There is a long human history of fasting, whether it be for cultural, religious, or political reasons.
However, you may or may not be familiar with the new diet trend known as intermittent fasting.
A diet where one eats normally some days and little to nothing other days has lately gained much attention around the world.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
So what’s all the buzz about?
Intermittent fasting (IF) involves periodic fasting paired with strategic eating and has become popularized as a method of achieving weight loss.
HOW IT WORKS:
There are two major ways in which IF is effective for weight loss including creating a caloric deficit and aiding in insulin regulation.
Research shows that in order to burn fat and lose weight you have to consume less calories than you use and this effect is achieved through IF.
Fasting works because the dieter eats less in one week than they normally would. For some individuals it may be easier to reach this goal through IF as opposed to reducing daily caloric intake.
Fasting also helps control insulin levels in the body. The hormone insulin is essential for the regulation of sugar and fat in the body.
Insulin is only released by the pancreas after a meal is eaten and therefore insulin levels drop during a fasted state. When insulin levels are constantly high, body cells can become less sensitive to its affect.
Periodically fasting can help regulate insulin levels which helps with sugar and fat processing in the body.
Types of Intermittent Fasting:
There are a few different methods of intermittent fasting and although the research is limited, some methods have shown to be more successful than others.
This method involves consuming all of your meals within a certain time
window and fasting for the remainder of the day.
This method involves alternating between eating meals regularly for an entire day and
fasting for an entire day
This method incorporates IF throughout the week with some days being fasting or
restricted days and others being regular days. The most popular being the 5:2 method in
which you eat regularly for 5 days out of the week and you restrict your calories or fast
completely for 2 days out of the week.
This method is a type of Time Restricted IF that is dictated by circadian rhythm principles
where you only eat while the sun is up and fast when the sun is down.
Is Intermittent Fasting For You?
Fad diets such as intermittent fasting get so much attention is because they offer new hope for people caught in the yo-yo diet cycle.
Despite the evidence that intermittent fasting can cause weight loss and improve risk factors for heart disease, many dietitians remain skeptical and wouldn’t recommend the dietary pattern as a weight-loss tool or method to improve heart health in most people.
It is important to note that all these recipes will work great with baked, grilled, panfried, or crumbled tofu. These recipes work great in rice bowls, with veggies like bok Chou, onions, snap peas, carrots, and broccoli, or in a creative taco! Let us know what you create by posting a picture and tagging @davisfoodcoop!
Sweet Garlic Baked Tofu
- 2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger
- 2 teaspoons finely grated fresh garlic
- 2 teaspoons warmed honey
- 2 teaspoons light soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons mirin
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons peanut or toasted sesame oil
- 1 block extra-firm tofu, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
- Preheat oven to 400ºF.
- Place the grated garlic and ginger in a medium bowl. Add the honey, light soy sauce mirin, water, and oil. Whisk well to combine all ingredients
- Place tofu cubes in a single layer in an 8×8″ glass baking dish. Take care not to crowd the pieces of tofu. Pour the marinade over the tofu pieces, turning them to coat well on all sides.
- Bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Rotate pieces and bake for 15 more minutes, checking periodically that the liquid has not completely evaporated. Remove from oven and serve hot with dipping sauce or use in stir-fries.
Taco Tofu (Crumbed or small cubed)
- 2 Tbsp Tomato Paste
- 1 Tbsp Water
- 1 tsp Smoked Paprika
- 1 tsp Cumin
- 2 tsp Chili Powder
- sprinkle of Cloves
- Salt and Pepper
- 1 Block Extra-Firm Tofu
- Best with diced onions and mushrooms!
- Mix tomato paste, water, and spices in a bowl. Add cubed or crumbled tofu and evenly coat.
- Heat cast iron with a little oil.
- Saute diced onions and mushrooms.
- Add tofu and cook on medium heat until onions are slightly translucent.
Ginger Baked Tofu
- 1 pound extra-firm tofu, sliced into 1/2-inch thick rectangles
- 1/4 cup sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon garlic, minced (2-3 cloves)
- 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and minced (2-inch piece)
- 1/3 cup soy sauce
- 1/3 cup Mirin (sweet rice wine)
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- Preheat oven to 400ºF.
