What? No Bread!?
I met with a new patient this week who asked an awesome question. We were discussing she and her partners’ diet, and talking about the general dietary principles I encourage all of my patients to follow, very basically:
- whole foods only; nothing processed
- no refined flours
- no added sugar
- tons of veggies (at least 50% of every meal)
- the highest quality protein you can afford (25% of every meal)
- high quality fats with every meal (avocado, nuts/seeds, olive oil, coconut oil, ghee, etc)
She got stuck on #2 - which is pretty common.
I was saying how refined flours of any kind (yes, even if they’re gluten free) should be minimized, or at least not used as staples in the diet. My rationale is first, because many products made of refined flours are fortified with crappy vitamins (ie. “folic acid” – if you haven’t read my rant on that yet, read here); second, because any time a grain is milled into a flour it is more easily turned into a simple sugar in our digestive tracts, which can lead to instability in blood sugar and sets the scene for hormonal imbalances; and third, undiagnosed celiac disease is a cause of unexplained infertility, and avoiding wheat products is often helpful for lowering systemic inflammation.
"I totally understand that," she confirmed, and then tentatively asked – “and that’s great and all, but without bread.. what do you put your stuff in??”
It’s really tough when you’re trying to shift your diet to wrap (no pun intended) your head around a new way of eating. If I’m being honest, I personally don’t often put food in things like wraps or sandwiches. My diet is pretty bowl/stew/salad/soup/traybake heavy. But occasionally I’ll get a hankering for something – a sandwich, loaf, wrap, or flatbread – and over the years have accumulated some recipes that make the transition to “no bread town” a little easier. I thought the recipes might be useful to share here, knowing that many of you reading our blog may have had the same reaction to our dietary rule #2.
Here is my collection of bread/loaf/wrap/flatbread recipes that you can stuff all your “stuff” in.
The Life Changing Loaf Of Bread:
If you’re hankering for a slice of loaf or a warm, dense, toasted something to slather with avocado, hummus, coconut oil, nut butter, chia jam, or top with an egg, try the life changing loaf. When I first discovered this bread nearly 5 years ago, I made it weekly for a several months and still haven’t felt sick of it. You can change up the nuts/seeds to whatever you have on hand, and the psyllium husk helps to bulk and soften stools to keep you regular! If you aren’t going to be able to eat the whole loaf in 3 days, slice it, and freeze slices that can be pulled and warmed whenever hunger strikes.
My sister (who is gluten free and is married to a man with celiac disease) introduced me to this gem. Similar to the life changing loaf, this bread a mixture of sunflower and pumpkin seeds, and uses chia seeds to bind it together instead of psyllium husk. Fear not, it still has a similar bowel regulating ability! It comes together in 30 minutes and is delicious warm or cold (especially topped with mashed avocado, a drizzle of olive oil, and a pinch of salt).
The recipe is contained in this YouTube video, check it out at around the 1:52 mark. The recipe is in her notes below the video.
These babies totally saved my fiance and I during our most recent cleanse. They work incredibly well for sandwiches, being both flexible and soft to bite into. You can also make mini-pizzas with them - topped with pesto or tomato sauce, all your favourite veggie and meat toppings, and baked for 7-8 mins at high heat. If you like, roll them out a bit thinner and bigger and they also work as wraps. They are a way of getting a few extra servings of brassica veggies in throughout the day – seriously a win, win situation. I have found our mini food processor to be indispensable when prepping these, but it could be done by an ambitious cook with good knife skills, or in a high powered blender filled with water (this is how I used to make cauliflower rice too, before the food processor came along).
Some might say this is really just my brazen attempt to get my patients to eat more dark leafy greens… (they're not wrong) but in reality the green wrap is always a solid go-to. I’ve made everything from breakfast sandwiches to burritos in these babies, and they never let me down. My favourite leaves to use are swiss chard or collards, kale can be used but the leaves have to be pretty big to accommodate your fillings (or mine, at least). You can use raw leaves, but I prefer to quickly blanch them – it gives them a bit more flexibility and makes them taste less “green.”
This recipe popped into my head recently, though I haven’t made a batch since my 7 day backpacking trip back in 2016. These crackers are super light, crispy, and high in protein to fuel all of your activities. They stay crispy for several days in a countertop airtight container, or can be frozen for up to a month. They're delish with hummus, baba ganoush, guacamole, or your other favourite dip.
This post is dedicated to all those readers who have had the same reaction to rule #2 – I hope these recipes are useful! Happy stuffing!
Dr Kali MacIsaac HBSc, ND