Graham's Journey to Wheatlessness

The USDA and other “official” agencies all shake their fingers at us and say,” You’re overweight because you’re gluttonous and don’t exercise enough! You drink too many soft drinks, eat too many chips, play too much XBox, and watch too much TV.”

But my experience, even in young people, has been different. Sure, there are young people who drink Slushees, live on junk food, and lay on the couch most of their day. But there are plenty of people who are not this way, yet struggle with weight and health.

Graham is the story of a young man who, despite doing everything “right”–organic gardening, exercise, yoga, etc.–still couldn’t find perfect weight and healthy . . . until he rejected conventional advice to eat more “healthy whole grains.”

I had been a 26 year lacto-ovo vegetarian (since I was 11) who long suspected that replacing animal based food with massive amounts of carbohydrate-rich food wasn’t necessarily doing my system any favours (to be fully blunt, I had met a lot of fat vegetarians and vegans over the years- a disproportionately high number I thought, considering the apparently healthy choices we were making).

I have been somewhat active my whole life, and have always eaten as well as I knew how. But I had carried extra weight since I was a child – no matter how much I worked at it (at times very diligently, exercise- and diet- wise) I could never seem to shake the spare inner tube. And as the years advanced, I added a little weight. I was around 170-75 in December last year, up from around 140 at the end of high school (even then I still had my belly rolls). Fatigue had been a constant in my life – I never felt I had anywhere near the energy a young man in good health should have. And despite my apparently healthy eating habits, I have always been susceptible to illness, and worried about my immune system.

Earlier this summer I had finally read Michael Pollan’s latest book “In Defense of Food” – the one with the opening line, “Eat Food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” I had read his other books and consider him an excellent investigative jounalist, one who, like yourself, has nothing to sell me (incidentally his book pairs very well with yours – he voices suspicions about a seed based diet, and I would love to see a second edition that included your work). So by July I had all but eliminated the “white” foods – flour, sugar, rice. Very little processed food too, which has been the case for me for years. My wheat consumption was at a lifetime low, and I enjoyed modest health benefits. I should mention I had started incorporating small amounts of carefully sourced meat. Where I live I can buy 90% of my food directly from the farmers, and I only eat meat that has been traditionally farmed (grazed), and it is usually organic. I am also a diehard organic gardener, so lots of food from my backyard too. I have probably eaten meat once a week since July. I think my weight was down to 160 on September 15th when I read your article.

Yesterday morning I weighed 143, at the two week mark. The weight just kind of vanished, and I have eaten like crazy. I started by cutting out wheat, and after reading your book I have drastically reduced rice, oats, corn and starches as well. I have had a few tiny portions of brown rice on a couple of occasions, some airpopped organic popcorn (I have a healthy fear of GMO corn for so many reasons). But basically I have adhered quite strictly to your food recommendations.

I was so apprehensive to cut that wheat umbilicus! It was something that had been with me almost every day of my entire life. Wheat in all it’s forms is just so comforting to a vegetarian; it seems a staple of unquestionable virtue. Of all the analyses I did of my eating over the years ( I flirted at various times with the philosophies of veganism, raw food, Fit-for-Life, Body-for-life, Diet for a Small Planet, Diet For a New America, probably a few others I can’t remember) I could never find a way to nourish myself properly in order to feel well, stay lean and stay in good health. These eating regimens were so difficult to sustain in the long term.

In addition to my rapid weight loss, I have energy and focus like I have never felt before. I no longer have the endless cycle of energy surges and crashes I now recognize have always been with me. I still eat “Food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” But I have tempered that with your excellent caveats Dr. Davis, and it has truly changed my life. I had a moment or so five days into “wheatlessness” (probably not a real word but I like it) where I mourned a little for the foods I will probably never eat again. But now I look at foods with wheat, and all I can think are thought of being heavy and tired. I am a sporadic home yoga practicer (Baron Baptiste! fantastic stuff) and I hadn’t done any for a while until this week. It’s amazing how much easier “side plank” gets without the wheat belly! I’ve also been a lifelong insomniac, and I seem to be sleeping for several hours at a stretch almost every night, again a lifetime first.

