Wheat is the largest staple in the world and is consumed by millions of people across the globe. In today’s world we are faced with the dilemma that the bread we eat is drastically different from the bread our ancestors ate. Bread is supposed to be a simple food with only three ingredients, but most of the store-bought bread found on the shelves today has up to 37.
Bread was first discovered in Egypt around 6,000 years ago, and it wasn’t until the Middle Ages that it was introduced to Europe. However, most of the wheat we eat today is different from these original variations, as the modern American strains of wheat now have much higher gluten contents necessary to make fluffy, white bread, pizza, and bagels. Sadly, this hyped up version of gluten has infected nearly all wheat strains in America. (i).
The Missing Step
Modern bread is missing a key step in how original bread was made: the fermentation process.
Bread dough was originally left out to ferment naturally by catching bacteria from the air, resulting in the dough to gradually rising over the course of two to six hours. Today this is no longer the case. The fermentation process has been skipped completely from the process, as scientists have isolated the yeast to make bread rise quickly.
Skipping this crucial fermentation process leaves us with bread that is hard to digest. Without the enzymes from the fermentation process, it is very difficult for the body to digest the gluten found in bread.
It’s really no surprise that in today’s world of store-bought, processed bread, many people are experiencing allergic reactions.
The Wonder Bread Way
Refined all-purpose white flour is another dilemma with today’s wheat supply. Whole-kernel grains conceal a variety of vitamins, phytonutrients, minerals, and fiber. But when they are pulverized into flour, even wholegrain flour, all that is left is a nutrient void powder that can cause weight gain, disease, and inflammation in the body. With the introduction of all-purpose white flour, a host of health problems have surfaced in the western world.
Okay folks, so if after reading this you still choose to eat wheat bread, then I encourage you to follow my bread buying guide below to find the healthiest option.
Wholegrain Bread Buying Guide:
- Your best bet for bread is to find a local, artisan bakery in town. Better yet if you can find a place that still uses the fermentation process.
- If you are buying bread in the supermarket, make sure to avoid products with “ENRICHED” on the label. The first ingredient should be whole wheat flour. Do not buy products that say “MULTIGRAIN” as this is not a desirable quality. It might sound nice, but all it means is that the bread is not 100% whole wheat and is mixed with other refined grains.
- Don’t let the color fool you. Just because bread is brown doesn’t make it whole grain as manufactures sometime add molasses or other coloring to darken the bread.
- Make sure each serving has at least two to three grams of fiber.
- Spelt, rye and Ezekiel sprouted grain bread are healthy alternatives, so look for them.
(i) Gluten: What You Don’t Know Might Kill You – Dr. Mark Hyman. (2011). Retrieved March 1, 2016, from http://drhyman.com/blog/2011/03/17/gluten-what-you-dont-know-might-kill-you/