What Makes Whole Grains?

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Whole grains are nearly perfect foods. They contain the majority of nutrients necessary for human health: carbohydrates, protein, fats, vitamins, minerals and fiber. The term "whole-grain dishes" refers to dishes that are made with all the parts of a grain seed: the pericarp, endosperm, and germ. Various traditions of using food to heal the body, such as macrobiotics and Ayurveda, stress the importance of "preserving the life force" of what one eats. What this means is that the closer food is to its original state, the more energy and nourishment we can derive from it. Grains are the kings of all food groups; and whole grains are their most complete and potent forms. In the eyes of modern science, it makes little difference whether grain is bleached, polished, milled or precooked. Viewed through the beliefs behind "food energetics", however, grain is no more the sum of its parts than a human being would be if reduced to a pile of organs and flesh. If we want to preserve the life force of grains - where their real healing and nourishing powers lie - we would do well to use them in their natural (unprocessed) and complete states. Many grains used for bread, like wheat, rye and barley, are inherently tough and require some kind of processing before they will be usable. Millet, oats, quinoa, couscous, buckwheat and rice, on the other hand, can all be considered "dish grains" because we can cook them in their natural forms. These grains also serve as good, nutritional
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