Jump straight to the suggested recipes

Time now to have a look at lunches. Most of us work outside the home, and either make our lunch, or buy something quick when the time comes. And most of the time, what is easy, portable and available is grain based, usually bread – sandwiches, paninis, bagels, pizza, hamburgers, kebabs. But how healthy are these choices?

Bread has been called the staff of life, and it forms a staple part of many people’s diet. But humans have been eating grains for less than 20,000 years (a mere blip in evolutionary history), and we haven’t all adapted to them yet. One good thing about grains is that they are a cheap, filling source of calories, and in the past (and for some people still today), when food or money was scarce that was very important. They also affect the brain in the same way as narcotic drugs, which is why they make you feel so good after eating them, and why they are popular. But they are not a good source of nutrients, and if they are not prepared properly can be downright dangerous to your long-term health.

In our Western society, food is plentiful, and our rising obesity rate is due to high calorie, low nutrient foods such as soft drinks, processed foods full of sugar and refined fats, and yes, bread products. And it’s not just a weight problem. Many people have health problems from eating wheat and other grains, sometimes unknowingly. But wheat is so pervasive in our society that’s it’s very hard to avoid. And grains are the ultimate comfort food, so breads are very hard for many people to give up.

In this lesson, we’re going to look at some bread alternatives which are healthier. They have most of the anti-nutrients neutralised, and use a minimum of refined ingredients. There are a range of options, so even if you usually avoid grains totally, don’t turn to the next lesson just yet – there’s something here for you as well. But let’s not kid ourselves, these recipes are for ease and convenience, when the kids nag for pizza, and for when you just feel the need of a little comfort.

Even if you can tolerate wheat, there are several reasons why the bread you buy from the supermarket is not your premium bread:

  • The flour is refined
  • It hasn’t been soaked
  • They often have other undesirable ingredients, such as soy, bad fats or sugar

You will recall that grains need to be soaked, sprouted or fermented to break down phytic acid. So there are different ways we can prepare flours for bread:

  • Fermenting, using traditional sour dough techniques
  • Soaking the flour in an acidic medium
  • Sprouting the grains, drying them slowly, then grinding to make flour

There are some acceptable or compromise breads available and your shopping guide will help you find them. But there are a variety of breads you can make at home, and we’re going to explore some different options, including gluten free and totally grain free. To briefly cover the options for those who have trouble with grains:

  • Some people find that when wheat flour is properly prepared, they can eat it with no problems
  • Others find that wheat still causes problems, but spelt or kamut prepared correctly is fine
  • Others can’t take gluten in any form, but can enjoy breads made from non-gluten flours such as buckwheat, quinoa, amaranth, rice or corn (still prepared correctly). Quinoa is especially good as it is not a true grain and is comparatively high in protein. But it needs to be thoroughly rinsed before grinding, so if you want to use it, it’s best to grind it yourself.
  • Some people don’t tolerate large amounts of starch in any form, and should avoid breads and grains as much as possible. But for an occasional treat, we have a pizza base and some cheese “scones” made from ground nuts and seeds.


Cashew Bread

This section is for those are working through the lessons of the cooking course. Otherwise jump straight to the recipes

Optional reading


Depending on your grain tolerance, make 1-3 of these recipes:

Gluten based bread:

Gluten free bread:

Starch free bread:

Pancakes are good for a weekend breakfast or as a sandwich substitute for lunch:

Pizza is nice for a weekend treat or a snack for the kids:

Crackers, scones or muffins:

Check out what acceptable breads are available locally, and which ones are affordable


  • From now on, use only homemade breads or pancakes, or acceptable bought breads for making lunch sandwiches ~ P41
  • If you want to experiment further with gluten free baking, there are gluten free recipes in the baking section, plus more information in the appendices.



Notes on the Recipes

The recipe suggestions come from a variety of sources. Some are in the recipe blog section of this site, some are from books I may have recommended to you eg Nourishing Traditions (NT) or Gut & Psychology Syndrome (GAPS) and some are from other people’s blogs.

