By John Schlageck, Kansas Farm Bureau
No doubt it’s the holiday season because my thoughts turn to food and all of the wonderful homemade dishes of this time of year. I do enjoy the great fellowship with family and friends, but alas, what would the holidays be without something good to eat?
I love it all – turkey with dressing, ham and cranberries, mashed potatoes, green beans, wonderful cheeses and probably my favorite, freshly baked breads hot out of the oven. And who could forget all the wonderful pies, tarts, cookies, butter brickle and other desserts.
I can smell them now. If only I could eat some. I especially enjoy the crunchy crust of the heel.
You’ll never convince me bread isn’t the staff of life, healthy for you and so good. Some physicians, diet conscious individuals and health fanatics, however, have stopped eating bread. They contend it is fattening and unhealthy.
Quite the opposite is true if you visit with some nutritionists, bakers, physicians and those associated with culinary delights – you know the cooks and people who spend hours in the kitchen cooking, baking or outside grilling wonderful food.
Bread is good for us. Bread is low in calories, high in fiber and starches, an excellent source of protein and it contains vitamins and minerals our bodies need.
Bread belongs in our diets. Always has. Always will.
Two slices of bread contain only 140 to 150 calories. In today’s health conscious society, many individuals foresee bread only as a source of carbohydrates, but bread is much, much more.
Most nutritionists and health professionals believe our current dietary practices need this bread and other cereal grain products. Complex carbohydrates appear to be a valuable supplement in the management of disease. They can also improve physical endurance and mental alertness.
For decades, the United States has shown a tremendous decline in per capita use of flour. At one time, Americans consumed approximately 200 pounds per person. That figure has dropped to approximately 100 pounds.
If the American public would realize bread and other cereal grains are healthy they might increase the use of these products in their diets. Such a change could help increase the sales of wheat-based foods that in turn would help Kansas and American farmers.
By the way, please pass me another hot roll along with the butter and jam.
John Schlageck is a leading commentator on agriculture and rural Kansas. Born and raised on a diversified farm in northwestern Kansas, his writing reflects a lifetime of experience,