Wheat is commonly overused which can lead to food sensitivities and intolerances, with wheat allergies on the rise. Some even suffer from a condition known as Celiac disease, a gluten intolerance that requires wheat and other glutinous grains to be eliminated from their diets.
Health advocates are advising people to switch to whole grains, which are grains that have not been processed or stripped away of their nutrients because they contain all the parts of the grain. Examples are quinoa, buckwheat and brown rice.
According to the Whole Grains Council, those who included whole grains in their daily meal plans had lower rates of obesity, lower cholesterol levels, and reduced risks of stroke, cancers, heart disease and diabetes than those people who regularly consumed bread and other processed grains. Research also shows the connection between carbohydrates and serotonin, which supports positive moods.
Items such as brown rice, wild rice (actually a grass, not a grain) and barley are now being seen and used on menus nationwide. Quinoa is making a name for itself in restaurant and home kitchens, being a complete protein with all the amino acids and being gluten free. Lesser known grains such amaranth, farro, kamut, rye, spelt and oat groats, millet and teff can be experimented with for more wheat free ways to incorporate whole grains. Next time you make a pilaf or risotto, try millet with a nutty taste and filling bite along with more fiber than brown rice. If you choose, wheat can be eaten as a cooked whole grain by buying bugler (cracked wheat) or wheat berries. Hearty little grains, wheat berries make great cold salads, help thicken soups and are not processed like in breads and flour products. Try quick cooking amaranth as a morning porridge with fresh fruit and nuts.