The Secret to Fluffy and Delicious Whole Wheat Baked Goods

Dear Gluten Free Friends: This post is very whole wheaty and not at all helpful to your gluten free life. I’ve got your back though because as you know, many of the recipes here on my site are naturally gluten free. After all, while I do love freshly ground whole wheat flour, I also love variety and breadless recipes. So just for you: 100+ Gluten Free Recipes. Click on over and have at it. Love ya much!


See the difference in grains?
We took this picture while traveling through Kansas a few years ago. 

As a newly-wed I remember visiting someone’s house where they served homemade rolls made exclusively with whole wheat flour. I tried to like the rolls, but I was used to white rolls made with all-purpose flour, and these rolls just weren’t the same. I decided that I simply didn’t like whole wheat flour, and really, I didn’t like anything considered to be a “health food.” (I thought eating healthy meant I had to eat rice cakes and bean sprouts for every meal.) I continued on my merry way where I ate very few fruits and veggies, drank about a liter of Pepsi every day, and made oodles of delicious cookies and cakes with white flour.

Many years (and way too many gallons of Pepsi) later, one of my friends started selling her homemade bread at our local Farmer’s Market. She had some leftover one night, so she sent a loaf home with me. We ate it for breakfast the next day, and we loved it down to the last crumb. I complimented her up and down next time I saw her, asking what kind it was. “It’s just my regular whole wheat bread recipe.” What?! That bread was whole wheat? Like, whole wheat and white flour mixed, right?! “Nope. 100% whole grain. I grind it myself.”

That is the moment I learned about the different varieties of wheat and the deliciousness of grinding grain into flour. (I never actually knew people did that. Grind your own flour? Seriously?!) I was intrigued. I researched. I asked questions. I saved up for a Nutrimill, stocked up on hard white wheat, and the rest is history.


Red Wheat, White Wheat, Hard Wheat, Soft Wheat

Oh how many wheat you meet. Look at me. I’m Dr. Seuss. 

There is a big difference between red wheat and white wheat. Both produce whole wheat flour -but they bake up differently, creating different textures and flavors. I’ve covered this in detail in several other posts, which I’ll point you to now:

hard wheat soft wheat

It’s hard to see the difference in the picture.
Hard is more pointy. Soft is more round. There. Does that help?

The Secret to Fluffy and Delicious Whole Grain Baked Goods

Let’s talk about how you can make the most amazing whole grain cookies, cakes, muffins, pancakes, waffles, and pastries.

When I first started grinding flour to make all of our baked goods healthier and tastier, I used hard white wheat for everything. It did this because:

  • Hard white wheat flour works for any recipe, whether it is a yeast bread or a non-yeast product. (Soft wheat only works for non-yeast products.)
  • Grinding just one kind of flour made life easier.

Finally, after the recommendation from many of you, I gave soft white wheat a try. This is the variety of wheat that, when ground, produces whole grain pastry flour. I used it first for pancakes, then I used it for muffins, then I decided that I had waited way too long to try this. Pastry flour makes a huge difference in the density of baked goods!

Whole Wheat Pastry Flour (ground from soft white grain) is almost like using white all-purpose flour. It is light and fluffy and baked goods I make with it turn out really delicious.


Simple as that, freshly ground Soft White Wheat is the secret to turning out amazing baked goods.

Remember though, if you’re making a yeast bread, you still have to use Hard White (or red) Wheat. I now love both hard and soft white varieties and keep them both on hand at all times for all our baking needs.

no-knead bread 3

If you’re afraid of baking yeast bread, or simply want to make life much easier –
you have to try this easy Stir-and-Pour Bread. Because of this recipe, I will never knead bread again.
(This bread requires hard wheat, not soft, because it is a yeast bread.)

So let’s review:

  1. Use hard wheat for yeast breads.
  2. Use soft wheat for everything else.
  3. Or use hard wheat for everything – but I’m telling you, soft wheat (which produces whole wheat pastry flour) is wonderful to work with!

