All grains contain peptides that mimic morphine or endogenous opioid substances. This is where I deal with my latest loaf craving. Get your bread-based exorphin fix here.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Found Bread


Whatsit


I find my bread in unlikely places.

Especially now, half-way through my year long experiment of not eating bread.


Theory
I have this theory that when the Israelites were wandering through the desert for 40 years following the exodus from Egypt, they were living on a curious mushroom.  Using the record of Exodus 16, consider the properties of Manna: the Israelites were to harvest it in the morning when they arose, and to only pick as much as they could use that day.  If they tried to save some for the next day, it would turn into an inedible worm-ridden purulent gunk.  They were only to harvest it six days in a row; the sabbath was to be a day of rest, so on the sixth day only, they were allowed to harvest and prepare enough for two days.  This was the only time maggots would not attack the manna if they gathered too much.  We are asked to believe that the inexplicable food, sent by God daily, sustained the tribe  for 40 years as they wandered about the desert looking for their promised land.  Oh, I guess they ate quail, too.

The mushroom theory of manna first came to me when I found my first giant puffball in the woods, years ago.  This had to be something like manna, I thought.  Its growth is miraculous, inexplicable and awe-inspiring.  How could a ball of food, bigger than a volleyball, grow overnight, so rapidly without the intervention of something as mysterious as God?  Surely it didn't just grow here; we know how slowly plants are supposed to grow -- first you plant the seed then you water it, nourish it, protect it.  Here, no seed is visible: in no time at all, you have this enormous edible bloom.  Perhaps it fell from heaven.

It is not a stretch to come up with such a mushroom theory.  A puffball even looks like a loaf of bread, sitting on the floor of the forest.  Not just any bread.  It looks like untoasted wonderbread.  Only bigger.  Puffier.

Of course, the manna that the Israelites found was probably closer in shape and form to their own unleavened cakes.  From the account in the book of Exodus, I get the impression that manna covered the ground, more like a mycelium layer, which the Israelites could scrape together:

"In the morning a layer of dew was around the camp.  And the layer of dew went up, and behold, something small was on the face of the wilderness, scale-like, small like the hoar-frost on the earth.  And the sons of Israel looked.  And they said, each one to his brother, "Is that a whatness?"  for they did not know what it was.  And Moses said to them, "This is the bread which Jehovah has given to you for food." (Ex 16:13-15)

"And the house of Israel called its name, Manna (literally, 'whatness').  And it was like the seed of coriander, white; and its taste like cakes with honey."(Ex 16:31)

Bounty
I dusted off this old theory the other day when I went to the woods hoping to find a puffball.  Conditions were right: these were warm autumn days in early October, nice and humid, after some substantial rains, with cool nights.



It sure slices like bread

some dried slices



More slices read to be dried

Indeed, far off the trail, I found a spot where 8 giant puffballs were growing in an area about 20 yards wide.  This was bounty indeed.

But like the Israelites in the desert, if I was to take more than I could immediately use, what would I do with it all?  Although I love eating this mushroom, my wife can't stand it.  And I could only eat maybe a quarter of one of these bad boys with a meal, by myself, no more.  While I can refrigerate some, no one really wants to eat massive amounts of puffball every day for four days per puffball.  Even the Israelites tired of manna.

And how do you carry 8 puffballs, each the size of basketballs or medicine balls, through the woods for a couple of kilometres?  With no bag?  Reluctantly I had to leave some of them behind.  But I took off my t-shirt, turned it upside down, and morphed it into a sack with 3 holes in it (head and arms).  Those holes were a lot smaller than the puffballs, so the mushrooms wouldn't fall out.  In this way, I was able to bring 4 of the giant mushrooms out of the woods with me.  Thank goodness it was still humid.  It was a beautiful day to walk around shirtless.

But I still had to deal with the awful bounty of four giant puffballs in my shirt when I got home.  

Tshirt 'bag' with the last puffball: bigger than my head


Deal with it
As predicted, I ate about a quarter of one of the puffballs for dinner, sautéing them with nothing but a tiny bit of water.  In the past I would have heated some butter or some oil in the pan.  But the no-added-fat vegan chefs are right: frying up mushrooms and veggies doesn't need anything, really, other than perhaps a tablespoon or two of water to get it started.  Just a bit of heat in a deep frying pan, and these moist mushies will boil away to a serving size, releasing most of their moisture to stew in their own juices.  

I have had good luck with roasting puffballs in the oven, in the past, with a batter made of corn, too.  But this time, I thought I'd try drying them -- I've done that before too, with success.  I cut the puffball "loaves" into thick slices and started dehydrating them.  

