Estimated time: 20 mins.
Supporting people to avoid harmful substances and environmental toxins is a key pillar of Lifestyle Medicine
A key pillar of lifestyle medicine is a commitment to reduce exposure to harmful agents, whether that be tobacco, alcohol, pesticides or additives. It’s a mission that’s close to our hearts and deeply embedded in our BALM protocol.
At the Sourdough School, we are committed to building a new bread-making framework free from harmful contaminants such as pesticides and emulsifiers.
To this end, our protocol emphasises the importance of eating homemade bread crafted from organic ingredients – because the best way to avoid harmful additives is to take a hands-on approach to bread production.
Moreover, a key part of our mission involves connecting bakers with local food producers. By doing so, we hope to heal the disconnect between consumers and producers which fuels unhealthy practices. Below, we’ve listed a few ways in which the protocol rallies against harmful agents and the adulteration of food. This is a feature with more facts as to why we need to avoid both bread and other ultra-processed foods.
We are passionate about minimising harmful substances at every stage in the bread production process – from soil to slice. In this spirit, we take a firm stance against the use of pesticides such as organophosphates and partner with local organic farmers to limit their use.
The Sourdough School gardens are certified organic – from the herbs and fruit to the vegetables and wheat varieties. We see it as a microcosm of the bigger system we want to create going forward; a living prototype of a new food system.
Emulsifiers and other additives
Early studies suggest that emulsifiers such as carboxymethylcellulose may promote diseases via disruptions to the gut microbiome. At the Sourdough School, we champion home-baking and artisanal production as this is the best way to help people avoid harmful emulsifiers in ultra-processed bread.
This is part of our wider aim to reduce people’s consumption of ultra-processed foods, a newly defined category linked to an increased risk for lifestyle diseases.
By spearheading a shift away from ultra-processed bread we are also minimising our bakers’ consumption of refined sugars. Over time, excess free sugar can cause insulin resistance and metabolic diseases such as diabetes.
Excessive consumption of refined sugars is also linked to heart disease, obesity and other chronic conditions.
Besides damaging our internal microbial ecosystems, industrially processed bread produces prodigious amounts of plastic waste that harms the macrosystems around us too.
These plastics can then contaminate our soils and adversely impact human health. For example, research shows that microplastics can disrupt hormonal functions and increase a person’s risk of conditions such as cancer and diabetes.
Excessive internet use
Lastly, our BALM protocol emphasises the importance of getting outside and connecting with nature. By doing so, the Sourdough School protocol supports bakers to disconnect from social media and spend time outside – whether in an inner city park or a rural country park.
Our last and final feature in this 7-part series will look at how the BALM protocol is built to support better sleep.