Quit your whining!

Wheat Belly Blog reader PJ is back, this time with an emotionally unedited version of her letter.

I feel PJ’s frustration. You can show somebody the answer time and time again, but some people just never accept it or follow through. You can show them evidence of your own 30 pound weight loss, renewed vigor and energy, and the success of friends and family who have done similarly. But for some the emotional pull of this thing called “wheat” is too powerful, powerful enough to overcome the weak-willed.

Perhaps it won’t fix anything, but perhaps PJ will feel better after unleashing.

Dear Friends, Family, Neighbors and Co-Workers:

I am so sick and tired of hearing all of your complaining and whining that you just can’t lose that blubber and you feel like crap. You keep turning to me for advice on what to do about this symptom or that symptom. I tell all of you, over and over and over again, to eliminate the grains and sugar from your diet. You’ve seen what it’s done for me over recent years and I have literally begged you to try it for just a month but you tell me that you just CAN’T give up your breads and desserts. It’s too HAAAARD! Oh, waaaa! Grow up! You say you would do ANYTHING to lose the weight and feel better but I have never heard so many bs excuses in my life!

Now suddenly you’re worried about your blood sugar and are afraid you might become diabetic. Might?!! I hear about your heartburn, joint pain, tooth loss and acne on a daily basis. Well, you’ve earned it. You’ve earned it with every bite of that must-have toast, every convenient Subway sandwich and plate of low fat pasta salad. Hearing about your depression is depressing the hell out of me. For God’s sake girl, you’re only 27!

Your doctor put you on statins and blood pressure meds over a year ago because he has your best interests at heart. He’s the expert and knows what you need. Yeah? How’s that working for you?! Feeling any better? Having an easier time remembering your grandkids names? I know trying to carry on a conversation with you lately is tedious and painful for me.

Your kids are annoying, strung out little junkies that need REAL FOOD. When you come to me about advice about disciplining your out of control kids, what do I advise you to do? Stop feeding them crap! I’m sick of hearing that tired line about how exhausted you are and you just don’t have time to cook. You forget that I also raised a family while working. You seem to find the time to sit in the drive-thru waiting for your KFC order. How many times to I have to say that Pop Tarts and Pizza Rolls are not food, no matter what the commercials say. Just because you can put it in your mouth and swallow it doesn’t make it food.

God forbid you read a book or do a little internet research. I lend you dvds and books and they sit, untouched and unread for weeks until I ask for them back. Is it really so hard to put a damned dvd in the machine?!! By the way, how’s that infertility problem?

Every time I have to leave work to pick you up at the bus stop because you can’t walk your fat, wheezy, sweaty butt the three blocks to the office, what do I tell you? You HAVE to make some changes, darlin’! All I get in response is “I know, I know, I will.” I’m still waiting. And I’m still the one sent to pick you up when you call for help because your knees gave out and you can’t breathe.

As those pounds continue to pack on and your belly and ass get to be the size of Montana you’ll start taking your doctor’s advise. Eventually he will intimidate you into taking his magic pills. And you’ll take them, because it’s easier than taking responsibility. 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 long, miserable, painful, 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 handicap 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! They’ll even do the paperwork for you. (To 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. And it’s so EASY! All you have to do is just keep doing what you’re doing. No changes necessary.

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!
I have never seen people work so hard at being sick. I am literally handing you the solution. I’ve shown you how. I’ve shown you that it works. I’ve written menus for you. I’ve made shopping lists for you to get you started. How much easier do I need to make it for you?

Do I sound angry? Damned right I’m angry!! I’m widowed, I’ve lost loved ones and my friends are dropping like flies. Why? Two words: wheat and sugar. It’s tearing me apart to watch you do this to yourselves. I am done with grieving. I have cared about all of you for a very long time and have wanted to help but I can’t do it for you.

The best gift you can give a loved one is to take of yourself! It’s never too late to change. PLEASE. It’s your choice.

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

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Comments & Feedback...

  1. Marie

    Thankfully, not all of those who remove wheat and sugar from their diet behave as self-righteous or judgmental. But frustration is frustration, and to each his own.

    • Brian

      Hey, I had to listen to the same sanctimonious crappola from (overweight, to boot) nonsmokers for years, so I, for one, am enjoying the turnabout. Just say no to secondhand wheat!
      Plus, who’s really bankrupting the health care pipeline; a relative handful of terminal smokers or the Legions of Extraordinary Waistlines? As my math teacher used to say, do the math.

      • PJ

        “Second hand wheat”. Love that!
        Self-righeous? Maybe. Judgemental. Probably. I’ve been hearing “I know I shouldn’t be eating this, but . . . ” for soooo many years. I just have to scream sometimes.


        • Patricia

          PJ, I think you’ll appreciate this. My friends have been saying the same things to me, the complaints I mean, and yet they are amazed at the changes in me since cutting out wheat and sugar. They can’t seem to get it through their heads that I don’t eat those things anymore. The other day as we were getting ready to head out for a day of errand running they offered to make a sandwich for me. I thanked them, but said that no, I did not eat wheat bread anymore. They IMMEDIATELY replied, it’s not wheat bread, it’s white bread. The refused to acknowledge that it was made from wheat… I wonder what they’d do if I told them that most of what they eat is sugar?

          • PJ

            LOL I know this really isn’t funny because some people really don’t get it. There are people out there that actually do not know what a carbohydrate is or what foods contain them. ???? Trying to educate someone starting from the very basics can be futile. They get so confused and I just hear myself talking. Try explaining to someone like this that sugar cookies are wheat.

    • Janet

      Thanks for another perspective on the PJ letter. I was on the receiving end of similar rhetoric about my “shortcomings” and it never helped or swayed me at all–but the person unloading on me got a lot out of it , IMHO. This is the kind of letter that should be put in a drawer for a couple of days and then read again before sending. No harm in thinking each and every word, though. None at all. Frustration is a powerful emotion. As a new “convert”, I will think long and hard how I present this to others. Hopefully, people will ask when they see my life, but even if they don’t believe the reason, they have heard and seen it and that small seed in their mind may grow and flourish later on. That is what usually happens with me–I read a little, talk a little, observe some more and then it begins to make sense and gets into my life and I make the decision alone to try something different.

      • Anne D

        “As a new “convert”, I will think long and hard how I present this to others.”
        Well said! I’m planning to do what I need to do to get healthy, and if someone asks me a question about it, I’ll answer.

      • PJ

        I understand what you’re saying. How long and hard should I think? I’m going to another funeral tomorrow. The third this year of an “apparently healthy” person under the age of 35 that died suddenly. This letter was not an overnight expression of my hurt and frustration. It’s been many years in the making. These are not things that I would ever say to someone’s face, but it doesn’t stop me from thinking them.

        Believe me, I don’t give advice until I’m asked for it. After careful consideration, I give it as diplomatically and as tactfully as possible. If they take it to heart, great! If not, it’s their life. But I don’t want them to keep wasting my time with constant complaining and requests for assistance if they’re not going to at least try to help themselves.

        I love that you’re a convert. One day your friends and family may need to depend on you for your help.

        • Let me remind everyone that this was the letter that PJ did NOT send, but shared with us when I ASKED her to share her real internal dialogue.

          I suspect that, had anyone else here shared their private internal dialogue, we’d hear some pretty wild stuff. (You’d have to cover your ears if I did it!)

          Thanks, PJ, for sharing your personal thoughts. They are deeply appreciated.

          • PJ

            Oh, thank goodness! Bless you Dr. Davis. You can have your blog back! Thanks for allowing the emotional facet of this issue to be exposed. It’s not just the wheat addict that has the emotions.

    • I understand what both Marie and PJ are saying. It is so frustrating to watch people do the same things over and over and over again only to complain about the results. This is true of people with weight/health issues and in many other areas of life (like my sister and dating, good lord).

      At the same time, I gave up wheat and other grains and just about all carbs (I’m sure there are some in the cream in my coffee, for example) a month ago and I have not shed a single pound. THAT is also frustrating. It’s frustrating to think that people are out there judging my appearance and assuming that I’m not doing what I shoud and/or making changes.

      So, I guess it just goes both ways sometimes…

      • That said… I totally understand where PJ is coming from, and I have the same thoughts ALL the time!

        I just wish giving up wheat had made me feel 1/10th as good as how most of the people on this blog report to feel. I’m less hungry, but otherwise feel no different and it’s very frustrating. I’ve got at least 40 pounds to lose; I’d like to lose 60. So, for me it isn’t a case of those last few stubborn pounds.

