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October Unprocessed {Guest Post}

by Guest in Featured Articles, Health

In October of 2009, I was struck by a simple idea:

What would happen if I went for an entire month without eating any processed foods?

This question would have been nonsensical just a few decades ago.

Nowadays, it seems that almost every food that comes with an ingredients list a mile long, filled with refined sugar, fat, and salt. And preservatives. And flavorings. And artificial colors.

I’m no longer okay with this.

So I tried it, along with a few friends: A month of no processed foods.

October Unprocessed

Defining ‘Unprocessed’

We first had to define “unprocessed.” It’s one of those words that everyone intuitively seems to know, but when you get right down to it, it’s actually quite tricky to define. We finally settled on what I now call The Kitchen Test:

Unprocessed food is any food that could be made by a person with reasonable skill in a home kitchen with whole-food ingredients.

That doesn’t mean you have to make the food yourself, just that it could be done in a home kitchen—at least in theory. So if it’s something that’s store-bought, each ingredient needs to pass the kitchen test. It quickly rules out all those additives you’d never use if you were cooking for yourself.

And how did that first month go? The experience was revelatory. My expectations and sense of taste were re-calibrated. I started to identify individual ingredients in the foods I ate. I didn’t crave those salty snacks. I found myself often in the kitchen, excited to see what I could cook next. Above all, I simply felt better.

We took turns hosting small dinner parties, and shared our stories and experiences. It brought us closer together. Funny how REAL food does that.

October Unprocessed

October Unprocessed

In 2010, I decided to try it again, in a bigger way. I had recently started my blog, Eating Rules, and I reached out to the community and issued this “unprocessed” challenge again. I put up a short pledge form on my site for people to sign. By the end of the month, more than 400 people took the pledge and we shared over 40 guest posts on a variety of unprocessed food topics.

“The challenge” has continued to grow over the past few years.

Last year, over 6,000 people participated and we shared 93 guest posts!

This year, “October Unprocessed” is back for a fourth time, and it’s better than ever.

I’m particularly excited that Bob’s Red Mill is sponsoring the challenge. They’ve been a supporter from the very beginning, and this year they’re contributing with giveaways, valuable coupons, guest posts – and I’ll even be interviewing Bob himself!

We’re all in this together, supporting each other, and coming together as a community to bring change about in our own lives, and in the rest of the world. Ultimately, this challenge is an awareness exercise. It’ll help you focus on what you’re putting into your body, how it affects you, and how it affects the world around you.

I encourage you to take the pledge today, and then join us for the month-long challenge.

Together, we’ll change the world, one bite at a time.

Go here to learn more about October Unprocessed and to take the pledge!

(and once you do, you’ll receive some valuable Bob’s Red Mill coupons so you can stock up your unprocessed pantry!)

andrew-wilder-croppedAndrew Wilder firmly believes that “healthy eating doesn’t have to suck,” and he writes about how that’s entirely possible on his blog, Eating Rules. He leads the October Unprocessed challenge each year, and you can also find him on FacebookTwitter, and Google Plus.

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Antipasto Couscous with Chickpeas2

Embrace Whole Grains & Ethnic Flavors for Meatless Monday

by Guest in Meatless Mondays, Recipes

By Sharon Palmer, The Plant-Powered Dietitian

I’ll let you in on a little secret. Weight loss, better health, longevity and an anti-inflammatory lifestyle can be found in your neighborhood grocery store. Whole grains, in particular, are an essential part of the secret to living a better, healthier life.

While there are so many fallacies out there regarding carbohydrates, there is no better time than September – Whole Grains Month – to put some of these misconceptions regarding carbohydrates and grains to rest. Yes, it’s true that a diet packed in highly refined carbohydrates, such as those found in processed crackers, cereals, and pastries, may be increasing our risk of diseases; but, it’s also true that intake of whole grains actually leads to health promotion. Whole grains not only provide carbohydrates, they are packed with antioxidants, phytochemicals, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and even protein – nutrients and compounds essential for fighting off disease and improving our chances for living well into our 90s.

