In 2013, my husband and I went to France for our honeymoon. We
were blissed out, as all newlyweds should be, and we had all the wine, cheese, and countryside to help us savor it all the more!
But something completely miraculous happened for me as well during our two weeks there. I was able to eat BREAD. Now you see, before then whenever I ate any kind of bread here in the states, I would get sick immediately. For me it was bad pains in my belly; I felt bloated and fatigued. I went to see several doctors, had many blood tests, abdominal scans, the whole lot. I did not have Celiac Disease. My inflammation markers were normal. No doctor could figure out what was wrong with me.
I was in the thick of school, and although I was stressed out because of it, I knew that ultimately Eastern Medicine would help me. I vowed to stop eating gluten and wheat entirely, get weekly Acupuncture, and get more rest. The treatments helped reduce the inflammation in my digestive tract, and gave me more energy. But even though I felt better, I was still frustrated that I was not able to eat a well-balanced diet, and the GF options were tasteless and nutrition-less. I could really empathize with people who were feeling the same way!
Not to mention, my Italian Grandmother must have been rolling around in her grave. No bread!?! It's the STAFF OF LIFE!
A friend dared me to try some bread in France. She said, "you never know, Mary. Maybe you could tolerate it." And after all the research I completed, I did know that the way wheat is treated in Europe is incredibly different than the states. Maybe, just maybe I would be okay.
So I did. I ate a piece of baguette. And then a whole baguette. And then 3 a day in France! My stomach was totally fine! I felt fabulous!
I came back to the US with a strong determination to figure out why so many thousands of Americans have a strong aversion to wheat products.
That's when I started baking. And grew my own wild yeast starter. I started making my breads more medicinal by adding various grains and herbs. Friends quickly began requesting loaf after loaf each week. And I met my friend Nan at Grist & Toll -- the urban flour mill in Pasadena. She mills all my organic whole grains fresh, and I bake the loaves from there. She gave me the tip to start a Cottage Food Business right out of my own home. So I did. Each loaf undergoes an extensive 28 hour fermentation, which amplifies the pre and pro - biotic qualities in the bread, ups the nutritional value, and the flavor profile.
As a Physician of Eastern Medicine, with a focus in Nutrition, I find it so incredible to be able to offer my patients a loaf of high quality, organic, healthy bread each week. To give them bread that has the entire wheat kernel intact, so all of the nutrients are more easily absorbed into the body. To see the difference in my own digestion after a year is remarkable. I wish the same for all of my patients, family, and friends. I can honestly say that I believe I have healed my digestive issues by eating my own bread everyday, in combination with Acupuncture and eating other whole foods.
As Eckhart Tolle says, "Awareness is the greatest agent for change." I became aware of the problem, and am certain I'm on my way to finding a solution for people. To me, bread symbolizes community, family, and love. We all deserve to be able to break real bread together again. I hope you join in my bread quest!
This picture was taken at Grand Central Market's BREAD FESTIVAL in Downtown Los Angeles. I was honored to be a part of it and was amazed: I sold out within two hours on both days of the festival. It helped me realize just how hungry people are for better bread in this country. Well -- I'm here to bake it for you! As my friend coined it, I am your "Bread Doctor."