Hello best life seekers!
Do you have inflammation or carry excess pounds you can’t get rid of for the life of you? Maybe your acne is bad or you just have random health issues that seemingly have no cause. I’m not a doctor but I had these conditions and when I gave up bread, they all went away. Maybe you don’t have a medical problem so much as a bread problem. I’m not saying banning bread is the end all be all but here’s what happened when I was eating it and what happened when I gave it up. Maybe my story will resonate with whatever you’re going through.
I love pizza. I love bread and muffins and cookies and cakes. These are all delicious bread products. Throw in pasta for another refined wheat experience and you have some of my favorite meals and desserts.
Problem was, I’d get lethargic after meals, have spiking blood sugar, the fidgets, and an increase in mood swings and anxiety. I also developed a troubling shooting pain in my left arm that flared constantly – like every three seconds – and felt like an electric wire lighting up. Colleagues said surgery could fix it. Riiight. I also had acne, a stiff right shoulder that stopped my arm bending behind my back, and at the height of my problems, a developing tightness and pain in my chest.
I thought it was work – long hours behind a desk for 65 hours a week with maybe one day off every third week. Typical lawyer routine. Unlike a typical lawyer, I didn’t put up with it. When I hit my monetary goal, I “retired” to a life as a digital nomad in sunny Southeast Asia. Feeling like I was mentally, emotionally and physically falling apart, I was happy to leave the soul-sucking law gig behind.
I landed in Thailand. Within 1 month I had lost 12 pounds. Within 2 months my shooting left arm pain had nearly vanished. My acne improved. The chest pain subsided. My moods evened out. This change of lifestyle worked miracles! After a year, even my stiff right arm was back to normal rotational ability.
Some would say it was the lack of stress or a crazy 65 hour work week, exercise and diet. To those people I would say, nope. Here’s why:
While obviously I had less stress and less work, I didn’t exercise. In fact, I spent the 1st two months literally sleeping and resting out of sheer exhaustion. Doubtlessly this helped. Diet was a big part of the healing process since I switched to local foods which meant rice, not refined wheat grains, and more fruits and vegetables. I hardly touched bread. Like almost never. Mostly I just ate whole foods.
Fast forward 2 years when I took up another lucrative, temporary legal gig doing the same work as before. I worked 55 hours in the same job at the same firm. I didn’t exercise. All my symptoms started resurfacing, along with the weight.
Obviously it was the job, right?
Nope. In those two years I’d discovered how to be peaceful and happy. I was a smiling, happy person that no one hardly recognized. No stress at all. Well, I didn’t like the return of 12 pounds and the renewed flaring in my arm almost overnight. Other than a mood replacement, the only other thing different was my eating habits which had now reverted to my pre-Asian dietof refined carbs.
Determined to at least drop the weight, I followed the advice in Timothy Ferris’ book The 4 Hour Body, which I stumbled upon in my library after years of it being forgotten. It had helped me long ago so I put its tenants to practice once more:
- Drop the bread, pasta, milk and refined carbs
- Eat protein and veggies as much as possible
- Binge on favorite foods once a week
It worked and I slimmed down again and kept the weight off. But strangely enough, even while working 55 hours a week and having no life and doing no exercise, all my recurring symptoms once more went away.
I had an epiphany.
Bread, pasta, and refined carbs were the cause of my former health problems. Eating healthy without them was the cure. To test this hypothesis, I ate more pizza and pasta. Presto, the symptoms quickly returned.
So I stopped eating that junk other than as a splurge now and again. Importantly too, I stopped seeing them as real food and recognized them as poison that could and would harm my body, including my moods and ability to regulate my appetite.
What Happened When I Quit Bread
When I stopped eating my pizzas, breads, pastas and refined carbs, my health improved. The pains and inflammation went away. So did the acne. My head fog disappeared, as did the cravings for food at random times. My moods evened out and I was less anxious.
On top of that, I started eating for health which meant switching to a whole foods diet of mostly fruits and vegetables, with focus on proteins like legumes, chicken, pork and seafood. Eventually I became mostly pescatarian. The change boosted my energy levels remarkably, including my mental alertness.
Not Another Gluten Excuse!
Bread is made from wheat and contains gluten. I used to roll my eyes whenever a relative begged off bread or pasta because of their “gluten allergy.” I thought they’d jumped on the latest namby-pamby health craze for idiots. When the epiphany hit me about my own gluten heavy life, I sort of felt sheepish.
However, gluten could be the cause of a lot of ills due to widespread and undiagnosed gluten allergies and sensitivities in most populations regardless of race or ethnicity. Dr. Robert Pearlmutter’s books Wheat Belly and Grain Brain research the links between wheat and anything from acne to autism. He notes how wheat contributes to disrupting our protective gut biome, ravages our immune systems, and causes rampant inflammation. Guess what’s linked to inflammation? A host of autoimmune diseases and cancer. Peter Staub’s fabulous and well-researched books Why We Get Fat and The Case Against Sugar also point out the links between wheat, diabetes and cancer, especially when combined with another refined carb, sugar.
The more I read about wheat, the more I distrusted bread products and other floury “foods”. Eating them now and again may or may not be detrimental but eat them for 20+ years as staples in meals and we seem to set ourselves up for health problems.
So I gave up the stuff and switched to whole foods. I’ve never felt better.
Getting Off Bread
The main problem with quitting bread is, well, the quitting. This stuff is highly addicting. Anyone who loves pasta or bread knows this. Try giving it up and you will go into massive withdrawal. Thinking you’re about to die without it isn’t outside the realm of possibility. In fact, you might try to sell your beloved grandmother for a delicious slice of cake.
If you want to succeed in quitting bread or any wheat product, you have to face it like you would giving up any other addiction because it will be just as hard and you’ll go through withdrawal – mentally and physically. It won’t be pleasant or pretty.
Which should convince you how bad this stuff is.
Bread Free is Good Health
Dont believe my story? That’s okay but I’d challenge you to give up bread and wheat products for one week just to see if there is some truth to it. No breads, no pasta, no cakes or cookies. Switch to rice (it’s gluten-free) if you have to so that you’re not completely gnawing off your arm from withdrawal. See if it benefits your health. Don’t quit due withdrawal symptoms that make you feel bad and “prove” your body needs the stuff. That’s the addiction talking. See how good you feel on the other side when you’re free of this junk.
Remember, eat for health. Health is one of your most valuable assets. Don’t take it lightly – see what quitting bread and wheat products will do for you.
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