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Barley Primavera

Categories: Spleen Qi Vacuity, Vegetarian

barley primavera

Barley Primavera

3 scallions, sliced thinly and diagonally
6 c. water
¼ c. canola oil
1 ¼ c. pearl barley
4 cloves garlic
¼ c. minced parsley
½ c. shiitake mushrooms

1 small zucchini, chopped
1 small yellow squash, chopped
1 medium carrot, grated

1 large red pepper, seeded and chopped
1 small yellow and green peppers, seeded and chopped
¼ c. raspberry vinegar
1 tsp. sea salt
½ tsp. freshly ground pepper

Place the barley and water into a saucepan. Bring the water to a boil, cover the pan with a lid, and simmer the barley for 20 minutes, until tender.

When the barley is cooked, drain it well and chill completely.

Heat the canola oil and garlic in a small saute pan over low heat. Slowly cook the garlic for 2 minutes, until golden brown, and transfer to a large mixing bowl.

In the same bowl, combine the peppers, parsley, zucchini, yellow squash, carrot, scallions and mushrooms with the cooked barley.

Add the vinegar and season with salt and pepper.

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Grain Basics – Turning Wheat Berries into Bulghur (Bulgar)

Categories: Articles, Cooking tips

Grain Basics – Turning Wheat Berries into Bulghur (Bulgar)

First, let’s clear up a confusing point. What is a wheat berry? The dictionary meaning is that it is the original wheat grain before grinding or milling. It is often used interchangeably with ‘wheat grain’. But there is more to it… (info)

Wheat waiting to be turned into bulghur

If you’ve read Grain Basics – Bulghur and Cracked Wheat, then you are ready for this second article – it’s for the adventurous amongst us who want to make our own products as much as possible. Most likely you’re hooked on the wonderful flavour and nutritious benefits of bulgur…bulgar…er…bulghur. No matter, all spellings are correct and just reflect the country of its (spelling) origin – be that Arabic countries, Turkey, Bulgaria or elsewhere.

First, let’s clear up a confusing point. What is a wheat berry? The dictionary meaning is that it is the original wheat grain before grinding or milling. It is often used interchangeably with ‘wheat grain’. The confusion lies in the mistranslations and the inconsistency within the industry itself. Some sources refer to wheat grain as that what you can pull off an ear of wheat straight off the field before it it processed further. Click here for a very nice close up photo and info. Here is another link to more interesting information.

Technically, wheat, like all grasses produces a caryopsis which is the fruit (grain) of the plant. Older vernacular referred to this as the ‘berry’. Hence, wheat berry.

Now that you are that much wiser, you’ll sleep better tonight.

And now that you know that bulghur is the partially hulled cooked wheat berry (grain) and cracked wheat involves the raw (uncooked) wheat berry (grain), you are ready for a quick outline of how to make your own bulghur as is done in many areas of the Near and Middle East today.

Bulghur is usually made from hard (red) wheat, but it can also be made from soft (white) wheat. Doing it at home renders a natural, light brown product. The pale product you see in shops has been bleached.

Plain Bulgar Wheat

Categories: Spleen Qi Vacuity


Use it as a tasty substitute for rice or other grains you would use.
This means that you can either plain cook it, or preferably prepare
it in pilav-like fashion.
To do this:

Cut an onion in small pieces, then slowly fry it in a ample oil.
(Maybe add some fine-cut cloves of garlic as well)
Then add the bulgur and continue frying, stirring occasionally for
another 5-8 minutes, until all the bulgur is covered with a little oil.

Then add salt (*) and just as much water until your pan contains 1cm more water
than bulgur. Allow to cook, stir well, then turn gas low and allow for all
the water to evaporate (keep the lid on your pan).

My original turkish recipe asks for addition of extra butter or oil, when
all is done and an extra 5 minutes of simmering, but I usually skip this

(*) Of course instead of adding mere salt, you can add any kind of seasoning
at this point in the recipe. (5-flower powder, curry powder and such)

Whole Grains Guide ( article)

Categories: Articles

Whole Grains Guide

Written by Gloria Tsang, RD
Published in Dec 2005; Updated in Aug 2007
whole grains health benefits( You’ve probably heard a lot about how good for you whole grains can be. But do you really know what whole grains are — or why they’re so beneficial?

