Say Bye Bye To Bread

As a trainer and nutritionist I always start to clean up a client’s diet by removing bread. Reactions to this are often mixed, so I shall summarise my reasons below.

caution-bread-loafBread has for decades been seen to be healthy, appearing in vast portions on the old food pyramid which has been used by dieticians and nutritionists since 1992, based on the earliest food recommendations from 1894.

This is now known to be due to an overproduction of wheat which caused us to be encouraged to consume more wheat and therefore bread in order not to waste the wheat.

Since 2011 this was replaced with a food plate which has fewer grains and doesn’t mention bread at all. In spite of this we are still led to believe bread is part of a healthy diet and are bombarded with health adverts involving bread. Even popular health magazines and TV programs actually advise clients to eat bread.

During the Paleo era prior to farming, before grains and flour production, humans managed to sustain themselves and reproduce without bread, pasta and wheat in their diets until the Neolithic era 8,000 BC. Although farming methods have changed drastically with the cultivation of crops, domestication of animals and mass producing food, our genes are still remarkably similar to that of our Paleo ancestors.

Whilst grains are good for you; oats are especially good for the heart, refined grains cause a sugar spike similar to that of consuming raw sugar, meaning that any excess sugar not used by the body is stored as fat.

Too much glucose in the blood causes the release of free radicals which cause damage to the muscle tissue, wrinkles and premature aging. A diet rich in antioxidants is necessary to combat this.

Along with the sugar spike there is also an insulin spike, which is needed to store the excess sugar. Frequent insulin spikes have been linked to Type 2 diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure and various other diseases due to the cells becoming resistant to insulin.

Homemade whole meal bread would take a couple of hours to bake. However shop made bread takes around 30 minutes. The yeast is only partially fermented, meaning that it continues the fermentation process in your gut.

The quantity of carbohydrates found in bread is too high for the average sedentary person. A regular exerciser hoping to put on muscle may need to increase the carb intake but a non-exerciser will simply store fat after eating excess carbs. A meal rich in vegetables will be more nutritious, full of vitamins, valuable minerals and antioxidants

Wholegrain shop made bread contains high levels of phytates which make zinc and iron and other macro nutrients un-absorbable. It is therefore impossible to obtain the full benefit of a nutritious meal, and will have to consume more of the foods in order to gain some benefit.

Lectins also are found in whole grains and increase gut permeability. This allows toxins in to the blood and can cause acne and multiple sclerosis.

Most people have heard of endorphins and the good effects they have on the body, but cereal grains and also dairy contain exorphins. This has a negative effect, causing mood changes and addictiveness. They are essentially opoids, proteins produced from the digestion of gluten, and due to their addictiveness can cause obesity.

As food production techniques have become increasingly more advanced, gluten intolerant individuals have increased in numbers. Up to half the population are sensitive to gluten to some degree, with 1% being Coeliacs. Such individuals can have the following symptoms:

Joint aches
Bone pain
Abdominal pain
Low nutrient absorption
Short stature
Premature balding

Even though over 10 years has shown that salt levels have come down by an average of 20%. Approximately 75% of the salt consumed in the UK and other developed countries come from processed foods. In the UK bread forms a large part of our diet and so the high salt levels are a health issue.

Thankfully bread bakers have gradually reduced the levels of salt in their products, preventing 2,400 strokes and heart attack events each year, but more can be done.

Lastly a little known fact, that supermarket bread is often injected with fat to ensure it keeps its shape. The perfectly pliable dough is enhanced with L-Cysteine which is extracted from feathers. Due to relaxed labelling rules, these ingredients do not have to appear on the label, and so often the buyer is unaware.

If giving up bread is too difficult and depressing to contemplate, try baking your own at home, with the best ingredients you can afford. Be sparing with your salt, try a gluten free flour if possible, bake slowly and consume in small amounts, ideally after exercise with a portion of protein.

Alternatively try root or leafy vegetables, baked potatoes, sweet potatoes, squash, marrow, broccoli, the list goes on…

Garlic Rolls with Sesame and Coriander

I had these rolls at a friends place and couldn’t resist asking her for the recipe. I followed her recipe mostly but as my aim this year is to have  more leisure time – I used a store bought bread mix with yeast to save time.  Hope that you will try out my version and let me know how the rolls turned out.   Try out these rolls instead of plain rolls next time you have soup.

Ingredients for 8 Rolls:
Cooking time 20 minutes but requires preparation.

