The lowdown on bread

Bread has been around for over 30,000 years and is one of the oldest ‘mixed and prepared’ foods. Far from being unhealthy, in its purest form, bread contributes essential elements to our diet, including fibre, B vitamins and trace minerals as well as that unfashionable energy-giving macronutrient, carbohydrate. It provides manganese, copper, magnesium, folate and a raft of B vitamins. Sourdough bread goes a huge step further by providing the gut with beneficial bacteria, helping it function more healthily and in turn improving brain function (gut-brain connection).

So why do so many people think bread is bad?

For one thing, because most supermarket-type bread *is* bad! And for another, because the media and the wave of fanatical ‘clean eating’ advice tells us it’s responsible for allergies, bloating and weight gain.

Back to supermarket, mass produced, bread then. In the 1960s a process was invented to make mass production of cheap bread a doddle. It’s called the Chorleywood Process and involves an array of additives alien to a normal human diet, poor-grade flour and intense mixing processes. If you want added fat, emulsifier, preservative and bleach in your bread you’ve hit it lucky; this is what is widely available.

The Chorleywood Process effectively cuts out natural dough maturing. It produces light but pappy bread that lasts for days (thanks to its ghastly added preservatives), your regular white sliced loaf. Not just white sliced, it’s also responsible for the majority of supermarket bakery loaves and packaged healthy-looking brown bread.

Why does it matter?

Bread is a staple. Unless you shun carbs it’s likely you eat bread most days, year-in-year-out. If it’s mass-produced ‘Chorleywood’ bread then you’re eating a huge amount of additives and giving your gut immense grief. The gut doesn’t like it, it’s an anti-nutrient, inflammation-causing, unnatural substance. When the gut is inflamed we feel bloated, our nutrient absorption is compromised, we get brain fog and feel lethargic. When people say they’re wheat intolerant it’s often more that they’re ‘Chorleywood bread’ intolerant.

What bread should we eat?

Bread should be no more than flour, water, yeast and salt. Four natural components of bread and how it was for thousands of years before the 1960s, apart from a period in Victorian times where terrible things were added to the bread that poor people ate, including plaster of Paris, Alum and chalk!

Where can I buy good bread?

Google “Real bread *your county*” e.g. “Real bread Cambridgeshire” to see where you can buy it locally. Thankfully it’s becoming much more widely available. Farmer’s markets are also a good bet, and the bread freezes well. Or go to your local bakery and ask them what the ingredients are before you buy. You can always make your own sourdough using our recipe.

Eat and enjoy happy bread!

“How can a nation be called great if its bread tastes like Kleenex?”
Julia Childs

 

Eat great bread and other gorgeous real food every day with our eatnaturally meal plans.

 

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