Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Surprising Food That Has A Regular Place In My Healthy Diet

Prior to the GAPS Diet, my family did not eat any refined grains, such as white flour and white rice.  Instead, we ate whole grains, prepared by soaking or sprouting to reduce anti-nutrients (such as phytic acid, which can prevent mineral absorption). While transitioning off the GAPS Diet, I was interested to find that whole grains actually caused me to have digestive problems, and they caused a recurrence of my joint pain (which was the main reason I started the GAPS Diet in the first place). Surprisingly, refined grains such as white rice did not cause me to have any of those problems.

Now I've been off the GAPS Diet for about 18 months. After GAPS, I initially avoided eating wheat because ingesting gluten caused me to have headaches and restless legs. But through my constitutional homeopathic treatment, I've now reached the point where I no longer react to gluten.

So now I regularly eat sourdough bread made with white flour, and I consider it a healthy part of my diet. I still have digestive issues if I try to eat whole wheat bread, or even sprouted whole wheat bread, but white sourdough bread gives me no issues whatsoever.

Those of you who have been following my blog for awhile may recall that, after suffering from adrenal crash while on GAPS, I learned that I need to make sure to eat enough carbohydrates to keep my energy levels stable. Sourdough white bread is a healthy, delicious, and easy way for me to get enough carbs.

Is Sourdough White Bread Truly Healthy?

The bread I eat is a true sourdough bread. This means that it is naturally fermented, and there is no yeast added to make the bread rise. True sourdough white bread actually has a more beneficial affect on blood sugar than (non-sourdough) whole grain bread. According to an article in Wise Traditions,

Using white, whole wheat, whole wheat with barley and sourdough white breads, researchers at the University of Guelph examined how subjects responded after eating bread for breakfast and again after lunch. The ten male subjects, who were overweight and ranged between fifty and sixty years old, showed the most positive body responses after eating sourdough white bread. With the sourdough, the subjects’ blood sugar levels were lower for a similar rise in blood insulin, and this positive effect remained during the second meal and lasted hours after. Surprisingly, the worst results were seen after consumption of whole wheat and whole wheat with barley bread, which caused blood sugar levels to spike, with high levels lasting until well after lunch. According to Professor Terry Graham, head researcher on the project, the fermentation of the sourdough “changes the nature of starches in the bread, creating a more beneficial bread.”  

Additionally, there are some in the traditional foods movement who actually don't advocate eating whole grains. For instance, Rami Nagel, author of Cure Tooth Decay, has found that in traditional cultures, much of the bran and germ was actually discarded after the whole grains were ground into flour. While it is true that the bran contains many nutrients, it also contains anti-nutrients such as phytic acid. Sprouting and soaking of whole grains can reduce the amount of anti-nutrients, but those processes often do not completely eliminate the anti-nutrients. (There is lots more wonderful information about this topic in the article Whole Grains Can Cause Tooth Decay.)

I know that, for me, sprouting and soaking are not enough to make whole wheat easily digestible (nor for my 3-year-old son, who is very gassy if he consumes sprouted wheat bread). To my surprise, we both just do better eating sourdough white bread rather than sprouted whole grain bread. For many months, my son and I have both eaten sourdough white bread several times each week, with no issues.  We are fortunate enough to have a local bakery that makes true sourdough bread.

(At this point, my daughter and husband still do best by eating very little grains of any kind, and especially avoiding modern gluten-containing grains.  There is one startling grain that they can both consume, which I will talk about in a future post.)

Are there any surprising foods in your healthy diet? Have you tried true sourdough breads?


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23 comments :

julz said...

you are such a great hope!!!!!!! LOL I just called all the bakeries around me and found a real sourdough bread! I am so copying you. I do have a question for you. I never really went on gaps after reading so many things about it draining people and I was still nursing. I do have eczema on the palm of my hands. Based on my research, people said eating carbohydrate free diet and completely sugar free diet with 1 fruit per day (berries) is a must forever.... i think its called atkins diet...I am wondering if you ever cam across this, dealing with eczema? Thanks...I also noticed dairy makes is worse for me, we drink raw, grassfed dairy.
ANOTHER questions, I am sorry, do you take lots of probiotics still? Is that suggested even if you are not on gaps diet? Or do you think just eating a fermented pickle a day replaces the probiotics?

Lisa said...

What is the name of the bakery? Although I am three hours from Las Cruces, we do go there occasionally and have family there. Maybe I could stock up and put the loaves in my freezer. This sounds like a good alternative for my husband who eats bread every day. Thanks!