Hunger is never an issue as well – I just eat when I want to, as much as I want to. At times in this two weeks I have absolutely feasted, even completely overeaten, while adhering to the instructions outlined in your book. Last Sunday I was visiting a few people in Toronto, and due to the social nature of the day I indulged richly throughout, tons of everything and even a few questionable things. I know full well that 4 deep fried spring rolls and plum sauce don’t do me any good at all….Woke up, did that morning thing, and I was lighter than the previous day.

Now I am always travelling with raw nuts (a staple for years for me), veggies, cheese, maybe a little fruit as well. I find I go long periods without thinking about food – once my body is receiving what it needs, it just stops bugging me!

It’s truly too early for me to be making global health claims, but in short I feel better than I have ever felt in my life. I used to imagine aging as a long slow decline in one direction, and it’s a pleasure to know it doesn’t have to be so! I’ll send along some photos. I didn’t take photos two weeks ago, but I have some shots from about 9 months (about 30lbs!) ago. So I’ll send some “before” and “during” shots along (there is no after).

Thank you Dr. Davis, I can’t tell you how grateful I am for being given this knowledge.

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25 Responses to Graham's Journey to Wheatlessness

  1. Anya says:

    This is such an inspiring story! I am becoming afraid that I will be the only one who won’t lose weight on this journey. This is only the beginning of my 4th day and I do feel better, but for some reason I have that apprehensive feeling that I will either be the exception and not lose and be disappointed again, or it just won’t work. I am doing the plan exactly and even bought a blood glucose monitor. Anyone who felt like I did but did lose weight? I would love to hear some reassurance and encouragement!

    • MaryBeth says:

      Anya,
      Just keep at it. I dont exactly have the weight falling off like some people do, but there is no denying the feeling better. I have lost about 11 1/2 lbs but it has taken just over a month. To be supportive, My husband is also starting this, and his wheat belly is disappearing at a faster rate (go figure)
      I’m the kind of person also who is often waiting for the other shoe to drop and Always the exception…Just keep at it Anya and be exceptional this time. If I can do it, and obviously so many others are, you can too. Good Luck and keep the faith!! ;)

      • Dr. Davis says:

        MaryBeth–

        11 1/2 pounds over a month is still an accomplishment!

        Guys typically lose weight faster than girls. Don’t let that discourage you.

    • Dr. Davis says:

      Hi, Anya–

      Should this continue, strongly consider a thyroid assessment, one that includes T3 evaluation. This is a common reason for stalled weight loss, even in the face of a diet that would ordinarily generate substantial weight loss.

      Beyond thyroid disruption, there are other causes, such as leptin resistance and cortisol disruptions. But thyroid is a great starting place.

  2. greensleeves says:

    “incidentally his [Pollan] book pairs very well with yours – he voices suspicions about a seed based diet,”

    Not so. Today in the NYT Magazine article, Pollan comes out strongly pro-wheat, saying “Gluten has become the bad nutrient of the moment, the evil twin of Omega 3 fatty acids. Could it really be that bread, a staple of Western civilization for 6,000 years, is suddenly making millions of us sick? I’m dubious.” http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/10/02/magazine/29mag-food-issue.html?ref=magazine&ref=magazine#/pollan

    This is an unexpected stand for him, who is otherwise suspicious of GMO foods. Apparently he isn’t aware the wheat has been modified.

    • lola says:

      @Greensleeves;
      I read that Pollan comment, too and it surprised me.

    • Dr. Davis says:

      If Michael Pollan is anything, he is openminded.

      He is, like nearly 300 million other Americans, simply unaware of the incredible changes introduced into wheat. His statement that wheat is a “staple of Western civilization for 6,000 years” alone exposes his lack of insight into this crucial issue.

      What you are being sold ain’t wheat; it’s not even close. It’s certainly not the einkorn or emmer wheat of 6000 years ago.

    • graham hargrove says:

      Hi greensleeves – I did know that comment he made about wheat, but elsewhere (I have lent the book so can’t quote right now) he does express concerns about a seed based diet, for humans and for livestock. I seem to remember in The Omnivore’s Dilemma he talks about the change last century from pasturing to grain- and corn- fed livestock, and all it’s incumbent problems.