Even better news is that whole grains taste delicious and are incredibly versatile in a variety of meatless recipes.  When you focus on animal foods at every meal, your choices are limited to the basic beef, pork, chicken, or seafood selection. But when you plan your meals around plant foods – such as whole grains, including amaranth, barley, brown rice, buckwheat, bulgur, corn, millet, oats, quinoa, rye, sorghum, teff, wheat (including Kamut® wheat, farro, and spelt) and wild rice – the sky’s the limit.

A wide variety of ethnic dishes, including those inspired by Mexican, Indian and African flavors, are anything but bland and boring. What’s more, many of these ethnic cuisines use whole grains to form the foundation for a variety of recipes.

Antipasto Couscous with Chickpeas1

Antipasto Couscous with Chickpeas

By Sharon Palmer, RD

A staple in North African cuisine, couscous is actually small pieces of semolina pasta made from whole grain flour. My whole grain couscous dish is based on a variety of flavorful preserved vegetables, such as sun-dried tomatoes, roasted peppers, and marinated artichoke hearts. You can keep these ingredients in your pantry and make this wholesome one-dish meal at a moment’s notice. And it’s just as good served cold as a salad.

Makes 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 Garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 medium Red Onion, chopped
  • 1/3 cup Sun-Dried Tomatoes, sliced
  • Half 12-ounce jar drained, sliced Fire-Roasted Red or Yellow Peppers (about ½ cup)
  • 1/2 cup canned marinated Mushrooms, drained
  • Half 12-ounce jar marinated Artichoke Hearts, drained and sliced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 cup cooked or canned Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans), no salt added, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup pitted Green Olives, drained
  • 1 Tbsp Capers
  • 1-1/2 cups Water
  • 1 tsp Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp Lemon Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Smoked Paprika
  • 1 tsp dried Oregano
  • 1 cup uncooked Whole Wheat Couscous
  • 1/3 cup chopped Pistachios

Instructions:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the garlic and onion and sauté for 5 minutes.
  2. Stir in the tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms, artichokes, chickpeas, olives, capers, water, vinegar, lemon pepper, paprika, and oregano. Cook until bubbly, about 3 minutes.
  3. Pour the couscous over the vegetable mixture (do not stir) then cover the pan and remove from the heat. Let stand for 5 minutes.
  4. Remove the cover and fluff the couscous with a fork. Sprinkle with the pistachios and serve immediately.

Notes: Chill this dish to serve it as a salad. If you plan on serving it much later, reserve the pistachios to keep them from getting soggy and sprinkle them on at the last minute.

Per serving (about 1-1/8 cups):

Calories: 240, Carbohydrate: 38 g, Fiber: 6 g, Protein: 8 g, Total fat: 6 g, Saturated fat: 1 g, Sodium: 252 mg

Star nutrients: Vitamin C (20% DV), niacin (10% DV), folate (13% DV), iron (11% DV)

Recipe from The Plant-Powered Diet: The Lifelong Eating Plan for Achieving Optimal Health, Beginning Today, copyright © Sharon Palmer, 2012. Reprinted by permission of the publisher, The Experiment. Available June 2012.

Sharon Palmer, The Plant-Powered Dietitian is a writer and author of The Plant-Powered Diet. Over 850 of her articles have been published in national publications, including Prevention, Better Homes and Gardens and Today’s Dietitian. She is also the editor of the award-winning publication Environmental Nutrition and writes for her blog, The Plant-Powered Blog. Sharon makes her home with her husband and two sons in the chaparral hills overlooking Los Angeles.

 

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WheatBerries2

Whole Grains Month: Recipe Roundup {Giveaway}

by Cassidy Stockton in Contests, Featured Articles, Recipes, Whole Grains 101

September is one of our favorite months at Bob’s Red Mill. Of course, I could probably say that about any month- we’re a pretty happy bunch here. We love that the weather is turning cooler, forcing us to move inside and relish in our baking again. The air has a perfect crispness, just like a really good apple. The farmer’s markets are brimming with produce that is just begging to be baked into pies or canned and preserved for the dark days of winter. Kids head back to school, giving parents a much-needed break during the day. Football season starts again, as baseball winds down. I mean, it’s just a really great month. There is so much to be celebrated!