500 grams ready mixed bread flour ( Easily available at all supermarkets)
2-3 tablespoons of olive oil
350 mls of warm water
2 tablespoons of sesame seeds

For the Garlic butter:

50 grams of butter
3-4 cloves of finely grated garlic
a small bunch of fresh coriander


1.  Add a tablespoon of Olive oil to the Bread mix with 350 mls of warm water.

2. Knead until you get a smooth dough.

(Please follow the recipe on the bread mix packet)

3. Transfer the dough into a clean dish and cover with a dish cloth. Allow it to rise for 40-45 minutes. The dough will double its initial size.

4. Whilst the dough is rising make the garlic spread : Mix the butter and the finely grated garlic to it. Add some coriander to the mixture and keep it at room temperature.

5. After 45 minutes, mix the bread dough so that the air is knocked out.

6. Divide the dough into 2 portions.

7. Roll out the first portion dough into a square of about half inch thick.

8.  Spread the garlic spread on the rolled out dough.

9.   Roll in the rectangle dough to form a cylinder shape (Similar to a swiss roll).

10. Divide the roll into two equal parts.

11. Now divide the 2 halves into 2 again giving you four pieces.

12. Place the rolls with the cut side up in the greased cake tin.

13. Repeat the same procedure for the remaining dough. Or you can add sesame seeds to make a different variety. Sometimes – I have also added jalapeños or sun dried tomatoes at this stage to give the bread an interesting taste.


14. Apply any remaining garlic butter to the rolls and sprinkle some sesame seeds .

15. Cover the rolls for a further 20 minutes. The rolls will raise again.

16. Cook the rolls at a temperature of 180 degrees C.

17. Bake the rolls for 20 – 25 minutes.

18 . The aroma of garlic bread will fill your kitchen and I promise you that you will fall in love with the rolls.

19. These rolls taste great on their own or with hot soup.

Dholl Puri – Mauritian Flatbread


Delicious  flat breads with a spicy aromatic lentil filling.

Preparation time- 30 minutes
Cooking time -30 minutes
Serves 4


For filling:

120 grams/ 4 oz yellow split peas, soaked in water overnight
1 teaspoon salt
2 green chillies finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh coriander finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon  toasted cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder

For Dough:

240 grams / 8 oz wheat flour
1 cup water( use only as much as required)
1 tablespoon oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons oil for cooking dholl puri
1 tablespoon flour for rolling .


1. Place the soaked split peas in a large pan and bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer until split peas are cooked but not mushy.(Should be al dente)
2. Throughly drain the cooked split peas and coarsely grind them.Transfer them to a large bowl, add the salt, turmeric, ground cumin, cumin seeds,chillies and coriander. Mix well and keep a side.
3. In another bowl add the flour, 1 tablespoon oil and the salt, mix well  and gradually add a little water at a time to make a soft pliable dough.
4. Cover the dough and leave for 30 minutes.
5.After 30 minutes divide the dough into 8 balls.
6.Taking one ball at a time flatten it to form a 3 inch disc.Add a tablespoon of the mixture into the centre of the disc and bring all the edges together to encase the filling inside the dough.
7. Flatten the filled dough ball and roll it out gently on a floured surface as thin as you can get it approx 3-5 mm thick.
8. Heat a rolled skillet when it is hot place the rolled puri onto the pan, wait 1 minute and flip it.
9. Brush a little oil on top of the puri and flip it again.
10. Brush oil onto this side  and wait 1 minute  for underneath to cook before flipping  to cook the second oiled side.
11. Puri is cooked when brown spots appear on both sides.
12.Repeat for all the dough.

Serve with Lima Bean Stew.

Touarits – Tunisian Stuffed Semolina Bread

Crispy Tunisian style stuffed semolina bread with a spicy vegetarian harissa filling.

Preparation time 30 minutes
Dough Resting time 1.5 hours
Cooking time -25 minutes
Makes 5


240 g / 8 oz fine semolina

1 teaspoon fast acting yeast

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1 tablespoon oil

1/2 -1 cup warm water( use as much as required)

1 tablespoon plain flour for kneading and dusting.


