Getting regular exercise is a key component to stress management.

Coping with Stress for Heart Health

by Cassidy Stockton in Featured Articles, Health

Getting regular exercise is a key component to stress management.

Beyond eating right and getting exercise, dealing with your stress levels is a crucial component to heart health. Stress can lead to high blood pressure, sleep deprivation, weight gain, overeating and an increase in high-risk behaviors, such as drinking and smoking cigarettes. Those are just some of the things stress can induce that are related to heart-health.

No one is exempt from stress, so we might as well start figuring out how to manage it. None of these tips are new, but they make for an excellent reminder of how we should be taking care of ourselves.

  • Move more! Get out and walk for 20 minutes on your lunch break or take a five minute cruise around the office every hour. Can’t leave your office or your desk? There are some great stretches and breathing techniques that calm your body and mind, here. Exercise releases endorphins which make your mind and body feel good and naturally reduce stress. read more about exercise and stress here.
  • Sleep more! A properly rested body and mind will be more equipped to deal with the daily ups and downs you face. Every body is different in how much sleep it requires, but on average, adults need 8 hours every night. Instead of burning the midnight oil trying to finish a project, go to bed earlier and let the project wait. Your mind and body will be better-equipped to handle the project after a good night’s sleep. I know how impossible that sounds to some of you, but if you can manage it, it will be worth it.
    • Have trouble sleeping? I personally have trouble falling asleep at night and use relaxation techniques to help me hit the hay more smoothly. This is a wonderful article from Women’s Health about sleep and how to get the most out of your night.
  • Let it go! Some things are just not worth the energy; find a way to let small things go while still holding sight of the big picture. I like to think , “Will this matter in a week/month/year?” If the answer is no, then it is not worth it and shouldn’t be taking up any of your vital brain space.
  • Laugh more! People who laugh often are generally happier and more relaxed. Laughter is the perfect cure for stress. The hormones released when you laugh combat the stress hormones in the body, such as cortisol and epinephrine, and promotes the immune system. So lighten up and check out funny blogs like The Oatmeal or visit YouTube to find the newest funny videos.
  • Touch more! Whether you snuggle with a loved one, a pet, or simply start hugging your friends more often, the physical interaction promotes hormones that naturally calm us. If these options are not available or make you uncomfortable, a 30-minute massage will work wonders to reduce your stress!

Here is a wonderful article on stress heart disease from WebMd.

About The Author
Cassidy Stockton Google: Cassidy Stockton
Share this article:
Visit MyFoodPyramid.gov to learn how to apply the Guidelines to your daily life.

Happy Hearts Make for Happy Lives

by Cassidy Stockton in Featured Articles, Health

Visit MyFoodPyramid.gov to learn how to apply the Guidelines to your daily life.

February is National Heart Health Month and we’re dedicating ourselves to bringing you tips for keeping your heart in good working condition.  To kick us off right (even if we are almost a week late!), it seems like the perfect time to discuss the newly released 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

As a brief background, the Guidelines are reviewed and revised by the USDA every 5 years. The Guidelines are intended to help guide legislation and provide information for drafting educational materials in an effort to promote healthy eating in Americans. Sounds simple enough, but after listening to Eve Essery, PhD speak at the Whole Grains Conference last week, I realized that these guidelines are anything but simple. The committee who drafts the Guidelines must sift through hundreds, if not thousands, of reports and research papers pertaining to every part of human nutrition to develop a strategy to combat chronic diseases and obesity. Then, they must take their strategy and apply it to the reality of every day life for people of all walks starting at the age of 2.

The Guidelines are not perfect and they really haven’t changed that much in five years. What I found to be the most significant change was the increased focus on portion control and calorie consumption. It’s no secret that the United States has seen a significant rise in obesity levels and the USDA is trying to course-correct our country. Not a bad idea, really. With a few exceptions, we all could stand to pay more attention to what and how much we eat and how much we exercise.

The 2010 Guidelines are not truly ready for public consumption yet, as they still need to be shaped into documents that make sense in our daily lives, but you can find all sorts of great information here at MyFoodPyramid.gov. For instance, did you know that you can make your own My Pyramid Plan? This is the one I made to help me reach a healthier weight (yep, I packed a few on during the holidays, too). I like that it gives me some basic goals to shoot for with different food groups and suggestions for varying my menu. Following a plan of moderate calorie reduction and increased activity is the single best way to reduce your weight. It won’t happen quickly like most diets, but it will be easier to keep off and maintain over the long term.

