When I traveled to Tuscany with my mothers sister Gail in 2008, we ate a whole grain called Farro that appeared to be a common addition to most of the meals we enjoyed. Sure there were pasta dishes, but there were also bean dishes, soups and salads made with farro. At the time we thought it was spelt or a type of barley. It is a chewy and nutty whole grain that you cook and toss with vegetables or add to a soup or stew. Farro is gaining in popularity in the US as I can now find it at Whole Foods.

Minnestrone Farro Soup

 

Early when I first had gastric bypass surgery it was a game to not eat any carbs or get as low as I could get – while this mindset allowed me to lose almost half of my body weight at the time, while in the Honeymoon Period, it is not a great way to live once you arrive at and strive to live at a healthy weight. I don’t want to exist on meat and fish alone or with barely a vegetable garnish for the rest of my life. A better way to maintain weight loss once upon goal is to eat lots of vegetables, with small fish or meat portion with along with some whole grains and fruit. We need to find that balance that allows us to maintain our loss.

In essence, I need to eat for the rest of my life the way I really should have been eating before rearranging my internal organs with surgery. I love my new relationship with food. I eat fresh fish, seafood, chicken, beef, lamb and pork but when I look at my plate it is in reasonable proportion – a maximum of four ounces of protein with an equal or slightly larger portion of fresh or cooked vegetables and occasionally a whole grain such as farro.

Very few people actually know what ‘Whole Grain’ means. Sure they say the words but if you ask them to name five whole grains they cannot do it. The simplest comparison to demonstrate the difference between whole and refined grains is between whole wheat and white breads. White bread is heavily processed, giving it a uniform texture without much flavor. On the other hand, true whole wheat bread is denser and has more color and texture. The taste is more complex and satisfying, and even slightly toasted or nutty in flavor.

After Italy, I am a new fan of farro because it has chewy substance and a wonderful flavor. Farro is Italian for the Emmer wheat – which is known to be an old world variety of wheat that may have been first cultivated in Babylonia, and is still prevalent as a cereal grain in Europe. Farro is not Spelt, so if you see Spelt in your aisle, don’t confuse the two. Though they have connections, they are different. Farro can be used in stews, as a substitute for rice or in salads.

Here’s the scoop on Carbs from the position of being a long term post op – and only from near or at goal. When a nutritionist says eat more carbs, our obese brain automatically think bread, crackers, tortillas, we jump to the processed or BAD Carbs. We can’t help it, it’s how we’re wired. What they really meant was carrots, broccoli, farro, black beans, sweet potato, tomato, brussels sprouts, pear, melon…  see the difference? Stay away from the processed and white useless carbs and fill up the plate with the fresh healthy carbs.

Montebella brand Italian Farro
Montebella brand Italian Farro

Here is a list of whole grains in case you cant name five.

Amaranth – Brown Rice – Chia – Buckwheat – Bulgur – Farro – Millet – Barley – Rye – Wild Rice

 

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