I’m a terrible baker. Baking is such an exact science – you can’t get creative and add a little more salt or flour or baking powder to the mix the way you can when you’re cooking. Because of this, I’ve never attempted to make my own bread.
That is until I came across a recipe for beer bread, which can be made without yeast or having to wait for it to rise. It’s dangerously easy to make, and as such, has contributed to me gaining the COVID 19 during quarantine.
It was time for me to say goodbye to bread – at least for a week.
But when I did, I noticed some pretty interesting effects on my body. Here’s what happened during my week without bread.
I skipped my morning hunk of beer bread, and instead opted for two eggs with a handful of strawberries. This surprisingly kept me full until lunch, where I had to forego my typical turkey sandwich for a salad with some leftover turkey meat, tomatoes, cucumbers and onion.
By 4 pm I was starving and ended up having an early dinner – grilled butternut squash along with a small piece of salmon. It hit the spot at the time, but by 9 pm I was craving a snack. I decided to call it an early night to keep myself from being tempted.
I woke up feeling starved on day two, so I decided to make some homemade sausage patties out of ground pork to go along with my morning eggs and fruit, which did the trick.
For lunch I decided to use the rest of my turkey deli meat to make turkey roll ups with lettuce, tomato and American cheese inside. It almost felt like a sandwich. For dinner I made turkey bean chili – which really made me wish I had some cornbread to dip into it! But overall, day two was better. Maybe this wouldn’t be so hard after all?
Here’s where it starts to get weird. When I cut out bread, I figured I would start to feel better –hopefully more energized and focused. Instead, my day three felt like the total opposite.
I was tired, and couldn’t force myself to be productive. I had the same lunch I ate on day two but felt like I needed a nap instead of lunch when noon rolled around.
I did some research and found out that the reason I was feeling this way was because my body was used to breaking down the beer bread I’d been consuming into glucose, which spikes energy levels. Now that it didn’t have that as an energy source to rely on, it had to learn to rely on the complex carbs I’d been eating – like the butternut squash.
I woke up in a bad mood on day four, ate that same breakfast and started picking fights with coworkers for no reason.
After looking into side effects that happen when you cut down on carbs, I learned that this was also due to the lack of bread in my life.
As it turns out, carbs increase the production of serotonin in your body – that mood-regulating chemical that makes you feel good. Which was why I was feeling bad.
The last two days of this experiment, I felt like I had the flu. I had no appetite, barely ate breakfast and pushed myself through work. Dinner on night five consisted of a plain veggie burger I fell asleep while toasting, and a slice of tomato.
Could this all be from me saying goodbye to bread? Apparently so. Drowsiness, nausea and aches have all been associated with cutting back significantly on carbs. This happens when your body no longer has glucose to rely on as a source of energy but hasn’t made the switch to use stored fat as an energy source. Lucky me.
At the close of this experiment, I got on the scale to see if this had all been worth it. I’d dropped 1.5 pounds, which didn’t seem like much of a fair exchange for what my body had been through that week.
Moving forward, I’ll probably still incorporate carbs in my diet to avoid the side effects that come from cutting them out suddenly. But I’m planning to consume more whole grains in the process, to keep from spiking my glucose levels.