Thursday, February 7, 2008

Life without Bread?

I just finished reading Life Without Bread. I know, it sounds like the basis for a horror movie. I mean,who doesn't like, need, want, crave bread?

I'm turning 36 in a few weeks and getting that much closer to 40 has got me thinking. Where do I want to be (in terms of health) 4 years from now? 7 years from now when Hannah graduates? 17 years from now when my baby leaves home? Whatever this may be, I need to start now.

Thankfully cancer and heart disease does not run thick in my veins, but diabetes and stroke run a muck. So I got on the American Diabetes website and took their diabetes risk test. The results were no surprise. Due to the fact that I have a parent with diabetes, have had four babies over 9 pounds and could stand to loose weight, I'm high risk.

Hence, the book. Life Without Bread provided tons of research about the effects of high amounts of carbohydrates on the many systems of the body. It was very technical and I ate it up (no pun intended).

Bottom line? The research has shown that 72 grams of carbs a day is the optimal for the body. It provides a steady amount of sugar to the body so that it does not need to overproduce insulin nor does the blood glucose level spike and drop dramatically. This cycle is harmful and is what makes carbs addictive, drives a person to overeat which results in extra weight. The extra poundage demands more carbs to feed it, then more insulin....until the insulin production stops and it all ends in diabetes.

Although the results provided in this book from those who followed the 72 gram restriction were pretty impressive, they happened over the span of months. But, the lifelong benefits continued.

There is no "diet" to follow. Rather the plan divides carbohydrates up into Bread Units (BUs). Each bread unit is equal to 12 grams of carbohydrates (easily found on any label). This means 6 BUs a day would be max. The author encourages up to 9 BUs a day for the elderly or those who suffer from autoimmune disorders. The book's appendix provided a pretty extensive list of foods and precalculated BUs. There was really no big shockers, just the sad realization that one Panera Cinnamon Crunch bagel is 5 BUs. Ugh.

It's restrictive, but not ridiculous. So, I'm going to be calculating these BUs into my recipes mostly to keep myself accountable for the amount of carbohydrates that I eat. No worries. There will be bread on our table, but not enough for seconds. I believe with this awareness and a little diligence on my part that diabetes will not be in my near future.


Sniz said...

Sounds like healthy changes, Monica!

soccermom said...

Wow Monica, good job! Sounds like a great book and I am looking forward to the recipes.

Anonymous said...

I came across your blog by googling "Life Without Bread"

I just purchased the book and can't wait for it to arrive in the mail. I'm 35 in June and I have the same family history plus heart disease. I've never tried a low carb approach and my OB/GYN suggested a low car/paleo style diet.

Good Luck!


The Kook said...

I followed this diet for a few months. was amazed with the results. i have an inflammatory bowel disease and it reduced inflammation. not enough to come off medications, but certainly was very helpful. lots of energy. amazing skin. needing less sleep.

but i couldn't keep up with it as i'm a former vegetarian so meat isn't my favourite food. but i'll try again one day.

Anonymous said...

I found you via a google search for Life Without Bread also. My interest is in the large family aspect & recipes though. I have 7 adult children, 2 grandchildren and a spouse that I feed routinely. How do you reduce carbs without fillers. Im guessing yu add more fats and fill them up faster, but wanted to touch base and here your thoughts too.