        As much as I loved reading Wheat Belly and I love this blog, reading it often depresses me becuase I have nothing to show for my efforts and it seems like everyone else does!

        • Then something else is stalling your weight and health efforts.

          In other words, if you have a thyroid disorder or disruption of circadian variation of cortisol, wheat removal, as powerful as it is, cannot correct conditions like this.

          Someone needs to conduct an evaluation and find out why you are having no response.

          • Thanks, Dr. Davis. I have an appointment with a functional medicine doctor to look into both of those issues. I’m just impatient and the appointment couldn’t be soon enough! I really hope I get some answers next Tuesday!! I have never been a patient person and waiting 3 weeks for an appointment is pushing my limit, definitely.

            It’s quite unfortunate that my primary care doctor cannot handle things like the tests you’ve recommended in the “Elimited Wheat and Didn’t Lose Weight” and the Thyroid posts. I’ve thought I had a thryroid problem for pretty much my entire life. No traditional doctor has ever taken me seriously though, which is ridiculous. Most doctors treat me like a moronic head case… I assure you I’m not though.

  2. Brad Sasher

    I am so glad to hear someone tell it like it is,I’m a newby to this, but I tell people about it daily as it has changed my life.I believe we do what we learned,these dietary habits are handed down ,so they are tough barriers to break .Our parents and grand parents would steer us wrong ……would they ? Sincerely Brad Sasher

    • PJ

      I love newbies! They are the best advertising. Brad, our parents and grandparents always have the best of intentions. They can only teach us what they know. I am so fortunate that my father taught me about low carb in 1965. Doesn’t mean I always followed it to a “T”, but it was always in the back of my mind each time I sat down to a meal. Forgive them, for they know not what they do.

      • David

        When I was growing up my gran always railed on about sugar and I just wondered what she was on about and ignored it. Later in my twenties I was in a six year relationship with a woman who always railed on about sugar and I just wondered what she was on about and ignored it. Finally in my mid-30’s someone said the magic word “science” in connection with low-carb and that piqued my curiosity, and I started reading up on the actual science behind how our bodies work, and was amazed at how science-backed the approach is (and am also reading up more on wheat now). I am definitely far from a perfect follower, but I feel more in control now over why/how/when my body puts on weight (it no longer seems random) and I have more energy. I can relate to the frustration in this letter as I often hear friends/relatives who are ballooning expressing frustration about their weight, claiming insistently that they have ‘tried everything’ when I can see with my own eyes that they stuff their faces with sugar every time I see them. I go on about refined carbs and sugars and they mostly just look at me blankly and ignore me. Ah well, ignore science at your own peril. What more can one do, but keep reminding people, and maybe one day their eyes will open, I mean I forget too easily it took me some 35 odd years of ignoring the message.

    • PJ

      Thanks, Biz. I know a lot of you understand what I was feeling when I wrote this. Others have taken exception. Odds are it’s a post that people may remember when they feel like their hitting their heads on the great wheat wall. If it drove the wheat issue home to anyone, it was worth it.

    • PJ

      Thank you. It’s exactly why I changed my mind about practicing in the healthcare field. I can’t imagine what Dr. Davis must feel when people come to him for his expert advice, day after day, then ignore it. I guess you have to embrace your successes.

      • A. HOpe

        I currently work in the health care field and am depressed daily by the amount of resources that go to people who want a pill to solve their problems instead of getting up and doing something about their lifestyle choices. I have a provider on staff who is at least 150 lbs over weight and once told a patient that it was okay to be fat as long as they “felt healthy.” Grrrr!

        • Janknitz

          “I currently work in the health care field and am depressed daily by the amount of resources that go to people who want a pill to solve their problems instead of getting up and doing something about their lifestyle choices.”

          While I agree with this sentiment on principal (that people need to take charge of their own health), the biggest problem I see is that people DON’T KNOW about the effects of wheat and carbs on their system, and if they DID follow the advice of most health care practitioners to make the suggested lifestyle changes, they wouldn’t be all that much better off. It’s a lose:lose situation.

          Look at what certified diabetics educators, dieticians and most weight loss schemes tell their patients–eat MORE whole grains, cut the fat and exercise. I’m guessing that if you scratch the surface of just about ANY overweight person, he or she HAS tried to lose weight following that advice, but using the conventional wisdom he or she ultimately failed and may not realize that there are any other options out there that have a much better chance of success (like eliminating wheat and other carbs).

          So blaming people for refusing to change their lifestyle when they don’t see any other options that may work is not really fair. It’s back to “blame the fat people” mentality, and Wheat Belly, for one, is all about the fact that wheat is a culprit in the SAD that may thwart even the most earnest “lifestyle changer”.

          • PJ

            You make some really good points, Janknitz. I believe that the powers that be need to be held ultimately accountable. To those of us in the know, the advice these agencies give borders on criminal. All these poor people trying their level best to adhere to those outrageous guidelines and being doomed to fail makes me all the more motivated to touch as many people as I can.
            With people like all of us on Wheat Belly, we should be able to make a difference. Chin up!

        • PJ

          It really hurts when the role models aren’t what we want to aspire to. If my doctor is fat, it must not be that bad for me. Large sized people have become so much the new norm it doesn’t even shock us anymore when our doctor is 150 pounds overweight.
          But how does a fat person know that they “feel healthy” when they are so used to the way they always feel? Hmmm.

      • CindyH

        I have been successful in losing weight and I know it has thrilled my doctor — she’s so excited to have someone actually getting healthy!

          • shelly

            Great letter PJ, you echo the sentiment that most of us non-wheat eaters feel but are often to afraid of being politically incorrect to verbalize. It reminds me of what my mother always says, ‘you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.’ Just wanted to say that I am returning to clinical practice after a six month haitus during which I learned about Wheat Belly and the wheat free lifestyle. Boy, oh boy, I can NOT wait. Sure patients and colleagues are going to think I am crazy when I tell them the true root of their problem, but knowing what I now know, I can NOT in good conscious allow people to continue in wheat/sugar/carb oblivion. Afterall, I DID take that oath to FIRST do no harm.
            As a side note to the replies from those who have eliminated wheat yet see no weight loss. Check the other sources of carbohydrates in your diet and be mindful of your intake. Most of us are very, very good at trading one dangerous vice for another and the replacement of wheat with other ‘better for you carbs’, (yeah right), means that one is still experiencing those bad for you fluctuations in blood sugar and the effects of insulin, perhaps not to the same DEGREE as when one eats wheat, but bad effects nonetheless. Trust me I know of what I speak, I live it DAILY.

          • One of the greatest rewards, Shelly, is witnessing the transformation in health that emerges from wheat elimination–no drugs, no procedures.

            It doesn’t make a lot of money, thus it is hard to convince many colleagues that this is really worth doing. If going wheat-free yielded $5000 in revenue, it would be embraced by tomorrow. Because it yields nothing in revenue, the adoption curve will be slow and made only because it works.

        • PJ

          The medical profession needs more practitioners like you, Shelly. I have wondered if doctors truly believed the “first do no harm” part of their oath.

          Great advice you give in your sidenote: Don’t trade one carb for another. (Snackwell deja vu all over again.) I see people making this mistake all the time. Replace the carbs with FAT. Yes, I used the “f-word”. I have seen very dramatic weight loss when carbs are replaced by high quality animal fats (me included in this group).

          I sure hope we can influence more practitioners like you. Bless your low carb heart!

    • PJ

      Patty, do you think they’d really understand what this is about or would they just think we’re lunatics? Even I thought there couldn’t be that much wrong with grains, other than the weight gain when I ate them. Though I have been low carb most of my life, for weight control, it was really eye opening to read Wheat Belly and find out how they can actually kill you, even if they don’t make you fat. But maybe if they did read some of the things that are posted here, it may get them to start thinking.

  3. Carly's Mom

    There was a time when this post would have offended me, but now I see the light. I was that person, fat, sick, and stuck in a rut that seemed to have no end. Thankfully I picked up Why We Get Fat and Wheat Belly, and my life has been changed my making two small changes: no grains, no sugar. I’ve lost 50 lbs without even trying. Inevitably, I run into someone I haven’t seen in a while and will be asked, “what did you do?” When I report no grains, no sugar, the person almost always goes off into a juicy rationalization about why they can’t possibly make such extreme changes. There’s nothing extreme about eating simple, one ingredient foods. Humans did it for millions of years before General Mills or ConAgra. Really.