A grain is considered whole when all three parts — bran, germ and endosperm — are present. Most people know that fruits and vegetables contain beneficial phytochemicals and antioxidants, but many do not realize that whole grains are often an even better source of these key nutrients. In fact, whole grains are a good source of B vitamins, Vitamin E, magnesium, iron and fiber, as well as other valuable antioxidants not found in some fruits and vegetables. Most of the antioxidants and vitaminsare found in the germ and the bran of a grain.

Common Types of Whole Grains:

* wild rice
* brown rice
* whole wheat
* oatmeal
* whole oats
* barley
* whole rye
* bulgar
* popcorn

Less Common Types of Whole Grains:

* amaranth
* millet
* quinoa
* sorghum
* triticale

Recommendations on Whole Grains

Whole grains have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease by decreasing cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and blood coagulation. Whole grains have also been found to reduce the risks of many types of cancer. They may also help regulate blood glucose in people living with diabetes. Other studies have also shown that people who consume more whole grains consistently weigh less than those who consumed less whole grain products.

In January 2005, the US government published the new Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005. One of the new guidelines recommends that all adults eat half their grains as whole grains — that’s at least 3 servings of whole grains a day.

whole grains health benefitsIncrease whole grain intake: An easy way to increase whole grain intake is to replace some of your refined-grain products with whole grain products.

* have a slice of whole grain bread to replace your white bread
* have a serving of whole grain breakfast cereal in the morning
* substitute half the white flour with whole wheat flour in your regular recipes for cookies, muffins, quick breads and pancakes
* add brown rice, wild rice or barley in your vegetable soup
* snack on popcorn instead of chips on movie nights

whole grains health benefitswhole grains health benefitsCheck labels carefully! Foods labelled with the words “multi-grain,” “stone-ground,” “100% wheat,” “cracked wheat,” “seven-grain,” or “bran” are usually not whole-grain products. Color is also not an indication of a whole grain. Brown does not necessary mean whole wheat or whole grain! Some brown bread has brown coloring added to achieve the brown color!

When determining if a packaged food product contains whole grain or not, look for the word “whole” in the ingredient list. Also look for the Whole Grain Stamp (see above examples). A “good source” stamp contains at least 1/2 serving of whole grains while an “excellent source” contains at least 1 serving of whole grains.

Barley With Vegetables

Categories: Rice and Grains, Spleen Qi Vacuity, Vegan, Vegetarian

barley primavera

Barley with Vegetables

1 cup barley, soaked
½ c. diced onion
½ c. diced carrots, beets, celery, or vegetables of your choice
1/3 c. shiitake mushrooms, soaked and sliced
1 tsp. sesame oil
3 cups water
¼ tsp. sea salt

Sautee vegetables.

Oven toast the barley just until dry.

Place barley and vegetables in pot with salt and water.

Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 40 minutes.

Serve with a parsley garnish. Serves 4.

Eat Grain Sprouts for Better Health

Categories: Articles

Sprouted grains are good for you too! Sprouting is easy and economical, and Spring would seem an appropriate time to eat sprouts. Have a look.

The Nutrition Source: Health Gains from Whole Grains

Categories: Articles, Food Education

The Nutrition Source
Health Gains from Whole Grains

Examples of Whole Grains (examples2Dwhole2Dgrains.jpg)

* Whole wheat berries, whole wheat bulgur, whole wheat couscous and other strains of wheat such as kamut and spelt
* Brown rice (including quick-cooking brown rice)
* Corn, whole cornmeal, popcorn
* Oat groats, steel-cut oats, rolled oats (including quick cooking and instant oatmeal)
* Whole rye
* Hulled barley (pot, scotch, and pearled barley often have much of their bran removed)
* Triticale (pronounced tri-ti-kay-lee)
* Millet
* Teff (reported to be the world’s smallest grain and to have a sweet, malt-like flavor)
* Buckwheat, quinoa (pronounced keen-wah), wild rice, and amaranth are considered whole grains even though botanically they are not in the grain family of plants

For millennia, the grains humans ate came straight from the stalk. That means they got a carbohydrate package rich in fiber, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, plant enzymes, hormones, and hundreds of other phytochemicals. Even after we learned how to grind grain, we still got all of the goodness that grains pack in their three layers. Whole grains have a tough, fibrous outer layer called bran that protects the inside of the kernel. The interior contains mostly the starchy endosperm. Its job is to provide stored energy for the germ, the seed’s reproductive kernel, which nestles inside the endosperm. The germ is rich in vitamins, minerals, and unsaturated oils.

