Clean Breads

Clean Breads

54 comments

Finding the “best breads” was not an easy task.  We do not buy sandwich bread so I had no idea what I was getting into when I stepped into the aisles at my local supermarkets.  There is so much junk filling the shelves, it’s disgusting.  Breads full of high fructose corn syrup, enriched flours, chemicals such as azodicarbonamide, caramel color, and the list goes on…and on.  You would never know it from the fronts of these breads where the marketing teams behind these companies find any buzz word possible to stamp on there to sell the product.

How about we compare buying bread to buying a house.  Let’s say you are browsing homes online, and you find a beautiful picture and it describes what you want perfectly.   Then when you go to see it, the inside is full of cobwebs and mice, wallpaper on every wall that hasn’t been changed since the 70′s, and it has no plumbing.  That’s not exactly the perfect picture you were reading about.  Thankfully before you buy a house, you and a professional do an inspection.  So please start doing the same with your food!  We can’t leave it up to ‘professional inspectors’, aka the FDA, to do it for us!

I want to help you understand what you are paying for, and help you pick the right one.  There are a couple things to point out about conventional breads at the supermarket:

  • Almost, if not, all breads have corn or soy in them.  Therefore, conventional breads likely contain GMO’s since up to 90% of soy and 80% of corn is genetically engineered.
  • Most breads, other than 100% whole wheat, use enriched flour.  When the flour is processed, they remove the bran and the germ, which is where all the nutrients are located.  The manufacturers then attempt to add back the nutrients or “enrich” the flour, but your body does not process the flour the same.

A few things to look for, and avoid, when reading the labels of breads:

  • High Fructose Corn Syrup – all sugars should be limited in our diets, and high fructose corn syrup is no exception.  There is an on-going debate whether high fructose corn syrup is causing the obesity epidemic.  Princeton proved it may be the cause during a recent study.  Read more about the findings here.
  • Caramel Color – There are four types of caramel coloring that can be added to food.  Two of the four are made with ammonia, and The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has asked the FDA to ban them.  The term ‘caramel color’ is very misleading when it’s actually ammonia, not caramel at all!  I avoid caramel coloring whenever I see it.
  • Calcium Propionate – good luck finding many breads without this!  It is a preservative used in many breads but has been associated with stomach ulcers, behavioral changes, and headaches.  Here is what I read on Livestrong about calcium propionate:  ”A study in the “Journal of Paediatric Child Health” in 2002 reported that although calcium propionate may have little to no side effects on the average person, chronic exposure, especially in children, might induce a myriad of behavioral changes. A controlled group of children fed a strict diet without any food additives was compared to a group that was given traditional bread each day. The clinical trial revealed that “irritability, restlessness, inattention and sleep disturbance in some children may be caused by a preservative in healthy foods consumed daily.” These behavioral changes appear to be reversible when the preservative is removed from the child’s diet.”
  • Azodicarbonamide – a bleaching agent that has been banned in Europe and Australia because of a possible link to asthma and allergic reactions.  Subway, Dunkin’ Donuts, and I’m sure many other chains use this in their dough.  And just like calcium propionate, this was in a large majority of breads I looked at in the store.
  • Sodium - there is a lot of sodium in bread.  Some breads have 10% of the recommended daily amount per slice!
I would urge everyone to buy organic or make their own, if bread is a staple in your house!  Not only is it better for you, but what bread at the supermarket is better than fresh bread warm out of the oven or bread maker?  I set out to find the best breads, that are whole wheat (not enriched), and do not have any of the controversial ingredients listed above.  That is like finding a needle in a haystack!  These are the breads I found that do not have any of the above ingredients:
  • Ezekiel Bread (GMO-free) – this bread is organic, so free from GMO’s and additives, and the best option at the supermarket.  You can find this in most supermarkets in the freezer section.   You can also find Ezekiel bread online but it’s only available in bulk, so make sure you like it before you order it!
  • Alvarado Street Bakery breads (GMO-free) – an organic company you can find in several supermarkets and even costco.  You can also buy their breads online if they are not available in your area, but you have to order 6 items.
  • Udi’s bread and bagels - you can find Udi’s in some supermarkets and it’s available online.  They carry a large line of gluten-free products.
  • Rudi’s Organic Bakery (GMO-free) – carries both wheat bread and gluten-free bread.
  • EarthGrains 12 Grain bread – this bread does not have any preservatives, or chemicals listed above and is available nationwide.
  • Sara Lee Hearty & Delicious 12 Grain bread – this bread is basically identical to the Earth Grains bread.  Almost all Sara Lee breads contain high fructose corn syrup, and other additives, so do not assume all Sara Lee breads are good!
  • Nature’s Own 100% Whole Wheat Bagels –  this was a good option for bagels.  It’s high in fiber, and protein, but also high in sodium.
Yep, that’s it.  At least, that’s all I could find at four local supermarkets (not including specialty stores like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s) by my house.   I will continue looking for good options and update the list often.  *All organic breads are free from additives, and GMO’s.
One more very important thing.  We, the consumers, have a lot of power!  If you stop buying products that contain artificial ingredients, not only are you helping yourself, you are telling these companies they have to change in order for you to buy their products!  The FDA is not going to make them change…but YOU can!  Please be sure to read the labels at the store!
Victoria
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54 comments… read them below or add one

BusyWorkingMama May 8, 2012 at 6:49 am

Yikes. I really need to take a look at what bread we’re buying. I usually pick up the Nature’s Own wheat bread…but I don’t know if it has whole wheat or enriched wheat. Thanks for the run-down! I love that I am learning so much from your blog. Maybe it is time to invest in a bread machine…I’d love some advice on whole wheat flour or healthy flour options. I just tried some this weekend to make a pizza crust but it didn’t turn out quite as fluffy as my normal plain flour crust :)

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greenplaterule May 8, 2012 at 12:21 pm

I got a bread machine last year for my birthday and LOVE it! I don’t use it too often, we just don’t eat a lot of bread, but when I do, we’re all fighting over the last slice. :) Have a great day!! -Victoria

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Kristen January 12, 2013 at 8:16 pm

I would love to know what recipe you use in your bread machine. I have yet to find a gluten free one that my family likes. I was thinking of trying one with buckwheat??

Any suggestions are greatly appreciated!! -Kristen

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Sallie February 10, 2014 at 6:26 pm

Pamela’s makes a great bread mix

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Jeri May 8, 2012 at 9:35 am

We only buy Nature’s Pride for these very reasons. Amazing how some of the “healthy” breads in the store are anything but. Nature’s Pride also is very tasty, which makes us all happy.

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robin August 26, 2012 at 9:47 pm

where do you buy natures pride??

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greenplaterule August 28, 2012 at 11:34 am

Here is a link to a product locator on their website — http://www.naturespridebread.com/ProductLocator.aspx

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Barbara May 8, 2012 at 10:29 am

Thanks for the best ones out there Vicki! I wrote them down and will definitely commit to only those! It’s a start! :)

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greenplaterule May 8, 2012 at 12:19 pm

You’re welcome! Have a great day! :)

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Jenny May 8, 2012 at 11:43 am

We buy Kirkland Organic 100% Whole Wheat Bread from Costco. I think it looks ok based on the ingredients… “organic whole wheat flour, water, organic honey, organic sugar, organic wheat gluten, contains 2% or less of the following: organic soybean oil, organic spelt, organic bulgur wheat, organic wheat bran, organic vinegar, sea salt, organic cultured unbleached wheat flour, yeast, organic soy lecithin, calcium sulfate, enzymes.”
The only questionable ingredients are maybe the soy lecithin and the calcium sulfate?

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greenplaterule May 8, 2012 at 12:18 pm

Hi Jenny, Organic bread is a great option! I didn’t list all the organic varieties in this post, since they are all free from the additives I listed. Have a great day! -Victoria

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Jamie May 17, 2012 at 7:18 am

Are there great sites to find bread machine recipies? Do you have a favorite recipe that you use?

Thanks!

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greenplaterule May 18, 2012 at 7:10 am

Hi Jamie, I’m not sure of a great site to find recipes but I’m sure they are all over the web. I used the book that came with my bread machine for a while until I figured out my own. I will post one next week! Have a great day! ~Victoria

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NC May 1, 2013 at 10:37 am

I make bread every week, and use my bread machine. I like to make my own because I can control what goes in it. I have a wheat bread recipe I can share if you are still looking for one.

