Felicity Curtain


Going against the grain – the fear of all things carby


It’s somewhat comforting to see that, in the midst of what seems like a full-blown war on grains by the hardcore Paleo tribe, others are revelling in the plethora of seeds and cereals on offer.

Take Yotam Ottolenghi, for example: an Israeli chef and restaurant owner known for injecting excitement into vegetable- and grain-based meals. The self-confessed ‘grain man’ has been championed worldwide for bringing grains and vegetables from side dish to spotlight, and reminding us, as this blogger so eloquently puts it, that “you don’t have to be a vegetarian to love vegetables”.
Now, although over the years our fibrous friends have received some poor press, I’m a pretty big advocate for grains and legumes. Why? Well…

Yotam Ottolengi's latest book - Plenty More.

Yotam Ottolengi’s latest book – Plenty More.

• They add substance to a meal. To me, a lunchtime salad is just not substantial without the addition of some quinoa or chickpeas. This is partially due to their dietary fibre, found as a mixture of soluble and insoluble fibre, as well as resistant starch. These help to keep you fuller for longer, may aid in lowering cholesterol levels, and encourage the growth of healthy gut bacteria.

• They’re easily accessible and contain many vitamins and minerals. Results from the recent Australian Health Survey revealed that the ‘breads and cereals’ food group were the leading source of iron, folate, thiamin and magnesium, and the second most important source of protein. Additionally, since 2009 the Australian government has established mandatory fortification of all bread flour (aside from organic) with iodine (alongside thiamin and folate). Considering the recent re-emergence of iodine deficiency in Australia, I think this is a pretty smart initiative – and there’s no food product more available or affordable than bread.

• They can contribute to your vegetable consumption. What if I told you half a cup of baked beans (salt reduced, please) for breakfast equals one serve of vegies? Not bad, considering how difficult it is to reach the recommended 5 serves per day! Legumes are also a vegetarian’s best friend when it comes to meaty minerals like iron and zinc.

My favourite grainy products:

Goodness Superfoods wraps – Containing the CSIRO-developed wholegrain Barleymax, these are full of fibre and resistant starch, with one wrap contributing 35% of the RDI of fibre, plus a low Glycaemic Index.


• Carman’s Light Muesli Berries & Flakes – I love all Carman’s mueslis, but this one is by far my favourite. One of my lecturer’s caught me eating this dry in class one day… it’s probably a good thing not many supermarkets stock it because I’m weirdly obsessed.

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Oats – I love oats, and eat them in some form everyday. Lately I’ve been enjoying Amy’s Grains, developed by Dietitian and person trainer Amy Gianotti.



Soba noodles – made from a combination of wheat and buckwheat flour, soba noodles are a favourite of mine as they cook in only 4 minutes, and can be eaten hot or cold.


Freekeh – a roasted grain made from young green wheat, freekeh is prepared in the same way as rice or quinoa. With a nutty, chewy taste, one serve of freekeh provides around 20% of your recommended dietary intake of fibre. Click here for my favourite freekeh recipe –Yotam Ottolengi’s freekeh pilaf.


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4 replies

  1. May have bought the Carmen’s muesli today from Woolworths Polaris & thought you would appreciate the location – if you aren’t already on to it!
    Also a huge fan of the barley max wraps, soba noodles & freekeh! Xx

  2. I went to the Port Douglas market and searched for those icypoles that you said were great.
    Fantastic is all I can say. They are also selling them at the Mornington Market. I will have to get there and compare. MUESLI – I am eating Table of Plenty Muesli, Australian owned – I love the nicely nutty crunchy fruit free one You can also buy this in Safeway. It has almonds, cashews, and vanilla no wheat ingredients fructose friendly all natural. I do add goji berries to it and put it on top of greek yogurt 5AM. organic yogurt.


  1. My warm weather menu | cheering for nutrition

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