September is also National Whole Grains Month and that is, in our opinion, the very best thing about September. All of the above things can be celebrated with some delicious whole grains. We’re not talking about just baking whole wheat bread or serving brown rice at dinner, we’re talking about fabulous pies crusts, chewy pizza dough, homemade crackers… really, we could go on and on. Whole grains are so versatile and each offers different flavors and textures to breathe new life into your meals. Not to mention that they are full of fiber, protein and vitamins. Swapping whole grain kernels for white rice or pasta is easy. Replacing half or all of the flour in your recipe with whole wheat flour can increase the nutrition of your recipe, as well as bring a new flavor to the baked good. There is almost nothing that can’t be done with whole grains. Sure, making a white cake is a little challenging, as are some of the more fine pastries, but a blend of half white and half whole wheat pastry flour can yield surprisingly delicate treats.

WheatBerries

Here are some of our favorite whole grain recipes to try for every meal of the day. To get you started, we’re giving away a sweet $50 gift card for our website so you can stock up on your favorite whole grains and maybe even try something new. See below for details on how to enter.

GF: Gluten Free
V: Vegan

Baking

Sides

Mains

Soups

Breakfast

Win a $50 Gift Card for Bob’s Red Mill.com 

It’s a pretty simple process, but we’ve had some complaints about the entry system, so here are some basic directions.

1. Post a comment on this blog post telling me your favorite way to use whole grains.
2. Sign in to the app below (either make an account or sign in with your Facebook account).
3. Click on “I did this.”
4. Follow the directions in the app for further entries.

If you don’t click on “I did this” or don’t leave a comment on the post, you will not be entered. The other options are not mandatory, so if you can’t figure them out, no big deal.

I will pick a winner at random from all who enter by 12:01 am on 9/12/13.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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quinoa grain

Quinoa Hangout

by Cassidy Stockton in Featured Articles, Gluten Free, Whole Grains 101

QuinoaPlease join us for a Grains of Discovery Hangout series on Google Plus as we explore the nutritional powerhouse Quinoa. Learn how to use it, how to pronounce it, why you want this grain in your arsenal and get some great recipes from our esteemed panelists Jean Layton (Gluten Free Doctor), Lisa Cook (One Cook Two Kitchens), Chung-Ah Rhee (Damn Delicious), Melissa Bailey (Hungry Food Love) and Alyssa Rimmer (Queen of Quinoa). Ask questions and enter to win a Grains of Discovery prize package.

Tune in at 5 pm PT on 9/4: http://goo.gl/zTj5yA

Get more information, amazing recipes and enter to win a the Grains of Discovery prize package here: http://glutenfreedoctor.com/quinoa-grains-of-discovery-from-bobs-red-mill/

Can’t make it? We’ll share a recorded version after the fact so you can still brush up on quinoa.

Grains of Discovery

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soup1

Meatless Mondays: Strawberry, Jalepeño and Chia Seed Soup

by Cassidy Stockton in Featured Articles, Meatless Mondays, Recipes

I’m not sure we could find a dish that is more suited to a hot summer day than this beautiful chilled strawberry soup from Gregory Gourdet of Departure. Chef Gourdet served this at our Grains of Discovery Launch Party last June. Personally, I was hesitant for several reasons, the main reason being that I was hesitant about something called strawberry soup and wasn’t sure if I liked chilled soup or not. However, being in a room full of amazingly creative chefs, you kind of have to try the dishes. It was absolutely incredible. This was sweet, not terribly spicy and the coolness was perfect for the sweltering New York heat that evening. You can use this dish many ways, too. You could serve it as an appetizer, as a respite between courses (in the usual soup spot), as a main dish or even as a dessert. Be adventurous and give it a whirl, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Chilled Strawberry Jalepeno Soup
Chilled Strawberry, Jalapeño and Chia Seed Soup, Coconut Sorbet, Lemongrass, Mint
For the Lemon Grass Syrup:
  • 6 oz Lemon Grass
  • 9 oz Sugar
  • 9 oz Water
Wash and rough chop lemongrass. Combine with sugar and water. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. When sugar has dissolved, remove from stove, cover and steep for 30 minutes. Puree and strain. Reserve.
For the Strawberry Soup:
  • 1.5# Strawberries, de-stemmed, washed, pureed and strained
  • 14 oz Lemongrass Syrup
  • 12 oz Coconut Water, with pulp, (julienne pulp and reserve)
  • ½ small Red Jalapeño
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • 2 Tbsp Lime Juice
Combine all except for coconut meat in blender, puree and stain. Chill until very cold.
To Serve:
  • 4 Tbsp Bob’s Red Mill Chia Seeds, bloomed in 2 cups water for 30 minutes
  • 8 oz Strawberries, cleaned, diced
  • Reserved, julienne Coconut Meat
  • Coconut Sorbet
  • 6 large Mint Leaves, torn
  • 1 Lime, zest
Mix 32 oz of soup with 4 Tbsp of chia seed mixture. Stir to mix well. Divide soup into 4 cold bowls. Place 3 small scoops of coconut sorbet in the bowls and garnish with diced strawberries, coconut meat, lime zest and mint leaves. Enjoy!
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Discover Chia

