Welcome back to the Get Healthy & Fit series here at Authentic Simplicity! Joining me are 18 other bloggers, all desirous of improving their health and raising their level of fitness. We each have a different goal in mind and a different plan to reach that goal; and you can follow each blogger’s progress here. Follow along on Twitter and Pinterest as well!
I discussed my personal goals at length the first week, but to sum up, this is what I’m hoping to do in the course of these 12 weeks:
- Kick my sugar habit
- Lose approximately 10 lbs. and a few inches
- Fit in my clothes
- Develop sustainable habits like eating more proteins and fewer carbs
Although I’m going low-carb, I’m not eliminating carbs entirely. Instead, I’m almost completely eliminating sugar from my diet (replacing it largely with stevia), and focusing on the healthiest carbohydrates possible. To that end, when it comes to grains, I am trying to minimize the amount of flour (any kind) I consume, and instead eating the grain in its entirety.
This is kind of new territory for me, to be perfectly honest. I’m familiar with whole-grain flours, but eating the actual grain whole is another matter altogether. I’m finding, though, that there are delicious ways to enjoy whole grains at any meal, and that cooking whole grains is a lot easier than it seems.
How to Cook Whole Grains Quickly and Easily
Most people cook rice and other grains in a 1:2 or 1:3 (depending on the grain) grain-to-water ratio. Rice, for example. The recipe on a package of brown rice generally suggests cooking 1 cup of rice in 2 cups of water. The problem with this is that depending on a lot of different factors, some of them beyond your control, the water will cook off or absorb more quickly than the rice does. Or, alternatively, the rice will be done before all the water is absorbed, and you’re left with mushy rice. Neither scenario is appreciated during the dinner rush hour!
Furthermore, this process takes at least 40 minutes, and the same is true for almost any grain. Although I try to keep ahead of the game and have an extra batch of rice (or other grain) cooked up in the freezer, it still takes forever to cook grains with this method.
Here’s where I owe a huge thanks to my readers! When I posted about my method of cooking rice a while back, I asked my readers for their favorite method of cooking rice, and I got some great responses. A couple people mentioned a method I had never heard of, and it intrigued me so much I had to give it a try. It worked so well that now I typically cook my rice in such a way, and I also cook all other whole grains in the same fashion.
What I love about this method is that it takes less time than the more common method. I don’t know the science of how all that works, but I know it’s true! You can easily cook a grain in half the time by following this simple method.
Oh, you want to know what the method is? I guess I shouldn’t make you wait any longer, huh?
Cook It Like Pasta
Honestly, I can sum up the instructions in one simple phrase: cook it like pasta. Fill a big ole pot with water, and bring it to a boil. Add your grains, leave the lid off, and let it boil away until the grain is tender.
That’s it. It typically takes about 20 minutes, sometimes a little more (only when I’m in a hurry, of course!), depending on the grain and other factors.
But if you need more specific instructions, here ya go:
How to Cook Whole Grains
- 4-6 qts water*
- 1-2 cups whole grain, rinsed (and soaked if desired)
- salt, optional
- Pour the water into a large pot and cover with the lid. Add salt if desired. Bring to a boil.
- Remove the lid and pour in the grain. Stir it up just a bit, then bring it back to a boil.
- Allow to boil until the grain is tender but still a little chewy (you don’t want it to be mushy).
- Turn off the heat, and strain out the grain; return it to the pot. Cover the pot with the lid and allow the grain to set for 5 minutes or so.
- *In this method, the actual amount of water is not super important: what’s important is if you have enough water for the grain to move around freely within the water. If you fill a 6 or 8 qt pot with water, you’re good to go.
Once your grain is cooked, you can do whatever you want with it! You can turn it into a dish for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, limited only by your imagination. If you’re not familiar with cooking with whole grains as an ingredient, just imagine that every grain is rice, and then fix it like you would rice. Nine times out of ten, it will work just as well.
But if you need more inspiration, I will be sharing with you some ideas for preparing whole grains next week! Be sure to subscribe if you aren’t already, so you can get that post delivered to your inbox or reader.
This Week’s Update
Woot! The numbers on the scale continue to go down! Little by little! The other measurements, unfortunately, are progressing at an agonizingly slow pace. I am thankful that at least they continue to trend downward for the most part.
Here are my current stats that I will update every Monday:
Weight: 133.6 (3 lbs total weight loss so far!)
Waist (inches): 29-30