Most of the time bread gets a bad rap - whether it's gluten-free or not. It's either too refined, packed with hard to read ingredients, or just too carb-heavy with no real nutritional value to it. But don't get me wrong...I still love bread. It's probably one of my go-to foods - as toast, for a sandwich, French toast, grilled cheese, to dip in olive oil + balsamic...I just love bread (gluten-free bread that is!).
A few of my favourite toast toppings - all on Queen St. Bakery bread. L-R: cream cheese and strawberries on Chia Classic; avocado & everything bagel mix on White Bean & Grape Skin; sunflower seed butter & banana on Cinnamon Raisin. YUM!
Last March (I can't believe it's almost been a year) I was sent a care package from Queen St. Bakery, Nutiva and Station Cold Brew. It was the first time I tried Queen St. Bakery bread and I've been loving it ever since. Their bread is SO hearty and I love the subtle nutty flavour it has from the beans. I don't even know if 'nutty' is the right descriptor, it's just so fresh and earthy (and also soft and chewy).
The best part about Queen St. Bakery bread is that it's actually good for you. Instead of a gluten-free bread that's made of rice and corn, it's packed with chia, beans and plant-based fibre and protein. It's full of nutrients like magnesium, calcium and iron plus all of the good fibre that promotes gut health (which obviously makes it a perfect fit for The Gut Gazette).
I chatted with Giovanni Angelucci, Founder/CEO of Queen St. Bakery, to learn more about why their breads are SO good and what makes them gut-friendly.
Q: I love how you said fibre is less sexy than protein. Why do you think that is? Why do people promote protein more than fibre?
Giovanni: It’s simple, protein has had a better marketing team. Protein has become synonymous with getting stronger, leaner, healthier. It’s what personal trainers, athletes and our fit friends eat a lot of, so there must be something to it. People want a silver bullet to becoming a healthier version of themselves, and protein fits the bill quite well.
Fibre, on the other hand, doesn’t promise the same physical transformation. Do you want to avoid constipation? ...Sure, but it’s not desirable. Lower your risk of heart disease? Absolutely, but there’s nothing sexy about those stats. Protein helps you achieve something now, fibre helps you avoid something down the road. Immediate emotional benefits are sexy, long-term rational ones are not.
Q: What are some of the main ingredients that make your products gut-friendly?
Giovanni: Chia and beans are the main ingredients we bake with and they are both fibre powerhouses. When you eat enough fibre (the average Canadian only eats about ½ what they should) you feel it. You’re fuller for longer and your gut is digesting food in full swing. Once you’ve experience how good it can feel to eat a fibre-full diet, you’ll be shocked how you neglected it for so long.
Q: All breads should be packed with the ingredients you put in yours. Why do you think so many brands skimp on all the good stuff?
Giovanni: Two reasons; price and effort. First off, there are much cheaper ingredients than ours to bake bread from. If you went to a bulk store and bought a pound of rice vs. a pound of chia, you’d see exactly why most use the former. Second, it’s difficult working with ingredients others haven’t before. We made some terrible loaves of bread when we started working with chia, and each of those failures was expensive. It took us hundreds of tries before we started making progress and not everyone has the tenacity for that.
Q: What's your favourite superfood?
Giovanni: Avocado, and goes great on our toast!
Where does your passion for promoting gut health stem from?
Giovanni: The unfortunate reality is many of our favourite foods don’t always agree with our bodies. I’ve seen my parents, my wife and even myself sacrifice feeling good later for feeling good now and I don’t believe you shouldn’t have to give up one for the other. We have a term we use at Queen St Bakery - “a bread hangover” - when you feel meh and have that lingering brain fog. That’s the feeling we’re trying to avoid.
Q: We all love a good sandwich and a piece of toast, but what is your favourite creation/recipe using your bread?
Giovanni: A big stack of French toast you can dive into on Saturday morning. It’s just as good with our chia or bean breads and can be pimped out with all the fixings.
Make sure you're following Queen St. Bakery on Instagram. They're ALWAYS up to amazing things.
*Not sponsored - written out of pure love!