Bulgur Wheat

Do you love carbs as much as I do?  Rice, my numero uno staple, has played a HUGE role in my diet, and who knows…probably my weight gain.  Although, I can’t just blame the rice, I know it also had a lot to do with the portions! When I began this journey, I wasn’t looking to feel deprived, but I was willing to make some sacrifices along the way and try new things.  I was willing to eat less of something, just so I wouldn’t have to give them up.  But as I learned to understand nutritional labels and appreciate those numbers a little more, I surprised myself.  I found things that I actually liked so much that I gave up a few staples without really even noticing it!

Introducing BULGUR WHEAT!

From day one…we’ve been a match made in Heaven and it has replaced my #1 staple!  No sacrifice needed, it’s just plain good.  Now I will admit, I’ve made this a few times for family and friends and it may not be for everyone.  My mom loves it as much as I do, but some people are just turned off by the fact that it looks good for you.  Come on…we all know those people who are simply not interested in eating healthier and are turned off by things that are “good for you.”  Not passing any judgement here because I admit, up until recently I was a little conditioned to believe that if it tastes good, it can’t be good for you and if it IS good for you…well it certainly won’t taste very good!

BUT if you know of someone who is trying to do better and willing to just give something a try, don’t keep this secret to yourself!  Try it and let me know what you think!

The way I stumbled upon this gem was through a weekly homework assignment from Emily, my Registered Dietitian.  She challenged me to find healthy starchy staples (ha! say that fast 10 times).

In this assignment, healthy meant that it had to have a good balance of carbs and fiber, something that my old friend, White Rice, did not have.  Of course, we’ve all noticed the emergence of whole grain pastas and brown rice on the market shelves.  Emily explained why these whole grain alternatives were better…and even revealed that just because it’s “brown” or claims to be whole grain, that I should still check the labels to see how good it really is for me.  What I liked most about this lesson was that Emily didn’t want me to take  her word for it, she took the time to explain why it was important to choose more whole grains over the simple carbs that I usually ate at every meal.  I learned why fiber is an important part of my diet and how it helps to control spikes in blood sugar…spikes that could actually make you feel hungry and crave more food (clearly not something that  would help me get closer to my weight loss goals).  Emily explained that by controlling these spikes in blood sugar and adding more fiber to my meals, I could still have delicious food, feel fuller longer, and protect my body from the negative side effects of elevated blood sugar.  I’m no nutritionist here, but there didn’t appear to be any downside to what she taught me.  But enough about the lesson, let’s talk more about the bulgur wheat!

The texture is firmer than rice (I’d even say chewy) and the grain is definitely smaller than rice–larger than couscous.  As far as flavor, I think it is an extremely versatile dish.  I’ve been experimenting with different recipes and finding ways to add veggies for a little extra nutritional boost!  You can really do a lot with bulgur just by adding spices and it really makes a nice backdrop to any meal.  So far, I’ve given it a little Asian flair, put an Italian spin on it, and will soon take it to a new level by giving it a little Middle Eastern love by adding some curry spices.

And even better news, for all of my blogosphere buddies who aren’t keen on the kitchen, I found a mix that you can buy that already has all the seasoning you need.  Just add water (and a little olive oil if desired)..and in less than 20 minutes…chow time!

I’ve found that not all stores carry this product, so if you have a problem finding it at your local market, no worries…you can also pick it up on Amazon as well as the Near East website.

For those that are skeptical, don’t take my word for it…try it out!  It could give you a new appreciation for wheat!

2 Responses to “Bulgur Wheat”

  1. Dee Dieter August 7, 2010 at 9:37 pm #

    Thanks for the post. I must try this. I am experimenting with grains as well.

    • oddsagainstme August 8, 2010 at 4:34 am #

      OMG! Yes, definitely try it…it is SO good! Let me know what you think. If you’re not into trying the bulk bulgur and would prefer something that already has the seasoning…you have to try the Near East Wheat Pilaf mix. If you can’t find it, let me know!

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