Give us our daily bread
This is in the Lord’s Prayer and where ever you live in the world, bread could be an important part of your diet.
A world authority on the Mediterranean diet
Dr. Miguel Angel Martinez is considered the world’s greatest authority on the Mediterranean diet. He was born in Malaga in 1957. In 1998 he went to Harvard University, asking for advice on how to prepare a report on a piece of medical research. This developed into something he could not have imagined at that time.
He now gives classes as an associate professor at the same university where Bill Gates, John F. Kennedy, and Mark Zuckerberg studied.
During Obama’s time as president, Dr. Martinez studies on the Mediterranean diet were used in government initiatives for nutrition. Nowadays there is not much left of this nutritional guideline, which is considered one of the healthiest you can eat.
Now it appears the focus is on hamburger and fast food. Just imagine, the leader of a country, who hosts winning athletes with specific diet requirements, offering them “take out hamburgers” as a celebratory dinner.
The importance of your cardiovascular health
Dr. Martinez studied medicine in Granada, and first specialized in cardiology. Then he realized he was more interested in cardiovascular prevention.
In 1996 he received a visit from the vice-chancellor of the Navarra University and was asked if he would accept the opportunity to set up an Epidemiology and Public Health Unit. He accepted and in the beginning; he was the only one working there. Now there are 30 professionals from the University collaborating on his projects.
Dr. Martinez continues his work in Spain, where he teaches in Spanish and English and visits Harvard 3 to 4 times a year, while also doing many weekly video conferences.
In the beginning, he was quite a skeptic, but he is now, more than ever, convinced of the benefits of the Mediterranean diet. With many macro-research projects, one with over 23.000 volunteers and 100 million pieces of data, compiled over a decade, he has published over 700 scientific articles.
Recently he and his research group published a study in the British Medical Journal, which concluded that eating too much-processed foods gives a higher risk of mortality.
The unethical behavior of food companies
There are food companies who buy scientists, so unhealthy products get an OK and then are sold to the public. Dr. Martinez said he refuses to have anything to do with that. What the tobacco industry was 50 years ago, is now part of the food industry and is even worse. He has voiced that eating more fruits and vegetables is the right thing to do.
Sugary drinks, processed meats, like sausages and burgers, and sweets made in a factory, are to be avoided. In Spain, people eat too much white bread and the quality of the bread is not the same anymore. These viewpoints have not made Dr. Martinez very popular with certain sectors of the food industry, but he is adamant and sticks to his opinions.
Obesity is on the rise
The American government finances a big part of his research. America has a serious obesity problem, and 40% of the population has this problem. 10% of adult American women are already candidates for bariatric surgery.
What happened in America 15 years ago is now being visible in Spain too. He grew up on the traditional Mediterranean diet and with a height of 1.78 meters (5ft,10in) and a weight of 70 Kilos (154 lbs) since he was 17 years old; he is a good example of the benefits of this diet.
Here, in this YouTube video, you can see what bariatric surgery can do for you.
The habit of eating bread in Spain
In Spain, the eating of bread at each meal is something very normal. Bread made from flour, yeast, and water is something which has been consumed for 10.000 years. In the Mediterranean area, there have been guilds of bakers for over 750 years. They founded the bakers guild in Barcelona in the year 1200 AD.
In Spain, there is a saying: Si no hay pan, no hay comida. It means, without bread, it is not a meal.
A very famous bakery
In the city of Algatocín, in the Provence of Malaga, you can find a place called the Panaderia Pina. This is an artisan bakery which makes 30 varieties of bread. The public especially likes the one made of wheat and spelt. Quality bread is a bread which is given time to ferment, and the total process can take up to 5 hours.
Juan Manuel Moreno who is the manager of this bakery can boast of being the creator of the most expensive bread in the world. Would you like to pay 117 Euros for one loaf? Probably not, but you must know that it is made with the following ingredients: Wheat, sunflower seeds, dried honey and 250 milligrams of edible gold.
Here in Andalucia, quite a few different types of bread are eaten, often made with trigo duro or durum wheat. Eating bread in the morning, snack at midday before lunch, lunchtime, afternoon snack before dinner, and dinner, which is usually quite late. In the warm summer months, people will finally sit down to have dinner at 21.00, 22.00, or even later. 2 of the most popular bread are the Antequera Mollete and Cateto bread.
The Mollete bread is soft crumb bread and might have its origin in the unleaved bread used in the past for the mass and of Hebrew origin. This is the bread which is often used to soak up the virgin olive oil, a little salt, and sometimes tomato and or garlic. The Cateto bread, meaning farmers bread, has a hard crust and inside it is light brown in color even though it is white bread.
This book holds a warning
I think the title says it all. The dangerous truth about a food chain gone haywire. This journalist tells you the plain facts about food-borne illness. All the importing and exporting, processing, packaging, and distribution of food has led to an exposure to many and dangerous microbes and pathogens. This is not a “nice” read but a very necessary one if you are interested in maintaining good health.
The World Health Organization
The good, old-fashioned made bread with wholesome ingredients, meaning no added chemicals to speed up the fermentation process, is healthy. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends eating 250 grams of bread a day. It is high in carbohydrates which are needed by the body as fuel. It holds many vitamins like protein, iron, zinc, magnesium, potassium, niacin, vitamin B2, folic acid, and vitamin B6.
Wholemeal flours or whole-grains have higher content in fiber, but you will still find a good amount of fiber in white bread as well. Personally, I will have bread for breakfast and seldom at other mealtimes during the day. I will make the occasional exception at the time of year when the tomatoes are ripe, as I love Gazpacho, the famous cold soup.
This is a YouTube video of how to make homemade bread.
David Llamas participated in the national bread-making competition and was very surprised he became sub champion. From the time he was small, he loved to be in the kitchen. At the age of 10 years, he made his first loaves of bread.
He states that there are many factors that have an influence on bread making. The total atmosphere, the humidity, the way how you knead the dough, all has its importance, even your mood will determine if the bread you are making will come out well.
No need to say that the better the ingredients, the better the result will be. Clean flour means no GMO wheat and you need real yeast, not some chemical substitute. You will also need patience, a lot of patience.
For those who are Gluten sensitive, I have a nice PDF on Gluten-free bread. In case you are interested, you can contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be happy to forward it to you.
I believe this is something that has to do with our toxic life. In old times, people had no problem eating bread from healthy wheat.
Then Monsanto introduced Roundup in the 1970s and started spraying it all over the place. Monsanto genetically modified wheat and other grains to make them resistant to the poison they produced. The fact is that GMO wheat does not make the bread healthier. In total, Gluten sensitivity has been on the rise since.
I have made a special page for you with a collection of this you might find interesting. Before you leave, pay a visit to Recommendations.
Source: Newspaper SUR, 16 April 2019 article on bread by Esperanza Pelaez, Wikipedia, SUR in English, July 12th to 18th 2019 article on Dr. Miguel Angel Martinez by Ester Requena
Photo Source: Pixabay
Spain is known for lovely food. As long as we stick to tradition, all seems to be going well. But hamburgers and co are here to stay and are influencing the health of the people. Spain made it to the top of the Bloomberg list, which is nice of course. I do not know if they will maintain this place, time will tell. You might like to read the following post.