Food has become a mystery.
I would argue that most people have no idea what they’re eating. I know this because one way to consider whether a food is healthy or not is to consider the ingredients that make it up. I ask my patients to do this and they look at me as if I’m crazy.
The root of the problem: We’ve stopped cooking.
We’ve been disconnected from our food source. Instead of manipulating it ourselves, we allow the store or factory to do it for us and remain blissfully ignorant.
I have an example: Crackers
Little things like crackers make us feel good about life because we’ve never made them ourselves. We’ve never understood how little they had to offer us (nutritionally) with their white flour, lard/butter, and salt. I think we consider them healthy because they’re missing the sugar that would make them a cookie. Everything else is the same, though.
List of ingredients (actual recipe for ritz crackers):
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 tsp baking powder
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp + another 1/2 tsp salt for topping
- 6 tbsp cold unsalted butter + 3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2/3 cup water
Add more sugar and we’ve got a sugar cookie. These are not the ingredients your body is lacking in order to become healthy. These are what we would call an “empty calories.”
But, enough about crackers!
There are more foods you should consider.
For instance, how many of you readers have actually tried making your own bagels? (Eh? Any of you? See, I’m looking and I don’t see any hands raised.) Or a pretzel? Did you know they’re amazingly similar? The only major difference is what you add to the boiling water. Both start with a yeast bread recipe that’s kneaded and set out to rise. Then, pretzels boil in baking soda water and bagels boil in sugar water. After this crucial step, both of them get baked in the oven. Tada! Major difference explained.
I act pretty confident about this stuff – but the truth is, I’m learning too. A week ago, I had never made a bagel. I had no idea that I would need to boil it in sugar water before baking it. The only difference is: I decided I had been ignorant for long enough. It was time to learn the mystery behind our beloved bagel.
So, I invited over my boyfriend’s mom and we got busy. In fact, she did such a great job helping me, I’m going to name these in her honor…
Recipe: Joan’s Whole Wheat Bagels
- 1 1/2 C warm water (110 degrees F)
- 4 1/2 tsp yeast
- 3 Tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 C bread flour
- 1 1/2 – 2 C whole wheat flour
- 1 egg white + 1 Tbsp water
- 1 Tbsp each: Poppy Seeds, kosher salt, corn meal, oat bran
- Add sugar, yeast, and water to a small bowl and let sit 10 minutes until froth collects on top (this means your yeast has been activated).
- In a separate large bowl sift bread flour, add wheat flour and salt. Make a well and add yeast mixture. Stir to combine.
- Knead 5 minutes with 1/2 C wheat flour to mix in if needed.
- Place in large greased bowl. Cover and let sit for one hour.
- Divide dough and shape into a ball. let relax for 2-3 minutes.
- Flatten each round ball with palm of hand. Press thumb into center of bagel. Pull hole open. Cover with towel and let sit for 10 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
- Bring 2 qt water to boil and add 1 Tbsp (not listed above) sugar to water. Reduce heat and simmer.
- Boil bagels 30 seconds on each side. Place on parchment lined cookie sheet.
- Brush with egg white mixture and sprinkle with topping mixture.
- Bake 20-30 minutes or until bagels golden brown.
A Note to the Diabetics: Bagels are a dense carbohydrate which means they add up quick. These bagels are handy because they can be easily made into mini bagels if you prefer. You’re the one making them. All you have to do is make them smaller. Tada! Mini bagels! A regular size bagel is going to be around 50 grams of carbohydrate and a mini bagel will be around 25 grams. Take this into consideration when you’re planning the rest of your meal.
Easy balanced breakfast idea: Add ham, egg, and cheese to your bagel for a homemade breakfast sandwich. If you have more carbohydrates to spend, consider adding a piece of fruit to complete the meal.
Bagels… mystery uncovered.