Bread Challenge Day 17 of 30

IMG_1897I got up early enough to join the weekly Saturday morning Chili’s ride (departs @ 8:15 am). The guys in the photo belong to some SDSU biking team or group. Everyone was wearing a cycling kit, except me in jeans, t-shirt, backpack, no helmet, riding a fixie. The ride was about 50km, but my Strava app didn’t successfully record it 😦 You know you’re addicted to Strava when you consider a “make up” ride for the km’s the app missed. It’s a shame, because I logged some pretty hard efforts today.

I knew I’d need some fuel for this ride, so I bought a Jalapeño & cheddar bagel with cream cheese. I wolfed it down minutes before we took off. About 90 minutes into the ride, I was hungry again, so I ate some Shot Bloks for a quick 200 calories and 100mg of caffeine. On the way home, I picked up 400g of assorted breads from the bakery, and a pound of butter. So, with the bagel and the hamburger bun for breakfast, I’ll eat a of total 600g of bread today.

I just pounded the 400g of bread I just bought with about 40g of butter for lunch. I’m guessing this totals to about 1350 calories, including about 32g of protein. Time for a nap about now. (BTW, my blood glucose level is 130 mg/dl right now.)

Bread Challenge Day 16 of 30

IMG_1891Well, I’ve passed the halfway point, and I’m actually enjoying the pound-a-day bread challenge now. At first, I quickly got tired of forcing down a whole-grain loaf every day. Then I learned to buy an assortment at the bakery, and I found the ciabatta rolls. Plus, it turns out that sourdough tastes good with butter.

When I first started losing weight 14 months ago, I was heavily influenced by the Forks Over Knives movie. I thought that animal products gave you cancer, and I minimized them to less than 5% of my calories. Now, I’m probably eating 100g/week in butter alone (mostly due to the Bread Challenge, and from listening to Jimmy Moore’s podcasts), and I might be eating as much as 12% of my calories from animal products.

I probably wouldn’t eat so much if I wasn’t biking 200 km/week. But as it is, I feel that I’m properly fueling my body. Could I still lose weight eating a pound of bread a day without biking? Probably, but it wouldn’t be any fun. I’m having fun the way it is.

The employees at Bread & Cie on 5th Ave all know me now. Every morning, they take and fill my order. They probably wonder what I’m doing with all the bread. I bought four ciabatta rolls and a petite sourdough baguette totaling 660g today. I used one of the rolls for a salmon burger with sesame oil and rice vinegar dressing, served with sauteed baby bok choy with peanut sauce. (I’ll need those decorative sandwich toothpicks to take better photos.)

Bread Challenge Day 15 of 30

Screen Shot 2014-09-24 at 11.45.00 PMTo repeat the Diet Doctor’s comparison of the blood glucose responses of a high-carb meal and a low-carb meal, I made a 3 egg omelette with veggies and cheese for breakfast today. The omelette probably totals 400 calories, while the yesterday’s bread meal had about 700 calories.

While not quite the “zero response” curve that Dr. Eenfeldt plotted yesterday, the low-carb meal definitely had a lower blood glucose response than the high-carb meal. I’m surprised that there was any glucose response at all from the omelette, which had almost 0 carbs. I read a suggestion that rapid gluconeogenesis of protein causes the response, but the science seems unclear on this effect (from what I could find in 5 minutes).

Does any of this matter? I don’t care. My body is properly metabolising any fuel that I feed it. My health is amazing, and I continue to lose weight eating anything healthy and exercising. We can measure every step of my metabolism of carbs and protein/fat, and it’ll all be normal. We evolved to efficiently extract every calorie of energy from food, whether it’s carb, fat, or protein (beyond that needed for repair/growth). Good luck tricking the body on that one.

[The only variation you’re ever going to see is that some people are less efficient than extracting the theoretical max of 4 kCal/g from carbs/protein, and 9 kCal/g from fat.]

The 30 Day Bread Challenge is going well, and I ate 410g of chiabatta buns and walnut raisin bread yesterday, the aforementioned omelette, the rest of my egg noodles with veggies and broth, 100g of salmon, a grapefruit, some jerky, tortilla chips, and I finished off the kilo of Wasabi & Soy Sauce roasted almonds. This morning, I weighed in at a new low of 79.3 kg. Woohoo! I bought another 600g of bread (including a white bread french baguette) to celebrate.

