the Month for April are sprouted grains. Sprouted grains (whole grains that have been soaked and left to germinate) have begun to grow into a new plant - but just barely. The process is stopped when the new sprout is still shorter than the length of the original grain (otherwise, it grows into a cereal grass stalk). Any type of grain can be sprouted, so long as it contains all of its original bran, germ, and endosperm, because all components of the grain are required for the sprout to grow. 

Sprouting can increase the amount and/or bioavailability of certain nutrients, including fiber, iron, and folate, making sprouted grains a particularly healthy whole grain choice. If you'd like to learn more about sprouted grains, check out our informational webpage.

Sprouted grains are also popular for their sweeter taste, longer shelf life (for dried sprouted grain flours) and favorable baking characteristics (such as increased dough volume). For this reason, one of our favorite ways to experience sprouted grains is to bake with them. If you're new to baking with sprouted flour (which can be substituted cup-for-cup for conventional flour, although we recommend adding just a little extra liquid), then start with our featured recipe, Sprouted Sandwich Bread.

Introducing the Whole Grains Council Instagram         

The Whole Grains Council is now on Instagram! Follow us (@Whole_Grains_Council) for whole grain inspiration and a behind the scenes look at all of the Whole Grains Council happenings. Also, tag your delicious whole grain creations with #wholegrainscouncil, or by giving us a shoutout (@Whole_Grains_Council) in the comments. We just might re-gram our favorites!

Health: Refined Grain Consumers Shift to Prefer Whole Grains in Only 6 Weeks 

Rice Lentil Salad We all know someone in our life who could use more whole grains. After all, Americans are only making a meager 12% our grains whole. But even if you turn your nose up at nutty "brown bread" or creamy porridge doesn't mean that you can't learn to love whole grains. It simply means that you haven't given them a fair chance.

In a small European study, researchers supplied 33 adults who rarely eat whole grains (less than one ounce per day) with diet advice and a variety of whole grain foods. The participants increased their whole grain intake by 500% for six weeks (averaging six ounces per day) so that the scientists could assess diet's relationship with gut bacteria, body fat and blood chemistry (like blood pressure and cholesterol). 

While the scientists found no significant health changes during this short-term experiment, what was remarkable is how the participants' attitudes towards whole grains changed throughout the study. According to the researchers, nearly two thirds (65%) of the participants who provided post study data said they now prefer whole grains, "citing benefits such as improved bowel movements and appetite suppression, as well as taste." Additionally, "the majority of subjects reported that it was not difficult to achieve the required level," and a whopping 76% of subjects intend to continue eating and purchasing whole grains. 

Whole Grain Sampling Day Recap

The fourth annual Whole Grain Sampling Day, celebrated the first Wednesday every April, was a huge success! We partnered with over 50 organizations, including Google (top middle photo), Boston University (top left photo), Panda Express, and Lotus Foods. One of the most exciting promotions was at a local Subway restaurant in Boston, where customers ordering sandwiches on whole wheat received a surprise $5 gift card (top right photo)! 

Other exciting celebrations included a new whole grain product launch (Sprouted Barley Crackers) from Way Better Snacks, a month-long whole grain scavenger hunt at King Sooper's / City Market, recipe demos, and much more! Would you like to join in on the Whole Grain Sampling Day fun? Test your knowledge with this whole grain quiz (above) from the American Institute for Cancer Research, created especially for Whole Grain Sampling Day. 

Whole Grain Sampling Day is a social event and whole grains got their day in a big way! By our estimation, thanks to all the support of WGC members and friends, 2 million people tasted, tweeted, shared and celebrated! From online oatmeal shout-outs and quizzes to test whole grain knowledge, Sampling Day Selfies and supermarket and restaurant tastings, the important message of this day was heard (and tasted) across the globe.  (Photos above, left to right: WGSD event at Hy-Vee in Bettendorf, WG Sampling at OFS Optics in CT, Customers participating in the WG scavenger hunt at King Soopers / City Market, #wholegrainselfie from the Grain Foods Foundation) 

Are Grits Whole Grain?

A hearty staple of southern cuisine, grits are usually made from either hominy or dent corn (also known as field corn). Hominy is corn that has been soaked in an alkali solution, such as lime-water, to make the B-vitamins and amino acids more bioavailable, vastly improving nutrition. This process (called nixtamalization) may cause some bran loss, but as long as this loss is kept to the absolute minimum, hominy and masa (mashed hominy, used to make tortillas) are considered by many to be whole grains (though this is not universally accepted). 

WG Stamp_Look That being said, grits aren't always whole grain, so it's important to read the label or look for the Whole Grain Stamp. Choose grits labeled "whole corn" or "whole grain corn."  If the label says "degermed corn," then the nutritious germ has been removed from the corn, and it's not whole grain. Likewise, generic words like cornmeal or corn flour are no guarantee that the product is a whole grain. (This advice also applies to other corn products, such as corn tortillas and polenta.) 

Inspired to get cooking? After moderating the Chefs Panel at our November Whole Grains Conference, New York Times columnist Martha Rose Schulman put together a delicious collection of recipes featuring whole grain grits and polenta. Chef Berry Maiden's mouthwatering description of the high quality grits and grains at Hungry Mother, was, no doubt, an inspiration to this piece! 

Do you have a pressing whole grain question? Email Kelly 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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