By Shana Daniel, RHN
There I was, ravenous after a strenuous, yet satisfying yoga class and perusing the hot table at my local Whole Foods when I came across — what I could have sworn whispered my name — pizza.
A freshly made colourful veggie blend on a thin crust topped with a silky layer of melted cheese, kept warm on a ceramic plate awaiting me — it’s admirer — to pay for it and relish in the enjoyment which all fresh-made food brings. I paired it with a nutritious smoothie and sat down for a few minutes of culinary indulgence, fueling myself for the remainder of the day.
I couldn’t help but notice those around me. Mainly their choices, as they mysteriously all lacked a commonly recognized ingredient — bread. Whether a roll with a warm cup of soup, pizza, sandwich or pasta, I began to marvel at the disappearance of it all.
My notion to dispel the rumours of it in this article might offend some. Then again, it may inspire others to recall what pleasurable eating is all about. Taste, nutrients and social satisfaction. Simple really, but what’s happened to our idea of food over this past decade to make us question our choices, leading us to skip the fresh-baked food items in the grocery stores nowadays?
Social pressures, misinformation and deprivation are at the core of where our choices now reside. But is it necessarily a healthy option to do so? While I recognize that those with diagnosed gluten intolerances or celiacs, whose intolerances for it is well understood, the rest of you culinary possums might need me to shed some light.
Firstly, there’s zero proof to validly argue the omission of bread of any kind will encourage weight loss. Those whom I’ve worked with who approach me with gluten-free notions are battling the same weight concerns in addition to being depleted of certain nutrients compared to those who eat bread and cereal regularly.
What I can assure you is that we’re not eating to live nowadays. We’re eating to fuel, achieve health milestones and enjoy with loved ones. I have had the pleasure of dispelling many food myths in my years of practice, and bread or cereals are still at the top of my go-to list. Consider that as satisfying to your taste buds as it can be, it’s also calorically sufficient to satiate oneself for some time until the next meal. For this reason alone, when eaten mindfully in a meal, can be a great helper in aiding weight loss. Bread’s main ingredient — wheat— has sadly been given the cold shoulder. While I opt for organically sourced wheat in my meal choices, I know that I’m providing my body with necessary nutrients as well.
Let’s explore the nutrition credentials of organic whole grain wheat:
- Low in fat, most of which is unsaturated.
- High in carbohydrate (mainly starch) and high in insoluble dietary fibre.
- Relatively high in protein (11-13 per cent) compared with other major grains and contains a protein complex which forms gluten.
- High in potassium and low in sodium.
- The endosperm contains glucofructan (similar in structure to inulin) which functions as a prebiotic agent and has similar properties to dietary fibre.
- Contains B-group vitamins such as thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), folate and pantothenic acid.
- Contains vitamin E.
- Contains iron, zinc, magnesium, phosphorus and selenium (depending on the soil content of selenium).
- Contains small amounts of copper, manganese and calcium.
- Contains phytochemicals including lignans, phenolic acids, phytic acid, plant sterols and saponins.
The pseudo cereals of today are also great ways to incorporate some delights into your daily routine of meal eating and can include maize, rice, barley, oats, rye and sorghum.
Experiment with flavours and varieties to enhance your meals and lose the guilty gluten feelings which have become so negative in our minds with the bombardment of caveman eating of our ancestral days.
Do yourself a favour and embrace the comforts this season brings, allowing your body to sense what it needs and feeling great about your choices. I challenge you to discover that it may be the very reason for any weight concern in the first place since deprivation almost always leads to caving for something not so optimal at some point.
Perhaps “bread is the staff of life” does hold more meaning than we thought. Break those notions down and break some bread with a friend or loved one today. Your taste buds and body will thank you for it!