Trip to local health food store

what are wheat berries?

DH and I went to local HFS, bought some extra virgin organic coconut oil, sunflower seeds, brewers yeast, and soy nuts.
I’d like to switch to whole grains and unprocessed foods, but, have NO idea where to start learning about how to cook these weird foods.
They had some sunflower nut peanut butter, looked good.
Do any of you eat whole grains, and unprocessed, organic foods?
What do you recommend for a beginner?

Wheat berries are whole, unprocessed wheat kernels often used in pilafs and casseroles. They are high in protein and fiber. Not only tasty, but good for you. They need to be soaked a few hours, or overnight, then cooked for an hour or so. They can be used like rice, but are better nutrition. Quinoa is another goody that has been around forever, but is now gaining popularity. Doesn’t really need pre-soaking and cooks fairly quickly. It also can be used much like rice. When you buy these things, usually the packaging will give instructions for cooking.

We eat whole unprocessed foods, but we don’t eat grains at all.

A good place to find a lot of information is MDC’s nutrition boards. Most people have a very difficult time properly digesting grains, and you can find more information about that in the sub-board Traditional Food.

A really good place to start is by eliminating foods that you know to be bad for you. Most people start with hydrogenated oils and HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup). Eliminating those two things plus a few others like MSG and Aspartame (NutraSweet) eliminates most processed foods.

Shop locally as much as possible… farmer’s markets, local farmsteads, small grocers (inquire as to where they get their produce). Buy produce in season, which right now pretty much limits you to apples, pears, citrus, lettuce, greens, mushrooms, and anything in the cabbage family (broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, etc.). Don’t buy food that has been imported from another Hemisphere (Chile is the big one around here).

If you have to buy something out of season, buy frozen first, canned next, fresh last. Read labels of anything canned, there will often be hidden ingredients like sugar in your veggies, and fruit is almost always packed in sugar. I do my best to only buy canned foods that contain a single ingredient plus usually salt and/or water (tomatoes, corn, green chiles, water chestnuts, coconut milk, etc.).

When you’re first starting out, menu planning can help a lot. If you have favorite dishes that you can make meet your criteria, it can really help your family in the transition. Plan out EVERY meal for a week (if you shop weekly)… breakfast, lunch, snacks, dinner and dessert. Planning it out will really help you to not get discouraged. After you’ve done that for 3 or 4 weeks, you’ll have a healthy selection of meals to choose from and a much better idea of how it all works.

If you’re planning on transitioning your family from something like white rice to brown rice (for instance), don’t buy 10 lbs of it. Buy enough for 1 meal and take it from there. You may have to try several different breeds or types before you find one your family can live with.

Buying in bulk can save you money, but be sure you understand how to properly store what you’re buying. A lot of organics can go bad quicker than non-organics. Potatoes for instance are sprayed to prevent sprouting, but if you’re buying organic potatoes, they haven’t been sprayed, so will sprout if not stored correctly (I have about 10 lbs of what are now seed potatoes).

Have a really solid idea of what you want to accomplish as you approach this. Do you want to eliminate processed grains? conventional produce? feed-lot beef? sugar? Having defined boundaries can really help in accomplishing those goals.

Ok, a bit rambling I suppose… hope some of it helps you.


Whew! a lot to read. Eliminating high fructose corn syrup has been on my list, since my blood sugar is bordering on high. Been cutting back on sodium, too.
Why don’t you eat grains??
I eat SOME grains, like, oats, wheat, and corn. Sometimes barley.

I avoid MSG like the plague, since it raises blood pressure.
Aspartame and nutra sweet, all those artificial sweetners, I haven’t ingested for about a decade. They’re poison. IMO.
I cook separately for myself and my husband. His schedule is unpredictable, and has been for 25 years. (One time his boss called him while we were out of town on VACATION!!!)
Anyways, the only one transitioning will be me.

I’m amazed at how energetic I feel today. I’ve had brewer’s yeast, in powdered form, yesterday and today, and coconut oil, extra pure, yesterday and today, and I just feel so alive!
Usually, by now, I"ll have had 5 cups of coffee, and some sweets to get energy, but, today, no desire for either.

One more thing: you mentioned planning desserts. How can a person avoid sugar and artificial sweetners, and still have a good tasting

You can use fruit and fruit juices to sweeten desserts. Grain products, especially white flour, can act just like sugar on your blood glucose, and some people may have a digestive intolerance for them. Whole grains are not so bad especially when combined with proteins and/or fats.

