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For the Love of Bread! My thoughts on the sourdough trend.

Delicious bread! In my opinion, there is nothing better than a nice piece of bread or sandwich with a bowl of soup on a cold day. But, not everyone feels good on bread

With may diets claiming to be the “best”, it’s hard to know what is best for you and your body. Bread has been shamed in the health industry over the last few years, and it’s difficult to know if bread is a healthy food. So, is it? Can I go buy myself a loaf now?

My thoughts? It depends.

If you are new here or new to my naturopathic philosophy, “it depends” truly is the naturopathic answer for everything. It depends on each individual person, and for each question we need to consider the set of circumstances prior to making a decision. However, in this short post, I hope to enlighten you on my thoughts about bread in the diet.

(my most recent sourdough loaf)

Why bread?

We have all certainly at least heard of the low carb trend. At the root, the low carbohydrate diet is an excellent tool, especially for blood glucose regulation which is needed in diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and PCOS.

Further, I believe that in North America, we as a whole eat far too few vegetables, and many too may carbohydrates. Thus, a blanket statement of a low carb diet, in comparison to a SAD diet (standard American diet) is almost certainly healthier. Reducing risk of diabetes and obesity among many other health issues.

In my practice, I see many people with skin conditions with which gluten containing foods cause inflammation and worsening of symptoms such as acne, eczema, psoriasis. As well, I tend to see a lot of people with reflux, abdominal pain, bloating, who do well avoiding breads and grains.

But, again it depends..

Why not bread?

Cutting anything out of the diet completely must be done carefully and with much consideration. Typically, I am of the mind that diets shouldn’t be limited, at least not forever given you have the right therapeutic plan in place that supports your best health. Grains provide energy for us to think and move. As well, grains do contain important vitamins such the Bs – B1, B3, and B5, although you can get those from other sources. Grains are also a part of a traditional diet for many cultures, and provide connection to our ancestry, our traditions, and our families. Further, grains taste delicious!

Sourdough, and I mean real sourdough – fermented wheat and water (preferably organic) is not just a flavour. It is a process which allows the bacteria and yeast active in the starter to start to eat the grains, producing CO2 and a more easily digestible. Grains many times aren’t the main issue, and it’s the processing that is involved that changes the nutrient bioavailability. For example, few people have a rice sensitivity, and it is one of the most widely consumed grains in the world. Further, I find those eating whole grains like oats, wheatberries and rice tend to have fewer GI issues and these whole foods have lower glycemic index compared to a processed bread, bun, or crackers. When buying bread products, I tend to look for options which only have flour, water, (yeast), and salt as ingredients.

So, my final thoughts: if you are going to have bread, you should probably made it yourself. You should probably have a true sourdough with organic flour. Have it on occasion, not every day. Choose more nutrient dense flours and opt to ferment them when possible. If you have a particular skin, pain, or gut related issue, I’d recommend taking a break from these things and give your body some good nutrients and botanicals to heal – (don’t worry, I can help support you through that process). That way, you will be able to enjoy the bread products you love in moderation.

In good health and happy munching,

Dr. Larissa


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