BFM News! Looking for Your Washboard Abs? They’re in the Whole-Grain Bins!

For all of us who’ve had the sad experience of losing sight of our pubes at some point, there is wonderful news in the healthgrains.jpg research world. Study after study (including a new one today) has shown that getting that paunch over a belt (oh, heavens, just thinking about it makes me want to undo the top button on my jeans) can be blamed directly on just about everything white–white bread, white rice, white flour, white pasta. And here’s the real kick in the teeth–the people most severely affected by our generation’s nutritional outbreak of whiteness are…African Americans. That’s right. Study after study–dating back to at least 1999–shows that insulin resistance, increasing belly size, total weight gain, and precursors to the dreaded metabolic syndrome are most closely associated with low-fiber, non-whole grain meals (even more than how much total fat you eat, and more than how much total carbohydrate you eat). The greatest measurable effect is among African Americans. Just serving one dish a week of something wonderfully brown can make a difference. So how do you make the change?

As someone who grew up with fluffy biscuits, floating dumplings, and a diet so extreme that saying “he stuck to her like white on rice” is a normal way to view the nutritional world–I can admit it ain’t easy. Here are some practical tips on how to brown-up your world.

1) Add a bit. Can’t stand brown rice? How about sneaking a half cup of brown rice in with the white? Don’t like whole grain pasta? How about tossing a bunch of flax seed on top of the dish at the end?

2) Don’t just the change the texture of the grain–change it all. If you keep biting into your grape jam/toast and it’s just not the same without white bread, make up a whole new combination. Maybe what you want is whole-grain bread, but now eat it with peanut butter. If you can’t take what feels like chewy pasta and red sauce, maybe it’s time to check it out with pesto. In my opinion, something that’s a sad reminder of what I used to eat is worse than something completely new.

3) Let your ancestors speak to you. Do what your people did for hundreds of years. Maybe what will fill that craving you have is some cous-cous. Or some high-fiber yams. Don’t think about your grandmother’s great fluffy biscuits–think about way, waay back, what worked for your ancestors. Maybe it’s oatmeal for breakfast, or whole grain tortillas. Brown rice may be exactly what you need to go with a spicy Ethiopian sauce.

4) Warning: Be wary of false advertisers! Read labels, and watch out for food products that are actually not that high in fiber. The label police let a lot slip when it comes to making “whole grain” type claims. The best, cheapest way to go is right back to the source–raw oatmeal, bags of brown rice, the lumpy, truly brown bread.

Make the shift to brown–for yourself and your future!

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