I’m slightly obsessed with bread. Problem is I love it but most of it isn’t that great for you. When I was a kid, we never had that gooey Wonder Bread that all my friends had. We had the kind of bread with sticks and thorns protruding from the loaf. Turns out, that was a good call by my folks because now we know that when it comes to the white stuff, you’re probably better off eating paste than the bread (well, they aren’t all that different).
As an adult, I came to love bread even more. I was just starting to earn some real money when bread machines burst onto the carbo-scene. I made the bread, I made the pizza dough, I made the bagels, I developed a serious case of junk in the trunk. I won’t go into details but let’s just say that I blame enriched flour and a lack of cardio activity for the fact that I even have a personal trainer right now. Darn all those bread shops in Chicago that blow that smell right out onto the sidewalk. Sourdough toast is like crack to me (and no, I have never tried crack). I’m in carbo rehab. Withdrawal was tough.
Good thing that I actually like all the real whole wheat stuff. Right now, the only white thing I ingest is milk (or non-dairy, sugar free creamer…fun, huh?). Nothing with white flour, nothing with sugar (or honey), nothing with potatoes (except that one bite of mashed potatoes that I accidentally ate with out thinking last week…darn it!). You’re all just dying to come over to my house for dinner, right? I’m back to the thorns and sticks routine…healthy carbs…but I feel awesome. Don’t tell James, my trainer, because he’ll torture me just a little extra if he thinks I’m feeling good.
When it comes to grocery shopping, I’m a label watcher. I have the most boring shopping cart around…nothing that stays crispy in milk, nothing that you can dip into anything made of cheese product, no “fried”, no “ranch flavor”, no beer (oh, boo!), no even anything with corn. I’ve even developed a taste for celery as long as there’s a decent amount of sugar free peanut butter accompanying it.
So Seth Godin’s post about how some bread companies are trying to make you think you are eating healthier than you are rang true. Their sales are down so they want to lure you in with claims of “whole wheat!” when they spike the stuff with “enriched flour” (note: if something has nutritional value, you don’t necessarily need to enrich it). There’s even “whole wheat” bread that is white….it’s like magic! If you want the stuff that’s really good for you, you look for “whole grain” on the label and no “flour”, “wheat flour” (flour is made of wheat…surprise!) or “enriched” anything. No gummy stuff. When in doubt, rye or pumpernickel are usually good choices (scared that I know all this? It’s not like I’m not thinking about it constantly!).
I think the thing that is disheartening is that people are trying to make wise health choices and are being mis-led by packaging. We regulate all kinds of food labels, we need to get on the boat with the wheat thing. Erroneous health claims are all kinds of wrong (because we all know that “whole wheat” *sounds* healthy). I’m not saying that I’m never again going to eat something white (I’m pretty sure there’s a ball park soft pretzel and my name written on it in mustard somewhere…it’s white on the inside), just that I want to choose what I’m eating without someone trying to trick me.
Bad marketing, bad!