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29
Dec

Get Rid of Wheat Belly and Bagel Butt – Go Grain Free

by Tiffany in Healthy Eating

I recently spent a few days at my parents’ house a couple counties away. I always bring a few books with me and enjoy the unplugged time and this particular visit was no exception. Almost as soon as I walked in the door I plopped down on a recliner and pulled out a book I was excited to read, Wheat Belly by William Davis, MD. It was the second book I read in a week that dealt with the issue of eschewing grains from the diet (more on the other book later).

For the new year I decided to make some diet changes. I would consider myself a pretty healthy person who eats a healthy, balanced diet. The nourishing vegetarian, high raw diet I have “mostly” followed since my cancer diagnosis in 2006 has brought me back to health and vitality and yet there are some nagging health issues that have not been cleared up. My thyroid issue, which I am certain was caused by the soy I didn’t even know I was eating, is not reversing itself. I have had trouble getting to sleep and staying asleep for several years now. I think I have a few too many aches and pains for a 34 year old woman to have. As healthy as I may think my diet is, something has to be missing, right? The answer seems to be lurking in the dietary realms in which I did not want to go. Time to man up, or woman up, and go there for 2012.

One major change is that I am going grain free this year. No more wheat for me. I am also adding to my “NO” list rice, legumes, lentils, potatoes, corn, and quinoa. All of these things have either gluten-like components that cause digestive issues and immunity issues or they cause blood sugar spikes which can lead to insulin resistance. After reading Wheat Belly I am more and more convinced that this is the right thing to do. Despite the fact that I already limit grains and/or soak and ferment them, I know that they actually have no place in my diet at all and there is no time like the present to bite the bullet.

The book is essentially about modern wheat’s assault on our health. It follows the evolution of wheat, starting with its much milder, ancestors einkorn and emmer to the drastically hybridized and genetically modified wheat we have today. The early versions of wheat would not be suitable for things like bread and doughnuts; it was more suitable for porridge. It was also not suitable to be grown on a very large scale. Hence human involvement to adapt and change wheat so that it was everything we wanted it to be. Everything except safe for consumption ironically. No studies or tests were done to determine if all these changes we have made to wheat were safe and many scientists, including the doctor who wrote this book, think it is one of the most devastating foods to human health there is. It is a major factor behind obesity, diabetes, intestinal issues, Celiac Disease, compromised bones, heart disease, skin conditions, hair loss, and inflammation like rheumatoid arthritis. The book also explains how wheat is an addictive substance. There are numerous stories about how his patients reversed some very serious health conditions simply by kicking wheat to the curb.

The reason the book is called Wheat Belly is pretty clear from the beginning chapters. Wheat actually causes your body to store fat. It elevates blood sugar almost more than any other carb, including candy bars. It triggers insulin and the growth of fat, especially in the abdominal area. Not only does it make us fatter, it also stresses out our endocrine system with all the glucose spikes. If we eat a lot of complex carbs it’s like a roller coaster ride that never ends. It is no wonder that so many are getting type 2 diabetes. They are wearing these bodily systems out!

Another big sticking point is that wheat and other grains make the body acidic. This, coupled with concerns about factory farming, was why I gave up meat. I did not realize that grains had the same, and even worse, effect. I would have been much better served giving those up instead but conventional wisdom trains us to believe that grains are so good for us. Just think about how many times you read a food package and it says “Heart Healthy Whole Grains”.

There is so much information in this book that I barely knew where to start in reviewing it. I think I have hit on several of the major points but I barely scratched the surface. It is a must read for anyone who is eating grains.

Here is to a great “grain free” year!

Thursday, December 29th, 2011

33 Comments

  • Karenburnett

    Hi Tiffany,

    Definitely going to check out this book.  I have been debating trying to reduce grains/carbs in general as well.  I have what might seem like an ignorant question.  I also am vegetarian and try to limit my dairy/egg intake as well.  What is your game plan for protein?  I realize most people in the US probably get way more protein than they actually need, but in the absence of meat, most dairy, and beans where will you turn for your major protein source?  Nuts and seeds?  Any thoughts would be much appreciated.  Sometimes I just get so overwhelmed by all the info out there!  Seems like no matter what diet plan you choose you can find ample research to support and/or dispute it!  Getting to the point where I’m not sure what to believe anymore.

