Weight VS Bread: a foodie faces her dilemma

The proverbial 10, 15, 25 pounds.  Many years ago I grew disgusted with the extra weight I was carrying and vowed I would do something about it.  I did the South Beach Diet.  For two weeks no bread, rice, pasta, or potatoes.  NO fruit, just protein and vegetables.  I grew to love ricotta cheese with stevia, coco powder and 10 almonds (my reward at the end of the day).  After those first weeks I slowly added back a diverse diet.  Four months later, 25 plus pounds were gone and I loved my body.  I was thrilled, I kept it off.  Every once in awhile I returned to the first two weeks when I saw the pounds beginning to creep back.  It still worked.

Then about 18 months ago I remembered bread baking.  I don’t remember how it began except I wanted to find a way to make a sour dough starter with yogurt.  I had kept the weight off, I could dance on the wild side.  I went to New Season’s and found a book Artisan Baking, by Maggie Glezer.  The book should of had a warning label, “Take care, don’t go too fast.  Could be trouble ahead”.  Unknowingly I dove in.  I reunited my spirit with my passion for the interaction between flour, water & yeast.  I bought a better scale for weighing ingredients, a second coiled basket for shaping loaves, and ordered flour off the internet.  I bought more bread books.  I studied Peter Reinhart’s techniques.  I even tried to go to a workshop he was doing in New Mexico.  I couldn’t make enough bread.

I tried the easy recipes, using commercial yeast, the harder ones that only used a sour dough starter to rise the bread.  Every few days I diligently refreshed my starter keeping it in top condition.  I made starter with white flour, wheat flour, a special semolina flour.  I experimented with mashes, soakers, mother starters, and all types of pre-ferments.  I played with different ways to create the perfect temperature for rising.  Finally a friend made me a device that has a light bulb connected to a temperature gauge.  Perfect!  Bread became easier to make.

In the course of all this a starter in a plastic container was melted in my oven.  I bought a new oven.

The months have gone by and I’m still passionate about making bread.  I’ve settled on a few types: basic sour dough with a combination of wheat and white flours (my weekly staple), ciabatta and  focaccia occasionally, and I spent about a month making only anadama.  I look for occasions to bring bread so I can make it more often.  I’ll make you pizza with a homemade dough if you like.  I love fresh bread dipped in olive oil when the crust is crunchy and the crumb is soft and chewey.  I love toast that is done just enough to bring out the natural sweetness.  I am amazed how a good bread actually can get better after a few days.  Julia Child said you can never have enough butter.  I say you can never have enough bread.  Isn’t it one of the major food groups?

Are you surprised when I confess the pounds are back?  It’s December 31st, 2009.  I want to lose this weight.  What to do?  I could do only rice, dal & vegetables again.  That worked.  I lost a lot of weight,  but no leavened bread there, only chapati’s. I told my friends that I was never excited but always satisfied.  It was a tapas (a discipline).  Then when I stopped, my body held onto every calorie it got.  I don’t know what happened.  Maybe my body just said,“whoopee, new food”.  Or I could do the six small meals a day, every two hours.  I did that.  Make it weird, get my body confused so it burns calories all the time.  No bread in that one either and it’s really boring.  One dish meals.  I wasn’t entertained and neither was my palate. I’ve thought about Weight Watchers but I don’t want to pay money to lose weight.

I know, I know;  small portions, more exercise, French women smoke…
There’s a saying I heard:  you can love to eat and not cook, but you can’t love to cook and not love to eat.  Guess which camp I fall into?

I’m leaning towards South Beach but I have another confession, I love wine.  I like drinking wine.  I’m sure I like it more than I used to when I first did South Beach.  If you didn’t figure it out – no wine or beer in this one.  Notice, this diet isn’t called the Portland diet!   I like to try different wines.  An interesting label can hook me anytime or the ones that are the sleepers – really good and not expensive.  I like visiting local wineries and the wine tastings around town.  A glass of wine at the end of the day is my time to muse.  I find wine romantic.  Sharing a glass of wine with friends is like the dream of travel when it was exotic, not security lines and too many people.  If I lived other lives I would expect I traveled to far off countries on big ocean liners, sat in deck chairs, lived a useless life.  I’m a sucker for a period English movie.

But I’ve drifted off.  So here’s the rub.  The proverbial 10, 15, 25 pounds.  What’s a foodie to do?  I’ll let you know.


One response to this post.

  1. I have no fixed answer to the weight loss game. I think that it is so highly individual. You know what I do. Eat what I want until 5 or earlier and then not again till breakfast. I understand why this doesn’t work for you.
    Also I love to walk.
    And the wine thing may be going by the wayside. Too early to tell.
    “I’ll make you pizza with a homemade dough if you like.” Well, well, well. I know where you live.

    Your blog is fun, easy to read, and easy to identify with.
    Well done, and I’ll be waiting for more to come.


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