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Helping Others Get on the Whole Grain Train (via a Duck Boat!)

April 10, 2012

Working at Oldways is a wonderful way to spend my days, but it isn’t every day I have the opportunity to reach people on an individual basis, person to person. Last week was one of those rare occasions when it felt even better (than usual) to be working here and educating people about healthier living.

For those of you who don’t know, April 4th marked our first ever National Whole Grain Sampling Day, with events across the nation. This initiative was created here at Oldways and The Whole Grains Council as a fun and interactive way to team up with supermarkets, manufacturers, food service outlets and restaurants and create sampling opportunities to introduce people to whole grains.  In Boston, where we are headquartered, we were able to commandeer an amphibious “Duck Boat” for the day and ride around the city passing out whole grain treats to Bostonians. (You can see more photos on our Whole Grains Council blog.)

BUT Whole Grain Sampling Day was not just about standing there and handing out tasty free snacks to passersby, (although we did hand out plenty of them!) it was a day to take advantage of a special opportunity to engage with strangers and impart even just a little piece of what we know, in hopes of helping them and their families become healthier.

Throughout the day we spoke with people of all ages and backgrounds, and we found that, with many folks, the knowledge gap about whole grains is wide.  Many are aware of the health benefits of whole grains, some spoke about how much they love them for their variety of tastes and textures, but many others have never tried them. The good news is that people seemed curious and open to changing their habits.

I had people asking plenty of questions and one woman even came up to me and pointed to the word “quinoa” and asked “what is that?”  A few years ago, I admit it, I did not know what quinoa was either and I sure did not know how to pronounce it!  On Whole Grain Sampling Day I was glad that I could talk to her about how great quinoa is, that it’s a gluten free grain that’s packed with protein and cooks in just 12 minutes!  Knowledge that we take for granted, if we share it, can be used to help others adopt healthier lifestyles.  It is through small steps that we can create big change.  I am happy to help and to be a part of this movement to inspire better health in others.

–Rachel

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