There are many reasons why I love my friend Monique and the following are a few of them…..
1. She got pissed at Michael Pollan for deeming “gluten free” a fad in this NYT’s article so she wrote an letter (read below) about it….. It is true, the “Omnivore’s Dilemma” author should know better.
I was dismayed to read Michael Pollan’s flippant reply to a question about gluten-free diets, especially in light of his thoughtful comments on brown rice versus white. It’s true, bread has been a staple of civilization, humans have been eating it for centuries with no problems. But in the last several decades, farmers have phased out wheat varieties, including strains with lower gluten content, replacing them with a high-gluten homogenous crop. And wheat gluten is no longer found just in bread, but in all sorts of manufactured foods. Perhaps if we were still eating breads made from artisanal grains and limiting our ingestion of gluten from other sources, gluten sensitivities would not be so rampant.
2. She went gluten free about a decade ago after reading a book she bought during her bachelorette party. True story…. We were in Jackson Hole for her bachelorette and stopped by a random health food store for water and some ear candles (because, at the time, I was obsessed with candleing everyones ears) and she picked up a book about how food affects your body. After reading the thing and taking the quiz, she decided she was gluten intolerant and went off the stuff right then and there.
I mean, read some of what the post had to say:
1. Bag bread is one of the worst things you can put in your (or your childrens’) digestive system. It’s been made fast and with refined flour – read below for clarification…
2. Genuine sourdough bread is the best “normal” bread option. It takes longer to make (see more below) and has fewer additives to worry about. Usually made with flour, water and salt. Less is more.
3. Sprouted bread, although I don’t eat it, is theortically the best. The grain used to make the bread is sprouted, making it more digestible and less likely to form glue in your intestine, which brings me to…
4. Bread made with refined white flour has had the fibre stripped out of it. Modern wheat has also been carefully bred to be high in gluten forming protein. To cut a long story short, gluten has been implicated in damaging the wall of your intestine, causing malabsorption. It also gets stuck and forms blockages in your intestine.
5. Bread that has been fermented (proven, risen, let rest) for a long time (i.e. sourdough) is easier to digest, as fermentation essentially pre-digests the bread for you. Back to point 1, bag bread is made so fast that there’s almost no pre-digestion.
6. Wheat has been bred to give us strong, glutinous bread, but our bodies haven’t adapted so fast. Spelt and Kamut are ancient grains that are more naturally suited to our digestive system. Rye is naturally low in gluten.
7. Perhaps most interestingly, the enzymes that digest starch (flour) are mostly found in your saliva. So chew your food! Once is reaches your stomach, the enzymes don’t work so well.
8. Adding to point 7, protein inhibits the starch-digesting enzymes. Protein thrives in an acidic environment. Guess what’s in your stomach? And guess what nuts are high in? So next time you eat a peanut butter sandwich, consider that digestion of the bread pretty much stops at your mouth.
9. And finally… whole wheat bag bread is not automatically better for you, as it has missed out on fermentation. The “whole” part of whole wheat is the bran and germ, which are two components of the grain which are filtered out to make white flour. The bran is the husk of the grain. It protects the grain from sprouting and releasing its nutrients until the right conditions prevail. The right conditions are moisture for about 48hrs, which you’ll see if you’ve ever made alfalfa sprouts or even planted a seed in your garden. Most breads skip this waiting time so you’re a) missing out on the nutrients that the grain has to offer and b) eating indigestible pieces of starch. A long ferementation (sourdough, sprouted bread) lets you access nutrients and digestion.
If you know a good sourdough bakery near you, ask how long they ferment or prove their dough for. If it takes less than a day to make a loaf, find another bakery.
So, in summary:
Chew your bread
Choose genuine, slow fermented sourdough
or make your own!
LINNER: Nacho’s.. Yes, I did a liver cleanse and then ate Nacho’s.
BREAKFAST: Fage with Strawberry
LUNCH: Feast at Delicatessan with Lexo
DINNER: Potatoes Gratin and Braised Short-Ribs
BREAKFAST: Fage with Strawberry
LUNCH: Left-over Indian
DINNER: Chicken Sausage and Kale Salad
BRUNCH: Yes, I had Salt and Vinegar Chips and Doritoes as my breakfast slash lunch. This is what happens when I get stressed.. I lose my appetite and only random food combos will make me happy when I can eat…
DINNER: Some fried calamari at The Smith with Cholula and Lala and I picked at my salad. Again, stress either makes me eat junk or I can’t eat.