      Dr. Davis’s information and research is new to me, and I have had my ear to the ground about nutrition for a lot of years. So I expect Mr. Pollan will examine the information once he has been made aware – I would love to see it included in a future edition of “In Defence…”

      Anyway, regardless about Mr. Pollan’s position on the subject (and so much of his book is so valuable, so I won’t throw the baby out with the bathwater, so to speak)- I think it is up to each one of us to be our own science experiment. I know it took mere days for me to know the magnitude of difference it was making to my everyday life. I suggest anybody interested to try it for, say, 2 weeks and draw their own conclusions – when I say try it I mean strictly follow Dr. Davis’s guidelines. They are not difficult, and involve no outrageous amount of willpower – you need never be hungry, as it seems to matter what you are eating as opposed to how much, contrary to the “logic” that industry has been telling us for a long time. And if I may impose my own advice, always leave the house with raw nuts, lots veggies, a chunk of cheese, and maybe a piece of fruit. Also a stainless steel water bottle. It takes me a couple of minutes in the morning to throw all of these things in a former yogurt tub. These are all things that one can eat to capacity without suffering any ill effects – to the contrary they seem to be quite wonderful foods. And buy them organic, and local when possible! Why not? I figure by spending a little extra on food (and believe me you will save so much by not eating out, as with these eating habits eating out becomes more of a hassle than it’s worth) you may save so much in the long run by maintaining good health. To me, that’s a worthwhile gamble.

      Thanks for your comment! This is a pretty exciting time for me and it’s nice to have dialogue on it.

      Cheers, Graham

  3. Frank Hagan says:

    RE: weight loss, I have read elsewhere that 1 to 2 pounds per week is the average weight loss. Men seem to lose weight faster, and young men even faster than older men, probably due to hormonal differences. Women have a harder time losing weight, and I’ve read where post-menopausal women have the hardest time of any one. In my own experience, weight loss has not been linear; I seem to lose a few pounds overnight, and then “plateau” for several days or weeks.

    We think of weight loss as a simple linear progression. The “calories in / calories out” people tell us that each pound of fat is lost with a simple deficit of 3,500 calories. But I wonder if the body, that amazingly complex and confounding thing we inhabit, doesn’t react to losing weight on a percentage basis. The first ten pounds I lost were 4% of my 250 pound body mass. The last ten pounds is proving stubborn, but I am trying to lose a higher percentage of my body mass. I now weigh 200 pounds, and that last ten pounds represents 5% of my body mass, a 25% greater loss that I am trying to achieve.

  4. To Pollen’s open mindedness: how can ANYONE deny the weight that one looses so effortlessly and NOT all agree it’s the devil wheat (bread, pasta, even the “good whole grains”)? I’ve been a VERY active soccer player, runner, a bit of a gym rat at times for over 30 years (I’m 43 now). I pretty much worked out to maintain what I felt was going bye bye as the years wore on. I can now say, this no wheat/grain journey (I’m of the Paleo camp), has been the easiest thing I’ve ever done (once I got over the ADDICTION). I’m 5 months into it, lost 25 lbs, gained 4-5 of muscle and look better than I did when we got married 12 years ago. Oh, and I’m working out 50% less – less often and NOT as long. There is just too many testimonial stories that ALL point to wheat as the bad guy. But, rest assured, General Mills, Quaker, Kelloggs, and ALL the agribusinesses that have a finger in the pie aren’t going down without a fight. Be prepared and armed against their courting.

  5. In losing weight, we don’t just lose fat but we also lose a combination of body fat and muscle tissue in our body. Studies have proven that when we diet, the weight we lose is on average 75 percent fat and 25 percent muscle. This is the reason why we just don’t lose up fat but also muscle tissue.

  6. Graham Hargrove says:

    Just an update at close to the two month mark after first reading the Macleans article and giving up wheat. I have continued to follow Dr. Davis’s recommendations very closely, and my weight has more or less leveled off at a 138-140 morning weight (I had to buy new clothes! 30/30 pants, same as in high school) – at 5’10″, I am quite lean now and have terrific energy, focus and mental clarity. I play music for a living, and I find that I now feel razor sharp throughout long rehearsals and while practicing. I realize now that I have been in a fog for most of my life, and nowadays I am in danger of becoming a morning person. I still enjoy my morning coffee, but don’t feel I need it like I used to. I find throughout the day my energy is even, my mind clear and after a lifetime of insomnia my sleep is quite restful. To be honest, beyond long dog walks and sporadic yoga I am not exercising much at the moment but I have found myself running a few times (running late or up stairs 2 at a time) and when I stop I am barely breathing hard. I suppose that’s due to being down about 35 pounds from my heaviest, but it sure feels great. My resting heart has dropped as well (it has always been 90-100, high normal range, now more like 72) and I am down to 2-3 skipped beats a minute, from 4-5. After 12 years of a vulnerable low back (SI joint), that too seems to be a thing of my past. I wish I had done my blood work before all of this, but I am interested to see where I am at after these profound changes.