Some of our favorite recipes which use Whole Grain Pastry Flour:

Most don’t even realize they are eating whole grains when they eat any of these goodies! For that matter, the recipes that are low in sugar don’t seem to phase people either. Who knew eating healthier could taste so good?!

Let me hear from you!

  • Do you grind your own flour?
  • What is your flour preference?
  • Have you tried soft wheat (pastry flour) or do you stick with hard wheat for every recipe?

Switching to Whole Wheat Flour – making the transitions easier

This post was originally published in February, 2011.


I want to take some time to address some of the many whole wheat flour questions I receive from those of you making the switch from white to brown. So many of you email me to say “I wish we liked whole wheat flour…we just don’t. What ideas do you have?”  or “When I bake with whole wheat flour, my food often feels and tastes heavy and grainy. My kids won’t eat it.”  or “Laura, you look really good with flour in your hair, what’s your secret for getting it right there on your bangs?”  Just kidding about that last statement. Thankfully.

My suggestion (and hear me out on this, because I think I know all of your arguments) is…okay actually I have two suggestions.

Switch to Whole Wheat Flour

  1. Use a Grain Mill to grind fresh flour.
  2. Use Hard WHITE Wheat.

Here’s the deal:  I have NEVER liked store-bought whole wheat flour. Still don’t like it very much. The idea of switching to whole wheat flour to me was NOT appealing and I DIDN’T want to.

Until I had a piece of my friend’s bread made with freshly ground hard white wheat flour. That was all the evidence I needed.

I really didn’t believe her when she said that the bread was 100% whole wheat. It didn’t taste whole wheat. It didn’t look whole wheat. It didn’t feel whole wheat. Oh, but did it ever smell and taste good.

It was at that moment (after she answered more of my questions and after I talked it over with Matt of course) that I decided that I would save any extra money we had toward getting my own grain mill. The problem was…we had NO extra money to save toward a grain mill.

What I Did:

I started buying Hard White Wheat and letting my friend grind it for me. She was so sweet to do this, and it worked, but it certainly wasn’t convenient. I then began making these soft pretzels to sell at our local farmer’s market to save for my Nutrimill. It took just a few weeks before I had enough money saved. I ordered my Nutrimill right away! That was five years ago, and I’ve gotta say that saving up for and buying my Nutrimill was SUCH a great investment. My whole family thinks so.

Why Freshly Ground Flour Made from Hard White Wheat is Different (and tastes so good):

Well, fresh flour is…fresh. It’s amazing the difference in taste you’ll notice when you eat bread and other goodies made from flour that has been freshly ground. The whole wheat flour from the store is a little on the old side and is likely even to be rancid. It is usually often made from RED wheat.

Which leads me to my second point about why freshly ground flour from hard white wheat is different and tastes so good:  White wheat is lighter in texture and color than red wheat. Whole wheat flour made from Hard White Wheat produces lovely bread, tortillas, pizza crust, muffins…everything you need flour for.

The Question of the Hour:

But Laura, doesn’t white wheat turn into white flour?

Ah, I didn’t get that at first either. But NO, it absolutely doesn’t. Hard White Winter Wheat is simply a different variety of grain.  Hard Spring Red Wheat has the same nutritional value as Hard White Winter Wheat…but white wheat makes (in  my opinion) a nicer and more palatable whole wheat flour.

I think you’ll notice a big difference.

(White flour that you buy at the store, by the way, is flour made by sifting out the bran and germ after the grain has been ground. This was originally done to give it a longer shelf life. Now, unless otherwise noted, the white flour is bleached to make it whiter. Yum.)

What Do I Suggest?

See if you can find someone who has a grain mill and will let you try out freshly ground flour made from hard white wheat. Hey, if you come over to my place, I’ll let you try some of mine! (I may even share my secret of getting flour in my hair.)

If you like it (the freshly ground flour…not the flour in my hair), I recommend doing a little something to save up for a grain mill. I love my Nutrimill!!! Here’s a video of me showing how to use the Nutrimill. I love Paula’s Bread as your go-to source for purchasing a Nutrimill. She offers great prices and offers wonderful customer service.

