Did you ever stop to think about how deeply in love Americans are with the idea of the sandwich? It didn’t much occur to me until the past year when I’ve come up against an unconscious backlash of clients who need to go gluten-free (or simply need to really clean up their diet) and still want every meal to revolve around a sandwich. We’re all so in love with bagels, breakfast muffins, bread, rolls, etc that we cannot seem to function if a sandwich isn’t upon the horizon of food options. So, I’m casting out my vote to denounce the tremendous hypnotic hold of the sandwich and ask that we all reconsider it’s place in our diets for the betterment of the personal and national waistline.
It all began here as a kid – Peanut Butter & Jelly sandwiches on white bread with a big glass of milk. We were trained meal-by-meal how to love the concept of the sandwich. And how could you not? I certainly did. PB & J and grilled cheese sandwiches were staples for many years of my life. Even in adulthood, everything seems to taste better as a sandwich. Perhaps part of this comes from our on-the-go culture that doesn’t seem to have time to bother with utensils. Or maybe you feel like good bread just makes a meal that much better.
Either way, I take issue with the myriad of excuses that people hide behind to avoid shifting sandwiches to the dietary backseat. Enough’s enough. There’s a world of dishes and meals out there that don’t require two flat pieces of baked goods propping them up. This also includes veganized versions of regular sandwiches that honestly disgust me. Sorry, but vegan and vegetarian options don’t necessarily make it any healthier.
Part of the problem stems from the fact that most of us aren’t seeking out the best quality, highest fiber and least refined loaf of locally baked bread. I’m certainly not now that my life circumstances changed so that I became gluten-free, but it wasn’t always this way for me. I used to eat regular wheat breads and baked goods. And I honestly still do eat some gluten-free alternatives on infrequent occasions. However when I was diagnosed with a sensitivity to gluten, the first thing to go was bread. At the time, gluten-free breads were awful. In fact, one client commented to me that I needed to more forcefully stress how bad gluten-free breads were to forewarn others.
Honestly, they were that bad back then. For that reason, they completely disappeared from my plate for the last couple of years since I found gluten-free bread to be so unappetizing. And you know what? A former self-proclaimed bread addict was just fine creating new meal options that didn’t involve bread. Sure there were times where I needed to get creative and other times where I just, frankly, needed to pick up my fork. I went from hand-held eating apparatus to delicious bowl-centered meals that required utensils in order to indulge (and more slowly, I might add!).
Yes, I do eat bread. There are some great options out there now that I occasionally enjoy, but occasionally is the key word here. For example, I bought two loaves of gluten-free bread back in November and I’ve still got half of one left in my freezer. That’s a good five months of slowly using gluten-free bread. In fact, I’d often not remember that it was in there because it’s not at the top of my list of foods to eat since fiber content of gluten free bread generally isn’t fantastic.
I realize that you may feel a sense of panic rising up with the thought of making this sort of dietary change, but please know that I do this from a place of real concern. There are too many people struggling with stubborn weight loss and other metabolic issues to NOT say anything about it. Consider your personal situation. Maybe bread and baked goods have got to go for awhile until you can get your eating on track. Here’s some points to consider that might help you to begin breaking up with bread.
Six Reasons to give Sandwiches the Backseat
1. You don’t need the extra calories and starches in your diet. Your waistline will thank you.
2. Using utensils help you to slow down, more fully enjoy your meal and eat less calories since you’ll feel full faster.
3. There’s too much junk added to bread and baked goods these days including HFCS (high fructose corn syrup). I dare you to find a bread without added sugars. It’s quite hard.
4. Bread’s addicting. Sometimes you’ve just got to cut the cord and let it go.
5. It’s a poor excuse to eat whole grains. Real whole grains look like …well …whole grains. Try eating them that way and you’ll be sure to reap much more of their nutritional benefits.
6. A sandwich is not the only way to eat a meal. You will survive. I promise.
With all that said, are you a bread addict?
What’s your feelings on sandwiches and have you been able to cut the cord?