whole wheat bread

Carbs in the Doghouse

We interrupt my foray into Amishness with this breaking news from the L.A. Times: sugar and refined carbohydrates are doing us in. This is something many foodies and nutritionists have been rumbling about for some time. After all, as they have pointed out, in the thirty years since the world started plugging low-fat, low-fat, low-fat, rates of obesity and heart disease did not decline. Our treatment of heart disease improved, yes, but not the number of people who were still suffering from it.

Obediently, we laid off the real sour cream and butter and tried to limit red meat and cheese, replacing those items with pretzels and weird chemical spreads and nasty soy concoctions. Fake food.

Time for the pendulum to swing back. Maybe all those unsatisfying lowfat products will go away (they've been long gone in our household), but how to wean ourselves from the sugar and simple carbs? I wonder this as I consider the dozens of Christmas cookies I've produced and eaten this December. I might force the kids to join me and my husband in our yearly downer: Sugar-Free January. We've discovered that it really is easiest just to go cold turkey. I'm not too legalistic--there's still honey in the tea and jam on the toast and maple syrup on the waffles, but nothing where sugar is the centerpiece.

In the meantime, comfort yourself with Dr. Agatston's claim from the South Beach Diet--that a little bit of fat consumed with the evil carb both increases satiety on fewer calories and tempers the rapid spike in blood sugar. If you've got to have the sourdough toast, at least slather it in butter (God bless him for this).

If, like me, you'll never be a whole-wheat pasta gal, here are a couple recipes where minimizing the white flour improves the taste:

Pennsylvania Dutch Whole Wheat Bread (adapted from The New Pennsylvania Dutch Cookbook)
(Amish lightning might strike me, but I tried this in the bread machine. It came out lopsided but perfectly tasty. You might want to add a tsp or two of Wheat Gluten to lighten it somewhat.)
2 1/4 t yeast
1/4 c lukewarm water
1 c milk warmed up in the microwave
1T softened butter
2 T sugar
1/2 t salt
1 c white flour
2 generous cups whole wheat flour.

Dump everything in the bread machine, set on Whole Wheat cycle, and you're done! Slice when cooled and serve with lots of butter and some of Rome's delicious spreads from the Farmers Market.

Multi-Grain Waffles (adapted from Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone)
2 c various flours (I use 1/4 c each white, whole wheat, rye, brown rice, barley, cornmeal, oat, and oat bran)
2 T ground flaxseed
1 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/4 t salt

1/4 c butter (1/2 stick), melted
3 eggs
1 1/2 c milk (generous) (buttermilk also works, but it makes a thicker batter)
1 t vanilla

Mix dry ingredients. Mix wet ingredients. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Cook in your favorite waffle iron. Makes about 6-7 Belgian waffles.