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Sarah May 17, 2012 at 8:24 am

Hi, great article and very informative. I have a question though. I found the Nature’s Pride 100% Whole Wheat, but it has an ingredient listed as corn solids (not corn syrup solids though). What is this and is it ok? Thanks!

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greenplaterule May 17, 2012 at 8:43 am

Hi Sarah, corn solids are dehydrated corn syrup. I spoke to someone who works for Nature’s Pride before posting this, and they assured me they do not use high fructose corn syrup. Glad you enjoyed the article. Have a great day! -Victoria

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Sarah Abbott May 22, 2012 at 7:14 am

Victoria, I work at LLS and was turned on to your blog and Facebook page through working on MWOY.

I was so inspired by this article that I threw out all our store bought bread, went to a cooking class at Bread Beckers, bought my own mill and now make my own bread. It’s wonderful to see my children help me and knowing they are part of this important process is priceless.

So, thank you! You are making a difference.

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greenplaterule May 23, 2012 at 5:40 am

Sarah, thank you for taking the time to send this message! I’m so happy I was able to inspire you. A bread making class sounds so fun! I’m sure you all are enjoying some delicious fresh bread now!!
Have a great day and thank you again!

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Kathryn May 23, 2012 at 8:39 am

One brand I really like is Joseph’s Heart Healthy – I can find it in the deli section of my Wal Mart. They have the softest wheat pita bread around – and their Lavash bread is really yummy too! While I haven’t specifically compared the package to make sure they don’t have any of the ingredients you list above, I’m pretty sure it’s healthy stuff! And it tastes GREAT!

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greenplaterule May 23, 2012 at 3:25 pm

Hi Kathryn, I have not seen that brand before but I checked on their website and calcium propionate is listed as an ingredient in the pita bread. Check your label, it may not be on all their breads, I’m just going off what I see on their website.

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Erika May 24, 2012 at 11:58 am

I buy Arnold brand bread. I used to buy the 100% Whole Wheat. They just recently came out with a Healthfull line. I buy the Flax and fiber variety. It is a heartier bread so i only use 1 slice at 80 calories, 5 grams of fiber, and omega-3 ALA. It also doesn’t have any artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.

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greenplaterule May 24, 2012 at 6:59 pm

Hi Erika, I have not seen the new line but I checked on their website for ingredients. While it doesn’t have any of the additives and preservatives, it is made with enriched flour. The other brands I have listed were made with 100% Whole Grain or Whole Wheat. -Victoria

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Aubrey August 8, 2012 at 9:43 pm

What about the Nature’s Own 100% Whole Grain?

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greenplaterule August 8, 2012 at 9:48 pm

Azodicarbonamide is listed as a possible dough conditioner in all of Nature’s Own breads.

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Cindy August 12, 2012 at 5:59 pm

This is an answer to prayer! We try very hard to adhere to a similar diet that you promote on the site (I have Celiac, my boys have Autism and I soooo appreciate your GFCF code words in your recipes!) and bread is one I was hung up on. Thanks!!!
p.s. It may be on the site and I’ve not found it yet, so if you could send the link that’d be great, but what about eggs?

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greenplaterule August 12, 2012 at 9:03 pm

I’m so happy I was able to help, Cindy! There is a post I wrote on eggs. I wrote is based on store bought eggs, but read the information in one of the comments about pastured eggs. They are not available at supermarkets but if you can find them from a great source they are a great option. Here is the link — http://www.greenplaterule.com/health-nutrition/choosing-the-best-eggs/

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Tony Jelev August 16, 2012 at 11:46 am

Wow.. so much great info here..Pastured Eggs are available here in Las Vegas in Whole Food market

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greenplaterule August 16, 2012 at 12:24 pm

Thanks so much, Tony. I saw pastured eggs for the first time at my Whole Foods yesterday! Glad to see so many better for you options out there these days. Have a great day!

