In the time since I undertook a decidedly more serious amount of experimentation with baking breads, I have watched my weight climb, along with my BMI. It was during a recent party where I baked a plethora of breads including a baguette, pain de mie, a sourdough boule and a magnificent fougasse aux olives. Although my guests were impressed with the spread, I knew that bread was an indulgence that would eventually lead to health problems. In fact, I noticed some symptoms related to wheat consumption beginning to appear, and I even suspected wheat as the culprit at one point.
Some time ago, after much research, I landed on a 40-30-30 based diet and successfully lost over 65 pounds. Being such a strict formula, I eventually relaxed the diet and eventually abandoned those principles. One of the main tenants of a 40-30-30 diet is a controlled reduction in carbohydrates. More importantly, that diet treats all food as a drug, and administered carefully you could control your glycemic index and achieve a metabolic state conducive to weight loss.
Anyway, my dad asked me if I read the book called “Wheat Belly.” I replied that I had not, but promised to buy a copy and read it. And I did. The information I read was intriguing. I won’t provide a review just yet, but you can get a general idea of what it is about by reading the summary.
For my summary, Dr. William Davis exposes his findings on the harmful effects of eating wheat products, sometimes manifested as gluten intolerance or as life-threatening celiac disease. Now to be clear, I have not been diagnosed with gluten sensitivity or celiac markers, but I do exhibit some of the symptoms outlined in this book suggesting mild to moderate wheat intolerance. My rapid weight gain alone is enough evidence that wheat is at a minimum increasing my caloric intake, throwing my carb-fat-protein ratios off balance and wreaking havoc with my metabolism. Marrying the concepts I learned from Dr. Barry Sears and his research into proper carb balance, I think I have a pretty fair formula for increased health.
So, as much as I love baking breads, as of today I am eliminating all wheat products from my diet. Does this mean I won’t ever bake bread again? Certainly not! There are alternative ways to bake gluten free breads, and I will experiment with those methods in the coming months. Unfortunately, wheat gluten is the magic component that makes delicious bread possible. There are replacement components (xantham gum, guar gum, etc) which can stand in for wheat gluten, and other refined flours…but these must be consumed in moderation if you want to maintain a healthy state. I won’t be making as many gluten-free replacement bread products, but I do plan to master the art of gluten free baking.
So to those of you who follow my baking blog, I am sorry to inform you that I will no longer blog on my experiments with wheat-flour based breads, at least until I can establish that the wheat-free lifestyle is providing a benefit as advertised. So I will report back here weekly with statistics on my weight loss/gain in the absence of wheat and other harmful carbohydrates.
Soon, I will post my first recipe and experiment with gluten free buttermilk biscuits. In the midst of becoming wheat-free, I will also post my findings on alternatives to wheat-based treats, focusing instead on some original, inspired, more-health-conscious alternatives. Au revoir, wheat!