Wheat-liberated teen

Wheat Belly Blog reader Heather left this wonderful comment about her teenager’s experience with wheat-freedom:

I am very fortunate. I stumbled upon Mark Sisson’s blog in August of this year and found myself unable to stop reading. I started the “Primal” lifestyle that day. Grains were the first thing to go.

After a week of living this way, my 17 year-old son asked me what I was doing that was making such a difference in my mood and energy level. After explaining it to him, he immediately asked if he could try it too.

Neither of us have looked back since. His acne is gone, his energy level is incredible, he lost 30 pounds that neither of us thought he had to lose, his muscle mass is increasing by leaps and bounds, and he is out performing all of the school athletes that he used to be jealous of.

What is really funny is that he is taking a Health class and Culinary class for his senior year. I hear complaints every weekday about how “misguided” (edited version of what he really calls it) the information he gets in his health class is. He is continually arguing, in a respectful way, with his teacher. He answers the questions on tests the way he has to in order to get a good grade, but he knows that the information is wrong. He also complains about having to taste the baked goods in culinary class in order to get a good grade. On those days he always feels terrible in the evening. He needs no more proof that this way of life is healthy.

I am so happy that he will never have to experience the health problems that I did before I discovered what poison wheat is. He gets to experience good heath from an early age!

(Mark Sisson is one of the leading proponents of the Paleo-type movement. Wheat elimination has been one of their principal concepts.)

I experienced something similar with my son while in high school: Arguing with health class teachers, all of whom agreed that “healthy whole grains” were an absolute requirement for overall health. Does it mean that our wheat-free empowered teens gets F’s on their report cards for expressing their wheat-free, anti-grain opinions?

I’ll take an F on a report card any day in exchange for their genuine health and high performance.

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23 Responses to Wheat-liberated teen

  1. damaged justice says:

    I might answer questions “wrong” to pass a class, but I would never allow anyone to force food down my throat. That would absolutely be a line in the sand.

  2. Sandra says:

    What if he tells him he is gluten intolerant? They couldn’t make him do something that would hurt him, could they?

  3. mommaofmany says:

    Your son has an allergy to wheat. The school can not make him eat it for a grade. I would take that up with the principal. Good for him for discovering the truth about food early in life!

    • Heather says:

      We have had many discussions on the subject of his culinary class. Usually he finds ways to just avoid eating any of the baked goods. There have only been two times that it became a real issue. He has asked that I let him handle the situation, so I have. He is 17 now, he needs to make his own decisions on how to handle situations. When or if it becomes such a problem that I really feel I need to step in, I will.

      • Karyn says:

        Put it this way: If he were vegetarian, would they require him to eat meat? If he were Jewish or Muslim, would they require him to eat hot dogs or other things made with pork? Do they force overweight or diabetic or those simply trying to cut back on sugar to eat desserts? Few things are as personal as one’s choice to control what goes into one’s body. Maybe discussing some analogous situations like these will help him think of ways to assert himself in a thoughtful, prepared way.

        • Dr. Davis says:

          Excelent analogies, Karyn.

          Yet they will accuse parents of something close to child abuse when kids avoid “healthy whole grains.” I believe our best protection will be to spread the word that, not only are”healthy whole grains” not, they are destructive and should be classified in the same category as cigarettes and other overly harmful products.

  4. Janne says:

    Whoo-hoo to mom & teen – way to go

    • Heather says:

      Thank you! And thank you Dr. Davis for re-posting my response to your previous blog. What a nice surprise!

      • Dr. Davis says:

        Hi, Heather–

        And you should be very proud of your son.

        • Heather says:

          I am extremely proud of my son! He takes information from varying and often conflicting sources and decides what works for him. He could not care less what others think of him, except for his few close friends perhaps. Even then he is only concerned up to a point. He figures that if one of his friends pushes him to do something that he feels is harmful, he needs to reevaluate that friendship. I feel truly blessed that he has learned to be a critical thinker and not just follow the “herd” mentality like so many people do.

  5. Nina says:

    What a savvy sounding teenager. He seems mature, independent and cutting his own path away from peer group pressure and received opinion. Impressive work from both of you.

    Nina

  6. Lorraine says:

    My son is an alcoholic and he is also a chef. When he makes something with alcohol in it, he puts it in his mouth to taste it and spits it out. Maybe your son could ask if he could have a napkin to spit it into so that he doesn’t have to swallow it?

