Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Going wheat free?

I just finished reading Wheat Belly (by William Davis, MD) and it left me wondering how cutting wheat out of my diet might affect me.  My mum and my sister both avoid wheat for the most part.  My mum started avoiding it after reading the Hormone Diet (by Natasha Turner), a book I highly recommend as well because there are proven connections between wheat consumption and inflammation, and thus arthritis.  My mum has suffered with some arthritis for awhile and she is not one to just 'sit back and accept it'.  She cut the wheat out, reduced her beef consumption, and cut sugars after reading this book and feels amazing!  She lost a little weight too although she really had no need to lose any!  My sister stopped eating wheat when her stomach was giving her trouble and my aunt (also a Hormone Diet devotee) suggested she try eliminating wheat and you know what, she feels better too.

I've always supported them and thought cutting out wheat sounded smart and even preached it to my husband for his stomach issues.  But honestly, I've never truly committed to taking wheat out of my life.  After reading Wheat Belly, and struggling with sugar and carb cravings despite a fairly healthy diet and having a hard time losing weight despite an active lifestyle, I thought maybe this is for me.  If I am struggling with weight loss and sugar cravings, is there a way to get rid of the cravings and boost the weight loss and could it really be as simple as cutting out wheat?

 I highly recommend reading through this book just to get an idea of how prevalent wheat is our diets (it's in EVERYTHING) and the effect it has on all aspects of our bodies (from your brain, to your blood sugar, to cravings, to hormones, to inflammation etc etc etc).  The wheat that we eat now is genetically modified - it is not the wheat our ancestors ate.  In fact it was in the last century that wheat was modified to grow faster and stronger, which resulted in the dwarf wheat we eat now.  The good side of this wheat is that it's hardy, grows fast and it makes for super soft bread!  The not so good side of this wheat is that before it was modified, nobody really tested how this new wheat would effect the human body, and so far it's not looking good.  And it's addictive as all get out!

So how is this going to go? I know it will be hard.  A lot of people suffer cravings and withdrawal symptoms and I am expecting to have those moments as I am a total carb junkie!  And wheat is in everything, in all kinds of things you wouldn't expect such as: soy sauce, salad dressings, ice creams, imitation crab meat, marinades, processed meats, even some prescription drugs and chewing gums.  I mean the list is literally endless and although I am cutting out wheat by choice, if you're celiac, this list can be really daunting and frustrating.  I am aware that I will probably have those trace levels of wheat in some condiments and such and I am not too worried about that, it's more the big picture stuff I am focusing on.  But it's good to know where it is and how it's effecting us since it truly has infiltrated almost all food in America.

I don't know how this is going to go! I admit I am bit scared! But I really want to know how I might feel without this overly processed grain in my diet.  Stay tuned for how this little experiment goes!

Wheat Belly Blog - wheatbellyblog.com 
And check out this article.


  1. The Mum here again! The Hormone Diet was of particular interest to me because of my age and my feeling, at the time, rather lethargic and grumpy. As a "mature" woman, I know hormones definitely play with my moods. The grumpiness was partly caused by inactivity at the time as I had had bunion surgery was off my foot (I used a scooter, kind of like the grade school ones, except you put your knee on it, to get around). I liked the idea of perhaps getting hormones under control, and also that this was not a restricted diet for life, but simply a way to find out if some of the foods I ate were contributing to hormonal imbalances etc.

    I did cut out all the stuff Julia mentioned (and coffee and wine too) for about six weeks. After that I slowly tried adding foods back in paying attention to how I felt after eating them. Turns out that if I eat a lot of beef (or any cow related product) my joints ache a more; if I eat wheat on a regular basis I get lethargic and grumpy again and if I eat very much sugar - let's just say you don't want to be around me. So, while I sometimes eat all of these things, I eat them way, way less and generally I feel much, much better. It's not easy and I am very grateful not to be someone who has to avoid any of these foods at all costs as not only is it hard, but it's expensive, very expensive. When I'm out, I don't worry about it too much and simply choose as best I can and when I'm at home I'm experimenting with new foods. My best discovery so far is all the wonderful goat and sheep's milk cheeses out there. There are new ones all the time.

    I'm about to get the other foot done, so we'll see if I can be little nicer to be around this time!!

  2. You know, I always thought that if I were ever to be diagnosed with something like celiac disease it would be just the most horrible thing. I have a terrible sweet tooth and really love cooking and baking and had no desire to eliminate wheat and/or gluten from my diet!! I still don't, but my new roommate eats gluten-free 95% of the time, and we try to cook together a lot, so I've been learning about gluten-free cooking. It CAN be really awful if you buy the wrong kinds of packaged substitute products (like some kinds of gluten-free pasta). But if you make most things from scratch, you don't even notice the missing wheat. There are some great ways to eat super well without wheat in your diet! Tamari soy sauce, for example... no wheat. Kate just made a banana pecan loaf this evening with quinoa flakes instead of flour. It's totally amazing. I think if I had to eat gluten-free all the time, I could totally do it now and I don't think it would bother me much.

  3. Laura- I always wondered how difficult it would be cause I have a total sweet tooth too and love to bake. But I have to say, it's been easier then I thought. I didn't eat much bread to begin with, and I'm not a big pasta fan so that was easy. I've been avoiding cookies etc while I trail for the tough Mudder so it didn't actually change my diet too much except no flour tortillas with my tacos! Now I'm looking at hidden wheat like in standard soy sauce, hoisin sauce, basically all sauce! Haha
    Has your room mate tried Cup 4 Cup? It's a gluten free alternative developed in the French Laundry kitchen so they must know their stuff! I haven't tried it yet but apparently its a great flour replacement!