Jacqui said...

Nice to hear about this Sarah. We eat white rice everyday. It's very easy to digest. I've also noticed that fibrous foods give me loose poo, coconut flour would have to be the worst. We use the veggie peeler a lot these days and I've also stayed away from wheat for a LONG time so may just get some white flour and try making sourdough :)

Sarah Smith said...

Hi Julz,
My family did not find relief from eczema, even on the GAPS Diet. We didn't see any real, lasting improvements in eczema until we started constitutional homeopathic treatment. Through that treatment, my son is now completely free of eczema (which developed when he was only a few months old and persisted no matter what we did diet-wise).

We do not take any probiotics anymore, but instead get plenty through fermented drinks (kefir and kombucha) and fermented veggies.

Sarah Smith said...

Hi Lisa,
The bakery is called Popular Bakery. It is on Main Street, and they are also a pizzeria using sourdough for their pizza crust (woohoo!!). This same bread is sold at the Mountain View Market co-op; just make sure to buy the one labeled "sourdough" or sometimes they just write "SD" on the label.

When I buy a loaf, I cut it into lots of slices, then wrap up the slices 2-per-pack and freeze them. That way we don't have to try to rush to eat it all. It freezes well, and we usually toast it when we pull some out from the freezer.

Biome Onboard Awareness. LLC said...

Hello. Elaine, author of the Breaking the Vicious Cycle, did say that real sourdough, may be able to be tolerated once symptom fee for 1 year for SCD followers. I thought it was a 24hr ferment that she cited. Just curious, do you know what length of time Popular Bakery ferments its sourdough?

Cindy said...

I was so happy to read this post today Sarah! I just adore sourdough bread and feel if I eat just a little it is a good addition to my diet - like you, I have an adrenal crash very quickly if I go too low-carb. I also find white basmati rice a great asset in the kitchen, and when I stopped all starches on GAPS, I was surprised that rice is what I missed the most...sorry, but a Thai curry or stirfry just isn't the same with quinoa or other substitute!
It's a long road for those of us with chronic health issues, and I had to accept that for me personally, full GAPS diet is way too much to accomplish physically at this point. So I am finding my way slowly, and rather than overwhelm me and make me feel like I should be doing more, your posts always encourage and feel like a little warm pat on the back! Thanks again for your support Sarah, you're my favourite real food blogger :)

planethomeschool.net said...

Hey how would you recommend making the bread? Just following the Nourishing Traditions recipe but substituting white flour for whole wheat? Thanks!

Sarah Smith said...

Awww, thanks Cindy! I'm glad I can lessen some of the pressure. Real foodies can be so dogmatic sometimes (I used to be back when I first started eating real foods in 2005), and I'm enjoying finding healthy compromises these days. It's all about balance!

Sarah Smith said...

Although I cannot find the reference on their website anymore, I looked back when we first started eating the Popular bread and the ferment time was at least 24 hours. That was one of the things that impressed me so much.

Sarah Smith said...

I think that would be a good place to start. If you decide to include any whole wheat in the recipe, make sure you do use rye in the starter. Rye has a very high amount of phytase (which is the enzyme needed to break down phytic acid). Otherwise, if you're going to use all white flour, it probably doesn't matter much what you use in the starter.

If you try it, please let me know how it turns out! I haven't gotten up the motivation to try making my own sourdough yet, since we have such a wonderful local source. I did (many years ago) use the NT recipe to make a whole-grain spelt sourdough loaf, but it didn't seem worth all the time and effort (but of course, in those days, I was still eating plenty of store-bought bread, and no one in the family was very excited about the spelt sourdough).

Sarah Smith said...

Oops, the actual address is 136 S Water Street, but it is in the downtoan mall area where Main Street splits off into Water going south and Main going north.

julz said...

What is the homeopathic treatment you are doing? If you don't mind sharing, or can I read about it anywhere? My eczema is really bad...Currently my hands are bleeding ): I don't even know what to eliminate anymore, I thought it was the diet... You are a great help Sarah, you have no idea. I LOVE BREAD! Now I can actually try it as I haven't been able to because I thought the white bread is BAD! and wheat too...
How much of fermented stuff would you eat or drink, can you tell me? If you could give me an example of a daily good amount of fermented things for you would be great as I have no idea what is normal and what is too little

Anonymous said...

Nancy Silverton's Breads from the La Brea Bakery book explains how to make your own sour dough bread using starter you make from organic grapes. I did this for about a year until it got too much for me. Remember "friendship cakes" that you had to feed for days and give starter away? This is similar. I found that the whole recipe was way too much not to mention, expensive so I halved it. It was like having a baby in the house as it needs fed 3 times a day. It takes two to three days from start to finish per loaf as I recall. It was good and I used it for pancakes as well. The neighbors also loved me making all the bread cause they got loaves and pancakes all the time.
b Smith

Anonymous said...

Sarah, I still have the cookbook if interested.

Sarah Smith said...

I remember that it was good when you were making sourdough. Thanks for the offer on the cookbook, but I do not need another "baby" in the house right now :)

Anonymous said...

Hello,

Can you tell me if and when you make your breads that you use almond flour, if the almond flour is prepared - where by you soak then, grind and make into bread or do you, soak dehydrate and then grind into flour? Thanks, Cathy

Sarah Smith said...

Hi Cathy,
Whenever I use almond flour, I always:
-soak the whole raw nuts 12-24 hours in salty water
-drain the nuts then dehydrate until crispy (usually takes 24 hours in my dehydrator)
-once the crispy nuts are COMPLETELY cool, they can be ground into flour. I grind a large amount at a time and just store it in my freezer.

Sarah said...

thought provoking. I hate to be contrary as I love your logic. My experience however has been the opposite, I made a wild yeast bread that took about a week of fermenting, I used only white flour. I so hoped it would digest better than other wheat breads but I was severely bloated the first time I made it. I can tolerate the Ezekiel 4:29 bread well and the Genesis bread both whole grain and sported etc. I am confused by this as I was thinking that like you the white flour would digest better and especially after the week long fermentation process. I used a recipe from The Village Baker , Pain De Campagne. I also tried a wild yeast bread beginning with apples, it took 10 days, yummy but same bloated results. All white flour.
On a side not I have had difficulty switching to the NT diet as it seems the more I do it the less I can digest the whole grains, more vegetables etc. I have little to no issues with processed foods or fast foods though I eat them rarely now and I wondered when I read your post if there isn't something in the acquiring the ability to digest more complex things that must be approached slowly. So perhaps white flour is easier to digest but later you would be able to do whole grains. If so I wonder what it is that is changing to adjust to make this happen? Digestive enzymes or bile production? Curious if my thoughts make sense to you and if you have any comments. Love to hear your ideas.

Sarah Smith said...

Hi Sarah,
Your experience just goes to show that there is no one diet that will work for everyone. I have become convinced through my experiences that even for a specific person, the diet will need to changed over time. What works at one time, may not at another!

I'm not sure of the answer to your question about whole grains. I had no problems when I switched to an NT diet, and that worked well for a few years... then I started having joint pain, and was helped by giving up grains... then GAPS stopped working well for us (adrenal crash!!)... and now I'm eating white sourdough bread! I'm keeping my eyes open for the next time my body decides it is time for another change.

julz said...

Thanks so much. I haven't been doing much of ferment at all. I am going to try that first to see if that does anything and if not I will be thinking about contacting the man. Thank you so much you really are amazing.

Anna Drozdova said...

Great post! I make my own and it is so easy and so yummy and so rewarding and I believe that sourdough is very beneficial I actually love it so much that started using everywhere in order to make dishes using flour more digestible and even wrote an ebook about and finishing the second one. I have recipes like sourdough pitta bread, sourdough flat breads, sourdough Jamaican patties, sourdough quiche crust, sourdough pizza, sourdough croissants, sourdough crackers, sourdough pancakes and so many more. Sourdough starter is so versatile. I just love it :)

Anonymous said...

I'm so happy I stumbled across this blog while looking for cupcake recipes for my son's birthday on pinterest! I'm following the regular GAPS diet while nursing my 18 month-old daughter. She is on Intro GAPS and has been over 6 weeks with only tolerating broths and boiled meats. Everything else has failed so far. I have gone from nearly weaning her to nursing her what seems like constantly. I'm eating all the time to keep my energy levels up and it's annoying/exhausting, especially when I'm trying to cook for her, me, my son (with different allergies) and my poor husband who is lucky enough to eat anything! :) So I've been thinking of trying to introduce a type of bread like sourdough or sprouted breads. Anna, what is the name of your e-book and where can I find it? I'm looking for something as easy as possible (i.e. no feeding multiple times a day, etc!) Have any of you other GAP-sters introduced sprouted breads? I get the Ezekiel one for my son and it is so tempting just to eat a slice... just worried how this affects the diet. Thanks in advance for any help!