Is there such a thing as a healthy bread? Bakers go out of their way to extol the virtues of their latest attempt at this. But how much truth is there in what they say?
Let’s start at the beginning. Bread comes from wheat. Because wheat is so highly consumed, the seeds have been selectively bred for centuries, to provide the best yields for the farmer. This means they are a far cry from the original, wild wheat grain and are unlikely to be as nutritious.
Wheat is grown as a mono culture in vast swathes of the planet. In itself, this is out of balance with nature, since nothing grows in isolation from other supportive plants.
To grow wheat this way, not only are enormous amounts of pesticides needed, but so too are fertilisers, as the natural ways to allow the land to fertilise itself have long been destroyed.
Pesticides don’t just have a detrimental affect on the targeted so called ‘pests’, but remain in the wheat. Synthetic fertilisers allow the wheat to grow, but at a price. The soil becomes depleted and dead. Everything is out of natural balance.
Once the wheat is harvested, it is stored in enormous silos. To keep mice and other small animals away, highly poisonous chemicals are used. These are so poisonous that the handler must wear extensive protective gear and the chemical contained until released into the wheat.
When required, the wheat is taken to a processing mill, where it is ground into flour. This involves heat, unless stone ground. Heat destroys nutrients. The mill is also where the husk is removed, to make white flour.
When any food is processed, when parts are removed, they become indigestible. The whole food, in this case, the whole grain, is required to provide all the nutrients necessary for its complete and balanced digestion. This is why wholemeal flour is so much healthier for you.
When you eat processed foods, such as white bread, your body has to search for the missing minerals and other nutrients needed to digest it. So these are robbed from other parts of the body. When calcium and other macro minerals are needed, it is robbed from your teeth and bones.
Flour is not the only ingredient in bread. But very few other ingredients are needed in healthy bread – water, yeast and any other ingredient to make it more interesting, such as raisins. What, then are the myriad of other ingredients doing in a typical loaf of bread?
Next time you purchase a loaf, check out the ingredients. I hope you are surprised, and shocked, to see so many ingredients. Take a note of them and then do some research to find out what they are and where they come from.
Making your own bread may not be the answer either as common bread makers are lined with teflon, which has a long history of imparting unhealthy substances to the food.
Does this sound like the ‘staff of life’ to you? Is it really the gluten in wheat that people are allergic to, or is it the endless processing and poisoning of the bread?
The only answer seems to be to cut down on your consumption of bread and wheat products. When you do eat it, make sure that at least it is wholemeal bread and comes from a certified organic source. Spelt bread may be healthier, too.
If you enjoy bread, try eating more of the starchy root vegetables such as yams, potatoes, turnips, swedes instead. Be adventurous and creative. It may take time for your taste buds to change, but you will feel more healthy.
Is there such a thing as healthy bread? Perhaps, if the original whole grain is grown within other supportive plants, if the soil is naturally healthy, if the grain is stone ground (whole and not heated), if the baking is done with loving care and the baking is in a ceramic vessel. Then you may have healthy bread.
But that’s a tall order in today’s world.