Friday, February 15, 2013

Bread: something to think about

You’ve heard the buzz about bread.
"It’s bad for you."
"It’s fine to eat. Look at the food pyramid."
"Only eat whole grain."
“The more the bread, the quicker you’re dead.”

Oye! What’s true? I’m not going to make that decision for you, but I will share my “bread testimony.”

I grew up on Wonder Bread and Oscar Meyer b-o-l-o-g-n-a. Remember the cute commercial from 1973? That jingle has stuck with me for . . . a few decades.

Now note the wheat vs. white debate in this vintage commercial. The convincing statistics in this commercial can be explained today, and it’s not pretty news.

But again, I’m not here to convince you either way.

Here’s my story. When I hit 38 years old, I discovered one of the joys of pre-menopause: HOT FLASHES! Anybody who’s experienced these knows it’s like walking into a dry sauna with your winter clothes on. You sweat like a marathoner in 120 degrees for a minute or two and then suddenly the heats gone. If it’s wintertime, you get the chills and have to cover up until the next heat wave hits. Covers on. Covers off. All night. All day. Misery every 30 minutes to an hour.

During that same time, I struggled with weight management. Even though I’d taught aerobics for 12 years and worked out 6-7 days a week, I could only gain pounds. I’d co-taught a nutrition & fitness class years back and thought I had a handle on healthy nutrition. Desperate to change, I sought out a fitness/nutrition coach who changed my life forever.

One of the first things she did was re-organize my eating habits, which were off more than I’d expected. She weaned me off bread products, and four days into this cleansing process, I hit detox. Wow! I thought I was going to die. “Hang in there,” Joy said. “It’ll pass in a day or two.”

She was right. That was February of 2009.

Fast forward to June. Besides feeling more fit than ever, it occurred to me the hot flashes were gone. I contributed it to fluctuations in menopause.

In 2010, my family vacationed in Europe. The Swiss don’t eat the same as I do. They served few veggies and lots of bread. LOTS. Then we traveled to Paris. When in France, you eat French bread. I indulged in giant French crepes lathered in Nutella every day. Vacation right? I still controlled my portions and because we walked everywhere, and I actually lost weight.

To my surprise, the hot flashes returned with a vengeance. Menopause? Not in my mind. Once we returned home, I stopped eating bread. Within a week, the heat left.


This past Christmas, my German father-in-law visited and I indulged again. Yummy wheat-based cakes and cookies. German stollen. Oh, so good. And guess what?

Hot flashes.

Even though I stopped eating bread on New Years, the heat continued all day and night. For two miserable weeks.

Coincidence? Menopause? I don’t believe so.

My daughter is extremely allergic to gluten, verging on celiac disease. I am not. But her doctor told us that everyone is affected by gluten to a different degree.

Something to consider: eliminate bread for three months and see if you don’t notice the difference. But be warned, it is an addiction to overcome, and you might go through withdrawals, as I did. But the effects of detox is worth the temporary discomfort.

Needless to say, my family no longer eats bread or wheat-based foods.

J.A.’s lean breakfast/lunch

Serves 1

¼ lb lean grnd turkey
½ C cooked Basmati rice
1 C chopped red pepper, chopped zucchini, chopped onion
Fresh parsley, minced
Ground Coriander, to taste
Sea salt (optional/in moderation)
1 tbsp. Cooking sherry

Dry sauté the zucchini and onions until onions are soft. Add the red peppers, coriander and sea salt (both to taste) and sauté another2-3 minutes. Remove veggies from the pan and keep warm. Cook the turkey, adding parsley (to taste) before all the meat juice evaporates.

Put veggies back in and add sherry. Cook on low for another 2 minutes or until you’re satisfied w/the flavor. Enjoy.

NOTE: Add another ½ - 1 C of the veggies if you like.

The opinions expressed in this entry reflect those of the author and not of Texas Health Resources.

J.A. Marx is a local author and married to Edward Marx, CIO of Texas Health Resources. She is also a mentor with Gateway Church women’s ministry. When she’s not writing suspense novels, J.A. is at the club or experimenting with healthy meals.

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