Whole grains, which are lower on the glycemic index than refi ned grains and contain loads of essential nutrients, are an important staple in any diet. Serve a small scoop of brown or wild rice (instead of white rice) alongside fi sh and veggies or try quinoa, a protein- packed grain that's similar to couscous. For a quick and easy breakfast, keep plenty of slow- cooking or rolled oats on hand (rather than instant oatmeal). Don't worry— despite their name, slowcooking oats can actually be prepared in a jiff ; Christine and Rob's brand oatmeal (so tasty that it repeatedly sells out at the uber- trendy restaurant inside Barneys New York) can be cooked in as little as fi ve minutes. Th at's key— I know, because I don't have time to stir a pot of oatmeal for thirty minutes while I'm trying to get ready for work. And when it comes to snacking, you can't beat whole- grain crackers and hummus. I especially like Kashi Whole Grain TLC Original 7 Grain crackers (available in handy singleserving packs), Triscuit Low Sodium Whole Grain crackers (which have no added sugar), and Ryvita crackers, which are ridiculously crunchy and absolutely packed with fiber.
For sandwiches and wraps you can go with 100 percent whole- grain bread or check out sprouted grain bread. Unlike foods made with refi ned fl our, sprouted grains are allowed to sprout (that is, germinate) before being turned into bread. Sprouted grain products— such as Ezekiel bread, available at Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, and health food stores— are fl ourless (though not gluten- free), low- carb, low on the glycemic index, and available in a variety of forms, including hamburger buns, En glish muffi ns, and even pasta.
If you suffer from rashes (especially eczema or psoriasis), you'll want to avoid gluten, a protein found in such grains as wheat, barley, and rye, which may contribute to inflammation and aggravate itchy, flaky skin. You still need plenty of whole grains in your diet, however, so get to know the glutenfree aisle in your grocery store. You'll find gluten- free bread, waffle and pancake mixes, granola, and cereal, as well as gluten- free soy sauce and salad dressings. Mary's Gone Crackers makes delicious whole- grain, wheat- free crackers with no added sugars— great for snacking or alongside soup or a salad at lunch. You should also aim to incorporate more naturally gluten- free grains in your diet such as corn, flax, brown rice, millet, and quinoa.