Bread. So much to say about bread…I’ll start by saying I think it’s one of the hardest things of which to find a “clean” version. I will also say the best option is definitely to make your own! And it probably really can be very easy to make once you’ve done it a few times, but I find the prospect daunting! I think a lot of other people do too.
Bread has also become taboo in many ways. Some people cut it out entirely. It’s definitely gotten a bad reputation when it comes to getting fit. It’s kind of funny, because I remember the days of the high-carbohydrate craze when bread would be a staple! You also hear a lot more about gluten and wheat sensitivities and allergies lately, as well as Celiac Disease. I think all of this has led people to question the health value of bread…but it sure is good, isn’t it?
One of the things I like best about clean eating is that you don’t have to eliminate any food group. You just have to cut out the crap. And Beachbody, the 21 Day Fix in particular, has taught me to be mindful of portion sizes and the importance of eating a variety of foods. Even carbohydrates! As long as they’re from good sources. I’ve also learned to keep certain things in mind when eating; for example, when you eat bread eat it with a healthy fat and/or protein to slow the absorption and to level out the effect on your blood sugar.
I also know a lot of people swear cutting out bread and other carbs is all that works for them when it comes to losing weight! I do try to get my carbs from other sources- mostly quinoa, oats, and sweet potatoes. But I do like to have a sandwich now and again, or a piece of toast with my eggs.
If I had to pick one thing to say about bread it would be this: Do not eat white bread. And I didn’t think I had to say this, but the fact that several really smart people didn’t know this makes me think that I do: white bread is made from wheat. White bread is just made from wheat that has been very processed and stripped of its healthier fiber and stuff. So, if you’re in doubt about it- whole wheat bread is healthier than white bread for sure. Maybe it’s not the healthiest but if you’re in the store and you’re deciding between white and whole wheat go with whole wheat. Not all whole wheat breads are so healthy, but they are better than white!!
I have been buying whole wheat bread for as long as I’ve been buying bread. I thought I was buying the healthier ones, too. I always made sure it was 100% whole wheat, stone ground, whatever. But even those have a lot of added ingredients- some of which I’m unsure of, and some of which I know are bad. When I am going to buy packaged bread for any reason, I make sure the first ingredient is 100% whole wheat, that there is no high fructose corn syrup, and the fewer ingredients the better.
In my search for good breads, I have come across some healthier options out there. So until I start making my own bread (????) I plan on using these…
The first healthier option is bread that is fresh from a bakery, or almost fresh from a bakery. You should still stick with whole wheat flour. I found this one at my regular supermarket in the deli section. It has just three ingredients! The down side is it doesn’t stay fresh very long, though it will last a bit longer in the refrigerator. It’s delicious toasted and makes an amazing grilled cheese!
The second healthier option is good because it has fewer ingredients than most breads, and most of them are familiar. It also lasts longer and is softer, more like the packaged bread we’re used to- especially for my children. The only questionable ingredient is soy lecithin. You’ll come across different information on soy lecithin, and while I think it’s best to avoid it when you can I don’t think it’s the worst thing in the world. And it is in almost everything it seems like! From what I’ve read (and remember at this point!) I think it’s more gross than dangerous. It comes from the sludge that’s left over after processing soy…ew. So, gross? Yes. Carcinogenic? I don’t think so. If you can get a product that’s GMO free, that would be better. At least the soy lecithin in that would be by-product sludge from GMO free soy crops, and soy is one of the worst GMO crops in our country. Still gross, less unsettling.
The third option is sprouted grain bread. (Again my interpretation here is based on what I remember from all that I’ve read about these things; I have done no research immediately prior to writing this post! If you want more exact info on these things, google them or go to Food Babe. I admire her and her work to reveal what’s really in our food!) Sprouted grain breads come from wheat berries that have been dehydrated and then soaked and left to sprout. (Or is it sprouted and then dehydrated?) Those sprouts are then used to make the bread. So your body processes it more like a vegetable than a grain. These kinds of bread are healthier (more nutrient rich) and easier to digest. I like them, too. I don’t eat bread often, but when I do I choose sprouted grain bread. I keep it in the refrigerator and it lasts a good few weeks. My kids like it toasted, too, when they don’t see me take it out of the bag 🙂
There are probably better ways to get your complex carbohydrates, but bread can be a good source of whole grains. I think sprouted bread is the way to go if you’re looking for the healthiest bread out there. Or maybe homemade sprouted grain bread would really be the best…when I first read about sprouted grain breads I worked myself into a frenzy and found myself pricing dehydrators on Amazon! Luckily I backed away from the edge and did not one-click buy it. Maybe I should clean the kitchen and pay the bills before I start sprouting my own wheat berries…But one day maybe.