I honestly didn't know I was addicted to bread. Not until I did a two-week fruit and veggie detox, where I ate nothing but fruits, veggies, beans, nuts, and seeds. Those first few days, I realized bread had an enormous hold on my life because soft, chewy buns were all I could think about. I daydreamed about all the avocado toasts, everything bagels, just-baked sourdough bread, and slices of vegan pizza I'd consume the day that
stupid two weeks ended.
But by the end of week one, a shift started to happen. I felt amazing! I had zero bloating and so much energy. I didn't have that usual foggy-headed brain that happened after each meal, and my cravings surprisingly began to diminish.
So I kept going. Once those two weeks ended, I committed to four weeks of continuing on my no-bread ways. This included what I referred to as "trigger foods," such as other refined carbs like baked goods, cereal, granola bars, and pasta, as well as whole grains, popcorn, pretzels, and tortillas. I knew if I was going to be successful at sticking with this, I'd have to ditch all bread-like things or I'd want to eat them all.
To be clear, this was not a carb-free diet. I still ate complex carbs like beans, sweet potatoes, and regular potatoes, just not whole grains. And I ate tons of fruit! One day I even ate two juicy peaches, an avocado, and a pint of freshly picked strawberries in one sitting — they were perfectly ripe, and I couldn't resist. And I couldn't believe how flat my belly looked and felt.
After the four weeks ended, I celebrated
like a complete idiot with a cinnamon bun from a new local vegan bakery, a hummus and bagel sandwich, way too much homemade challah bread, and avocado pesto pasta. I felt more miserable than I thought I would, experiencing the worst bloating and fuzzy brain I've ever had. It was a sad day. That day my relationship with bread ended. Because I knew in my heart that eating those foods really makes me feel crappy. Because, for me, once I start eating them, I don't want to stop!
This little one-month experiment, as hard as it was, has been life-changing. My diet is so much cleaner now, and even though I occasionally eat oatmeal, a black bean burrito, curry with coconut rice, pancakes, and homemade protein banana bread, I've really cut down on those foods. And it doesn't make me sad. Instead of thinking about all the foods I shouldn't have that make me feel crappy, I celebrate all the foods I can have that make me feel vibrant, strong, and healthy.
Here are some recipes that have helped me embrace this bread-less diet. If I'm craving:
- Pizza: vegan cauliflower pizza crust
- Brownies: three-ingredient brownies
- Pita or flatbread: socca
- Rice and beans: cauliflower rice and beans
- Cookies: chocolate chip cookie dough balls
- Oatmeal: cauliflower "oatmeal"
- Granola bars: DIY pumpkin pie Larabars
- Pasta: carrot fettuccine with mushrooms and red pepper