Bread may be good for the soul, but not the body

The Kutztown Area Patriot - - OPINION - By Mike Zielin­ski Colum­nist

When Je­sus Christ taught us the Our Fa­ther, one of the sig­na­ture lines in the prayer was: “Give us this day our daily bread.”

Ah, yes. Things were so sim­ple back then. Bread was bread and mankind was grate­ful for it.

Now what kind of bread should we pray for?

The mul­ti­plic­ity of bread choices th­ese days has mul­ti­plied like the loaves and fishes.

While the Bi­ble doesn’t go into gran­u­lar de­tail about the type of loaves Je­sus fed the mul­ti­tude with, they likely were not 100 per­cent whole-grain, high­fiber choice.

When I was a kid, my fam­ily ate white bread, ap­par­ently obliv­i­ous and un­car­ing that the flour used to make it was chem­i­cally bleached just like my mother bleached my dirty play clothes.

How I and the rest of my gen­er­a­tion are still draw­ing breath is the mir­a­cle of our time. I credit the grace of say­ing the Our Fa­ther.

Then again, all types of bread aren’t all that great for you be­cause from my ex­haus­tive re­search on Google I dis­cov­ered that grains are not easy for the body to di­gest, can over­work our pan­cre­atic en­zymes, con­tain the anti-nu­tri­ent phytic acid (more pop­u­larly known as in­os­i­tol hex­ak­ispho­s­phate IP6) and an abun­dance of dreaded gluten.

Also, our wheat crops in this coun­try ap­par­ently have been through some se­ri­ous ge­netic ma­nip­u­la­tion to make them prof­itable for the food in­dus­try and less healthy for us.

Ev­i­dently the main prob­lem with wheat (un­less you have a gluten sen­si­tiv­ity) is that we as a cul­ture eat too much of it. A bagel for break­fast, a sand­wich for lunch and rolls or pasta for din­ner. Fac­tor in snacks like crack­ers and desserts like cook­ies and we have es­sen­tially trans­formed our bod­ies into grain si­los.

We all for­get that Je­sus also said: “Man shall not live on bread alone.”

We should bite into an ap­ple, as along as a ser­pent doesn’t prompt us to do so.

Choos­ing the best bread can be con­fus­ing. It’s best if you have a de­gree in nu­tri­tion plus a strong pair of glasses so you can read la­bels.

For in­stance, some bread looks brown and has wheat in the name. So at first glance it would seem to have lots of fiber and whole grain.

Not so fast, my friends. The first in­gre­di­ent listed on the la­bel will tell the real tale. If it’s wheat flour or en­riched bleached flour, that tells you white flour was mostly used, not whole-wheat flour.

Breads with healthy sound­ing names like seven-grain or 100% nat­u­ral would seem to be good choices.

Do not be de­ceived. Just be­cause the name of the bread on the pack­age sounds su­per healthy, it doesn’t mean the bread ac­tu­ally is.

It’s com­pa­ra­ble to judg­ing a book by look­ing at the cover.

Some seven-grain and 12-grain breads list un­bleached en­riched flour as their first in­gre­di­ent. Oth­ers are made with wheat flour, not whole wheat.

My fa­vorite bread is rye bread. But eat I eat it spar­ingly be­cause the first in­gre­di­ent listed on the la­bel of most brands is none other than the loath­some un­bleached en­riched flour. The se­cond in­gre­di­ent is usu­ally wa­ter and the third nor­mally is rye flour. That ex­plains why most rye breads have only one gram of fiber per slice and aren’t high in fiber.

Which brings us to one of the mys­ter­ies of life: Why are most things that taste good so bad for us? Per­haps things would be dif­fer­ent if Eve had bit­ten into a pear in­stead.

Please re­mem­ber that some pack­age names are steeped in the art of de­cep­tion. Just say­ing whole wheat doesn’t cut it. Nei­ther does made with whole grain. Look for la­bels that say 100% whole wheat or 100% whole grain.

Watch out for the sodium. Look for breads with 200 mil­ligrams or less of sodium per slice. Too much sodium could, like Lot’s wife, turn you into a pil­lar of salt.

Serv­ing size mat­ters. Some bread slices are as big as a small pizza. If you can catch a 90-mph fast­ball with a slice of your bread, you are throw­ing your health a curve­ball.

As you can see, proper bread se­lec­tion can be hard work if you are not In­spec­tor Clouseau.

So, per­haps it’s best if you avoid bread al­to­gether. Un­less, of course, you are hav­ing a hot dog at a base­ball game. The roll serves as the glove for the hot dog. Base­ball and gloves, by def­i­ni­tion, go hand in hand.

Oth­er­wise, if some­one asks you to break bread with them, sim­ply tell them that you would rather ex­pe­ri­ence fel­low­ship over a small glass of red wine.

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