And…you may want to look into this online Bread Class offered by Lori. She teaches you to use freshly ground flour to make a perfect loaf of bread…and other great baked goods too! It’s a very helpful class!

Lastly…I will recommend that if you just aren’t able to grind fresh flour right now, try to find store bought whole wheat flour made from white wheat, labeled, White Whole Wheat. King Arthur has a nice variety. It’s not quite the same (because it isn’t fresh), but it’s the best store-bought flour I’ve used.

Those of you who’ve been grinding your own flour…share what you love about it! How were you able to make the investment to get a grain mill? Which is your favorite grain mill and wheat to grind?

(You’ll find more posts I’ve written about grinding grain, where I recommend getting grain, which grain I recommend and ALL kinds of grainy questions answered in this section!)

Disclaimer:  No one here is going to force you to grind your own flour, eat white wheat or get flour in your hair. If you like flour make with red wheat, enjoy! If you can’t afford a grain mill, this is not a guilt trip. I’m just answering many readers’ questions. Hopefully you all found it helpful. And hopefully you are much cleaner bakers than I am. Not only is there flour in my hair, it is also on my kitchen floor and counter tops.  I need to go clean my kitchen. 

What is Whole Wheat Pastry Flour? Where Do I Get It? How Do I Use It?

There’s this stuff called “whole wheat pastry flour” I keep talking about in my Low Sugar Treat baked goods. What in the world??

Never fear. I shall explain. You need to know this so that you can make this Low Sugar Super Moist Chocolate Cake. And probably for other reasons too.

All About Whole Wheat Pastry Flour

What is Pastry Flour?

First let me explain a little bit about different varieties of wheat so you can understand what makes pastry flour. There are other grains worth mentioning, but to keep things simple (I like simple), let’s just stick to what is most commonly used and what I like best. (Not that it’s all about me and my preferences, but I am the one writing this so…)

Hard Red Wheat

This is most commonly used in store-bought breads. It has a high protein content and a heavier texture and flavor. When you purchase “Whole Wheat Flour” at the store, you are most likely getting flour ground from red wheat. This is all good, however, it is my least favorite flour to bake with and eat. My experience is that breads turn out too heavy and dense when made with red wheat.

Hard White Wheat

I prefer the hard white variety of grain over red wheat a million times over. It is slightly lower in protein, but still offers all the goodness and nutrition of whole grain with a lighter taste and texture. Don’t let the word “white” throw you off here. It’s not white flour – it is a white wheat grain used which makes a delicious whole wheat flour. I use this almost exclusively in my kitchen. Or at least I did…

Soft White Wheat

This is my new love. Soft wheat has a low protein content, making it light and fluffy and absolutely wonderful to work with. It is this soft wheat that becomes Whole Wheat Pastry Flour when ground. Aha! Now we know what pastry flour is.

Take a look at the following picture, although it’s a little bit tough to see the difference in the grains of wheat. On the right are “soft wheat berries” and on the left are “hard wheat berries.”

hard wheat soft wheat

The soft wheat berries are a bit more rounded whereas the hard wheat berries are more flat and pokey. (I excel in the use of adjectives.)

How to Use Whole Wheat Pastry Flour

This is very important! While soft wheat produces a pastry flour that looks and acts like all-purpose flour in many ways, we cannot use soft wheat in any recipes that include yeast because it does not contain enough gluten. Ground soft wheat (pastry flour) can only be used in non-yeast recipes like muffins, quick breads, pancakes, waffles, cakes, and cookies.

But let me tell you what I’m learning! Grinding soft wheat into whole wheat pastry flour for use in non-yeast goodies is fantastic! Hard wheat can be used in any recipe – yeast or no. But soft wheat (pastry flour) helps cakes and muffins bake up softer and lighter.

Lookie. Here’s my freshly ground whole wheat pastry flour.
Doesn’t it make you want to bake a cake?
(Scroll through these recipes for low sugar cake recipes.)

