A Flavorful, Fiber-rich Bread

Diana Helfand
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Wednesday - May 10, 2006
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Licensed opticians Rick and Diane McCabe were living in Southern California when Wal-Mart made them an offer they couldn’t refuse. They subsequently moved to Oahu and Rick accepted the position of Vision Center manager at WalMart’s Kakaako store, while Diane became Vision Center manager at the new Pearl City store. The McCabes live in Mililani Mauka with their 15-year-old son Michael, who attends Mililani High School. Their older son, Ricky, 25, still lives in Southern California making his living as a talented tattoo artist. Since they’ve only been here for about two years, the McCabe’s spend much of their spare time exploring our beautiful island and its many beaches. Rick owns three motorcycles and, whenever possible, they also enjoy mountain biking throughout Oahu’s forest trails. This column is dedicated to an extraordinarily active couple who live life to the fullest.

The addition of whole wheat flour and dates makes this bread a good source of fiber. Most health agencies recommend about 25-35 grams of fiber daily for the average person, but the average American gets only about 14 grams of fiber daily.

It is not that easy for the typical person to get enough fiber. Most people think that a salad is high in fiber, but you would need about six pounds of iceberg lettuce to get 28 grams of fiber; or three pounds of spinach. Six apples would give you about 30 grams of fiber. Typical salad vegetables like lettuce and cucumber are generally poor sources of fiber, but adding different types of beans like kidney and garbanzo increases this nutrient.

If your daily diet includes a variety of fiber sources such as wheat bran or whole grain cereal, whole grain breads, and several servings of fruits and vegetables as well as starches, you should get enough fiber to meet the recommended amounts. Including snacks like popcorn (hold the butter), nuts and dried fruit, instead of doughnuts and sodas, will also provide generous helpings of fiber.

When reading labels, don’t confuse “wheat flour,” used to make white bread and cake, with “whole wheat flour,” which includes the fiber-rich bran. By reading labels carefully, you can increase the amount of fiber in your diet, and these starches are not the cause of overweight. Most healthy diets include large amounts of complex carbohydrates with fiber included.

Enjoy this moist bread with a cup of steaming herbal tea for a satisfying snack.


* 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
* 2 cups unbleached flour
* 2 teaspoons baking soda
* 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
* 1/4 cup granulated sugar
* 1/2 cup chopped pecans
* 1 1/2 cups chopped dates soaked in 1 1/2 cups boiled water, and cooled
* 1 tablespoon canola oil
* 2 egg whites, slightly beaten
* 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9-by-5 loaf pan with cooking spray.

Sift the flours with baking soda. Add sugars and stir until combined, and stir in nuts. Stir in date mixture and add oil, egg whites and vanilla. Mix just until combined, but do not overbeat.

Pour batter into the prepared pan. Bake for about 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let bread cool in pan on wire rack.

Makes 12 slices.

Approximate Nutrition Information Per Slice:

Calories: 290 Fat: 4 grams Cholesterol: 0 milligrams Sodium: 395 milligrams Fiber: 4 grams

(Diana Helfand, author of “Hawaii Light and Healthy” and “The Best of Heart-y Cooking,” has taught nutrition in the Kapiolani Community College culinary arts program.)

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