A WHOLE New Ball Game

Aren’t you getting tired of everybody telling you to eat whole grains? I know it sounds like a broken record, but as a newbie on the road to wellness, I’m going to do it again. Sorry.

If you’ll recall from last week’s first WELLNESS WEDNESDAY, I am trying to incorporate small changes in my life to make me healthier, happier, and more energized. So far we’ve talked about the importance of drinking a ridiculous amount of water every day. Doing so has health benefits from your brain all the way to the vascular system in your tippy toes, and it is a small thing to do to keep the specialists away.

Today we are going to talk about making the switch to whole grains. Relax, I’m not going to make you eat nuts and twigs for the rest of your life. The point of this road to wellness is that we can all make incremental lifestyle changes that will pay huge health dividends over time.

Spicy General Tso's Lo Mein

For example, the other night we were craving Asian food, so I whipped together a quick Spicy General Tso’s Veggie Lo-Mein with things I had on hand. I used a combination of bottled General Tso’s and Szechwan sauces, but I could have easily made a sauce from scratch with my loaded pantry.

Several wellness tricks were used here. I chose organic veggies (broccolini, baby carrots, green beans, asparagus, sweet red bell pepper, and celery) and swapped out brown rice for white and whole wheat spaghetti for plain.

Barilla (my favorite brand) Whole Grain Spaghetti Rigati has three times more fiber than its more traditional counterpart and it tastes great. The nutritional divide between brown and white rice is significant.  The following is the nutritional breakdown for Texmati (my favorite brand) brown rice vs. regular:

Texmati Brown Basmati Rice: 4 grams protein, 2 grams fiber, 35 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram fat.

Texmati  Basmati Rice: 3 grams protein, 0 grams fiber, 34 grams carbohydrates, 0.5 grams fat.

I am particularly psyched about the brown rice’s increase in fiber and protein. I don’t eat much meat, so the protein is especially important.

According to the USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory, brown long grain rice also has higher levels of the following vitamins and minerals than does white long grain white rice (unenriched):


  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium
  • Zinc\Copper
  • Manganese
  • Selenium


  • Thiamin
  • Riboflavin
  • Niacin
  • Vitamin B-6
  • Folate
  • Vitamin B-12
  • Vitamin E

Do you see what a difference making this one little change can have in your nutrition? Brown rice is nutty and delicious and whole grain pasta is earthy and more substantial tasting. You can migrate to using whole grains in other parts of your diet, as well, baking, bread and cereal, for example. How about substituting a little whole wheat flour in your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe?

In time, you’ll grow to prefer whole grains over their paler counterparts, trust me!

Until next time,


Amy Hammond Hagberg









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