    I have passed on 4 copies of a Wheat Belly to friends and family, and at least one has started the journey and had similarly great results. Over Christmas my wife and parents have agreed to join me for a couple of week trial where I will do the food prep – they are very healthy and open minded medical profession people, but my father has had chronic low back problems for 35 years and some irritable bowel syndrome as well. I will be very interested to see how they all feel during this experiment.

    Incidentally, eating is a great pleasure despite losing a few comfort foods along the way. I just eat whenever I am hungry, and however much I want. I know when I follow the food outline in Wheat Belly that I will be satiated for hours following, energized and of clear mind. The odd time I have gone outside the guidelines (2 pints of beer the other night, two nights of eating candy around Halloween) the results are predictable. I don’t feel terrible, just foggy and tired and starving the next morning. After Halloween I stepped on the scale the next morning and laughed – I was 5 pounds up! Two well behaved food days later, all back to normal and felt fine.

    Thank you again Dr. Davis, I am going to be grateful to you for the rest of my life.

    • Dr. Davis says:

      Thank you, Graham, for sharing your wonderful story.

      Your story reminds me of what I experienced: Getting rid of a mind-numbing fog, difficulty concentrating, always trying to shake off this cloud. That’s all gone.

      While not all of the people around us will listen, even if 1 in 10 takes an important lesson from it, we will have made a difference.

  7. Graham hargrove says:

    Hi Dr. Davis, here”s my follow-up at just past the 5 month mark of wheatlessness. After shedding the extra weight, I have more or less levelled off at around 140 in the morning (at 37 and 5”10″, a lean healthy I think). I eat better than ever, NO wheat,  no oats, corn and soy rarely and only if organic (scared of GMOs!) and limited amounts of rice, and not often. Other starches make up a small part of my diet; I am now aware that, while the effects on my system feel minor, I have more energy when I consume less starch. A little organic unsweetened yogurt, but that”s pretty much my total dairy intake. Tons of greens and veggies, grass fed local meat and pastured chicken/eggs from people I know, tons of organic raw nuts. Lots of good oils (I just discovered coconut! Fantastic in my morning espresso), local sheep, goat and cow cheese and a little fruit. Being in southern Canada, local fruit is seasonal so limiting it is easy. I do deviate a little from your suggestions – when I want a little sweetness I resort to organic dried fruit (usually with the raw nuts) and tiny amounts of local maple syrup and honey, probably less than a tablespoon a day if at all. While I am wary of the fructose, I feel there are qualities in these foods that I am happy to incorporate in my diet. The caveat being, in very small amounts. I prefer this option to more processed sweeteners of any kind – as inert as stevia extracts etc. appear to be in relation to glycemic index, I am still wary of anything that undergoes more processing than I can personally monitor. I would guess I have had a dozen or so beers during my wheatlessness – when I have one, the effects tend to be minor but admittedly negative. I am increasingly alchohol sensitive, and I tend to feel tired and sluggish and slightly unwell when I consume it. It is good to have heightened sensitivity to the effects of food – I aware any time I consume a food that is less than beneficial for me now. Once in a blue moon I will have a bag of candy and regret it.

    So in conclusion, at five months in I feel at my best physical health I have ever known. I do a little regular Yoga (Baron Baptiste video in the comfort of home – highly recommended) and hike several times a week with the dog, aside from that nothing too outrageous fitness-wise. After a lifetime of insomnia I sleep more soundly than I ever have.

    I have given away a few copies of your book, and referred those with questions to your website. At least a handful of my friends have cut wheat out and have had very positive results. I will continue to be a happy endorser of your excellent research. It is a little depressing to look around and see the widespread effects and dire consequences of a grain based diet on my community in general. I tell anybody who will listen that no matter how far fetched the idea of giving up grains seems, it is well worth anybody”s effort to do a personal dietary science experiment for a month. I try and sell it on the “you can eat as much fantastic rich food as you want” angle. But I am sure you have witnessed a thousand times that look of panic at the suggestion of wheatlessness, followed quickly by that confession booth moment of, “But I just love my bread/pasta/etc.” As if they were the only one…

    All I can say is thanks again, and perhaps offer the gesture that I will do my best to point people in the direction of SOUND education. It bring a whole new meaning to the cliche, “going against the grain…”

    Cheers, Graham Hargrove 

    • Dr. Davis says:

      Thank you, Graham. It sounds like you are doing a great job on diet.

