Grains: Eat the Whole Thing!

by Gayle Morris and Eve Fogler

Eve Fogler and Gayle Morris of Friends For Health demonstrate food prep at healthy cooking class.

As Health Coaches, we always encourage our clients to add whole grains to their meals. This advice is often met with looks of confusion and disbelief among those who have developed a “fear of carbs.” The problem is that many people confuse whole grains with refined grains. The latter are stripped of the nutrients, vitamins and fiber that make grains nutritious and easily digested by the body. Refined grains convert quickly to sugar, disrupt our blood sugar balance, and often contribute to cravings for other refined foods. People eat these refined carbohydrates all the time in pizza, pretzels, tacos, pasta, and white bread or rolls. Even some vegetarians will consume plates of vegetables with white pasta and white rice—not an ideal combination.

What if we told you that grains—whole grains, that is—not only promote weight loss but also help to prevent cancer, heart disease, and diabetes? Grains that can help you to shed pounds and be healthy? We think that’s a win-win!

Interestingly, grains have been central to the human diet since early civilization.  Cultures that subsist on grains tend to be lean and strong, with lower incidences of disease. Whole grains also provide us with sustainable energy that keeps us satiated because they are absorbed slowly. Those of you who eat oatmeal for breakfast may know what we’re talking about, and you may also have noticed that oatmeal for breakfast has lowered your LDL (bad) cholesterol and raised your HDL (good) cholesterol.

Of course, anything that you eat in excess can make you overweight, so eat portions that are reasonable. A good whole grain serving size is ½ – 1 cup cooked, not more than three portions a day.

Our personal favorite is Quinoa (pronounced: KEEN-wha). This mild tasting, versatile whole grain with a funny name is considered a complete protein. You can dress it up in many ways with different flavorings (sweet, savory or spicy). You can eat it as a breakfast cereal, a side dish or a main meal. Cook it as you would rice but for less than half the time. Be adventurous and experiment with the wide world of whole grains—delicious, healthful, and friendly to your waistline.

Gayle Morris and Eve Fogler are Health Coaches who specialize in losing weight naturally. For more information, visit or call 914.238.8873.

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