It’s not so much how I feel about eating flour, it’s how my body feels after eating flour products. Is flour the problem? Are whole grains a better option?
I was speaking with a couple of friends lately, and each of them was lamenting eating more flour than they usually had during this time. They both felt like it was just “too much.” These unsolicited comments made me think, “Is there something going on here?” And I realized that with my new gluten-free sourdough starter on hand, perhaps I was doing the same thing, having made a gluten-free teff bread and after that waffles. I also made cookies for my husband (I only ate one of 15 so I feel OK about that). It’s not so much how I feel about eating flour, it’s how my body feels after eating flour products: bread, pancakes, waffles, etc. My brain is lighting up but my body seems to go slack, feel heavy and slow. Does this happen to you?
I knew that there is, and was, a reason that I gave up eating bread many years ago. When it seemed like no amount of bread, even the organic, stone-ground type, was ever too much, I deemed it a toxic to-my-body food. It was like the gateway drug to eating other not-so-good-for-me foods. I eliminated bread for the most part and really haven’t looked back.
I love toast so I do eat bread occasionally. I might eat 3 loaves of gluten-free bread in a year. I cut them up into 13 to 15 slices and store them in the freezer for special occasions. I guess that quarantine feels like a special occasion, but my body assures me that it’s not.
However, it seems like homemade bread with my great sourdough must be better for me, right? Or am I once again deluding myself? I think that it’s the latter.
So…back to that once in a while toast that I enjoy; how often is once in a while? As soon as I baked my gluten-free sourdough teff bread from this recipe, I ate 3 delicious slices. And now you can see how quickly I can go down the virtual “rabbit hole” of what to eat, maybe justifying how sourdough makes flour more digestible.
It turns out that in studies, researchers have found it to be true. Look at how sourdough might increase nutrients in this scientific report and how sourdough bread is more digestible in this study.
“My gut says, OK..it’s better for me — but is it is the best that I can do? When I eat whole grains, I don’t have the same reaction, as in, “Wow, wouldn’t another piece of toast taste so great?” Part of the reason is that no cooked whole grain can ever be toast or an equivalent. Whole grains seems to fill me up in a very different way, not stimulating some kind of yummy “hidden taste buds” even when the whole grains are so delicious.
I recently did my first Zoom cooking class and the topic was whole grains. I made savory oats with mushrooms and a lemony quinoa pilaf. Both quite tasty, but not something that I would think about eating too much of. Is it only me or do you sometimes experience this, too?
So, when it comes to flour products, for me, they are a once in a while thing. Now don’t think that I am deprived…I eat corn tortillas a time or two a week. But mostly I eat whole grains out of my special bowl. Doesn’t everything taste better in a special bowl? It does to me…
Whether it be quinoa, millet, buckwheat, red, black or brown rice, whole oat groats or even sorghum, I am likely to be drawn to eating more of those foods. I just feel better. I will keep the bread and waffles locked up in the freezer until I really want to eat them, savoring them slowly, eating a reasonable amount. And in these times, who is to say what that is? Just more food for thought.
A brief follow up: I am lying on the floor, doing yoga, supposed to be thinking about something in my body, maybe my right quadricep muscle, and up pops a thought about polenta. What? Why? And I realize that polenta is one of the more whole-ish grains that I eat. Then my mind wanders to oat groats, rice, and so on. And it’s then that I have the realization about why whole grains are so much more fulfilling and satisfying than flour products: they have moisture, must have moisture to be eaten. And while flour gets moistened for the baking process, it also gets dried out during baking and cooking. So beyond the fiber, it is the moist nature of whole grains that satisfies. Here I share my recipe for Herbed Polenta. It is amazing topped with cooked white beans and greens or ratatouille or other cooked veggies, especially summer squash. Enjoy your whole grains.