- Pat the tofu rectangles dry with a paper towel, and place on a sheet pan with a rim. Brush the tofu with the sesame oil. Bake for 30 minutes, flipping each piece over after 15 minutes. Carefully drain most of the oil from the sheet pan. Mix together the ginger, garlic, tamari, Mirin and maple syrup, and pour it over the tofu. Bake for another 15 minutes until the tofu is firm and the sauce has reduced. Remove from heat and serve, drizzled with the sauce from the baking pan and garnished with fresh minced ginger, sesame seeds and scallions.
Cilantro Lime Grilled Tofu
- 14-ounce block extra-firm tofu
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1 bunch cilantro, washed and dried
- 1/3 cup fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon white sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon lime juice
- 1/4 cup black or white sesame seeds
- Preheat grill to medium-high heat.
- Beginning at the short end, slice the block of tofu into 8 even rectangles. Lay the tofu on a baking sheet and sprinkle with tamari. Let sit, flipping once while preparing the pesto.
- Cut the stems off of the washed cilantro and puree the leaves in a blender or food processor with the fresh ginger, oils, sugar, salt, and lime juice. The resulting pesto should resemble a vibrant green smoothie.
- Lightly oil the grill. Using a metal spatula, place the tofu on the grill and cook for 2 minutes. Flip and grill for 2 minutes on the other side. Remove to a plate and let cool, then toss with the cilantro pesto and garnish with ½ cup sesame seeds, black or white. Serve at room temperature or refrigerate until ready to use.
- 12 ounces extra-firm tofu
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce, divided
- 3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil, divided
- 1 tablespoon ginger, minced
- 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup brown sugar, loosely packed
- 2 tablespoons Sriracha
- 2 tablespoons seasoned rice wine vinegar
- 3 tablespoons white miso
- Slice the tofu crosswise into 8 squares. In a large non-stick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil over high heat. Add the tofu and sear until golden brown on each side. Reduce to medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of tamari, cook for 1-2 minutes, then flip the tofu and continue cooking until all the tamari is absorbed. Remove and reserve the tofu.
- In a medium sauté pan, combine 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil, seasoned rice wine vinegar, Sriracha, 1 tablespoon tamari and brown sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil, whisking to blend in the sugar. Turn off the heat and whisk in the miso paste until smooth. Gently add the tofu to the sauce, flipping once to coat. Let sit.
When striving to follow a more sustainable path and reduce your carbon footprint obvious changes like using a reusable water bottle and buying clothes used may come to mind, but there are more ways then one to be a conscious consumer.
Rethinking how every aspect of your life can become more sustainable is the real key, and that will of course be individual to you!
Every little change adds up, even the ones that aren’t so obvious.
So what about something as simple as an ice cream sundae?
Well, to begin, not all ice creams are the same!
The Real Deal:
By definition, real ice cream should be made like egg custard, then churned and frozen.
In the U.S. the term ice cream is legally required to be made up of a minimum of 10% milkfat, must weigh no less than 4.5 lbs per gallon, and cannot have more than 100% overrun.
Overrun refers to the air that is whipped into the cream during the churning and freezing process and helps contribute to the light, and fluffy texture of ice cream.
Ice creams with low overrun with be denser in comparison to ice creams with high overrun percentages.
Regulating overrun along with weight per gallon is important to ensure that manufactures are not selling ice cream that has more air than cream!
For similar reasons, milk fat content is measured to be sure that the fat content isn’t being replaced with processed oils.
Tip: If you notice that the label says “Frozen Dairy Dessert” it is most likely because the product does not fit the legal standards to be called ice cream.
What to Look Out For:
Is it organic?
For agricultural workers and local people, the health impacts of conventional agrochemical use are numerous.
In general, the standard of living for workers on organic farms is much greater than conventional farm workers.
In addition, the USDA’s has strict regulations for organic.
Organic milk must come from a cow that has not been treated with antibiotics, has not been given hormones ― for either reproduction or growth ― and has been fed at least 30 percent of its diet on pasture.
Is it ethical?
It’s important to put into consideration the ingredients used in the ice cream other than dairy.
Quite often exotic ingredients like chocolate, coffee, and vanilla are used for flavorings and mix-ins and the sourcing of these ingredients greatly impacts the sustainability of the product.
Look for the Fairtrade logo to make sure that the ice cream you are buying was ethically sourced.
Sometimes this will even be noted in the ingredients list if it’s only referring to one ingredient in the ice cream, such as “fair trade cocoa“.
Is it local?
In terms of reducing ‘food miles’ and supporting your local economy, it’s always best to buy direct from farm shops and local businesses.
