Peasant Food: Whole grains (they're not just for hippies!)

As I pointed out in a few earlier posts, grains and starches can not only provide fiber and nutrients, but help stretch out more expensive ingredients like meats and cheese. One downside, of course, is that refined grains and peeled potatoes tend to be low in fiber and nutrients. They can cause a spike in your glycemic index and are easily converted to fat. This does not mean, however, that you should abandon grains and starches. If you are looking for a healthier carbohydrate that will provide a delicious and nutritious filler at your table, why not consider whole grains?

Basically, whole grains are cereals, such as wheat, oats, and rice, that still have their bran, or outer covering, and germ, or nutrient-rich core. Most grains in the United States are stripped of the bran and germ, which makes them smoother and enables quicker absorbtion of their carbohydrates, but also lessens their flavor, fiber, and nutritional value. Whole grains and whole-grain products are harder to find and sometimes cost a little more than refined grains, but they are also delicious and much better for you. Here are a few examples of whole-grains that you can easily work into your diet: