Sugary Corn with a side of Corny Sugar?

Monday, March 10, 2008
I hate the grocery store. Trying to shop for something that's "healthy" these days? Practically impossible. Relax folks, I'm just giving vent to my annoyance. I decided that part of greening myself would be to start eating a bit healthier. How's that green? I don't know but it seemed like a good idea. First step, whole wheat bread. Easy peasy, right? Hardly. I found a number of loaves that sounded good. Multi-grain, 12 Grains, Ancient Grains, Whole Grains. They're all there. Sure they all seemed to have sucrose, glucose, or high fructose corn syrup as one of the ingredients but they tended to be after the multitudes of various whole grains so I figured this was going to be a snap. Then I checked the nutritional information. The fact that they ranged in calories from 150 - 175 per slice didn't bother me, and I loved that they all had at least 2 grams of fibre or more. What killed me though was the sodium. The sodium counts in all these were in the same range as the calories! Whuuuuuuuuut? There's less sodium in a can of pop and that's terrible for me. I've been able to find canned soups with less salt in them than one slice of these breads. That left white bread or rye (which is good but not what I wanted) or pita bread (again, not what I was looking for). I managed to find the lowest sodium content with the best fibre/calorie contents I could. Hopefully I won't have a heart attack if I decide to make a sandwich...

Onto cereal. Now, those that know me will tell you I'm not a cereal or breakfast food person. I prefer leftover perogies and fried onions to bacon and eggs. However, once again, I figure I should try and be a bit healthier. So, like the bread, I wandered up and down the cereal aisle looking for something that I wanted to munch on each morning and which didn't have enough sugar, salt and preservatives to kill an elephant. Have you ever actually done that? It's practically impossible. The number one ingredient in most cereals - sugar, in all it's various forms. I ran the gamut from Shreddies to Count Chocula, Alphabets to Cheerios. No luck. I finally stumbled upon a couple of lonely boxes of an old childhood favourite, Shredded Wheat. I used to love it covered with milk and lots of brown sugar. My mom used to poor hot water on it, drain it and then add milk. Those were the good old days... I figured what the hell, let's have a look at the ingredients.

Are you shitting me???? One ingredient? WHEAT. That has got to be a typo, misprint or major error on someone's part. Cereal can't possibly be that good for you. Oh sure, there's something called BHT added as a preservative but since there's absolutely nothing else in there...I'm not going to complain one little bit. Then, onto the nutritional info just to be sure. That's where the truth'll come out for sure.

I almost dropped the box. Five grams of fibre, only 170 calories, and not a speck of salt or sugar. Oh god. here's hoping I can stick with cereal.


Wandering Coyote said...

OK - bread and cereal, two of my favourite things.

To begin with, NEVER buy grocery store bread. Find a bakery, artisanal preferably, and you will get a way better loaf than you'll ever find in the grocery store. Sourdough is a good bet, though often white; the fact that it contains a fermented portion of dough is more beneficial for you and is lower on the glycemic index. Barring that, make your own. But really...I'd rather buy no bread than grocery store bread PERIOD.

As for cereal...this is tough. I love breakfast cereal...I could live on it. Mini wheats are my cereal of choice. Although they contain sugar, they are whole grain, and I figure that if I were to buy shredded wheat, I'd just add my own sugar anyways because it's so bland. Their ingredients are quite reasonable - if you just get the original frosted, not the flavoured ones. Barring that, oatmeal is excellent. Instead of brown sugar, invest in some decent quality maple syrup: it's a natural sweetener and is less processed than most other natural sweeteners on the market (honey is far higher in carbs and calories, and it's usually pasturized, which kills the beneficial enzymes.

If you want a great book on nutrition, try Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon - very un-PC, but full of excellent information.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Shredded wheat is great! I eat it most mornings, and generally I am not a cereal lover. Slice a banana into it and it adds some sweetness and a change of texture.

I had no idea about the amount of sodium in bread. Sodium of course will be the next fat, as a forbidden substance.

Karen said...

I knew there was salt in bread Barb, I just didn't realize how much. I guess along with all the other chemicals it helps keep the bread fresher, longer. I figured I really should be paying attention to my salt intake considering my blood pressure. It would be nice to not have to take medication for it. It's amazing how much is in anything that doesn't come straight from the ground...

The shredded wheat worked out perfectly Coyote! I added some frozen (thawed) strawberries which added the desired sweetness and I didn't add any sugar at all. I think I might be able to stick with this, at least until the box is empty. As for the bread, I find I don't eat enough of it these days to warrant a trip to the bakery. Plus, it's handy having it so evenly sliced up already! They do sell bread/buns/bagels at Planet Organic which is a block away - I'll go check out their selection next time I'm there. Thanks for the suggestion!

Wandering Coyote said...

Planet Organic would be a good bet for some decent bread. And don't worry about slicing: most bakeries have a slicer and if you ask them, they can slice it for you! Really! And if you don't eat much bread, wrap it up really well and freeze, taking out a slice or two as needed.

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