This post comes to us from our clinical dietitian, Laura Palazzolo, MS, RDN. For more information, contact her at 303-689-5948.
Bread, the staff of life. For most people, bread is a daily staple and the thought of reducing or eliminating this food is unthinkable. For many though, eliminating or reducing reliance on bread and flour products would be a positive step for their health. It is estimated that 29 million people (9.3% of the population) have diabetes and 86 million have pre-diabetes. Many more are at risk and it is estimated that 1:3 people will have diabetes by 2050, which is 33% of the population!
Flour products are often high glycemic, meaning that they raise insulin levels (the hormone that regulates our blood sugar) and blood sugar quickly, which promotes fat storage and insulin resistance. Most commercial whole wheat breads (which are now just as light and fluffy as our whites) do not fare much better on the glycemic index in comparison to white breads, with whole wheat breads ranging from 52-87 and white breads from 59-89. Foods over 55 are considered a high glycemic food. Even more, gluten intolerance and celiac disease have skyrocketed. Hidden food allergies and sensitivities can also have profound effects on health.
Try some of these alternatives to bread; even if you do not believe you are at risk for gluten intolerance or diabetes, the variety will benefit you!
• Flax seed wraps: (courtesy of Ruth Ross) 3 tbsp milled flax seed, ¼ tsp baking powder, 1 tbsp water, 1 tbsp coconut oil, 1 egg
o mix all together, pour into a greased glass pie plate and cook 2 minutes in microwave. Cool 5 minutes and fill it how you like.
• Plantain Tortillas from Zenbelly. These wraps are very flexible, which is not often achieved without gluten.
• Cauliflower Tortillas from Slim Palate. I haven’t tried these, but they look delicious!
• Greens! Lettuce and Swiss chard usually work well raw, but the tougher greens work well blanched in boiling water for about 30-60 seconds with the bottom portion of the tough stem removed. Ali from Whole Life Nutrition demonstrates this concept well in her Collard Wraps with Raw Sunflower Pate recipe.
• Grilled Portobello Mushrooms: use the cold caps as your bread and fill as you like.
• Sliced Veggies: try slicing cucumbers or peppers length wise.
• Butternut Squash Flat Bread from Empowered Sustenance
• Tapioca Crepes: (courtesy of Ryan Nabielski of Eco Nutrition) 1 cup tapioca flour, 1 cup coconut milk, 1 egg, a pinch of salt. Fry on a hot cast iron or non-stick crepe pan.
• Nut Breads: Elena’s Pantry has created multiple low carb/flourless breads using almond flours and other alternative flours.
Keep in mind, some of these alternatives will be better than others depending on your health goals. Some options still contain significant carbohydrates (plantains, tapioca) and/or are very calorie dense (nut flours). Choose the option that best supports your goals!
Have you tried any of these recipes or have other ideas for replacing bread?