For more information on the 2005 and 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, visit www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines.

About The Author
Cassidy Stockton Google: Cassidy Stockton
Share this article:
At Bob's Red Mill we use this symbol to indicate a product's gluten free status.

Demystifying Labels Terms: Gluten Free

by Cassidy Stockton in Featured Articles, Gluten Free, Health

At Bob's Red Mill we use this symbol to indicate a product's gluten free status.

Part three of our Demystifying Label Terms Series will cover Gluten Free. Part four will cover Kosher.

Gluten Free: Another term not regulated by a governing agency and one that is appearing on more and more labels. When a product states “gluten free” it can mean any number of things specific to that product: it may be tested to ensure the absence of gluten (such as all Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free products); it may simply not contain any gluten-containing grains (wheat, rye or barley); it may be inherently free of gluten, but not tested (such as milk). It does not mean that the product is safely gluten free, however.

At Bob’s Red Mill, it strictly means that the product has been produced in a gluten-free facility, procured in a manner that minimizes the chance of cross-contact with gluten and tested to be under 20 [gluten] parts per million in our gluten free laboratory. Until the government releases a regulation (due any time now) regarding the use of “gluten free”, it behooves the consumer to investigate the company and what they mean when they use the term “gluten free”.

At Bob’s Red Mill, we use the above symbol to indicate whether the product is gluten free. Even if this symbol does not appear front and center, it may appear in the bottom left corner of the package. If a product does not have this symbol, it is likely not gluten free. If you’re unsure, please contact our customer service team at 800-349-2173 for help or consult our handy gluten free product listing here. For more information about Bob’s Red Mill gluten free products, find gluten free resources and to watch a tour of our gluten free facility, click here.

About The Author
Cassidy Stockton Google: Cassidy Stockton
Share this article:
Not all of our products bear the stamp, but we're working to add it to all of those that qualify.

Demystifying Label Terms: Whole Grain

by Cassidy Stockton in Featured Articles, Health, Whole Grains 101

Not all of our products bear the stamp, but we're working to add it to all of those that qualify.

In part two of our “Demystifying Label Terms” series, we’ll cover the term Whole Grain. Parts 3 and 4 will cover Gluten Free and Kosher.

Whole Grain: The Food and Drug Administration has defined whole grains as “cereal grains that consist of the intact, ground, cracked or flaked fruit of the grains whose principal components — the starchy endosperm, germ and bran — are present in the same relative proportions as they exist in the intact grain.” To use the term “whole grain” on a label, it must meet the above definition. While the term is not as strictly enforced as the term “organic”, it is regulated and is trustworthy when found on a label. However, terms such as “wheat bread”, “multigrain”, “100% wheat”, are often used in place of “whole grain” to confuse and mislead consumers into buying products that are not made with whole grains. Always check the ingredient statement to be sure the one of the first ingredients is indeed whole grain.

A useful tool developed by The Whole Grains Council is the Whole Grain Stamp (see above right). This stamp is appearing on more and more products. The whole grain stamp comes in two different forms- either “100% Whole Grain” or simply “Whole Grain”. Contrary to what you might think when seeing the “100% Whole Grain” stamp, this stamp simply means that all of the grain-derived ingredients in the product are whole grains. What this means is that your whole grain bread bearing the “100%” stamp will not contain things like wheat germ or oat bran- it will only contain whole grain ingredients like whole grain rye flour. It might still contain ingredients like sugar and yeast, but these are not grain-derived products. The “Whole Grain” stamp simply means that the product is a good source of whole grains, containing at least 8 grams of whole grains per serving. Products bearing this stamp may contain ingredients like oat bran and wheat germ.

At Bob’s Red Mill, we strive to bring you delicious whole grain products. As you know, we also make things that are good for you, but are not whole grains like dried beans and seeds. Heck, Flaxseed Meal is not considered to be a whole grain product and it’s one of the best foods you can add to your diet. We are working to add the stamp to all of our qualifying products, but if you find a great product that doesn’t bear the stamp, it doesn’t mean that it’s not whole grain or that it’s not good for you. Always read the ingredient list and, when in doubt, give our customer service team a call. They’re always happy to hear from you and love helping find answers to your questions.

