WARNING: Too Much Information (TMI) Zone Ahead!
Before I begin, I should make clear that since 2004, after starting the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, I have avoided eating bread like the plague.
After my experiment with the white rice, which confirmed I cannot digest it very well, I decided to try eating various breads.
I fully expected to have diarrhea soon after eating white bread. But for about two weeks from August, 19th to September 2nd, I ate highly processed breads, full of terrible ingredients I can’t even pronounce, organic white bread with minimal ingredients and organic, minimal ingredient whole wheat sourdough bread.
To my surprise, the effect the breads had on me was not what I expected at all.
For instance, I didn’t get any diarrhea. In fact, it appeared that my stools improved in bulk size. After wiping I saw very little residue on the toilet paper, meaning it was well formed and “clean”. However, some bowel movements the stool had an odd scale-like texture to it and would flake a bit upon flushing, as if a layer of dust was being shook off.
Despite not having diarrhea, there were many signs that told me white and whole wheat bread at best ought to be a rare part of my diet.
- Odd stool consistency
- Rapid weight gain
- Abdominal pain
Aside from the reduction in stool quality, I witnessed a rapid increase in weight gain. I admit, I did eat a lot, but I also eat a lot of other food and never get the rapid weight gain I saw when eating the breads. I went from 144.8 lbs. to a peak of 149 lbs. in one week while eating the breads. I hadn’t weighed 149 in probably 15 years!
Now that I’ve stopped eating the breads, I am at 147 lbs. It makes me wonder how much of America’s weight issues can be attributed to these high carb foods.
Energy seemed pretty good overall, better than usual. However, my acne started flaring with the organic whole wheat sourdough bread and has since calmed down. I also experienced strong abdominal pain on some mornings right before my bowel movement, but it wasn’t consistent.
When I originally started writing this article, I was going to say that bread was “safe” for me to eat because I was so hung up on the fact that I didn’t get diarrhea. But when I looked back at my health logs, I saw I had increased abdominal pain and acne.
What I’ve learned from this experiment is that when it comes to trying to assess whether a food is safe for you, you can’t test it based on one hypothesis, such as, “eating bread will give me diarrhea.” If you do that and you don’t have diarrhea, it is easy to mistakenly believe that bread is safe because you aren’t aware of the other signs telling you it’s harmful.
I realized that bread isn’t good for me, just not the in the way I expected. The lesson here is that it is easy to become blinded to the signals the body tries to communicate if you come into an experiment with pre-conceived notions.
When assessing if a food is well tolerated, it’s best to look at the whole body picture. Some things to watch for are changes in any of the following:
- Stool quality (shape, consistency, frequency, smell, behavior – float or sink)
- Pain (abdominal, arthritis)
- Runny nose
There are likely others, but these are enough to start with. With the right observation and data tracking strategies, you can make excellent progress on figuring out your trigger foods, making changes and achieving improved health.
Stay colonized my friends,
-Reid B. Kimball