Discover Chia

by Cassidy Stockton in Featured Articles, Whole Grains 101

Thousands of years ago, chia seed was a staple in the diets of ancient Mayans and Aztecs. The word chia is derived from the Mayan language, meaning “strength,” and Aztec warriors relied on chia seed to boost energy and increase stamina. Today this tiny seed is a favorite of athletes, especially distance runners, who tout it as an endurance enhancing superfood.

Chia seed contains a wealth of fiber—5 grams in just one tablespoon. It is the fiber in chia that causes chia seed to swell when combined with water, creating chia gel. Whether you eat chia gel or just the raw seeds, the hydrophilic action of chia seed will keep you full longer than many other seeds. Amazingly, chia gel can also be used as a substitute for eggs in many baked goods. Use a proportion of 1 to 6 ratio of Chia Seeds to Water to make chia gel. Use approximately one tablespoon of chia gel to replace one large egg in your baked goods.

Discover Chia

The mild, nutty flavor of chia seed goes well with both sweet and savory dishes. Use chia seed in puddings and smoothies, sprinkle on top of porridge and salads, and add to baked goods in place of flaxseed meal or poppy seeds. Try our recipe for chia fresca (video below), a refreshing drink perfect for a hot summer day in place of lemonade or use it as pre- or post-workout fuel. Looking for a fool-proof way to get chia into your diet? Make our blueberry refrigerator jam (recipe on the bag)! The gelling nature of chia makes it an ideal (and nutritious) substitute for pectin in jam. No matter the dish, you can increase the nutritional value of any meal with a sprinkle of chia seed.

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Cassidy Stockton Google: Cassidy Stockton
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cereal kamut

Discover Kamut® Khorasan Wheat

by Cassidy Stockton in Featured Articles, Whole Grains 101

Travel back in time with Kamut® grain, an ancient variety of wheat that was only recently rediscovered by modern-day farmers. The history of this ancient wheat grain is a bit mysterious. Some say that Noah brought Kamut® kernels along on the ark, hence the nickname “Prophet’s Wheat.” Others call Kamut® grain “King Tut’s Wheat,” claiming it was found in the tomb of an Egyptian pharaoh. Though its origins are debated, there’s no arguing the fact that Kamut® wheat is healthy and delicious.

The plump, golden kernels of whole grain Kamut® Khorasan wheat are a nutritious source of selenium, zinc, magnesium and iron. Kamut® wheat is exceptionally high in protein, containing 7 grams of protein per serving, and a good source of dietary fiber. A nutritional powerhouse, Kamut® grain is perfect for anyone looking for a high protein, low fat addition to their menu.

Discover Kamut®

The firm texture and rich, nutty flavor make this heirloom grain a great addition to pilafs, soups, and cold salads. Unlike some varieties of wheat, Kamut® berries hold their texture well, allowing them to be added to soups and stews early in the cooking process without getting mushy. The pleasant chewiness makes them a delicious, and far more nutritious, substitute for whole kernel corn. Use Kamut® wheat wherever you would use a long grain brown rice for an exciting change of pace.

Our organic Kamut® berries take a little bit longer to cook than some other whole grains, but a few easy tricks can cut down on cooking time immensely. Soaking the grains overnight will reduce cooking time. Alternately, cook a big batch on the weekend and freeze in small, usable portions for quick preparation on a weeknight. No matter how you choose to cook them, these golden grains are well worth the extra effort.

