I'm a bread lover, plain and simple. And I'm sure there are many people out there who would vigorously nod their head in solidarity. I once ate a strict Paleo diet for a year, and the hardest part was that I couldn't tear off a huge piece of baguette whenever I felt like it. Even though I love my sweets, I would choose bread over cookies any day of the week.
I've been eating a plant-based vegan diet for a while now, and part of my daily nosh includes some kind of sprouted whole-grain bread. Sometimes on a Sunday, if I'm feeling particularly brunchy, I'll dive into crusty sourdough bread or order a stack of pancakes. So although I don't count my macros at all, I was curious to see what would happen if I cut down the grams of carbs I eat on a daily basis. Would I feel any different? Would I lose weight? I decided to try it, just for the hell of it. Here's what I learned.
I Was Especially Hungry in Between Breakfast and Lunch
I usually have a piece of sprouted Ezekiel toast in the morning with either peanut butter or Vegemite (a yeasty vitamin B12 spread from Australia) and avocado. I either eat my toast along with a protein smoothie or a tofu scramble. I didn't realize how crucial this part of my breakfast was until it was gone. I was starving by the time 11 a.m. rolled around, and I'm sure it was because I didn't have as many carbs in my system.
Halfway through the week, I substituted my toast for roasted sweet potato. This definitely helped me stay full until lunch, but as much as I love sweet potatoes, they simply don't compare to the comfort of a crispy piece of toast.
I Actually Felt More Tired During and After My Workouts
When you eat a vegan diet, you'll naturally eat more carbs than the average person — and that's totally OK. Carbs are your fuel, after all, and if you're eating complex carbs, rather than simple carbs such as sugar or white flour, you don't have much to worry about. When I totally gave up bread, I noticed a dip in my energy. Suddenly I didn't have as much pep in my step, especially in the morning before my workout. Additionally, because I wasn't fueling it the same way after my workout, I could feel that my body was missing the post-weightlifting carbs I used to feed it on the regular. I was even too tired to go for my weekly Sunday morning run.
I Ended Up Eating More Sweets
Because I wasn't getting my daily fill of bread, other cravings started to pop up. I suddenly had the urge to eat every piece of candy or chocolate in sight. It's not bread! I kept telling myself. This contributed strongly to the afternoon crash I would experience every day. And I'm pretty sure I ended up eating way more calories every day, which tends to happen when you don't smartly answer your body's cravings. I hated the sluggish feeling I got after snacking on one too many chocolate bars, which never happened when I ate bread.
I Didn't See Any Change in My Waistline
Many people find great results from a low-carb diet, but I didn't see any change in my body. That could be due to a number of reasons, though — I only did this experiment for a week, I didn't cut out all carbs (I was still eating fruits and potatoes), etc. But whatever the case may be, it just didn't seem worth it to me to nix bread from my life since it wasn't causing any problems before.
I'm not by any means saying that everybody should eat bread every day. What may work for me may not work for you. But either way, I don't think I'll be giving up my bread anytime soon. It tastes too good, it gives me energy, and I'm just not yet willing to part ways with it.