Bread is a staple, it is something we’ve been programmed to love, a necessary part of a meal, something that is ALWAYS found on the breakfast, lunch and dinner table or in one’s pantry or on the bench.
But why is this the case? Could life be the same without bread?
People go crazy at the thought of giving up bread. They say that they could never do it and that you are crazy for giving it up, everything in moderation right?!. Why is something like bread so hard for people to stop eating and if someone has such an adverse reaction to quitting it, does this mean it’s addictive??!
The things that I have said this to: bread, pasta, rice, chocolate, dairy, sugar.
I did NOT want to quit these foods.
So agriculture and the consumption of grains has been around a long while, like 10-12,000 years long. Seems like a long time, right? But it is only the last .5% of the history of our species [1. Taubes, G “Why We Get Fat”], the 99.5%, or two and a half million years we have been hunter gatherers, not farmers. In addition to this, carb-rich foods such as corn, potatoes, rice, wheat and beans, have only been available for the past few hundred years!! Can we then presume that these foods are fattening to us (particularly when over-consumed) because we have not evolved to eat them? That they may be considered a staple today when really, the true staples would have been meat, fish and fowl? Not bread and other starchy foods?
But I digress…
When grains were introduced, it really did help economies and people to survive and prosper…so we can’t exactly be upset about that; we may not have developed to where we are today had we not started farming… but, what’s important to note is what has happened to the quality of the bread now consumed and how frequently people are eating this low quality bread. Bread was once a food that often only rich people could afford, whereas now you can get a loaf of white bread for $1-2!
Loaves of bread today are made in a few hours, from low-quality grains that have been chemically grown and treated. The grain most used in Ancient Egyptian times was emmer wheat, a low-gluten wheat known to us as farro, and not the version we grow today which has been genetically modified to become bigger and stronger, producing more grains. Loaves of bread no longer experience a lengthy sprouting and fermentation process which aided digestion and made the loaf last longer. Then of course are the chemicals and preservatives added to modern bread today. Sugar is also unnecessarily added, as well as additional salt.
What has happened to bread?!
I remember as a kid my parents buying bread from the local Italian bakery. This bread did not contain (as much) crap (the flour source may have been questionable). However, it was water, flour, salt, yeast and possibly olive oil. Compare that to the absolute crap found in the supermarkets and served by a variety of shops, cafes and schools today. It is very different. It went stale in a day unlike white bread that can sit on the bench and NOT grow mould and stay perfectly soft for weeks.
Is this what we want our children consuming?
Now, even though the bread we ate as kids was possibly one of the better options, it was still not a nutritionally sound choice, especially given that we did eat white bread. This is when the grain has been stripped of its exterior, the bran and the germ, which are the bits that contain the fibre, fats and vitamins. That said, grains are not high in fat and are between 58-72% carbs so it doesn’t fit the LCHF lifestyle.
I guess you could pose the question that if there is fibre and vitamins that can be obtained from grains, then why not eat them?
There are many reasons.
As mentioned, the growing of crops involves a lot of chemical sprays like round-up that are absorbed by the plants and cannot be washed off so we do ingest them. Then there’s the processing of the flours and addition of loads of nasties; and finally there’s the inflammation and potential gut problems caused when eating these foods on a regular basis.
Yes, fibre is good for digestion but it can be obtained by eating veggies and other seeds like flax and chia so where’s the need for grains in one’s life? AND, if one feels better without, why eat them anymore when you can obtain all your nutritional needs from other sources??
Does cutting out this “food group” really matter?
I would argue no, the Australian Dietary guidelines would argue yes.
One other thing I remember about bread is that I was never satiated eating it. Even when my parents started buying bread that was whole grain, I could still eat and eat and eat it. Breakfast or after school snacks were 4 pieces of toast and I probably could have kept going! There was no off switch when eating bread as it is just not filling. Did you know that the Australian dietary guidelines [2. Australian Dietary guidelines] say to have 4-6 servings of cereals/grains per day for a healthy lifestyle? And did you know that one serving is just one piece of bread? I’m pretty sure that some days, I would have eaten 10 slices of bread!! (But even if I had stuck to my 4 slices, that is essentially my servings for the day done and this doesn’t sound like good nutrition to me?!)
But back to the initial (and happy) reason I’m here today. I want to share with you the glorious joy that is bread (much like my flax bread recipe), or in this case, loaf.
Loaf is a smaller, denser and usually more nutritious version of bread. It can be sweet or savoury and you can pretty much use anything to make it. Because it is its own flavour, it can accompany a meal or be eaten as a meal itself or just a snack with some butter smothered on top…my favourite way to eat it!
This recipe I have taken and slightly adapted from I Quit Sugar, the place where it all began for me. I do feel it’s necessary to adapt the recipes as they are often not low carb and that’s my lifestyle that makes me feel great so I’m stickin’ to it!
ZUCCHINI AND COCONUT LOAF
- 1 zucchini
- 1/2 cup organic virgin coconut oil
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 6 eggs
- 1/2-3/4 cups organic coconut flour
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1 tbsp organic/non gmo stevia
- 1/3 cup walnuts – chopped, plus an extra handful
- 1/3 cup shredded coconut
- Preheat the oven to 180°C
- Grate the zucchini in a bowl and add the wet ingredients. Combine.
- Add all of the dry ingredients except for the shredded coconut. Mix well.
- Pour mix into a bread tin and sprinkle shredded coconut and the extra walnuts on top (but can also be mixed inside).
- Bake for around 40 mins or until a skewer comes out clean.
- Store in the fridge or freezer.
N.B Coconut flour varies in absorbency according to brand. The one I used today (Nutiva) was much more absorbent than the last brand I used (Coconut Secret) so I needed to add additional liquid. I opted for coconut milk (1/2 cup) and a tbsp of olive oil. Both brands are excellent but it is necessary to adapt to the ingredients.
Who knows, this loaf may help you to quit bread and see the glorious feeling that awaits you without it and if not, then this recipe is a fun one to get you in the kitchen baking and then enjoying the food that you create, knowing that it is full of ingredients that are great for you.
Please comment below if you have tried (and loved) this bread or have another version that you love.
Love (and healthy fats) Bianca x