Pastry Flour 3

Where Can You Get Whole Wheat Pastry Flour?

Well, you can buy some Soft White Wheat Berries and grind your own if you have a grain mill. (I have a Nutrimill.)

Or, you can purchase ready-made whole wheat pastry flour from Amazon or Vitacost (learn how to get $10 off your first Vitacost order here). You can order some through a health food co-op like Azure Standard or another one you are a part of. And while I haven’t looked and don’t have one close-by, I would imagine that stores like Whole Foods and Natural Grocers carries it.

So Let’s Review

Hard wheat makes regular whole wheat flour which can be used in ANY whole wheat flour recipe.

Soft wheat makes whole wheat pastry flour which can only be used in non-yeast recipes like muffins, quick breads, pancakes, waffles, cakes, and cookies.

You can keep it simple and use regular whole wheat flour for all of your baking needs. Or you can use pastry flour for your non-yeast baking for a lighter, fluffier baked good, then use regular whole wheat flour for yeast breads.

For more information about flour, grain, and varieties of wheat, you may want to look through all of my posts on Grains and Grain Mills.

What is your favorite flour to use in baking? Do you use a variety or stick to one kind?

Why Are There So Many People Now Who Can’t Tolerate Wheat?

After reading my Do We Need to Be Eating So Much Bread post, a friend of mine sent me a link to this article called The Real Reason Wheat is Toxic.  I found it to be a great read, especially because this is a question I’ve asked many times the past few years as more and more people are having to cut wheat out of their diets.  Why?  Why is wheat, which has been consumed forever, suddenly giving so many people digestive trouble?

Read this and come back here to share your thoughts.


If you can eat wheat and reading that article made you want to avoid conventionally grown grain forever and always, here are links to my favorite sources for chemical-free grain:

  • Azure Standard (If you have access to this co-op, you will love the savings and quality products.)
  • Amazon – I was glad to find this 37 pound box of chemical free hard white wheat (my fav) for $56.85 with free shipping.
  • If you live in a city, check stores specialty stores like Whole Foods or Natural Grocers.
  • If you live in a rural community, check with farmers around you to see if they grow chemical free wheat for you to purchase.

Grinding chemical-free wheat is easier than you think and incredibly tasty!  Ever since we got a Nutrimill and began grinding our own wheat (and corn) – our whole grain breads and other baked goods are more delicious than ever.  Here are all my posts on wheat and grain mills for your reading pleasure.  :)


I also wanted to be sure you saw that it’s a free shipping weekend at Tropical Traditions!  Use the code 15223 at check-out.  You might check out their Einkorn Grain as it is fantastic quality.  Also worth noting is their Natural Soaps and their Coconut Creams are buy-one-get-one-free, which is great since you can also get free shipping.  (These links are my referral links.)

Are Paleo, Gluten Free, Grain Free Diets a Fad? Healthy or Not Healthy? My Thoughts…

I decided it would make perfect sense for me to post about My Favorite Whole Wheat Recipes, and then follow it up the next day with a post about avoiding wheat and/or grains altogether. I like keeping you on your toes.


Seeing as the Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle includes an entire section on Special Diets, I thought this might be a good time to address my thoughts on eating a gluten free, grain free, or paleo diet. Let’s chat, shall we?

A few weeks ago, I got this email from Deb:

I am just wondering what you think about all the gluten free, etc. rage? Some of my friends truly have celiac, but most just seem to be trying this as more of a fad, way to lose weight, etc. Don’t you think that the reason that they feel better is because they give up processed junk and sugar, not so much because of the actual gluten?

We just had a missionary stay with us from Australia, she is originally from Taiwan and has lived in Kenya as well. She says that Americans are the only ones who take supplements and vitamins and have all these food allergies. She thinks it is ridiculous to eat at McDonalds, then buy vitamins. She stayed with us 2 weeks and it was very interesting, even if she was out and about, she would NOT get fast food, she would go to the grocery and buy fresh meat and vegetables and come home and cook it, even though it costs more and was more time consuming. Also, a lot of my friends that are on these EXTREME diets cheat half the time anyway, so what is the point?  

