Our version of eating healthily is all about finding vegetable-loaded healthy recipes that we like just as much as their non-healthy counter-parts (creative, I know).* Basil pesto loaded down with a pound of parmesan cheese is phenomenal. But so is this kale-walnut pesto with flax-seed oil and no parmesan (really, trust me). Regular pancakes are tasty, but these pancakes made out of oatmeal flour and bananas are even better. Buttered pasta is generally hard to beat, but whole-wheat pasta with roasted broccoli, onions, and sundried tomatoes tends to do the trick.** Peanut-butter and homemade honey-blueberry jam oatmeal is better than cereal any day of the week. You get the drift.
Unfortunately, with whole-wheat bread, I’ve encountered some obstacles. Sure, whole wheat bread is fine. But it’s just never as good as that soft, fluffy, stick-to-the-roof of your mouth, classic loaf of white Italian bread found at the store. And there’s the rub. Every time I ate our whole-wheat dinner bread or sandwich bread, I wished I was eating white Italian bread. Until last week, that is, when I made the most amazing discovery: white whole wheat flour!!
Unlike many things in the world of healthful eating, white whole wheat flour really is as good and incredible as it sounds. Nutritionally, white whole wheat flour is identical to whole wheat flour; just as in whole wheat flour, white whole wheat flour is made from the whole grain, bran, germ, and endosperm. The only difference is that white whole wheat is made from white wheat and traditional whole wheat is made from red wheat. So, again, nutritionally, there’s no difference. But in taste, it’s worlds apart: it’s softer, milder, almost sweeter. As far as I’m concerned, it’s a fantastic replacement for regular white sandwich bread, tortillas, and Italian bread (I’m sure it’s good for a lot more, too, but we haven’t made anything else, yet).
A lifelong committing to eating healthily on a consistent basis is extremely, extremely hard; there’s no getting around it. That commitment requires untold amounts of vegetable chopping, always having pounds of vegetables and fruits in your refrigerator and freezer, and a lot (really, a lot) of time, effort, and planning. On a nightly basis. And that’s just the physical aspect of it. Mentally, it’s even harder to convince yourself after a long day that you’d rather spend 20 minutes chopping pounds of broccoli, onions, kale, sundried tomatoes and so on and so forth—and then cleaning the plethora of oily dishes—instead of one minute drizzling olive oil and parmesan cheese over comforting, familiar, white pasta noodles.
So while we’re committed in spirit, we’re not always quite as committed in action, especially after a bad day, or even just a Monday. But crafting healthy meals that are even more delicious than their alternatives allows us to most successfully quash our temptations and stand by our commitment. Thanks to white whole wheat flour, the battle presented by white breads (and the white pasta that inevitably has to accompany the bread) just got a lot easier to resist.
*In moderation, of course. Ice cream truly has no acceptable replacement.
**After whole wheat bread, whole wheat pasta is the hardest cross to bear. That cross became a little lighter with our recent revelation that whole wheat pasta cannot be substituted willy-nilly for white pasta: you have to treat it differently. Whole wheat pasta with plain butter or a plain tomato sauce doesn’t work. Whole wheat pasta dishes with lots of vegetables and beans and olive-oil, or walnut-kale pestos, or pureed butternut squashes, though, are quite excellent.