    • PJ

      Wow! 50 pounds?! Welcome to the club! Love what you said about GM and ConAgra. How did we ever get along without them? You go girl!

    • PJ

      Thank you, Tina. Believe me, what I said came from deep hurt because I care so much about these people and would do anything for them. I hate it when the time comes when I have to walk away.

  4. Donna

    Since I know what I know now, I love the letter and agree with it, but feel the author must realize, like a drug addict, a person has to be open to change and want to change or all the information and pamphlets you give them, WILL just sit there, untouched. It’s not that ALL of these people are stupid and lazy, they really don’t know any better and think they are doing the right thing by following the so-called experts or their doctors, who surely must know what’s best. Many people try very hard to follow a variety of diets to no avail and then rightfully give up. The fact that this wheat-free, low sugar diet works is not a well-established fact across the country (yet) and many doctors, woefully dumb about nutrition, just stick to what they’ve known up until now. Many people try exercising their asses off because experts keep talking about “calories in, calories out.” They become frustrated when that doesn’t work and give up.

    Sure, it’s true those around us wheat-free believers should listen better and see the fantastic results we are getting from following this lifestyle, but they have to want to change. I’ve “wanted” to keep an open mind my whole adult life about various diets and have tried many. I’ve never let myself go to the point of being fat, but still have had times when I needed to lose 5 or even 10 pounds. I wanted to change so I persued the latest diets in hopes of finally hitting and staying at my goal weight. I truly feel this will be possible on the wheat-free, low-sugar, low carb diet that is talked about in Wheat Belly, and I have been trying to persaude family members, but so far, despite being intelligent people, they are sticking to what they want to do. My husband, who apparently, is not carb-sensitive, was able to lose 45 pounds this past year by exercising in combo with counting calories via an iPhone app called “Lose It.” This did NOT work for me at all! I’m not saying his various levels are picture perfect, but he is now thin (at age 65) and physically fit, so trying to get him now to go wheat-free is going nowhere. Each to his own.

    I agree with your letter and think it is brilliantly written, but you have to not judge others too harshly. Hopefully, they will observe how great you look and feel and eventually open their minds to a new way of eating, but I think this trend won’t be popular for years and years, if not decades. Unfortunately!

    • PJ

      Donna, thanks so much for your thoughtful response. So much of what you say is true. Your husband is one of those lucky ones that get results just by doing something. The hunt for what is going to work for you personally is exhausting and so discouraging. Been there.

      We regard wheat as an addiction, which it truly can be. Let’s put this in a slightly different perspective. Let’s substitute crack for wheat and sugar. You have a very dear friend/relative/spouse that become a heavy crack addict that tells you that she knows she really shouldn’t have so much crack. She complains frquently about her health and begs you for advice. She’s seriously anemic and is developing some very serious health issues because of crack. You have rushed her to the hospital more than a couple times because this crack has caused extreme, agonizing belly pain and she is bleeding profusely from the, uh . . . nose. She swears she’s going to rehab and get clean only to leave a couple days into it, again.
      Is she stupid or lazy? Stupid, maybe. Lazy, no. Are you going to be able to be of any help to her until she decides to change her life? Absolutely not. But that won’t stop you from being angry with her behavior. You may even scream in her face one day because you are so afraid for her. At that point you are not going to care about her feelings because your reaction is reduced to the primal, basic human emotion of fear.

      • Donna

        I hear what you’re saying about being angry. My stepson was -an actual crack addict and died from using it in combination with having juvenile diabetes. Did he ever want to listen or change? No! I know all about people that have addictions. I also had a father who had severe back pain due to osteoarthritis and back surgery and he would not entertain new ideas and instead, choose to believe his doctor knew best. Try something new! I would get mad that he didn’t give new ideas more thought! There were new things being done out our way. Currently, my mom, in her 80’s wants to complain about shortness of breath (for one thing she smoked for 25 years) yet won’t even try taking a walk…..yes, I hear what you said PJ, and think that I will keep getting mad at the people I love. Fortunately both my husband and I are very motivated to be healthy and do things everyday to promote our health. I just hope we set a good example for our two teenage daughters….I believe we all have a right to be mad at people that don’t even try. And then they Jack up the costs of medical care for all of us. Hopefully, as more headlines come out about the amazing health benefits of low carb/non-wheat diets, at least those that are motivated but previously misinformed may jump on the bandwagon! Excuse any typos, I have a hard time typing on my iPad!

        • PJ

          Thanks, Donna. I think anger is a very misunderstood emotion. How do you not get angry with someone hell bent on killing themselves with any drug? The causes of anger are wide and varied, but when it is caused by people we know, it usually comes from care and concern, as much for ourselves and for them. We don’t want to lose them and we absolutely want them to share our experiences. The few success stories I have influenced make me feel on top of the world and so proud of that person that made the effort and was successful. They make me feel like I am here on this earth for a reason.

          I can understand ignorance. Most people just don’t know. Stupidity, on the other hand . . . well, it’s stupid. Knowing better and doing it anyway is just stupid. Whether it’s crack, wheat, drunk driving or any other stupid behavior; how long can we be touchy feely and politically correct before we just get angry and try to do something to stop the madness?

          You are very fortunate to have a spouse that participates in your quest for health. The example you set for your teenagers will pay forward. I talk to many young people that want to know the truth about what’s going on. They see what their parents and grandparents are going through and they seem to sense that there has to be a better way. It’s the baby boomers that seem to be very set in their ways. Yeah, we old folks can get very stuck in our ways.

          • Hey, PJ–

            If I haven’t already done so, I want to thank you for both allowing me to publish your “letters” and sharing your wonderful, heartfelt, and genuine thoughts with everyone.

            You are a gem. Thank you.

    • Marie

      This is well said (as are many of the other posts), but I especially agree with:

      “It’s not that ALL of these people are stupid and lazy, they really don’t know any better and think they are doing the right thing by following the so-called experts or their doctors, who surely must know what’s best. Many people try very hard to follow a variety of diets to no avail and then rightfully give up. ”

      How many of us were on the receiving end of the same condescending rhetoric from the medical community when we failed to lose weight or improve our blood panels while eating the Standard American Diet of low-fat, high-carb? Before we became enlightened to the knowledge that Dr. Davis and his colleagues have been so kind and forthcoming to provide? We are no better than them if we let our impatience with their misguided efforts (or lack thereof, as it may be) turn us into holier-than-thou know-it-alls, proselytizing on our soap boxes yet turning our backs when someone doesn’t agree with us.

      Tired of endless complaining without any desire to try something new? Try setting a boundary with those folks to limit exposure, and keep walking the walk. Their failures do not threaten our successes unless we let them, and there is no need to take the high road. They’re just as lost and frustrated as we were a few years, months, or days back.

  5. RH

    OMG That could have been written by ME!!! I have done ALL of the same things…made shopping lists, sent full menus to be followed…just try it for 10 days I beg!!! You’ll NEVER go back! I actually had someone who was perpetually crying to me over their weight, lack of energy, depression, and mile long list of pharmaceuticals for your high bp, cholesterol, depression and insomnia…tell me…”Are you telling me I have to give up my daily Snickers bar??? NOT going to happen!”

    Friend me PJ… I have the same problem…having to live with the pain of watching my friends and loved ones slowly kill themselves and I am sick and tired of hearing them complain too!!!!

    • PJ

      RH, it’s the ones who complain and complain and beg for help that hurt me the most. They’re looking for sympathy or for someone to make it easy for them. I try to explain that it IS easy once you start! It’s like a lot of things in life . . . the hardest part is getting started. Once you’re done you can’t believe how easy it was.

  6. Nikki

    If someone was this ‘judgmental’ about a loved one’s problem with alcohol or methamphetamine everyone would rally behind him saying, “You’re so right! It had to be said.” He’s not saying any of this to strangers; he’s saying it to the people who bitch and complain CONSTANTLY about their health issues, hoping for a magic pill.

    I’m with ya on this one, PJ!

    • PJ

      Thank you, Nikki! You hit it on the head. If it were recognized illegal drug use, nobody would have a problem with how I expressed what I feel.
      We do have the “magic pill” . . . it’s just one that we DON’T take.

