WELCOME TO WHOLE MY GOODNESS!
Rizi Harris is obsessed with baking and cooking wholesome and delicious food for over 15 years. Rivki Berman is a Registered Dietician and is dedicated to a strictly wholesome lifestyle. Together we bring you a growing collection of wholesome recipes using basic nutritious ingredients. Most folks feel that eating healthy is exclusive to the 3 main meals of the day and that when it comes to dessert it’s really ok to let loose. But we say, hey! Why cant dessert be GUILT-LESS? I’d like to have my cake (healthy) and eat it too! Wouldn’t you?
THE BREAD ‘N BUTTER OF WHOLE GRAINS:
Don’t be afraid of this little section. Make yourself some tea, lime cookies, and read slow. Bear with me and hold on. Recipes are just around the corner.
The body is our engine and we should fuel it to serve us well as we set out to accomplish various tasks and goals each and every day. Highly processed foods, devoid of nutrients (including simple carbohydrates) provide the body with only short spurts of energy, not the steady, gradual energy that we need. The awesomeness of Whole Grains is that they provide that invaluable long lasting energy for us that is so essential to feel good!
WHAT REALLY MAKES WHOLE GRAINS SO GREAT?
People often ask “Is white flour so harmful? Why is whole wheat better for you?” The simple, yet critical differences can greatly shift your energy levels, overall digestive health and your mouth will experience new delights and sensations so robust and wholesome. The new flavors will truly surprise and amaze you. Well, before we tackle that question, it’s best to understand what a whole grain actually is and where does it belong in our diet?
In nutrition, the simplest way to break down overall nutrition is into the BIG guys that we need and the LITTLE guys we need. Everything that provides energy for us, (more popularly known as calories) are MACROnutrients and the non-calorie stuff that we need are the MICROnutrients.
We will focus on Carbohydrates only for the sake of the recipes that are waiting patiently for you at the end of this!
Carbohydrates, or “Carbs” if you like, are made up of a variety of chains of different types of molecules of sugar. When all of the different sugar molecules line up together into this long chain, a carbohydrate is formed, each with a different name determined by that particular lineup of sugar molecules. Now is where I hit you with science-y words that I am SURE you have heard of, so stay with me, its nothing scary.
Single molecules that make-up these chains are mainly GLUCOSE AND FRUCTOSE. They are also sometimes found in foods by themselves, and not attached to a chain at all (As in High frustose corn syrup, mainly in sweets). Super short chains of sugar molecules that are only two single sugars standing together and holding hands are called SUCROSE, LACTOSE AND MALTOSE. (found in sugar cane, milk, cereals and barley) The longest chains, (the ones we like the best), are STARCH, FIBER AND GLYCOGEN. Lets explore what makes the longest chains of sugars the best type of carbohydrate. FIBER is going to be our focus from here onwards:
SHOW ME THE SUGAR:
WHY IS SUGAR IMPORTANT?
Whether you are compiling a grocery list or daydreaming about your next vacation, your BRAIN needs carbohydrate sugar to power it activities. (Fun Fact: Like a picky-eating toddler, the brain utilizes carbohydrates for its main source of energy) If the brain does not have these sugars from carbohydrates, it will feel tired. It will throw a toddler-like fit in which it makes you feel lack of concentration and inability to remember eggs on the grocery list, when that’s why you started the list to begin with. This “ fit” is felt as lack of concentration, energy and focus. The same sort of thing happens when the sugar stores in our muscles are low. We feel lack of energy, weakness and hunger. Sugar keeps us going strong and it is why CARBOHYDRATES should makes up 50-60% of your entire diet. Sugar is a very valuable commodity in the body. Every cell in the body including your hair and eyeball cells depends on sugar for energy.
ALL OF THESE SUGARS ARE NOT CREATED EQUAL
Every time we need to use energy (for thinking, breathing, or.. baking!), our body will break off of a little piece of sugar from a chain of carbohydrates and turn that single sugar molecule into usable energy. When a single molecule of sugar, or a short SIMPLE chain like just two sugars together (Sucrose, lactose or maltose) come into the body, it is MUCH easier to break apart. BLIP. BLOOP. * Easy peazy lemon squeezy. *
Candy, cookies, cakes, juice, white sugar, and YES white flour as well are all examples of SIMPLE carbohydrates. They are primarily made of fructose ( as in high fructose corn syrup). These foods are absorbed into the bloodstream so swiflty generating short-lived energy amd provide only sugar to our system. They are devoid of any other nutrition.
