It boggles my mind that whole grains are such a tough sell since I love eating them and have done so for decades. But it’s still an up-hill struggle to get mainstream Americans to jump on the wholegrain bandwagon.
The Whole Grains Council (www.wholegrainscouncil.org) campaign to “Make (at least!) Half Your Grains Whole” has contributed significantly to boosting consumption by 20% from 2005 to 2008, but the increase has to be at least 217% for the campaign to reach its stated goal.
The Council is also responsible for the smart idea of adding a Whole Grain Stamp to products that contain at least 16 grams per portion. The stamp helps confused consumers make wise choices once they’ve decided to increase the whole grains in their diets.
As whole grains and the products made from them become more delicious and more readily available, increased consumption will be a natural. At the conference held last Monday through yesterday, I had an opportunity to do some serious tasting. My first bite of FullBloom Baking Co.’s buttery Toasted Oatmeal Bar (www.fullbloom.com) made me certain that its great taste and texture would be enough to create a convert. The kamut bulgur produced by Sunnyland Mills (www.sunnylandmills.com) cooks in under 15 minutes and makes a terrific couscous-like base for salads and pilafs. Bob’s Red Mill (www.bobsredmill.com) offered conferees an outstanding Ginger Power Muffin made with teff and amaranth flours. (I’m going to try to get the recipe and share it with you.)
Seeds of Change (www.seedsofchangefoods.com) now has shelf-stable pouches of organic, microwavable brown basmati rice and seasoned rice and bean blends. King Arthur’s white wholewheat flour and their wholegrain baking book (www.kingarthurflour.com) make it easy for both professional and home bakers to make the delicious switch to wholegrain flour. And for those who love to nibble but not do much work, a start-up company called Essential Eating (www.essentialeating.com) has created pretzels of sprouted whole grain wheat flour that provide more fiber and protein than more common brands.
It’s an exciting time for whole grains! For regular updates, go to the Whole Grains Council web site, where you will find the conference papers posted within the next month. You can also sign up for an RSS feed that will deliver hot-off-the-grain-mills news.