  7. Saphoria

    All I can say is BRAVO PJ… I hate that you are frustrated the way you are especially when you are trying to help these people but you expressed so eloquently so many things I want to say myself!!! in fact can I borrower your letter :) I have a few co-workers I’d like to hand it to.

    • PJ

      Now understand, I never really gave this letter to anyone or said these things to anyone. This is only what I feel like saying when I get fed up with the excuses. You can borrow anything I said in this post. There’s no copywright on my feelings!

  8. Anne

    There is a HUGE change that needs to be made. Dietary recommendations. They need to be based in actual science, Not in shareholders interests. We need to get the message out to the people who are honestly TRYING to do right by their bodies, the ones getting sicker, developing diabetes, heart disease and cancer following the current guidelines. These are the true victims of this whole fiasco.

    There’s another group though. The ones that eat crap and know it. It wouldn’t matter what the food guides say, they would still eat crap- and complain about how lousy they feel. I am not about to police any adult over their dietary choices. I can’t “fix” anyone else. I can only live the example, if asked what I do say exactly what it is I am doing. Most people say to me “I can’t give up bread, or sugar” or even “there’s such and such you can take for joint pain, at least then you wouldn’t have had to give up pasta”. You can’t shame anyone to stop drinking or smoking. You cannot shame anyone out of eating garbage “foods” either. It’s NOT going to happen.

    Even seeing me now, the people who complain constantly of their health problems won’t change ANYTHING. they explain it away. “oh, she’s naturally skinny. Never-mind her” (I lost over 20lbs.) Or, “all that fat she eats is unhealthy. She just lost water weight”

    This even means watching people I love get fatter, sicker, and more frail every year. Yes- It’s frustrating as hell. I’m willing to lend out my books, share menu’s and recipes and take that time – if it’s wanted, and asked for. Those that ask my advise, but continue to bitch and complain about getting sicker, fatter, more exhausted because they keep eating crap? You know what-I walk away. Just say “You know, I’m done hearing this”.

    • PJ

      “Even seeing me now, the people who complain constantly of their health problems won’t change ANYTHING. they explain it away. “oh, she’s naturally skinny. Never-mind her” (I lost over 20lbs.) Or, “all that fat she eats is unhealthy. She just lost water weight”

      20 pounds of water weight? What are you, a camel? Rrriiiight.

      Sometimes leading by example falls on deaf ears, doesn’t it Anne? I’ll run into people I haven’t seen in a while and they always comment on how great I look. Weight loss, tone, skin and hair . . . the whole package. Of course they ask how, I tell them and the response is usually “Oh, you’re so lucky!” LUCKY?!! I worked at this! I tell them they can be “lucky”, too. “oh, I just couldn’t give up my bread”. Whatever!!

      “There’s another group though. The ones that eat crap and know it. It wouldn’t matter what the food guides say, they would still eat crap- and complain about how lousy they feel.”

      These are the ones I can’t abide (and the ones I had in mind when I wrote my letter) because they are the ones that complain the loudest and most often. This is me . . . walkin’ away.

      I find that the ones that are concerned about their health and are misguidedly following the guidelines are the easiest ones to influence. They know it isn’t working for them and are already concerned about their health.

  9. Thanks PJ for voicing my sentiments as well. If people could only make that first step. In spite of seeing the positive effects on me from going wheat free, my friends and family are afraid that they cannot make it a life long commitment. A world without Dominos! Unthinkable! That light bulb has to come on for each individual. My husband, ( who is a health fanatic), has been riding me for years about my diet. I have explained to him that I am post menopausal and so my metabolism has come to a virtual stop ( plus I’m taking meds whose side effect Is weight gain) I have not let deter me because I feel the best that I have in 5yrs.Thank God I tuned into Fox & Friends when Dr. Davis was on and the next day I bought Wheat Belly. The rest is history. Keep preaching that Wheat Free Gospel and sooner or later people will see the light.

    • “A world without Dominos! Unthinkable!”

      Pizza is one of my favorite foods, and always had been. It was honestly one of my biggest concerns about going wheat-free. I just didn’t think I could live with a vegetable crust and be happy. But, if you live near a Lou Malnati’s, there is no need. They make a gluten-free pizza with a sausage crust. I thought it sounded awful, but I tried it anwyay. It was actually great, and it’s very filling. One piece is enough, definitely. I know it isn’t an ideal food, but I think it’s okay once in awhile. There’s a solution for every wheat-filled food people are obsessed with, I think.

      • Nikki, i too am a pizza freak …I tried the Cauliflower crust . I just couldn’t get past the fact that it was cauliflower. I have experimented and came up with a pretty darn good crust. 1/4 cup flaxseed flour
        1/4 cup coconut flour
        3 eggs
        1/4 cup coconut oil or olive oil
        1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
        1 tablespoon Italian Seasoning
        1/4 cup coconut milk
        mix together
        Cover baking sheet with parchment paper, spread mixture on
        to baking sheet…Bake in a 350 oven until crust is golden. Flip
        it over and bake it until crisp. I loaded mine up with spinach
        fresh tomatoes, mushrooms and onions and cheese…Yum

      • shelly

        uh oh Nikki, you just started something! I LOVE LOU’s!! lol…smh…who knew?ahhh an every now and then indulgence and then my cousins don’t have to be mad at me anymore for REFUSING to go to Lou’s because I couldn’t eat pizza! Thanks!

  10. Well said PJ! I’m sick and tired of the “I can eat whatever I want as long as it’s in moderation” crowd.

    No, I have’t lost any weight. Yet. But I’m battling a life-long eating disorder. Having given up the grains, sugar and unhealthy carbs, and eating FOOD and enough of it for a change, I’m slowly starting to feel the positive changes. For one, my acid reflux is completely GONE. Secondly, as I work through Jack Kruse’s leptin reset I’m sleeping like a baby which I haven’t done in decades! So I have complete trust that this will eventually result in losing all the excess flabbola.

    I’m sorry for your frustration. My only suggestion would be to simply stop your friends/family/coworkers in their tracks the next time they start whining. I’d tell them something along the lines that you don’t have the time or patience to listen to their complaints AGAIN since that’s all they seem to want to do. Complain. And then change the subject.

    • PJ

      OMG, Darleen, “everything in moderation” will nearly set me off and cause my head to explode! It’s just an excuse to have your cake and eat it, too. The way it feels to be wheat free is priceless. The weight loss is just a great bonus, as far as I’m concerned. All of my sister’s MS symptoms disappeared and she’s no longer in pain from fibromyalgia. All thing’s considered, do you think she’s that concerned about losing the last 20 pounds? No way! I tell her that when her body is ready, things are back in balance, maybe her body will trust her enough to finish adjusting her weight.

      I did Dr. Kruse’s leptin reset. The biggest thing I got out of it is that I am now a breakfast eater. Big breakfast and I’m good until dinner. It’s like a miracle, being free from having to have something to eat or I feel like I’m gonna get sick. Also got my thyroid rechecked and am tweaking it a little with a homeopathic formula. It’s working like a charm. My plateau broke last week and I’m down another 4 pounds. All in all, life is good!

  11. Benboom

    I too have felt like this letter but I think it’s better to “lead” by example and if someone chooses not to follow…well, that’s up to them. I’m the one who is thinner, I’m the one whose triglycerides went down 170 points in 30 days (yep), I’m the one whose new best friend was Metabolic Syndrome but now has dumped that same “friend” completely according to my bloodwork. If that message doesn’t get through then no amount of nagging and ragging will; you only end up making enemies of people who are already unhappy. There is an implied criticism (it’s more than implied in this letter) in constantly pointing out how someone could do something better and usually it backfires on you.

    I think that my simple presence in 31/34 501s (waist/length) says more than anything I could tell these people. And I gave away ten old pairs which were too big to wear. :-)

    • PJ

      Benboom, you’re a shining example of what happens when people see the light. Amazing results you achieved. Again, I want to make it clear that I never expressed these feelings to anyone or gave anyone this letter. It’s simply an uncensored expression of how I feel sometimes.

      And I am not a medical professional. But I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.

  12. Beth

    I have Hashimoto’s and about 4 years ago a friend suggested I go gluten free to help my thyroid out. I really wish I would have listened to her. My thyroid is now completely non functional and doc says it’s gone and won’t come back. I certainly never considered her judgmental and now I look back and call her wise and call myself foolish. I did give up wheat/gluten about 6 months ago and I now no longer have eczema on my arms, dermatitis on my face, joint pain, daily heartburn and pretty severe digestion problems. Of course my thyroid is still out of commission. I lost weight on a low carb diet, (not gluten free), but plateaued. Now that I’m gluten free… I’m losing weight again and only have 10 more lbs to go. It’s really too bad that some don’t see this type of advice as a loving wake up call that could save them much grief in the future.

