Thursday, August 1, 2013

Flour vs. Grain

I've been doing a bit of research on grains lately, as there seem to be two very divided camps on the topic. While some folks go with the theory that we are born grain eaters, with the teeth and digestive tract to prove it, others shun grains of all kinds. Personally, I've always loved grains, and have found that my body functions best when it gets plenty of good whole grain foods. I'm further convinced by Dr John McDougall's latest book, The Starch Solution, which I highly recommend to anyone of either side of the grain fence.

I've been sampling a gluten free diet lately, not because I have a medical need to do so, but because I just wanted to see if it would make me feel better. Wheat is getting such bad press because it's been modified beyond recognition over the years, and I've decided to cut it out. Poof! Gone! Doing that, along with other gluten-containing foods made me feel almost instantly lighter and cleaner. Then, taking it a step further, I started to wonder about foods made with flour, even gluten free flours.

I was on kind of a cupcake binge in July. It was my birth month after all, and cupcakes every day seemed appropriate. I made them all gluten free, and was also experimenting with fruit sweetened versions, although I have to admit, my favorites are still the ones with a good dose of sugary "butter cream" frosting blopped on top. I was also making lovely gluten free breads for breakfast. I love my morning toast with avocado and tomato, and I think it's a good idea to find ways of keeping the things we love most in our diets. But I began to notice that anything made with flour was making me feel "rumbly" shortly after eating it, even if it was gluten free. Bummer! Back to Google to see what was up with that.

What I discovered is that when you take a grain, even a whole grain, and grind it up, it digests too quickly, and behaves like sugar in your body, rather than a healthy whole carb. It spikes insulin levels, and can lead to weight gain and even type 2 diabetes. Oh sheesh! All these years we've been gobbling down whole wheat bread thinking it was a super food, when in fact it's not much better for us than those sugary cupcakes.

I found an article on using sprouted grain flours that seems helpful. It explains that once you sprout a grain, even if you then grind it into flour, it behaves like a vegetable in your body, making the nutrients much more available, and less likely to be stored as fat. Here's the article: Flour Power! 10 Reasons You Should Bake with Sprouted Whole Grain Flour. Now finding sprouted whole grain flours might be something of a challenge. I know it is where I live. It's possible to make them, but how likely is it that most of us will actually do that on a regular basis? I'll try it, but no commitments.

All this has led me to consider the possibilities of baking, and coming up with other dishes, using cooked whole grains, sprouted when I have time to wait 2-3 days for that process. Amazingly, I've had some success with this whacky idea! I came up with a nice little "bread" that reheats well in the toaster oven, and tastes terrific as a base for my avocado toast. I actually like it better than any bread I've had in years. I also made a yummy little "cookie" out of cooked grains and bananas. These are so good I'm serving them at a dinner party for friends tonight. And the best part of all this whole grain, gluten free, flour free cooking is... no more rumbling! Grains are still my friends after all! What a relief!

I want to work a little more on some recipes before I share them. I might even put them in a special little book all their own. I think I'm onto something good here, and I think there are a lot of people who would benefit from this type of food. Stay tuned! Recipes soon!


Christine S. said...

Great post and those cookies look delicious!

Christine S. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Teri said...

I've been avoiding wheat for several years. At the beginning, I tried some wheat free flours and most of the recipes were very sugary, so I have avoided anything baked. I have tried the sprouted breads and agree this is the way to go. I think that the guy that wrote "My Beef with Meat" sells some sprouted tortillas and breads.