      Yes, if everyone sets the example and provides information to others, word will spread . . . and it is!

  8. Graham hargrove says:

    Hi again Dr. Davis – just a quick update at around 10 months post- wheat. All well here, NO intententional wheat since September 15 (the odd beer or accidental wheat ingestion passes with a little sleepiness, no major adverse effects), very little corn or soy (occasional air popped organic corn, leaves me feeling admittedly a little bloated), very occasional rice but for the most part grain free. Just turned 38, 5’10″, a lean 140ish is maintained (29-30″ waist) without effort. I eat as much as I want whenever I want, walk a lot, do a little yoga. My career is fairly physical as well, but not excessively so. Skin is clear for perhaps the first time since adolescence, energy is good and insomnia is for the most part absent, for the first time in my life. As a 25+ year former vegetarian, I learned a long time ago to step off the soap box. However I do urge everybody who will listen that maybe taking a month or so off a food group that has been with them every day of their conscious life would perhaps be a worthwhile experiment. As in, drop the wheat (and grains), and observe how you feel.

    In short, I feel like I reversed the aging process, something I formerly felt only moved in one direction. After craving meat for most of my vegetarian life, I found I craved wheat for only a few days last September, which passed quietly without drama. I now look at the perfect croissants in my favourite cafe and only associate them with feeling fat and tired. My wife isn’t completely off grains yet but has cut way back, and she feels and looks healthier than ever. I have been close to the health professions my whole life, and now see most of the symptoms that plague people on a Western diet as completely reversible. To use a simple metaphor, it seems everybody would rather take their car to the mechanic over and over again to address the same problem rather than just do regular oil changes. Sad, but slowly knowledge is leaking out to the general public so perhaps in some years there will be a paradigm shift. Already there are signs…

    If you would like one more set of before and after photos for your website I would be happy to send mine along. Not quite as dramatic as some, but post- wheat my body has returned to the lean efficient state it always wanted to be in. Thanks again Dr. Davis, I’ll always be grateful.

    • Dr. Davis says:

      Wonderful, Graham! And thank you for the update.

      I agree that this approach generates a youth-preserving, anti-aging effect. Without wheat, 50 is indeed the new 30, 40 the new 20!

      I would indeed love to have your before and after photos. You can link them here.

  9. Mark says:

    I just started reading Wheat Belly after hearing Neal Boortz talk about it on the radio for months. In just 3 days I lost at least 5 pounds. If I understand correctly, you are OK with whole corn, and not a fan of processed corn, but I couldn’t find anything on popcorn (which I would love to be able to eat). So, is popcorn OK, or no, and why?

    • Dr. Davis says:

      I believe I addressed this on the Facebook page with you.

      Anyway, just be careful of carbohydrate content of popcorn. If you keep it to no more than 3 cups per sitting, you are unlikely to trigger any adverse metabolic consequences.

  10. Connie says:

    My husband was referred to the book Wheat Belly by his doctor at his last visit a little over a week ago. He is in his 50′s, and even though he eats good whole foods and exercises regularly, he still can’t lose weight, and just found out he has “low T”. He read reviews about the book on line, was intrigued, and purchased it for the both of us to read on our kindles. We know the main force of the diet is getting rid of the wheat. I cleaned out our pantry of anything with wheat in it, and purchased some wheat free foods from the local whole foods stores. One problem we just encountered last night is that we realized that there is wheat in our vegetarian meat substitutes, such as our soy crumbles, hot dogs, riblets, burgers, etc. We are absolutely CRUSHED! We don’t know what to do now. We talked briefly about adding at least chicken and turkey back into our diets (we eat fish, but only once, sometimes 2 x a week), but we railed against even that. We would definitely never eat a cow or a pig ever again, that to us seems so barbaric and disgusting (I ate beef and pork until my mid-50′s, I’m now almost 59, so eating animals was a late-in-life realization that there is something morally wrong with this). Is there anything we can add to our diets for variety and protein without resorting to eating animals again? I’d rather eat wheat and be fat. I don’t want the main part of my diet to be just beans, even though I love them, and don’t want to eat them 3 x a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year, etc. etc. Does anyone have any help/suggestions/ideas??

