Is bread a healthy food?
Updated: Mar 19, 2021
Full disclosure: when I say bread, I am generalizing. We must remember that all breads are not created equal.
If there is one food that everyone enjoys, I guess it must be bread!
Bread is a food as old as the domestication of wild grasses by early humans. We can safely call it an evolutionary, existential food, because it's been such a reliable source of nourishment: it made little food into ample meals; and so it does today. Just think: what would a sandwich be without bread?
In many cultures, bread has been an integral part of a healthy diet for millennia. Only in the last 100 years has bread lost its status as a general healthy food.
I often blame the boomer generation for a lot of the health and enviornmenal issues that we face today and unfortunately, I pin the demise of bread as a healthy food on them as well. I remember my grandparents’ bread made with whole grain flour. On the other hand, I don’t remember my parents ever eating anything other than white bread.
To answer the title question-
No, bread is not a healthy food. Bread is not healthy IF made with flour milled from grain that was grown using chemical technology, or in other words, most breads made with non-organic flour.
Unfortunately, even bread made only with organic white flour is unhealthy.
White flour was developed to make pastries, desserts and treats. It only contains part of the grain, the sweeter part, the part that everyone loves; and this part wrecks havoc with our metabolic function.
It turns bread into a simple carbohydrate that not only lacks nutritional density, but is a very poor source of energy. In other words, bread made with white flour is the kind of food that we should eat if we want to feel lethargic, suffer from highs and lows, and pack pounds onto our bodies.
But then again...
Yes, bread is a health food. This bread is not elaborate or even made with more then flour, water and salt. I would argue that it is not only a health food but a super food. Yes that is right, but only if it's made with whole grain organic flour from a trusted source.
And ideally from a heritage variety of grain that hasn’t been hybridized for yield at the cost of nutritional density.
This bread is leavened naturally to boost our gut biome.
I am talking about a complex carbohydrate that is one of the most versatile foods ever created by humanity
To illustrate, I’m going to share an easy, go-to lunch recipe for a food that most people would hardly consider healthy food: Seasonal Pizza to feed three adults.
I call it seasonal because the ingredients (costing @ $7) are seasonal in February.
500g whole red fife sourdough
200 ml organic tomato paste
1 slice double apple smoked bacon chopped finely
1 small onion sliced in meridians
1 piece of a butternut squash sliced thinly, about 1/16" (three or four slices per serving)
1 small carrot julienned
a handful of your favorite cheeses ( here I used Camembert and young Reblochon )
a good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Coat your pan with a good layer of extra virgin olive oil.
Roll out the dough.
Generously spread the paste.
Arrange the toppings as you like. I like to arrange them equally per serving as you can see on the image below.
Top with the cheeses of your choice and bake at 350f for 20 minutes.