t h e m a y f i l e s is foremost a family blog, chronicling everyday life. Life including natural, healthy eating (with recipes thrown in at random), home educating (with ideas popping up sporadically), an attempt to homestead on .2 acres (with very meager yields), raising 3 of 4 children with a rare genetic disorder, and lots of highly personal family triumphs and failures. You may also find an eclectic array of musings on politics, exercise, sewing, emergency preparedness, backyard chickens, and religion. This blog isn't a campaign to glorify anyone or anything. Just simply a record.

9.25.2009

Understanding Whole Grains

I am reposting this because I noticed today when I tried to look at this (well it was brought to my attention a while ago and I forgot) it doesn't show properly on my safari browser. So I hope everyone can see this now!

I have a tendency to talk about
obscure grains as if everyone knows what they are. For clarification and to hopefully compel you to incorporate them in your diet, here is a quick rundown on how to make sense of all these whole grains. I've included a description of my favorites and those I use daily:

My basic whole grain flour mix:

1 part Hard White Spring Wheat: 1 part Kamut: 1 part Spelt


All of these may be purchased from a good health food store or online in bulk. I buy in 50 lbs bags or buckets and put gamma seal lids on them so they stay fresh. I store some in my garage but the majority is in my basement food storage. The most cost effective way to buy these grains is by finding a local grower. In the Mountain West we have 3 graineries I like to use. Walton Feed, Honeyville and less frequently Lehi Roller Mills. Do a little research and find one near you and visit their outlet store. You will save yourself 50-75% off even bulk bin prices from your grocer.

Hard White Wheat is a cross between traditional hard red wheat and soft wheat. It retains the best properties of both. It is high in protein but alkaline instead of acid like the red wheat. White wheat is therefore less bitter and more palatable to many people. It makes a lighter loaf similar but more flavorful than refined white bread. I buy it in 50 lb bags for $0.51 per pound. I purchase my bulk grains from Walton Feed. They have great prices, selection and quality.

Kamut (kah-moot) is a relative of wheat. The kernals are about 2x the size a are a golden color. They contain about 20-40% more protein and are higher in vitamins and minerals. The gluten content is lower than wheat so if you are sensitive to wheat you may be able to tolerate kamut better. It has a rich, buttery flavor. It is a staple in my whole grain flour mix, hot cereal and granola. I buy it organically grown in 50 lb bags for about $1.16 per pound.


Spelt is an ancient grain similar but far superior to wheat. It's protein content is 60% higher and it contains all eight essential amino acids. It is very high in fiber and vitamins and minerals. Because it has a high water solubility it is digested easily in the stomach. Special carbohydrates in spelt promote blood clotting and stimulate the bodies immune system. It has a sweet, nutty flavor and is a staple in my whole grain flour mixture, and hot cereal. I buy it organically grown in 50 lb bags for about $1.22 per pound.

Quinoa (keen-wah) is a true super grain. It is tiny in size but packs more protein than any other grain. It contains all eight essential amino acids and is considered a complete protein. High in unsaturated fat, lower in carbohydrates , and chock full of niacin, potassium and lysine. Quinoa comes in several varieties. I like the red for the color or the white. Quionoa cooks quickly and expands up to 4x its volume. I use it as a substitute for wheat berries, rice, or meat. It is also a staple in our morning cereal. Quinoa should be rinsed well before use. Otherwise it has a bitter taste. It does have a distinct flavor, I find my children love it when I toast it in the skillet with a little butter or olive oil. It improves the taste and texture. I buy quinoa from azure standard.


Steel Cut Oats are simply oats which are cracked and not rolled like oatmeal. Because the whole grain is intact they retain a higher nutritional content. You can buy these usually at the grocery store in the health food section or bulk bins at your local health food store. The most cost effective I found is a local grainery store Honeyville Grains (I do notice their online prices are double the store!). I can purchase 25 pound bags for $12.25 at their store in Brigham City. They also have a store in Salt Lake City. I love these in my morning cereal and in my multigrain bread. You can also order these from azure standard.

More Grains I am still learning to incorporate frequently...

Millet, I'll be honest, this is bird seed. But it is amazingly good for you. I put it in our granola, and add to my multigrain bread and multigrain hot cereal. It can be popped. Popping grains is an art I am still perfecting. It is really easy to burn, and burnt grains are completely unappealing. I’ve tried them. Not recommended. The idea is to put just a couple tablespoons of grain into a deep pan over high heat. It takes just a minute. Somehow I can’t get it quite right yet, although I haven’t tried in a while. Millet can be milled into a flour, or added whole to salads, soups, breads, cookies, pastries, soups and salads. I don't prefer it as a flour. It is very alkaline so this is especially important to include in your families diet if you eat animal products. I buy millet from walton feed.

Amaranth, one of the little grains like millet. It is high in vitamins, minerals and protein...I feel like I am getting super repetitive here... It can be popped or milled into a flour and added to salads, soups, breads, cookies, pastries, soups and salads. I have started adding this to my multigrain hot cereal and it tastes wonderful. I purchase this from walton feed.


I also use rye, barley (whole, not pearl), and buckwheat (which is actually an herb not a grain). Buckwheat is great because it can be used just by soaking and not cooking.

I buy my buckwheat and barley both from azure standard. The rye I purchase from walton feed.

1 comment:

jacque said...

Thanks for the info on your basic grain to make up your flour. I've been scared to add many grains because of my problem with not knowing the gluten in each grain. I added spelt and Kamut to my white wheat to make bread and it worked great. Thanks