    • Dr. Davis says:

      As a former vegetarian, I know the struggles.

      By necessity, there are compromises to make to follow a program that meets your ethical demands. It means, as you point out, more legumes, seeds (sunflower, chia, flax, pumpkin), lots of nuts and nut flours, some non-wheat grains like buckwheat and millet. If eggs are allowed, eat a ton!

      It is not perfect because, sad to say, humans were not meant to be vegetarian. You should be vigilant for deficiencies of vitamin B12, iron, omega-3 fatty acids, taurine, and vitamin K2.

  11. Connie says:

    Thanks for your quick reply. Yes, we eat eggs, and have them several times a week. We made your frittata recipe earlier this week, very tasty! We eat fish usually only once a week, because of the mercury and other issues surrounding the fish thing, and for other reasons. I guess we could do one more fish meal a week as well. I found a couple of good sites about vegetarians who also have to eat wheat free. My husband feels we can do this. If he’s willing, then that is half the battle! We are only up to Chapter 6 in your book, and we’re trying to read it as quickly as possible, but work and other time constraints hold us back a little. Its still a work in progress, but we already feel much better, and both of us are sleeping better at night. I have sleep apnea, but that hasn’t bothered me this week. Thank you!

  12. Cory says:

    I was lacto/ovo vegetarian for nearly 20 years before going vegan 15 years ago. The transition to becoming vegan was actually harder for me than when I became vegetarian. I did it, tho, with support from good vegan friends, reading lots of cookbooks as well as labels, and becoming familiar with ingredients that had been unknown to me. Oh, and reliance on meat-substitues. Wow, THAT sure made being vegan pretty easy! I relied on wheat products, too, following the “healthy whole grain” mantra that is so prevalent within the deitary experts of our time.

    Earlier this year I’d been having stomach pains for several months, pains which I attributed to being “mid-life” acid indigestion – doesn’t everyone over a certain age have it?? (Looking back, however, I would not describe the pain as acid indigestion – more like my stomach was literally twisting itself around the wheat, trying to figure out what to do with it and get it outta there as quickly as possible!) I tried eating “dry” foods like pretzels and crackers to absorb the extra “acid,” but it didn’t work. I would often come home from work and not eat dinner because my stomach was in pain. Only later in the evening would I sometimes feel like eating.

    In late Feb or early Mar, my husband (who is omnivore) and I were on an outing and I had made fresh, delicious hoagies to take along for lunch (I used to work in a deli and can make awesome hoagies!!!) As I was chomping into my veggie hoagie, made from a big, thick Italian roll, it suddenly dawned on me that it might be the BREAD that was making my stomach hurt! THE BREAD!!! Then it hit me – maybe I am allergic to wheat? I pulled the veggies off the roll and finished my lunch breadless. And the next week I avoided (the obvious) sources of wheat – pasta, bread and cereal. No more stomach pain! It was gone!

    OK, so now what? A good friend of mine had gone back to college and graduated as a Registered Dietician last December, so I called her. She did a little research and sent me a bunch of gluten-free websites to check out, which I did. I also perused every aisle of both regular grocery stores where I shop, as well as Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s. Wow, this wasn’t gonna be so hard after all – GF bread, GF pretzels, GF pancake mix, GF pasta, GF almost-anything-you-could-want! I stocked up, even creating my own GF shelf in our pantry. Cooking one pot of GF pasta for me and a pot of wheat pasta for my family wasn’t really such a big deal. Even my fav local non-chain pizzeria has GF pizza now!!!! I went along with my life thinking everything was wonderful – problem solved!

    But it wasn’t. I felt crappy, even tho I swim one mile three times a week and walk several times. Three weeks ago, I noticed my friend had “liked” the WB facebook page, and I remember she had mentioned the book to me last spring. I went to the page and started reading. And realized that I was on the wrong track. The wheat was gone, but the replacements were just as bad – maybe worse! Eeek! Tapioca starch, potato starch – even my meat-substitutes had wheat as their second or third ingredient!!! (I had read those labels when I became vegan checking for eggs, but it didn’t dawn on me that there was wheat in my LightLife bologna!!!