About The Author
Cassidy Stockton Google: Cassidy Stockton
Share this article:
Flour & Scoop

Integrating Whole Grains Part 2 – Baking

by Chelsea Lincoln in Featured Articles, Health, Recipes, Whole Grains 101

The second part of this two part series on integrating whole grains into your kitchen deals with baking.  There are so many ways to add whole grains to your baking with wonderful and delectable results.  Here are some tips to get you started.  If you find yourself with more questions, please let us know!

Tips for Using Whole Grains:

• Replace up to 50% of your baking with whole wheat flours.  When a recipe calls for white flour, you can use half white flour and half of a whole wheat flour for an easy way to increase whole grain goodness.  For breads, use Whole Wheat Flour or Hard White Whole Wheat Flour and Whole Wheat Pastry Flour for baked goods leavened with baking powder or baking soda.

• Use Whole Wheat Flour for breads and Whole Wheat Pastry Flour for pastries such as muffins, cookies and cakes.  Whole Wheat Flour is made from hard red wheat berries and pastry flour is made from soft white wheat berries.  The hard berries contain more protein, which makes it ideal for bread which rely on the gluten found in protein for rising.  The soft wheat berries allow baked goods to be less dense.

• For whole grain nutrition with less whole wheat taste, use Hard White Whole Wheat Flour in your baking.  Use as you would Whole Wheat Flour.  This flour is made from hard white wheat berries.  It performs the same as traditional whole wheat flour, but is lighter in color and taste.  This is because it contains less tannin than hard red wheat berries which gives it the distinctive taste and darker color.

• Replace up to 25% of your recipes with whole grain flours such as Quinoa, Barley, Millet and Spelt Flours.  If this simply means adding just ¼ cup of a whole grain flour to the recipe, that would be equivalent to one serving of whole grains.  There are a large variety of whole grain flours which can be added to baked goods that not only add nutrition, but flavor as well.

• Integrate whole grain dry cereals into your baked goods.  You can replace up to 20% of a recipe with oats, multi grain cereals, farinas, cracked or rolled grains.  The cereals add nutrition as well as texture to baked goods, may it be breads, muffins, cookies or other baked goods.

• When using all whole wheat flour, use 7/8 cup per 1 cup of white flour for best results.  This is for when you want to convert a recipe to use 100% whole wheat flour.  Since the flours are denser, a little less flour is required.  For breads, you may also want to add Vital Wheat Gluten Flour for best results.

Whole Grain Recipes:

WOW Chocolate Chip Cookies

Whole Grain Power Bars

Bran Flax Buns

Blueberry-Yogurt Pancakes

Whole Grain Corn Muffins

Oatmeal Cake

Breakfast Muesli Bars

Honey Oatmeal Bread

Oatmeal Pancakes

Whole Grain Waffles

About The Author
Chelsea Lincoln Google: Chelsea Lincoln
Share this article:
Whole grains Millet, Spelt, Amaranth and Quinoa

Integrating Whole Grains Part 1 – Cooking

by Chelsea Lincoln in Featured Articles, Health, Recipes, Whole Grains 101

For New Year’s, we often try our hand at ways to improve our health and happiness.  Integrating more whole grains into our lives is a delicious, easy way to start.  Intact foods are packed with essential vitamins, minerals and fiber, which are just a few of the benefits of whole grains that your body will surely thank you for.  During the month of November, I avoided all processed foods and sugars and noticed that I had more energy and felt better overall.  I partook in my share of holiday treats during December and I could tell that my body wasn’t happy about it.  I look forward to starting the New Year once again with a focus on whole grains.  If this sounds like a good New Year’s resolution to you, here are some ideas for introducing more whole grains in your diet. 

Whole grains can be added to both your cooking and baking for delightfully delicious foods.  This two part series of helpful hints starts with cooking with whole grains. We’ll tackle baking next.

 

Whole grains Millet, Spelt, Amaranth and Quinoa

Tips for Using Whole Grains:

• Eat barley, quinoa, brown rice, kasha or another whole grain as a side dish instead of white rice or potatoes.  All you have to do is cook them according to the directions for a more wholesome side kick to your meal.