My wife rebelled.  The dehydrator generally sits in the basement, in the room next to her studio.  The smell of the puffballs was pretty intense, and she made me move the operation to the garage.  Even there, she gasped and made gagging noises and complained about rotting corpse smells every time she opened the door.  

It wasn't that bad.  She can be histrionic and exaggerate things sometimes.  Still, you might want to be a bit careful around puffballs.  I did a quick search of PubMed, and found several articles about how certain varieties of puffballs (not the easily identified and ubiquitous giant puffball) have been known to cause pneumonia-like symptoms in dogs.  These are mostly animals that snuff up a great snootfull of spores when they tromp through some old puffballs in the woods.  The rest of us probably know enough to stay out of clouds of old puffballs.  On the other hand, quick drying them in the dehydrator was making the garage smell rather mushroomy.  My wife insisted on opening a window in there.






Mushroom slice with tomato marmelade

Mushroom faux pizza with hummus, cukes and tomato



What I ended up with, when I was all done, was several baskets full of dried mushroom slices.  Each one is about the size of a thin rounded pizza slice, or a slice of bread.  The consistency is sort of like bendy styrofoam.  Or very thin rice cakes.  And the taste is mushroomy.

I can eat these like bread, with a bit of hummus, or miso, or kimchi, or jam, or nut butters.  I can also spread tomato sauce on them and veggies and pretend it is pizza.  I can also rehydrate them in soups and sauces as needed.

That was how I dealt with the bounty of this year's puffball crop.  

No doubt Moses wouldn't like it.  To him, it only shows I don't trust God to give me a puffball every day (and two on Friday) for the rest of my life.  Well, seeing is believing.  If God gave me more of these, every day, I wouldn't have to exploit this many when they so rarely occur.


More?
I'll bet there are more puffballs out there, ripe for the picking.  The four I left behind might be too old to use by now, but the days are still warm, and more must be growing, if one gets off the trail and knows where to look.  Now when I go, I take my camera, just in case I see the miracle of 8 of them in one place.

I love found food.  God's bread.  Forest manna.

Here is the mystery of everything, reenacted.  




Notes to Myself
  • To update my year-long fast from (wheat) bread: This experiment continues with success, and I'm halfway through the year.

    However, I miss the ease of bread.  And I find I am more obsessed with eating these days than I ever was. I eat huge amounts now, of vegetables, fruit and cooked starches. I am amazed at the amount that I eat, and the frequency, and that I don't seem to gain any weight. I'm like Alice, running as fast as I can so that I can stand still. In my next blog post, I hope to explore this a bit more.
  • UPDATE:
    I returned to the woods a week or so later (on Canada's Thanksgiving) and the puffballs I left behind were still there.  Unfortunately, they were past their prime, the flesh was yellowed and spoiled, so I just left them behind again.  I did, however, take a couple of pictures of them.  Here are the leftover puffballs, in the woods:



    Happy Thanksgiving

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Reintroducing Grains



Bread Replacement: A Baked Potato that I ate with some homemade beans and salsa, and some pickled peppers


Update:

I'm still off bread.

Recap:

  • In May, I began a detoxification diet to see whether or not I was truly addicted to bread.  I gave up all cooked foods, and for 30 days ate only whole raw fruits and vegetables.  The experiment ended because I lost 20 pounds and began to look dreadful.  I now believe that I lost so much weight because I could not eat enough raw food to sustain my weight.  With very little fat in my diet, my body was forced to use most of my fat reserves to sustain itself.
  • When June rolled around, I began to add some cooked starch to my diet in the form of potatoes and sweet potatoes, along with a few other cooked vegetables.  My weight stabilized, and I began to feel energetic enough to exercise again.
  • July, I reintroduced my first cooked grain -- brown whole rice. This, along with potatoes, was my staple, but I also began to eat legumes in the form of cooked beans and lentils.  Midway through July, unsatisfied with only rice, I also added oats in the form of oatmeal and a bit of ground flaxseed.
  • August saw me continuing this bread-free diet full of oatmeal, potatoes, legumes, fruits and vegetables.  I've introduced some soybeans in the form of organic miso, very sparingly.  
  • September rolls around, and my intention is to begin adding whole barley to soups.  And that is where I find myself today.

Plan:

I intend to reintroduce different grains a little bit at a time.

The plan remains the same.  I began by trying to see if I could go 3 days without bread; then this expanded to 7 days, 10 days, then 2 weeks, then a month.  Now, the intention is to see if I can go 1 full year without bread.  I'm about 4 months in.

My intention at this point is to go back to bread after a year.  The whole experiment was simply to see if I was addicted to bread -- I'm still not quite sure what it might mean to be addicted to a food.  I figured I could use some time -- this year of 'down time' -- to try to determine what a food addiction might look like.  I've been reading several books on addiction, and I've been muddling my way through all the new information.  Of particular interest has been Linden, D. (2011). The Compass of Pleasure: how our brains make fatty foods, orgasm, exercise, marijuana, generosity, vodka, learning and gambling feel so good. Penguin, which goes into a lot of the impressive research that has been done on brain chemistry, and is well written and easy to read; but I found Manejwale, O. (2013). Craving: why we can't seem to get enough. Hazeldon. to contain most of the same info and to speak more to my main interest and experience.  It contains more practical info.

At this point, I don't actually believe I was (or am) addicted to bread.  My cravings for it have entirely ceased.  I've built new habits to get cooked starch into my diet, in the form of potatoes and rice and legumes.  I snack on fruit (nothing new there, but it certainly has expanded a lot since I gave up bread).

But there's the rub: we are dealing with my brain, here.  When it comes to addiction, brains can easily deceive themselves with beliefs.  An addiction to bread may be hiding in my brain, and my brain may be telling me that I don't have an addiction, just so that I will give up this elimination diet and go back to eating bread.  Manejwale describes this condition perfectly: 

"The extraordinarily naive perception of immunity is at the heart of addictive behaviours -- and of craving.  It is extremely difficult for people to accept that forces are influencing their decisions without their awareness.  And yet, with craving, that is exactly what is happening."

I only miss bread now because it was very convenient.  Wheat is ubiquitous in our western culture, and it is difficult to avoid it entirely.  Anyone with true celiac disease can tell you that it is a hardship to diligently give it up.  So in a sense, this hasn't been easy.  My wife would like us to eat pasta again, for example.  Many lovely new recipes await us, if I would only eat noodles.  Or couscous.  Or any number of things that include some wheat.  Bread.

I now believe that the cravings I felt in the early days -- the first month to two months -- were not so much cravings for bread but cravings for fat (cheese, butter, eggs, nuts -- i.e. all the things one typically puts on bread).  This craving too has fallen by the wayside as I continue with a low-fat diet.  Also, there has been a tremendous re-education process going on, as I adjust my brain habits and my body metabolism to different kinds of starches, and my kitchen time to new recipes.

This Blog

This entire blog series was originally my way of discovering what there is to know about bread baking and teaching myself about the various grains, because I knew I loved to eat bread and I wanted to learn how to make the best whole grain bread I could.  Part of this journey of discovery about bread is this detoxification experiment, now in its 4th month of a 1-year long experiment.

I still believe in bread -- unlike many of the current fads to avoid all grains (e.g. many paleo diets) or bread (e.g. wheatbelly diet), I simply do not think we as humans (on a planet trying to sustain 9 billion of us) can afford to.  Furthermore, wheat remains our best choice among grains for versatility, calories received per energy expended (food value), and it remains, of all the important grains, GMO free (despite the occasional setback, like when it was recently discovered growing in the US accidentally -- an accident that nearly cost the wheat industry billions of dollars in trade).  So I intend to go back to bread.  Unless it is proved somehow that I shouldn't.

Without the 'deadline' of writing about each loaf I make every couple of days, my writing of this blog has languished.  Instead of doing a lot of different research on grains and ingredients and methods each time I bake, I've been doing a lot more reading for pleasure.  I've been reading some fiction, along with that gentle research I mentioned above, about addiction.  It has been a departure for me to read some schlocky, enjoyable novels.

So the last few months have been on a sort of vacation from blogging.  And I miss writing.  I was probably addicted to writing.

This 'down time' has also given me lots of opportunity for reflection.  Without bread baking, who am I?  If I were not a nurse, what would I be?  What sort of life do I want to live?  How am I happiest?  These are the sorts of questions one tackles if one steps away from the usual and tries something completely different.

Who the hell am I? is the question that most often comes to mind when I realize I am remaking myself, from denying myself the most basic food staple I've always consumed, on up.  More than a few times these past few months I've felt a little lost.

A baked sweet potato, covered with salsa and legumes: my daily starch

I eat a huge amount of food now, and don't gain any weight, because my fat intake is in the single digits, if that.


Notes to Myself
  • Not sure when next I'll blog.  Perhaps I will wait until i have something to say.  That'd be a first.
  • Losing weight was never really my goal, but it happened anyway.  While I no longer am losing weight, a lot of my clothes are for a larger person, and I apparently swim in them.  I still get a lot of the same comment from various people: "are you sick?"  I probably need a new wardrobe -- all part of reinventing myself.

