With all the concerns about wheat these days, many people are turning to gluten-free bread. Gluten is one of the proteins in wheat. It helps make bread dough elastic, and gives bread a light soft texture, instead of the heavy, chewier texture of whole grain breads.
What is it about bread that is so hard to give up? Toasted, snuggling up to sandwich ingredients, or slathered with butter, bread is a comfort food for many of us.
Modern commercial wheat has been genetically modified, laced with pesticides and stripped of nutrients. Even people who are not allergic to gluten, or to wheat, are turning to other flour choices for bread and crackers.
It is also possible to have sensitivity to other grains, or to grains in general. If eating grains in the form of bread, pasta, or crackers causes bloating, gas, constipation, indigestion, or changes in your stool, consider that your body may not do well on grains. Buckwheat, wild rice, and quinoa are not grains, and are good substitutes. One cup of quinoa contains 222 calories, 39 grams carb, 8 grams protein and 3 grams fat. It also has some vitamins and minerals, making it a healthy food. But the carb content means you should limit serving size. It is a better choice than rice for carbs and protein. http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/cereal-grains-and-pasta/10352/2
In order to mimic the light soft texture of standard American bread, manufacturers have turned to ingredients like tapioca starch and potato starch. Tapioca is a root and was often used to make a pudding in the past. It is the high starch content of gluten-free breads which can sabotage blood sugar and cause weight gain. Starch is metabolized like sugar, so can spike and drop blood sugar just like cake. Udi’s Gluten-free Bread has tapioca and potato starch as the first ingredients. For 140 calories (2 slices) you get 22 grams of carbohydrate. My personal favorite is Food for Life Gluten-free Bread. The first ingredient is rice flour, and it has safflower oil instead of canola oil. Two slices are 110 calories.
There are other healthy choices, especially if you bake at home. Gluten-free flours from Bob’s Red Mill or Pamela’s, coconut flour and nut flours have less starch and higher protein generally. They will not mimic soft white bread, but they can be used for cookies, baked goods and crackers. Here is an easy recipe to try. http://theprettybee.com/2013/10/easy-gluten-free-cracker-recipe.html
If you are trying to lose weight, the best thing is to break the bread habit completely, and that can take some time. It really calls for some creative solutions to drop out the sandwich and toast habit. Bread and flour products are very filling, so your body may try to tell you that you are hungry, even if you have had plenty of calories. Add some more healthy fat to your diet, and that will help satisfy your appetite. You can also eat veggies in bulk, maybe with some healthy dip, like guacamole or hummus. Sliced jicama, celery, and cucumber can be used as dippers or carriers for things normally eaten with bread, such as tuna salad or nut butters.
How to know how much bread, pasta and starchy carbs you can eat? If you can eat starches without gaining inches or weight, your activity level and metabolism can handle the starch. If you are at all over-weight, you are eating beyond your body’s metabolic needs. Even if you are eating “whole grain” wheat and bread, you may be getting too much starch that turns to sugar. Ezekiel bread is still too high in carb content for many, if not most. Our activity levels just do not support high grain diets these days. The nutrition benefits are not balanced by any weight-gain that signifies a sugar metabolism problem.
If you are concerned about your gluten tolerance, come in for a blood spot test that will identify your true food sensitivities. You may be surprised by the foods that your body can’t tolerate that you may not have suspected.
For a detox or blood sugar program that helps break the bread/starch habit, come see us or call the office. 818-562-1400.
It has been said that man does not live by bread alone, and you can prove it to yourself by breaking the bread habit.