• Use grains such as quinoa or barley in entrees like risotto, pilaf and stuffed peppers.  Bob’s Red Mill has many such recipes available on the Recipes portion of our website.

• Add whole grains to soups, stews and salads.  You can follow a recipe or simply add ½ cup of cooked whole grains to your favorite dishes.  Depending on the recipe, more could be added.

• Soak whole grains in the morning to cut down on cooking time for dinner preparation.  Simply place the grains in a pot, cover with water called for in the instructions and let soak 4-8 hours.   When ready to cook, prepare as usual, except the cooking time will be less and vary depending on the grain.  

Whole Grain Recipes: 

Bean and Barley Burgers

Szechwan Peanut Salad

Whole Grain Polenta

Creamy Mushrooms & Grain Soup

French Beans & Berries Salad

Wheat Berry Minestrone Soup

Kasha Scramble

Quinoa Salad

About The Author
Chelsea Lincoln Google: Chelsea Lincoln
Share this article:
FitFood actual cover

Guest Post & Giveaway: Fit Food for Foodies

by Cassidy Stockton in Contests, Featured Articles, Gluten Free

Recently, I published a cookbook called Fit Food for Foodies with very tasty recipes that are gluten free, dairy free, and sugar free. The recipes are quick and so wonderful that you will never know that you are eating “healthy food”. I have found that Bob’s Red Mill gluten free products are widely available and are excellent (that is saying a lot because I am picky). I have several Bob’s Red Mill products in my pantry including a variety of the gluten free flours, baking mix, oats, and brown rice farina. By the way, the brown rice farina makes an excellent polenta (sorry the recipe will be in the next book but maybe I will post it on my website healthygoodeats.com for free- please ask). I made crepes with the teff and gluten free baking mix, they were yummy too.

There has been a lot of media attention lately about obesity linked to the Western diet heavily influenced by processed foods. The problem afflicts millions of people that have adopted a Western diet and can lead to serious health problems such as heart disease, adult onset diabetes, and high cholesterol. Many are allergic to foods such as wheat and dairy, knowingly or unknowingly. It is difficult to find processed foods that do not contain some amount of wheat, dairy, or sugar.

Eating healthy, whole foods is healthy and people are becoming more aware of how foods affect energy levels and overall health. Benefits include more energy, weight loss (if you need to), clearer skin and eyes, reduce aches, pains and digestive problems, release yourself from addictive habits, and feel empowered by your choices to take control of your diet and health.

What we eat affects our bodies in many ways. The time is now to eat healthy, wholesome food and live life feeling great. Your health is in your hands and life is a gift, so make the most of it.

Fit Food for Foodies is now available and can be purchased online at Healthygoodeats.com

Giveaway

Peggie’s book, Fit Food for Foodies, is a great resource for healthy and delicious recipes. We have partnered with her to bring you a great giveaway just in time for the new year. We have three copies of Fit Food for Foodies to give out and we’ll throw in a package of our Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Mix and Organic Quinoa (gluten free) for the three lucky winners. Here’s how to enter for your chance to win.

  1. Leave us a comment here, on this post, and tell us your health-related or food-related New Year’s Resolution. It doesn’t have to be crazy, it can be as simple as you like.
  2. For a second chance to win, you may do one of these two things:
    1. Visit Facebook and “Like” Fit Food for Foodies, then report back here and tell us that you did so.
    2. If you are not on Facebook or already “like” Fit Food for Foodies,” you may visit HealthyGoodEats.com and tell us which “Freebies” recipe sounds the most appealing to you instead.

The contest ends on 12/16 at 11:59 pm. Winners will be chosen through random selection and announced on Friday, December 17th- we’d like to get prizes out to people before the holidays.

About The Author
Cassidy Stockton Google: Cassidy Stockton
Share this article:
Cookies that are actually good for you!

A Hearty Recipe for Fall Weather

by in Featured Articles
Cookies that are actually good for you!

Cookies that are actually good for you!

