The Greatest Thing Since Sliced… by Elizabeth Brown, MS, RD

Bread isn’t the enemy of the health conscious

Published on pg. 7 of the SMDP newspaper weekend edition May 31, 2008; click link for original article

Bread: It’s not a four letter word


“I started regaining the weight I had lost when I added bread back to my diet. It gave me more options,” said my friend and fellow Gold’s gym member, David Sandercott.


Yes, it is true that when you cut bread out of your diet you will lose weight, in part because you limit your food choices. It’s just too easy to throw things on bread and call it a meal, or some call it a sandwich. But do we all have to live a life without bread?


Bread adds options plus an extra 150-220 calories for two slices. Cut out that bread and you are looking at possibly consuming 3500 fewer calories per month which equates to one pound. In a year, that’s twelve pounds which is more than a five percent weight loss for a 200 pound individual. Five percent weight loss means a significant reduction in the risk of chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke and heart disease. Not only that, but as my friend David can attest, eliminating bread increases your chances of acquiring a six pack: abdominals, not beverages.


Sometimes bread can spur reasons to eat. You say to yourself, “I am hungry. What do I have to eat?” There may be salad greens in your fridge which you can top with a variety of shredded and chopped colorful vegetables, perhaps some heart healthy nuts and a nice tangy dressing. But a PB&J sounds much more palate pleasing, reminiscent of childhood school lunches or after school snacks. Depending on how you assemble it, that sandwich can actually be healthy and bread may find new place on your plate, perhaps not as a dietary staple but as an occasional snack.


There are times when bread is great. If you are an active, on-the-go type person then bread can allow you to take fuel for the future. If you are trying to cut calories by cutting sweets, an occasional slice of bread with nut butter and dried fruit can stave off cravings and consumption of “empty” calories. Bread CAN be a part of your diet, no matter who you are. Only you can decide when enough is enough.


Since summer is upon us and some of you may want a washboard, not for scrubbing shirts but for attracting others, then I will include a “bread” free recipe. Wrap your favorite “sandwich” fixins’ in leaves. Choose the greenest ones you can find; mustards, collards, rainbow chard, baby bib or romaine lettuce and stuff them with colorful veggies plus a protein source and a sauce or spread. A green wrap is a perfect way to take salads on the go.


For the endurance athletes of the bunch, you need carbs for replenishing muscle glycogen after a hard day of training. Although a sandwich may not always suffice, it certainly is a good start toward refueling for future activities. For you I will share my favorite nut butter energy snack, perfect for post workout pick-me-ups or preventing empty calorie splurges. This sandwich will leave you feeling full, satisfied and youthful, like the kid you are at heart.


Please note the nutrient difference in each recipe. Each “sandwich” has a place in a healthful diet. You decide how, you decide when, and you decide how much. (Pretty Woman paraphrase)

Simply listen to your body, it will help you decide.


Lettuce Wrap to Go-Go

4 large leaves, you choice; Mustards (spicy), Collards (hearty), Rainbow Chard (colorful), Romaine or Baby bib (familiar)
1/2 yellow pepper, finely diced
2 inches cucumber, finely diced
4 ounces tuna, salmon, chicken or tofu


Hummus Spread:

16 oz. can garbanzos (reserve liquid)
Juice of one lemon
2 cloves garlic,
1/4 cup tahini (ground sesame paste)
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp sea salt

To make hummus spread:
Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Add more liquid as needed to reach desired consistency, creamy, but not runny. Store in a jar in the fridge for 3-4 days. You can also freeze in small quantities to be thawed and consume in the future.

To assemble Lettuce Wraps:
Wash and dry leaves
Spread with 2 Tablespoons hummus
Add 1 Tablespoon each of chopped peppers, cucumber & tomatoes
Add chopped tuna, salmon, chicken or tofu
Wrap, eat, enjoy…repeat daily in place of traditional sandwiches and look for a six pack in six to eight weeks!

Per Wrap: 134 calories, 3g fat, 9g carbs, 4g fiber, 18g protein, Vitamin A 24%, Thiamin 7%, Riboflavin 7%, Niacin 56%, B6 16%, B12 28%, Vitamin C 71%, Vitamin D 23%, Vitamin E 9%, Folate 26%, Calcium 11%, Copper 6%, Iron 9%, Magnesium 7%, Manganese 9%, Phosphorus 13%, Potassium 8%, Selenium 66%, Sodium 14%, Zinc 5%. Omega-3 to Omega-6 Fatty Acid Ratio: 2.5 to 1. Water: 5 ounces.


NUT BuTTER-Bring-Back-MY-Energy Sandwich

2 slices sprouted grain bread or BLACK rice bread (gluten free)
1 Tbsp Natural Organic Nut Butter
4 thin apple slices
2 dates
, pitted and opened
1 cup almond milk (to consume with sandwich)

Toast the bread if you like
Spread with nut butter
Apply apple slices
Place opened dates on top of apples so that they lie flat and cover the other sandwich fixins
May use three dates in order to get ample coverage. This is the only time the three date option applies; otherwise take it one date at a time.
Take a bite and wash down with almond milk or organic milk of your choice.

Per serving (sandwich plus 1 cup almond milk): 340 calories, 13g fat, 52g carbs, 8g fiber, 11g protein, Vitamin A 9%, Thiamin 19%, Riboflavin 9%, Niacin 34%, B6 10%, B12 0%, Vitamin C 3%, Vitamin D 20%, Vitamin E 48%, Folate 14%, Calcium 21%, Copper 17%, Iron 15%, Magnesium 22%, Manganese 85%, Phosphorus 26%, Potassium 14%, Selenium 32%, Sodium 17%, Zinc 12%.