When choosing ice cream it can be easy to default to the popular brands but you may be surprised to find out that there are creameries local to you and by buying their ice cream you are helping support your local community.
What To Avoid:
Does it contain palm oil?
Palm oil is a vegetable oil sourced from palm trees that are commonly used as an additive in ice cream.
Palm oil has been and continues to be a major driver of deforestation of some of the world’s most biodiverse forests, destroying the habitat of already endangered species like the Orangutan, Pygmy Elephant, and Sumatran Rhino.
The palm oil industry is also responsible for serious violations of human rights including worker exploitation and child labor.
If the ice cream has added oils in the ingredients, opt for sunflower oil instead.
Is it Factory Farmed?
In general factory farms have a very negative impact on the environment, not to mention that the animals are confined and commonly mistreated.
Factory farming greatly contributes to air pollution and is responsible for a huge portion of greenhouse gas emissions through methane production.
Opt for ice cream brands that are local and organic to avoid buying from a factory farm.
Is it GMO-Free?
Genetically Modified Organisms, or GMOs, have been shown to negatively affect habitat biodiversity and the companies responsible for the manufacturing GMO seeds and crops have been criticized for seriously exploiting small-scale farmers.
The spread of GMO crops such as corn, soy, and rice is directly responsible for the destruction of the Monarch butterfly habitat in North America and has caused many indigenous grain species to go extinct.
Opt for brands that have the GMO-free label when not buying organic.
Dairy Free Ice Cream:
When it comes to sustainability choosing a dairy-free ice cream option is a great way to avoid the negatives associated with the quality of the milk used!
Many dairy-free options tend to be made with coconut milk, soy milk, or almond milk or frozen fruit, such as banana.
When looking for dairy-free options be extra careful to avoid unnecessary additives like palm oil.
Sustainable Ice Cream Brands:
Reduce food waste and unnecessary packaging while saving bucks!
Why Buy Bulk?
Bulk buying is a great option for reducing waste and saving money.
When buying in bulk you also have more flexibility in the amounts that you purchase, this way you can get exactly what you need and avoid getting excess.
For example if a recipe calls for an ingredient that you know you won’t be using again anytime soon you can buy a small amount of that item in bulk as opposed to buying the typical packaged amount.
This way your ingredients will always be fresher too because you are buying as you need.
Alternatively bulk buying can be used to buy large amounts of an item to store at home for later use. This is a great option for dried goods like beans and grains because they store well and are much more affordable when purchased in bulk.
Whether you have a family to feed or are living with just one or two people, batch cooking is for you!
Batch cooking helps to make cooking less of a chore while also keeping your health on track by having home cooked meals prepared and ready to go.
When batch cooking you want to double or even triple your recipes in order to have leftovers to put in the fridge or freezer. Instead of cooking every night you can batch cook once or twice a week.
For example, you can cook up a big batch of quinoa and then use it in stir-frys, salads, soups, and grain bowls.
It’s important to keep in mind all food groups when batch cooking! Make sure to have a balance of protein, grains, fruits and veggies in every meal for optimum health.
How to Meal Prep:
Batch cooking and meal prepping go hand in hand.
Once you’ve batch cooked ingredients you can then come up with different recipes to use them in and prepare meals ahead of time.
Meal prepping is an investment that takes time while you’re doing it, but pays off immensely in convenience when you can grab a healthy home cooked meal to-go!
Summer is the season for tomatoes!
Here at the Co-op we love the many delicious varieties of tomatoes that are available in the summer. Tomatoes offer a juicy, fresh flavor and are a healthy meal addition to everything from potluck pasta salad to a classic sandwich.
Let us take some time to appreciate the tomato and all it has to offer.
Tomatoes are good sources of several vitamins and minerals
Vitamin C is essential for the production of collagen in the body and plays an important role in immunity by acting as an antioxidant in the body. One medium-sized tomato can provide about 28% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI).
Tomatoes contain many phytochemicals
Don’t forget to stop by our Produce Department for your fresh, local tomato needs!
Have you ever brought home beautiful bunches of greens and herbs only to have them wilt away in your fridge?
Save your money and stop wasting food with simple storage tips!
Greens and Herbs:
Trim the stem ends, place in a jar of fresh water, and place the entire jar in the fridge.
This allows the veggies to re-hydrate and will stay fresh much longer this way.