Ah yes. I too have watched people go from eating a basic diet of donuts, chips, fast food, and skittles – to eating a low fat or low-carb diet. They lose weight, feel better, and swear that the key is to cut out carbs, grains, gluten, eggs, beef, or butter.

Hey, hey, hey. Them’s fightin’ words to this girl. Nobody better be blaming my butter or beef on their poor health! Especially when we’re talking about the kind that comes from cows who are raised in a healthy environment. But enough about my beloved bovines. What is the healthiest way for all of us to eat?


I hate to disappoint you, but I do not believe that there is a one-size-fits-all diet.  I believe real food, in balance, based on what your body can tolerate and thrive on is the right diet for you. Learn to listen to your body, and nourish it.

I love my beef, and in fact, I believe I personally need quite a bit of (grass fed, if possible) red meat in my diet in order to maintain a healthy level of iron in my body. You might not need much or any beef. You may not need much of any variety of meat. Okay by me – that means more cow for this girl. Learn to listen to your body, and nourish it.

While some can’t tolerate grains or gluten, I can. I can’t eat them in large amounts, and in fact, I believe most of us should cut back on the grains just to make more room in our diet for fruits and vegetables Learn to listen to your body, and nourish it.

Here are my Paleo, Gluten Free, and Grain Free thoughts in a nutshell:

  • When you give up processed foods and instead eat more wholesome, nourishing foods, you will feel better and look better.  This has very little to do with the fact that the food might be gluten free, paleo, or grain free.
  • If you truly are allergic to a certain food or if a food makes you sick, by all means, you should not eat it.  You might want to check into NAET though. It is possible to re-program our bodies so that they no longer reject certain foods as allergens. My boys and I have experienced this, and it works. Where we used to have food allergies, we no longer do, praise God!
  • A Gluten Free label does not automatically make a food healthy.
  • Cutting down on grains is beneficial, especially if the majority of what you eat is grainy. Our bodies need a better balance, and grains can be difficult to digest. Bready foods should not be our main nourishment focus.
  • If we’re cutting down our grains, we should not replace them with loads of almond flour and coconut flour. I believe these flours are fantastic additions to our diets, and wonderful to use in baking – especially if your body can not tolerate grains. But to eat them by the pound every day? Well, what happened to balance?

Paleo, Gluten Free, and Grain Free diets can be healthy and beneficial. But if you’re focused on cutting out foods for the wrong reasons, and not focused on overall body nourishment – you’re right back where you started.

Share with me what you have found is best for you and your family when it comes to eating gluten and grains. Do you eat them? What grains are your favorites?

How to Grind Flour in a Grain Mill

Wanna see how easy it is to
grind wheat into flour in a Nutrimill?

I’ve talked about how I love freshly ground flour and about how I love my nutrimill.  You’ve all helped me share about great sources for organic or chemical free grains. I’ve even written a letter to your husbands trying to convince them that getting you a grain mill is a fabulous idea.

But I’ve never taken the time to show you how a grain mill works. Is it hard to run? Does it take a lot of time? Do you work up a sweat using it?

The answer to all three questions is a definite no!

So many people have mentioned to me things like “I don’t know how you have time to grind your own flour. I barely have time to cook, much less make the flour for my baked goods.”

You’re welcome to continue to think that because I grind my own flour, I am a modern day wonder woman. Or, you can watch this video clip and learn the truth…

Did you see that? I put in the wheat, turned on the machine…and then I walked away and made lunch and did some dishes. Then I came back and had freshly ground flour. It doesn’t get any easier than that. And wow, this flour tastes more delicious than any you’ve ever had (in my opinion)!

This post was originally published June 1, 2010.

What Kind of Flour is Best If You Don’t Grind Your Own

Did you know some people grind their own flour?  When I first heard that from a friend about 14 years ago, I thought the very idea was crazy. Really? People do that? Why? How? Who has the time? Only crazy healthy-nutty people would go to the trouble of grinding their own flour. And their food probably always tastes nasty, because whole wheat flour is really heavy and strong flavored. Bleh.

