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.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Steeped 20% Rye Loaf (that I can't stop myself from eating)

I'm still making and eating bread.  I made this loaf mostly for my wife and my friend David, who is aware that I will soon be starting a detox or fast from bread for a time.  However, after my fast day, although I tried to eat only fruit, I ended up reaching for a slice or two of this bread.  I wanted the bread.  

I'll have to try again -- to fast from eating bread.  I'll start off slow, by seeing if I can go three whole days without bread.  It sounds ridiculous, I know.  Three days should be nothing.  But this is a challenge for me.  My bread is pretty darn good.  This one in particular doesn't look like much, but it is, it is.  It is so good, my wife would not let me give one of the loaves to poor David.  She wanted to keep it all to herself.

This bread was a 20% rye, made with the same technique I've been using lately, i.e. getting the hydration up by "steeping" the dough during stretches and folds.  Details follow:

  • 200g Rye
  • 800g Wheat
  • == 1000g grain (100% flour)
  • 200g Sourdough Starter
  • 19g Salt
  • 770g Initial water
  • 50g water added with salt
  • 50g water to steep
  • == 870g total water (87% hydration)

I ground the kernels of rye and wheat into flour, added my whole wheat sourdough starter (which is always at 100% hydration) to the initial water and aerated it by stirring vigorously with my hand.  I added the water-sourdough mixture to the flour, and mixed it until it was all incorporated.  Then I kneaded it for about 5 minutes just to get the gluten started.  A short autolyse of 30 minutes or so occurred before I added the salt with another 50g of water.  I incorporated this by mixing and kneading, and returned the dough to the bowl for one more stretch and turn.  Then the dough sits another 30 minutes, is kneaded again briefly, and is returned to the bowl.  At this point I add another 50g of water to the top of the dough, and let the dough sit in this water.  Over the course of the next few hours, I will stretch and fold the dough in the bowl, not worrying about that last amount of water; if the dough wants it, it will draw the water into it.  If the dough doesn't require it, some will stay in the bowl  Usually after about 2-3 hours, I find that the dough has absorbed it through the many stretches, folds and turns.  The dough is turned out onto the counter, divided into 2, preshaped for a bench rest, then shaped for the proofing basket.  About 2 more hours in the basket (depending on the strength of the starter it could be longer), and the dough is popped into the oven on a preheated stone at 450 degrees F with steam, for 40 minutes.  That's my recent method.

The dough is so wet when it hits the oven, if it isn't sitting perfecting on the stone
(like the one at left), it might drip over the edge (like the one on the right)

The blob that fell off the loaf into the water tray at the base of the oven was still an edible bun

Sure, I ate it

Let's Talk about BMs
I've been noticing something curious, regarding my weight.  Normally I weigh around 180 pounds, or slightly less.  After a fast day -- a day in which I eat nothing at all, but continue to drink water and herbal tea -- I can weigh as little as 172 lbs.  After a day of eating (bread, fruit, veggies, greens, etc.) and drinking whatever I want (juices, water, herbal tea), I can weigh as much as 176.

Now, in the hospital, when we see a change in someone's weight that significant over a single day (either up or down), we tend to say that "its all water."  And I'm not really changing the amount that I drink on a fast day that much; in fact, when I eat, I probably drink even more; when I'm fasting, I have to force myself to drink, because I don't crave it.  I don't necessarily feel thirst, so much as habit, when I'm reaching for something to put in my mouth.  So what is happening to the fluid, when I eat, to make me retain it?  My guess is that the whole grains in my gut -- the bran, the germ, the fiber, etc. -- are drawing water to them as they pass through the length of the GI tract.

Some people say that grains are constipating.  That has not been my experience, at all, at all -- but my grains are almost entirely whole grains, whereas most other people who eat grains use polished grains and extractions of grains, and that could be the difference.  My only experience with constipation was in the early days of when I started to fast.  For the first couple of months of my fasting, when I didn't drink enough on fast day, I'd get constipated -- and thus I've learned that when I fast, I have to force myself to drink more fluids.

I'm wondering now if those who find grains are constipating are becoming somewhat dehydrated from the grains.  I'm guessing that if I didn't drink enough fluids with my bread, all that fiber would draw water from my body fluids, in order to help keep it moving.  I certainly might be dehydrated, and/or constipated, if I didn't drink enough, while eating bread.

And perhaps the salt that I add to the bread has something to do with the way the water is attracted to the bread-chyme, too.  I don't know.  All I can assume is that when I eat bread, the water and other fluids I take in are retained in my bowels.

Now, going back to my first year nursing anatomy class, I seem to remember that the lower bowels are where most of the water is reabsorbed into the body.  Is this not happening with me, when I eat bread?  Yet my stool, although soft, is not loose.  Is that TMI?  Am I done talking about my Bowel Movements?