When a LONGER, more COMPLEX chain enters the body, otherwise known as FIBER, more work needs to be done to break this chain apart because, well, it is larger and more complicated. This is additional work that makes our stomach, intestines, and digestive enzymes do what it needs to do, and do it TO THE MAX. When fiber comes in, this is no easy job for our GI tract. Our system has gotta get out the big guns for this one and show us what it’s really made of.
WHOLE GRAINS (there we are!), beans, vegetables and fruits on the other hand provide a gamut of vitamins and minerals, and also the most important component of digestion, FIBER and STARCH. Glance back a few paragraphs to remind yourself what FIBER AND STARCH are, because they are going to be your new buddies so best to know them well.
If I’ve lost you, here’s a review:
Simple carbohydrates (white flour, white sugar, candy, juice) =NO FIBER= NO GOOD
Complex carbohydrates (Whole grains, fruits, vegetables) = LOTS OF FIBER=VERY GOOD
WHATS SO GREAT ABOUT FIBER IN THOSE COMPLEX CARBS?
Fiber is beneficial for a number of reasons. It helps improve intestinal health, prevents heart disease and some cancers, reduces blood pressure, regulates blood sugar, and aids in weight control.
There are multiple types of fiber, but a few are of particular focus for us. DIETARY FIBERS are found in plant foods and not digested by our bodies’ enzymes, but some of them are digested by little bacteria bugs living in in our intestine. (well, there goes your appetite). SOLUBLE FIBER is digested by being dissolved in water to form a gel. Pectin, from fruit jam, is a good example of this. And our favorite, WHOLE GRAINS, also contain lots of these chains of fiber. INSOLUBLE FIBERS are tough cookies. These cannot dissolve in water and so they are not digested at all, providing no energy [AKA no calories].
Because it remains undigested, it adds bulk to your stool like a winter coats adds bulk to your backpack. It also attracts water into the intestine to make your visit to the John peachy keen. Examples of insoluble fiber are skins of corn kernels and celery strings. WHOLE GRAINS ( there we are again!) contain this fantastic type of fiber also in the BRAN center of its goodness. (See “ the whole story” to learn how special this middle portion of the whole grain is!)
WHOLE GRAINS FOR A WHOLE DAY:
When bulk is added to our GI tract, plumbing slows down, causing the whole process of digestion to take on a slo-mo persona. Slow down for digestion means there will be a longer period of time before I get hungry again. And since there will always be 24 hours in a day, if I stretch out the time between feeling hungry over and over again, the less I will ultimately eat over the course of the day. That extended period of digestion keeps us feeling full for longer inducing less cravings and unhealthy binging.
MORE FIBER >> LONGER FULLNESS>>MORE TIME BEFORE I EAT AGAIN>>LESS FOOD!
Just so you know, ADDED FIBER that is not found in its natural form, does not work this way. “Oligofructose”, “soluble corn fiber”, “resistant wheat starch”, and “inulin” are examples of fiber that have been isolated and then added to breakfast bars or other processed foods. These ingredients and powdered fiber supplements will provide bulk but not extended digestion time. Stick to your vegetables and WHOLE GRAIN foods instead to provide fullness.
FIBER AND CHOLESTEROL:
Alright, lets be frank. There is probably too much cholesterol floating around in our bodies because darn it, butter and egg yolks and a good ol’ steak are just so delicious. If that’s the case, fiber will help that. But How?
I thought you’d never ask!
Get this: Fiber is bulky, it’s big and cumbersome and takes up lots of space like the 6foot 6 hulking Biguy who always seems to be sitting in front you at the movies. It’s basically a (good for us) meddling intrusion that is getting in the way of the absorption of some stuff in the intestine. Bile is one of the things that will get overtaken by the bigness of fiber in the intestine. When this happens, bile gets sent out with our dinner. (gross, sorry.) And then, of course, our body needs to get to work making more bile to replace what was lost. We do that by gathering all of that extra cholesterol in our bloodstream and making bile out of it. Hooray!