Use this method for greens like kale and chard, fresh herbs like basil and cilantro, and even vegetables like asparagus!
Most veggies store best in the fridge.
Storing in a plastic bag or within the crisper drawer in your fridge will help keep in moisture and prevent your veggies from getting soft and drying out.
Some veggies such as tomatoes, potatoes, garlic, onion, and hard squashes are actually best stored outside of the fridge in a cool, dry place.
Tip: Vegetables should be stored away from fruit in order to prevent them from ripening too fast!
When it comes to fruit most varieties will keep fresh longest if stored in the fridge, but when it comes to ripening they ripen best outside of the fridge.
Berries, lemons, and apples will all last much longer if stored in the fridge whereas tropical fruits like bananas and mangoes store best on the counter top.
Tip: Some fruits, such as apples and bananas, produce ethylene gas and can be used to help ripen other fruits!
How To Make Kombucha
If you followed our blog post last month about how to make your own kombucha SCOBY, then you are ready to make your first batch of kombucha! If you haven’t followed those steps yet, give it a try and you’ll be able to follow this tutorial in just a few weeks!
If you already have your SCOBY ready to go then read on.
Most store-bought Kombucha goes through two rounds of fermentation. The first round takes 5-10 days and is done with the SCOBY you have just made. The first round of fermentation is to build up probiotics in the kombucha from your SCOBY! The second fermentation is done in brewing bottles and does not use the SCOBY. The process is meant to build up CO2 in kombucha and infuse any other flavors. The second fermentation is not necessary for producing kombucha but I think it is well worth the week wait! Try some of the flavor combinations below!
- A 2 liter to 1-gallon jar
- More tea
- 2-3 brewing bottles
- Fruits and/or herbs
- Clean hands! This is an active culture and should only come into contact with very clean equipment
Once your SCOBY is complete, the liquid it is in will taste way to vinegary to drink! Dump all but 10-12 oz of that first batch. Then make some tea! The ratios will vary depending on the type of tea you wish to use. For this tutorial, I used Organic Jasmine from the Davis Food Co-op Bulk selection, but you can use earl grey, gun powder, white tea, oolong, yerba mate, or decaf/herbal tea. For each 1 cup of tea add ¼ cup unrefined sugar, agave, honey, or another sweetener. The sugar is necessary to feed the SCOBY! Let the tea cool to at least 80 Fahrenheit. Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly and in between touching anything, and I mean anything! Your SCOBY is a living culture and can grow mold if you are not clean in your processes. Remove your SCOBY, then add the tea to your jar with the small amount of original kombucha and place your SCOBY back on top of the liquid. Close the lid and set in a box in a cool place for 3-10 days.
After 5-10 days, make a new set of tea and set aside to cool to AT LEAST 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
While your tea is cooling, you can start the second round of fermentation prep! Remove your SCOBY and set aside on a clean plate. Pour some of the SCOBY tea through a filter (cheesecloth works well!) and funnel or carefully pour into your brewing bottles leaving about 1.5-2 inches of air at the top. Add some flavor and sweetener! Close the lids and set in a box in a cool place for 3-10 days.
Keep 10-12 oz of the original first-round kombucha and add the cool sweet tea, then gently put your SCOBY back in. Cover the jar with a breathable cloth. Place it in a cool, dark place for 5-10 days. The longer it sits the stronger and more tart or vinegary it will taste. This batch will be ready to bottle around the time your brew bottles are ready to be opened!
When you are ready to drink the finished kombucha after its second fermentation, place them in the fridge 4 to 6 hours before you plan on opening. If you open them at room temperature, the Kombucha will shoot out like champagne! Filter again and it is ready to drink! Yum!
Store opened kombucha in the fridge until you’re ready to drink!
- Ginger and Dates, (2-3 Tbsp of fresh ginger and 1 date per 16 oz)
- Ginger, Cardamom, and Sugar, (2-3 Tbsp of fresh ginger, 2-3 Cardamom seeds or 1/4 tsp of ground Cardamom, and 1 tsp of Sugar per 16 oz)
- Strawberries (no sugar needed! They are sweet enough!), (1-2 Large Strawberries per 16 oz)
- Lavender and Agave (3-5 lavender flower stalks and 1 tsp of agave per 16 oz)
- Lavender, Sage, Rosemary, and Agave (1-2 stalks of each herb and 1 tsp of agave per 16 oz)
- Elderberries and Blackberries (no sugar needed! They are sweet enough!), (2-3 of each berry per 16 oz)
- Mulberries (no sugar needed! They are sweet enough!), (2-3 berries per 16 oz)
- Making Kombucha on a budget? Save the bottles from store-bought Kombucha for the second fermentation. If you use these bottles, you will need to burp them every day, meaning you will unscrew the lid to release the CO2 build up! They cannot handle the pressure build-up and are prone to break or cause the lid to shoot off!