    Well, thank goodness for the internet, becasue I googled “gluten-free vegan recipes” and found a TON! I happily copied and pasted about 25 that sounded really good, made my shopping list for the next day, and went to the supermarket with a renewed vigor I hadn’t felt in quite some time! Came home and cooked and froze several recipes that afternoon, and repeated the process the following weekend. Even got a new food processor to help me along. Made things with lentils and Lundberg’s rice blends and chick peas and white beans and pinto beans, oh, and quinoa. Protein-rich quinoa was going to be my savior! Everything was oh-so-tasty and I was happy.

    This past week I bought the book and started reading it. And my world came crashing down again. Lentils, chick peas, beans, rice, quinoa – can’t rely on them as much as I would like. Dr Davis wants me to eat meat!?!?

    I am writing all of this because I am struggling with sticking to the WB diet, not as a vegan, but now as a vegetarian. Eggs I get for my family from a neighbor who has true free-range chickens, and that I can live with. I can live with eating cheese and non-soy yogurt, etc. But for ethical reasons, I just cannot bring myself to even consider eating meat. Not even fish.

    I’ve heard all the arguments pro and con for being veg vs omni and vice versa, so please don’t post thinking you are going to convince me to change my mind. I totally respect Graham’s decision and am truly happy that he is having such great succes with it. I was hoping to find an answer about remaining veg in this post. I’ve lived over 2/3 of my life with my beliefs and they aren’t going to change overnight. (Giving up wheat was different – it doesn”t have a face).

    So for now I am going to enjoy the legume/rice/quinoa dishes I have prepared – a little less liberally, perhaps -adding eggs and cheese into my diet. I really and truly do feel much better now being wheat-free – no more food cravings, no wild blood sugar mood swings, more energy, no bloating. It’s frustrating at times when I am used to reaching for the meat substitues. But I’ve gone thru two major dietary changes before – I can do this again.

    If you’ve read this far, well thanks for your interest! If you have any suggestions at all, please, I would love to know them. I feel good about the path I am now on. Just gonna take a little adjustment, trial-and-error, and fine-tuning to get it right. Thanks, Dr Davis, for opening the door and pointing the way. From all of the posts here and on your FB page, you are making a huge positive difference in so many lives!

  13. Joann says:

    I am vegan too, and am having a hard time with this diet. There are things I can eat, of course, but it just seems so limited without wheat. I will never go back to eating animal products, no matter what. I really don’t believe you need them. But I would like to hear Dr. Davis’ take on being vegan and adhering to the Wheat Belly Diet. I know that he is not a vegetarian, but very close to it….he said he doesn’t care for the taste of meat, although he does eat a little. But cheese seems to be an important part of his diet. I am currently checking out all the websites containing gluten-free vegan recipes, but would really just like to keep things simple and healthy.

  14. Graham says:

    Hello Dr. Davis, so good to finally meet you last night at the Sanderson Centre in Brantford Ontario. My wife and I made the drive from Stratford, and a little more than two years after my first post to you I was grateful to be able to say thanks to you in person. Wonderful presentation.

    I passed the two year mark after reading Wheat Belly (Sept. 15, 2011 is my wheatless date, the day i read your Macleans article). My weight has crept up to around 150 since I first wrote you in 2011 after a low of 137- no extra body fat, it’s just that my body maintains muscle more easily now. My waist is 29″ (5’10″), same size as it was at my skinniest in high school. I am turning 40 next year and I am in the best health of my life. I eat mostly local, pastured and grass fed animal products (i know my farmers!) and produce, raw nuts, low starch and sugar, some fruit, a little canned herring or wild salmon. As in, more or less the diet Wheat Belly suggests. No grain, save occasional rice in tiny amounts or occasional organic popcorn.

    You asked me what my experiences were
    last night, and I can’t remember what my reply was but here’s a short list:

    30ish lbs fat gone
    Adult acne (age 13-37!) gone
    Chronic fatigue gone
    Insomnia reduced greatly
    Mental clarity vastly improved
    GI tract working great!

    I owe so much of my present and future good health to you Dr. Davis – thank you so much for bringing your incredible research to us. We are the thin edge of the wedge I feel – in a generation or so, perhaps wheat will have the same reputation as tobacco. See you again I am sure!

    Cheers, Graham Hargrove