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A Healthy Slice of Pizza at LaBella in New Paltz

If you are like me, you do your best to stay away from “bad” carbs, AKA white flour and therefore pizza is out. What a shame, because who doesn’t like pizza?

In fact, in a 2015 survey done by Smart Flour Foods and the Center for Generational Kinetics, they found that more than 6 million adults would give up sex for a year before they’d stop eating pizza. Wow! That is pizza power for you.

Good news! Now you can have your crust and eat it too. At La Bella Pizza Bistro in New Paltz owner Maria Lisanti, has created a pizza crust that is delicious and part of a healthy diet.

How is that possible? The secret is a pizza crust made with sprouted grains, an even healthier version of whole grains.

Whole grain crust has been around for quite some time and most pizzerias offer it, but you probably won’t find a sprouted grain pizza crust anywhere else around.

What makes sprouted grains healthier than whole grains? Both supply you with essential fiber and a variety

Sprout Grain - Traditional

of minerals including iron, zinc, magnesium, vitamins A and B, but with sprouted grains all parts of the whole grain, bran, endosperm and germ are left intact. When the grains are soaked the grains/seeds begin to sprout, allowing enzymes to transform some of the starch--making the nutrients more easily absorbed.

That’s the science, but who cares if it doesn’t taste good? Now, I know there are many people who are not into the whole wheat scene to begin with. To me the sprouted crust gives the pizza a great texture and taste, which I prefer— kind of like how I like 12 grain bread over white or plain whole wheat. It also makes not me feel sleepy after eating, a common side effect of eating normal pizza.

I put some questions about it to Maria: Where did the idea of a sprouted grain pizza come from?

“When you live in New Paltz, surrounded by the farms and an active life style creating a healthy spin on pizza just seemed the natural thing.”

In fact, the idea of a sprouted grain crust started when she was visiting her CSA. Maria was talking to a young couple who had told her how they had been experimenting at home, trying to make a whole grain pizza dough.

“It is not easy to make because you want it to be delicious and that means the dough cannot be tough or taunt.” explains Maria “The challenge is that the sprouted grain dough has very little gluten, the component responsible for the elastic texture of traditional pizza dough”. Maria suggested they come to Le Belle they could work on creating the perfect crust there. “It took a good week of us trying different proportions and techniques for the mix but the results were amazing”

The sprouted grain dough they created consisted of a blend of 100% organic cracked wheat, barley, rye, steel cut oats, corn grits, millet and flax seeds.

At La Bella, any regular pizza can be made with a whole grain crust –just ask. When you come in they will always have at least one sprouted grain pizza to choose from.

Calmbucha on Tap

The day I was there, I enjoyed a slice topped with fresh tomato, mozzarella and pesto along with a glass of Calmbucha. Yes, Calmbucha, a locally crafted small batch Kombucha, a naturally flavored black or green tea and sugar drink fermented with probiotics and yeast cultures. If you haven’t heard of it you will as is gaining increasing popularity due to its health benefits which include digestion and blood flow.

LaBella carries two Calmbucha flavors daily that are on tap so each comes out bubbly and fresh.

Maria and her family at LaBella has been serving the Hudson Valley for over 20 years. Besides the great pizza, they offer a full menu of Italian specialties. You can eat in their comfortable dining room or take out and feel good because it may just be the healthy pizza place around !

194 Main Street, New Paltz, NY 12561

Phone: 845-255-2633

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