Bread Challenge Day 14 of 30

Screen Shot 2014-09-23 at 10.33.39 PMDr. Andreas Eenfeldt, the LCHF Diet Doctor from Sweden, just posted his blood glucose response from a high-carb, high-junk lunch served at a diabetes conference he’s attending. It’s looks very much like a 75g glucose response test, even though the actual meal was a banana, a bag of chips, and a candy bar. His blood glucose peaked at 160 mg/dl, and stayed high for about 3 hours after the meal. The commenters all seemed alarmed at this reaction.

I got obsessed over all this, and went out and bought my own meter and test strips. It took me a while to figure out how to use it properly, and how to get the best blood droplets from my fingertips, in order to maximize accuracy.

I decided on a meal of 200g of New York Rye, about 1/2 an avocado, a tomato, and some onion. (I bought a 600g loaf of NY Rye this morning for the 30 Day Bread Challenge.) I ate it quickly, then started taking measurements. After the first measurement (145 mg/dl @ +13 min), we walked to a local restaurant (actually, I raced an 8 year old up a hill). I just sat at dinner, and watched everyone else eat. The waitress saw my blood meter, and thought I was diabetic. She suggested plain brown rice, but I politely declined.

I guess the bit of exercise of walking to the restaurant transiently lowered my blood glucose. That makes sense. If you do the calculations, you’ll probably satisfy yourself that a brisk walk will burn off calories at a higher rate than you can digest from this kind of meal.

Anyways, even if I didn’t walk/run in the middle of the experiment, I wouldn’t have been alarmed at all about my blood glucose levels. It all seems pretty normal to me. You eat, the food digests, and the glucose fuel is delivered to your cells via the bloodstream. How does this scare a low-carb’er?

When I got back home, I cooked up a huge bowl of noodles with veggies and broth.

Bread Challenge Day 13 of 30

IMG_1856I chose an assortment again today, picking a Walnut Raisin petite loaf, a sourdough boule, and two rosemary rolls totaling 540g. I’ll probably make a few veggie sandwiches, and eat the sourdough with some vegetable bean soup leftovers.

I weighed in again today at my previous low 79.7 kg from last week. It’s always nice to reproduce a low weigh-in; it tells you that the previous measurement wasn’t a fluke. This is my typical slow and steady progress under the all-you-can-eat-with-vegetables plan. Yesterday, I ate 340g of bread, a bowl of noodles, a bunch of almonds, and a dinner of tabouli, caprese, and lentil salads. That seemed like the right amount of food, since I did spin class in the morning, and rode 30km before dinner.

I’m not sure if I’ll exercise tonight or not. If I do, I’ll probably eat more starch than just this bread.

Bread Challenge Day 12 of 30

IMG_1852This isn’t the 340g sourdough baguette I bought today, they’re some fresh egg noodles from Ranch 99 Market. It was my first time shopping at the asian foods store, and I found a lot of items far fresher and cheaper than anywhere else. This was the best noodle soup I’ve made so far, using with fresh noodles, leftover roast chicken, mushrooms, spinach, baby bok choy, cilantro, green onions, sesame oil, and a ramen soup mix package.

Needless to say, I’ve been eating plenty of additional “carbs” outside my daily pound of bread during this Challenge. They’re just calories, and when you balance them with fresh vegetables and other healthy nutrient-rich, high-fiber foods, you’ll fill up and lose weight.

Do you think I’m just lucky and have a special metabolism that can “tolerate carbs”? Then do you think the US population as a whole would get even fatter eating like I do? Or do you think they’d lose weight overall?

Telling everyone that “carbs make you fat” hasn’t worked over the last 15 years. But no accurate or reasonable nutrition advice would help the public either. People are going to eat the fat, sugar, and salt that the food industry makes for them. It’s human nature.

Bread Challenge Day 11 of 30

I picked up a loaf of Jalapeño Cheddar from Bread & Cie today. I was pretty hungry, and ate most of the 540g before dinner. Even with the butter, it’s not nearly enough calories for the day, so I made my famous Chinese No-Chicken Salad, and filmed the process:

I actually get a lot of requests from friends and family for this recipe. It’s always a hit at dinners and parties. This is probably the only dish I’ve ever created. (Besides my savory air-popped popcorn sprinkled with chicken-flavoured Top Ramen soup mix powder.) Hopefully, this video makes it foolproof to re-create it in your own kitchen.

