Homemade foods are always better than store bought or processed foods. This is true of breads too! We recently dug out our bread maker from storage and began making our own. We realized we were going through approximately 10 store bought loaves of bread per week, and it was costing way too much.
With that in mind, I thought I’d share 5 reasons that you may want to think about getting your own bread maker (or digging it out of storage!).
- The Taste. I love the smells of homemade bread baking! And the taste of it lives up to the smell. Even my kids said that it tastes so much better than the store bought kind; especially when it’s still warm!
- More Filling. Have you ever noticed that homemade bread is more filling than anything you buy in the store? Even my 5 year old used to have to eat 5-6 sandwiches made with the store bought stuff! Now he’s full after 2-3 sandwiches, and he stays that way until snack time.
- Saves Money. As I said before, my family was going through at least 10 loaves of store brought bread a week. The ingredients for homemade bread don’t cost that much, and last a while. Since they aren’t eating as much of it, it lasts a little longer. If you buy in bulk, through Sam’s Club or BJ’s (whatever wholesale club is near you) you’ll save even more!
- No Unknown Ingredients. A lot of store bought breads contain potassium bromate, which is a dangerous additive. Making your own bread ensures that nothing unhealthy goes into your children’s mouth; just check the ingredients on the flour and yeast that you purchase.
- Variety. Have you looked at the prices on different flavors of bread? They aren’t cheap! Making your own bread means you can have cranberry bread, wheat bread, or any other kind of bread you want without having to pay the exorbitant prices.
All in all, bread making is a healthy choice for you and your children. We all have busy lives; that’s why bread makers come in so handy. Put in the ingredients; turn it on, and voila! In about 3 hours you’ll have a delicious, healthy and aromatic loaf of bread.
We know the dangers of BPA, and the damage it can do to our children. Now let’s discuss what steps we can take to avoid the use of plastics that contain BPA.
Obviously, the goal is to reduce the amount of plastic items we use: cups, bowls, bottles, etc. There are alternatives for some, and optimal choices for when plastic is our only option.
Look for alternative choices, such as wood, stainless steel or glass. There are many drinking cups out there made from stainless steel; these will not only be safer for you and your family to drink from, but they are also insulated so things stay the correct temperature longer.
Perhaps the best thing you can do is learn about the different types of plastics. Some are better than others.
Common plastic containers have a triangle shaped symbol created with arrows, with a number inside. 1, 3, and 6 should be avoided.
1 means the item is made with Polyethylene Terephthalate and can be found in soda bottles, water bottles and cooking oil bottles. Yet another reason to avoid drinking soda! Try drinking glasses of water instead of purchasing water bottles.
Number 3 plastics are Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) and are used in plastic wrap, condiment bottles, teething rings and toys. Pretty scary to think that our babies are chewing on lethal chemicals!
The final plastic (#6) is Polystyrene, or Styrofoam and is used for meat trays, and some cups. Most of us no longer use Styrofoam, but it’s a good reminder of why!
Safer varieties of plastic do exist. If the number inside the triangle of arrows is 2, 4 or 5 these plastics are safer than the above varieties.
#2 plastics are made from High Density Polyethylene; examples include milk jugs, plastic bags and prepackaged yogurt cups.
#4 plastics are Low Density Polyethylene; you’ll see these in produce bags at the grocery store and containers made for food storage.
#5 plastics are made from Polypropylene and is commonly found in food storage containers, bottle caps and dishes.
Most products on the market today are made from some type of plastic. It’s difficult to avoid, since it’s such a common item in our world. However, with a little effort, we can avoid the dangerous plastics, saving our health, our children’s health and the environment.
You see “gluten-free” everywhere you go: on restaurant menus, cakes and breads, flour and baking mixes. But do you really need to avoid gluten?
What is Gluten?
Gluten is a type of protein. It’s found in wheat, rye and barley, so is in a lot of bread products; it’s what gives our bread that chewy texture. Bread without gluten has an almost gummy texture. While the current “gluten-free” craze has people believing that gluten is something we should avoid, it’s actually a protein that our bodies need.
Gluten makes bread rise, helps it keep its shape, and gives it its absorbency (which is why you can soak up gravies or broth with your bread.
So far, it doesn’t sound like something dangerous; in fact, there are many problems that can come from avoiding gluten in your diet.
Deficiencies from a Gluten-Free Diet
Like many substitute diets, if done incorrectly, you can end up with nutritional deficiencies. In the case of a gluten-free diet, essential nutrients such as calcium, thiamin, riboflavin, folate, iron and fiber do not meet the recommended daily amounts.
Obviously, this isn’t exclusive to gluten-free diets. Any alternative diet, such as vegetarianism or veganism, can cause nutritional deficiencies unless you’re careful to find substitutions for the nutrients lost from the excluded foods.
Should we Avoid Gluten?
A recent study illustrated that gluten increases a person’s risk of death from heart disease and cancer. BUT this increased risk was in people with gluten sensitivity, or that had celiac disease. If you don’t have either, there isn’t any reason to avoid the consumption of gluten.
If this is true, then why are so many people avoiding it by eating a gluten-free diet? As far as I can tell, the experts state that you COULD have either a gluten sensitivity or celiac disease, therefore you should avoid eating gluten.
Signs of Gluten Sensitivity
A paper published by the New England Journal of Medicine advises that several diseases have the root cause as eating gluten:
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Canker sores
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Other Autoimmune Diseases
The list continues…but you get the idea. We have finally hit upon why so many people are eating a gluten-free diet. But should you eliminate gluten from your diet?
A Simple Test for Gluten Sensitivity
There is a very simple test to see if you are sensitive to gluten and need to eliminate it from your diet. This is a great way to show how it affects your body.
For a time period of between two and four weeks, eliminate gluten from your diet; don’t eat ANY bread products, and read the labels of everything to make sure they don’t contain gluten.
At the end of the trial, add gluten products back into your diet, and see how you feel. If the re-introduction of gluten creates any sickness, feeling bad or otherwise “off” physical symptoms, you are sensitive to gluten and should eliminate it from your diet.
Surprise, surprise! The FDA allows companies to lie about gluten labeling…nothing new there, they haven’t exactly endorsed honesty with anything else, right? Gluten is on the FDA’s list of “Generally Recognized As Safe” ingredients, meaning food manufacturers aren’t required to list gluten as an ingredient.
This makes avoiding gluten even more difficult, obviously. One thing you should know is that foods labeled as “gluten-free” are not 100% without gluten. The reason for this is simple: it just isn’t possible to remove all of the proteins from wheat and the other grain sources of gluten.
So, the decision is up to you: avoid gluten or not? Try the test as described above, see how you react to gluten. Then make your decision.