I started baking bread about a year ago. At that time, I had pretty much cut bread out of my diet. I was convinced carbs were the enemy. But if that was indeed the case, carbs being the enemy, how come humans have been eating bread for thousands of years without adverse affects?
Then it hit me, maybe it had to do with the “modernization” of the process. If I could control the ingredients and the process, then maybe I could return to eating bread.
It’s amazing how simple the bread baking process is, yet how complex the outcomes are. A video I watched recently had a great quote about bread making that sums up the concept. A baker explained what captivated him about the process in four words:
“Four ingredients, infinite possibilities.“
Yes, that’s right, four simple ingredients – flour, water, salt, and yeast – can produce an endless number of results.
I recently had the opportunity to spend some time golfing on the Monterey Peninsula. While most of the meals were included as part of the golf package, there were a couple of free nights available to explore the area.
Because it’s who I am and what I do, I did some research to decide where we should eat. Fortunately, the research paid off. I discovered two spots that I would certainly visit again the next time I’m in the area.
For the last three years, I’ve significantly reduced my carbohydrate intake. More specifically, I’ve eaten a lot less wheat-based carbohydrates, which significantly reduced my bread consumption. My diet changed from eating 3-4 servings of bread per day to 3-4 servings every month or so. So instead of eating carbohydrates, I’ve consumed a lot more protein and natural fats such as nuts.
My motivation came from what I read in Wheat Belly, Grain Brain, Primal Body – Primal Mind, and It Starts with Food. My desire to get my weight below 160 pounds was also a significant factor. While I’ve adjusted to the diet and don’t necessarily miss bread, I decided it was time for a change. Variety is the spice of life, right?
I decided to take the bold move of adding bread back into my diet, but under one condition. It couldn’t be any bread. I wanted to bake it on my own so I could control the ingredients being used. I didn’t want to pollute my body with all the ingredients found in a store-bought loaf of bread that I either don’t know or can’t pronounce.
I’ve made a couple of trips there recently, and it gets better each time. I’ve had more time to explore and search out those places that are hidden gems. Just like my first visit, I haven’t been disappointed in what I’ve found.
As luck would have it, I discovered over the last year that I’m a “foodie”. Don’t ask how. That’s a post for a different time. But being a foodie means I can get picky about where and what I eat. Fortunately, Seattle does not lack for good places. As part of my exploring, I’ve discovered that Seattle takes two particular food items very seriously – ice cream and coffee, which is fine by me. It just so happens these are two of my favorite indulgences. Give me good ice cream and good coffee, and I’m a happy camper. Give me both, and I’m in heaven.
If you’re heading to Seattle, here’s my go-to list of places to try out. If you live in the area, I’d love to hear your opinion and any recommendations you might have for my next visit.
One of my reading themes is health and fitness. And why not? What we do and eat on a daily basis has a huge impact on our quality of life. It affects how we feel, energy levels, quality of sleep and more.
My latest read in this genre was recommended by my sister Tricia, who has become more aware of and interested in learning how food affects health. She suggested that I read It Starts With Food by Dallas & Melissa Hartwig.
Given how much I got out of Wheat Belly and Grain Brain, adding It Starts With Food to my reading list was a no brainer. I was interested in seeing what other nutrition tips and ideas I could pick up from another source.
As part of my effort to eat healthier, cutting added sugars out of my diet was at the top of my priority list. Little did I know just how difficult this would be. I quickly learned that you had to be careful with anything processed, in a box, or sealed in a bag. When you buy something in that form factor, the question isn’t whether it has sugar. The question is how much.
Here’s just one recent example that shocked me. To change up my routine and add some spice to my pistachio habit, I wanted to give salt & black pepper pistachios a try. When I saw them at Costco, I couldn’t resist and grabbed a bag. Midway through my first serving, something seemed…, well, off. In addition to the pepper seasoning, I was detecting a bit of a sweetness. I didn’t think much of it, but decided to check the ingredients. Bingo! Sugar. Now granted, it was pretty far down the ingredient list, and it wasn’t a lot. But we’re talking about pistachios. Why is there any sugar added?
As it so happens, this is just one example of many.
I’d like to preface this post by saying that I am NOT a doctor, nor am I a nutritionist. I have no medical training, and I didn’t stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night. What am I about to share is my personal experience and the results I got when I adjusted my diet based upon the information that I gleaned from Wheat Belly, Grain Brain, Primal Body – Primal Mind, and It Starts with Food. With that out of the way, I would be curious if anyone who reads this has experienced similar results.
At my last job, I did an extensive amount of travel. On average, I spent about 2 weeks out of every month on the road. What you don’t notice when you travel that much is how you slowly start packing on the pounds. Sitting on airplanes, the lack of exercise, and the regular eating out does not lend itself to maintaining a healthy weight.
I did my best to stay active and eat properly while I was at home and not on the road. Still yet, I peaked at 180 pounds, which was well above what I consider my fighting weight of 160. After I left the job, I decided I would make an effort to lose the 20 or so pounds that had somehow deposited itself on my body.
A couple of years ago, I became interested in the link between food and health. What really set me off was when I noticed how much sugar went into everyday foods. For example, I was completely caught off guard when I realized that there were 20g of added sugar in a jar of tomato sauce, per serving! It really got me thinking about what the industrialization of food has done to our diets.
Around that same time, I met someone during a technology meetup at my office. Somehow, the conversation turned to food, and we both lamented over the effects that processed food has over our body. He made a great comment, or observation if you will, when he said that we should treat “food as medicine”. His comment really hit home and got me thinking about our relationship with food.