They are marked with the following icons to make it easy to see which ones are suitable for your diet or not suitable       . But you still need to double check each recipe to make sure. Also refer to my Pinterest page for more ideas.

= GAPS or SCD friendly, and mostly suitable for Paleo
= contains grains of some kind (but may be gluten free)
= contains dairy, and there is no dairy free option
= contains eggs, and there is no egg free option
= contains peanuts, cashews, tree nuts or seeds

Suggested Recipes

Pizza Recipes

Suggested toppings for any of the bases:

  • Tomato sauce or paste
  • Fresh or dried herbs
  • Mozzarella (or tasty) cheese
  • Your favourite toppings eg. onion, capsicum, mushroom, cooked sausage or mince

For a vegetarian dish, try this mixed pepper topping:

  • 1-2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 1 yellow capsicum
  • 1 orange capsicum
  • ½ red capsicum
  • 1 tin tomatoes in juice
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons Italian herbs

To prepare the sauce: Set oil to heat in a large frypan. Chop the onion and garlic, and set them frying. Chop up the capsicums, adding bit by bit to the frying pan and stirring. Zizz up the tinned tomatoes in a food processor (or roughly chop) and add. Add the salt, paprika and herbs and stir. Turn the heat down and simmer for 20-30 minutes

How to build a whole food sandwich

1. Choose a good bread:

  • For sandwiches, the best one given here is the spelt breadmaker bread, sliced thinly
  • The gluten free white bread can work if made in a tall pan
  • The gluten free wholegrain bread is a bit heavy, so slice it thinly, or make open faced sandwiches
  • There are some acceptable bought breads that make good sandwiches, mostly only available in health food shops

2. Start with a spread, for moisture, flavour and good fats:

  • Butter, still best for taste and goodness
  • AVOID all margarines and spreads, including Olive oil based spreads. But if you like the olive flavour, you can make your own by beating some butter till it’s soft and creamy, then adding a little olive oil and beating some more. When you refrigerate it, it becomes a spreadable butter. Start with just a small amount of oil, and experiment to find the consistency and flavour you like.
  • Homemade mayonnaise (lesson 6)
  • Mashed avocado
  • Dips such as hummus, guacamole, or yoghurt cheese

3. Add some protein:

  • Cold sliced meat or poultry
  • Sausage made with only salt & spices (but most processed meats need to be avoided)
  • Tinned fish (preferably in water, no added salt)
  • Egg
  • Cheese, preferably raw
  • Nut or seed butters
  • Mashed or refried beans
  • Thinly sliced tempeh, plain or marinated

4. Add some raw or fermented vegetables (or fruit), for moisture, flavour, crunch and enzymes:

  • Leafy greens – baby spinach, mesclun greens, watercress, fresh herbs
  • Grated carrot, beetroot, apple, radish
  • Thinly sliced tomato, celery, cucumber, red pepper, red onion, olives, baby turnips
  • Sprouts – anything but alfalfa (you can buy them for now, but we’ll cover those later)
  • Fermented veges – sauerkraut, kimchi, etc (see lesson 11)
  • Chutneys and dressings (lesson 12)

Sandwich ideas

  • Meatloaf with homemade mayo, and salad greens
  • Cold chicken (with the skin on) with sauerkraut and cultured cream
  • Organic baconwith cos lettuce, and sliced tomato or red pepper
  • Any kind of cold, sliced meat with pesto
  • Tinned sardines mashed with homemade mayo with sliced tomato
  • Tinned salmon or tuna mashed with mayo or hummus with sliced cucumber or grated carrot
  • Hard boiled eggs (2, cooked for 6 mins) mashed together with 1/3 avocado, 1 Tbs butter and seasonings with red onion, cucumber or celery
  • Sliced raw cheese with avocado and mung bean sprouts
  • Cottage cheese or Yoghurt or Kefir “cheese” with celery and sultanas 
  • Peanut butter with grated apple or apple butter
  • Almond butter with apricot butter 
  • Refried beans with red onion, red or green pepper, and a cultured cream
  • Marinated tempeh, sliced thinly with red onion, lettuce, and tomato 

For more ideas, see Nourishing Traditions P447