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Natalie September 10, 2012 at 10:20 am

I’d love to know what you think of the Ultimate Grains brand, it just showed up at our neighborhood store recently. I bought their ancient 12 grains bread and I think the ingredients look good but I might have missed something. Thanks for a great post!

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greenplaterule September 12, 2012 at 1:53 pm

Hi Natalie, I have not seen that bread before and I couldn’t find much information after doing a quick online search.

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Lyza @Chic Shades of Green September 11, 2012 at 10:11 am

Hi, I found your link on Mighty Nest’s Facebook page. I think it’s so important to get educated about foods today. There is so much junk out there and it’s hidden away in all sorts products. The only breads I buy are from Ezekial and Alvarado Street. They are just about the only ones that use sprouted grains, but also they don’t use processed ingredients. I don’t know all of the brands you mentioned above but I do know that I stopped buying any bread from the bread aisle because even when they say they are 100% natural they have ingredients like: soy lecithin, soybean oil, cultured corn solids and soy flour. All of those ingredients are likely to be GMO and even if a ingredient at one point resembled a food once it goes through all the extractions, solvents and other processes it is nothing more than a highly processed ingredient. Sugar is made from sugar beets which is GMO, so I don’t know if that’s any better than HFCS. Also, unless the ingredients are organic they are sprayed with pesticides. You can read my post on GMO’s if you want here: http://www.chicshadesofgreen.com/gmo-no-no-no/

I enjoyed reading your post!

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greenplaterule September 12, 2012 at 1:48 pm

I completely agree about GMO’s, and mentioned in the post that almost all conventional breads likely contain GMO’s since they all contain some type of corn or soy. It’s so sad that it is almost impossible to avoid them at the supermarket and so many people do not have access to organic options.
Here’s hoping Prop 37 passes and spreads to all the other states!

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Lyza @Chic Shades of Green September 12, 2012 at 4:43 pm

I really liked your your informative post, you mentioned so many things that I agree with! You’re right, and sometimes I forget because I have access to so much organic food, that it isn’t available to everyone and it’s definitely better to buy the ones you mentioned above than some of the alternatives in the bread aisle. I think if Prop 37 passes it would be in the best interest to change the labels so that everyone is informed. It would definitely be more cost-effective that way.

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Diane October 5, 2012 at 3:46 am

I have fibromyalgia, chronic daily headaches, and a very sensitive intestinal system. I was told that grains tend to be inflammatory. Gluten in particular. I have avoided eating bread, etc. for several months now because I am trying to see if I will feel better without the gluten in my diet. Gluten free breads are so expensive and high in refined carbs (mostly) so I just don’t eat bread for the most part.

When I did, however, I was irritated constantly that the healthiest bread I could find for the least ingredients, whole grains, and if I recall, very little preservative. But…it had soy in it like every other thing known to man these days. :( I ate it anyway because it was so good. New England Brown Bread. It’s from the same manufacturers of Country Hearth and Village Hearth. It tastes like homemade. Nutty and a rough texture to it. So good! I didn’t know that soy in something non-organic meant it had GMO’s in it.

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Amber October 19, 2012 at 12:56 am

I’m lucky that Wheat Montana has great breads and my local discount store sells it cheap! I love the High Fiber, Flax & Sunflower Seed kind – toasted and topped with homemade almond butter.

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Angela October 19, 2012 at 6:32 pm

Is it possible to find non GMO and gluten free bread?

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greenplaterule October 19, 2012 at 7:02 pm

HI Angela, thanks for the question. Yes, Rudi’s Organic bakery has a Gluten-Free line that is GMO-free. I just added them to the list with links to their website! :)

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Oscar October 21, 2012 at 1:28 am

Thank You – This is very good, I love it

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Heather November 18, 2012 at 9:52 pm

While I am not in the least saddened by the demise of most Hostess products, they were the parent company to Nature’s Pride. I guess that explains why I haven’t been able to find it in the grocery store the last few weeks. Time to search for another clean bread the kids will actually eat.

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Elaine January 2, 2013 at 11:25 pm

One of my favorite brands of bread is Dave’s Killer Bread. They have a website. If you haven’t had it, I recommend it! Organic and all real ingredients.

