I had to Google “defence or defense”. Defense is American English, so now I know.
By way of introduction,firstly, I quote a friend: “It is amazing how mentally, you feel so much better when you eat well!!” (Amen to that)
Secondly, I read a great article on the inherent problems of comfort eating (ie- we eat foods that taste good for a minute but actually make us feel more uncomfortable over time- follow this link to read article) In the article, she lists a few common comfort foods- “coffee/bread/potatoes/cheese/chocolate”. Let’s assume by potatoes she means the fried varieties (I don’t know many people who comfort eat on jacket spuds or boiled potatoes) and recognise that this list is by no means complete. When I read it, I thought “Why does bread get such a raw deal in some corners of the world of nutrition?”
On reflection it is probably because “bread” as a comfort food is synonymous with “bread products”- generally white, and often sugary: Garlic bread, pizzas, bagels, croissants (coffee anyone?), cinnamon rolls, Naan breads (with creamy curries) buttery brioche rolls with hot chocolate, and a long etcetera. As “comforting” on our palates and mood as these bread products are in the short term – they can easily become the mainstay of our snack/”comfort” repertoire, and the reality is, they clog up your intestine with gluten (glue-ten), pile on excess pounds, contribute to unstable blood sugar levels (which also inhibits weight loss), and generally make you feel heavy and tired after eating them. Not so comforting.
There are wholesome breads- 100% wholegrain, preferably home-made, or perhaps sourdough or sprouted grain varieties, which have a ton of health benefits, and have a more wholesome , earthy flavour. While it may take you a while to re-train your palate if you never eat these breads, I absolutely believe your palate can learn to appreciate, yea, even love new flavours. It’s a universal law, not found in science books, but nevertheless a law, and I wrote a post on it here.
Here are some pointers for making bread a healthsome part of your diet, offered in my humble opinion (it is my blog, after all!)
- There is no need to “go gluten free” just for the sake of it. However, plenty of people do find that some inexplicable unpleasant symptoms disappear when they cut wheat out, so it is something you could try if you are at the end of your tether with problems and you wish to try it out.
- Some people respond adversely to yeast, in which case, you may wish to opt for crackers like Ryvita. I would not wish yeast-free breads on my worst enemy, or indeed soda breads.
- In short- with reference to the previous two- TUNE INTO YOUR BODY and note how different foods make you feel.
- Eat your breads WHOLEGRAIN. I cannot stress this enough. If you are trying to eat close to the earth, then use flours that have been made by simply crushing the grain, period. These grains are packed full of fibre, vitamins, minerals, protein, and amazing plant chemicals (phytochemicals) that strengthen your system in dozens of different ways.
- If you have time to make your own, you give yourself an extra gift, of knowing exactly what goes into your food, and feeling all chirrupy and domesticated to boot.
- Lastly- for me this is my rule of “balance” that I usually follow- Eat your bread with plenty of raw plants. Suggestion below:
Chop up nigh-on every raw veggie you can lay your hands on: tomatoes, cucumber, celery, red onion, pepper, lettuce, olives, sprouts, grated carrot, chopped sugarsnaps- you get the idea. Aim for a minimum of 5-6 colours.
Mash a medium sized ripe avocado, with some salt, and mix through your salad until all the veggies are covered.
Stuff into a wholemeal pitta pocket (with hummous if you want some extra plant-protein)
Serve with a freshly squeezed juice, or beautiful water.
Now that is comforting!!
And invigorating, energising, awakening, strengthening, and -God willing- habit-forming. 🙂
Now go forth and love yourselves!