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Use your loaf - It's time to celebrate real bread

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Romilla Arber invites you to rise to the challenge and discover the healthy properties of natural foods

Why eat real bread? What is real bread?

For a start real bread has three or four ingredients in it. Industrially-produced bread can have as many as 30, most of which you will not be able to pronounce, let alone recognise as food ingredients.

Real bread is made using traditional methods and is allowed to rise and prove at natural temperatures. It is not over-enhanced with excess yeast either, which can have a bloating effect on the stomach.

We run some great bread-making courses at Honesty Cookery School.

While I am on the subject of eating real food, I read with interest recently about research conducted in France about the link between processed food and cancer. The study is ground-breaking in that it looked at the medical records and eating habits of 105,000 adults, a very large number when compared to previous research of this type.

The study showed that a 10-per-cent rise in ‘ultra processed’ food consumed was linked to a 12-per-cent increase in cancers. The rise in breast cancer was particularly striking. The study was conducted in France, one of the few countries in the world that is happy to warn its population against eating highly-processed food and which is also fiercely protective of its food culture.

I am really pleased that as part of this research the study has sought a way of differentiating between those processed foods that are not too bad for you and those that are. After all, processed food by strict definition can include cheese, yoghurt, anything that is not raw or minimally processed.

‘Ultra processed’ foods by contrast are food-like substances that are made to appear like food items, but are really formulations created by the use of additives and chemical substances. They probably do start off with some food involved and they end up looking like food, but it is what happens in between and what is added during the processing that causes the problems to our health. I would put industrially-produced bread in this category.

Anyway, make your stand against ‘ultra processed’ food by making or buying real bread. Once you start doing this you will probably start to question the choices you make about other food and start to read ingredient labels a little more carefully and ultimately enjoy all the health benefits that this will bring you.

As George Orwell wrote in the Road to Wigan Pier: “A man dies and is buried, and all his words and actions are forgotten, but the food he has eaten lives after him in the sound or rotten bones of his children.” Wise words.

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