Monday, June 10, 2013

End of my 30 Day Raw Food Cleanse



Raw Mustard Greens: Part of my breakfast, the last day of my raw food experiment

The End of the 30 Day Raw Food Bread Fast Experiment

I have now completed my 30 day Fast from Bread, which includes a fast from everything grain, everything from the meat and dairy industry, everything processed, everything cooked, everything with caffeine or alcohol.  In short, I have completed a 30-day raw food diet, which more or less corresponded to the month of May, 2013.

Most visible results:
I have lost about 20 pounds in this month.  Since this is on top of the 20 pounds I lost from merely fasting 2x/week for six months, I found this fascinating -- and proof, to me, of what Richard Wrangham said in "Catching Fire: how cooking made us human" i.e., those who live on a raw food diet will have a low BMI.  

Recap:
Now, the amount of pounds I had lost from merely fasting two days a week had pretty much plateaued after 4 months: I had lost those initial 20 pounds, but the weight loss had stabilized.  I wasn't overweight any longer, but I wasn't losing any more weight either.  When I first began these 30 days raw, I was in the normal range for my BMI (albeit the high end); I had been eating the usual lacto-ovo vegetarian diet: I had been eating bread with cheese and butter or margarine, and drinking a dribble of milk in my tea, eating 3-4 eggs a week from my backyard hens and eating plain yogurt and kefir when it occurred to me to do so.  Since I was already a lacto-ovo vegetarian when I began this 30 day raw food diet, therefore I didn't have to give up meat.  And I drank alcohol so rarely, it was no hardship to give up booze too.  I eat nuts rarely, but I had to attend to my habits to forgo all seeds and grains.  These are things I would regularly put in my bread, and they are still in the house.

For the past 30 days I have given up all cooked food, as an experiment to get the dietary fat levels down.  In the beginning I was trying to hit the target of 80% carbs, 10% protein, and 10% fat, the targets proposed by natural hygienist Douglas Graham.  With the addition of infrequent avocados, that low percentage of fat was difficult to achieve (see for example, the caloric totals for my 10th day).  Furthermore, it is difficult to eat enough fruit to get 80% of your adequate daily calories if you aren't used to eating that volume of fruit and leafy greens.  Even after 30 days of practice, it seems unlikely that I can sustain this amount of fruit eating. And so, my weight fell because I simply wasn't getting enough calories.  I wasn't hungry, but I was getting tired of fruit, and spending a lot of time -- and money -- eating it in substantial amounts.

On top of eating green leafy vegetables as Jethro Bodine-sized salads, I was also consuming some vegetable juice daily -- usually in the form of wheat grass juice, and often some vegetable juice, mostly green, from kale or collards or chard or other green veggies.

At the end of these 30 days, my weight is now slightly below the middle number of my BMI.  If I keep this up any longer, I will be in danger of eventually becoming underweight.  I see no signs of the weight loss plateauing, like it did when I merely fasted.  Since I already look sick, to many people, I will bring this experiment to a close now.

During my 30 day experiment I chanced upon the work of Dr. John McDougall, and after a close scrutiny of his diet guidelines, I am convinced that it makes far more sense than Graham's diet does (see the last couple of blog entries, for how I researched McDougall's claims).  I think now that Graham's ideas are built upon faulty premises, and I don't trust him.  According to Richard Wrangham, we humans evolved on cooked food.  We don't do well on raw diets.  I will now be adding cooked foods -- especially starch -- to my diet.

During this 30 day experiment, I was still fasting 2x/ week too.  In fact, this is also true of the day after my 30 day goal was reached: since that turned out to be a fast day for me, this 30 day experiment is actually a 31 day experiment.

Would I do it again?  Perhaps -- with reservations.  If ever I find my weight creeping up again, I could most certainly do a raw diet of 10-30 days duration again.  Would I eat this way continuously?  I don't think so.  I have heard of people doing okay on this diet, but they have to eat very carefully and almost continuously.  I have even heard of one woman who says she gave birth to a very healthy baby and nursed her while eating nothing but raw fruits and veggies.  This is not the norm, however, it is the exception. The woman is Douglas Graham's wife, Rozalind Graham (see Patenaude's blog comments here, for example) and the child is their daughter.  Some people claim this little girl is malnourished now, based on nothing more than pictures of her; there has been an Internet controversy over this.  I'm in no position to judge.

But let's not compare my experience to anyone else's.  For me to become more active, more energetic, more fit, I will simply require more calories.  And since I'm not eating enough calories while eating only raw foods, I conclude that this would be difficult for me on a raw diet.

In short: pure and total raw food is a stress that my body doesn't need.

The Re-introduction of Solid Food
Speaking of babies: one of the tools used by anthropologists who are looking at the development of human cultures, and individual consciousness, over the lifetime of humanity has been to look at existing more or less primitive humans, those few remaining tribes who are hunter-gatherer, to see what are the norms (in terms of social structure, diet, etc.); and failing that, to examine the growth of modern human infants into the full range of adult human behaviour -- supposing that the growth of the individual in some way mimics the natural history of all human development.  

