With the popularity of "gluten-free diets", I feel compelled to share my recent life change. For the past month and a half, I have been on a wheat-free diet. Inspired by the book "Wheat Belly" by Dr. William Davis, I made the tough decision to fore-go all wheat products (ie: anything containing flour, whole grains, oats, etc) in a major effort to improve my health, lose weight and get in shape. It is mentioned in his book, that many of his patients have lost 25 lbs in the first month of following a wheat free diet.
Why give up wheat? Well for starters, the wheat we eat today is not the same wheat of 50 or even 100 years ago. Since the demand for wheat is so high (second biggest crop in the U.S., second only to corn), scientists have been genetically modifying the plant to make it grow faster and produce higher yields. This means that wheat is not rich with nutrients and health benefits like it once was. Additionally, because of the gluten in wheat, when you eat foods containing wheat, even whole grains, it spikes your blood sugar levels. This makes you crave sugar, stimulates your appetite and can affect your mood. High blood sugar can also cause life threatening illnesses like diabetes and heart disease too.
RANDOM FACT: Did you know that two slices of whole grain bread have the same sugar content as two table spoons of cane sugar?
Also, many people have allergies to wheat, or suffer from Celiac Disease (myself included), which is both caused by wheat and triggered by wheat. Celiac disease is when your small intestine gets worn down to the point that it no longer can absorb the nutrients in from the foods you eat, leaving you malnourished. Symptoms of Celiac disease are: irritable bowels, excessive gas, stomach aches/cramps, diarrhea and much more.
Think about foods that use flour (ie: wheat): pizza dough, cookies, cake, french bread, waffles, pancakes, pasta, pie crust, crackers, sandwiches. It is such a huge part of our modern diet. I cannot think of one meal where wheat would be completely absent.
I wish I could say that going wheat-free is easy. I wish I could share that after a month you no longer crave hot pizza or Belgium waffles. What I can say though, is that without wheat in my diet, I have much more energy, I don't feel as bloated after eating, my digestive system is back on track, I have started to lose weight, and I feel much more alert and focused.
Stay tuned for more on my wheat-free journey, tips, recipes and the perils of going wheat-free.