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Sourdough BreadLife Without Bread
By JJ Virgin

I am writing this while I am taking a break from packing for a trip to San Francisco, which I consider to be the bread capitol of the United States (and I am willing to arm wrestle anyone who disagrees).

I grew up in Berkeley (yep I am a high maintenance hippie) in what is known as the San Francisco Bay Area, which means easy access to SF sourdough on a daily basis.

One of my fondest memories of Junior High and High School was walking home with one of my best friends, Nina and sharing a loaf (a LOAF!) of sourdough bread. Nina liked the insides and I liked the crust (I am talking extra sour, late bake here, can you feel it?) which is probably why we got along so well.

Honestly we literally ate a LOAF of bread a day. Thankfully, I am a total bread snob and to me, nothing (well except if I am in France) compares to real FRESH San Francisco sourdough bread, so cutting my loaf-a-day habit happened automatically when I left to go to college at UCLA. Of course, along the way I started studying nutrition formally and learned that a loaf a day of bread (or even a few pieces for that matter) was not a good long term strategy for health or weight management.

Now I can already hear people ready to argue with me on the whole grain front, but I beg to differ due to the issues with both lectins and gluten, which is why I am advising you to try “Life Without Bread” (there is a book out there with this title, I just love it!).

If you aren’t ready to go cold turkey, let me give you a few lateral shift to ease you into it:

Go Topless – take the top off your sandwich and use a beefsteak tomato slice or butter leaf lettuce leaf instead. If you are using luncheon meat like no hormone added sliced turkey then you can use that as the topper instead.  

Go Green – use lettuce leaves in place of bread.  You may have seen this done at some of the popular Chinese restaurants but you can take it much farther than chicken and soy sauce. I did a video on lettuce wraps the other day and used butter leaf as the wrapper (don’t you dare do the iceberg), added chopped red pepper and red onion, chicken, garbanzo beans, avocado and walnuts (just a little of each).  It was fabulous! 

Go Gluten Free – estimates are about 1 in 133 people have celiac disease (basically a dangerous, damaging intolerance to gluten) and possibly as many as 30% of the population are sensitive to it which can cause a host of symptoms from belly pain to moodiness. Try changing over to gluten free bread and rice wraps and give yourself a break from gluten to see if it makes a difference for you.

©2010 JJ Virgin & Associates, Inc. Celebrity Nutrition and Fitness Expert JJ Virgin is a the author of Six Weeks to Sleeveless and Sexy and the co-star of TLC’s Freaky Eaters reality series. Visit her at to grab her free audio: 7 Steps to Break Your “Freaky” Food Habits Fast & Forever.

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