To sum up my observations: when I eat a diet that is usual for me (i.e. a lacto-ovo diet with my homemade whole grain sourdough bread), I retain water in my bowels.  This water comes from my body tissues, or from what I drink, and it seems to be the major reason for my weight fluctuations on days that I eat or days that I fast.

This Bread
tasted very good.  On Friday, when I tried to avoid it, I ended up eating a slice anyway.  On Saturday, although a slice was toasted for me with a soup of lunch, I did not eat it.  I survived on mostly fruits, vegetable juices, and a couple of cooked vegetarian meals -- I haven't told my wife yet that I've been reading a lot about raw frugivore/vegan diets, so our meals still reflect the way we've been doing things up til now.

Could not resist

I feel confident that I can ignore this bread on Sunday, as well as perform the usual fast on the Monday.  So I should be able to go three days (or 4) without eating bread, and when I look back on my progress with detoxing from grains, I should be able to say that this bread was the first bread that I successfully avoided for 3 whole days.

Update : Experiment with Fasting
I was just about to post this blog entry, when in the Notes to Myself I wrote the following:

Try an experiment: following a fast day, examine your weight in the morning, and again at night -- only don't eat bread or milk products on that day that you break the fast -- only fruits and vegetables (a typical bonobo or proto-human diet as suggested by Douglas Graham in his 80-10-10 diet).  See how your weight fluctuates then.  See if you retain water.  See how you feel.

My curiosity about whether or not I would retain the same amount of fluid if I ate a high-fiber fruit and vegetable diet, with no grains, made me devise this experiment for myself.  I was still determined to go 3 days without bread, so I figured I'd try it this way: go without bread for two days (Sat/Sun) before the total fast, then fast as usual (Mon), and then instead of breaking the fast with a usual diet of bread (Tues), just eat raw fruit and leafy vegetables.  And simply check my weight, at the beginning and end of the days.

Here are my results: the first is the fast day with the normal lacto-ovo bread diet, and the second is the fast day with the bonobo diet (of no bread, and entirely raw fruits, leafy greens and veg):

Fast Day 1
(Followed by LOB* Diet)
Commentary Fast Day 2
(Followed by BONOBO** Diet)
am weight 176 On LOB diet 176 I was on a LO diet *** at this point, having gone 2 days without bread (while still not raw, I did eat a boiled egg -- but I had little dairy, except what was in the spinach soup)
pm weight 174 I've lost 2 pounds over the day, likely water even though I forced myself to drink 174 As usual, the fast caused me to lose 2 pounds over the day, and again I suppose it is all just water.

Following Day

Following Day

am weight 172This seems really weird: overnight I can lose 2 pounds.  How does that happen? I assume it is because although I'm only sleeping, I'm not drinking to keep up with the amount I lose through the skin and the kidneys. 172 So far, nothing has changed.  Except today, I eat BONOBO - no dairy, no eggs, no processed food, especially no bread
pm weight 176 By the end of the day, my weight has stabilized -- the water I've lost has returned -- to my bowels, likely attracted to the bran in my gut 173 By the end of the day, my weight has stabilized -- but the amount of water I retain is less, because my bowels don't need as much, due to the fact that the fruit fiber is different than the grain fiber.  And I can feel the difference.  There's not as much bulk there.  But I've still eaten to satiation.  I haven't lost any fat, I don't think.  At this point, we are just talking about water.

* LOB Diet refers to my standard Lacto-Ovo-Bread vegetarian diet, not raw.
* BONOBO Diet refers to a raw diet of fruits, and leafy vegetables
*** LO Diet refers to Lacto-Ovo diet, but fasting from bread

At the end of the day after the second fast, I realized that I had achieved my goal of going 3 days without bread -- in fact, I had gone 4.  That was almost 5 days.  And 5 days is half-way to 10 days.  So I decided to do a 10-day fast from grains entirely, just to see how I'd feel.

Because how I feel is going to be a whole lot more interesting to me than my weight, to be honest with you.  I'm not trying to lose weight, I'm trying to be healthy.  I thought I felt healthy before.  But I feel okay -- so far -- without eating bread.

I suppose I can do it.  Because of the success of the last few days without bread, I know I can go without eating it a bit longer.  There are times when I think it would be nice to just have a slice, and there is that next loaf that I've already made that is just sitting there waiting for me to slice into and take a crumb shot; but as long as I'm experimenting, I think I can restrain myself.

One day at a time for the Exorphin Junkie.

Notes to Myself
  • Try making a bread with a vegan salt substitute, e.g. one made from dehydrated celery which is supposed to have lots of organic sodium (its just not NaCl).  That way, perhaps you won't require so much water -- IF it is the case that it is the 2% sea salt that is causing the stuff in the GI tract to attract more water to it...

    That is, if you ever want to make bread again.  Do you?

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