All Health's Breaking Loose:

There's nothing like a good loaf of bread. It comforts us, smells wonderful and most of us have been eating it all our lives. As a staple, we still have it several times a day. We've been told we should eat whole wheat bread and for some of us that's where the criteria begins and ends. But there's a lot more to selecting a good quality loaf of bread. The most important thing—take your glasses with you to the market. You'll have to get past the pretty picture of the old flourmill or sun kissed golden grain on the plastic wrapper and read the label.

Back in the '50s, scientists figured out how to completely strip all the nutrients out of a grain of wheat, leaving a lighter, more finely ground flour that subsequently could rise higher. It was fluffy and soft. They gave it names like “Wonder” and moms were thrilled — it seemed softer and better! But what was left behind was pretty much useless to man or animal. With the germ and bran gone, only the endosperm was left, which has the least nutritional value. But we liked it so much we got on board with words like “enriched,” thinking it had been made “better” as the word suggests. But in reality they were putting back only a very small part of what had been taken away in the first place. So the first rule is; if it says enriched or unbleached enriched wheat flour, it should be skipped all together. Stone ground can also represent basic wheat flour unless it says whole wheat on the back label. And “made with whole grains” does NOT mean it contains whole grain unless it says so on the back label. Yep, you're gonna need your glasses.

As you're reading the ingredients list, remember, it's the ones at the beginning of the list that are used in the largest quantity. So, if items like whole wheat are near the bottom of the list, there's not going to be very much whole grain included. Watch for the sugar content and how high up it is on the list, hopefully it's not in the top five. Breads that contain oats are going to require more sweetening (ever tasted plain processed oatmeal—eew) and raise the calorie content. But at all costs, avoid high fructose corn syrup. It's the big kahuna of junk foods and your body was not designed to store this type of garbage.

Unless the bread has the certified organic symbol on the label, you have no way of knowing how much real grain, (grain NOT genetically modified) was used. If you missed my last column titled “Altered state,” e-mail me and I'll send it along. If it's not organic, it's not good enough for your body. Avoid calcium sulfate, and calcium propionate; it is a mold inhibitor that causes irritability, sleep loss and allergic reactions. Look for organic, whole grain bread with understandable ingredients and at least 3 grams of fiber per serving. Whole grains are loaded with fiber, which lowers your risk for diabetes, heart disease and digestive and breast cancers. Complex grains are also great for lowering your cholesterol. They're loaded with trace elements such as zinc, magnesium, selenium, copper and iron as well as B vitamins and vitamin E.

It takes just a little knowledge to choose a really wonderful loaf of bread. You don't have to be a scientist you just have to take your glasses.

I'll see you in two weeks.

Love & health, Loa


LOA BLASUCCI has a Wellness Bootcamp beginning Feb. 19. Contact her at heyloa@gmail.com.

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