The Problem With Bread

All my life, I’ve loved bread.  As a kid I ate bread with every meal, mostly the commercial white- or brown loaves (called “government bread” in South Africa because the price was kept low by a combination of both subsidy and quota production).  The nearest equivalent today would be the Wonderbread/ Hostess/ generic breads found in supermarkets (U.K. equivalent:  Hovis/ Warburtons/ store brands).

Gradually as I got older and my taste buds matured, I discovered bakery breads, my taste for which became exacerbated by visits to Europe and exposure to wares of the boulangerie  and bäckerei… oy, my mouth waters just thinking  about the Viennese brötchen  I’d gobble down with my morning coffee.

All went well, until my doctor told me that I needed to change my diet (his exact words:  “If you don’t lose weight, you’re going to die, you fat bastard”).  There were other words related to my extreme paucity of exercise (“Get up off your fat ass and start exercising, too.”)

I know that diets don’t work;  only permanent changes in lifestyle and eating habits do.  And the only change that seems to work without being too much work is getting rid of the bad things which cause you to gain weight, chief offenders being starches (grains) and sugars.

Sugars were not too difficult, as long as I cut out stuff like Coke and fruit jams [moan];  but I was never going to eliminate sugar from my diet altogether because I can’t drink coffee without at least a little sugar to cut the bitterness — and I’ll never  give up coffee.

The grains were not altogether difficult to cut back on.  I’ve never cared much for pasta — whatever it’s called, it’s all the same stuff — so Italian dishes like lasagna and macaroni went into the trashcan.  Ditto rice, which I’ve always liked but found easy to drop.

But then comes the worst offender:  bread.  Oh… fuck.  Wait:  you mean no more baguettes?


What about challah?



Pas du tout.


Bestimmt nicht.

So my all-time favorite, crusty French batard loaf?

Mais non (mon gros cochon).

As I said… fuck.

So here’s what I do.  I limit myself to two slices of toast (or one croissant) on Saturday mornings, and occasionally a toasted sandwich (cheese, or chicken mayonnaise) on Friday nights.  Those are my “cheats” (without which I’d never do any of it).

And I hit the gym — treadmill and stationary bicycle for half an hour — every weekday, religiously.  (When I was still at Doc Russia’s house, I walked about two miles per day, including a quarter-mile up and down Thrombosis Hill*.)  The results have been quite pleasing:  270 lbs in Jan 2017, somewhat south of 230 lbs today, with a goal weight of 205, which was my weight at age 23 in the Army, right after boot camp.  (Some asswipe once suggested that at my height, my goal should be 175, whereupon I chastised him sorely, saying that I hadn’t weighed 175 since 1969 at age 15.  When he got his breath back, he agreed.)

But I still miss — I mean, constantly — my daily bread.  Were it not for that “death” bullshit, I’d dump the whole stupid diet/ fitness lark in an instant and go back to my four slices a day.  I mean, FFS:

*the road up the hill behind Doc’s house, which requires cars to shift into low gear at the base.


  1. You shouldn’t be putting sugar in coffee ya daft bastid. Coffee should be drunk like scotch – straight up, fresh from the jerry can from whence it came.

    As for bread… you have my sympathy. But you are doing it right, Kim! It’s mostly habit and habits, good or bad… are very hard to break. I am coming up on my time to grow up and eat right too, and when I do, I will cheat by eating bread I have made myself

  2. Does it help to think of these things as drugs? Coffee is prophylactic for gout and has worked as such for me for many years. Bread beats any anti-depressant I can think of. It makes me happy, although I will try to avoid eating an entire baguette with butter at one sitting. And sadly, the artiste at my local boulangerie refuses to make brioche. Too much work, he says. He’s saving me from myself.
    As Heinlein said, “C’mon you apes, you wanna’ live forever?”

  3. I’ve been virtually bread-free for about three years, and kept off the 20 lbs I lost by going on the racist diet – no white anything (processed flour, sugar, rice). It has moderated somewhat so a tablespoon of rice here and there is OK, or one bite of a brownie or a skinny slice of birthday cake (only my own, not one of the dozen other cakes that cross my gaze during the year.)

    But the bread, the crunchy crusty french bread especially – that haunts my sleep.

  4. My sister calls it the Nothing White diet–no flour, sugar, rice, potatoes, etc. It’s basically a low carb diet, which has worked well for me. It is hard to maintain long term, though. Read Gary Taubes’ Why We Get Fat And What To Do About It–his premise is that the body metabolizes carbs and fats differently. I knocked my LDL and triglycerides through the floor while doing low carb.

  5. Like The Ferguson Rifleman, you could always make your own bread. If you made unleavened bread like, for example pitta bread. You would have the exact flavour and consistency of cardboard. Exciting Non?

  6. There was a bakery not all that far from my aunt’s place in Brighton (that’s Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, NYC) where one could obtain, for a very small price, a loaf of fresh-baked, right-out-of-the-oven seeded “Jewish” rye bread.
    I would send you a picture, if I had one; the one thing I can’t send is the mildly acidic taste, the chewiness, the delicate crunch of the crust, the…

  7. Go on a commercial bread only diet.

    It may just be in my area, but that stuff (any variety) has turned to shit and seems to be getting worse.

  8. 1) Eat whatever the hell you want, in moderation.
    2) Hit the gym.

    Simple formula, but it’s served me well for a good long while. And frankly, I’d rather drop dead at 50 than squeak out an extra 30 years being miserable.

    1. There are some things that you just shouldn’t eat even in “moderation” and no amount of hitting the gym is going to make it better.

      Getting older is going to happen to you and whether you squeak out your latter years miserable or healthy is a decision you should be making now.

  9. Bread I can take or leave. Taters, now there’s a weakness. Maybe I should try the Penn Gillette diet.

  10. Bread, Beer, Wine and Fire Seared Meat have been on the Menu for 5,000 + years, and it seems to be working out so far ….. so, I see no reason for change.

    Cheerios, Tater Tots, Snickers and Red Bull are new so I can moderate their use ( Never liked Red Bull anyway ).

  11. I’ve gone from 210 to 175 pounds over 3 years doing more or less what Kim did. I was forced into it by my doc giving me shit about my complaints about sore feet from fallen arches. What did I expect, he asked, carrying around 50 pounds of blubber? “Would you voluntarily carry around a 50 pound bag of concrete mix 24 hours a day?” he asked with a heaping helping of sarcasm.

    One pound of human fat is about 3500 calories. All I had to give up to lose 35 pounds over 3 years was about 110 calories a day. The doc walked me through the math, with more sarcasm. He’s a real jerk. How could a grown man not give up less than half a beer a day?

    Turns out it was the final glass of wine, or liqueur, or cookie, or whatever, before bed that was killing me. I eat and drink what I want until 8 PM, then nothing. It works, for me anyway.

    I was 160 in Uni and I’m going to get there again. Even the 35 I have already lost have turned me into a guy who can walk miles every day without terribly sore feet, and I do.

  12. Kim you might as well go straight past low-carb to full carnivore so as to maximally tweak the deformed vegan noses of the left. I have been zero-carb for nine months and have never felt better, or had more mental and physical energy. I’m 70 and on no prescription meds at all. No OTC drugs either. My blood glucose and insulin levels are low and stable which has resulted in the reversal of pre-diabetes, mild rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, elimination of tinnitus, and I even have significantly improved vision. Also no mineral or vitamin deficiencies. And that’s just a sampling of the benefits of what very low or no carb eating can provide. It sounds perhaps too radical for most but after all it is, at the very least, ancestrally appropriate.

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