The invention of industrialized roller mills in the late 19th century changed what we got from grains. Milling strips away the bran and germ, making the grain easier to chew, easier to digest, and easier to keep without refrigeration (the healthy oils in the germ can turn rancid, giving the grain an off taste). Processing also pulverizes the endosperm, turning it from a small, solid nugget into millions of minuscule particles. Refining wheat creates fluffy flour that makes light, airy breads and pastries. But there’s a nutritional price to be paid. The process strips away more than half of wheat’s B vitamins, 90 percent of the vitamin E, and virtually all of the fiber. It also makes the starch easily accessible to the body’s starch-digesting enzymes.

A growing body of research shows that returning to whole grains and other less-processed sources of carbohydrates improves health in myriad ways.
What Whole Grains Can Do For You

As researchers have begun to look more closely at carbohydrates and health, they are learning that the quality of the carbohydrates you eat is at least as important as the quantity. Most studies, including some from several different Harvard teams, show a connection between eating whole grains and better health.

Cardiovascular Disease

Eating whole instead of refined grains substantially lowers total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or bad) cholesterol, triglycerides, and insulin levels. Any of these changes would be expected to reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease. In the Harvard-based Nurses’ Health Study, women who ate 2 to 3 servings of whole-grain products (mostly bread and breakfast cereals) each day were 30 percent less likely to have a heart attack or die from heart disease over a 10-year period than women who ate less than 1 serving per week (1). A recent meta-analysis of seven major studies showed that cardiovascular disease (heart attack, stroke, or the need for a procedure to bypass or open a clogged artery) was 21 percent less likely in people who ate 2.5 or more servings of whole-grain foods a day compared with those who ate less than 2 servings a week (2).

Type 2 Diabetes

In a study of more than 160,000 women whose health and dietary habits were followed for up to 18 years, those who averaged 2 to 3 servings of whole grains a day were 30 percent less likely to have developed type 2 diabetes than those who rarely ate whole grains (3). When the researchers combined these results with those of several other large studies, they found that eating an extra 2 servings of whole grains a day decreased the risk of type 2 diabetes by 21 percent.


The data on cancer are mixed, with some studies showing a protective effect and others showing none (4). A large, five-year study among nearly 500,000 men and women suggests that eating whole grains, but not dietary fiber, offers modest protection against colorectal cancer (5, 6).

Digestive Health

By keeping the stool soft and bulky, the fiber in whole grains helps prevent constipation, a common, costly, and aggravating problem. It also helps prevent diverticular disease (the development of tiny pouches inside the colon that are easily irritated and inflamed) by decreasing pressure in the intestines.

Staying Alive

An intriguing report from the Iowa Women’s Health Study linked whole-grain consumption with fewer deaths from noncardiac, noncancer causes. Compared with women who rarely or never ate whole-grain foods, those who had at least two or more servings a day were 30 percent less likely to have died from an inflammation-related condition over a 17-year period (7).

How Do Whole Grains Do This?

Whole grains don’t contain a magical nutrient that fights disease and improves health. It’s the entire package—elements intact and working together—that’s important.

The bran and fiber in whole grains make it more difficult for digestive enzymes to break down the starches into glucose. Soluble fiber helps lower cholesterol. Insoluble fiber helps move waste through the digestive tract. Fiber may also kindle the body’s natural anticoagulants and so help prevent the formation of small blood clots that can trigger heart attacks or strokes. The collection of antioxidants prevents LDL cholesterol from reacting with oxygen. Some experts think this reaction is a key early step in the development of cholesterol-clogged arteries. Phytoestrogens (plant estrogens) found in whole grains may protect against some cancers. So might essential minerals, such as magnesium, selenium, copper, and manganese. These minerals may also help reduce the risk for heart disease and diabetes. And then there are the hundreds of substances that haven’t yet been identified, some or many of which may play as-yet-undiscovered roles in health.