Mood Altering Foods

Mood Altering Foods

Sourdough Bread

I’m being lazy, sorry. I am recycling this bread pic because I wolfed down the tomato sandwiches too quickly!

I generally don’t eat candies so I have no idea if that red food dye still gets kids going crazy in the classroom. What does seem to have an impact on me is bread. Though I’ll admit sugar might also be making a contribution. Whenever I fall off the wagon and eat bread, I’ve usually fallen so far off the wagon that I’m devouring cookies, candies, and who knows what else. None of which aid weight loss. And some of which may be playing with my head.

I’m generally an optimistic person. On a bad day, I’m probably just a realist. It takes a really bad day for me to feel depressed. Though on any given day, regardless of mood, I can certainly be anxious about uncertainty. Or about something that matters to me. Whatever my mood, I can make the situation feel worse by eating bread. I was feeling a little anxious the other day. My diet was off the rails and I simply couldn’t get it back on track. I have no idea why but, in the midst of this, I was inspired to test the bread theory. Again!

Growing up, I absolutely loved bread. There is probably no better way to eat food than stuffing it between two, heavily buttered, slices of a crusty loaf, is there!?! Bacon and eggs, ham and cheese, cheese and onion, French fries (the amazing Chip Buttie!), cold cuts, hot meats, even potato chips! Fresh bread, toasted, it doesn’t matter, all are simply great. Just on its own, there’s nothing like oodles of melting butter on an oven-fresh hot loaf. My mouth is watering as I write, though I only had a couple of almost-boring tomato sandwiches for lunch the other day. Even they were delicious. I couldn’t help myself, I ate more bread with dinner that evening. That evening I felt great. No indigestion. No feelings of malaise. No depression. Had I overcome the effect? Could I safely eat bread again?

Unfortunately, the physical and mental challenges caught up with me through the night. Disturbing my sleep and leaving me to lie there worrying about how I might ever get back to losing weight again. The next day was challenging, I couldn’t stick with the low-carb regimen I had planned during those sleepless hours. I felt quite miserable about it all.

Yesterday, I thought I’d try fighting one kind of starch with another and I committed to a predominantly potato day. I had hash browns for lunch. And a ludicrously large bowl of home-fried potatoes for dinner. Okay, I admit it: I went back and had a second bowl.  I started out with at least a cup of olive oil (it’s a really big pan!), along with six or 8 cloves of garlic, one medium onion, and some hot peppers for added flavour. And then that huge pot of cooked-and-cooled potatoes hit the pan with a sizzle. I did sneak in a chocolate-nut mix dessert too, drenched in heavy cream.

While my stomach was a little distended as I trudged up the stairs at bedtime, the noise in my head had abated. After a good night’s sleep, imagine how elated I was to find myself down 0.8 lbs the following morning!

Had I banished the bread banshees? Was it the feel-good butyrate produced by my tummy bugs from all that resistant starch in the cooked and cooled potato? Who cares! Feeling good is feeling good.

I’m not sure that I’m back on track yet. But I am cautiously optimistic!

Let’s see if I can make it through the rest of the week without making any more silly dietary decisions. Even if I have to force myself to eat more of those amazingly delicious absolutely awful potatoes! 🙂

Disaster Management on Vacation

Disaster Management on Vacation

I mentioned vacation eating in the 2nd month’s results post but this deserves some space of its own. It’s very important that our diets allow us the luxury of eating well, really well, while on holiday. Or is that really badly? We all need to fulfill the desire to be just a little wicked every now & again!

My recent vacation put that theory to the test.

A quick plug for Canada’s Maritime provinces & Quebec here … they are all amazing. We left Ontario, by car, with stops in Quebec City (you’d think you were in France!) & Fredericton, New Brunswick. All on the way to Halifax, Nova Scotia. We were in Nova Scotia almost a week, a stunningly beautiful place, before taking the ferry across to Prince Edward Island. Yet another gob-smacking adventure of one postcard-like scene after another. After a few days there we went back to the banks of the Saint Lawrence river, in Quebec. One last stay in Montreal was the perfect finish to a great vacation, before we reluctantly headed back home.  Amazing scenery, incredible food & great people everywhere we visited. I can’t wait to go back. The “incredible food” component is what concerns us most here, of course!

My plan was, & deliberately so, very loose. I wanted to see the impact of a pretty free flowing approach to eating while on vacation. I generally tried to avoid known bad things. For me, those include processed & packaged snacks, doughnuts & other such food-like products. Normally, I would consider bread off limits. Not only because it more closely resembles a modern snack food than it does a grain-based food, but primarily because it doesn’t agree with me. For me, it is both mood altering & gut damaging. However, I know the Maritimes are famous for their lobster rolls. And Quebec is famous for its smoked meat sandwiches. I wasn’t missing out on either, I was committed to indulging in the full experience, bread & all!

During the first week of the adventure, I generally tried to make better choices. I had my lobster but with a salad. Though I did have those breaded Digby scallops with French fries. And I seem to remember some beer battered fish & chips along the way! I’m pretty sure that I left some fries on the plate for one of those meals. Not something I’ve been know to do very often. As time progressed, I was allowing myself a little more freedom. Typically, & during times when I’m trying to lose weight, I tend to avoid eating significant amounts of starchy carbs with my proteins & fats. This strategy sometimes went out the window!

The traditional maritime “lobster supper”, for example, included the starch-laden seafood chowder, the endless bucket of mussels (for three but I was the only one eating from it & almost finished it!), the PEI potatoes swimming in butter, & the lobster (all shown in the bottom left, center, & top right pics in the collage above). I did manage to avoid the freshly baked bread, & dessert, on this occasion. Primarily because I was stuffed! The lobster roll (bottom right) was delicious. And the smoked meat & chopped liver sandwich (top left), with fries, is still a mouth-watering memory. I actually left some fries on the plate this time too. While getting fat, I was never leaving anything on the plate so this involuntary action is a pleasing outcome of the diet. Along the way, I did have one ice cream, cone & all. And a bar of chocolate that was less dark than it ought to have been. Okay, I admit it … it was a totally bad bar of milk chocolate. But it was different & it had bits of vaguely healthy ginger & fruit in it!

Ironically, one of the poorer meal choices of the trip happened when we got home. There was a big bag of frozen, & breaded, calamari in the freezer. These were even quicker than ordering in so I had I had two panfuls of those. OMG, the heartburn & indigestion! What do they put in that breading?

To counter all this, I only had breakfast on 4 or 5 occasions during our holiday. No big sacrifice this, since I almost never eat breakfast at home. And I skipped lunch, probably about 3 days a week. This was unnoticeable on driving days, when I was quite happy with my coffee. With cream, no sugar, of course.

My control “group” for this “experiment” was my skinny wife, who effortlessly maintains a BMI of 19. And she does this while eating all sorts of garbage. I know, infuriating, eh! While I was sometimes making good choices, & skipping a meal here & there, I still out-ate her by huge amounts. Yes, I’m bigger. Yes, my resting metabolism will burn more. But I still ate with the kind of freedom that I thought appropriate for a big guy on vacation. And I thoroughly enjoyed it.

At the outset, we both weighed in. And at the end …

My wife had gained 5.2 lbs … while I gained 0.4 lbs!

Come on, tell me you’re not impressed! LOL

Of course she has already, without thought or effort, returned to her normal weight. While my body really has no idea what normal is any more. I should probably try to outline a more detailed vacation diet but with a result like this, who cares! Though next time, I will try to have something waiting in the freezer that doesn’t punish me like those breaded calamari did!