Whole Grains Sampling Day: Oldways Quinoa with Ginger and Carrots

Photo courtesy of Oldways

Today is Oldways Whole Grains Sampling Day, a day where we’re being encouraged to sample a variety of different whole grains. It’s a great time to expand your whole grain horizons and think about getting a variety of these tiny nuggets of goodness on to your menu. Too many of us tend to stick to a couple of whole grains and that’s it – a bowl of oatmeal, a multi-grain bread or maybe some brown rice.

What about amaranth, teff or sorghum? Have you ever tried rye or wheat berries? How about kamut or kasha? Though they may sound exotic, or even old standbys like barley or rye, they don’t make appearances on menus as often as they might.

Why not set up a game plan where you try one new whole grain product once every 2 to 3 weeks? If you eat whole wheat bread, have you tried bulghur which is cracked wheat and can be used in salads like tabbouleh or hot in a pilaf? Many oatmeal fans have never tried oat groats and their amazing texture. For more ideas and cooking information, check out the Oldways Whole Grains Council website.

While different whole grains may offer similar fibre counts, there’s much more to each one than meets the eye. Barley, for example, which is known for its soluble fibre and its positive impact on blood sugar regulation and blood cholesterol lowering, supplies a range of phytochemicals including phenolic acids, flavonoids, lignans, tocols and phytosterols. These compounds provide a range of health perks including antioxidant action but also decreasing actual blood cholesterol production.

Whole grain benefits for blood sugar regulation may occur through a surprising way – gut bacteria. A recent small study in China compared subjects with diabetes using two different diets. One group was directed to follow usual guidelines for eating regimes for those with diabetes while the other was instructed to follow a high fibre diet with whole grains and traditional Chinese medicinal foods which are also high in fibre.

The high fibre group experienced better blood sugar readings (HBA1C which is a measure of these readings over the previous 3 months). An analysis of the gut bacteria showed a higher level of those which produce short-chain fatty acids which help to regulate blood sugar levels. These bacteria also promote fewer unhealthy bacteria in the gut.

So don’t waste any time. Instead of refined grains, go for whole grains now.

Here’s a whole grain dish from Oldways. If you haven’t yet tried quinoa, consider it as it’s a fast cooking grain which is extremely versatile. It’s great as a hot side dish or in a salad. (Try my Citrus Quinoa Salad too!) And if you’re celebrating Passover, which begins this Friday, here’s a whole grain dish which you can enjoy over the holiday.

Oldways Quinoa with Ginger and Carrots

Makes 8 servings

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 large carrots, peeled and medium diced
1 tablespoon minced ginger root
2 cups quinoa
4 cups water
Salt, to taste

1. In a stock pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
2. Add the garlic, carrots, and ginger; sauté for 3 minutes, or until slightly softened.
3. Add the quinoa and water to the pan; bring to a boil.
4. Cover the pot and reduce the heat to low; simmer the quinoa for 20 minutes.
5. Remove from the heat, uncover, and fluff the quinoa. Add salt, stir, and enjoy.

Nutrition information per serving:
• Calories: 182
• Protein: 6 grams
• Fat: 4 grams
• Saturated fat: 1 gram
• Carbohydrate: 30 grams
• Dietary fibre: 4 grams
• Sodium: 98 milligrams

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Categories: Food Trends, Nutrition Month, Recipes, Whole Foods

Author:Rosie Schwartz

Rosie Schwartz is a Toronto-based consulting dietitian and writer.

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