Last updated on April 13th, 2017
I tried a lettuce-wrapped burger for lunch today. Nothing fancy — just a pan-broiled patty of ground chuck with mustard and pickle enclosed in large leaves of ice-berg.
Who needs bread or buns?
Well, a lot of people think they do. I used to be one of them. Before I reduced my carb-intake, I ate bread nearly every day, and often twice a day.
The main purpose of bread in my life was to make sandwiches. Yes, I occasionally toasted a slice or two for breakfast, usually coating it with jam but not that demon butter, and every few weeks I might dip a few slices in egg to make French Toast.
I also tore up the heels of loaves to put in my soup.
But day in, day out, I ate bread (and its cousin, the bun) in sandwiches.
I loved sandwiches. The fillings varied from ham and cheese, to peanut butter and jelly, to tuna, to bacon and tomato, to ground beef with pickle, ketchup, mustard and onion . . . You name it, and I probably ate it between bread.
I miss sandwiches. What could be more convenient? A sandwich is a hand-held meal, a tidy package of protein, fat, fiber and carbs.
OK, the carbs are a problem for me — especially when they come from grain, and especially when that grain is wheat. I seem to have a problem with wheat that goes beyond its carb content. I won’t go into details here, but since giving up wheat in all forms (and, yes, lately that even includes lite beer), I’ve noticed improvements in the performance of my digestive tract.
It turns out I’m a sensitive guy with a sensitive gut, at least where wheat is concerned.
The lettuce-wrapped burger worked fine. Eating the burger on a plate with a fork would have been just as easy, I suppose, but there was an elemental pleasure in being able to hold the meal in my hands. It may have to do with muscle-memory.
Our garden is producing a prodigious amount of tomatoes this year.
Stand by for the bread-less BLT!
Thanks, Jim! I’m glad I’m not the only person who can’t lettuce-wrap a burger. 🙂
And thank you, Richard, for your insight. I just thought of that the other day, that bread reduces the flavor. Haven’t had bread for several years now. I still miss it (I used to make awesome bread, if I say so myself), but I’m so much better off without. Also better off without cheese – turned out it does a number on my skin & my joints. No inflammation without it.
I used to bake my own bread but had to give it up when I was diagnosed with diabetes. It’s been a few years, so I don’t miss it as much as I used to. I make what I call a deconstructed burger: a bed of lettuce, mayo, onion, burger on top with a side of pickles. Good, but you do need a fork. So the other day I tried to make a lettuce wrap – the meat fell out & we ended up using our forks. Is there some secret to how the burger gets wrapped?
Bonnie — I have to admit, I eat most of my burgers with a fork these days. Haven’t found the wrapping secret, either. The restaurant that does the best job of wrapping is Red Robin, but they use about half a head of lettuce, it seems.
I’ve never really been a fan of sandwiches and even though I love to BAKE bread, I’ve discovered I don’t really like to eat it all that much. So I’ve always been one to sort of eat the insides of a sanwich and leave the bread, except for hamburgers. Now I eat my hamburgers with a knife and fork and like them 1000 more. Good ground beef nicely grilled is YUMMY! My husband has access to good grass-fed ground beef for cheap and we’ve really been going to town with it. A side of grilled onions and mushrooms and I am in heaven.
For lunch, I eat a turkey “unsandwich”–turkey slices, cheese, and avacado, no bread. YUM. What Richard said is true–It’s nice to enjoy the individual flavors of all the components without the bread muting the volatile components. Everything tastes great and I’m enjoying my meals so much more. I used to spend way too much on lunches out because I hated toting sandwiches to the office. Now I look forward to my unsandwich every day.
RIchard Feinman says
Another point is that whereas bread provides some texture, it reduces taste. That is because part of taste is the volatile components, that is the odor. These can be absorbed by the fiber in the bread. (You also want to use a thin lettuce rap). That’s a chemical explanation but you can do the experiment. I personally prefer the burger with tomato, onion, mayonnaise, etc. and the correct way to eat it, as in the trailer-park cookbook, over the sink so the juice can run down your arm. Also, it is well worth the time to chop your own burger — I recommend chuck steak. Remove all visible fat (there will be enough left in the marbling for taste) and use the knife blade of a food processor. Grind to coarse grind; just to the point where there are no visible pieces; it should not be smooth.
trailer park cookbook? RU serious?
I live in a mobile home, LOL.
“I won’t go into details here, but since giving up wheat in all forms (and, yes, lately that even includes lite beer), I’ve noticed improvements in the performance of my digestive tract.
It turns out I’m a sensitive guy with a sensitive gut, at least where wheat is concerned.”
Small world department.
When I began the LCHF way of life back in July of 2008, I gave up all breads and anything with flour or sugar. At that time I had no problems with digestion, etc. Fast forward to this past January. Read about these LC wraps and flat breads on another site and decided to try them. Soon after I noticed that I was starting to, let’s say, spend a little more time in the bathroom than I had before. Thought I was eating too much flax or something. I also noticed that I had begun developing an achy sore lower back and sore, tight hip joints, every AM, soon after getting up. Began doing some research, checked out my food diaries to see what had been added or subtracted, and before long realized that I was probably gluten sensitive and was dealing with wheat problems. Kept reading and educating myself, purchased a book or two, read more blogs. About the middle of May, I finally got rid of all and anything in my house with the slightest bit of flour in it. The “digestive” problems cleared up within a week. It has now been 3 months since that last piece of flat bread/pita bread has been consumed, and I can finally say the hips and back seem to be back to normal. Did a lot of reading about the negative aspects of bread and learned that it is not unusual for some people for improvements take 3 months!
Joe Lindley says
From what I’ve heard gluten is far more of a problem than we’ve suspected – for many people. Some with severe reactions to it have to stay off it totally for 9 months or more and then, if they have just the slightest bit of it they’ll have symptoms again. It’s good you found out so soon!
so jealous, love garden fresh tomatoes. I recently discovered Lettuce Wraps when eating at PF Changs. I am not sure what sorts of things were added to the meat, but I am sure it was not as healthy as when I started experimenting with it at home.