My Wheaty Belly

I am typing this as a beached whale would – stretched out on the couch, a smattering of flour on my navy dress blessed with a loose waist, wallowing in the delightful fullness that only bread can bring.

Walking home from work I passed the source of all temptation – the bakery. Not just any bakery, but THE source of THE sourdough (http://arunbakery.ie/). I emerged with the French baguette in my handbag, brushing up close to my mouth. I toyed with the idea of biting the top off in the street, but my mother raised me not to walk and eat so I just about hung on until I got home.

Once the door closed, it was ripped open and a chunk of the soft, squidy centre flesh was devoured. 4 minutes later it was filled with Aldi’s Finest Goat’s Cheese, Beetroot, Rocket, Cherry Tomatoes, Walnuts and squeeze of lemon juice.

As I ripped and tore with my teeth, licking stray juices from my fingers, I reasoned that the effort in eating this wonder was surely a a significant negative calorie expenditure. However, even it wasn’t, it was a bloody enjoyable experience.

I have ambivalent feelings about the sliced pan. Soda bread is only good an hour or 2 out of the oven. Sourdough and fresh yeasty, crusty bread are my only bread vices. If I eat, I will eat brown.  I see more and more patients who don’t eat bread. They are not coeliacs, they don’t have a quantifiable allergy to gluten. But they’re sensitive to it, and feel better off it. While I am being flippant about my bread fullness, it’s the pleasurable sensation of satiety, not the uncomfortable bloating that many describe.

Despite what some claim, a gluten free diet is not a successful weight loss strategy, and may even carry some problems, so going off bread and some other gluten sources should only be done to relieve uncomfortable gastrointestinal symptoms. And that’s only after you’ve been properly tested for coeliac disase.

A couple of recent publications on those with gluten sensitivity but are not coeliacs have reopened the debate. The blog of the American Gastroenterology Association has a nice summary of one. The FODMAPs diet is something I will return to in this blog.

But for the time being, I am going to enjoy bread. And unless you’re coeliac, you should think long and hard about stopping it. Like all the wonderfully tasty carbs, you should choose more brown — bread, rice, pasta – fibre is good, people.

[Coeliacs should be members of the Irish Coeliac Society – http://www.coeliac.ie/ – superb value membership for the amount of support, information and help]