P.S.: Don’t eat the fruitcake

Wheat Belly Blog reader, PJ, left this wonderful letter in the comments to the last post, Wheatlessness and the New “Normal.

I can scream, yell, and write nasty things about this thing called “wheat” until I’m blue, but the message is best heard from people close to us. This is PJ’s call to friends and family to open their eyes: Health is just a breadcrumb away.

Nothing beats showing up at a holiday party of friends or family 40 pounds lighter, glowing with newly rediscovered health, full of energy and optimism, while everyone else is wondering how much longer they can hold their bowel urgency, how much leg edema will result from standing on their feet for more than an hour, and why that plate of cookies shrinks faster than all others. Let this be your holiday season of wheatless health for you and your family!

 

Dear Friends, Family and Co-Workers:

You’ve been complaining that you just can’t lose those extra pounds and you feel like crap. You’re concerned about your blood sugar and don’t know why you get those stomach aches after you eat and the bathroom has become your personal chamber of horrors. Heartburn, joint pain, and acne are daily battles. Your doctor says you should be on statins and blood pressure meds because he has your best interests at heart. He’s the one that knows what’s good for you. Besides, wouldn’t it just be easier to do as you’re told?

I can feel your frustration and helplessness when you talk about how you feel and your fears for the future. I tell you over and over and over again to eliminate the grains and sugar from your diet but you tell me that you just CAN’T give up your breads and desserts. It’s too HARD! You say you would do ANYTHING to lose the weight and feel better but it doesn’t make sense that “they” would tell us to eat at least six servings a day if it wasn’t good for you! And fat makes you fat! And it clogs your arteries! Right?

You think I’m a wacko and roll your eyes when I talk about dietary lifestyle. God forbid you read a book or do a little internet research. You’ve decided to do as you were told (because it’s easier and you don’t have to think for yourself) and all the experts agree that you need to cut back on red meat and all fats, eat lots of fruits and veggies and more whole healthy grains. And this time, for sure, you’re going to exercise like a fiend. After all, it’s calories in, calories out, right? After all, it worked one time, long ago when you needed to lose 10 pounds to look awesome in your new dress . . . in HIGH SCHOOL.

Well, when those pounds come back and you feel worse than ever, you’re going to see your doctor to get his/her expert advice and he/she will probably tell you it’s all in your head or you’re not trying hard enough. So you’re going to reduce your calories even more and add a couple extra miles a week to your jogging program. It’s not going to work, tho, because, let’s face it . . . you’re weak and lack motivation. When you fail, it’ll be your fault because the advice you’ve been given is the gold standard for health, after all.

Eventually your doctor will intimidate you into taking his magic pills. And you’ll take them, because it’s easier. Don’t worry about the side effects of these drugs because there’s another pill for that, too. This will go on until you’re held together with pharmaceutical band aids, living a longer, albeit miserable, unproductive life.

But look on the bright side. If the label that’s slapped on what’s ailing you is serious enough there are so many benefits to becoming disabled! Disability gets you a handicapped sticker for convenient parking, discounts on public transportation, priority seating on an airplane (if you fit in their seats by that time), and you don’t have to work at a job for your income. Yea! Those electric scooters at your favorite stores are so much fun! Hey, maybe disability/Medicare will make sure you get one of your very own, at no cost to you! (All my grain eating friends that live alone, don’t forget that you can get a discount on Life Alert through AARP!) Don’t even concern yourself about the price of all your prescriptions because there is always a benevolent drug company willing to help with the cost. You’ll get all of this without ever having to think for yourself or take responsibility for your health. After all, isn’t it just . . . EASIER?

Your healthy friends may drift away, but you’ll never have to worry about being lonely because you’ll be making tons of new friends with the people you meet in the doctors’ waiting rooms! Imagine all the beautiful Christmas cards you’ll get every year from all those doctors and their caring staff!

Remember, it’s never too late to change your attitude toward your health. I’m here if you’re serious about making a change for the better. I have a ton of websites you can visit, a bunch of books you can read and lots of people you can talk to. It’s your choice.

However, if you choose to stay the path you’re on . . . I’ll miss you.

Wishing you all a happy and healthy New Year!

 

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Comments & Feedback...

  1. “let this be your holiday season of health” ~ I like that!!

    I have a few questions in that regard. You said to be careful w/ xyitol (I know – again with the xylitol…) and I think I am being – but wanted to make sure ~ I typically make a ‘breakfast cake’ (a 9×13 is easier to clean than muffin tins ;-) ) that has 2 TBS of xylitol, along w 2 bananas, as sweetener (it also has almond flour, eggs, coconut oil, chia seeds, flax, hemp seeds) this is divided among 8 people. I may also make ‘power balls’ using the same amount of xylitol later in the day. so, we’re talking a daily max of 1/4 c xylitol divided among 8 ~ is that too much, or am I doing ok? I’ve tried using only stevia & so far, we aren’t fans. I haven’t yet purchased erythitol (sp?) but can make that a priority if I must….

    Is there a danger of too many almonds? we are eating a TON of almonds!!

    And another thing ~ I’m not losing weight! My husband dropped a few pounds the first couple of days of being wheat free, but none since about day 3 (which incidentally is when I discovered almond flour) We aren’t doing this for weight loss; we are doing it so we can enjoy a long healthy life, but – since there IS weight to lose, I sort of expected it would be falling off….. any thoughts? thank-you!!!

    • I am the living and breathing version of your book. I stopped consuming wheat about 4 years ago and I have lowered my blood sugar from 6.7 to 5.0, lost 20 pounds and never ate more, most importantly, eliminated my acid-reflux due to my hiatal hernia. Dr. Davis you are the first person i know of to put the connection of gluten to acid-reflux on paper and i was thrilled when i read it. I tried to tell my family doctor and my specialist but, they really don’t care. I have tried to convince everyone I know that gluten is poison and they just say, “I’ll never give up bread”. My two adult son’s are now getting on board with me as they both like to cook and i believe that to be half the battle. I am giving your book to many people for christmas including my family doctor. I am 53 years old and have more energy than the average 25 year old. I implore people to try it for a month. My immune system has never been stronger, I told get colds or the flu and my skin is glowing. All i can say, is thank you for validating what i have believed for a long time.

      • That’s wonderful, Bernadette!

        You are a living example of how this movement will begin with people like you and me, but not Big Food, the USDA, or most people in healthcare. Only when an “official” agency embraces the total elimination of wheat can we expect John Q. Primary Care doctor to follow suit.

        When will that happen? Probably in 50 years. I’m not going to wait for it.

        • Roma

          Not sure where to post this comment, however, be aware… Kelly The Kitchen Kop has some really horrible suggestions for kid’s lunches! I was hoping for some wheat/sugar-free ideas…her ideas were loaded!

    • Linda Harris

      Husband and I have been wheat and grain free since hearing about the Let’s Do Lunch Plan 2 years ago. Roger Wilson (author of Let’s Do Lunch) lost over 200lbs eliminating all grains. I can tell you from the experience from many others doing this plan, that any processed substiitute for flour will stall weight loss or cause gain. Additionally nuts are very calorie dense and may need to be avoided until you are at goal weight. Husband is off his BP meds and meds for GERD since stopping all grains. We both have learned to eat foods we have never heard of. For example, chick peas in soups can substitute for oyster crackers (we had never heard of them until getting on the Let’s Do Lunch Message Boards). Corn thins (original only) can substitute for bread or crackers. They are merely pressed popcorn with minimal oil and sea salt. We are in our 60’s and have never looked or felt better. In spite of everyone noticing my 50lb and hubby’s 85 lb weight loss, they still trudge on believing they can exercise and count points and go low fat and get results without giving up wheat. I just hand out articles about Wheat Belly and let them read for themselves.

    • You might consider purchasing an inexpensive glucose meter, Tracy, and checking a 1-hour after-eating blood sugar. I aim for either no change from the pre-meal value or no higher than 100 mg/dl, levels that ensure you are not triggering undesirable consequences.

      There may indeed be an occasional person who, for unclear reasons, remains sensitive to total calorie intake. Make your calories come in the form of oils/fats and proteins, less carbohydrates. Of course, I am unaware of your individual carbohydrate sensitivity, but most people do best maintaining no more than 15 grams “net” carbs per meal.

  2. This is so true. Friends and relatives see that you’ve lost weight and that you’re feeling better, and they’re happy for you and they even like the Pumpkin Spice Muffins (thanks for the recipe, Doc) you brought for Thanksgiving dinner. But they still think you are a little crazy when you talk about giving up wheat and watching your carbs and eating more fats and cooking with almond flour and coconut oil. They think it’s just a phase you’re going through. You’ll get over it and come back to your senses. It may take years before they realize that this is not a phase. It’s a permanent lifestyle change.

    I’m 61 years old and 6’4″. Seven years ago I weighed 238 and my triglyceride count was 300. I started to cut back a little bit on the eating out and the snacking, and began to take fish oil capsules. After a couple of years I was down to 215 and my triglycerides were 155. Then I doubled my fish oil intake and improved my eating habits a bit more. Two years later my triglycerides were down to 99 and my weight was 210. That’s where I plateaued.

    The following year I experienced atrial fibrillation, followed by an angiogram and two stents. This was about the time I found you, Dr. Davis, online and began following your blog. So I started taking Vitamin D and Magnesium. I couldn’t bring myself to give up wheat, even after trying it for a week and losing five pounds.

    Then came “Wheat Belly,” and I finally determined to go wheat-free in August of this year. Since then my weight has gone from 210 to 194–my lowest weight in 25 years, and probably very close to my ideal weight (remember I am 6’4″). I recently had a yearly exam and my triglycerides were down to 69! Wow!

    My HDL is still low at 39, but considering the fact that my HDL has been low for many years and that last time it was 26, that’s pretty amazing. My LDL was 44! Yes, I know that LDL is a calculated value–but still–44! I will continue to improve my eating habits. I still eat too many carbs. But I know I’m headed in the right direction.

    When I see people who are overweight, have heart problems, diabetes, and all the other problems that could easily be addressed by going wheat-free and taking a few supplements, I feel so bad for them. But perhaps as they see more and more of us having long-term success they will finally believe.

    I cannot thank you enough, Dr. Davis, for what you have done for me.

    • Wow, very nice, Robert!

      You make an excellent point: The solutions are really not that difficult. They just run counter to conventional advice.

      By the way, I’ll bet that, given another 6-12 months, your HDL will reach the 50-60 mg/dl range, then climb even higher over a longer time period. HDL is molasses.

  3. Yvon

    Great post!!
    I’ve got a story of my own on a little experiment I did on Friday night. I’ve been wheat free for just under a month an a half or so. Read Dr. Davis’ book and Mark Sisson’s book The Primal Blueprint which is pretty much in line with what you can read in the Wheat Belly.

    Anyway, Friday I was doing some reading on a Body Building site, just out of curiosity. Body builders are often seen as people eating well, lots of protein etc. etc. Lo and behold, a search on Paleo/Primal diet turned up a page full of threads filled with about 90% hatred towards Paleo/Primal/Wheat free diets. Why deprive yourselves of nutrient dense foods like whole wheat pasta and whole grain bread most of them said. Now it got me somewhat intrigued and confused at the same time and started wondering if my laying off wheat for the past 6 weeks was really worth it and if Dr. Davis and Mark Sisson may have been missing the boat. I did not doubt both as much as I was doubting my own self. I said to myself, screw it, tonight is treat night and I’m gonna try something silly and find out once and for all if I need wheat back in my life or not. Called my wife and asked her if she was sitting down. She got scared a bit, thought I might have lost my job or something. I told her: Tonight we are ordering pizza! So I got home and ordered a medium veggie pizza with thick dough and crust. Just the way I like it. A medium pizza is 6 slices, so I had three for good measure. This way I know I’d not sooner or later if I have any gluten/wheat intolerance.

    So I ate my three slices and a few minutes after I was done I told my wife. You know what, the pizza was good but the crust has left a weird after taste in my mouth. She went back at getting read as she had plans with her friends that night. Then all of a sudden I started feeling somewhat weird. I did not need to rush to the bathroom, did not experience cramps or anything like that. No, I felt like I was stoned. There was something going on in my brain and I told my wife: I feel like I just smoked or ingested some type of drug. She dismissed it as a sugar rush which is a possibility although I had never felt that type of a feeling before and I used to eat 5 servings of wheat a day for the longest time, drank Gatorade, ate candies etc. Mind you, I’ve been eating under 100 grams of carbs a day for the past 3 weeks or so, so perhaps this is what was happening. But to me it really felt like I had taken some type of drug and then it clicked. If I’m feeling like I just smoked a joint or something similar ( I have smoked some pot in my teens so know the feeling), then this means that wheat and probably carbs in general do have that addicting effect on people. It can’t be any other way.

    Last night, we went over to my friends’ place for dinner. We had chicken, veggies and some Uncle Ben’s Homestyle Chicken Flavour and Wild rice. I had half a cup for good measure. Again, a few minutes later, the same feeling of being stoned. So I figured it was probably due to the carbs and not the wheat/gluten itself. So I just went to Uncle Ben’s website to look for the ingredients list on that rice and sure enough there is some Corn Gluten and Wheat Gluten in the ingredients list along with some nasty oils….

    So this is proof enough for me, on top of what I’ve read from Dr. Davis and Mark Sisson, that wheat is just a no no. I’m not saying that I’ll never have wheat again because sometimes you just can’t get out of it without looking or sounding rude but one thing for sure, as long as I’ll have control over what I can eat, there ain’t now wheat that will enter my body.

    By the way, I did not end up getting bloated that much or having gas or anything. However, I was somewhat constipated for about 36 hours or so after eating my pizza on Friday. So I’m sure I do have some type of intolerance to wheat/gluten. First of all the constipation experienced over the weekend and the fact that so many aches and pains have disappeared since going wheat free. I figure that my intolerance is low enough that only regular exposure to it will cause me problems. Either way, it’s out of my life once and for all.

    Thanks for reading
    Yvon

    • Boundless

      Yvon: … sometimes you just can’t get out of it without looking or sounding rude …

      Not so. Imagine everyone lights up and offers you a cigarette.
      OK, that might be extreme. Here’s what to say:
      “I have an acute wheat sensitivity, confirmed by challenge testing.”

      > … So I’m sure I do have some type of intolerance to wheat/gluten. …

      We ALL do. It’s just a matter of degree and decades.

    • Yes, it’s the gliadin, Yvon.

      It’s the stuff that gets the nice soccer mom struggling with 50 pounds of excess weight “stoned” by her poppy bagel. It’s also the stuff that smart food scientists put into nearly everything to encourage your return . . . and it works.

  4. Dear Dr Davis,
    I have been wheat-free since 01 December, this year – and all thanks to you, and your book. It has only been 12 days, so I don’t have any amazing stories to share. YET ;)

    But, even in this short time, my acid-reflux has improved so much – to the point that I am almost off my medication. To say I am thrilled would be so putting it mildly. I did weigh myself before I went wheat-free, and I did take measurements of relevant parts of my body – but I’m not checking if there’re any changes just yet. I don’t want to be discouraged if there aren’t. I just want to do this right, so I’m in for the long haul.

    So, thank you for sharing your knowledge with us, and for making me see that I can do this thing, and that it is not so-very hard, because the science of it all makes so much sense. I feel so much better these days – much better than I’ve ever felt in a long, long time.

    Best wishes from far-away Malaysia, from an oh-so-boring-label reader! :)

    • Hi, Pat–

      I predict that the relief from acid reflux is just the start. Think what wheat must have been doing to your gastrointestinal tract if it was allowing gastric acid to climb backwards up your esophagus. There’s surely more it was messing with.

      Please keep us updated on your progress.

  5. janey crook

    I have cut way back on wheat products over the last little while and have never felt better. i am a runner, skier, sailor and gardner so pretty active and all this is so much easier with less blubber around the belly and butt.
    Thanks this is such an interesting site.

  6. greensleeves

    Another reason to avoid wheat products, esp. flour:

    “One study that looked at commercial wheat flour samples found almost 13 percent contaminated with E. coli. The investigators also pointed out that wheat flour can also be contaminated with Salmonella, and that flour-based mixes have previously been implicated in outbreaks of food-borne illness.”

    http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/12/12/beware-of-raw-cookie-dough/

    Gross! E coli & salmonella in your healthywholegrainloaf!

  7. Denise Waldron

    Fruit cake is yucky…why would anyone want to eat it anyway? :) A young man at work commented that there has only ever been one fruitcake made and it has been passed around for years as no one likes it ! LOL! Merry Christmas!

  8. keith lewis

    Dr. Davis: You conclude in your book that modern wheat breeding has dramatically changed the nutritional value of wheat. Modern wheat farming has as well, I have been a wheat farmer for 50 yrs and one wheat production practice that is very common is applying the herbicide Roundup (glyposate) just prior to harvest. Roundup is licensed for preharvest weed control. Monsanto, the manufacturer of Roundup claims that application to plants at over 30% kernel moisture result in roundup uptake by the plant into the kernels. Farmers like this practice because Roundup kills the wheat plant allowing an earlier harvest. A wheat field often ripens unevenly, thus applying Roundup preharvest evens up the greener parts of the field with the more mature. The result is on the less mature areas Roundup is translocated into the kernels and eventually harvested as such. This practice is not licensed. Farmers mistakenly call it “dessication”. Consumers eating products made from wheat flour are undoubtedly consuming minute amounts of Roundup. An interesting aside, Malt barley which is made into beer is not acceptable in the market place if it has been sprayed with preharvest Roundup. Lentils and peas are not accepted in the market place if it was sprayed with preharvest roundup….. but Wheat is ok.. This farming practice greatly concerns me and it should further concern consumers of wheat products I went on a wheat and refined sugar free diet before I read your excellent book. I lost 30 lbs in three months. What a remarkable change…… In my 69th year I have never felt better.

  9. Rachel Teigen

    I’m currently in my teen years and am trying to be wheat free. I’m just having a really hard time saying “no” to wheat products. I also think I may have a big problem with portion control.

    Also, just a personal thanks to Dr. Davis, you turned my mom’s life around. Thanks to your persuasive arguements, she feels a lot cleaner on the inside; she hasn’t lost any weight yet, but she says she’s going to continue eating this way for the rest of her life. Thank you for pushing her to conquer obesity so she can see my children eventually grow up.