The Cigar Defense For Bread

Does anyone recall the cigar fad from the mid-1990s? Cigar bars popped up. Celebrities were photographed smoking them. Cigarettes were out and cigars were in. Whenever someone brought up health concerns, the response was that cigars were OK, because you don’t inhale them and you smoke less of them. People wanted to smoke, they knew cigarettes were bad and so many justified smoking cigars. They were never healthy, they were just less bad.

Bread has become the new cigar. Soak it, sprout it, ferment it. Beat the living hell out of bread and – maybe – you can make it less bad, or dare I say “OK” to consume. Grains are empty carbohydrates full of anti-nutrient properties. They are not healthy. Can you make them less bad? Sure, but that doesn’t make it healthy.

If you like bread and want it to eat, then man up and say it is for you. But please don’t try and tell me it is healthy, a good source of nutrition, or even inexpensive. It’s not. It is a cigar at best.

I’m not going to go through the science. Others have done a much better job than me.

I can already hear the cries defending sourdough or sprouted Jesus bread. I don’t care. The reason I don’t care is that I know what it takes to successfully follow a diet. You need to remove not only the poison but the taste for the poison as well. One week your eating soaked, sprouted, and fermented bread, and the next week you get busy and buy the bread with the prettiest font. You lie to yourself that you can live without bread, but you can’t. You are powerless to the wheat opioid peptides.

I was once powerless to bread. Not anymore. You can have your soaked, sprouted, and fermented bread. I prefer being lean.


Add yours

  1. We are bread free as well in our family and I don’t regret it.
    Something else that I noticed is the lack of protein everywhere. People are grain happy and there are plenty of recipes everywhere including grains whether they are soaked, sprouted or used straight from the bag..

  2. Michael – so true! I like how you wove in the parallels with the ‘less bad’ cigars. I was thinking the other day that with so many wheat (breakfast cereals, cakes, etc.) ads in magazines – it is as if some of the tobacco people have come over to the wheat side to make a living. The ads just jump off of practically every three pages in most women’s magazines.

    Dr. David Kessler recently wrote a book entitled “The End of Overeating.” He covered the addictive nature of the layering of ‘fats, salts & sugars.’ Interestingly, I believe he pretty much ignored the problems with grains. At any rate, he had a good start re: the nature of addiction and how it relates to foods, but he also confuses people by not helping them realize how much easier it gets once grains are removed from the diet.

    One can eat a bit of dark chocolate here and there and make a few grain-free desserts without many problems. One can also remove sugars completely and have only a few quality carbohydrates (which is better, of course). At any rate, getting over the withdrawal symptoms associated with grain (particularly gluten) withdrawal and omitting these ‘filler’ foods does so many amazing things for our bodies and minds.

    It isn’t talked about much in mainstream media, because so many people are ‘owned’ by grain companies. The OWN network has a new program on food addiction and I suspect that the anti-nutrients and problems associated with grains will not come up. In a program on addiction – one couldn’t possibly broach the subject because – well – omitting grains is one of the worst and most damaging addictions out there.

    Thank God the Paleo people have clarified this for us and given us the data we need for strengthening our resolve when strategizing for optimal health. I, for one, (now) need ample evidence before taking a drastic step with my diet. I qualify this, because I was not savvy enough when I became a vegetarian many years ago – truly one of the worst mistakes I made (as grains were a staple of every meal).

    Keep up the great work – this is an excellent post.

  3. @Marty – Seems quite a few of us in the Paleo crowd were former vegetarians. We got half the equation right (removing factory farm meats) but missed the other half (removing factory farm grains). Thanks for the comment!

  4. I agree with all of this. I too am bread free, also pasta free, rice free, etc.

  5. I’m still powerless to bread, but I’m making headway. Slowly, but one step at a time.

  6. @Nick – Slow is fine. In 2008 I cut my bread intake by 50%. Then I cut it back further in 2009. By 2010, I was 100% bread free.

  7. I don’t have any issues with artesian sourdough, but I only eat it occasionally fried in lard with eggs and heavy cream.

    BBQ pulled pork is not the same thing without sourdough buns.

    I’ll take the risk of my once every two months consumption of sourdough (which even celiacs can eat).

  8. @Matthew – You are only focusing on the gluten-gut problems with bread. Bread at its very best is still a FATTENING carbohydrate.

    Instead of sourdough buns, I prefer to put BBQ pulled pork on another pile of BBQ pulled pork. No bread = more meat.

  9. I haven’t had a slice of bread for over a year now and don’t miss it. The only time I eat grains is if I decide to buy a burrito which is a rare ocassion.

  10. Its weird how you don’t see trends being born or dying, just the rearview mirror angle.

    You reminded me the mid-90′s when they used to have ladies night at a Cigar Bar in NYC. I went to see what it was like. Thin professional women puffing on 8 inches of cancer. I couldn’t make sense of it but figured it was here to stay. Maybe people CAN be sold into doing anything, as long as they don’t feel like they are being left out.

    Mike, Do you eat pizza? If so, how do you make pizza without crust?

  11. Awesome! The last paragraph is a tour de force.

    It’s a better variation on the “nothing tastes as good as being fit feels.”

  12. @thomas – About once a year I will eat a pizza made with a cauliflower crust. It is a lot of work, which is why I rarely have it.

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