Oprah’s Daily Love Affair
February 17, 2016 Matt Salis - Owner, Great Harvest Bread Co. of Denver
When Oprah Winfrey was on national network television daily, her power to bend the will of the American consumer was unmatched in our culture. I remember the day she told her audience that her favorite bread was nine grain. We sold out of our Nine Grain Crunch by noon everyday for a week. At the peak of her popularity, she did not discuss or influence trends, she single-handedly set trends in many areas of popular culture including food. Her power and influence over the American diet is particularly interesting because her weight has fluctuated over the years. Perhaps that fluctuation is what endears her to our population and solidifies her ability to lead her masses of loyal followers. She is human. She struggles with mundane things like control of her weight. So many follow her not because she is the untouchable pinnacle of human existence but because she is real and vulnerable and in many ways a bold and confident version of us. She is a real person. Her loyalty and her cunning intelligence has made her a very rich real person, but in the end, she is more like us than she is different.
Oprah is no longer a daily fixture on a major television network, and the spotlight on her every action no longer shines as bright. Still, her trend influence is as strong as ever. Typing “Oprah” in the Google search bar this week led to these first four suggested search topics in order of popularity: 1. Oprah Winfrey, 2. Oprah net worth, 3. Oprah’s favorite things 2015 and 4. Oprah magazine. You probably could have guessed two or three of those four, and certainly none of them surprise you. The fifth most common Google search topic just might come as a surprise and points to her continued strong influence on food trends. Number 5 on the Google search bar is: Oprah I Love Bread!
She eats bread everyday. In her most recent effort to control her weight, she reports losing 26 pounds while eating bread daily. She reports it emphatically and enthusiastically. It does not surprise me. It does not surprise our loyal customers of our fresh milled whole grain breads. This stuff is healthy. Our bread is not fattening. It is free of chemicals and artificial sugars that are both the addictive and disease causing components of grocery store bread. I eat a lot of our bread everyday and my weight is relatively consistent. The only real noteworthy weight fluctuation for me in the past decade or so is the 12 pounds I lost in August when I ate absolutely nothing but our Great Harvest Bread Co. bread for the entire month. Our bread is not fattening. Our bread helps fight diseases including obesity and diabetes. Our customers know it. I know it. Oprah knows it and she is spreading the word.
Whole grain bread is not the only kind of bread Oprah likes. She seems fond of and is particularly adept at accumulating the green paper version of bread that our treasury department prints with reckless abandon these days. Oprah’s declaration of bread love while giving every indication of sincerity is still a paid endorsement of Weight Watchers. I get that Oprah’s video confession of BreadHeadedness is a TV commercial. I also believe her. There is no doubt in my mind that she lost 26 pounds and I have even less doubt that her diet includes her daily bread. The nutritional science is clear. 100% whole grain bread is not only allowed, but necessary as a component of a healthy weight life sustaining diet. This is not news to me. It is not news to our loyal customers. As for the millions who follow scientifically flawed food trends and avoid bread and gluten to their own misunderstood peril, maybe Oprah will help them out of the misguided diet darkness and into the light of natural whole food enlightenment. Oprah loves bread. I love Oprah!
While Oprah’s love affair with bread certainly carries far more influence, she is not the only advocate of those beautiful amber waves of grain. We recently heard the story of one of our Denver neighbors. Jeff wasn’t feeling his best some four years ago. In search of a solution to his ailments, he saw a naturopath who advised him to remove grains and dairy from his diet. Within a week he was feeling much better and had his energy back. A couple of months ago, he accidentally ate a slice of our bread that he mistook for a slice from an artificial gluten free loaf. Not only did his taste buds scream with joy, but his body reacted well to that slice. He has been eating Great Harvest Bread Co. of Denver 100% whole grain bread exclusively and feeling great every since. Don’t take my word for it…here is a quote from Jeff himself in an e-mail message to me: “So that is why your incredible bread has changed things around for me. It makes me think that gluten is not the issue but possibly the other ingredients and chemicals in grocery store whole wheat bread. So thank you for making your outstanding bread – what a revelation!” Jeff is onto something. Why would wheat – a cornerstone of good nutrition for eons - suddenly be making people sick and fat? Our population has become sick and fat over the past 50 or so years. This is the same timeframe in which we began to consume mass quantities of processed foods full of chemicals and sugars. When a scientist is looking for a cause and effect relationship, he doesn’t blame the constant for the undesired change in effect, he blames the variable. Wheat is the constant in our diets for tens of thousands of years. The sugars and chemicals are the variable that have brought about the fattening and sickening of America. Any eight grade chemistry student could understand that. So can Jeff. He is happy to be eating bread…our 100% whole grain unprocessed bread!
Jeff and Oprah are onto something. They are not alone. I met a new customer named Brian Stafford just this week. Brian knew the benefits of a vegetarian diet heavy on whole grains, but he found the idea of jumping in with both feet to be too daunting for someone with a traditional American diet that includes delicious meats. He tried something interesting. He cut meat out of his breakfasts for a whole year. Becoming a full vegetarian is a drastic life change. Eating delicious breakfast sandwiches without the bacon but including whole grain bread, eggs, cheese and veggies is not even a sacrifice. After a year of meat-free morning deliciousness, Brian’s bad LDL cholesterol dropped 15 points. So did his blood pressure. He felt energized and his taste buds did not miss a beat. Read the details of his whole grain heavy health enhancing experiment here:
Brian’s story might influence a few people to take a few easy steps in the direction of improved health. Jeff’s story might influence some folks on gluten free diets to realize they would be better off on a chemical and added sugar free diet that includes gluten containing healthy whole grains. Oprah’s bread love story will without question convince thousands to stop depriving themselves of a delicious staple of nutrition and weight control – fabulous 100% whole grain bread. I like where this is heading. Both with small steps reaching a few people and in million dollar endorsements influencing thousands…food influences are now trending back in a healthy and scientifically true direction. It is a great time to be a bread lover. The bread renaissance is here. Welcome to the Breadaissance!
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Great Harvest Bread Co.
765 South Colorado Boulevard
Denver, Colorado 80246
Open Mon. - Fri. 6am - 3pm
Sat. 8am - 3pm, Closed Sun.