Thursday, April 11, 2013

Put Wheat On Your Watch List

Chewy, berry-sweet homemade bread

As a teenager my favorite bike ride was to Chicago’s Rainbow beach 10 miles from my home.  I would top-off my day at the beach with a gyros and pita sandwich from the Greek fast food restaurant on the beach. The savory flavor of Mediterranean pita bread has never left my memory.

Bread is a Big Part of Living Life

My love of bread has run the gamut from proudly serving homemade parker rolls for every holiday; munching on French croissants while riding the “L” to work on hectic mornings; inhaling the heavenly smell wafting from the Butternut industrial bakery while driving down the Dan Ryan expressway; and, feeling dismay about the flavorless cardboard-like bread my dad had to eat as a remedy for his heart disease.
Nowadays, I even occasionally make my own bread in a bread maker I got for a Christmas gift several years ago. It was a lovely gift from a relative that I have had my “Ups and Downs” with since childhood.

Ethnic Bread Lover

I’m lucky to live in Chicago, there is an enormous variety of home style breads to accompany all the ethnic food available here: All types of Tortillas, bagels, Italian rolls, cornbread and many more types.
I can’t wait to go to an Ethiopian restaurant to try the bread that so many travel writers rave about. Ethiopian bread, called “injera” isn’t made with wheat, it’s made with teff.  The grain has been used to make flatbread since ancient times.

Rethinking the Bread I Eat

There are times when a perfect storm of data makes you re-think all that you have known about a particular subject: A paradigm shift occurs.
Over the past few weeks I’ve have begun to rethink my consumption of wheat bread and other products beyond “stone-ground” and “whole wheat”.

Here’s what happened to make me start wondering if the wheat products I eat are as healthy as I think:
  • I noticed that ALL of the pasta brands I use NO LONGER have traditional durum wheat flavor. Some even taste artificially sweetened. The Italian pasta brand I love is no longer available in stores and online.
  • I  have become irritated at the excessive number of TV commercials touting digestion aides and I wonder why there is such a big market for indigestion medications.
  • Sales of coconut flour are growing for those who cannot tolerate wheat gluten.  More about coconut flour here: Coconut flour review
  • I’ve begun discarding one of the buns on fast food hamburgers because there just seems to be too much bread.
  • Lastly, National Geographic reported in their April 2013 issue that wheat products are being bulked-up with extra, maybe excessive, gluten for reasons essentially UNRELATED to nutritional needs. There’s no link available online.
  •  But the Wheat Foods Council wrote a letter to National Geographic strongly disagreeing with the article.  Here is that link: Wheat Food Council Letter to National Geographic

This blog is about finding our way to new resources for cuisine, fitness and beauty needs. Why? What worked in the past may not be working anymore for many of us.

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