That was back in “my poptart and pepsi days” as I now lovingly call the time I didn’t understand much about nutrition. Obviously, I also didn’t understand that real food tastes really delicious. I was just doing the best I could with what I knew, and we can’t help what we don’t know, right? My eyes were opened to a better way after our youngest son was born with chronic eczema. I’m so thankful for the world of healthy eating God has opened up to us since then. We all feel so much better now. Food has never tasted better! I mean, I didn’t even know how good butter was back then. Sheesh.  I was missing out.

Who is now among the crazy health-nutty people who grind their own flour? That would be me. Yep, we’ve had a Nutrimill now for eight years, and it is still going strong. Who knew grinding flour was as easy as pouring wheat into a machine, turning a knob, and walking away? And the end result? Oh my goodness. I never knew whole wheat flour could taste so good. Freshly ground flour is amazing.

I do recommend making the investment to grind your own grain, as the health benefits and deliciousness to baking with freshly ground flour can’t be beat. But what if you aren’t ready, don’t want to, or aren’t interested? No prob. Let’s talk about other great options…

First, let’s discuss the different options you’ll likely come across at the store. Most whole wheat flour that is pre-packaged at the store has been made from red wheat. This is a darker and heavier flour – not my favorite, but still an okay option. If this is the kind you use, you may need to use a bit less than is called for in some recipes as it tends to be dryer and produce a more dense baked good.

I love and always recommend flour made from white wheat as it is lighter in color, lighter in flavor, and typically more enjoyable to eat. At the store, this is labeled White Whole Wheat Flour.

Is white wheat healthy? Yes. Don’t let the word “white” throw you off. White wheat is simply a variety of wheat that, when ground, makes white whole wheat flour. Both red and white wheat have the same nutritional value, but they taste just a bit different. I prefer the flavor of flour made from white wheat – as do many people.

Below is a picture I took last year when we were in Kansas. You’ll see two fields, side by side, one growing white wheat, the other growing red wheat. See? Both are grains of wheat, but when ground, they turn out a different color and texture of flour.

Next you see a picture of the two different kinds of grain, or wheat berries as we call them. Red wheat berries are on the left, and white wheat berries are on the right:

I almost always grind hard white wheat at my house since we prefer it. I also sometimes grind soft white wheat, which produces a whole wheat pastry flour. Pastry flour can be used in any recipe that does NOT call for yeast. For yeast bread recipes, you must use a hard wheat variety. Read more about red wheat and white wheat here.

Now let’s talk about which wheat flour I recommend.

My favorite brand of wheat berries and wheat flour is Wheat Montana. They use chemical free, non-GMO grains. They are a very high quality grain, which makes wonderful tasting flour. Look for 100% White Whole Wheat Flour, which they call Prairie Gold.

prairie gold

I was impressed to find a 40 pound package through Amazon for as low as $27.14 (with Amazon Prime/Mom and subscribe and save). That makes it just 68¢ per pound for very high quality flour. (Be sure to click over to the Prairie Gold option if you want the white whole wheat.)

I also like the Azure Standard White Wheat Flour, which is as low as 92¢ per pound. If you are a part of an Azure Standard co-op, you may want to look into this.

Beyond those options, I have seen white wheat flour at Traders Joes, Whole Foods, and other health food stores. I don’t know the prices because I don’t have easy access to any of those stores.

Share what you know about these options.  Do you grind flour, or purchase it already ground? What is your favorite variety?

Is Wheat Making Us All Fat and Unhealthy?

I have been asked many, many times, “Have you read Wheat Belly? What do you think of it?”  I decided to answer that question here, and open it up for a friendly discussion so that I can hear your thoughts too!

