Monday, June 28, 2010

To bread or not to bread...

M and I were having a debate over the levy added on to wheat flour. This article 'Bread verses Rice: Choice verses National Interest' explains the reason for the decision by the Government. I heard the same debate over the radio with a DJ griping about this decision and that it is his 'human right' to have bread if he wanted to. Right.

I am impassive about this though M was quite irked. To me, bread is not a necessity. We as a family do consume it on some mornings, and I too bought a fancy sunflower loaf from Sensal just the other day (very nice by the way), but I really feel bread (white wheat) was never a part of our diet before (and I mean long long ago) so why are we so dependent on it now?

Leaving aside bread is more a health reason for me. I was told that chemicals were added to make the break super-white, which is as per the case of Prima sliced bread. And how can bread me so fabulously white and perfect anyway?

We took a trip to Trincomalee recently and the Prima factory (of Singaporean origin, established in the 60's ?!) loomed over each view you can possibly have of the Trinco harbor. It is virtually windowless and one wonders what mechanics and strategies go into making sure the current monopoly stands.

Though M says nay to the levy, maybe long term, we'll get back into the Green grams and the Chick peas diet. Preparation maybe a cow, but still, think of the health benefits, vitamins, minerals... you name it. No fancy packaging or 'added' benefits, its just all natural. And there has to be ways of using gram powder in to making other products like rotis and even bread right? Why not substitute rather than complain...

Of course this post of completely unreferenced, but I read that "The USDA's food pyramid is a good, practical place to start when choosing your high-carb foods. It shows 6 to 11 daily servings of grains, 2 to 4 servings of fruit, 3 to 5 servings of vegetables, and 2 to 3 servings of dairy products (along with small amounts of meat, poultry, or fish)....Limit your intake of highly refined, low-fiber grain products such as white bread." That sounds like good common sense.

Plus, bread disintegrates into sugar and little energy. I make it a point to have oats in the morning and this
digests more slowly and have innumerable positive effects starting from controlling blood sugar to making sure you won't snack mid-way.

I do sometimes come off as a health nut, but I believe what you put in, you put out. I see my boss guffawing rolls and buns in the morning at work, 'Chinese' basmati rice during lunch, sitting throughout the day and complaining of his terrible gastritis
later on. I can't really peg him as a prime example of habitual deterioration of health, and everything should be in moderation, but maybe a levy would make bread a special treat for him, and other Sri Lankans too. I sort of think this is what it should intend to be, plus kola kenda and kawpi doesn't sound too bad either.


  1. Totally agree with you Dee, white bread just turns into sugar and you get nothing bbut empty calories. BUT green gram costs Rs. 242/kg and chick peas about 160/kg. My saklary is ok, but how are the less fortunate to eat healthy?

  2. Basmathi is supposed to be pretty good if you're a diabetic. :)

    I agree that commodity prices are way too high, even for locally grown produce. I wonder where all the money goes, since farmers don't seem to be getting any of it. :(

    Another rather concerning fact is our powdered milk intake. My parents always talk about how, when they were small, the milkman would come and deliver a bottle or two of fresh milk every morning. We might be the only country in the world where healthy people consume so much powdered milk! :D

  3. @ Chavie : this basmathi idea has gone viral, with most diabetics clutching onto it like a drowning man to a straw. What the original research showed that unhusked parboiled rice (thambapu haal) is good for diabetics, because the nutrients and fiber in the husk go to the rice. The best was reported to be the naadu variety (you know, the one that smells and tastes a little dodgy).

    Of course everyone ignored the naadu, and jumped on the basmathi, because it tastes good! (What a bonanza for colombo 7 diabetics) What happens next is that diabetics eat larger quantities (bigger portion size) of the yummy basmathi and their control goes for a six. :S

  4. @angel - yeah i didn't go into economics because pricing for local produce is crazy. its crazier when nestle takes green gram, puts it into Nestum and markets it back to us. lol. Anyway, maybe with this move, and the gov plans for new harvests plus the opening up of new harvestable land in the North and North East, we can look at some sort of self sufficiency? even if it mean tightening our belts and likes for some time?

    @chavie - really? o.O my mum is diabetic and only takes red rice. basmathi is so white and fattening :I :I

  5. Angel - I had no idea. :S I know what you mean about people eating more because they're eating basmathi! :D

    Dee - My dad eats red rice too, since it's difficult to eat large portions of that. :)

  6. Good post...well...i dont really see my self moving away from bread even with the price hike...:S, it has become the average joes diet, if it were to change i think it shud also be initiated from the supply as well not just the demand, where more choices become available at small shops etc.

    For example the place we go out to get a snack or breakfast only has bakery products cigarettes and plan tea...:D