Bread & My Favorite Vegetable Sandwich
Recently on an episode of “Lunch with Leslie” on Periscope, I made my favorite vegetable sandwich! I love the crisp clean flavors that this sandwich provides. It is easy to make, nutritious and you will never miss the processed meats you find in most sandwiches these days. My favorite tip for this sandwich is to be thoughtful when putting it together. It is amazing what a difference it makes in appearance and in the way it tastes when it lands solidly on your taste buds! I like to put the veggies on in a way that tastes great and then I don’t have to wrestle with getting a bite of perfect goodness.
If you have been on a health journey you might be gasping that I would put up a post with BREAD in it! What kind of healthy food blog is this anyway? 😉 The fact is whole grains when eaten in moderation are awesome for you. They should be totally avoided if you suffer from certain intolerances of course. To have a black and white, all or nothing mentality, that whole grains will harm you even when eaten in moderation may be more stress than is necessary. Reminder, your diet should not be stressing you out. My husband Robin eats a piece of whole grain sprouted wheat toast every morning with loads of butter. I would not consider that “moderation” but he makes good choices in his toast habit and I can say I can think of worse things he could do with his diet. He is very healthy, just in case you are wondering. Here are my guide lines for eating bread in moderation or if you are a daily bread eater!
White/Wheat Bread – my parents never bought white bread when I was growing up. I felt so deprived! We only ever had wheat (brown) bread. My neighbor and best friend always had white bread and I was so jealous. Let’s be honest it tastes good. There are reasons most white breads should be avoided or used only in extreme moderation, like if your grandma makes you a PB&J sandwich and you don’t have the heart to tell her that you don’t eat like that anymore. Most white bread contains a trifecta of “to be avoided” ingredients including enriched wheat flour, high fructose corn syrup and chemical additives. Need more information that might scare the white bread out of you… check out what NaturallySavvy.com has to say on the subject.
100% Whole Grain Bread – One level better but still to be avoided in most cases is the traditional whole grain bread. According to a study done by the USDA the average American eats 106% of the daily recommended allowance of grains. 77% of that was found to be refined grains and not whole grains. Ouch! No wonder we are seeing the consequences of over consumption of grain products. Whole grains are nutritionally superior because of less processing and no enriching. They also are considered whole grains when they are intact and all three parts of the whole grain kernel are present.
- bran, the outer layer
- the germ, the part that germinates
- endosperm, the inside of the grain, which is mainly starch
The term “100% Whole Grain” should be the first ingredient when buying this type of bread. I have to say even before my health journey started I would seek out 100% whole grain bread and thought I was being smart to do so. Smart until I found even better breads that not only were good for me but I actually thought tasted better.
Organic 100% Whole Grain/Seeded Bread – If you watched my Periscope broadcast about my favorite veggie sandwich you saw me use this type of bread. This is great bread if you are an occasional bread eater and not a daily bread eater. The fact is all breads are hard on the digestive system, some more than others, but they can all cause disruptions. In fact when Robin and I travel to Italy or France we tend to eat a lot of bread and we pay for it later in digestion, TMI but Robin calls this problem Baguette Butt! Organic whole grains should have a short ingredient list. The shorter the better! This type of bread is to be eaten only on occasion. Not to be consumed everyday or even every week. I do think there are some benefits to grains in moderation and as part of a varied diet. I don’t feel the need to totally avoid it in my personal eating habits. Bottom line, I eat this type of bread, but only in moderation.
Organic Sprouted Grain 100% Whole Wheat Bread – So you like toast? Yes, I understand I live with a daily toast eater. Organic Sprouted Grain Breads are the king of Whole Wheat breads. The grain is soaked in a controlled environment and allowed to sprout, then dried and ground. Why is this better for you? It makes it a little (only a little) easier to digest because it increases the enzyme activity. Also it lowers carbs content and has increased protein profile. Great choice if you are gluten sensitive, still should be avoided if gluten intolerant. So if you eat bread on a daily basis this type of bread is a better choice. It is normally found in the freezer section of the grocery store. This is the brand we buy, Ezekiel Sprouted Grain.
Because this post is about my favorite sandwich I did not include information about sourdough or other fermented breads. I wanted to break down the store bought options. If you are making your own bread good for you! You are more in control of your ingredients and that is always a good thing!
My honest opinion is the less bread you can get away with in your healthy diet the better. You might think I am contradicting myself but I do believe daily bread consumption is hard on your body. If you are suffering with chronic inflammation, diabetic, have digestion woes or are celiac you should avoid bread all together. If you do not suffer with any of these problems I would still limit my intake. I know I do and my chronic “Baguette Butt” is gone!
Vegetable Sandwich Guide
2 slices 100% whole wheat organic bread
2 tbs hummus, flavor of choice, I like red pepper
1 slice raw grass fed cheese, I like Havarti
3 slices organic tomato
6 slices organic cucumber
handful organic baby spinach
4-6 thin slices of red bell pepper
1 carrot, thinly sliced
Toast bread slightly just until crisp but not brown. One slice smear hummus. On opposite slice add cheese. Place tomato on cheese side. Place cucumbers on hummus side. Add all other ingredients in the middle. Smash together!