basket-of-bread

Have you ever done this?

The last stop in the grocery store is the bakery. I load up on sprouted and whole grain breads for the week’s sandwiches, and once in a while, I’ll head over to the freshly-baked section. I love to pick out a warm baguette or some other loaf, fresh out of the oven, for a great addition to the evening meal. I by-pass the “slicer”. If the check-out is relatively quick, the bread is still warm once I’ve loaded the groceries and started the car. Here’s where it gets good. I strategically place the grocery bag with the fresh, warm bread within arms reach, and as I drive home, I rip off pieces and devour them. Yup, I really do. It’s heavenly. It’s indulgent. My husband hates that I do this, because of the crumbs.

Do you know this experience? There is nothing quite like it. It feels decadent, sinister even. It feels so incredibly wrong. But once in a while it is wonderful, isn’t it? Quite possibly the best part about this entire experience is the research behind bread and weight loss. You are going to love this….

16 moderately overweight men were asked to add 12 slices of bread to their daily diet. Half ate high-fibre bread, at 50 calories per slice, and the other half ate white bread, at 70 calories per slice. The participants did not change their physical activity and they did not have to eliminate other foods from their diet. Guess what happened? The men eating the extra 12 slices per day of white bread lost on average 14 lbs over the eight week study period. The men eating the whole grain bread lost, on average, 19 lbs. As well, within the first few days of adding the bread to their diet, blood cholesterol levels dropped by an average of 60-80 mg/dL. Also, no surprise, those eating the whole grain bread experienced larger and more frequent bowel movements.

What does this mean? Most people try to avoid bread when they are trying to lose weight! Many mothers even try to monitor the amount of bread their children eat. More than 20% of women feel down right guilty when they eat bread. But, bread, as shown in the above study, is not the cause of weight gain. Further, whole grain breads provide beautiful sources of fibre, B vitamins, magnesium and iron.

Bread fills us up. It keeps us full longer and provides us with fuel for our body and brain. With more bread, we want less of the “less desirable” foods, simply because it satiates us. And we love it, don’t we?! So there you go. Bread just doesn’t cause weight gain. If you find you gain weight when you eat more bread, take a look at what you are putting on it. Are you slathering it with margarine? Peanut butter? Dunking it in oil and balsamic? It’s the fats we put on our bread that we need to pay attention to. Not the bread itself. So go ahead, treat yourself to some warm bread in the car…..

P.S. It was Dr. John McDougall who brought the above study to my attention. If you would like to take a look at the original study, click here.

for a gorgeous and simple Oat Spelt Loaf, try this:

Ingredients:

1-3/4 cups of spelt flour

1 cup oat flour

1- 2/3 cups all purpose flour

1- 2/3 cups lukewarm water

1 teaspoon dry yeast

1 teaspoon molasses or maple syrup

2 teaspoons salt

1 large handful of rolled oats for dusting the top

1. Mix the flours in a large bowl, add the yeast, maple syrup, salt and water and mix until combined.

2. Mix well using a wooden spoon. Dough will be sticky! If it seems dry, add 1 tablespoon water.

3. Place dough in a bowl and cover with a damp tea towel for 8-12 hours.

4. Dust working surface with flour, place risen dough onto it. work the dough and fold it into three. Roll it back into a ball and place in on top of a baking tray lined with parchment paper for 1-2 hours, covered with a tea towel.

5. Preheat oven to 430 degrees F. Place an empty metal bowl or skillet on the bottom tray to heat up.

6. When the dough has risen for the second time, sprinkle the top with oats and slide the tray in the oven. Fill the hot skillet with cold water to create steam. After 10 minutes, turn the heat down to 390 F. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown.