Anyone who has eaten brown rice, whole grain bread, bulgur, millet, oats, quinoa, buckwheat, farro, or one of the hundreds of other kinds of whole grain foods will attest that they do really keep you satisfied longer. Unlike their wimpy counterpart products that have been refined, bleached, processed, and treated with chlorine dioxide gas, whole grains are still intact just as they are in nature. You can think of fiber as being the “skin” of the foods that contain it. For instance, in fruits such as apples, peaches, and kiwi (YES, you can eat kiwi with the skin on, it takes some getting used to, but it will change your life) fiber is found primarily in the skin. This, along with other things, is why eating a whole apple as opposed to apple sauce and a fresh peach instead of those canned in their own juice is healthier for you. As far as grains go, the fiber is found in the outer hull, bran, and germ, the part that is stripped from the grain during processing. Some fiber is then added back in during the enrichment process. One thing to be weary of – this goes for all you FiberOne lovers – is synthetic fiber. Synthetic fiber is usually found as “chicory root extract” or “inulin”, so make sure you read those labels! This synthetic fiber affects people differently than natural fiber does. I will be the first to admit the awful stomach cramps I get when I eat a FiberOne bar. Also, unlike natural fiber, synthetic fibers do not offer the same heart healthy benefits – such as lowering cholesterol.
Foods that contain more than 5g of fiber can be labeled as “High Fiber” foods. In order for any product to be labeled as “High”, “Rich In”, or “Excellent Source Of”, it must contain at least 20% of the recommended daily value for that nutrient. And The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends we consume 25-30g of fiber per day.
Here is a recipe for Barley Fried “Rice” to help you incorporate more whole grains into your diet!
Barley Fried “Rice”
3 C Water
1 C Pearl Barley
2 Rainbow Carrots – peeled and sliced
2 Stalks Celery – sliced
1.5 C Raw Curly Kale
1/2 Yellow Onion
2 Tbsp Fresh Ginger Root – Minced
1/2 C Soy Sauce
1 Tbsp Honey
Place barley and water in a medium sized sauce pan and bring to a boil. Turn down heat and allow to simmer for about 40 minutes. Remove pan from heat and set aside until needed.
Place 1 tsp oil in a wok (any large, deep pan will work, I recently learned what a rondo pan was, which is what I used). Whisk egg and 1 tbsp water and add to pan. Allow the egg to flatten and cook for about 1 minute. Scramble the egg, add the celery, carrots, ginger, and onions and cook until carrots are tender and onions are translucent.
*Tip – the easiest way to remove the peel from fresh ginger root is with a spoon. It comes right off!
While the veggies were cooking, I made a simple reduction with soy sauce and honey – I did not reduce it all the way, only for a few minutes.
Add the kale and soy sauce to the wok and mix well. Let cook until kale has wilted and then add the barley, combine, and enjoy! I also added chili powder and pepper to taste.
Incorporating different fruits and vegetables into this recipe is always an option. Remember to eat a rainbow every day!