Millet, quinoa and spelt. Oh my!

Grain—good for you or bad for you? Nourishing, energy-giving, fiber-rich world staple or fattening, bloat-causing, diabetes-creating villain of America’s obesity crisis?


Crazy, right? But grains can be your body’s best friend or worst nightmare depending on one thing: Whether they are whole or refined.

The difference between whole grains and refined grains is pretty simple. Whole grains still have their nutrient-dense bran, germ and endosperm. Think black rice. Quinoa. Millet. The grains our early ancestors ate.

beans-and-grain-1563581 They are some of the best sources of nutritional support around, containing high levels of dietary fiber, protein and B vitamins. And because the body absorbs their goodness slowly and steadily, whole grains provide long-lasting energy.

Refined grains, on the other hand, have been stripped of their healthiest parts so only the simple carbohydrate remains. Think white rice, polished barley, white flour—and any product made with it.

Here’s the bad part: Refined grain products cause blood sugar levels to rise then plummet, increasing the amount of insulin in the blood, which can set you up for wicket carb and sugar cravings, as well as weight gain.

Good reasons to go whole, don’t you think?

To make the switch even more delicious, here’s an easy millet recipe. Try it! And feel free to share your own favorite whole grain recipes.

Millet with Sunflower Seeds
Makes 4 servings
This high-protein, high-fiber dish makes a great foil for sautéed veggies and protein. I love to include a half-cup of Millet with Sunflower Seeds as an accompaniment to sautéed veggies and protein (it goes fantastically with beans, poultry, red meat, seafood and all veggies.)

1 cup millet
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
3 cups water
Pinch of sea salt

1. Rinse and drain millet.
2. Dry toast sunflower seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat until they smell nutty; approximately 4 minutes.
3. Bring water to boil in a small pot. Add millet and sunflower seeds.
4. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
5. When done, fluff and let sit for 10 minutes. Mix, serve and enjoy.
6. Note: If millet is too dry for you, add more water when cooking.

Looking for easy, delicious ways to enjoy whole grains every, day? There are some great cookbooks out there to help you. One I like: The Grain Brain Cookbook: More Than 150 Life-Changing Gluten-Free Recipes to Transform Your Health, by David Perlmutter.

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