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Discover Millet

Discover Millet

by Cassidy Stockton in Featured Articles, Gluten Free, Whole Grains 101

Let me start by saying that millet is one of my favorite grains. In fact, it’s one of my favorite Bob’s Red Mill products. We see it most often in birdseed blends, but it’s been popular across Asia for thousands of years. Millet was revered as one of five sacred crops in ancient China and was first farmed 10,000 years ago. Millet is mentioned in the Old Testament, the writings of Herodotus, and the journals of Marco Polo. Clearly, I’m not alone in my love of millet.

Millet has a mild, sweet flavor and quick cooking time, making it a tasty, convenient, whole grain addition to any meal of the day. Unlike most other grains, this versatile, gluten free grain is alkaline, which makes it easy to digest and helps balance the body’s natural tendency towards acidity. Millet is an excellent source of dietary fiber and a great solution for those looking to add more fiber to their diet. Discover Millet

Enjoy whole grain millet as a unique alternative to rice in salads and stir-fries. Cook millet for a sweet breakfast porridge or add uncooked millet to breads for a crunchy texture. Serve millet with a drizzle of olive oil, and a dash of salt and pepper in place of mashed potatoes for a delightful side that will enhance any meal.

The light flavor of millet allows it to be sweet or savory, which means the possibilities are endless! Luckily, we have developed some delicious recipes for millet to help get you started. Millet Spring Roll Salad combines all of the wonderful flavors of spring rolls without the effort of making them! Whip up these Spinach and Lemon Millet Arancini for your next party and bask in the praise for your culinary prowess. Serve these Millet Burgers with Olives, Sun-Dried Tomato and Pecorino from Grain Mains for your next Meatless Monday to the delight of your family.

Sarah House shows you how to make perfect millet in the video below. Cheers!

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spelt

Discover Spelt

by Cassidy Stockton in Featured Articles, Whole Grains 101

Savor the whole grain goodness of spelt, an ancient relative of durum wheat that originated in the Near East over 8,000 years ago. This heirloom grain later spread throughout Europe, becoming especially popular in Germany, where it was farmed throughout the Middle Ages.

Spelt has never been hybridized, so it has retained many of its original characteristics from antiquity, including complex flavor and whole-grain nutrition. Spelt is unusual because it can be more easily digested than other forms of wheat and many people with wheat intolerances have been able to tolerate spelt. Spelt is not gluten free, however. High in fiber and a good source of iron, manganese and vitamin B12, our organic spelt is incredibly nutritious.

Discover Spelt

With a chewy texture and sweet, nutlike flavor, spelt is a great grain for hot cereal or to use in place of rice for pilaf, soup or cold salads. Spelt berries can be used in place of wheat berries, brown rice and other whole grains in your favorite recipes. Flour milled from spelt makes excellent bread, pasta and baked goods.

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Cassidy Stockton Google: Cassidy Stockton
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Hundreds of Amaranth Seeds in Wood Measuring Spoon

Discover Amaranth

by Cassidy Stockton in Featured Articles, Gluten Free, Whole Grains 101

Discover the whole grain goodness of amaranth. This tiny “grain”—actually a seed—has a rich history dating back 8,000 years, when it was first cultivated in Mesoamerica. The ancient Aztecs relied on amaranth as a food staple and used it in religious rituals, earning it the names “super grain of the Aztecs” and “golden grain of the gods.” In the 1500s, Spanish conquistadors attempted to outlaw amaranth in an effort to convert and control the Aztecs. Lucky for us, their efforts proved unsuccessful due to amaranth’s amazing ability to grow quickly and thrive in less-than-ideal soil, making it nearly impossible to extinguish.

Amaranth is a gluten-free food and a source of complete protein—it contains all the essential amino acids, including lysine, which is lacking in most grains. High in fiber and a good source of magnesium and iron, Amaranth is a spectacular addition to your diet. This little powerhouse is perfect for gluten free and vegan diets.

Discover Amaranth

Amaranth has an earthy, nutty flavor and can be cooked and used in breads to give a boost of nutrition and a crunchy texture. Try popped amaranth for a unique breakfast cereal or to make the Mexican candy, Alegria. Amaranth can also be cooked as porridge, used to make polenta or added to soups.

If you like gardening, try planting a few amaranth seeds in your yard. The amaranth flower is truly breathtaking. Don’t plant too many, however, or you may see your garden become an amaranth crop.

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Cassidy Stockton Google: Cassidy Stockton
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