In Defense of Bread

2021.12.05 10:30 eldritch-apparition In Defense of Bread

This is going to be long, grab yourself a beverage of your choice and join me in this kind of disassociated rambling. This post is for me mainly, as a reminder of what I am doing and why I am doing it. First half is on bread second half is my "manifesto", a promise to myself, and this post is for my own accountability as I start my journey to change my way of eating.
Bread
This issue has been bothering me for a while. It seems when it comes to dietary changes or reforming our way of eating to weight loss the first thing many of us do -apart from coming to reddit for consultation of course- is to “cut out” certain food groups or only eating certain types of foods.
I want to address the habit of cutting out carbs, specifically bread and grain products. It seems the humble staples of many cultures is blamed as one of the main culprits of obesity, along with fat (which would need a separate post of its own).
Keto, paleo, Atkins, whole30, and a myriad of others are based on cutting out simple carbs. Many of us, when sharing out methods on here, start by saying “I cut out bread and pasta...”.
// To clarify, when I say “bread” I do not mean the sweet, light, ultra-processed abomination that can survive a nuclear blast and is so disgusting people can’t even bother eating the crust. I am talking about the fresh stuff you can get from bakeries or bake at home with a mixture of white and wholemeal flours, yeast, water and salt.\\
Bit of history
Bread was the cornerstone and foundation of many early societies. Bread is among the oldest human-made foods and it plays a role in history and religion.
The archaeological record suggests that wheat was first cultivated in the regions of the Fertile Crescent around 9600 BCE. To put this into perspective, the dawn of modern civilization is around 5000 BCE (ancient Mesopotamia). However, the oldest found remains of bread (made of wild wheat and barley) are over 11000 years old, found in the Black Desert in Jordan.
Bread is mentioned in the oldest available written records, has a central part in Christianity (maybe other religions as well, but I do not know them well enough), has a role in many countries’ history and culture (where I am from, we have the “day of the new bread” where the Bread of the Nation is baked every August 20th when we celebrate the founding of our nation)
History and diet
Modern humans are omnivores who thrive on carbs, fat and protein. Until the development of agriculture approximately 10,000 years ago, Homo sapiens employed a hunter-gatherer method as their sole means of food collection. This involved combining stationary food sources (such as fruits, grains, tubers, and mushrooms, insect larvae and aquatic mollusks) with wild game, which must be hunted and killed in order to be consumed. It has been proposed that humans have used fire to prepare and cook food since the time of Homo erectus. As you might imagine, this kind of diet was rich in complex and simple carbs and the hardest come by food groups were animal protein and simple sugars (honey was guarded by bees who don’t like to share, non-cultivated fruits were a lot smaller and sourer than today’s juicy-sweet ones, and animals had to be stalked for days on end, then hunted down, processed, cooked, preserved so sometimes it simply wasn't worth the effort).
Evolution takes thousands of years to make significant changes to one’s biology. The hunter-gatherer ancestors, or the ancient Mesopotamians were the people of yesterday in an evolutional scale. Their diet could be summed up something like “Eat little, mostly plants and grains, eat fat and meat when the opportunity arises” The issue with how to eat and what to eat came with the industrial revolution and the mass industrialization of food production.
Personal opinion and promise to self
I refuse to believe that cutting out any food group is the magical solution for our problems. How about the fact that dinner plates are getting bigger and bigger or that we have no idea what is a proper portion of food? How about the ultra-processed food that is carefully engineered to stimulate us to eat more than we need? How about the billion-dollar diet industry that is trying to sell us books on different diets and supplements and so-called secrets to weight loss?
A diet that requires you to use supplements to get adequate minerals and vitamins (eg modern veganism that relies heavily on processed food to imitate other non-vegan foods) or that has a chance of damaging your organs (eg keto can overwhelm your kidney and can clog arteries) is not sustainable or healthy. A diet that requires you to order ingredients online because it is not available locally is not sustainable.
In my opinion bread and pasta, and oil and fats and lard and red meats and all that is available in nature and you can make at home can be eaten to your heart’s content but in moderation and in a balanced way. Quality, not quantity.
I’ve decided to treat the cause not the symptom. I grew fat not because of bread and pasta, but because of eating easily available, highly-processed, high added sugar content foods and lead a sedentary lifestyle. I’m done with temporary solutions and gimmicks. I'm done with being sick.
I will not eat anything I could not make myself at home or that has ingredients not available in a natural state (eg meat substitutes, hydrogenated fats, processed sugars) and above all take control of my eating habits. Eat when I am hungry, not when I feel like it or think I should. Eat not until full but until I am no longer hungry. Eat a varied diet rich in fiber and minerals. Do not use food and specifically sugary food as pacifier when the stress gets the better of me. Walk, run, swim doesn't matter just do something on a daily basis. No smartphone apps, no subscriptions, use fist as measurement.
This is my pledge and as of today it is in force. I baked a loaf of bread for the first time in my life and will continue to bake and cook at home and I will eat well but in moderation. Hopefully you will see me being a lot healthier both mentally and physically next winter. I will follow this community all the way until the end. If you read this all the way, I hope this post helps you in some way .
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