I love bread. Full stop.
In fact, very often, given a choice of cake or a piece of fresh bread with butter and vegemite or peanut butter, I’d choose the bread. I just love savoury.
As I’ve grown older, however, I’ve come to realise that those fluffy white bread cucumber and cress sandwiches are not the healthiest choice I can make, at least the outer casing isn’t.
No, I haven’t given up bread. I’m not yet convinced that I should cut out one food group entirely. It seems unnatural, when carbohydrates are a natural part of many foods, especially vegetables!
But genetics and a sedentary lifestyle mean that I have to make healthier choices. That’s the bottom line! (Sorry!)
So, I look for an artisan, less manufactured, low GI bread with loads of flavour. I have a few favourites, but let’s talk about one of them.
Several years ago I’d discovered a low carb bread, only to have it resurface this year in a new improved version: Herman Brot’s Low Carb bread. This is a darkly coloured bread packed with whole grains and legumes, which comes out on top on every count.
Look at the stats, and it’s even more surprising: a GI index of 24 (that’s in the middle of the Low range), higher fibre than any other bread, very low sugar, 26% protein (fish has 25% and red meat 30%), and just 5% carbs (broccoli has 2% and sweet potato 21%). Made up of wheat protein, wholemeal flour, soy meal, flaxseeds, sunflower seeds and lupine, it’s perfect for sustained blood glucose control, leading to healthy weight loss.
I spoke to Christian Coenen, who invented the bread. Christian told me that at age 54, he’d lost 60kg using the bread as part of a healthy diet. I’m inspired!
So let’s look at how you could include Herman Brot’s Low Carb bread as part of a healthy diet…
This is the easiest meal to sort! With each slice containing 465kj of energy, I find that one slice of bread is enough for me. For breakfast, I’d choose one par-boiled egg or scrambled egg with ½ – 1 slice of Low Carb bread toast fingers to accompany the eggs. Another option would be to top a slice of bread with sliced avocado, rocket, smoked salmon and capers, or sautéed mushrooms and fresh ricotta cheese.
To me, the bread looks perfect for an open sandwich. Little surprise, then, that it’s the bread of choice for Chef Chris Howard, who is reinventing Denmark’s most famous dish, the smørrebrød, in his Surfers Paradise restaurant Delikatessen. (NOTE: Delikatessen closed in June 2015.)
It’s always a joy to see and taste Chef Chris’ creations, served up on wooden platters. Reminiscent of artists’ colour palates, I’m conscious of the mantra ‘eat all the colours’.
Chef Chris tells me that he uses the low carb bread because it’s very filling, so people need to eat less of it. It’s highly accessible to Australians, he says, in comparison to a heavier pumpernickel which middle Europeans prefer.
Chris agrees to show me a few combinations he uses in his restaurant: pork and apple sauce; prawns, yellow beetroot, asparagus and caviar; ham, beetroot, asparagus and egg; roast beef, roast pumpkin and dill. Add edible flowers, a few extra condiments, and you have a feast! Simple, delicious, nutritious and full of flavour. I bet the Vikings’ food didn’t look this pretty!
Most of us would include protein (meat, fish, chicken etc.) and vegetables as part of an evening meal, so perhaps some other ideas for dinner could include using the bread as croutons in a salad with less meat, making soup with a piece of toast on the side, or as croutons in the soup, or use fingers of toast or bread as part of a platter of cold meat or seafood and salad on those hotter nights. Ceviche (raw marinated fish) is an excellent dish for summer. Why not accompany it with a few fingers of toasted Low Carb bread!
So will you ever see me eating other bread? Yes. I’ll always love a fresh sourdough from my local artisan baker, but if I thought first about my health, I’d be eating Herman Brot’s low carb bread more often.
You’ll find the list of stockists on the Herman Brot website here, and to help you along, here’s the recipe I use for gazpacho:
2 1/2 cups freshly diced tomato
½ cup grated onion
1 medium clove garlic, chopped
1 red capsicum, grated and chopped (or finely chopped)
2 small Lebanese cucumbers, grated
2 spring onions, chopped
Large handful of fresh herbs, chopped (parsley, mint, a bit of basil)
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
Juice of 2 limes or lemons
½ tsp cumin
3 tbsp olive oil
750ml bottle V8 vegetable juice (can use low salt or spicy version if you wish)
Blend all ingredients together with half to two-thirds of the V8 juice. (You can add the rest of the juice later.) Season to taste.
Serve with a swirl of olive oil on top and some freshly chopped mint or parsley, and Herman Brot Low Carb bread toast fingers. Enjoy!