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Welcome to Chowhound’s Table Talk podcast, where Executive Editor Hana Asbrink chats with some of the most interesting names and newsmakers in the food space. Today: whole grains evangelist, Maria Speck.

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When you talk to Maria Speck, it’s near impossible not to get swept up in her enthusiasm for whole grains. Yes! Whole grains. It’s probably not a topic most people will get giddy about, but if anyone can convince you otherwise, it’s Maria.

It’s not just the healthful benefits that the cookbook author and whole grains expert advocates. Sure, we know eating more whole grains and fiber-rich food is good for us, but what Maria wants us to know is more about the wonderful breadth of flavors that are waiting to emerge and be experimented with from oft-neglected players like einkorn, amaranth, teff, and more.

When dishes like kamut salad with oranges, leeks, and blue cheese and lemony millet pudding with caramelized grapes are offered up, you’re primarily drawn to the colors, flavors, and textures at play—not the inherent health benefits.

Related Reading: A Whole Grains Salad That’s Sure to Upgrade Any Sad Desk Lunch

Tune in to my chat with former journalist, as she talks about drawing heavily from her Greek and German heritage, both cultures with deep whole grains traditions, as well as why it’s important to be kinder to yourself in the kitchen. Maria’s two books, “Simply Ancient Grains” and “Ancient Grains for Modern Meals,” are a valuable resource for anyone looking to incorporate more whole grains in their diets.

Simply Ancient Grains: Fresh and Flavorful Whole Grain Recipes for Living Well, $21.83 on Amazon

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Header image by Somerby Jones

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