Wheatless Wednesday

Food Will Win the War!

That’s still true. Granted, not in the way the Hurbert Hoover intended*. The number of Americans who feel like the food system is at war with the public is growing. Joe & I are trying to do our part to show that consumers can and will choose food that is sustainably grown; we will acknowledge that we have to pay for our values & pay a higher price for some goods. But the trade-off is great: we get to talk to our farmers, shop at locally-owned stores & feel like we’re larger parts of the community in which we live.

So it’s not the first World War, but I do believe that a healthier diet will bring about a rejuvenated, refocused U.S.

I promise this is the last day that I’ll ask you to sacrifice something. Maybe I’m just posting these now because Lent has me in the spirit of abstaining from foods on certain days… but around the same time that Meatless Monday started, Wheatless Wednesday also came into being. Its return to the public consciousness as been slower & smaller than the Meatless Monday movement I discussed before, but it’s growing.

I’d even guess that at this point, there’s already one meal a week where you’re not eating wheat. And it’s easy. Think of your average diet. How frequently do you eat rice, potatoes or oatmeal? How about couscous, lentil stew or spaghetti squash? There are all sorts of filling, nutrient-rich carbohydrate sources. This is one day without the usual pasta & bread.

That doesn’t have to mean shopping in the expensive gluten-free section. It have to mean buying fancy replacement foods like vegetarians do when we want meat-ish products. It’s just expanding your diet a bit. It’s a chance to try new, even healthier grains.

Elephant had a great post by nutritionist Julie McGinnis, who explains all sorts of grains to get you going on a healthy, Wheatless Wednesday. Here were three of my favorites:

  • Whole Grain Sorghum is an ancient, drought resistant cereal grain grown worldwide… Some sorghum strains have been found to be high in antioxidants—even higher than blueberries. In addition, the wax surrounding the sorghum grain contains compounds called policosanols that have been found in research to reduce cholesterol.
  • Quinoa has an amazing grain and contains all nine essential amino acids making it a complete protein. In addition to protein, quinoa is a very good source of manganese as well as a good source of magnesium, iron, copper and phosphorus.
  • Millet is one of the oldest grains and… is 15% protein. [It] contains high amounts of fiber, B-complex vitamins including niacin, thiamin, and riboflavin, the essential amino acid methionine, lecithin, and some vitamin E. It is particularly high in the minerals iron, magnesium, phosphorous, and potassium.

Quinoa (pronounced “key-no-uh”) is one of those words that I try to pronounce the American way & end up pronouncing wrong. Like Sorels & panniers*, which is basically the French word for basket, panier. (Really? We say it like puh-near, like palak paneer*? Weird, English. Just weird.) There are certain words/vowel combinations that my French studies has ruined for me. Maybe that’s why I haven’t purchased it much…

Anyway, quinoa has quickly become the in-the-know, granola-eating, Whole Foods-shopping grain. Now, there are loads of recipes online, & it’s made it’s way into the average person’s price range & grocery store. You can usually find it in a box near the rices.

Sorghum is actually something I didn’t even realize was a grain I could eat. I’ve never seen it at the store, but I’ve consumed more than my fair share of sorghum molasses. That, however, is not how I suggest you get through Wheatless Wednesday (unless you’re enjoying a nice bowl of oatmeal, in which case bring on the sorghum molasses).

So this week, when you’re grocery shopping, take a walk down the bulk section or the aisle where the rice lives. Check out all the different grains & pick one that seems exciting–exotic quinoa, quick & easy couscous, millet for a taste of Africa. Then come home & Google search a recipe. Try it out. Share it with your family & friends.

Diversify your diet, because if we’re going to have a long-lasting, environmentally conscious food system, we need biodiversity. We need all kinds of plants growing & adapting to these changing weather patterns. We need all kinds of farmers working the fields & all different ways to feed ourselves.

Have favorite grains or recipes for Wheatless Wednesday? I’d love it if you shared them here!

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About meganbetz

human geography PhD Student at Indiana University; wife, reader, writer, baker, gardener
This entry was posted in being married and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Wheatless Wednesday

  1. Pingback: lent: the vegetarian returns | francofile

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