    Karen

    • Msginabina

      I totally agree, Karen.  So hard to to figure out what to eat when so much is bad, even the things that seem “healthy.”

    • http://www.naturemoms.com/blog Tiffany

      Karen that’s the rub and the thing I did not come right out and say. Over the past month I moved from vegetarian to pescitarian and that may open up to other meat eating. I plan to write about that as well but want to experiment with how it feels and what results I get because it may not be permanent. At this time though, I think the wheat is the more pressing issue. Anything else would basically be eating raw, which I have done, and it did not solve these health issues.

  • Sandersorna

    Just out of curiosity, being a vegetarian, how do you plan on getting your much needed protein with no legumes or quinoa in your diet?

    • http://www.naturemoms.com/blog Tiffany

      See my comment to Karen above…

      • Ctownend

        I thought that quinoa was a seed not a grain? But it can also be very hard for some people to digest.

        • http://www.naturemoms.com/blog Tiffany

          It is a seed but its effect on blood sugar is the same as grains.

          • Ctownend

            What about Teff?

  • Texmex

    I though quinoa definitively had no gluten and was very easily digestible. I am reading the baby boomer’s diet of Donna Gates and she recommends quinoa and millet as easily digestible food.

    • Esperanza1182008

      Quinoa is very digestible. Not only is it a complete protein, but it is gluten free. In my opinion, looking to live the healthiest you can, and eating the best possible is always good, however there is too extreme and cutting out almost all variety  is leaning in that direction.

    • http://www.naturemoms.com/blog Tiffany

      Quinoa is digestable, though only after processing. If you ate it straight from the plant you would be very sick. My issue with Quinoa is that it causes a blood sugar spike, which is what causes visceral fat and insulin resistance.

  • Shawnarae Falconburg

    HI Tiffany:)  I love this post!  I would consider myself a healthy eater but need to exersise more..that is my mantra for 2012!  Interestingly enought though this post hits home!  I have belly fat that will not budge…no matter what I have tried in the past it will not get off of me! lol  Its from my second pregnancy in 2006!  I have tried 8 week long boot camps and other crazy things too…I think this may be the awnser I needed!  gonna check out the book…Thank you :)

  • Shawnarae Falconburg

    HI Tiffany:)  I love this post!  I would consider myself a healthy eater but need to exersise more..that is my mantra for 2012!  Interestingly enought though this post hits home!  I have belly fat that will not budge…no matter what I have tried in the past it will not get off of me! lol  Its from my second pregnancy in 2006!  I have tried 8 week long boot camps and other crazy things too…I think this may be the awnser I needed!  gonna check out the book…Thank you :)

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_YZABJTHKO7FBGAQCDV4CDAQPNQ RosemarieT

    is it ok to just eat fruits and veggies?

    • http://www.naturemoms.com/blog Tiffany

      Yes! From the books I have read lately they seem to be the only carbs recommended.

  • Gina

    Hi Tiffany,

    I am defnitely going to check this out. The reviews on Amazon are persuasive and the author has a blog too.  Wheat is a tough one for me.  Does he advocate elimination of all grains or are some ok? I don’t know if I can go cold turkey. I know spelt is related to wheat but maybe it’s ok because it’s an older version? 

    One thing that I noted in your review is your mention of  your thyroid issue.  I developed Hashimoto’s, which is an autoimmune disorder of the thyroid, after my pregnancy.  Recently started seeing a naturopath for treatment in addition to conventional endocrinologist but so far, no improvement.  Perhaps a wheat free diet will help.  Wish me luck!

    Gina

  • Michelle Valadez

    Thanks for sharing this info!  I’d like to read Wheat Belly.  I always try reducing grains and I fail miserably.  I need to find other good things to eat.

  • Sbaruch72

    I am also interested in what you are able to eat. I would love to read a blog post about this!! It makes life easier when you pave the way then share the info :)

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  • Kristin Friesen

    With all the research I have done on food over the past year or two, it has become so overwhelming learning about all the things I should NOT eat. It makes me feel like nothing is left, what SHOULD I eat??? NO meat, no dairy, no grains, no potatoes…. what’s left? Raw vegan? That would be a rough transition for me and my family. Like you and most other natural minded people out there, we are looking for the healthiest way of living, but there is so much information to sift through that it makes it really hard to make decisions on what is and is not healthy. So I’m sure others are wondering this too – what CAN you eat? Would you mind jotting down a small list of your main focus foods on the new diet?