Not only that folks, they* say that when the little bug bacteria in our colon ferment (“eat”) fiber, it creates a fatty acid that tells the liver to slow down cholesterol production.
*recent research by brilliant scientists
Managed cholesterol means less risk of heart disease. So, go ahead. Eat a whole wheat, low sugar quinoa blueberry muffin. Eat your way to a healthy heart Well, that’s nice isn’t it?
Oh fiber, how we love you so.
FIBER IN GI HEALTH AND REGULATION
Lets talk about the phrase-”practice makes perfect”
Hopscotch. Fur Elise. Learning French. Parallel parking. Backflips.
When we practice a certain action or activity, we train ourselves to become more accustomed to this interest and ultimately we become BETTER at it. With the inclusion of adequate FIBER in our diet, we provide the appropriate level of work for our GI tract, we give it practice, to become the best that it can be. It works hard, and practices to keep up with its responsibilities of keeping us healthy.
Fiber is like weights for your GI tract. Or like tummy time for a newborn. Practice. Exercise. Perfection.
The more work we give our GI tract with inclusion of fiber in our diets, the less likely we are to develop colon cancers, inflammation of the intestine, also known as diverticulitis, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Chrones, and colitis. Lets train our GI tract to become better at being what it is.
FIBER MAKES YOU A GOOD BOSS
Lets pretend: You are an employer. You run a major business operation that is extremely important. Your body is your business and each of your organs is a valued employee. If, as the boss, you give your “employees” the wrong type of work to do, they will feel unvalued.. You’d quit that job in a heartbeat, that’s for sure. As the boss of this body, this little business that you are responsible to run, you are better off treating it with care, sensitivity and providing it with fitting jobs and responsibilities.
Treating your body right is the only way to live well, full, and hopefully, for many long years.
Lets say we treat our large intestine, who is our star-employee; it is one of the most diligent, brilliant and hard-working parts of our body- like it was a thoughtless intern. Asking it for Starbucks runs and to file papers instead of asking it for 20 page excel documents explaining the stock market, which it is fully capable of doing. This employee’s full potential is not realized and it starts to get lazy. “You don’t want me to show you how hard I can work? You don’t want me to take on the most complex of activities, which is digestion, and do it at the top of my game? Ok then, Ill just sit here and twiddle my thumbs.”
Starbucks runs and filing papers is what we are doing when we are providing only SIMPLE digestion to our intestine through simple sugars and simple carbohydrates. This is what we provide when we eat foods that have already been processed. When we consistently do this, our intestine is not doing nearly as much as its potential.
Rather, when we provide RICH, COMPLEX and DIFFICULT, HEALTHY forms of food for digestion, we begin to run an amazing system of controlled blood sugar, healthy gut, happy little bacteria homes and steady energy to our little business we know as our body. We need to remember how astoundingly capable our systems are.
Lets say you went into the store to buy a pair of sneaker since your old ones wore a hole through the back. Great, you need shoes and your willing to buy them since you need them. Now what If I told you I would give you a FREE hat, gloves and scarf with your purchase of shoes! #winwin! Right? Now, if we are willing to spend the calories on glucose, which we need, because we are hungry and need energy then that is all fine and good. But getting a BOGO of extra nutrition, a little cushion that keeps you safe from getting sick and actually feeling nice and cozy is even BETTER! No sensible fashionista would decline such an offer. The trick of this game is to get our Glucose in a Buy One Get One free deal with a bonus of FIBER and VITAMINS AND MINERALS. We want to MAXIMIZE what were getting with glucose with additional nutrients that we need in our diet. Remember, when your body is hungry, it wants nutrients, not just calories. Choose the bonus deal. You’ll be getting your calories worth, trust me.
What do we believe here at WMG?
Nutritional needs are a necessity, not extra bonus treatment. Nutritional needs are exactly that, needs. Lacking in what is considered to be part of these nutritional needs leads to problems in the body as a whole. And on the flip side, if we continuously provide the body with foods that are detrimental, then our body will not be able to show us its beauty. EAT WHOLE. Eat whole so that our body can do the processing on its own. We don’t need food to be processed and broken down for us in labs and factories. Our body is its own lab and a factory, just give it a chance to show of its abilities. If we let our employees show us their work, we have mutual trust and a successful business known as healthy life.
ITS A NO BRAINER, WHOLE GRAINER :)