If you have ever tried our Stone Ground Oat Bran & Nuts Cookie Mix you know that it bakes into cookies that are quite rich in whole grains. These ultra-healthy cookies get their substance from 100% whole wheat pastry flour, heart-healthy oat bran and hearty rolled oats. These cookies make a great alternative to all the ordinary refined flour based treats that are surround us during the holiday season.

But if you find yourself craving a treat that combines the best of both worlds, do I have a recipe for you! After a bit of experimenting with the original mix, I wanted to emphasize nut flavor of the walnuts by adding peanut butter and flax seed meal. I found that adding some applesauce helps moisten all those whole grains to make the cookie softer and chewier. And of course, I couldn’t forget the chocolate chips – they make everything better. This particular recipe is vegan (dairy and egg free), but if you would like to make the bars using traditional ingredients, the substitutes they are listed right below the recipe.

These Oat Bran Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars are perfect for both the whole grain lover, and anyone who loves chocolate and peanut butter together. The recipe does double-duty by combining the nutritious qualities of whole grains with the flavor and sweetness of a traditional bad-for-you cookie. It has very little sugar, high protein and a high fiber content to keep you satisfied longer, although you might still want to eat them all at once. These bars are great for a midday treat, or a yummy dessert served warm and topped with vanilla ice cream. Whatever you decide, I hope you enjoy them as much as the customers of Bob’s Red Mill Whole Grain Store have.

Thanks for reading and happy baking!

Oat Bran Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars
½ cup non-hydrogenated margarine
1 cup peanut butter
3 T. flaxseed meal mixed in ½ cup warm water
¼ cup applesauce
1 pkg. Bob’s Red Mill Oat Bran & Nuts Cookie Mix
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Prepare flaxseed mixture.
In a mixing bowl, cream margarine until soft.
Add peanut butter, flaxseed mixture and applesauce and combine completely.
Incorporate the package of cookie mix, followed by the chocolate chips. This dough will be very similar to a cookie dough texture.
Press evenly into an 8 in. by 8 in. greased square baking pan.
Bake for 25 minutes in a conventional oven at 350 degrees.

Substitutes: Replace 2 eggs for the flaxseed mixture and ½ cup butter for the margarine.

Recipe and Writing By: Meagan Nuchols

About The Author
Google:
Share this article:
Unprocessed starts at the beginning- here Bob inspects a new shipment of grain.

October: Unprocessed

by Cassidy Stockton in Featured Articles, Health

Unprocessed starts at the beginning- here Bob inspects a new shipment of grain.

At Bob’s Red Mill, “unprocessed” foods are our bread and butter. We pride ourselves on keeping true to the ingredients we use. You know the drill by now- one pound in, one pound out. No preservatives, no weird chemicals, just grains, beans or seeds. When Andrew from Eating Rules approached us to write a blog post for October: Unprocessed, we jumped at the opportunity to become a member of this group and take on his challenge in our own lives.

What is October: Unprocessed? Struck by the realization that much of the food we eat in the United States is full of chemicals for flavor, freshness, color, as well as excessive levels of sugar, fat and salt, Andrew challenged himself to take a month off from all of these excessively processed foods. That was in October of 2009. This year, he’s taking it to a new level and challenging everyone to try a month without processed foods.

What is a “processed” food? This is sort of a nebulous territory- ‘processed’ can mean many different things. If you want to be strict about it- even an egg from a chicken has been ‘processed’ if it came from the grocery store. Fortunately, Andrew isn’t asking us to go that far. His definition is as follows: Unprocessed food is any food that could be made by a person with reasonable skill in a home kitchen with readily available, whole-food ingredients.

That can mean different things to different people. I like to think of it in terms of Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food, which basically says- if your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize it as food, it isn’t. Even then, it’s a little fuzzy, but I’m taking up his challenge anyway. Yep- even while we’re trekking through Scotland in our quest to win the Golden Spurtle again, I’ll be passing on the convenient convenience foods. I hate to admit that I ever eat them anyway, but I admit it- I, too, occasionally indulge in candy bars, soda pop and other sinful snacks.

Unprocessed tastes so good! Find this recipe and others on our site at www.bobsredmill.com.

