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Food / Wine

The anti-Atkins diet

By Sylvie Grifthins

We can eat bread and cheese and drink is good for our health.

" Avec bon pain, bonne chère et bon vin, on peut envoyer promener le médecin. " French saying.

Bread :
Bread is simple: ingredients are flour, water and a raising agent. We eat much less bread than we used to, but it might make a comeback. It is recognised as an essential food for a balanced diet and could even help to lose weight.

bread and cheese   What are the benefits? Lets start with breakfast: a good old slice of bread with jam or cheese is probably better than a bowl of cereal. Apparently processed cereals transform complex glucide (the good ones) that they contain into simple glucide. As a result they contain 20% saturated fat (not a healthy one). Eating bread in the morning has more positive effects: it improves our moods and helps avoid the mid-morning cravings.

Bread brings a good proportion of the glucide's daily requirements, essential to keep the energy level, the real fuel for muscles and the brain. It contains vegetal proteins, fibres, minerals and vitamins. Whole breads and traditional breads are the best.

There are all sorts of bread: so white bread or sourdough?
Sourdough bread is the most nutritious one, but it is considered best to alternate its consumption with white bread.

" Using leaven to make bread is in line with ancestral baking traditions. The baker develops his own ferments without adding yeast. A lump of fermented dough called a "header", kept over from the previous batch, is used as the first link in the long fermentation chain.... It is the leaven that gives Poilâne bread its particular rustic, slightly sharp taste. Its nutritional value is considerable" Poilâne

New technologies

Soon we will be able to find in French bakeries some bread with the famous Omega 3, with anti-oxidising properties. Also bread imported from Crete that is supposed to fight against cardio-vascular disease and to help live longer. And finally bakers are looking at making bread with water from the sea (without the salt!). This bread is interesting for its minerals: calcium, magnesium, and iodine. It is good against stress and tiredness.

It looks like there is no harm in enjoying good food and that Mr Atkins could be wrong telling us not to eat bread.

            Wine :
As everyone knows, alcohol is dangerous for our health but a reasonable consumption of wine every day might be good (one or two small glasses per day). The famous French Paradox has made wine very successful in UK. It is said to be linked to the phenol found especially in red wines, helping to avoid thrombosis in the arteries. Alcohol also helps in avoiding blood clots, similar to aspirin.

Some research might prove that wine helps the production of the hormone oestradiol, used in menopausal treatments. The work of prof. Serge Renaud has shown the anti-oxidising and anti-cancerous effects of resveratrol, a polyphenol found in tannins.

  wine glasses Also wine contains over 300 elements including oligo-elements, vitamins (A, B, and C), minerals, calcium, phosphor, magnesium, sodium, potassium, iron, copper, zinc, manganese, iodine, cobalt, yeast and fructose, dextrose and vegetal proteins. It slows the actions of bacteria and and support the actions of antibiotics.

This said, we could be in very good health without drinking wine! And alcohol is harmful for the health.

          cheeses   Cheese :
Cheese is probably the most ancient form of manufactured food. Its origins go back 10,000 years B.C., when sheep and goats were first domesticated. Shepherds quickly discovered the advantages of fermented milk. Cheese was one of the main foods for Greeks and Romans. Cow's cheese came much later.
In France the Benedictine monks spread the great French cheese tradition, hence the names Saint-Marcellin, Saint-Nectaire,...

Cheese is an essential element for the growth and maintenance of muscles, organs and bones. Its calcium level is high and it is a main source of calcium found in food. Cheese also contains proteins and vitamins: A (growth, vision, skin, anti-infection), B (for good absorption of, lipid and proteins, nervous system), D (growth, against rachitism).

To conclude we would be fools to deprive ourselves. But lets do it reasonably, with moderation.


26/05/2012 - b.glekis said :

Haven’t found any good wheat free bread recipes yet (they seem grttiy or just, something’s wrong), have been looking because my mother is gluten intolerant.Will keep looking, for both of you, and hope that anyone reading this may be able to help.

30/03/2010 - thx3026 said :

i could quite happilylive on these three things with a nice bowl of rocket/watercress salad...mmmmmmmmmmm but for years i've struggled with my weight and have restricted all 3..........maybe i'm wrong, maybe i'd be better off listening to my body??????????

29/01/2009 - raehoward7 said :

Hi, I totally agree that bread (and wine and cheese) are good for the body and soul. But would recommend making your own bread in a breadmaker/by hand/artisan baker (try food markets in the UK for artisan bakers).
Typical commercial bread has up to 20 ingredients, most of them chemicals!
I cannot eat supermarket bread, it gives me a huge stomach ache and weight gain. But I can eat my own homemade bread and not put on weight from a healthy portion. I think there's a clue here!...


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