Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Bread-free in Hawaii

Hawaii Fast Food
We always enjoy talking to people in Hawaii who look and feel better after living on the island just a few months.  The sun and activity makes  a difference, but they all tell us they eat differently than they do at home on the mainland.  Two popular books about severe health problems from eating wheat: Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth about Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar--Your Brain's Silent Killers and Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health made us wonder if part of the benefit of living in Hawaii is the lack of bread.  

Hawaii residents eat the most rice in the U.S.; people in Hawaii eat an average of 100 pounds of rice a year as compared to Americans on the mainland who eat only 26 pounds a year.  Rice is a substantially cheaper than bread and widely available in Hawaii.   Rice is offered with eggs for breakfast and next to kimchee on plate-lunches.  Loco Moco (rice topped with a hamburger patty, egg, and gravy) was invented in Hilo and is available at drive-ins and fast-food joints throughout the state.  Hilo’s Café 100 sells over 9000 Loco Moco’s a month.   Hawaii’s Musubi (rice wrapped in seaweed (nori) often with spam) is a snack or entire meal on the run and is as convenient as a sandwich.  

Bread and flour are extremely expensive in Hawaii because they have to be shipped long distances; bread is old and often stale by the time it reaches island local grocery store shelves. The few bakeries in Hawaii are challenged by the cost of shipping flour from the mainland and the high cost of electricity for baking.  Though rice is a carbohydrate with a high glycemic index, the grain is less processed than wheat flour with no extra chemicals added.   Rice is easy to store for long periods of time, a perfect food to have around in case of an emergency, like a tsunami or earthquake.  In Hawaii, giving up bread is easy with the abundance of Asian rice dishes, local cuisine,  and the low-cost bulk supplies in island grocery stores.   

For nine months now, we have been on a wheat free diet.  We stopped eating bread after reading studies that showed health issues associated with wheat, in particular inflammation and restricted nutrition absorption.  We were very motivated to reduce inflammation to control gout.  The results have been fantastic with no gout episodes, even after adding foods that we thought were the problem (chicken and pork) back into our diet. 

If all the claims about the negative health effects of wheat are true, Hawaii’s highest life expectancy ranking in the US may be in part due to eating less bread.


mv morejon said...

great write up guys. it sounds you might like the "perfect health diet" by paul jaminet. ancestral eating that includes safe starches like white rice and potatoes. also, resistant starch is a hot topic now. as in potato starch, green plantains, par-boiled or converted long grain rice eaten when cooled. no glycemic spike as it is only able to be absorbed by the gut microbes in the large intestine which in turn produce beneficial bacteria for your gut!

Grif Frost said...

Aloha! My replacement for bread and rice (and desserts) has been locally grown purple sweet potatoes. Steam sliced potatoes with skins on, mash and then pour (add a bit of water) into a tupperware to cool in the refrigerator. Cut up like brownies and serve with coconut milk. Find that Mae Ploy brand which has higher fat content, if opened and put in the refrigerator turns very creamy. Also love to add mac nuts and sliced dried figs. Enjoy 2-3 times per day in small servings. Addicted actually! In a good way!

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