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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A germ you might want to catch

A few months ago I happened upon a muffin recipe that I wanted to try. I finally got around to making the muffins last week. I was pleased with them. They're reasonably healthy and filling and they don't taste like cardboard (I think they taste quite good). They were even eaten by some of my health-food wary in-laws. One of whom eats butter by the spoonful and the other of whom nearly gagged when I told her that the recipe included wheat germ. Even from the likes of them the muffins elicited a hearty "they're good." Which I consider high praise, all things considered. Maybe they weren't telling me the truth, but as far as I know these muffins are approved by even the most unlikely of sources!

Somewhere in the process I started wondering what wheat germ actually is. So I did what any good child of the internet age would do, I googled it. Which of course led me to wikipedia. And what I found made me so happy. Here's what wikipedia had to say:

Wheat germ is a concentrated source of several essential nutrients including Vitamin E, folatephosphorus, thiamin, zinc and magnesium, as well as essential fatty acids and fatty alcohols.[7][8] It is a good source of fiber.[9] White bread is made using flour that has had the germ and bran removed.[10] Wheat germ can be added to protein shakes, casseroles, muffins, pancakes, cereals, yogurt, cookies, and other baked goods.[11] Wheat germ can become rancid if not properly stored in a refrigerator or freezer,[12] and away from sunlight. (folic acid),
[13]

Look at all the nutrition packed into those little flakes! Given wikipedia's dubious sources of information (maybe that page was simply a propaganda ploy by the wheat germ growers of America!), I've since confirmed its nutritional value by looking at the nutrition facts on the back of my bag of wheat germ and also by researching it briefly on other websites.

It appears to be a great source of a lot of nutrients. Most interesting to me is folate. Which is very important for women of child-bearing age, who are pregnant, could become pregnant or are breastfeeding.

So, I've started looking for ways I can add wheat germ to my diet- I might as well since it seems to be so good for you and I have a whole bag of it now. We tried adding it to a smoothie. Which is a good option, I think, but you must be careful about your proportions or your smoothie will taste like dirt. Most successfully, I've been adding it to my oatmeal in the mornings and have been really happy with the outcome. I found this recipe online for Banana, Wheat Germ and Oats. I've eaten oatmeal almost every morning for breakfast for about 5 years now. Sometimes I like to change it up and I liked the way this turned out. Granted, it's not that different than just plain oatmeal, but I like the texture. You can pretty much add whatever you want to it. I made it with a peach instead of a banana. One morning I added pecans. You can also make the oatmeal with milk instead of water. I omitted the butter.

I'm always looking for ways to vary our diet and add nutrition. I'm plan to try these muffins and this pancake mix sometime soon. I'll post about them if they turn out well.

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