First let me say this:  No, I haven’t read Wheat Belly. I’ve chosen not to read it because I already feel overloaded with all the information out there about what is healthy, what is not, and how I should be raising my children. (Oh wait, that last bit about being a parent has nothing to do with food or nutrition. Mostly.)  From the description and the reviews of the book, however, I can tell that Wheat Belly contains some helpful information that will benefit many people – especially people who are frequently eating many processed foods. 

Some people really can not handle eating wheat. If that’s you, then by all means, don’t eat it, and hooray for you that you found a solution for your body’s good health! But do I feel like we should all throw out the wheat? Well, since my wheat grinder is humming in the background in preparation for making bread as I write this post, I guess you probably know my answer.

Why does eating wheat sometimes make a person gain weight? Anytime you’re eating too many carbs (which is what wheat is) – you are likely to put on some extra pounds. But hey, anytime you eat too much of anything – you are likely to put on some extra pounds. The key words in those sentences, in my opinion is not “wheat” or “carbs.”  It is “too much.”  Any time you are eating too much of any food (or food group), you are going to lack balance, which can cause weight gain and/or health issues.

The word balance is becoming one of my favorites:  BALANCE. Bal-ance. Balanicimo! Balanciencioso

Folks – maybe we do need to stop eating so much food with wheat in it, simply so that we can fill our bodies with more vegetables in an effort to achieve balance. Maybe we should go easier on the bread – so that we can be sure we are getting enough protein food like healthy meat, nuts, eggs, and beans. It’s all a part of eating in balance.

I may be taking too much of a simplistic view of nutrition and health, but I don’t agree that one part of our diet – in this case, wheat – is the cause of all health concerns. (Isn’t it a fact that wheat and sugar almost always go together? I believe that is something we need to consider when we call wheat the “bad guy.” Maybe I’ll write another book to follow Wheat Belly called Sugar Gut.)

What I do agree with:  Many of us (my family included) eat a lot of grains – too many perhaps. Whole grains contain good nutrients, but we really must all be intentional about making sure our diets also include plenty of fruits and vegetables, plus healthy meats, dairy, nuts, eggs, and healthy fats. 

So if you are starting your day with donuts (and nothing else), having two rolls with lunch (with a side of jelly), eating a muffin for a snack, and then a burger with a bun for dinner, with three cookies for dessert – stop it! That’s not balanced, it’s really heavy on the wheat, and really light on…well, everything else, especially fruits and vegetables. 

What about the argument that our wheat today is not the same as it was 50 years ago? It’s true. There have been modifications made to wheat through the years. Bleh. Unfortunately, and I hate to break it to you, almost all of our foods (fruits and vegetables included) have been modified through the years. It’s frustrating, but don’t overthink it. If you do, you’ll be afraid to eat anything at all, and that’s not a fun place to be.  I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: God is bigger than the food we eat. (And Jesus is the Bread of Life.)

Do the best you can. Be intentional about eating a wide variety of nutrients found in real, whole food. And when/if you eat wheat, make sure you are also eating a peach, some green beans, and a hunk of chicken. Sound like a plan?

Hopefully that helps answer your questions about my thoughts on eating wheat. I certainly don’t claim to know it all. This is simply where I’ve landed after much research and prayer. I’d love to know your thoughts about eating wheat…


Flour Made From White Wheat and Red Wheat – Is It All Whole Wheat?

Remember the post I wrote talking about which kind of wheat flour is best? In that post, I told how both hard red wheat and hard white wheat are good for you. Both make whole wheat flour. They are simply different varieties of wheat.

Well, a few weeks ago, when we were visiting family in Kansas, wheat fields were ready for harvest – and so, so beautiful. I grew up in Kansas, and since I don’t live there anymore, I have really learned to appreciate the beauty of a wheat field. I tend to gush about it over and over when I see what used to just be a “boring ol’ wheat field”. That was a side note, but I thought you’d like to hear what Matt has to hear each time we go “home” for a visit. Wheat fields are so pretty!! (For the record, my California born and raised husband agrees with me.)

