Updated: Oct 28, 2021
Prior to the GAPS Diet, my family did not eat any refined grains, such as white flour and white rice. Instead, we ate whole grains, prepared by soaking or sprouting to reduce anti-nutrients (such as phytic acid, which can prevent mineral absorption). While transitioning off the GAPS Diet, I was interested to find that whole grains actually caused me to have digestive problems, and they caused a recurrence of my joint pain (which was the main reason I started the GAPS Diet in the first place). Surprisingly, refined grains such as white rice did not cause me to have any of those problems.
Now I've been off the GAPS Diet for about 18 months. After GAPS, I initially avoided eating wheat because ingesting gluten caused me to have headaches and restless legs. But through my constitutional homeopathic treatment, I've now reached the point where I no longer react to gluten.
So now I regularly eat sourdough bread made with white flour, and I consider it a healthy part of my diet. I still have digestive issues if I try to eat whole wheat bread, or even sprouted whole wheat bread, but white sourdough bread gives me no issues whatsoever.
Those of you who have been following my blog for awhile may recall that, after suffering from adrenal crash while on GAPS, I learned that I need to make sure to eat enough carbohydrates to keep my energy levels stable. Sourdough white bread is a healthy, delicious, and easy way for me to get enough carbs.
Is Sourdough White Bread Truly Healthy?
The bread I eat is a true sourdough bread. This means that it is naturally fermented, and there is no yeast added to make the bread rise. True sourdough white bread actually has a more beneficial affect on blood sugar than (non-sourdough) whole grain bread. According to an article in Wise Traditions,
Using white, whole wheat, whole wheat with barley and sourdough white breads, researchers at the University of Guelph examined how subjects responded after eating bread for breakfast and again after lunch. The ten male subjects, who were overweight and ranged between fifty and sixty years old, showed the most positive body responses after eating sourdough white bread. With the sourdough, the subjects’ blood sugar levels were lower for a similar rise in blood insulin, and this positive effect remained during the second meal and lasted hours after. Surprisingly, the worst results were seen after consumption of whole wheat and whole wheat with barley bread, which caused blood sugar levels to spike, with high levels lasting until well after lunch. According to Professor Terry Graham, head researcher on the project, the fermentation of the sourdough “changes the nature of starches in the bread, creating a more beneficial bread.”
Additionally, there are some in the traditional foods movement who actually don't advocate eating whole grains. For instance, Rami Nagel, author of Cure Tooth Decay, has found that in traditional cultures, much of the bran and germ was actually discarded after the whole grains were ground into flour. While it is true that the bran contains many nutrients, it also contains anti-nutrients such as phytic acid. Sprouting and soaking of whole grains can reduce the amount of anti-nutrients, but those processes often do not completely eliminate the anti-nutrients. (There is a lot more interesting information about this topic in the article Whole Grains Can Cause Tooth Decay.)
I know that, for me, sprouting and soaking are not enough to make whole wheat easily digestible (nor for my 3-year-old son, who is very gassy if he consumes sprouted wheat bread). To my surprise, we both just do better eating sourdough white bread rather than sprouted whole grain bread. For many months, my son and I have both eaten sourdough white bread several times each week, with no issues. We are fortunate enough to have a local bakery that makes true sourdough bread.
(At this point, my daughter and husband still do best by eating very little grains of any kind, and especially avoiding modern gluten-containing grains.)
Are there any surprising foods in your healthy diet? Have you tried true sourdough breads?
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