I was in suburban Chicago recently one morning, hoping to get something to eat for breakfast. I’d heard that the Panera chain was now serving breakfast that you could order any way you wanted. It’s called “Panera Bread,” but I thought I’d give it a try, as I’ve safely consumed their salads in past.
At the counter, I placed my order for 3 eggs over easy, sausage, and bacon—not perfect, given our inability to scrutinize foods and ingredients in such places, but I was willing to try. Obviously, I turned down the breads/toasts that were included. The middle-aged Hispanic woman behind the counter raised her eyebrows and asked, “Why no bread?”
I replied simply, “Bread makes you fat and diabetic. I was a type 2 diabetic 25 years ago. I’m not anymore.”
“Really? I am diabetic, too, but I cannot give up my tortillas.”
A brief, casual encounter, but I am nonetheless always surprised by such responses based on comfort and habit, people who are unwilling to leave their comfort zone. We all know what a future of type 2 diabetes looks like:
- Marked increase in heart disease, heart attack
- Increased risk for stroke
- Peripheral vascular disease
- Diabetic retinopathy and cataracts
- Kidney disease and failure
- Peripheral neuropathy
- Foot and leg amputations
- Increased risk for dementia
- Life shortened by about 8 years
- $10,000/year added healthcare costs
It also makes me wonder if people who provide such responses really understand the gravity of their condition, or maybe choose to ignore it. During my over 30 years of cardiology practice and training after medical school, I witnessed countless people with kidney failure from diabetic kidney disease, often resulting in dialysis, a miserable experience; thousands of strokes and heart attacks; oodles of peripheral neuropathy with loss of sensation and chronic pain, resulting in gangrene and amputations; and, of course, I’ve seen many, many diabetics experience premature death.
We all recognize that the wrong response to an encounter like the one above is to press hard and try to persuade someone that they are throwing their health and life away for a disease that is nearly always completely reversible back to normal, or at least minimizable. I believe that all we can do is set the example of health and answer the occasional question, hoping that each person hears the same message from others as more and more people realize that type 2 diabetes is an easily reversible disease.
“Bread makes you fat and diabetic” – whereas CAFO-sourced bacon, eggs, and sausage is what everyone is missing in their diet to bring them better health?
Mark M wrote: «…whereas CAFO-sourced bacon, eggs, and sausage is what everyone is missing in their diet to bring them better health?»
The article didn’t say that, so might we inquire why you assumed it?
I haven’t patronized a Panera in years, so I’m not deeply familiar with what options they presently have. The “Beliefs” page on their web site shows some awareness of the problems in the food supply. They have an allergens page, but no useful info on it. The menu PDF warns on nuts and soy, but is silent on wheat/gluten. Their overall macronutrient priorities are still off-putting, and frankly, the company name “Panera BREAD” is a branding albatross that they’ll eventually need to do something about.
Personally, I see the vast majority of the fast food industry as intermittent fasting opportunities, but if Panera has organic, pastured eggs and bacon (ideally uncured), that would be fine with me. Sausage depends on what’s in it. They have bottled waters, so we’re not at the mercy of any municipal chloramine.
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We are in Germany visiting family and having a hard time finding healthy ingredients. In advance I shipped over almond flour, arrowroot & chickpea flours. BUT rapseed and sunflower oil are the biggies here along with olive oil. Found 1 store that had avacado oil but is was 13+ euros for 250 ml !!! And bakeries at every turn with the mantra our bread is healthy.. not for us it isn’t !!!
Marymargaret wrote: «We are in Germany visiting family and having a hard time finding healthy ingredients.»
I don’t know how long you are there for, but amazon.de might be an option.
re: «…BUT rapseed and sunflower oil are the biggies here…»
Rape seed? Really? I didn’t think that was considered safe for human consumption.
re: «…along with olive oil.»
Check country of origin (and harvest date if shown). If you see Tunisia, carefully put the bottle back on the shelf … and I’m not so sure about “Italy” anymore.
re: «…avacado oil but is was 13+ euros for 250 ml…»
I see 500ml for 19€ on Amazon there, but even that’s not particularly cheap.
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