"Are you crazy?" This was the response I got from just about all of my friends when they found out that I would be giving up all bread for almost 2 months. Twice every year, my Crossfit gym (s/o to Crossfit Craic) participates in the No Bread Challenge. The No Bread Challenge is a 50 day program easily personalized to any lifestyle or fitness goal. Just before the program begins, everyone who participates in it decides on the goals they are working towards and the regimens that they will be following. Regimens range from paleo, to counting macros, to cutting sugar out of a diet, to cutting out all bread. This time is also used to work on specific fitness goals, such as increasing weight of a bench press or trying to get more pull-ups. Another aspect of No Bread is making general lifestyle improvements and trying to kick bad habits or be more grateful. I have participated in the No Bread Challenge with Crossfit twice now. I gave up bread for 50 days straight, and here is what happened. 

The Goals and Regimen

The first time I ever participated in No Bread, I went all out. I cut 100% of bread out of my diet and made it a goal to be in the gym at least 4 times a week. The workouts I was doing when at the gym included the daily programmed workouts for the gym. Food wise, I cut out any and all bread from my diet. This included straight bread (toast, rolls, etc.), baked goods (cake, cupcakes, etc.), pasta, pizza, rice, and the list goes on. Name a bread-like product, and it was probably not included in my diet. Throughout the 50 days I focused on eating more fruits, vegetables, and (lean) meats.

Michaela Gillis

What My Meals Looked Like

At this point you might be asking yourself, so what DID you eat? I wondered the same thing myself when first starting No Bread, but the answer was surprisingly simple. The one thing that I found through this experience was that, as long as you took the time at the beginning of the week to shop for foods and to plan out your meals, cutting out bread was actually incredibly easy. Here are two of my favorite meals that I frequently had during No Bread:

1. Eggs

egg, chicken, egg yolk
Jocelyn Hsu

Breakfast has always been one of my favorite meals, and I will gladly eat it for more than one meal in a day. Throughout No Bread, almost all of my breakfasts included eggs. For the most part, I enjoyed scrambled eggs with almonds and avocado for breakfast, but another option was hard boiled eggs and whatever fruit I had in the house. If I was feeling as if it were a very special day, I would even throw in a few pieces of bacon.  

2. Grilled Chicken with Salad 

Michaela Gillis

Another one of my favorite meals I had frequently for dinner was grilled chicken, lettuce, mozzarella and tomatoes. Add a touch of your favorite salad dressing and it's the perfect (and easy) dinner to make (when you're not having breakfast for dinner). 

The Results 

The first two weeks were probably the hardest part of the No Bread Challenge. When you cut out a food from your diet quickly, it takes your body a while to react and readjust to the change. For the first two weeks I felt hungry all the time and felt like I was always eating. Gradually, however, my body got used to life without bread and I began to feel amazing. Right before I started No Bread the first time, I was having intense stomach pains after eating carbs. These stomach pains immediately began to go away, and I felt like I had more energy than ever before. I never had that sluggish feeling you get when you've totally overdone it with pasta. 

There are a lot of different diets out there (paleo, whole 30, etc.) but they can be very hard to keep and are not good for everyone. I found that the No Bread Challenge was a great choice for me, and I love how easy it is to personalize it to any goals and lifestyle. You can cut out as much or as little of something so that it is not just a fad, instead it can become steps towards a healthier, and more energetic lifestyle!