One particular challenge in my household (yes, I did talk the hubs into taking the challenge too) is that we’re dairy free and vegetarian. So where do I draw my “processed” line?  I think this will apply to a lot of people on the gluten free diet or with other food issues. When you try to eat foods that are out of the ‘norm’, you find yourself eating foods that are a little on the questionable side. You find yourself wondering what IS that weird ingredient in the vegetarian sausage? Soy sour cream? That can’t be ‘unprocessed.’ Regular sour cream passes the test with flying colors and the soy version has less bad fats and cholesterol, but it also has a slew of weird stuff. Where does soy butter come into play? You get my drift. We’re cutting out anything that’s obviously processed- kiss my soy and veggie meats goodbye- unless I make them myself- and out with the fake sour cream and fake cheeses. We shouldn’t be eating them anyway- at least not in any appreciable quantity. I’m keeping the soy margarine and my KIND bars, thank you very much.

I challenge you to join us and take on a month of consciously choosing your food. We have several people taking the challenge here at Bob’s and we’d love your company. Head on over to Eating Rules and sign up for the challenge. Andrew has given a few guidelines to make the challenge functional for all types and is hosting guest posts from bloggers of every type all month long. Good luck! I’ll keep you posted on my progress and keep me posted on yours if you choose to join us.

About The Author
Cassidy Stockton Google: Cassidy Stockton
Share this article:
Breakfast doesn't have to be fancy, but fancy tastes pretty good.

Breakfast is not just for the early birds

by Cassidy Stockton in Featured Articles, Health

Breakfast doesn't have to be fancy, but fancy tastes pretty good.

Last week we were pleased to see that our company made a list of top hot cereal brands in the Wall Street Journal. We weren’t number one, but we made the list. It was pretty exciting for us to realize that we’re now playing with the big boys in the hot cereal arena.

Perhaps more interesting than being ranked among the top selling hot cereals, was the statement that Jaya Kumar, president of Quaker Food and Snacks, made regarding the reality of breakfast. Kumar stated that, “Only 40% of Americans eat breakfast… even though 97% consider it the most important meal of the day.” That number bothers me. This means that 57% of people do not eat breakfast even though they acknowledge its importance.

Does this discrepancy come from simply not making time for breakfast, or do people lack the full understanding of why breakfast is so important? I have trouble getting up just like the next person, but I absolutely cannot function if I don’t have breakfast. Low blood sugar levels are as good a reason as any to eat breakfast, but the science behind the first meal of the day makes it clear that breakfast is possibly the best thing you can do for yourself all day.

Our brains rely heavily on glucose to operate. The brain uses approximately 70% of the glucose we consume every day in the form of carbohydrates. Your brain needs to be ‘fed’ with new glucose supplies about every 12-16 hours. On average, Americans eat dinner between 6 and 7 pm. Most of us get about 8 hours of sleep a night. If you eat at 6 pm, rise at 6 am and don’t eat anything until lunchtime (which these days runs between noon and two), you’re brain is hitting that 16 hour mark around 10 am. Fueling your brain (and tummy) first thing in the morning will improve mental clarity and memory retention in a way that a cup of coffee just can’t.* I’m not knocking the java, but it offers your brain absolutely no fuel. Yes, it will get you running, but you’ll be more irritable and less attentive than you would be with a solid breakfast.

Whole grains are one of the best carbohydrates you can eat for breakfast.

If time is your excuse- try a cup of yogurt, a banana or a quick piece of whole grain toast (heck, just eat the bread if it takes too long to toast it). It doesn’t have to be fancy- just fuel. The worst excuse is that you’re not hungry. “I just don’t feel like eating in the morning.” You know why? Because your body has already stopped sending you hunger signals. It sent them while you were sleeping and got no response, so it stopped for a while. Eating first thing in the morning is like putting fresh logs on a dying fire. You immediately get your inner fire (aka metabolism) going which actually helps with weight management. You have to eat to burn calories. Additionally, people who do not eat breakfast tend to overeat later to compensate because their bodies think they are starving.

If these aren’t compelling reasons to eat breakfast, I don’t know what would convince you. Tomorrow morning, grab a piece of fruit on your way out the door or take a few minutes to enjoy some whole grain cereal and see how much better your day will become.

*To read a great study published in the The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition about the effects of breakfast on cognition and the long-term effects of breakfast on general health, click here.

About The Author
Cassidy Stockton Google: Cassidy Stockton
Share this article: