gluten free breadWelcome to What’s In It Wednesday – Part 5! I do hope you’ve been enjoying our little journey through processed food. My goal for you is to help you become well equipped to walk through the grocery store and confidently purchase food that nourishes you and your family well. Today’s featured food? Finish this sentence, “Best invention since……..” Yep, you guessed it, today we are looking at bread. Specifically 100% Whole Grain Bread by Country Harvest.

Ingredients: Whole Grain Stone Ground Whole Wheat Flour including the germ, water, whole grain ground flaxseeds, wheat gluten, sugar/glucose-fructose, yeast, raisin concentrate, vinegar, salt, vegetable oil (soybean and/or canola), diacetyl tartaric acid esters of mono and diglycerides, calcium propionate, sodium staroyl-2-lactylate, vegetable monoglycerides, sorbic acid.

Sugar/Glucose-Fructose: The 5th ingredient and in the form of glucose-fructose. The term “glucose-fructose” is the common name used on Canadian food ingredient lists for high fructose corn syrup. Glucose-fructose is highly processed and derived from genetically modified or GMO corn.

Soybean oil: The danger is that these oils are highly prone to oxidation and can be damaged easily by heat and light. The oil is often branded as ‘vegetable oil’ and has been refined, “cleaned” with chemicals and heated at a high temperature during processing and sometimes hydrogenated. It is important to note that unless otherwise states, soybean and canola, will be derived from GMO sources. 

Diacetyl tartaric acid esters of mono (DATEM): a dough conditioner used to improve volume and uniformity. It is considered safe by the FDA, but a study in 2002 involving rats, showed heart muscle fibrosis and adrenal overgrowth.

Calcium propionate: protects baked goods from mold and bacterial growth. It has been accused of triggering migraines. And, let’s be honest here, seeing mold on your bread is actually a really good thing. Please don’t eat it, but applaud the fact that the bread was made with real food ingredients! 

Sodium staroyl-2-lactylate (SSL): a food additive used to strengthen dough, mix liquids and oils together and can even replace some fat and sugar. If you are vegetarian, take note. SSL can be sourced from both animal and vegetable sources.

Sorbic acid:preservative found in dairy and baked goods. Used to prevent growth of molds, yeast and other bacteria. Sorbates have been linked to irritable bowel symptoms, asthma, eczema and behaviour issues in children.

So, what is one to do? Does this mean bread should be banned from our diets? Let’s not get too drastic here! I enjoy a good sandwich just as much as you do from time to time. It does mean though that I am very selective with the type of bread I purchase. I am a busy mom and baking bread just doesn’t fit into my schedule on a regular basis. I think the last time I baked bread was in March and here we are in September! The solution that I have found is to purchase my bread from a trusted bakery. I order my bread every few weeks and tuck it away in the freezer until we are ready for it. Also, as a family, we aim to keep our wheat consumption to a minimum. By reducing the amount of bread, pasta, muffins and the like, we save room for whole foods like vegetables, fruit and healthy fats & protein sources. When we do have grains I like to switch it up  a bit – barley, spelt, oat or rye. One of my son’s has difficulty digesting gluten so I have a Gluten Free Flour Blend that works like magic in baking for him. When I purchase bread for him, I like to go to Sugar Babies Bakery in Elmira. Dawn works wonders with gluten free baking! If you pop in, tell her I said hi! The photo in this post is a loaf of her famous bread!

If you are feeling slightly adventurous, try my Easy Peasy Spelt Bread recipe. It is super quick and you don’t even have to wait for it to rise before baking. The last time I made it was with 5 kids – the kitchen got a little messy but we sure had lots of fun!