Healthy Bread Choices
There are so many choices when it comes to which bread is healthiest, it's not easy figuring out what you should eat. If you're like me, especially if you're just starting out trying to eat healthier, you want it real simple, so I've compiled this list.
- Read about why Whole grains are best and how you know if it's really whole grain bread.
- Organic loaves are a better choice than non-organic, to avoid the pesticides, trans fats, HFCS, and chemical preservatives, but finding a soft loaf isn't easy. It's not impossible though!
- If you're not buying organic, at least get a loaf with no trans fats or high fructose corn syrup.
- Soaked/fermented/sourdough breads are a healthier choice, if you can find them, because the anti-nutrients in it are broken down, and they're made in a more traditional way – read more at that link. Here's a recipe for the healthiest bread in the world: sourdough bread! If you're buying sourdough from the store, check to make sure there is no yeast in the ingredients, that's how you know it's a true, naturally fermented sourdough bread that is actually GOOD for you.
- Bread from a local bakery is best, if you can. Until recently we buy Little Rooster bread – it's 100% whole wheat, local, organic, and fermented…not to mention that my whole family liked it! We also sometimes eat their multi-grain bread which is even lighter.
- Making your own bread is not only more nutritious (organic, whole grain, soaked grains, and you can't get much more local than your own kitchen!), but it's also more economical (less than $1/loaf, probably much less, but I've never figured it out to the penny). Now that I've got a great recipe that everyone loves, this is a good option for us. Before, it usually came out hard and I would end up just throwing it out, so it didn't matter that it was less expensive! If you can grind your own grains into flour to make your own bread, even better. If you don't want to use the soaked bread recipe above, then you could grind your own sprouted grains instead and use any recipe. Don't worry if you're not at the point to do all that though, take it one thing at a time.
Some would say the best choice is no bread at all:
- Anna, a frequent (and appreciated!) commenter, eats very little grains (or none?) – read an interesting discussion she and I had about this in the comments at my low carb post.
- Those who live by the Paleo Diet eat no grains.
- There are many who lost a lot of weight eating low carbs and don't want to go back, like my sister in law, Eva.
Here's my opinion, and it's only my opinion, based on the collective reading and research I've done through the years:
- I believe that some grains in our diets are OK, but not a lot, because too many carbs really aren't good for us. I strongly believe they are one of the main causes of obesity, the rise in diabetes, and the many health issues plaguing us these days; and possibly part of the reason for the many new cases of cancer that we all hear about too often. (Just my theory…)
- When I say “some” grains, this is only if they're properly prepared (sprouted, soaked, fermented, sourdough, etc. – see links above)
- And even better if you're getting a variety of grains, so we're not so heavy on the wheat flour in our diets.
- A post Anna led me to on grains and gluten has a very interesting discussion on all this, especially in the comments.
Let's be clear
I still eat too many grains, they're not all properly prepared, and I don't use as many alternative grains as I should, either. But the more knowledge I have, the better I do all the time. I don't eat nearly the amount of bread, pasta, (or sweets for that matter) that I used to.But I still have far to go!
Do you make your own bread? If not, what bread do you buy for your family?
- Have you read about all the many benefits of getting more coconut oil into your diet?
- Read more Rookie Tips
- GAPS Diet info and resources
Hidaya Khalid says
I have seen your writing on wheat flour ,making of bread etc,it is very good & wonderful. Pls i need the advantages of using wheat flour in bread.
Su, I’ve had that same Kashi rice blend and love it – if you replicate it, please let us know!
I am looking forward to making bread this fall. I’ve made manna bread in the past and would like to start sprouting wheat berries again too.We have a wood burning stove and I’m wondering if I could make some kind of box to put it in to heat without using the oven, as the recipe I used takes a long time to bake at low heat.
I typically shop at the local stores around here, but happened to go into Meijer the other day and noticed this neat little ethnic foods section that had German and Polish food in the mix. I picked up this pretty expensive bread, but super neat! It’s German, Mestemacher brand. It’s a Sunflower seed bread that has no wheat in it. It’s made with rye, and has no additives. It’s pretty dense bread. I just had to get it!
I also had some of this Kashi today that comes in a little vacuum sealed package. Some friends left it over when we had a dinner party a few weeks ago. Man that stuff is good! It’s kind of a jaw workout, lol, but good for the teeth I bet! It’s a 7 whole grain pilaf, has whole oats, long grain brown rice, rye, hard red winter wheat, triticale, buckwheat, barley and sesame seeds, all whole grains.
I’d love to replicate this – put together a mix of this nature and have it available in a jar or something in the kitchen as to soak a cup or two overnight. I bet it’d be a lot cheaper that way too.
Kelly the Kitchen Kop says
Hey, I think I just started following you on Twitter!
No, the sourdough breads don’t have the anti-nutrients (if they’re a true sourdough), and yes, you can make a whole wheat sourdough! Although I haven’t experimented with any sourdoughs yet. I’m sure there’s lots of good stuff all over the internet on that…I’ll get to it one of these days.
Thanks for visiting!
i did not know that about anti-nutrients in sourdough, thanks for the heads up. can you get sourdough whole wheat/grain? i’ve never seen it. i love sourdough but when i switched to “brown” bread many years ago, we hardly ever get it. i prefer to get bakery bread bec. it has less weird stuff in it, but it’s hard to make it to the bakery every week with two young tots. can’t wait to check out more of your posts! good info and details here.
Food With Kid Appeal
Kelly the Kitchen Kop says
I just Googled for a while and never did get a clear answer on what mono- or diglycerides actually ARE. All I got was that they are a type of food additive used as an emulsifier. I know they’re not in organic loaves, so that’s another reason to buy organic, then you know exactly what you’re getting!
Another reason to really look at the labels of store-bought bread is the L-Cysteine; an excitotoxin that destroys brain cells, similar to MSG. It’s now in a LOT of breads. I just found this one-paragraph blurb:
Whenever I find sourdough bread on the “day old” bread rack at our local grocery store (Kroger) I buy it and stick it in the freezer for those times that I’m out of homemade bread or for dh. It’s not organic, nor soaked/sprouted, but at a $1.50 and a very, very short ingredient list without any weird stuff it’s a lot better than the other breads out there. That’s where I am with my babysteps but I should get Ezekiel Bread for that instead (but dh wouldn’t eat that, I’m afraid).
I went on a sourdough baking frenzie the week before Thanksgiving so I would have plenty in the freezer and to take with me to the in-laws. This is all new to me so I’m not at the point of sprouting/soaking yet. I’ll be honest, it still intimidates me 🙂 but hopefully I’ll get there soon. The sourdough is a good middle ground for me right now (and it uses the bread machine!)
BTW, in your research about bread have you found a good definition for mono-, diglycerides? I once thought that they were trans fats but now I don’t think so. It’s another baddie, right?
Gee, that was long-winded!
(who usually purposefully doesn’t serve bread with dinner but somehow it ends up on the table with multiple pieces per person!)
Actually Beth, L-Cysteine is an amino acid – humans NEED it…I don’t know where you heard its like MSG…that’s not true. L-Cysteine is something the body needs. 🙂