It is a good idea to stock your kitchen with a variety of whole grains and whole grain alternatives. Most supermarkets carry a small variety in bulk in the ‘organic’ section, and of course your local health food store will have a great deal more. Here is an overview of the grains you can find:
• Barley (Hulled) – an ancient grain that is quite a bit heartier and chewier than its pearled counterpart. It retains the calcium, potassium, and protein that would otherwise be removed in the pearling (refining) process.
• Bulgur – made from dried, cracked whole wheat berries, and widely known for its use in the Mediterranean dish Tabbouleh.
• Farro – see Spelt Berries below.
• Kamut –a brand name for an ancient Egyptian wheat cousin. Legend has it that it was rediscovered by a WWII aviator in an Egyptian tomb. It is relatively high in protein, due to not being interfered with by modern agricultural science. Yet.
• Oat Groats – the whole grain that has not been refined to the ‘old-fashioned’ or ‘quick’ or ‘rolled’ or ‘steel cut’ varieties commonly found in the cereal aisle. Thick and hearty.
• Rye Berries – these retain more nutrients (protein in particular) due to the difficulty in refining these particular grains. Very dense and filling.
• Spelt Berries – an ancient grain, more nutritious than wheat (a distant cousin). It contains gluten, but has been reported to be well-tolerated by some people with gluten sensitivity. It is also sold as Farro and can be difficult to find, though it is gaining popularity. The grains are thick and meaty.
• Triticale Berries – a rye/wheat hybrid, higher in protein than rye or wheat and lower in gluten.
• Whole Wheat Berries – an ancient grain dating back 12,000 years or more. Nicknamed The Staff of Life.
Unfortunately an increasing number of people are developing wheat gluten intolerance and have to seek gluten-free alternatives to wheat products. Fortunately these products are getting easier to find.
See Whole Grain Alternatives for gluten free options; click the button on the left to shop for gluten free food.