You have probably heard the terms processed grains or refined grains, but what are processed refined grains anyway? And why can we use these refined grains for Kosher for Passover Matzoh?
First, let’s talk about grains in general. There are two main groups of grains: whole grains and refined grains. Usually, the brown grains are whole grains and the white grains have been through a process of bleaching. Refined grains examples include most corn and flour tortillas, couscous, grits, pasta, pretzels, breakfast cereals, and white bread.
So, what is the process of the refined grains?
Processed refined grains have been milled. This is a process that takes out the bran and germ, therefore, giving grains a finer texture. Although this helps improve shelf life, the fiber, iron, and many vitamins have also been removed in the process. Then, to make up for the deficiencies, most refined grains are enriched in order to add vitamins and iron back in after the processing.
Grains for Passover
For Passover, Matzo is made from a mixture of flour and water. The flour used for Kosher for Passover Matzoh can be whole grain or processed grain, but has to be wheat, oat, rye, spelt, or barley if Ashkenazic.
Controversy over Processed Refined Grains
There is some controversy over processed refined grains. Many nutritionists and functional medicine specialists believe refined grains are harmful. Food Matters has an article on Why Refined Grains Are Harmful + 8 Gluten Free Whole Grain Alternatives if you would like to learn more. Basically, the argument is that refined grains are excessively starchy and high in gluten, mostly lacking natural fiber, have added chemicals, are fumigated and bleached, have artificial flavors and colorings, and are nutritionally imbalanced.
Wellness Mama also has a post on The Real Problem With Grains. She digs in deep and looks at both sides of the argument.
What are your thoughts on grains in general? What about processed refined grains?