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Kati February 23, 2013 at 1:20 pm

Totally agree! Dave’s Killer Bread is the only bread our family eats. Free of all the junk and SOOOOOO yummy!

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Kerri January 8, 2013 at 8:36 am

Wow! I had no idea breads were so bad! Might this explain why many members of my family experience gas, bloating, and stomach pain after consuming non-clean breads?

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Dan Yackel January 11, 2013 at 3:31 pm

I have been using Ezekiel bread for quite some time now…it takes a bit to get used to, but I really like it now. -dan

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Aya January 23, 2013 at 8:07 pm

Sigh. I usually don’t buy bread either; however, my family just got on the WIC program and “whole grains” is one of the things they give you. I was hoping that there was a possibility that one of the brands they allow would be one this list :( Looks like it’s more rice for me then. It’s sad how a program that is meant to provide better nutrition does not give you healthy options!

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Alicia Fox-Smith February 1, 2013 at 10:26 am

Someone else mentioned this, but Dave’s Killer Bread is amazing–organic and ‘real’ ingredients. I think they’re based in the NW so I can find it at our big grocery stores, otherwise not sure what the availability is. Love the Power Seed and Good Seed.

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Sabrina February 4, 2013 at 6:26 am

I went to a few stores today to find what I consider clean bread- no corn or soy products or by products (soy lecithin) and only whole wheat flour (as opposed to white flour). I came across a brand of bread called sunflour at growers direct in Alison viejo, ca, I bought the honey wheat variety. The ingredients are very few (!!! :) ) : whole wheat flour, water, unbleached wheat flour (only one I’m not sure about), honey, yeast and sea salt.. Cost 3.50 for a loaf. I also came across bread at trader joes, it is called trader joes harvest. This was only 1.99 a loaf and the ingredients are: stone ground whole wheat flour, filtered water, honey, cracked wheat, sea salt, fresh yeast and whey. Both taste great. I was going to try Ezekiel, but they only had flour less versions at trader joes and that doesn’t interest me.

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Sunny February 15, 2013 at 12:20 pm

Great site — just found you this week — eager to change my eating habits! I really like the Ezekiel and have bought it for a couple years. You won’t miss the flour — it’s so nutty and delicious!

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JackieO February 25, 2013 at 2:32 pm

Just wanted to add another Amazing All Organic healthy bread to the list. I buy Genesis 1:28 grains and seeds bread. You can find it in the fridge section in some supermarkets or whole foods stores.

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Barb wright March 5, 2013 at 2:54 pm

Thank you for this most invaluable information! I am having so many health problems… Seem like all if this is relative. I am passing it on to my kids and grand children. It’s so clear why we are having weight issues and other related heeath problems… We don’t have a chance.

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E. Field February 6, 2014 at 12:07 pm

Alvarado Street hamburger buns contain azodicarbonamide.

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Linda February 6, 2014 at 4:25 pm

I bake my own bread but came to realize that the flour that I use also contains azodicaronamide. Are you aware of a brand of flour that does not contain that ingredient.? I use Robin Hood all purpose whole wheat flour and the No Name brand I have also contains it.

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Salvador Miceli February 7, 2014 at 8:10 pm

Only because of the recent news coverage of Subway removing a chemical in response to an outcry am I even researching the topic of azodicarbonamide in bread. What’s more impressive than finding your research findings is that it is dated 2 years before the general population was even aware of the issue. Keep up the good work, I’ll definitely be back to the site.

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Kari February 12, 2014 at 5:52 pm

I bought our family Alvarado Street bread for many, many months. Costco sold it, and that was the best I could find. However, my family disliked how dry it was. I decided that if I was going to make lunches without complaints anymore, I needed to look elsewhere. Trader Joe’s has the winning bread for our family. It is their California Style Sprouted Wheat Bread. One more option available to those with a TJ’s close by.

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Libby February 18, 2014 at 9:56 am

Best all organic, non-soy bread on the market is Alpine Valley out of Mesa, AZ. You can order it online and purchase it at most Costco stores. I recommend it for anyone, especially those with soy allergy like my husband. BONUS: If you live in the Phoenix area, you can purchase it at their outlet for 50 cents a loaf!! AMAZING!!!

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