    • PJ

      Sometimes the only thing that gets me through some of the times when I have to walk away is knowing that my loved ones will probably have the same thoughts as you. And yes, anything I say is strictly intended as a wake up call coming from love.

      It’s pretty awesome that you’re continuing to lose weight, even with a malfunctioning thyroid. It really speaks volumes of the power of eliminating that devil wheat.

  13. Lynda NZ

    PJ – as has been said, fantastic. Recently I watched a re-run of a Dr Phil show about obesity. They had a panel, three slim, three fat and Kelly Osbourne in the middle who represented both sides (now slim). The slim people were trying to get the health message across, trying to make the obese think but no, all the fat people did was get angry that there was predjudice etc. They were angry because people treated them differently. Angry that anyone would not consider their “illness” or equally that people would not see them as just normal.

    I found myself siding on the slim side who pointed out the long term health care these people would need, the terrible health problems they will suffer etc. There was just no talking to the fat people, as far as they were concerned it was not their fault.

    Maybe we all do need to change our attitude and start to be more proactive and say it is not alright to get fatter and fatter… it is your fault. And yes, I think we have all heard that comment “I know this is not good for me but what the heck, you’ve got to enjoy life”….

    • PJ

      Don’t you just hate the dietary advice on those programs? Even if they don’t parrot conventional wisdom, it’s implied that either the “victim” is helpless, or they’re just out of control gluttons that must be eating too much fat. If they’d actually come out and tell people to cut the grains and reduce the carbs, there’d be no more “look-at-all-these-fat-people-we-need-to-support-them-and-show-them-the-error-of-their-ways-or-understand-that-it’s-not-their-fault-because-they-have-an-illness”.

      You make a good point. Forty/fifty years ago, it was NOT alright to be fat because it was so abnormal. The fat person was truly shunned because they were viewed as a circus novelty. Of course, the government stepped in and shot the norm all to hell, didn’t they?

      Why are people like you and I so different? Why aren’t we the ones sitting on that stage complaining that we have the right to be treated without prejudice? Why are we the ones that searched and found the solution BEFORE it got out of control? Must be our priorities of health and image.

  14. Janne

    PJ, I feel your pain and I applaud your honesty in expressing your feelings. Too bad others won’t listen, or even just LOOK at the change in us wheat-freers, and go for it! I am in my fourth wheat-free month and surrounded by wheat-addicts, including my husband who had a serious heart attack a year ago and could probably benefit more than me from dumping the wheat (and regaining his trim waist line). Although by association he is eating less wheat since I am not using it at all. And he went as far as giving away and throwing out EVERY single wheat product in the house – aside from his 18 grain sprouted bread, LOL!

    • PJ

      Janne, all I ever ask is that someone listen and try it. If they’re not interested, they can say so and ‘nough said. The frustration comes into play when they keep complaining and asking me what to do and think I may come up with a different solution. I know how hard it is to live with a wheat addict. I lost my husband to heart disease a couple years ago.

  15. Benboom

    If this is even a truthful post (I wonder) I’d say this is a case of the pot calling the kettle black.

    • PJ

      Something tells me I may have hit a nerve. I don’t expect everyone to like what I said, but the anger here tells me that there’s something deeper going on.

    • Benboom

      This post was a reply to the now-deleted troll post from the supposed MD. It was not meant to refer to any comments that remain online; I can see how, taken out of context, it might be a rather strange thing to say.

        • Phillis

          Thanks Dr. Davis for taking care of that matter! PJ, as I posted earlier, YOU ROCK! I’m sorry that that person was so rude. I really think that people like that have a real problem and it is probably themselves! Some folks just don’t have enough to do I suppose, sigh.

          • PJ

            Thanks, Phyllis. When I first read that, my first thought was “Wow! major wheat psychosis!” Then later, after I thought about it for a while, I realized it was probably some troll with personal issues of his own. Interesting how he focused on psychological issues and lap band surgery as related to obesity. I’m thinking maybe he was the patient, not the doctor. I’ve known a lot of doctors in my life and, in spite of the fact that some of them can be holy terrors, not a one of them would have behaved like that. Thanks for all the encouraging kind words you’ve had to say. I’m glad you liked this post. I’m glad Dr. Davis asked me for the uncensored version. Thank you Dr. Davis.

            It’s been interesting to hear the different reactions to what many of us are already thinking and feeling but dare not say out loud.

          • Phillis

            PJ you are so welcome! It is one thing to disagree and POLITELY voice your dissent but it is entirely another thing to just out and out attack someone like that person did. Especially when he didn’t know you at all well. Civility doesn’t cost a dime and goes a long way to getting our points across and knowledge increased without resorting to crass attacks that benefit or educates no one. Bless you for loving people enough to want to tell them the truth but until they are truly ready to hear it we (unfortunately) have to be prepared for them to fight it. Most people who have had weight or weight related issues are so confused by all of the information and versions out there that they don’t know what or who to trust. They have been told so many different things over the last several decades that I don’t blame them too much for being confused. Been there myself even tho I’ve studied human nutrition for decades. But thankfully there are many clear voices (thank you Dr. Davis!) out there who are patiently and consistently rising to the top and they are target on for their information both observationally and clinically AND their true goal is to facilitate the return to natural health for all people. It is frustrating right now but I think that eventually the true diet for humans will eventually come out on top. BTW – did any of you hear that Norway has run out of butter because of all of the people who are low-carbing/ going grain free?!!! Hahahahahaha! How sweet it is!!!!

          • Lauren Olsen

            Please excuse the double reply, but somehow my first reply ended up in the wrong place.
            Phillis wrote, “Most people who have had weight or weight related issues are so confused by all of the information and versions out there that they don’t know what or who to trust. They have been told so many different things over the last several decades that I don’t blame them too much for being confused.” That is where I am at. When I was in my 20′s I had IBS, but I have not had any symptoms of that in the last 20 years. I have also struggled with my weight. I remember back to my 20′s when a boyfriend criticized my size at 157. Which is a good weight for my height. I have tried many diets. I am 52 years old I was diagnosed with MS at 32 years old and in that respect for the MS, I am doing fabulous! I have been on multiple rounds of steroids over the years (some IV, and prednisone). In 1992 I was 20 pound away from my goal weight and then was diagnosed with MS put on Steroids, and gained an immediate 30 pounds, that was almost 20 years ago. In the beginning of this year, I did the HCG drops and lost 22 pounds and 27 inches. I still have 60- 70 # to loose. I am almost through reading the Wheat Belly book, but then my wheat loving self thinks of others that are skinny and they eat wheat, what is the deal?

          • There’s this thing called “genetics” that accounts for marked differences in responses.

            But take, say, 100 people who go wheat-free, and the majority will enjoy marked weight loss. ALL will enjoy some health benefit, whether perceived or not.

  16. PJ

    Nick, I’m sorry you found the expression of what I feel so upsetting. I think you may have missed the point that I never actually say these things to anyone; they are just what I feel and wish I could say.

    Never said I was an MD, you did. I hope your patients find you as compassionate and helpful as you would like to be. They all need compassion and help, not enabling by accepting the “need” for surgery.

    Best to you.

  17. P. G.

    PJ, I totally understand your frustration! I’m a nurse and have gone through the same thing with friends and patients in a variety of situations, not just diet related. I also get that you’re just expressing your feelings and that these are not things you say to people to their face. For that, I don’t think you deserve criticism. On the other hand, I agree with the poster who said that often the people who refuse to change their ways really are struggling with things that are much deeper. The more I live and the more I see, the more convinced I am that a bad diet is an addiction just like nicotine, alcohol, or drugs. If only it were as simple as just seeing the light! Unfortunately it’s a vicious cycle, as the things that make it hard for people to change their dietary/exercise habits are also the same things that are made worse by a bad diet and lack of exercise, such as depression or hunger or fatigue. I’ve given up wheat and sugar several times in my life, briefly, and felt like a million bucks. No one can know that feeling of wellness unless they’ve experienced it, so for any newbie here reading, really, it’s true! You feel light and bright and energetic and just overall happy. Yet here I am, back to eating Trader Joe’s choco covered biscottis and swilling down sweetened cranberry juice . . . what happened? I keep falling off the wagon. The drive for familiar comfort foods is just very, very strong. Maybe we need a 12 Step program. :-)

    • PJ

      P.G., I think we do need a WA 12 step program! Seriously. If it became a real thing, maybe people would take it seriously. Imagine this issue being taken seriously by the masses! sigh.

