6 Ways to Get Your Fix Without Compromising your Health.
Bread: The devil incarnate. The supreme sin. The forbidden fruit. I almost feel naughty typing the word “bread,” as if my health may start declining just by giving my attention to this scrumptiously discouraging sustenance.
The whole idea of breaking bread is what instilled the tradition of bread eating in our culture. Unfortunately, however, the quality of bread and bread products has declined significantly.
The grains processed for bread these days are not nearly as rich in minerals and nutrients as the breads our ancestors once ate. Our soil is depleted, and chances are we are not even eating bread straight from the soil.
Chances are, we are eating bread that is pre-packaged, stripped of vitamins, and made to feel and taste good in our mouths for the twenty seconds we chew it. Yes, this includes whole grain breads, for those of us who think we’re ahead of the curve.
When I was going through an eating disorder, I would toast a piece of whole grain Ezekiel bread and top it with a dollop of creamy almond butter. I would then put the warm delicious bread in my mouth and chew it… and chew it… and chew it… and then take it out of my mouth and put it in the garbage! Brilliant, I know. Also a sign of serious eating issues. I just couldn’t help my craving. I needed the feeling of bread, but I knew that if I actually ate it, I would feel like crap both physically and emotionally.
Let me break it to you… bread isn’t as bad as we think. If we are eating bread for every meal of the day, then there’s a problem. If we have celiac disease, a rare but serious allergy to gluten, then we may choose to avoid bread entirely. But come on guys, bread is amazing, and you deserve amazingness… in a mindful way.
Here are 6 ways to get your fix of bread, without compromising your health:
6. Be excited about bread
If we stress out about eating bread, the stress itself can contribute to health issues from inflammation to weight gain to anxiety. It’s not worth it. If we eat bread when we are in a happy mood, we are likely to be more relaxed. When we are more relaxed there is less of a chance of over-eating and self-sabotage. When we are relaxed, our digestive system can function optimally.
5. Eat it once per day
Most of America eats a bagel for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch, and pasta for dinner (with bread on the side). That’s definitely not healthy. Pick one piece of bread per day, and look forward to it.
4. Choose organic, sprouted, and/or whole grain
All bread isn’t created equal, that’s for sure. Eating white bread causes spikes in blood sugar and can lead to weight gain as well as other chronic illnesses. Again, a little bit of it may not hurt you, but if it’s something you think you’ll want often, I suggest choosing the healthiest bread possible. Go to a local farmers’ market or check out the frozen section of a health food store. Fresh baked is best. I actually enjoy whole grain breads better because they are more chewy and I actually feel full and nourished after eating just one piece!
Most of the pleasure of bread is in its texture. The experience of chewing sends off all sorts of soothing chemicals to our brains, which can help alleviate depression and soothe the nervous system. Chew your bread. Savor it. Chewing also initiates assimilation so your belly will be ready to digest your dough.
If you’re not into gluten and realize that all the gluten free breads on the market are less healthy than breads with gluten, then experiment with making your own breads. I like using coconut flour and almond meal to make breads. I suggest researching Paleo recipes for unique, easy to make breads. They are usually very rich, chewy, and satisfying, without the “gluten guilt.”
1. Trust yourself
Many people think that they can’t have just one piece of bread. If that’s you, then have two. Fine. But that’s it. If you believe that you become out of control around bread, that will be true for you. Don’t let bread have power over you. Make your own choices. Commit to a certain amount, and then stop. It’s a very rewarding action.
New mantra: “I choose bread; bread doesn’t choose me.”
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Editor: Emily Bartran
Photo: Wikimedia Commons