It might seem like I'm changing the subject, but bear with me.  Joe Cross (of movie "Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead" fame) called his 60 day juice fast a "reboot."  It occurred to me, while on this raw diet for 30 days that I was also "rebooting" -- in the sense that I was regressing to an infantile dietary stage.  One day I ate more bananas than anything else -- because they were on sale, and getting soft, I got 2 large bags of bananas for $2, and that day and the next I ate almost nothing but bananas.  And what is the first solid food we give to babies?  Usually soft, mashed bananas.  This raw diet, I thought, is giving my digestive system an entire reboot back to my infancy.  

And in a way, I am using this detox as a bridge.  I really feel as if I am starting over.

This time, my determination is to eat a low fat vegan diet (again): some raw fruits and vegetables, but also some cooked foods, especially starches in the form of potatoes, sweet potatoes and legumes -- and yet to continue with my fast, of eating no grains.  Originally the idea was, to do this no-grain thing for one year.  I think the more realistic plan would be to continue the no-grain thing for another 30 days, and see how that goes.  I still miss bread and I miss rice.  I can't see myself giving up grains entirely forever.  That was just the plan at the outset -- to take myself off them, to prove that I am not physically or psychologically addicted to bread.

I think that I've succeeded in showing that already.  But weaning myself from cheese and other milk products has been far tougher than taking myself off bread.  It is the things that we associate and combine with bread that are fattening -- and addictive -- not so much bread itself.  At least, not the whole grain sourdough breads I have always insisted on making.  At this point, I'm confident that I'll one day make bread again -- only I'll be more conscious and cognizant of what to put on it.  It has to be low fat, or we increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and a whole host of other problems.

I wonder if I would still like bread as much if I didn't eat cheese and nut butters -- all the fatty things proscribed in the McDougall diet -- or if I would then prefer the other starches?

Other Noticeable Changes
My mother-in-law says that in the last month I look like I've aged 10 years.  My brother-in-law says I look like "the walking dead." I had a dying patient who is 96 years old recently tell me I look far older than my stated age.  Later in the night, he called me to his bedside to ask me if it would be all right if he prayed for me.  A doctor I rarely see was shocked at my appearance, and I quickly reassured him that I wasn't sick.  "Are you sure?" he asked, and I could almost read his mind, as to what he barely stopped himself from saying aloud: "I'll be the judge of that!"

So my mother-in-law calls my appearance "death on slippers" (a translation for the German phrase which means 'dead man walking.')  I think that she is right, I look dreadful.  And this may be true because the result of the 30-day diet is an inordinate amount of stress that I've subjected myself to.  Now I doubt very much that this stress is due to the diet of raw fruits and vegetables itself, but is more likely to be the result of not getting enough calories, and thus living off my stores of fat and protein.  If it is true that those fat deposits also housed a lot of toxins, then there has been extra stress in moving those toxins out of my body, too.  That certainly is one way of looking at things.  Or it could just be the fact that the body's proteins have started to break down, and my body is literally being torn down, from the inside out, or the bottom up.

Someone asked me if I felt I had more energy.  I do not, at least, not always.  I don't necessarily feel lethargic, either.  But I have just enough energy to do what I have always done, and not enough to do extra.  I feel like I want to exercise, but I know that on this diet, I will not have enough calories to follow through with it.  I spend more energy digesting than exercising.

I am scrawny now.  I have no padding on my ass, and when I sit on a hard chair, it is like sitting directly on my skeleton.  My arms and legs look like toothpicks.  I have never looked so emaciated.  But it is my face that is the most noticeably changed.  The lines there are deep, the wrinkles much more evident, even as the skin is stretched tighter over my skull bone. 

Curiously, I feel more hydrated in general, not requiring as much extra water or hot herbal tea (except on total fast days, and then the reverse is true, I have to push myself to drink more or I become somewhat constipated).  The biggest change has been in my nasal tracts, which don't make as many boogers.  Were these boogers some toxin that I was expelling from my lungs after ingestion of dairy products like cheese?  Or is it because I took the grains from my diet that I no longer have grain byproducts collecting in the nares?  I don't know, but I presume it was the dairy.

I had reported that my hips felt better, that there was no deep bone ache (an ache that I had not even been aware of, before this 30 day experiment).  This is true, or it was; but I think that after 30 days, a different pain is beginning to appear.  The tug of gravity is once again being felt and I think it is because some of my muscles are deconditioned because I haven't had enough energy to do exercise to keep the muscles toned.

I think it is wise for me to end this experiment.


What I ate on the last day of the fast
I tried to take pictures of everything I ate on the last day of my raw diet, so I could total up the calories, but my camera died half-way through, right when I was at a restaurant and had ordered a fruit cup and a salad with no croutons, no bacon bits, and no dressing ("no fun," quipped the waitress).  I wondered if I was eating more calories now, having more practice at eating more fruit.

Here's the list of what I ate:
breakfast

  • Breakfast:
    • 3 bananas
    • 1 tomato
    • 1 large salad of mustard greens
    • glass of green veggie juice
      • The juice consisted of about 6 stalks of mustard greens, 5 celery stalks, 4 small carrots, 1 cucumber, 1 apple, 5 small bok toi cabbages, about 1" of ginger root, 1 full lime.  (Since the mustard greens were somewhat peppery I didn't juice all of them, and ended up eating about 3 of them in the salad, since I didn't think my wife would like too many in the juice; we shared this juice, and there was enough for us both to have a glass for breakfast, and enough to refrigerate for me to have some later in the day)
  • Midmorning:
    • red grapefruit
  • Before leaving:
    • banana
    • plum
  • Enroute Before lunch, since someone else chose the restaurant and I knew I wouldn't get much there:
    • 3 bananas
    • 10 cherries





  • Lunch (expected to be disappointing, and it was)
    • Restaurant "Fruit cup" consisting of about 3 strawberries, 1/3 banana, 1/8 honeydew melon, 1/8 cantaloup, 3 blueberries, 1/3 of a sliced kiwi (skin still on), 4 chunks of pineapple (and it cost $4.99!!?!) Served in a banana-split sized bowl, this was bigger than I thought it would be, but still far smaller than I wanted. Outrageous lack of value.
    • Restaurant "Large Salad": Iceburg lettuce based (~1/8 head), with 1/2 tomato, some red cabbage shavings,  and cucumber chunks (~1/3 cue)(and it cost $11.99!!!?!!).  They call this large?  Not enough for a side order of salad, let alone a full meal for me.
  • In the middle of our afternoon walk:
    • 2 pears
    • 2 small cups of water


  • Supper:
    • large papaya
      The papaya seeds, leftover from my supper
  • Evening snack:
    • red apple mango
    • small sweet mango
    • 3/4 jar of green veggie  juice
    • glass of water


      the larger of the 2 mangos

      Veggie Juice


Here, in table form, are the total calories and the percentages from carbs, proteins, and fats.

Quantity Food Calories, Carbs, Proteins, Fats (each) Calories, Carbs, Proteins, Fats (total)
7.5
banana

Calories=105; Carbs=26.95;Proteins=1.29;Fats=0.393

TotalCalories=787.5; TotalCarbs=202.125;TotalProteins=2.7;TotalFats=1.725
1.5
tomato

Calories=22; Carbs=4.78;Proteins=1.08;Fats=0.25

TotalCalories=33 TotalCarbs=7.17;TotalProteins=1.62;TotalFats=0.375
1
mustard
greens
(per cup, boiled)
Calories=36; Carbs=6.31;Proteins=3.58;Fats=0.66

TotalCalories=36; TotalCarbs=6.31;TotalProteins=3.58;TotalFats=0.66
2
pears

Calories=95; Carbs=25.28;Proteins=0.6;Fats=0.23
TotalCalories=190; TotalCarbs=50.66;TotalProteins=1.2;TotalFats=0.46
1
grapefruit

Calories=(52x2)104; Carbs=(13.11x2)16.22;Proteins=(0.95X2)1.9;Fats=(0.17X2) 0.34

TotalCalories=104; TotalCarbs=16.22;TotalProteins=1.9;TotalFats=0.34
1
plum

Calories=30; Carbs=7.54;Proteins=0.46;Fats=0.18

TotalCalories=30; TotalCarbs=7.54;TotalProteins=0.46;TotalFats=0.18
10
cherries
(10)
Calories=43; Carbs=10.89;Proteins=0.72;Fats=0.14

TotalCalories=43; TotalCarbs=10.89;TotalProteins=0.72;TotalFats=0.14
2
mangos

Calories=124; Carbs=31.01;Proteins=1.70;Fats= 0.79

TotalCalories=248; TotalCarbs=62.02;TotalProteins=3.4;TotalFats=1.58
5
strawberries

Calories=((4+6)/2)5; Carbs=((0.92+1.38)/2)1.61;Proteins=((0.08+0.12)/2) 0.1;Fats=((0.04+0.05)/2) 0.045

