That’s right. It’s not bread. I’m talking about those loaves you buy in the supermarket for $2 a pop. I hate to be the messenger of bad news. You see, each week when I sit in front of new clients, I get the same feedback – ‘bread seems to make me bloated and give me wind.’ Sure, some of these clients have genuine issues with gluten and wheat, but many…. could simply benefit from addressing quality rather than giving it away entirely.
You see, I really do think, when it comes to bread, that ‘quality and cost’ are correlated. Let’s just compare the ingredients in a cheap loaf courtesy of **** supermarket (left) against the stuff in an organic rye loaf I pulled out of my freezer (right):
|$2 LOAF||ORGANIC RYE|
|Wheat flour, water, Hi-maize®, oat fibre, yeast, vinegar, canola oil, iodised salt, wheat gluten, acacia gum, cultured wheat flour, soy flour, vegetable emulsifiers (471, 481, 472e), fortified vitamins||Organic rye flour and certified organic sourdough, kibbled rye, kibbled corn, linseed, lentils, sesame seed, sunflower seed, poppy seed, filtered water, olive oil, sea salt.|
(Note: I originally photographed the panels but it was too difficult to read them).
Without even getting technical, note that the ingredients on the right are all recognizable. I mean, its actual food. Basically a collection of seeds, different types of traditional flours, quality oils (olive) and some sea salt.
There are a couple of questionable ingredients on the left when compared to the rye loaf. Soy for example is a common allergen for people and can present a problem in itself. But it’s cheap so its added. Plus, what is the registered ingredient hi-maize? The manufacturing and ingredients in that compound are not disclosed…. somewhat convenient. Numbers and letters can also be an issue for some people particularly kids – some additives and preservatives have been linked to serious behavioral and social issues. I mean, the way I see it, this ‘bread’ isn’t really ‘bread….’
Let’s go beyond the ingredients themselves and consider the manufacturing process. To assist me with my research, I interviewed the local baker Brad at ‘Stone Artisan Bakers’ Stones Corner. These guys churn out quality bread products, made the traditional way, specialising in sourdough loaves.
Brad said that it takes 48 hours to rise each loaf of bread they produce allowing a natural fermentation process to take place. Only natural leavens (yeasts) are used and no chemicals are added at any stage. See exhibit A above – chemicals, emulsifiers, cheap fats and commercial yeasts are added. You simply can’t dispute this, you can see them on the ingredient list!
Allegations against major supermarkets in recent years indicate that their bread may not even be baked on the premises. The process may begin overseas, following by freezing partially cooked loaves and then selling them as ‘fresh’ products in store. For more information, check out this investigative news article here.
The lengthy fermentation process of properly made bread ensures the product is full of good cultures and bacteria. These assist with blood sugar stabilisation unlike ‘cheap bread’ which is usually high GI and low in fibre, wreaking havoc with blood sugar levels and leaving you hungry again within a couple of hours.
Whilst Brad’s bakery doesn’t produce any true gluten free products as yet, many with a sensitive stomach will handle artisan bread due to the superior quality and treatment of the ingredients. Spelt flour in particular can be a good option for some to try who may be left bloated, gassy and generally unhappy after consuming other types of bread.
Now let’s look at cost. I realise there is appeal in a $2 loaf for a large family feeding many mouths. Yes, a quality bread product will cost between $5 and $9 loaf. But we should also consider what we are actually paying for. If food is nutrients then the value of a $2 loaf is dismal to put it politely. Quality nutrients are not found in chemicals. Perhaps also, we need to consider the use of bread in the diet. It must always be accompanied by some quality protein, vegetables or salad and healthy fats to constitute a proper, nutritious meal. Even a sandwich can tick these boxes – throw some chicken breast, a whole heap of colourful salad some avocado between 2 slices and you have a nutritious meal. Or, throw a piece of quality sourdough on a plate with a couple of eggs, some mushroom and spinach cooked off in olive oil and you’ve got a rocking breakfast. Using ‘cheap bread’ as a ‘filler’ or ‘focus’ for 2 or 3 meals per day is going to lead to long term nutrient deficiencies, simple carbohydrate overload and probably a fair bit of gas and bloating to go with it. Yes, I am prepared to pay $6 or $7 for a good loaf because when prepared in this way and rotated with lots of other nutritious meals and grain sources, it lasts us (2 people) up to 2 weeks in the freezer. If a family is rotating through many loaves a week then maybe it’s time to bring in some different flavours, textures and meal options? With young kids, the younger you can introduce variety to the diet, the easier it will be in the long run… food for thought.
So, long story short. If you are suffering the bloats and the pffts (out the rear end) and you suspect bread is a culprit then consider selecting an option made traditionally and check the ingredients are actually recognizable. If it’s featuring in the diet several times per day, then it’s time to increase your repertoire of healthy meal options. Try different grain options too – spelt, rye, millet and even quinoa bread is now a ‘thing.’ Many bakeries, markets and delis will have these options available. If it still doesn’t sit right then maybe opt for a traditionally made gluten free option. And remember, consider value for money and not just the cost.
Need help? Overwhelmed by this information? Already tried this and still looking 6 months pregnant by noon each day? Book your consultation here or give me a call 07 3398 1977.
Many thanks to Brad at ‘Stone Artisan Breads’ for his assistance with this article. Get on down and get some sourdough on your plate. 500 Logan Road, Stones Corner 6am-6pm and 271 Grey Street, South Bank 7am – 7pm. Read about them here and plan your next brunch catch up at Brad’s bakery.