    • Heather says:

      I would have never thought of that. Thank you for the suggestion Lorraine. I will pass that along to him.

  7. damaged justice says:

    Wow:

    http://info.breadbeckers.com/kernel-of-truth/

    “With wheat, as well as other grains and gluten, receiving such bad press in the health food world and beyond, I will try, over the next few months, to address some of the arguments coming against the most nutrient dense food group God has given us. Since the facts are inexhaustible and I am continuously learning, I thought it best to present information in short segments instead of one long treatise. I know you may think I am biased, and perhaps I am, but for a reason. I assure you, I will tirelessly research the subject, as I have for more than 20 years, to get to the truth.”

    • Paul says:

      Nutrient dense food group? Did I read this correctly or are my eyes tricking me? You’ve got to be kidding…(but as Upton Sinclair said-”It is difficult to get a person to understand something when their very salary depends on them not understanding it”). So I guess that when someone is in the “bread business”, they would attempt to find any redeeming value in the product they are selling( reminds me of the tobacco ads of the past claiming the health benefits of smoking). I have nothing against anyone making a living, but to say that God gave us this nutrient dense food…, why would God have us go through all the processing of this grain in order for it to be digestible ( and I think even THAT is debatable), when there are so many other foods that require very little or no processing at all in order to digest it, and I might add, foods that are TRULY nutrient dense.

  8. Jenny H says:

    Heather, I think it’s great that you were able to make a positive impression on your teenage son, and without having to tell him what to do! Congratulations to you both for making good choices for yourselves, I hope more kids realize they must learn what is right for their own health and wellness. :)

  9. Iva says:

    Is there anyway that your son could alter the recipes in order to make them “diabetic friendly”? It might not be worth the effort since it’s just a high school culinary class, but it might be fun for him to alter these recipes to make them “friendly” to his body while doing something “politically correct” by calling it a diabetic recipe? Just a thought. :)

    • Dr. Davis says:

      Hi, Iva–

      Actually, all of the recipes I provide are “diabetic friendly,” meaning they do not increase blood sugar.

      The lack of a blood sugar effect is fundamental to all the recipes I develop and provide. So they should be usable “as is.”

      • Boundless says:

        Dr.D: > Actually, all of the recipes I provide are “diabetic friendly,”
        > meaning they do not increase blood sugar.

        Make that “authentically diabetic friendly”, in contrast to the “officially diabetic friendly” junk that is sold in the diabetic section of food stores. A casual glance at some ingredient lists for those products (which all too often includes wheat) tells me that they are not suitable for consumption by diabetics or any other humans.

        Diabetics need to have this message reinforced: the suppliers focusing on your dietary needs, are, by and large, criminally incompetent. Like the rest of us, you are on your own in deciding what the heck to eat.

  10. Leslie says:

    I have had a long journey that has finally resulted in my giving up wheat for good. It started with massive reduction in carbs a la Protein Power to deal with migraines, but the small amount of carbs remaining still had plenty of wheat (the headaches were vastly reduced but not eliminated). I’ve also been battling Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis for the past 12 years after the birth of my first child. I went from a bright, fit software engineer to a befuddled, fatigued mom. Even after declared “treated” (i.e. my TSH was “acceptable”), I was prone to brain fog, violent mood swings, insomnia, and plenty of fatigue. I probably have the equivalent of a degree in nutrition and thyroid at this point, but getting complete treatment for thyroid has been nearly impossible. I finally found an integrative medicine doc that added T3 to my regimin, which gave me a startling improvement, but never completely lifted the brain fog. Fast forward 2 more years of begging doctors to help, I saw the post from Dr. Eades on Wheat Belly. I downloaded the kindle version immediately, read the book over the next couple of days, and decided to eliminate wheat.

    The results have been miraculous. The brain fog has lifted, and I’m feeling hopeful and energized for the dirt time in over a decade. My adult acne is starting to be controlled. I have been having increasingly bad breakouts over the past few years, and it seems the smallest amount of wheat can triggere them for me. I have not needed to use my inhaler for exercise induced asthma or had an exercise migraine, even though winter has hit and the cold is my worst trigger and I’ve been quite active. My middle is slimmer. I had lost most of the 25 pounds I had gained with low carb, but had stalled. I also fought constantly with cravings until I eliminated wheat. It wasn’t the others carbs making me miserable, just the wheat. I now find I can have more non-wheat carbs on heavy activity days without any weight change than before with just low carb. I still have some way to go balancing my out of whack thyroid and adrenal hormones, but i’m now hopeful that I can regain my previous level of health.