TotalCalories=15; TotalCarbs=4.83;TotalProteins=0.03;TotalFats=0.135
1
papayaCalories=124; Carbs=31.01;Proteins=1.70;Fats= 0.79
TotalCalories=124; TotalCarbs=31.01;TotalProteins=1.70;TotalFats= 0.79
(1/8)
melon, honeydew
Calories=58; Carbs=15.45;Proteins=14.54;Fats=0.22TotalCalories=58; TotalCarbs=15.45;TotalProteins=14.54;TotalFats=0.22
(1/8)
melon, cantaloup
Calories=23; Carbs=5.63;Proteins=0.58;Fats=0.13TotalCalories=23; TotalCarbs=5.63;TotalProteins=0.58;TotalFats=0.13
16th of cup
blueberries
(per cup)
Calories=83; Carbs=21.01;Proteins=1.07;Fats=0.48
TotalCalories=5.1875; TotalCarbs=1.313125;TotalProteins=0.066875;TotalFats=0.003
1/3
kiwi
Calories=46; Carbs=11.14;Proteins=0.87;Fats=0.40TotalCalories=15.18; TotalCarbs=3.6762;TotalProteins=0.2871;TotalFats=0.132
16th of cup
pineapple
(per cup)
Calories=78; Carbs=20.34;Proteins=0.84;Fats=0.0625
TotalCalories=4.875; TotalCarbs=1.27125;TotalProteins=0.0525;TotalFats=0.11875
(1/8)
lettuce,
iceburg
(per head)
Calories=75; Carbs=16.01;Proteins=4.85;Fats=0.75
TotalCalories=9.375; TotalCarbs=2.00125;TotalProteins=0.60625;TotalFats=0.09375
1/3
cucumber
Calories=34; Carbs=6.05;Proteins=1.65;Fats=0.45TotalCalories=11.22; TotalCarbs=1.9969;TotalProteins=0.5445;TotalFats=0.1485
almost none
cabbage, red
Calories=~; Carbs=~;Proteins=~;Fats=~TotalCalories=~; TotalCarbs=~;TotalProteins=~;TotalFats=~
-
-
GRAND TOTALS:
TotalCalories=1737.3375; TotalCarbs=430.113725;TotalProteins=33.987225;TotalFats=7.231

Notes on this table:
Sources:
For calories: https://www.ars.usda.gov/SP2UserFiles/Place/12354500/Data/SR25/nutrlist/sr25a208.pdf
For carbs: https://www.ars.usda.gov/SP2UserFiles/Place/12354500/Data/SR25/nutrlist/sr25a205.pdf
For protein: https://www.ars.usda.gov/SP2UserFiles/Place/12354500/Data/SR25/nutrlist/sr25a203.pdf
For fats: https://www.ars.usda.gov/SP2UserFiles/Place/12354500/Data/SR25/nutrlist/sr25a204.pdf
Most of the quantities for the restaurant salads are simply guesses, and I'm almost certain that I guessed too high.
There may be calories in the juice I drank, but I have no way to calculate that.


Using the simpler algorithm that (Protein is 4 cal/g) and (Fat is 9 cal/g) and (Carbs are Total-prot-fat), these are the Values & Percentages of carbs/protein/fats for this day's total:  
Carb 1536.3096; Prot 135.9489 ; Fat 65.079

Carb 88.4289667%  Protein 3.73037803% Fat 3.73037803%
As you can see, I have not hit the 80-10-10 target, but have overshot to about 88-4-4.  I have deliberately avoided avocado today, since last time I checked my calories, that one raw fruit made my entire day too high in fat; and of course I'm not getting enough protein to hit Graham's target.

HIgh Carbs and Blood Sugar
Something else my mother-in-law said caught my attention.  As a non-insulin-dependent diabetic, she is concerned that a high fruit diet such as I have been on these past 30 days -- so high in raw fruit and vegetables -- will cause one's blood sugar to be highly elevated.  Why?  Because for her, she cannot eat that much fruit.  It is too high in sugar.  It is natural sugar, yes; and it is tempered by the fiber of the fruit.  But is there enough fiber in fruit to keep the blood sugar within acceptable bounds?

To test this, after my complete fast on the 31st day of this raw food diet, I broke my fast at midnight, while I was working.  I tested my blood glucose several times, to see what sort of a curve my blood sugar might take.  I expected it to spike a little bit, but then to level off within the normal range (in other words, more or less the normal Glycemic Index curve).  I was surprised by what I found.

Midnite: BG 4.3  ; this was after a total fast (nothing but water and herb tea) for >24 hrs.

0015: BG 11.0 ; this was following 2 ripe bananas and 1 ripe plum; both of these fruits have a Glycemic Index (GI) around 50.  This is quite a spike.

0030: BG 6.3  ; back to normal range.  But wait.

