Pasta. What a delectable vehicle for vegetables! Add your favorite beans, steamed veggies, and tomato sauce and BOOM! An impressive gourmet dinner. While intact grains are the gold standard (grains in their whole form), whole grains, yes including their bran, germ, and endosperm, are milled into a fine flour to make whole grain pastas, breakfast cereals, and other “whole grain” products. A few examples of legit whole intact grains would be steel cut oats, brown rice, quinoa, and millet.
How to tell if the product is WHOLE GRAIN?
- Whole grain stamp is on the package
- “100%” or “Whole” are used to describe it
- The first ingredient listed is a whole grain
Refined grains are not only grains milled into a flour, but their grain was stripped of the nutrient and fiber containing bran and germ! Murder! Refined grains are white / light in color and examples include white bread, cookies, cakes, pretzels, white rice, regular pasta, and anything made with white flour. Darn!
Don’t fret too much! The recommendation is:
Make at least 1/2 of your grains whole grains.
Grains are an important part of a healthy balanced diet for fiber, iron, magnesium, selenium, b vitamins, and lasting energy! Be sure to include them on your plate.
The Taste Test
Well before #1, my personal favorite is ZUCCHINILINI OF COURSE! Which is simply zucchini or summer squash, spirilized to look and feel like spaghetti. I like to mix it with pasta dishes to add bulk, flavor, color, and more veg of course!
#1 Nature’s Promise Whole Wheat Spaghetti: #1 in taste, texture, and nutritional profile. Contains gluten.
#2. Bionaturae Gluten Free Corn and Soy Spaghetti: Fabulous texture and taste and with 5g protein and 6% iron, this product is ok. Low in fiber
#3. Jovial Gluten Free Brown Rice Spaghetti: Quite sticky texture, but great flavor and elasticity. Would go great with a sauce. However, low in fiber although whole grain. Brown rice is naturally low in fiber.
#4. Ancient Harvest Gluten Free Corn and Quinoa Spaghetti: Texture dry and kinda crunchy, but a good source of fiber at 16% daily value and 10% iron!
#5. Andean Dream Quinoa Gluten Free Spaghetti: Texture was definitely a little sandy. But I must say with 6% calcium, 12% iron, and just barely a good source of fiber at 10% daily value, not bad.
The quinoa based gluten free products have a better nutritional profile, but are not as delicious as the lower fiber rice based ones.
Why I personally still avoid Gluten?
Do I go out of my way to avoid gluten?
No. I still enjoy it in moderation. My mom makes homemade bread and pizza with gluten which I eat occasionally. My diet is whole foods based, so I rarely purchase packaged products that might contain gluten.
Do I eat gluten every day?
No. Maybe I eat a gluten containing meal or snack 3-4 times a week. I am generally healthy and do not currently feel any reason to put more effort into seriously avoiding wheat, barley, rye, and foods containing gluten 100% of the time.
Why I make this personal choice:
- My sister has ulcerative colitis, which is similar to celiacs in that they are both autoimmune inflammatory intestinal disorders. With a genetic risk factor in my family, I try to not over load the gluten as a personal preventative measure.
- Studies linking gluten and autism spectrum disorders autism-and-nutrition-1. The GFCF (gluten free casein free) diet has been shown to help people with ADHD and autism, what else could it be linked to? I am ever curious and after reading such articles have trouble stomaching gluten (and of course would never recommend drinking milk).
- Naturopaths recommend avoiding gluten initially when trying to avoid inflammation with an “elimination diet,” along with dairy and other common inflammatory trigger foods. With this in mind, many people have success reversing adverse symptoms like rashes, IBS, fatigue, etc (SO MANY), once they remove gluten from their diet. I grew up with canker sores, weird rashes, and eczema so, avoiding inflammation (and gluten) is in my best interest.
- Close friends with celiac disease so it is easier for everybody to find a gluten free delicious option!
While as you could see from the video, a gluten free diet is not recommended for the general public because it tends to have less nutrients. Be a savvy shopper and let me know if you have any questions! Enjoy those intact whole grains and plant yums! xx