O's not alone

March 24, 2019

I LOVE OPRAH. I’ve loved her ever since The Oprah Winfrey Show went syndicated (and I actually remember watching the premier one afternoon shortly after I graduated from college.) Regardless of how you feel about her, however, I think we can all agree that Oprah has always had a unique ability to either speak for or to most people in this country.

Now flash forward to a couple of days ago when I read an online Chicago Sun Times article touting the merits of bread as a viable component of the average healthy human diet…although it included an incredibly funny GIF (if you have a moment scroll down to the bottom and check it out…I'm still laughing just thinking about it and actually believe I remember that particular Oprah show!), my overall response to the article was simply "Hmmmmmmm."  

That being said, perhaps some of you are wondering whether or not I do indeed think healthy diets should include bread? My short answer to that question is "sometimes." But rather than spending time expanding upon my answer, however, let's first consider two even more important questions:

  1. Do you think the bread most people buy in today’s grocery stores is as nutritionally dense as homemade bread?
  2. Do you think the bread most people buy in today’s grocery stores is as nutritionally dense as the bread one was able to purchase, say, 20 or 30 years ago?

IMHO the answers to both those question is “undeniably NO!"

The problem is that most of the bread (and other bread-like products ie crackers, cookies, Tastykakes, etc) that most people purchase in any big box grocery store these days are so over-processed and filled with so many empty calories, they’re simply flying under the radar disguised as food. So why is it that we often hear nutritional "experts" vouching for the important role of bread on the dinner plate? Well, as I often say, you can probably follow the money to that particular answer.

For instance, did you know that the National Association of Wheat Growers is located in Washington, DC not all that far from the USDA? True! And NAWG is not only HUGE, it’s a POWERFUL lobbying organization which has effectively played a hand in setting public policy for over 60 years. And I'm not even going to touch the subjects of GMO's and how all the big food manufacturers now have R&D departments cooking up all kinds of chemical tastes and smells plus ingredients that would simply never exist in nature (there's enough material in just those two issues alone for a whole SERIES of blogs!) But if all that's not conspiracy-theoryish enough for you I’ll also remind you of something we all already know from our own personal experience: the more one eats bread (and bread-like products), the more one craves bread so when Oprah openly admits she’s pretty much addicted to bread she’s certainly not alone (and there certainly is a lot of money riding on this country continuing its longstanding love affair with bread!)

Are you starting to see where I'm going with all this yet? But I’ll step out of the pulpit now and tell you a little more about my own personal relationship with bread.

Although I don’t have Celiac Disease (also known as “Sprue” and which is what most nutritional “experts” typically say is the only criteria for going gluten-free), after feeling pretty crappy for several years while my post-menopausal thyroid function plummeted, finally about two years ago I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's Thyroiditis. And you might be curious to know it was actually Dr Tamara Blossic, the AWESOME Functional Medicine practitioner I work for part-time, who put two and two together...up till then the closest anybody had come to figuring out what the heck was going on with me was an allopathic (in other words, very standard and by-the-book) primary care physician who noted my thyroid appeared to be slowing down. (FYI I was only a patient of that MD for a couple of years primarily because she was never able to say or do anything that helped me feel better AT ALL. And why she didn’t even bother to test for Hashimoto's I'll never know because it's incredibly common! Did you know that possibly 95% of all those diagnosed with hypothyroidism may actually have Hashimoto's? Perhaps my former PCP simply didn't know anything about the condition…most western doctors don't. But again that's a whole other blog and I digress.)

Anyway the point I’m trying to make is that for people with Hashimoto's (plus LOTS of other common yet major health concerns) the Paleo Diet is considered not only therapeutic but very sustainable! So for me (and LOTS of other people) a diet which includes bread is NOT a good idea.

And you might also be curious to know I actually gave up ALL GRAINS about 7 years ago, long before I knew something was brewing with my thyroid. I’d been dealing with IBS plus problems with weight control, hypoglycemia, depression, acid reflux, and edema (especially in my legs) for most of my life so when I attended a comprehensive Paleo workshop taught by none other than Melissa and Dallas Hartwig (the “Whole 30” INNOVATORS) where they presented literally GOBS of research proving the relationship between eating grain-filled foods and all my symptoms (plus about 70 more major conditions and diseases) I decided to give Paleo a try. Long story short, I felt so much better so fast after “going Paleo” I’ve literally never looked back!

Now I’m guessing some of you are probably wondering if I ever miss bread? Well, truthfully, sometimes I do ☹ Good news, though: since I generally avoid grains altogether, if I REALLY feel like having just a bit of high quality bread every now and again it's not that big a deal! (And of course I typically don't feel all that great the next day but then that helps me stay mindful of how much better I always feel when I’m 100% on the Paleo wagon.) Plus there are lots of ancient, whole, unprocessed grains which are much easier on most people’s digestive tracts than even a slice of sprouted grain bread (which is generally considered a best-bet bread FOR ANYBODY regardless of health concerns!)

But this blog wasn't initially intended to be all about the myriad of health benefits connected to following a Paleo Diet. Rather my main purpose today is to let you know I'll be addressing all these bread-related issues (plus a lot more regarding ALL aspects of various healthy diets) at my upcoming A Taste of Whole Food Nutrition workshop.

Wondering if this workshop is for you? I’ll make this simple for you…if you can answer YES to either of the following questions then you really should be there:

  1. Do you have health concerns that seem to be related to what you eat but you just can’t figure out what, exactly, is your food?
  2. Do you find the information and research about all of today’s dietary trends isn’t just confusing it’s downright conflicting?

And BTW if it makes you feel any better I’ve certainly had my struggles with both of the above (and remember that I, more than most people, am VERY plugged into all the research re the relationship between food and health!) It’s simply the case that there’s so much conflicting information out there (even from sources we’ve always been told we should trust) that it’s often impossible to separate fads from facts.

But remember one of my mantras: eating should be a no-brainer, not brain surgery…if you’re tired of counting calories, grams, carbs, or macros (or of just wondering what the heck to eat), allow me to cut right through the unnecessary complexity so you can get down to business improving your health and your weight (plus possibly even your sleep, your energy level, and your entire relationship with food.)

A Taste of Whole Food Nutrition promises to be a fun, innovative, and DELCIOUS workshop! Participants can expect to walk away knowing all of the following

  • the distinctions between whole and processed food
  • the healthiest proteins, fats, and carbohydrates (no matter which healthy diet you follow!)
  • EASY ways to reduce disease risk and symptoms
  • the 4 simple criteria of good-for-you food
  • money-saving shopping tips
  • meal planning templates…

plus a whole lot more (and BTW the cooking demonstration during the second class can’t be beat!) So don’t delay…click here to register by April 10th (SEATING IS LIMITED!) And I hope to see you all there ☺

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