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A Calorie Dispute – and a Bread to Go With It

I HATE the word calories. To me, calories do the same for food as a calculator does for a novel; adding a bunch of numbers without context and ignoring what really matters in the content.

It is January and time for new year resolutions in action after a Holiday packed with good food and traditional dining. I’d say it’s pretty common to gain a few pounds during Christmas. Which I believe is a good sign, it proves you actually enjoyed the extra luxury that comes with the season. But not everybody would agree with me on that. Some people are obsessed with calories and sweat by the sight of a bacon strip.

Are you one of those who start January off with ascetic promises about minimal calorie intake and high work out intensity? Who try to punish yourself for your indulgences during the Holiday season? Who dedicatedly join the gym with all the other new-year-new-life enthusiasts thinking you’re actually going to be slimmer, more fit and happier within a month or two?

Here’s an encouraging diet outlook for you; After a month, half of all the enthusiasts drop out. After 2 months, another half give up. Not you? Well, I bet the people remaining in the gym after three months are mainly those who were there already before Christmas.

And I bet you these people didn’t go head over boards at the Christmas table anyways. Or maybe some did, but then they might have a pretty balanced view on nutrition and don’t opt for a quick fix driven by calorie guilt. Or maybe they are driven on calorie guilt, but then they are probably motivated by this all the time which is a pretty stressful situation to be in.

Anyways. We have to eat to fuel our bodies, to stay alive, to think, to talk, to run, feel, sweat and function. Without sufficient nutrition, our bodies break down. But long before that happens, our brains suffer from lack of nutrition and we end up not being who we really are. Nutrition value and taste can provide significant descriptions of what’s on the table.

But somehow people choose to focus on calories.

“Oh, I’m so proud of myself, I’ve only eaten 300 cal today!” Wow. Did they taste good?

Seriously, if you want to loose a few pounds and get a healthier lifestyle, which a lot of people have on their minds in January, how about stopping this depressing calories count and start focusing on the nutrition you actually gain from what you eat.

Check out how much Omega 3 fatty acids you can manage to get from a nice salmon dinner, and maybe some vitamin A and vitamin K if it comes with steamed, juicy broccoli and perhaps boiled or mashed potatoes to bring in vitamin B6, potassium, vitamin C and dietary fiber, among other things. And if you add melted butter to it, the taste improves and you’re not going to break the scale because you had some butter. There’s nutrition in butter too.

And how many calories does a salmon plate contain ….? After reading about the possible nutrition gain from a salmon dinner – do you still care? Calories. Colourless, odorless, tasteless, characterless calories. Oh spare me.

The opportunity of making eating a pleasure is endless, even though you’re on a diet. You don’t need to sprinkle food with sugar to call it a pleasure. You just need to find fresh and natural ingredients to start off with. Explore taste. Enjoy life. Stop fretting. If you eat right instead of light, I believe there might be a chance you manage to stick to that new exercise program. And you will most likely be in a much better mood.

This time I have baked a Barley and Buckwheat bread with a dash of hazelnut flour. Buckwheat is an interesting flour which is not related to wheat, it has long traditions and great nutritional benefits. And it’s gluten free. Not that it matters much in this bread which is full of regular wheat as well, but I intend to try baking a gluten free bread eventually and it will for sure rely on buckwheat. Barley contains much less gluten than wheat, apparently. Barley is also a grain with long traditions and great health benefits.

Check out this non profit nutrition fact page that I’ve eagerly linked to in this post to see informative charts on the nutrition value of grains and other foods:

My barley & buckwheat bread is a big hit with my 2 year old. Especially when served with a layer of Nutella … for those who can indulge on nuts without worries, it makes a pretty pleasant meal. (And yes, hazelnuts have great health benefits too) I also added cocoa to the dough to give the bread a darker color. It turned out really nice, with just the right amount of exotic twist to it. Did I mention my two year old loved it? He even wanted to exchange his oatmeal with the bread for breakfast. And he loves his oatmeal.


It is actually darker than it looks …

Barley Bread with Hazelnut and Buck Wheat

2 1/2 cup barley flour
1 cup buck wheat
1/2 cup hazelnut flour
1 cup wholewheat
6-7 cups white bread flour
1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
1 tbsp coarse salt
2 1/4 tsp yeast
1/2 tsp ground coriander
3 tbsp hazelnut oil
2 tbsp maple sirup
1 1/2 cup milk (2%)
2 1/2 cup water

Good luck with those New Year resolutions. Really, I mean it. Just don’t serve me calorie information for dinner. Then I’ll take it back and hope you fail badly. And after that, we can be friends again.

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I'm Currently living in Florida, USA, but I'm Norwegian born and bred. At the moment I enjoy baking bread and blogging about it. I enjoy blogging in general, because I like writing. But I'm trained as an illustrator, originally ... in England. One day I'll write a book. About bread. And illustrate it myself. Maybe. Life will see.

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