Anyway, we were driving back to my dad’s after church and I nearly came out of my seat belt as we drove past these wheat fields. Why had I never seen fields like this before? Had I simply not been paying attention? Check out the difference in these two fields:

My darling husband, seeing what I was pointing out, kindly slammed on the brakes (not really, but sort of), put the car in reverse, and pulled over so I could get some pictures. (Don’t worry. We were on a country road in the middle of nowhere. There wasn’t another vehicle around for miles.)  There, side by side, was a field of hard red wheat, and a field of hard white wheat. Gorgeous!

The main reason we wanted pictures is to show you that indeed, red wheat and white wheat both make whole wheat flour – they are just different varieties of wheat. (Read through all of my grain and grain mill posts if you’d like to learn more.)  And the other reason we wanted pictures is because wheat fields are beautiful and I wanted to gush about them to you.

If I could have recorded the sound they made in the breeze, I would have done that too. Okay, I’m done gushing now. 

But tell me – is that not beautiful??!   :)

My Current Thoughts About Soaking or Not Soaking Grains

Since we started the week here talking about what healthy eating really means, I thought this might be a good time to discuss the many questions I receive about the idea of soaking grains. There is definitely conflicting information on this subject. If you’re wondering what I’m even talking about when I say “soaking grains“, you may want to read this post.

If you’ve been reading here long, you know that I’ve done quite a bit of struggling with the idea of soaking grains for better digestion. I learned so much several years ago from reading Nourishing Traditions about eating real, whole foods and the importance of healthy fats and well balanced nutrition. Sally Fallon, author of Nourishing Traditions, feels very strongly after much research that it is important to soak oats, wheat flour, and most other grains in something like whey, yogurt, kefir, cultured buttermilk, lemon juice, or vinegar for at least seven hours to allow the enzymes to break down and neutralize the phytic acid so that our bodies can digest the grain.

My initial reaction after reading Nourishing Traditions was to feel that I absolutely had to soak all of our grains before I made any breads, muffins, pancakes – everything! – otherwise I was being a horrible mother. The book wasn’t condemning, I just took everything I read in it straight to the heart, and had a huge desire to do everything right as I transitioned our family into healthy eating. I never really came up with a soaked bread we liked and many of the soaked muffins and such just had a funky flavor, but I kept trying anway. I had to soak – I had to soak – I had to soak. And if I didn’t soak, I felt guilty – like I was feeding my kids junk food. Sounds extreme, but that’s how I felt about it.

As time went on, I began to feel very overwhelmed by the need to soak all of our grains. Was anything really wrong with me simply stirring up and baking some muffins without first soaking the grains? Why did healthy cooking have to be so difficult?  On top of that, my family didn’t really love the taste of my soaked grain baked goods. Truthfully, neither did I. Keeping up with soaking became a tedious chore for me, especially as my life became more full with my family and with keeping up with the work on this site.

Somewhere in there, I read this article from Bread Beckers, detailing why soaking grains is not necessary. It is a well researched, well written article. And it made me question so many things I’d learned about soaking grains.

As I’ve wrestled with this through the years, I received many questions about soaking grains from you, my readers. Here I am wavering on my conviction on this subject and you are wanting my thoughts and opinion on the matter. I don’t want to steer anyone wrong! I don’t want to be the authority on this subject! I’m not saying soaking grains is right. I’m not saying soaking grains is wrong. Shucks, I don’t even really know what I’m saying.

I’m saying I’m tired. I’m saying I’m a little overwhelmed by all the conflicting information out there about what it truly means to eat a healthy diet where grains are involved. I’m saying that I give up on trying to have all the answers about grains. Soaked grains, sprouted grains, no grains at all? I don’t want to cop out, I just want simplicity and balance. I wish I could provide you with something more solid.

For our family, at this point I have landed on eating whole grains, mainly freshly ground grains, and trying to work in a nice variety of them. For the most part, I am not soaking my grains right now. And I don’t feel guilt over it. Mostly. ;)

I’m doing the best I can for my family and I feel peace with this decision.

So what are your thoughts about soaking and sprouting grains? I’d love to hear where you have landed on this subject.