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Thursday

August: Cookies, Rolls, Waffles, Crackers, Bagles, and Bread Be Gone

I started off easy.  Now I up the ante.

Last month I went without soft drinks.  No Diet Pepsi when I went out with friends, no surge of caffeine when I woke up in the morning.  For the entirety of July I drank nothing but water, sometimes flavored, and the rare lemonade.  My body thanked me for it.

It was an easy challenge, and I find myself certain that I could live on without another sip.  I’ll indulge here and there, but it is comforting to know that my relationship with the drink is no longer a borderline addiction.

As I consider the next thirty days, I realize that they won’t be nearly as seamless as the last thirty-one.  For August, I will be giving up a food that has been a staple to my every life for as long as I can remember.  Something that I have eaten almost everyday not only because of its taste, but because it finds its way into almost every meal.

I will be giving up bread.  

Admittedly, I haven’t done nearly as much research as I should have.  Waking up this morning, I found myself lost: What is made from bread?  Are my waffles made from bread?  How specific should I be when I say “no bread”?  How far down the food chain do I go?  Does wheat get thrown out the window, or just wheat bread?

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Today also marked the first day I’ve been to work in quite some time, as some scheduling mishaps, oral surgery, and plans with friends and family enabled me to get away from the bakery-cafe and enjoy others and the ability to write freely, whenever I wanted.  Needless to say, this morning was a reminder of the working world, and scrambling to discover a breadless breakfast didn’t help.

To make matters easier on myself, I’ve created a short list of foods I will abstain from for the month.  This list is subject to change, assuming that change is an addition.

To simplify, and assist my efforts, I have designed a short list of foods I will abstain from over the next thirty days.  This list may be added to throughout the month, depending on my curiosity and discoveries.

I will not eat:

  • Baguettes
  • Rolls
  • Sliced bread
  • Crackers
  • Croutons
  • Waffles
  • Muffins
  • Cookies, other pastries
  • Bagels
  • Tortillas

Did I mention I work at Panera Bread Company?  How coincidental: The first day I am surrounded by bread in several weeks is also the day I’ve decided to give it up entirely.  It made for a tempting few hours--a temptation I didn’t experience once giving up soda.

I am interested to see where this path leads me.  Ultimately, I will be forced to become more accustomed to other types of foods, or simply eat less and reap the health benefits.  I will have to be more creative when making meals, as for the first week or two I may find myself eating the same things everyday.  Variation will keep me motivated and engaged.  Boredom will only increase the difficulty.  I am also the guy, although less and less these days, who shovels an entire sleeve of crackers into his mouth whenever he opens a new box.  The same can be said for cookies, which my parents continue to buy for their own enjoyment at my complaints and distress.  As pastries and crackers are removed from my diet, I predict I will feel, and be, healthier.

The challenge the lies ahead will only be exacerbated by another lifestyle change: In under two weeks, on August 14, I will be packing my bags and heading to college.  Everything I have known and grown used to over the past eighteen years will be changed, and on top of that, I will have to be particularly focused on what I’m eating to ensure I don’t subconsciously backtrack.  It only takes one mistake to dismantle motivation.

One month from now, very little will be the same.

Also: A friend of mine will be changing her sleeping schedule this month, sleeping at a more reasonable time and waking at 7 a.m. each morning.  She’s going to college in a couple of weeks (like me), and so this sleep-geared challenge is going to be just that: a challenge.  I wish her luck.

Also: A friend of mine, who I hope will visit my frequently while I am away, has decided to join me on this quest.  Her goal for August: adjust her sleeping schedule, waking at a more reasonable time of 7 a.m. each morning.  This is an admirable goal, especially granted her only impending collegiate shift, and I wish her luck.

What will you give up this month?  It isn’t too late to begin changing your life this August.  Tell me on Twitter @runnersravings.