  • Kristin Friesen

    With all the research I have done on food over the past year or two, it has become so overwhelming learning about all the things I should NOT eat. It makes me feel like nothing is left, what SHOULD I eat??? NO meat, no dairy, no grains, no potatoes…. what’s left? Raw vegan? That would be a rough transition for me and my family. Like you and most other natural minded people out there, we are looking for the healthiest way of living, but there is so much information to sift through that it makes it really hard to make decisions on what is and is not healthy. So I’m sure others are wondering this too – what CAN you eat? Would you mind jotting down a small list of your main focus foods on the new diet?

  • Kristina

    Do you mean oatmeal too? I’ve cut wheat out of my diet a long time ago because it makes me feel so bloated, but when I eat oats, that doesn’t happen. By the way, I make chickpea-crepes out of gram flour and water. And a hint of salt. Tastes better than the original wheat-egg thing :)

    • http://www.naturemoms.com/blog Tiffany

      No oats either. All grains are on the chopping block around here.

  • Michelle Y

    Hi Tiffany,

    I’ve been reading your blog for quite a while, and almost never comment, but this keeps niggling at me for some reason!

    I’m wondering, like a previous commenter, what WILL you and your family eat? At some point, I get so tired (also like the other commenter) of trying to stay on top of what’s ok and what should be prepared this certain way, and what I shouldn’t buy…it gets overwhelming. About a year ago, I let a lot of stuff drop because I felt like I was neglecting my kids and husband spending so much time in the kitchen, preparing foods the “right” way, making everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) from scratch. Something had to give!

    In essence, we’re doing all of this healthy eating and conscious living in order to live healthier, longer lives…but I was feeling like, what’s the point, if I’m not spending time enjoying my young kids and furthering my relationship with my husband?! They are the ones I want to be healthy for (and to keep them healthy, too), but if I’m spending every free minute in the kitchen….it just seems a bit silly sometimes.

    So I’m kind of curious how you find that balance, enjoying the life you’re working so hard to preserve.

    Btw, we follow a more WAP/Nourishing Traditions type of diet…

    • Karen

      Michelle,

      Thank you so much for this post!!  I have felt EXACTLY the same way lately — I think it got even worse with the holidays.  I felt like I was constantly saying “I don’t have time right now.” to my kids.  I have also eased up a little as of late.  I think you just have to find the balance that is right for you and your family.  Seems like you are doing a great job!

      Hang in there!

      Karen

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  • Lori Alper

    I am planning to read this book. I have cut out grains in the past too-but have been unsuccessful keeping them out. Right now I have cut out sugar, which is also very challenging for me but I feel incredible. Maybe it will jump start me to cut out grains again. Please keep us posted on your grain free journey.

  • Sue

    Very interesting! I’d like to read the book and try going grain free, myself.  I tried in the summer but after a month caved and started again. I think this is an area for me to revisit. Thank you for the information and book title!

  • Carrie

    Tiffany, have you ever considered eliminating dairy to see whether your thyroid resolves?  I am currently reading “Whitewash” by Joseph Keon and he talks about how many of the contaminants in milk and milk products have been shown to “wreak havoc on the economy of human thyroid production.”  I was not aware of this before.  Might be worth a try if you’re frustrated with the thyroid issue.

    Regarding the protein comments below, basically all whole foods have protein, so as long as you’re eating real food, there should be no protein issue.  Even the lowest protein whole foods, such as potatoes and bananas, contain about 5 to 10 percent of calories from protein, which is what the human body needs.  There are some great books that cover this topic better than I can, such as The China Study (T. Colin Campbell) and Eat to Live (Joel Fuhrman).  

    Happy new year!

  • http://kellycouch.wordpress.com Kelly

    YAY!  I have been reading your blog for some time now.  I am 15 weeks pregnant with my first child, at the age of 39 years old!!!  The ONE bit of wisdom I have not been able to gleam much has been on nutrition from you, I have eaten a Paleo type diet for years now.  In fact, I am finding my beliefs really challenged as I deal with food cravings and pregnancy.  I just WANT past for the first time in years.  So far I have held my ground.  There are some great Paleo Mom/Parent blogs our there, let me know if you want me to send them to ya!!!! Congrats on the journey, let us know how it is going!!! 
    Kelly

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