Avocado, Apple, Cheddar, (and Bacon) Paninis…and a little about Processed Bread

Last night for dinner Josh and I had avocado, apple, cheddar, and bacon (on his) paninis. They were delicious!

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I thought this would be a good time to talk a little about what the differences are between processed breads and the real versions (all-natural and organic). (And then in my next post or two I will go into processed cheese and bacon.)

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Bread

Trader Joe’s Whole Wheat Bread ingredients are as follows: whole wheat flour, water, honey, wheat berries, wheat gluten, wheat bran, soybean oil, yeast, salt, cultured wheat, ascorbic acid, enzymes, distilled vinegar. So there are 13 natural ingredients.

Sara Lee Whole Grain White Bread ingredients are as follows: enriched bleached flour [wheat flour, malted barley flour, niacin, iron, thiamin mononitrate (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), folic acid], water, whole grain [whole wheat flour, brown rice flour (rice flour, rice bran)], wheat gluten, skim milk, high fructose corn syrup, sugar, yeast, butter (cream, salt), calcium sulfate, salt, dough conditioners (may contain one or more of the following: mono- and diglycerides, ethoxylated mono- and diglycerides, sodium stearoyl lactylate, calcium peroxide, datum, ascorbic acid, azodicarbonamide, enzymes), guar gum, calcium propionate (preservative), distilled vinegar, yeast nutrients (mono calcium phosphate, calcium sulfate, ammonium sulfate and/or calcium carbonate, corn starch, vitamin D3, soy lecithin, and soy flour. This bread could contain up to 42 ingredients!

Let’s walk through a few of these ingredients:

  • Enriched Bleached Flour: Enriched sounds like a good word, right? It usually is, but in this case it means that through all of the processing that this flour has been through, the good stuff was removed. That’s why you see the huge list of vitamins that have to be added back into it. When I pick up a packaged food and see a huge list of vitamins in the ingredients list, I put it right back on the shelf. Healthy foods have vitamins in the ingredients already, they don’t need a scientist in a lab adding vitamins to them. And bleached? Seriously, your bread has been bleached to make it a pretty white color. I don’t know about you, but the thought of eating bleached bread doesn’t appeal to me.
  • High Fructose Corn Syrup: Avoid this at all costs…don’t eat anything with HFCS! HFCS is a biochemically engineered sweetener that is addicting and is one of the main causes of obesity in our country. Mark Hyman, MD, has a great article on HFCS that I would really encourage you to take a look at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mark-hyman/high-fructose-corn-syrup-dangers_b_861913.html
  • Calcium Peroxide (E930): This is another bleaching agent to make the bread white.
  • Calcium Propionate (E282): This is a mold inhibitor that has been connected to inattention, irritability, restlessness, and sleep disturbance in children.

A good rule of thumb when looking at ingredient lists is that if words sound unnatural or like names for chemicals, they probably are. And definitely avoid things with words you can’t even pronounce!

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