Thursday, March 27, 2014

Clean Eating Bread and Pasta Choices

Bread and Pasta

Breads and Pastas are one of those comfort foods that we all love and want.   But who really, has the time to make them from scratch?    In the old days, bread would go stale within a day or two of baking, and start to grow mold in 3 to 4.   Try baking bread at home and see how long it lasts…
But today, you can buy a bread that will stay soft and fresh for two weeks and even more.   Why is that?  Because the food industry has found ways to make your bread and pasta last longer by adding certain compounds.   They have also become pretty  savvy in labeling foods in such a way that make us “think” we are making great choices.  In this post, I will share with you what to look for on food labels as well as offer better options that will keep you and your family healthy and feeling great.
Bad news first:


Part of the miracle of stay soft forever bread is an additive called azodicarbonamide. Europe and Australia ban the use of azodicarbonamide because it is a “respiratory sensitizer” that can cause asthmatic and other allergic reaction. In Singapore, the use of azodicarbonamide in food products can lead to a lengthy jail sentence.
This hard-to-pronounce chemical has been linked to asthma and is banned in Singapore, Australia, the UK, and most European countries. If American food producers exercised a little more patience and just waited one week for wheat to whiten naturally on its own instead of adding this to fast-track flour’s bleaching process, we’d have no worries. A bleaching agent used in packaged, processed foods like frozen dinners, pasta and flour mixes in baked goods, this toxic chemical has been linked to cancer risk and asthma.
Pumpkin Masque
DIY Pumpkin Masque

Potassium Bromate (Enriched Flour)

An additive used to increase volume in some white flour, breads, and rolls.  Potassium bromate is known to cause cancer in animals. Even small amounts in bread can create problems for humans.

Potassium Bromate is linked to kidney and nervous system disorders and gastrointestinal discomfort.   It’s no more than an enormous sugar cube. It will shoot your blood sugar to the roof and take it back down just as quickly and steeply as it turned it up. Along for the ride is insulin (sugar’s chaperone), needed to take sugar into your cells so it can be used for energy. This roller coaster of blood sugar has been shown to increase your risk of heart attack, stroke, fatty liver, obesity and diabetes. It’s also a real beauty buster, proven to speed up the formation of wrinkles and cause your skin to look dull and lifeless. White bread is created using enriched or bleached wheat flours. These flours have had their protein and important B vitamins stripped to create a product that is sweeter and more palatable for the average consumer.


Choosing the best bread can be confusing.   Here are three BREAD MYTHS and then the TRUTHS to help clear things up for you:

Bread Myth No. 1: If it looks brown and has the word “wheat” in the name, it has lots of fiber and whole grain.
The Truth: The first ingredient listed on the ingredient label tells the story. If it’s “wheat flour” or “enriched bleached flour” (or similar), that tells you white flour was mostly used, not “whole-wheat flour.”
Bread Myth No. 2: Breads with healthy sounding names like “seven-grain” or “100% natural” are the best choices. (you’ll see this at Subway)
The Truth: Just because the name of the bread on the package sounds super-healthy, it doesn’t mean the bread actually is. Oroweat’s seven-grain and 12-grain breads, for example, list “unbleached enriched flour” as their first ingredient. Nature’s Pride 100% Natural Honey Wheat bread, likewise, is mainly made with “wheat flour,” not whole wheat.
Bread Myth: Rye bread is a 100% whole-grain, high-fiber choice.
The Truth: The first ingredient listed on the label of most brand brands of rye bread, from Russian Rye or Jewish Rye to Dark Rye or Extra Sour Rye, is none other than unbleached enriched flour. The second ingredient is usually water, and the third, rye flour. That explains why most rye breads have only 1 gram of fiber per slice (one dark rye in my supermarket has less than that). So, rye bread isn’t usually 100% whole grain (although there might be some enlightened brands out there I haven’t seen yet). I wouldn’t call them high in fiber, either.

Now the GOOD!

How to Buy the Best Bread

Best Bread Tip: Go for 100%
Just “whole wheat” doesn’t cut it. Neither does “made with whole grain,” Look for labels that say “100% whole wheat” or “100% whole grain,” and don’t settle for anything less. If it’s 100% whole wheat, the first ingredient listed in the ingredient label will be whole-wheat flour or 100% whole-wheat flour.

You want whole grains because they’re naturally low in fat and cholesterol free; contain 10% to 15% protein, and offer loads of healthy fiber, resistant starch, minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, phytochemicals, and often, phytoesterogrens (plant estrogens). With all those nutrients in one package, it’s no wonder whole grains provide so many health benefits, including protection from heart disease, stroke, diabetes, obesity, and some cancers.
These are some great bread and pasta choices:
This is the Spaghetti brand I personally use:
Hodgson Mill Label: 100% Whole Wheat Four
Hodgson Mill Label:
100% Whole Wheat Four

Ezekiel Bread (GMO-free) – this bread is organic, so free from GMO’s and additives, and the best option at the supermarket. You can find this in most supermarkets in the freezer section. You can also find Ezekiel bread online but it’s only available in bulk, so make sure you like it before you order it!  It can be a bit chewy and rough, but I personally, love the texture and flavor of the real hearty bread.  (This by far is my favorite bread, and they make tortillas, too!)

Ezekiel Bread

 Alvarado Street Bakery breads (GMO-free) – an organic company you can find in several supermarkets and even costco. You can also buy their breads online if they are not available in your area, but you have to order 6 items.
Udi’s bread and bagels – you can find Udi’s in some supermarkets and it’s available online. They carry a large line of gluten-free products.
Rudi’s Organic Bakery (GMO-free) – carries both wheat bread and gluten-free bread.
EarthGrains 12 Grain bread – this bread does not have any preservatives, or chemicals listed above and is available nationwide.
Sara Lee Hearty & Delicious 12 Grain bread – this bread is basically identical to the Earth Grains bread. Almost all Sara Lee breads contain high fructose corn syrup, and other additives, so DO NOT assume all Sara Lee breads are good!
Nature’s Own 100% Whole Wheat Bagels – this was a good option for bagels. It’s high in fiber, and protein, but also high in sodium.

Or try instead: Organic lettuce leaves.  They’re just as convenient for grab-and-go sandwiches and a helluva lot lower-cal than bread.

Lettuce wraps
Another great option is to use Spaghetti Squash as your pasta base.  Its super easy and full of vitamins!

Spaghetti Squash

Squash as a spaghetti you say???  My Italian MOTHER IN LAW  would KILL me!  Seriously, this is an amazing, clean spaghetti squash recipe you can easily make and I promise will love:

Clean Pasta

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