A- grains are very difficult to digest.
B- grains contain phytoestrogens and for people with hormone imbalance problems, PEs seriously screw with your natural hormones. I could get into long explanations, but… we’ve all heard how bad soy is because of the PEs, but nobody has bothered to point out that grains contain those same compounds (our wonderful grain lobby at work).
C- for people who are insulin resistant, grains just exacerbate the problem.
D- Our society’s reliance on grain as the base of our diet has led to our ridiculously high obesity rates, diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, etc.
E- I cannot eat just a small amount of grains. Grains cause binge behavior for me.
F- I just feel SO much better when i don’t eat grains. No depression, lethargy, fewer mood swings, lighter PMS, more energy, etc.

I’d bet that a good part of why you’re feeling so much better today is the CO. Fats are a vital part of our diet, but our society has spent so much time and money falsely vilifying fat that most people don’t get enough in their diets.

Fresh strawberries, blueberries, peaches, etc. topped with fresh whipped cream with a touch of vanilla is a fabulous dessert, IMO. I also make honey or maple sweetened ice cream. Honey roasted nuts, honey sweetened almond cake, etc. Even just a fresh fruit salad. If you eliminate all sweet things from your diet, you are setting yourself up for failure. But making sweet without sugar requires thinking “outside the box”, since our society is so reliant on sugar. I serve honey-sweetened or unsweetened desserts to guests and they don’t know the difference. Pears poached with white wine and butter, served with a scoop of vanilla (honey) ice cream. Crustless or nut-crust cheesecake sweetened with honey. The afore-mentioned fresh fruit and whipped cream, or even an unsweetened crisp made with a nut topping and served with heavy cream. There are flavors that convince your mouth something is sweet even when it isn’t… for most of us those flavors include vanilla and cinnamon and even molasses. A cup of warm milk with some molasses and vanilla replaced hot chocolate, and even hot apple cider (made from 100% apple juice) is pretty popular around here.

You don’t want to be eating dessert every day, but don’t deny yourself completely. Once you get through the first couple weeks of no sugar, the things you liked before start being too sweet for you. When you reach that point, it is much easier to contemplate an unsweetened fruit crisp, or a bowl of fresh fruit as dessert.


You are so helpful! I agree with the push for relying on grains to be most of the diet, to be utterly ridiculous.
That food pyramid on the back of bread bags, needs to be ignored.

Yes, the media telling America that fats are bad for you, is wrong, too. Everything in moderation.
As for the co making me feel better, a friend of mine who is
a promoter of using coconut oil, said the same thing.
I had no idea coconut oils were such an energy booster.
I had some this morning, on my Irish steel cut oatmeal, with a
bit of brewer’s yeast mixed in, and I feel great, AGAIN!

I cleaned the kitchen, did the laundry, straightened the cupboards, and I still feel peppy!!
Very cool stuff, this coconut oil.

Thanks for all the recommendations and suggestions for desserts.
I’ll keep checking back, in case you have more ideas.
These were great!!

If you can find a copy of Grain-Free Gourmet, I recommend it. The entire cookbook is about grain-free and sugar-free cooking. There are some wonderful recipes in there. Most of the main dish recipes are nothing all that unusual (IMO), but the baked goods are worth the price of the book. Bread, crackers, muffins, pies, all made with almond flour and honey. You can also look for a coconut flour cookbook. I’m afraid I don’t have one to recommend, but there are several out there.

And then don’t forget that many of your old standby recipes can be perfectly healthy, with a little tweaking… instead of reaching for that can of cream of mushroom soup (which has hydrogenated oils and MSG), make a white sauce with mushrooms. Instead of reaching for the white pasta, choose a whole grain pasta or use a spaghetti squash. Instead of serving white rice with that roast, choose brown or another whole grain like buckwheat, quinoa or barley… or choose sweet potatoes or even winter squash which are full of Vitamin A.

There are certain things that aren’t healthy regardless of how you cut it, of course… pretty much cold cereal is the one that pops to mind, along with soda. But you can make your own granola without the HFCS and large amounts of sugar pretty easily, and you can even make your own (honey-sweetened) sodas if you don’t mind experimenting.

To give you some idea of what we eat:
Saturday - we went out and I had crab cakes benedict (hold the english muffin) with country potatoes for breakfast, and leftover pork roast and mashed sweet potato for dinner.
Sunday - we always have burgers for brunch… usually I put mine on a salad, but I forgot to buy lettuce, so I just plopped it in a bowl (with all the trimmings… bacon, onion, cheese, pickles, mustard). Dinner was leftover tri-tip with blue cheese sauce, cucumber and onion salad and leftover mashed potatoes.
Today - breakfast is corned beef hash (homemade), lunch will probably be a piece of fruit and some cheese… maybe some salami and the rest of the cucumber salad. Dinner will be a pork roast, I think (maybe pork chops), and some sauteed broccoli.

So while most people think I’m nuts for not eating grains, I don’t feel the slightest bit deprived of food, and I can even go out to eat fairly easily. It just requires some forethought.