    My husband quickly joined me in wheat-free eating. He has a classic case of wheat induced weight gain with various other symptoms, including reduced thyroid function. He is now returning to the man I remember (now that I have a functioning memory!) and the weight is dropping steadily.

    My son is the real story. He is 12 and severely undersized (4’6″, 60lbs). Not the typical description of a wheat addled pre-teen; overweight is way more common a story. He is also moody, angry, defiant, and anxious much of the time. I estimate that he ate more than 80% of his calories as carbs, mainly wheat based. He was the 3 year old you’d find behind the couch with a bag of cookies :) I actually had his pediatrician test him for celiac on a hunch, but the one antibody they tested for didn’t show positive and besides, and the doctor said, “he doesn’t have diarrhea.” Now it’s very difficult as a parent to restrict foods to an underweight child, given that every health professional consulted all said we just need to feed him more. No duh. Can you imagine seeing doctor after doctor about how your son is falling further and further behind and having them say he just needs to eat more? It’s amazing I wasn’t on the news for going postal. And this advise was from a 300+ pound endocrinologist who looked exhausted! He kindly offered to let me see his nutritionist after lecturing my son on how bacon was bad for him. Argh!

    After my success with wheat-free, I did what any good parent would do – I offered a bribe. An Xbox for 2 months of no wheat. He really wants an xbox, so he has been surprisingly compliant with the diet. My darling boy has returned to me. He is silly, loving, and calmer. He plays with his sister. He managed to pull a failing grade up to a C in his first semester of 6th grade science. I could tell just by the surly argumentative state he was in that he’d had wheat at a birthday party. He was actually trying to be good, just didn’t realize that chicken nuggets had bread on them. We have also finally found an endocrinologist who agreed to test him for growth hormone, and he is severely deficient (I will always wonder is the wheat did that, too). We have started GH therapy, and I’m truly glad we tested the diet first so now he will be on an optimal diet as the hormones kick in. I will bribe him as much as necessary to keep him on this diet. I hope that he will realize the benefits for himself before he’s grown and on his own.

    My daughter is 10 and a competitive gymnast. She completely understands the reasoning for carbs and wheat hurting your health, so her bribe was really just fairness because of the bribe to her brother! She has noticed a reduction in her winter eczema, and her fitness is excellent. She can’t wait for the trampoline mommy said she’d get after 2 months.

    I can’t thank you enough for writing this book, Dr. Davis. As a science minded girl, the well organized information has given me the ammunition to get my family’s health back. I am sad to not be able to convince all those that I love of the truth, but maybe the small dent I’ve made with my children will have some future ripple effects. My daughter’s friend is already lobbying her mom for more bacon ;). Please keep involved with your blog replies. It is so helpful to have consistent feedback when facing a wheat-addled world. Everyone, keep sharing your stories and stay strong. We can all help each other, and we’ll be the ones standing strong and healthy with brain power to spare!

  11. Debbie says:

    He does not have to taste the foods for a good grade! Find a doctor that will give him a note to take to school that he has a special diet and cannot consume wheat! Schools, by law, must provide for special diets and cannot require a student to ignore that special diet with the threat of a lower grade in class! It is the same thing as if they required a diabetic student on a restricted diet to eat cookies or candy as part of their grade!

  12. Sarah says:

    I am interested in starting the wheat belly diet. My son is already avoiding wheat because of allergies and I stumbled upon the wheat belly book while trying to find some healthier gluten free recipies (free of all those corn, tapioca and potato starches.) My concern is the weight loss aspect. My son is 13 and we are all vegetarian, he is already thin and I don’t want him to loose weight. Is this diet too low carb for teens?

    Thanks!

    • Dr. Davis says:

      Have your 13-year old son eat more meat, eggs, fish, poultry, full-fat cheese, vegetables, nuts, coconut products, avocados, etc. and get his carbs from fruit and the occasional starchy legume. There is NO need for wheat nor other grains in the human diet. This is a fiction of agribusiness.