      Don’t worry about falling off the wagon. Each wheat free day you have just makes you stronger. My oopses are getting fewer and further between. The trick is not to beat yourself up about it. I know people that feel so guilty about a slip that they use it as an excuse to give up. You don’t strick me as that kind of person, tho. You sound strong and aware.

      Stay strong!

    • CindyH

      “No one can know that feeling of wellness unless they’ve experienced it.”
      This is so true! And what I feel so sad about (and passionate about sharing) is that I was raised to believe all of the low-fat, calories in/calories out, I have no willpower because I can’t lose weight crap. I beat myself up for years for not being able to stick with a diet … and now going wheat free find hey, guess what? It wasn’t me after all! THAT is why I want my friends to just give this a try … because I think it will set them free from the same hamster-cage I was in. It’s not necessarily EASY but it sure is SIMPLE. Cut the wheat and see what happens.

      • PJ

        Snap! You said it Cindy . . . it may not be easy but it is very simple. Nothing worth achieving is easy. But I think eliminating grains from your diet is a lot easier than counting calories or points and trying to jog 5 miles a day while starving and putting up with constant cravings. As you say, JUST TRY IT! What in the world would you have to lose by just trying?

    • Pam

      I too, am a nurse. I have done the carb free thing off and on for years. Knowing I felt better but kept falling off. Then, earlier this year my HbA1C came back super high, I felt terrible. The doctor says “You are diabetic.” Some kind of switch turned on and I thought “I REFUSE to be diabetic.” I started wheat free, carb free from that day on. Now, it was not easy. I am addicted to carbs like everyone else. The second thing that helped was dealing with a 32 year old non-compliant diabetic in the ER with a Charcot Foot (google a picture). It was so bad that she has to be in a wheelchair and can no longer stand to work….and she didn’t really get it (“Look what this awful disease did to me”). I looked at my pedicured foot in a cute sandal and I REFUSE to be diabetic with neuropathy and all the complications. If I even think of a carb goodie or someone says “everything in moderation” and “complex carbs are good for you” I think of that Charcot Foot, all red, swollen and the size of a bowling ball. NO THANK YOU. There is no such thing as moderation, it is NONE. My HbA1C is now normal, I am on no medications and for the first time, I am in control of my health destiny. I REFUSE to be bullied into eating things that I know are bad for ME. I too have to go against the medical grain. I am with medical people all day, every day. It is very hard. I am a cheese omelet in a sea of oatmeal, toast, muffins, and boat loads of carb-laden yogurt at our daily breakfast table at the hospital. I can only lead by example….and buy some darn cute shoes.

      • PJ

        I am so hugging you right now, Pam! There is absolutely nothing I can add to what you said so powerfully! BTW, love your shoes, they’re adorable. Love the color of your polish.

      • Well said, Pam.

        I hear you on the hospital staff thing. While I am friends with many people in hospitals, the level of ignorance on health and nutrition in hospitals is nothing short of incredible. Hospitals are places for sickness, not for health, and healthy practices are only important insofar as they help recovery from a hospitalization.

        • Boundless

          Dr.D: I hear you on the hospital staff thing. … the level of ignorance on health and nutrition in hospitals is nothing short of incredible.

          That highlights one of the horrors of the present situation – the untenable position that health care workers are in once they are wheat aware.

          A family member is a retired nurse. Her positions included being DON for extended care facilities. I’m glad she is not doing that now, because she’d be in direct conflict with corporate management, consulting physicians and dietary staff. Local management was in some cases roguish, and might have been supportive, but that’s rare.

          Most of the residents are there because of wheat.
          Some of them could leave if they got off it.
          Almost all would benefit in getting off it.
          Facilities at least need to offer it (as they do other specialized diets, such as alleged diabetic).

          How does a nurse handle this?
          Send a copy of your book to a corporate liability lawyer?

          She still does volunteer work at a local facility, and has been chatting with the retired farmers about wheat. They watched it morph, and don’t find the story incredible. If she even unintentionally incites a resident revolt, I image that management will “resolve” the problem by kicking her out.

          • Phillis

            Hey all! PJ, YOU ROCK GIRL! You are right on with all of this. I too have been in your shoes and wish I could say these very things. Especially with my family and all of their wheat related illnesses. The sad part is that a bunch of them are in the medical field and those are the ones that think that I’m crazy even tho I’ve turned around my weight, pre-diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis and some assorted hormonal issues after a 110 pound weight loss (part of it wheat/grain-free, the first part low-carb). Since I’m not certified in any of their fields they just blow me off. It is really hard to see them gaining more weight, getting diabetes or dealing with existing diabetic complications, and having heart surgery but after getting slammed for offering advice I’ve learned that when they complain I’ll ask them “Do you really WANT to turn things around? Would you really DO whatever it takes?”. If they hem and haw at that point and refuse to look me in the eye I just tell them that when they are really serious and finally get tired of being sick and tired just ask me then again and I’ll share with them freely what it took to turn my health around. It truly hurts me to see people sick but they are sovereign beings and must make their own choices even tho it is frustrating and heartbreakingly sad to watch in the meantime.

      • Paul

        Your so right about the “moderation” thing- people that say that make me laugh.
        Would you give peanuts (in moderation) to someone with a deadly peanut allery?
        How about alcohol, in moderation, to an alcoholic? The problem, I think. semantically, is that we even consider grains a food at all. Once we have called these substances a food, most people believe that they truly are foods. Well, we can call rocks food (should we eat rocks in moderations), but that doesn’t make it so!

  18. P. G.

    Oh, wanted to ask – what about dairy?? I gave up dairy many times along with the wheat and sugar and definitely am convinced that dairy is just as bad as the other two.

    • PJ

      In my opinion, I think if you don’t have a problem with dairy, go ahead. Personally, I don’t drink dairy unless I can get my hands on raw product. I eat some plain yoghurt, cottage cheese or imported raw milk cheeses almost every day. I think if you think you may have a problem with dairy, err on the side of caution and try eliminating it and see if it makes a difference.

    • Dairy is a problem for many people, PG, but not everybody. But it is a problem for enough people that the issue comes up fairly frequently.

      Note that, however, unlike wheat, dairy products are not addictive, contain no lectins that disable normal intestinal barriers, and lack many of the other adverse effects of wheat. It is primarily an immune/allergic/lactose intolerance issue.

  19. kateryna

    My paleo nutritionist and I discussed this very thing and she said “you can throw them a lifeline when they are drowing and it’s up to them to grab it.” You can toss it to them several times, and if they ignore it each time they will drown. Is that your fault? No. So don’t beat yourself up about it.

    Don’t we tell our kids to deal with the consequences of their behaviour? Well people just have to deal with the consequences of their decisions. You can only do so much. And you have to know when to stop enabling them and hope that they will someday follow your example.

    • PJ

      Perfect sentiment, Kateryna! It is truly a lifeline, isn’t it? I have to say, after being able to vent my frustrations, it put things in perspective for me. You can’t teach someone to walk if they’re not willing to take that first step. Some people want sympathy, not solutions.

        • PJ

          I would question why they would opt for sympathy instead of a solution. That, to me, would indicate an issue that needs to be addressed.

          • Marie

            Absolutely. And unfortunately, each of us have issues which prevent us from being the best we can be, from time to time. I understand the frustration you’ve expressed in the original post. My concerns is that indulging it without some awareness that we may just as easily fail to make an change in our lives (due to fear, habit, or whatever else is at the root of a problem) as those who frustrate us only serves to breed discord and stubbornness on both sides of an issue. We cannot control others, not even with care and love.

        • PJ

          Marie, you do understand that I’ve never actually said any of these things to anyone, don’t you? This letter is simply a way of expressing my feelings after experiencing a high level of frustration during a period of time of hearing excuse after excuse from several people that keep asking me what to do about the situations they’re in. I’m much more empathetic than is expressed in this letter. Just consider this blog my dresser drawer.