- Place the bottle of finished kombucha in the fridge 4-6 hours before opening! This will decrease the pressure to make it safer to open. If you leave the un-burped bottles in the fridge for too long before opening the CO2 pressure will simply build-up at the colder temperature and still shoot out like champagne! (see video!)
- Taste your first round fermentation kombucha before started the second round. See how it tastes, is it strong enough or does it need more sugar? After a few batches of fermentation, you will start to get a feel for what the kombucha should taste like before bottling!
Written by Madison Suoja, Education and Outreach Specialist
6 refreshing salad recipes that best incorporate flavors of season. Whether it’s for a summer BBQ or a weeknight family dinner, these salads are perfect for any occasion.
Spinach STRAWBERRY GOAT CHEESE SALAD
The perfect sweet and savory salad with tender spinach, juicy strawberries, crunchy pecans and a honey dijon dressing.
Find the recipe here.
Chicken Caprese Salad
Sweet and tangy balsamic reduction drizzled over fresh basil and tomato paired with creamy avocado, grilled chicken and mozzarella.
Find the recipe here.
Orzo Pasta Salad
Hearty and full of Mediterranean flavors with fresh cherry tomatoes, tangy artichoke hearts, and crisp bell pepper.
Find the recipe here.
Kale and Blood Orange Salad
Crisp red onion, juicy grapefruit, and tangy feta cheese makes for the perfect burst of citrus zest in each bite.
Find the recipe here.
Crisp apples and celery paired with juicy grapes in a sweet and creamy yogurt honey dressing.
Find the recipe here.
CRUNCHY BELL PEPPER SALAD
Made with sweet crunchy bell peppers, fresh herbs, and a tangy balsamic dressing – this salad is full of textures and fresh flavors.
Find the recipe here.
Wash fruits and sort for damaged fruit before freezing. Some fruits do best with a sugar or sugar-syrup preparation. Blueberries, currants, and cranberries do fine without sugar.
Here’s a trick for freezing delicate berries like strawberries or raspberries: Arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet. Once frozen, transfer to a plastic freezer bag or container. You can also prepare delicate berries with sugar or sugar syrup.
For fruits that tend to brown, like apples, peaches, nectarines, and apricots, treat with ascorbic acid (Vitamin C).
To make an ascorbic acid wash: Dissolve 1/2 teaspoon of ascorbic acid powder (or finely crushed vitamin C tablets) in 3 tablespoons water. Sprinkle this mixture over the cut fruit.
An acceptable substitute: Slice the fruit and dip the slices in an acidulated water bath — about one-quart water plus a tablespoon of lemon juice — before drying and freezing.
If you are freezing fruits for smoothies, there is no need to make an ascorbic acid wash.
Strawberry Rhubarb Sage Empanadas (Rhubard freezes super well! Cut into the size you want in your future pies before freezing!)
The best vegetables for freezing are low-acid veggies. When freezing vegetables, first blanch them briefly in boiling water. Then quickly submerge the veggies in ice water to prevent them from cooking. Dry thoroughly on paper towel-lined sheet pans.
Why blanch? Blanching prevents enzymes from damaging color, flavor, and nutrients. Blanching also destroys unkind microorganisms that might be lingering on the surface of vegetables. Pack vegetables snuggly to avoid air contact.
If you are freezing vegetables for stock, there is no need to blanch.
Garren Vegetable Bake (Zucchini and Pea save very well in the freezer!)
What exactly is a grain?
What’s the difference between wholegrain and multigrain?
Which is better, dried or canned beans?
Read along to find out the answers to these questions but recipes, cooking tips, and more!
Both beans and grains are food staples around the world and can be found in every single cuisine! Recently beans and grains have been gaining popularity due to the affordability, versatility and nutrition that they offer. From the familiar corn cob and pinto bean to the avant garde anasazi and quinoa, there is a grain and bean out there for everyone. That being said there’s often confusion about which bean and grain options are the best.