1 medium carrot finely shredded

1 red onion finely chopped

1/4 red capsicum finely diced

1/4 yellow capsicum finely diced

2 medium tomatoes de seeded and finely diced

1 tablespoon harissa paste – Tunisian chilli paste( add more or less to taste)

1/4 teaspoon  cayenne pepper

1/3 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon olive oil


1. In a large bowl add the semolina, salt, sugar and yeast and stir together.

2. Add the oil and add a little water at a time until you have a soft pliable dough.

3. Knead the dough for 5 minutes, cover and place inside the bowl.Cover and leave in a warm place to prove for 1 hour.

4.To make the filling , heat oil in  pan and sauté the onions in it, once the onions soften slightly add the capsicums and grated carrot and sauté for about 5 minutes until both carrots and capsicums are cooked.

5. Add the diced tomatoes, salt, cayenne pepper and the harissa paste and sauté for 3-4 minutes until the filling is thick and almost dry.

6. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.

7.On a floured surface knock the air out of the dough and knead for 3-4 minutes, divide the dough into 10 parts and keep aside.

8. On a floured surface pat out two of the dough balls to form 3 inch circles.

9. Take a generous spoonful of the filling and place it in the centre of one of the dough discs.

10. Cover this with the second dough disc and using your thumb press the edges down to seal them.

11. Take a fork and make indentations around the edge to further seal the edges and make a pattern. Repeat for remaining parts of dough.

12. Place the bread rolls onto an oiled baking tray and cover with a cloth. Leave aside for 20 minutes.

13. Preheat an oven to 180 degrees C/ 375  degrees F. Bake the Touarits for about 25-30 minutes until crisp and golden brown.

14. Remove from the oven and transfer them to a wire rack to cool.

Serve with soup

Pizza Bread

Delicious savoury bread with italian pizza flavours.

Preparation time – 20 minutes
Cooking time – 40 Minutes
Serves 4


240 grams / 8 oz wholemeal flour
240 grams / 8 oz plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/2 cup yogurt
1/2 cup cheddar cheese grated
1 teaspoon italian seasoning
Pinch of chilli flakes
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons pizza sauce (homemade or shop bought)
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
2 spring onions finely chopped
6 cherry tomatoes halved
1/2 green pepper finely diced
1 teaspoon salt
200ml water


1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C/400 degees F
2. Spray/grease the bread tin.
3. In a pan add 1 tablespoon oil and heat it up, fry the onions and green pepper in the oil for 2-3 minutes.
4. Add the pizza sauce, salt, chilli flakes and italian seasoning and tomatoes mix well. Remove from heat and cool.
5. In a big bowl, sieve flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda. Add cheese, yogurt, olive oil , vinegar and the vegetable mix and combine with a spoon.
6. Add water little at a time and gently mix everything together. (Only add enough water to make a dropping consistency mixture)
7. Pour the mixture into the prepared bread tin and smooth the top.
8. Bake in a preheated oven for 40 minutes or until top is golden brown. Test if done by inserting a skewer in the bread, if it comes out clean it’s ready.
8. Remove from oven and allow to cool before slicing.

Serve with garlic butter.

Roti Canai: Malaysian Flaky Flat Bread

Flaky Malaysian flat breads that are delicious with curry or pickle

Preparation time: 30 minutes
Resting time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Serves: 4


2 cups All purpose flour
1 egg or 2 tablespoons natural yoghurt
2 tablespoon cooking oil for dough
4 tablespoons for cooking the Roti Canai and kneading the dough
Salt to taste
Water for kneading


1. Place the flour in a large bowl, add 2 tablespoons oil , salt and the yoghurt . Mix together.
2. Add water a little at a time and make a very soft dough.
3. Knead the dough for 2-3 minutes and place it in the bowl.Cover the dough with a little oil. Cover the bowl with a muslin cloth or tea towel  and leave to rest for 30 minutes.
4. Remove the dough from the bowl and knead again for 2-3 minutes, divide the dough into 8 parts.
5. On a clean work surface smear a little oil , pat out one of the dough portions into a circle gradually making it larger and stretching it to make it  almost paper thin.
Check this video out for the authentic way to make these Roti Canai.

6. Once the dough is almost stretched into a 12 inch by 12 inch square, smear some oil over the dough,fold the top edge over to the centre, then fold the bottom edge over to overlap the top edge trapping air in between the layers.
7. Next Fold the open edge  from the right side to meet in the centre and then fold the left side over the right side. You should now have a perfectly formed square shaped Roti Canai.
8. Heat a frying pan when it is warm place the Roti Canai on it and wait 1 minute. Flip it over and smear some oil  on top of it. Flip it again to cook the oiled side. Smear some oil on the top again and flip it once more.
9. Roti Canai is ready when both sides turn slightly golden with brown specks. Remove from pan and repeat for rest of dough.