  20. Paul

    I went nearly completely wheatless in October after seeing Dr. Davis on Fox News and had no pangs for wheat. I have lost my belly along with about 15 pounds. I was never heavy, but the last few years had gained those 15 pounds mostly in my belly. I sleep much better and feel great now.
    Thank you Dr. Davis. I love your book and tell everyone about my great success.
    I wish I could get my wife to join me. She needs to lose 50 pounds, but is unwilling to go wheatless. She just opened a bag of pretzels…oh God!!! Any suggestions on how to deal with a spouse who knows she needs to lose weight, but continues to eat wheat?

    • Oh, boy. Tough issue, Paul.

      This question seems to be coming up more and more often: One partner understands and experiences the benefits of wheat elimination, but the other partner is so hopefully addicted that they cannot or will not see the light.

      I don’t have a nice, pat answer except to set the example and hope that they observe just what you’ve accomplished. I also hope that, as this message gains wider mainstream coverage in the media, your wife might hear about this question on the news, a women’s magazine, etc. and realize that you were right all along.

    • Boundless

      Paul: … Any suggestions on how to deal with {darn near anyone} who knows {they} need to lose weight, but continue to eat wheat?

      How about: ask them how they would handle helping someone else who was addicted to tobacco, booze or drugs. Yes, wheat is very nearly as serious a psychological and physiological addiction. The withdrawal period and intensity may not be as severe.

      • Marie

        I think that might be a question most of us here should ask ourselves. When has telling someone they’re an addict ever worked? It’s akin to telling them they are wrong, their way of life is wrong, their beliefs are wrong, etc. It’s difficult to watch loved ones suffer, but planting seeds of hope (and knowledge) that grow of their own accord seems to work on occasion, albeit slowly.

        • CindyH

          Marie, I think you are right. I’m just determined to be the best example for my family … and hope they will choose to come along for the ride!

        • PJ

          “When has telling someone they’re an addict ever worked? It’s akin to telling them they are wrong, their way of life is wrong, their beliefs are wrong, etc.”

          I have to respond to this, Marie. Telling someone that they’re an addict is actually what does work. Interventions for drugs and alchol are based on this. Until they are told that they are addicts, addicts think no one knows. Do you think addicts are best left to their own devices until they figure it out for themselves?

          • Marie

            “Telling someone that they’re an addict is actually what does work.”

            Works how? In what way? Works to get them sober? To push them into recovery? Addicts don’t typically hang on the word of those around them unless they need to in order to get their drug of choice, and that is simply as a means to an end goal – the drug. To assume that the naming of their problem will somehow launch them into action is based on a faulty assumption of self-importance.

            Again, it’s arrogant to think that the addict doesn’t know they’re an addict until one of us edumacated folk enlighten them. (If everyone just thought like we did, then the world would be perfect, right.) They know, deep down, they’ve got issues. When they can’t keep a job, a relationship, a roof over their head, when they lose friends, family, and all self-respect, it’s pretty clear (at least to all the sober folks in their wake) that they’re addicted and it’s ruining their life/health. But the substance used interferes with logical thought processes and they live in denial. They avoid facing the wreckage of their addiction by typically using even more. Does telling the meth head, ‘Hey, you’re addicted’ suddenly make them drop the pipe and enroll in a program? I’d wager at least in 99% of the cases, it’s just not going to snap them into recovery. Go ahead and tell them, but don’t expect miracles or even progress. And if one does happen, it’s the addict that deserves the credit, not the person who voiced it to them.

            AA meetings aren’t full of people being told they’re alcoholics, they reach that conclusion on their own. I think addicts need help getting sober, but whatever help they get will only benefit them when they are ready to accept it – just like anyone else, addicted or not. Sharing our knowledge – great stuff. Judging others because they don’t yet have or want our knowledge – sanctimonious and unhelpful.

  21. Coleen C.

    I’m a one-woman band-wagon for “Wheat Belly”! Since I read the book in early Oct., I have given several copies to people who were interested in the concept. One was a neighbor lady whom I had just met and thanked me because she is feeling so much better. I told 3 different people at church yesterday and a woman in the elevator. (I’m not randomly approaching people, they open the door by mentioning their health issue!) To those that aren’t interested in this approach, maybe planting the seed is a start. After all, I was trying to get off the wheat for over a year and didn’t actually stop eating it until I read in Wheat Belly about the addictive nature of wheat! As for myself, I only have a few pounds to lose, but at my age (65) find that the gluten-free foods are just as bad as the wheat. I can only lose weight if I get off of all high-starch foods. I think of the GF foods as a temporary crutch (like substituting methadone for heroin) and I’m “using” less and less of them. I did also discover a sensitivity to dairy when I stopped eating wheat. My doctor, who is a biochemist, said that eating gluten/wheat blocked the effects of the lactose intolerance (most of the time). Has this happened to anyone else? Soy is also very bad for me. So I’m pretty much Paleo these days.

    • Nice analogies, Coleen!

      The most common situation I see is that presumed lactose intolerance improves with wheat elimination, though it is not that common. I’ve not witnessed the reverse, however. But nothing surprises me anymore when it comes to the effects of the evil grain!

      • Phillis

        Hey Coleen! I didn’t have the dairy issue but I did find that I really don’t tolerate a lot of carbs tho so don’t drink milk as a beverage. I’ll use it in small amounts in recipes tho. I had thought about trying the gluten-free items a while back but something always stopped me. I’m glad now that I didn’t because of their effect on blood sugar. It doesn’t take many carbs to make me gain weight. I can do sweet potatoes, beets, carrots and peas on occasion (and I DO mean on occasion) but not much more than that or the ol’ scale goes up and I usually don’t feel well either. Gives me rapid heart beat usually and I’ll feel nauseous. I didn’t know how carbohydrate intolerant I was until I was serious about losing weight and started eliminating them. .

  22. Tori


    I hear your pain. I am soooo tired of people not making choices that would most likely help their health issues because “they don’t want to make such big changes yet”. ARE YOU SERIOUS? I do not want to become one of those people that doesn’t get invited to events because they think all I am going to talk about is health but I also don’t want to let these people off the hook. I need to figure out where I can stand that is welcoming to people who are ready to hear the message. I have a cousin who is depressed and has ADHD. Her mom says, “you know us….we like the meds”. Well, her “meds” are requiring more “meds” because of the side effects they cause. I have sent her here and to other sites. I have spoken to her and her mother and just asked them to give it a few weeks. That’s all I can do. I have to let it go for my own sanity.

    Thanks for the good read. It helped me to let go of some of my own frustrations!

    • PJ

      You’re right, Tori, there are people out there that actually prefer the meds . . . because it’s easier. Sometimes people will say “You know, what you’re saying makes so much sense! I never thought of it that way. Holy mackeral, that is amazing information! But . . . I’m not sure I want to make such a HUGE lifestyle change”. (SIGH) Those are the ones I leave alone until they’re ready, if ever.

  23. P. G.

    Dr. Davis, thanks for the info about the dairy. I don’t think I’m lactose intolerant because it’s not GI distress, and I don’t have a true allergy, so am not sure how to describe what I have. Dairy gives me instantaneous, copious mucous in my throat and makes me lethargic and depressed. I know it’s the dairy because several times I’ve cut it out (by itself) and noticed a difference within a couple of days. Is that a sensitivity? Now I drink almond milk if I want something milky, but do truly miss cheese (and there are NO substitutes). I wouldn’t mind having some yogurt on hand but would have to do soy yogurt, and I’m not sure what to think about soy either as I’ve heard it can suppress thyroid (not something I need right now in middle age). I have twin toddlers and needless to say, I’m barely dragging my behind around these days. Something has to change. Oh, and because of the babies, dairy has made a comeback in our house. Hubby is also a vegan so there is lots of soy too. He had a panic attack when I told him about your book because he thought I was going to pull wheat products away from him and he already has nothing to eat! (his choice, of course).

    Sigh. It’s really hard unless you are a person who loves meat and salad.

  24. I Wazere

    Good post PJ :)
    I found this site just today after listening to the conversation Dr Davis had with Kim Greenhouse.

    Just wanted to suggest to those who have digestive problems related to dairy, try using a good probiotic for at least a month. I was at the point where I couldn’t consume any dairy whatsoever. After eliminating all dairy while taking probiotics for two months, I can now tolerate some dairy.

    Probiotics are live microorganisms which your body may be lacking for a wide variety of reasons. Anyone interested can google “probiotic”.


