Grains are one of the ancient superfoods of the world, and are one of the earliest sources of food, for humans and animals alike. For around 75,000 years, grains have been a part of our daily diets.
Today, they are the base ingredient for many of the foods we buy, the foods we make, and the foods we eat. It's now so easy to buy grains, especially if you buy grains online. Flour, pasta, breakfast cereals, and even popcorn is a grain! Where would we be without them?!
Which grains are best for a nutritionally balanced vegan diet?
There are two groups of grain. Whole grains and refined grains. Whole grain is exactly what it says it is - a grain that is whole! Refined grains are modified by separating parts of the grain mechanically. Whole grains have all parts intact. The bran, the germ, and the endosperm are still whole, which is why they're called whole grains.
Whole grains are much healthier than refined grains because they have not been through the mechanical separation process that refined grains go through. All of the parts of whole grains, and more importantly, the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients, are all still intact!
The health benefits of grains
When refined grains go through the separation process, or are ground into flour, they lose a lot of their vitamin, nutrient, and mineral content. With whole grains, nothing is removed, so you can be sure you're eating all of the plant-based goodness possible from a grain!
As nothing is removed from whole grains, they’re packed full of vitamins and minerals, and antioxidants too! Grains that have high amounts of antioxidants include Rice, Wheat, Oats, and Corn. The antioxidants that you are probably most familiar with are Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and Beta-Carotene.
Antioxidants play an important role in supporting our physical health. Antioxidants work by keeping the free radicals in our bodies under control. Free radicals are a by-product created by our own bodies when our cells turn oxygen into energy. They can also be produced by external elements, such as cigarette smoke, air pollution, and even sunlight!
Recipes with Grains
Whole grains form the basis of so many tasty and delicious foods. You can use whole grains to create your own versions of recipes or add them to your favourite recipes for a new take on an old favourite. They work well in sweet and savoury dishes depending on which grain you buy.
You can even just sprinkle them over the top of your breakfast, lunch, or dinner and use them to add flavour and seasoning to many, many dishes. Even popcorn is a whole grain, so why not try making some of your own?! You can add any seasoning and flavours to it that your heart desires!
Top Grain brands to try
These certified organic chickpeas are not just tasty, they're a great source of protein too! Biona’s Organic Chickpeas are a great ingredient to add to salads, soups, stews and curries, and are available in a can or jar. Biona only uses ethically sourced and sustainable ingredients, and these chickpeas are no exception! The can contains only organic chickpeas and water, and the jar contains the same yummy organic chickpeas in water, but with a touch of sea salt for added flavour!
Artisan Grains Golden Couscous Ready Meals are convenient and quick to make, and contain lots of lovely, natural, and plant-powered ingredients! Made from durum wheat semolina, and blended with herbs and spices, it’s also low in fat and a great source of protein. Available in 3 delicious flavours!
Wild Mushroom, which contains sultanas, cumin, paprika, turmeric, garlic powder and black pepper. Sundried Tomato is made with sundried tomatoes, and a tasty blend of basil, oregano, paprika and black pepper. Last but not least, we have the Moroccan Spiced Couscous, created with wild mushrooms, lovage root extract, basil, oregano, marjoram, thyme, and sage!
If you're looking for a dairy-free and gluten-free breakfast cereal, you should definitely try these gluten-free flakes of golden quinoa! Amisa Organic Gluten-Free Quinoa Flakes make a great breakfast cereal, just top it with a dairy milk substitute of your choice! Contains no added preservatives, additives, or sugar, and is packed full of protein and fibre! 100% certified organic quinoa flakes and absolutely nothing else!
This amazingly nutritious super grain is made from only 1 plant-powered ingredient - cracked and toasted young wheat that's organic and sustainably grown. Artisan Grains Greenwheat Freekeh has a nutty, earthy, and smoky flavour, and makes a great alternative to pasta or rice. Green wheat Freekeh contains 4 times the amount of fibre than brown rice, and whilst providing you with 60% more protein too! Also contains magnesium, calcium, iron, and potassium.
Hodmedod’s British White Quinoa has been made with 100% whole grain white quinoa, grown and harvested in Essex by Peter Fairs. Low in fat, but high in antioxidants, these versatile grains go well in just about any dish you make! They’re great in salads, soups, and side dishes, and these gluten-free grains can even be ground up and used to make your own gluten-free flour!
Frequently Asked Questions
Which kind of grains a vegan can eat?
The great thing about grains is that they are all vegan-friendly! There are so many different types of grains too, so they can provide lots of variety in your diet, especially if you're vegan!
Not only are grains vegan, and make great tasty alternatives for lots of vegan-friendly foods, grains are also an important source of vitamins and minerals, including plant-based protein, which all help to support a healthy and balanced, nutritional vegan diet!
Do grains carry protein?
Grains do contain protein, and quite high amounts of it too!
Some of the grains that contain the most protein are buckwheat, cornmeal, couscous, quinoa, wild rice, and teff. There is approximately 13g of protein per 100g serving of grains, which contributes 26% to your daily recommended intake!
Protein is an important nutrient that our bodies need. It helps to renew and regenerate our cells, and in children, teens and pregnant women it's especially important for growth and development.
How much Grain should I have in my diet?
It is recommended that you try to consume at least 6 servings of grain a day, and three of those should be whole grain! This recommendation can be met quite easily. There are so many delicious meals that include whole grains, you can incorporate them into your everyday diet very simply!
Whole Grain Pasta, Brown Rice, Crackers, Oatmeal, and many more delicious plant-powered foods contain whole grain. You can include whole grains in your breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even your snacks! So, what are you waiting for? Visit PlantX to check out our wide range of grains, and to buy grains online now!