And yes, I understand that this recipe isn’t vegan, and isn’t compliant with the McDougall plan, and wouldn’t make it into a Forks Over Knives cookbook. But this is one of the healthiest dishes I make, and the Top Ramen is an excellent source of resistance starch (it takes a while to digest).

Bread Challenge Day 10 of 30

IMG_1818I weighed-in at a new low of 79.7 kg this morning. I’m still waiting for the “bread makes you fat” effect to kick in. Instead of buying a single huge loaf of blandness today, I picked up an assortment totaling 420g. This stuff is pretty good, especially the Raisin Walnut bread. I won’t have any problems finishing today’s challenge.

Do people really believe that bread makes you fat? Yes, they do. Market studies show declining US per capita flour consumption, a 10% decrease in bread and roll sales from 2006 – 2011, and so on, and so on. These declines are attributed to negative beliefs about carbs, as started by Atkins diet in the early 2000’s, and periodically resurrected by various fad diets. Of course, people still got fatter eating less bread.


So why do people believe that bread (carbs) make you fat? I think people are disposed to this idea, because we see that we’re all getting fatter, and we have to blame something. Some people (correctly) blame fast food and junk food. Other people’s reasoning goes something like this: A) meat is superior to bread, B) we’re eating too much of something, so C) let’s stop eating bread (alternatively, “it’s the bread that makes you fat”).

Or, the reasoning is something like, “eating meat will give me muscles”, “eating fat will make me fat”, and “eating dough will make me doughy”.

People might believe that “carbs make you fat”, because we naturally believe in the potency of small ingested things. (Our survival selected for it.) We also believe in the efficacy of extreme diets. So, restricting yourself to < 40 g/day of carbs, and going ketogenic must work to lose weight. In the process, we all miss the point that eating a whole-foods, high-fiber, traditional diet (based on starch, a lot of vegetables, with some meat and fat) has worked for millennia.

This low-carb silliness will never end. Their position has become intransigent, and they’ve developed Young-Earth Creationist type arguments about insulin spikes, calories don’t matter, Ancel Keys conspiracy theories, sugar is a toxin, mutated wheat, etc. If you tell them you’ve lost 25 kg eating primarily carbs, starch, and bread, then they’ll say about 1/3 of the population can tolerate carbs (but the other 2/3 must go ketogenic; there’s some magic -/0/+ quantum state in people). You can’t win with them. Which would be alright, except that the general population takes away the idea that “carbs make you fat”.

Sometimes I get excited when I hear Paleo advocates encourage people to “eat real foods”. But then they’ll tell you that beans, peanuts, corn, rice, tomatoes, etc. aren’t real food (according to their magic-spell diet). And they’re absolutely terrified of bread.

Bread Challenge Day 9 of 30

IMG_1807Ok, I’m back to eating a pound of bread a day, after taking a variety break yesterday. So far, in the first 9 days of the bread challenge, I’ve eaten 4.11 kg of bread (in addition to everything else I’ve eaten), averaging 457 g/day (1.01 lbs/day). I weighed in at 80.3 kg this morning, close to my low point, and more-or-less making weightloss progress. So, I’m not panicking that “bread makes you fat”, and I’m going with reason on this one: they’re just calories.

I wanted to eat some salmon burgers today, so I went with the Wheat Belly stack of 6 hamburger buns, totaling 450g for the day. Dr. Davis uses this picture to imply that “bread makes you fat”. Does everyone accept this because they envision eating it all at once? Sure, that’s how a lot of us eat. But me, I’m going to spread them out over the day. And I’ll probably get a workout in tonight.

Roast Chicken Taco

IMG_1804Ok, I got really sick of eating a pound of bread every day, so I decided to take a few days off. Or longer. Bread gets really boring fast, and I rather eat tortillas, beans, or potatoes. And when a loaf of bread totals more than 1500 calories, it doesn’t leave much room for variety. I only ate 200g of rolls yesterday, and instead enjoyed two packages of Top Ramen noodles, and a bunch of popcorn.

I felt like some fresh tortillas from Gabriel’s tonight, and picked up some roast chicken from the Mexican grocery store. I also bought some cooked beans, and will eat them with the tortillas as vegetarian tacos.