Grains. What to eat and what to avoid and why?

fitness food tips health hacks Mar 11, 2023

By Sophia McDermott, Lifestyle Coach & Fitness Expert. 

(photo of grains)

When we talk about grains, we are talking about foods that make up the base of the food pyramid, therefore, they are essential in our menu, so that we can keep our health up to date, with all the necessary proteins and vitamins.

For thousands of years since the dawn of agriculture, grains have been the staple of our diet. One of the main reasons is because they can be stored and are cheap to make and harvest, compared to meat. Grains are what allowed civilizations to grow and thrive. 

Ancient grains, the way our ancestors used to eat, are full of nutrients. They are high in carbs, proteins and contain good fats, fiber, vitamins and minerals. 

In addition to being tasty, practical, affordable and easy to prepare and combine, theyprovie you with the much needed energy to get about your day. They provide the carbs that can help energize you especially if you are working out. There are other benefits too to grains. They can help reduce the incidence of constipation due to the bulk and high fiber. They also fill you up and help you to feel satisfied. 

Some examples of grains are; rice, oats, corn, amaranth, spelt, barley, wheat and quinoa.


Why is wheat so bad for us?

Today, the most popular grain is wheat. Its everywhere!. Wheat grain makes up our breads, pastries, bagels, crackers, pretzels, muffins and more. 

The problem with this is that today’s wheat grain is not so healthy for us. Back in ancient times, it most likely was healthy for us, but do to all the selective breeding and genetic engineering and the refining process, the weather grain that we eat now is very different from the wheat grain that used to exist. 

Today’s wheat is pretty much devoid of any national value and is actually higher in gluten. This very refined strain of wheat grain sits in our gut, leading to inflammation in the gut which can cause bloating at best and lead to IBS or leaky gut at worst. 

I am not going to get into the details of why today’s what grain can cause these things in the body, instead I am going to highlight the other less refined grains that are much better for you which you should be eating instead.

What are healthy grains to eat?

The following grains are grains that I would recommend because they haven't been so processed and therefore they will honor your body. 

  • Rice
  • Buckwheat
  • Amaranth
  • Quinoa
  • Barley
  • Millet
  • Oats

Although rice is technically a seed it is gluten free, so I do recommend that. Its also easy to find and incorporate into so many yummy dishes. (sushi anyone?) The ancient grains such as amaranth, barely, rye and millet, but these are hard to find at times. So i’d stick with Quinoa is easier to find and has high levels of vitamin B and  some good fats.

Eating grains isn't necessarily truly evil, it's just the types of grain you eat and how much. If you  have a dynamic job or you workout a lot, then getting the carbs in to energize you via grains is a great way to fuel your body. It's just the type of grain you choose that is essential to the outcome of your wellbeing. To sum it up, ditch the wheat. But option for some rice and quinoa instead if the ancient grains are hard to come by.