Most people don't realize that complex carbohydrates found in whole grains are one of the most important foods we can eat. This is where we get our energy and life force, and also our fiber, and B-complex vitamins, vitamin E, and phosphorus, a key mineral and brain food. This combination keeps our blood sugar stable and our appetites satiated from breakfast to lunch, and from lunch to dinner, and from dinner to breakfast the next day. In whole grains, the bran, germ and endosperm are not removed. Whole grains are made up of complex carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals — in perfect proportions for the human body.
When I first started the healing macrobiotic diet, my primary grains were brown rice, millet and barley. I was eating short-grain brown rice at least twice a day, experimenting with other grains such as amaranth and quinoa (I'm not sure why they're not on the regular-use or occasional-use lists in my guide, The Macrobiotic Way — perhaps they fall under other whole-cereal grains. Occasionally, I'd have whole buckwheat. In the summer, sometimes I'd have long-grain or medium-grain brown rice, and occasionally oats. I stayed mostly with the whole grains for regular use and limited the grain products (or cracked grains). I may have eaten these a couple of times per week. I might have had steamed unyeasted sourdough bread once a week, or noodles.
On a macrobiotic diet, whole grains such as brown rice, barley and millet are the main staple or the "meat" of the diet. On this diet, when you plan your meal, you ask yourself, "What grain do I want? "and the meal is planned around the grain. This is quite different from a standard American diet where the meal is planned around the meat, chicken or fish.
I still tend to eat primarily whole grains, but I have a lot of brown rice (because I like it!), and I have to remind myself to eat more millet and barley. Sometimes I add these to my brown rice. I also now eat more cracked grains than in the beginning, such as oatmeal, noodles, sometimes unyeasted whole-wheat bread, rice crackers, mochi, whole-wheat tortillas with no preservatives and 100 percent sunflower oil (not a trans fat). Once in a while, I also eat a baked good, but one of good quality ... such as my Apple Crisp recipe. Or if I go to Masao's Kitchen (a macrobiotic restaurant in Massachusetts), I get a piece of his blueberry cake or apple strudel — one is sweetened with only apples (unbelievably good!) and the other is sweetened with rice syrup and blueberries.
Here's a list of whole grains and grain products (cracked grains) eaten on a macrobiotic (plant-based) diet:
For regular use: whole oats, whole medium-grain brown rice, whole short-grain brown rice, whole corn, whole rye, whole buckwheat, whole wheat, whole millet, whole barley
For occasional use (2-3 times a week): buckwheat noodles (soba), rice cakes, udon (whole-wheat noodles), corn grits or corn meal, rice kayu (porridge bread), unyeasted whole-wheat or rye bread, couscous, rye flakes, wheat gluten (seitan), cracked wheat (bulgur), somen (sifted whole-wheat noodles), whole-wheat crackers or matzo, long-grain brown rice, sourdough or whole-wheat or rye bread, whole-wheat pasta, pounded sweet rice cakes (mochi), steel-cut or rolled oats, puffed wheat gluten (fu), sweet brown rice, ramen noodles (whole-wheat, rice, buckwheat), tortillas
To be avoided: baked goods containing dairy products, refined grain cereals, yeasted breads, crackers, cakes, cookies, and so on, white-flour products
So readers ... what whole grains or cracked grains do you enjoy? If you're not eating them yet, would you consider adding one to your diet? If eaten on a regular basis, they help with sugar cravings, too.