0045: BG 8.2  ; this was the surprise.  There was a rebound, and it has gone beyond the normal levels.  Why might this be?  I wondered if it might be because there were still significant numbers of ketones in my bloodstream that must be used up first?

0100: BG 8.1  ; at the one hour mark, the glucose is still elevated.  I am not hungry, though.  There is an inhibitory effect on the appetite if the body has eaten enough fruit; but what had I been doing, all this month?  I have been ignoring that, and forcing myself to eat more fruit to get my calorie level higher (without succeeding, by the way -- I was still not eating enough calories -- obviously, because I was losing weight).

0115; BG 8.1  ; my blood sugar not stabilized to a normal level, even after more than an hour after eating the fruit,.  Thinking that the machine must be faulty (even though I had just calibrated it, prior to my experiments), I tried the next glucometer.

0120: BG 8.4.  So its not the glucometer's fault.

At  0145, I ate some cooked starch.  And thus, my raw food detox was officially over.  I ate a medium sized sweet potato that I had microwaved for 7 minutes.  I ate it with a spoon, and it was good.  Now a sweet potato has got an even higher glycemic index than a banana and a plum.  Sweet potatoes are very sweet indeed.  The GI comes in at somewhere between 77 and 94, depending on how it is cooked.  None of the methods cited in the database were from a microwave, however.

0200:  BG is now 4.3, normal range again.  Now I expected it to go up again, because I ate this starch.  I'd test one more time.  Why isn't the blood sugar spiking like it did for the fruit?

0220: BG 6.2  ; still normal!  Could it be that the fiber in this sweet potato is tempering the glycemic response?  Or is it merely that the ketones are now down to an acceptable level?

At this point, I quit testing my sugars.  But I did look up a couple of studies from the Cochrane database.   I wanted to know if high carb diets would enlarge the pancreas of dieters; or if this might lead to diabetes or pancreatic cancer.

The answer is no.  The evidence is clear that eating a fruit-based diet with some vegetables is protective against pancreatic cancers, and does not in itself cause diabetes.

That's good news, but hardly certainty.  I would advise anyone trying a raw food mostly fruit diet to be diligent in checking their blood sugars -- particularly if the raw diet is accompanied by fasts.


After the 30 Day Raw Diet
Once again, following my diet's change back to cooked starches, I experienced a change in my gut flora, and it took a day or two to adjust to the new diet -- although I didn't have the gut aches that I did with the raw sweet potato.  I still eat a lot of raw fruits and veggies, still drink green juices from green leafy veggies, but now I've added starches in the form of cooked potatoes and beans.  I have decided, for now, to continue not eating any grains -- so no wheat, no barley, no corn, no rice and of course, no bread.  This is quite a hardship, as many wonderful recipes are to be tried in our household as we embark on new eating habits, following the guidelines of Dr. John McDougall.  Adding rice or grain pasta back into my diet would go a long way to easing our household into that new vegan lifestyle.  However, I'm still trying to see what effects being grain free -- bread free -- has on my health.  

I no longer get urges to eat bread.  I suspect those urges came more from the cheese I was eating than the bread, to be honest with you.  And as far as exorphins go, milk products have just as many as wheat.  They were discovered virtually simultaneously, after all.  

Oh, I still think sometimes that it would be nice, and convenient, to have a slice of bread in the evening, rather than going to the trouble to eat some more fruit or vegetable, which takes a long time to chew, and might be far sweeter than I want.  Going without bread is a hardship for me merely because I have to look for other, more costly alternatives, to increase my calories.

Because of the hardship, and because of a very important wedding ceremony coming up next month, I'm only going to give this "grain free" fast only another 30 days.  I see no real point in it any longer.  I believe most of the problem of eating bread (and its reputation for increasing weight) is what you put on it.  After the next 30 days of being grain-free are over, I expect I will start eating rice -- and even baking bread -- again.

But I wonder if I will ever want to eat quite as much bread as I did before?  Without butter and cheese, I wonder what I will be putting on my bread?  Actually, McDougall's website is a treasure trove of information about that too.  This month, in fact, his free newsletter contained several recipes for vegan spreads that I  would love to try.  Perhaps this blog will later discuss my attempts to make these and other spreads from scratch, rather than simply describing the whole grain breads I'm baking -- because they had just about reached a level of quality and similitude anyway.

Who knows where it might go?  Perhaps, like many other things I've embarked upon, this blog will simply fall away, as it becomes less useful.



Notes to Myself
  • Following the quick perusal of an extensive text on food addiction (Brownell, K. and Gold, M. ed. (2012) Food and Addiction: a comprehensive handbook. Oxford University Press -- see the commentary here for a quick overview), I don't believe I'm truly addicted to bread.  I will have to look a lot harder at this text, perhaps in another blog entry, before I'm convinced, however.