My grandpa always held a slice of bread in his left hand while his right hand held his fork. A meal was not a meal to my grandpa unless it included my grandma’s homemade bread. He often used his bread to sop up gravy. Or he would slather his bread with Grandma’s homemade jelly or applesauce. If there was no bread – well, there just always had to be bread.
Let’s pause now to give three cheers to my grandma who had nine children, the tiniest kitchen I’ve ever seen, and never failed to provide homemade bread at every meal. She was a rock star. Grandma made bread like a boss. (They’re compliments, Grandma. Really.)
I also grew up with bread served at every meal, likely the result of having a dad who had lived with a dad who always needed to hold a piece of bread in his left hand – we’ve already been through this. Thus, I began our married life always including a side dish of bread with our meals, which Matt held in his right hand – if you can possibly imagine (because yes, my husband is a lefty).
Now, of course, there are all the experts who suggest we eat “low-carb” and others who insist we all need to go “grain-free” and someday soon like tomorrow there will be a new diet claim that suggests that if we all avoid eating (fill in the blank) we will all be healthier, skinnier, and have a perfect complexion. I am not interested in a one-size-fits-all diet, fad, or bandwagon because I believe in eating real food, in balance, in its whole form, according to an individual’s needs, for the sake of nourishment and good health, all the time. It’s not a diet. It’s a lifestyle.
We interrupt this post for some important disclaimers before I share my overall thoughts on eating bread:
- Some truly need to avoid all grains. If that’s you, then do it.
- Not all grains agree with everyone. This is a real thing.
- My grandpa probably needed more carbs (and food in general) because he was a farmer, doing hard physical labor for many hours every day. Most of us don’t work that hard on a daily basis anymore.
Now these thoughts:
I do not believe that bread is evil.
However, many of us eat more bread (and cookies and cakes and muffins and donuts) than we should. To say nothing of the empty (negative) calories we consume in white flour products which do very little to nourish us – I would suggest that many of us even eat more whole grain products than our bodies actually need. Especially if we compare it to the amount of other nutrient-rich food we are consuming – like fruits and vegetables.
Oh, you knew I would bring up the fruits and veggies. The good ol’ F&Vs. May as well shorten it to save time since we talk about it so much around here and simply call them freggies, don’t you think?
Bread (and pasta and rice) can really fill us up, leaving little room in our appetites for other necessary foods that our bodies crave. (Like freggies. There. I’ve used it twice, so that makes it a real word.) Sometimes we even load our families with grainy foods in an effort to save money as they appear to be an inexpensive, filling food choice. I totally get it. I feed five hungry men 3 meals plus snacks every day, and they definitely like grain based foods. These foods have their purpose and they are filling. But…
As you think about the food you plan to put on your table, consider the variety of nutrients in the meal. A spread of spaghetti, corn, and bread offers little compared to a meal of spaghetti, salad, green beans, and cantaloupe. See the colorful and nutrition-packed difference? If we’re already serving rice, pasta, or potatoes at a meal, we probably don’t need bread, rolls, or bread sticks too. But an extra side or three of veggies along with a delicious bowl of fruit – well now our bodies are happy.
Fruits and vegetables are the most important part of our meals and snacks. The other parts are important too – we just need to make sure we aren’t going overboard with the bready stuff and neglecting other important food groups.
So less bread, more freggies. What do you say?
No seriously. What do you say? What are your thoughts on eating bread? And also – what do you think of the word freggies? I am so going to start saying that now.