Beans add diverse flavors and textures to your cooking while also boosting the nutrition by providing a good balance of fiber, protein and minerals like calcium and iron. Beans are a great kitchen addition that make for a dynamic meal with very little cost. Plus if stored properly dried beans can last for up to 2-3 years without losing significant nutrient value and taste!
Dried beans are one of the most affordable ingredients with many types to choose from.
You can easily buy them in bulk which allows you to get exactly the amount you need without excess packaging!
Most dried beans, excluding lentils, split peas, and adzuki, will require soaking overnight (or at least 8 hours) before cooking in order to properly rehydrate them. After they’ve soaked make sure to drain the soaking water and add fresh water to your cooking pot. Check out the Co-op Central guide for additional details on bean varieties, storage tips, and cooking times.
Canned beans are super convenient and great to have on hand for quick meal additions. While there tends to not be as much variety in canned beans as dried, there are still lots of bean types to choose from.
It can be especially handy to have canned garbanzo and soy beans, as these take the longest to prepare from dried.
A nutrition note on canned beans is that many have additional ingredients added such as sugar, salt, and fat and you should always check the ingredient label first before purchasing.
When it comes to fresh beans there are fresh shelling beans, like fava and cranberry beans which require shelling because the pod is inedible, and fresh whole beans, like romano and green beans which can be eaten whole. Fresh shelling beans are typically the same bean varieties that are found dried, while fresh whole beans are typically the same bean varieties that are found canned.
A benefit of fresh beans over dried and canned is that many varieties, like romano beans, can be eaten raw and do not require any cooking preparation. You can find these fresh beans when in season here at the Davis Food Co-op or your local farmers market!
When it comes to beans, dried are the most affordable option with the best variety to choose from. However, dried beans require proper storage and more preparation time for soaking and cooking. Canned beans offer the most convenience and are also an affordable option, but they limit the control of nutrients like salt and fat because many canned options have additional ingredients added. And lastly, fresh beans are a great seasonal option that can occasionally even be eaten raw offering unique flavors and textures.
Guide to Grains:
Grains, sometimes referred to as cereals, are small, hard seeds that come from different grass and grass-like plants. Today the most commonly produced grains around the world are rice, corn, and wheat, but there are many different kinds of grains! Whole grains are great sources of complex carbohydrates, fiber, and B vitamins plus they are very satisfying and filling meal additions. Check out the Co-op Central guide for additional information on types of grains, storage tips, and cooking times!
So what’s the difference between whole grain, multigrain, and fortified grains?
Whole grain means that all parts of the grain kernel, the bran, endosperm, and germ, are used. This is obvious when cooking rice or quinoa because the grain kernel is still intact, but can become more confusing when buying grain products like bread, pasta, and crackers.
Whole grains are the healthiest option because they offer the full nutrient and fiber content of the grain.
Back in 2005 the Whole Grains Council created a whole grain stamp that makes it easy to identify products made with whole grains! Many but not all products use the whole grain stamp so other good identifiers of whole grains are words like ‘stone ground’ and ‘whole wheat’.
Fun fact, popcorn is a whole grain!
Multigrain means that multiple different grains were used but none of them necessarily in their whole form. Due to this, the term multigrain can be deceiving because it is just referring to the number of grains and not the quality of the grains.
Multigrain products such as rice blends can be great options to diversify your cooking but it’s important to check the label because multigrain breads and cereals can sometimes be tricky!
Other names to look out for are numbers placed in front of grain such as ‘seven-grain’ or twelve-grain’. These are still multigrain products and may or may not contain actual whole grains.
Fortification is a process used to restore the nutrient content of grains that have been stripped of their natural nutrients during refining. During refining grain kernels are separated and the bran and germ are removed leaving just the starchy endosperm behind.
This is generally done because the bran and germ impart more earthy flavors that are not also desirable but in doing so the majority of fiber and nutrients are also removed from the grain.
This is why most refined grains are then fortified with essential nutrients such as B vitamins and iron. While fortification has made refined grains much healthier, they still do not compare to their whole grain counterparts and will be lacking in nutrients unique to that grain.
When it comes to grains and grain products whole grain is the best option because the grain kernels are still intact leaving all of the nutrients intact as well. Multigrain products can be good options to get a variety of grains into your diet but tend to be misleading as to the processing and quality of the grain so you should always double-check the nutrition label. And lastly, fortified grains are highly processed, do not contain the same nutrients found in whole grains and therefore should be the last option when buying grain products.