    • PJ

      Wow, this was quite a post to see if this is your first visit! LOL

      I agree, Irwin, I personally think everyone should be taking a probiotic. Good insurance. My favorite is Primal Defense by Garden of Life. There are a lot of good brands out there and rotating can be a good idea.

      Welcome to “Belly Club”! Good to have you.

  25. PJ

    Dr. Davis says:
    December 15, 2011 at 2:08 am
    Hey, PJ–

    If I haven’t already done so, I want to thank you for both allowing me to publish your “letters” and sharing your wonderful, heartfelt, and genuine thoughts with everyone.

    You are a gem. Thank you.

    It takes one to know one, Dr. D. And you are very welcome and thank YOU. It was fun . . . and very therapeutic. Good to know I’m not the only one out there that has had these thoughts and feelings. XOXO

  26. Lauren Olsen

    Phillis wrote, “Most people who have had weight or weight related issues are so confused by all of the information and versions out there that they don’t know what or who to trust. They have been told so many different things over the last several decades that I don’t blame them too much for being confused.” That is where I am at. When I was in my 20’s I had IBS, but I have not had any symptoms of that in the last 20 years. I have also struggled with my weight. I remember back to my 20’s when a boyfriend criticized my size at 157. Which is a good weight for my height. I have tried many diets. I am 52 years old I was diagnosed with MS at 32 years old and in that respect for the MS, I am doing fabulous! I have been on multiple rounds of steroids over the years (some IV, and prednisone). In 1992 I was 20 pound away from my goal weight and then was diagnosed with MS put on Steroids, and gained an immediate 30 pounds, that was almost 20 years ago. In the beginning of this year, I did the HCG drops and lost 22 pounds and 27 inches. I still have 60- 70 # to loose. I am almost through reading the Wheat Belly book, but then my wheat loving self thinks of others that are skinny and they eat wheat, what is the deal?

  27. Tim

    IMO, PJ’s letter is perfectly worded and appropriate for someone who has tried over and over and over again to help people who are basically too weak to help themselves. I had a very similar situation with my sister a few years ago and actually did send THAT letter. No, she hasn’t changed, but I feel better about how I relate to her knowing how she knows I feel about the situation. And, she has stopped expecting me to “save” her, which has taken a huge burden off of myself and the other members of our family.

    A letter like PJ’s will work for some people and not work for others, and that is perfectly fine. Could she lose a relationship with some of those folks? Probably. Is it worth it? I say, “Yes”. This is no different than enabling an alcoholic or drug abuser. You do all you can to help and if that doesn’t work, get out! If you can’t help them, it’s not fair that you go down with them. Then you’re no good to the rest of your friends and family who care about you.

    The best part, I believe is that she has a better sense of peace around the situation. This letter is more for her health than for theirs, again, IMO.

  28. Boundless

    Some responses, to this plainly identified thread about venting frustration, have needlessly but correctly pointed out that castigation is rarely an effective way to generate real results (although sometimes it is).

    As regards getting the wheat message out, the most effective thing to do is … whatever is the most effective thing to do. The challenge is that the “thing” is apt to be specific to each individual.

    The range of responses I’ve encountered run from immediate diet changes, based on a short email even before ordering the book, up to declining to borrow a copy being handed to them (despite a history of productive conversations about nutrition).

    When approached about the book, or wheat, or low carb, you can usually expect to encounter resistance. Tailoring your approach requires some skill in classifying the source(s) of the resistance.

    You cannot use the same approach with everyone; well, you can, but with less satisfactory results. What I recommend is considering each individual, umm, individually. Plan ahead. Have a Plan B. Since when does Plan A ever work anyway?

    Sources of Resistance:

    Trauma: Always keep in mind that the typical wheat eater is an addict who is entirely unaware that they probably have a textbook DSM-IV 304.90 dependency. Trying to wrap their brains around that unwelcome bit of news may well prevent any other messages about wheat from getting through.

    Apocalyptic: “You mean to say that a major component of reality (government diet priorities) is an illusion or even a fraud? 43% of the food at the market is poisoned? I’m sorry, but that’s a bit too much. I’ll keep popping my blue pills, thank you all the same.”

    Skeptic: “If this were something I didn’t know about, I’d already know about it. So you’re saying that the same FDA that banned Red Dye No.2 on questionable evidence is ignoring a `food’ that amounts to a well-documented delayed-action WMD?” Yep, that’s what we’re sayin’. This particular frog has been brought to a boil VERY slowly.

    The above 3 responses are enough to prevent further cognition in most people, but the remainder could prevent you from even getting that far …

    No Sale: People are used to being sold and solicited. They hate being sold and/or asked to donate. They are highly likely to assume you are selling something or want something.

    I’ve Already Got a Religion: If you are too much the evangelist for Post Modern Paleo, expect more than few infidels.

    Guilt Gamer: “… and my religion lets me sin, as long as I confess it and cough up an offering. So I plan to keep eating wheat and feeling guilty about it.”

    Diet Weary: “This looks like another diet I’d hate, requires too much hassle, I couldn’t stay on, and won’t deliver what it promises anyway.”

    Rebellious: “I’ve been told what to eat all my life, and intend to do as I please.”

    Offended: “You’re implying I have a wheat belly.” The very title of the book does not work in your favor here, and you’re going to have to be diplomatic if you suspect a chance of triggering this response.

    I could probably make some recommendations on how to anticipate and forestall each of these forms of resistance, but that would be contrary to the spirit of this thread, and readers who could use the advice would never find it in this blog format.

    • MJ

      Wow, this is excellent, Boundless. I would add one more response I’ve run into, which can either be spoken or implied through the glazing over of the eyes.

      Your Problem, Not Mine: “Everyone is different, and while you seem to have a problem with wheat, I’ve been eating it all my life and it doesn’t bother me at all.”

      The person often is overweight or obese, with IBS, allergies, diabetes, insomnia, acid reflux, etc.

  29. Wendy

    Awesome letter PJ!!! I”ve gotten into so many discussions (that turn into arguments) with people about this. I was giving a friend praise on facebook the other day because she said she was going to take wheat out of her diet. Another friend commented “carbs in moderation are fine”. OMG!!! Wake up and smell the coffee moron and do some research before you make a moronic comment like that!!!

    I have a friend that found out she had Celiac disease a few years ago and that got me to start researching it a bit more. It actually helped me to make another friend realize that she most likely had Celiac disease too.

    Anyway…here here on telling it like it is!!! I applaud you!!!

  30. Liz Carbine

    What sorts of things cause the above mentioned “disruption of circadian variation of cortisol”? I have been eating a wheat free diet for over 3 weeks and I haven”t shed a single pound. Is the time frame not been long enough? I also became quite the runner last year and ran every day, about 2-3 miles for over 3 months and didn”t shed a single pound. I was diagnosed with a small pituitary tumor over 17 years ago and was told I probably had PCOS around the same time…are these conditions that can disrupt weight loss? If so, very frustrating as there are no real good or cheap ways to really battle these issues. Bah! You know what is even MORE frustrating than friends and family who do not want to heed help and advice??? Practicing strict health policies for yourself for YEARS with no help in weight loss…awe…so is life.

    • Hi, Liz–

      Given your pituitary history, not to mention PCOS, you really need an in-depth assessment of pituitary function, in particular. Your answers may all lie here.

      Wheat elimination and other health practices are powerful, but they cannot overcome situations like hypopituitarism.

  31. Robert

    I loved this letter! Whether it was actually said, or not, people need a wake up call and need to get offended in order get shocked back into reality.

    Going wheat free is EASY. It’s just the thought of it that is hard for some people. But thoughts are just thoughts and you get to choose what thoughts you pay attention to.

    I dropped wheat as if it were arsenic laced into cookies or sandwiches that I had been eating.

    When you KNOWINGLY consume something that is bad for you, you are choosing to let your partner bury you and, you are choosing to deprive your children of their parents, and your parents of their children. THAT is the choice that you are making, people. Start planning your funeral, because you sure the heck aren’t planning for a long and healthy life.
    I have been fat and sick for most of my adult life because I didn’t know any better, and I thought it was my fault for being weak. Now I know better, and the results that I have seen by ditching wheat are astounding. It’s been 8 days, and I am telling everyone I care about, about this.
    There are no excuses!!! Letting go of wheat is much more painless than being sick or dying.
    I applaud you PJ for putting that out there!!