Bread, paper, and other inedible objects

Olivia posted this incredible story of wheat-free release in the comments on this blog. Her story so powerfully encapsulates how far off course health can go from consuming this inedible thing called “wheat,” that I thought it was worth sharing with everybody:


I am a 41-year old busy mom and I have been wheat-free (and gluten-free) for 12 weeks. My results are dramatic! I found out about Wheat Belly from a friend. I looked it up on Amazon and started going wheat/gluten free the second I pressed the “buy” button! That was 12 weeks ago.


My history is a lifetime of typical outdoor allergies as well as many mild food allergies, IBS [irritable bowel syndrome], diarrhea, severe abdominal cramping, gas-bloating, water retention, swollen calves, mild depression, anxiety, high blood pressure, heart palpitations, acne and rosacea, asthma, body aches and joint pain, plantar fasciitis, and bursitis . . . all of which I thought were unrelated and just part of who I was.

Three months ago I was taking the following medications:
hydrochlorothiazide,
 amoxicillin for acne,
lorazepam for anxiety,
albuterol [for asthma]. I was also just about to make my appointment go back on an anti-depressant,
Effexor.

The first week off of wheat I had mild headaches—it was like I was withdrawing from an anti-depressant. I can’t imagine having a 5-day headache if I stop eating broccoli for a week!! By the end of the week I felt so different that I just started crying. I was sad for the amount of years that I had felt so bad . . . and in 6 days I felt SO great.

The first month I felt great, but I was tired. I started exercising after 1 week because my joint pain and hip pain had suddenly disappeared! I continued to exercise and was so shocked to actually be “sore” the next day. I hadn’t felt normal muscle soreness (that wasn’t an injury) in YEARS. The first 8 days I must have lost at least 5-7 pounds in water weight. I couldn’t believe it when I looked down and recognized my “normal sized” legs! I was tired during the day at first but after 6 weeks I found I no longer needed a nap. After week 9 my energy started to pick up dramatically.

I tested negative for celiac disease, which surprised me because I felt so much better that there MUST be something medically wrong with me. My doctor thinks I must be wheat-intolerant or gluten-intolerant but, as he put it, “There is no medication for it, so the treatment is to stay away from it.” I had to gradually wean off of the diuretic, as well as the acne medication, because my skin was too dry and my blood pressure was low. Also, my doctor had a shocked look on his face when I told him a few days ago that my inhaler and anxiety medication have remained UNTOUCHED for 12 weeks. After 2 weeks I couldn’t believe how well I could breathe—all my asthma was gone! My doctor told me “This is great. Just keep doing what you’re doing.” Next time I visit, I’m bringing him a copy of Wheat Belly.

After 3 months I have lost 14 lbs, dropping from 143 to 129 lbs! I am no longer bloated. I get hungry when I’m really hungry, maybe 4 hours after I’ve eaten (instead of 40 minutes!). I have tons of energy. I can work out in the morning, run errands and work during the day, and then cook dinner and still have energy for my kids after school and into the evening. I do this effortlessly now.

I am not anxious! At night, I have such restful sleep. Last time it was this restful I was on Effexor. Those are all reasons enough . . . but the most amazing thing that happened to me is that I am off 5 medications. FIVE! I never even thought this was a possibility. I am in shock and am so happy.

As far as my other issues:


• IBS – GONE

• Diarrhea – GONE

• Severe abdominal cramping – GONE

• Gas-bloating – GONE

• Water retention – GONE

• Swollen calves – back to normal!

• Mild depression – GONE

• Anxiety – GONE

• High blood pressure – GONE

• Heart palpitations – GONE

• Acne medications – GONE

• Rosacea – GONE

• Asthma – GONE

• Body aches and joint pain – still surprised they are GONE!

• Plantar fasciitis – GONE

• Bursitis – GONE

I do believe I have a true wheat/gluten intolerance/sensitivity. But even if I didn’t, I am staying away from this “wheat.” After 41 years of eating it, my body doesn’t like it anymore. I don’t even crave it even when it’s right in front of me. When I see cakes, rolls and bread, most of the time it looks no different to me than something inedible, like paper. It is just no big deal anymore. How good bread tastes is not worth going back to how bad I used to feel! I feel too good to ruin my health by eating wheat.

As a side note, and probably out of fear that I would be craving wheat, the first week I bought 2 bags of gluten-free pretzels, 1 box of gluten-free cookies, and 1 bag of chocolate covered gluten-free pretzels. Twelve weeks later, they remain unopened in my pantry. I choose other foods instead, like “no bake cookies” or a few squares of dark chocolate.

I had a dozen or so health issues that I never thought could be connected. My doctors didn’t help me at all. I read your book and helped myself. It was the wheat/grains/gluten after all. Thank you for writing this book, Dr. Davis. You changed my life!


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Comments & Feedback...

  1. What a great story! I agree 100% with all that lady wrote. I have been wheat free now for eight months and my life has completely turned around. I am so positive and ‘up’ these days that people must think I’m taking happy pills :)

  2. Thanks for sharing this. I am paying my 20 year old son to read your book. He loves his carbs but he is normal weight and in good health and so he doesn’t see the need to drop the wheat. I am going to offer to pay him to try and go without wheat for a week to see if his congestion clears up.

    After reading this…maybe I should give him a two week challenge so he can get past the withdrawal symptoms that so many people have. My younger son (18) and my husband are almost onboard.

    • Graham Hargrove

      Whatever it takes! My father, a GP, used the same tactic when my brother and I were very young. He said if we didn’t touch cigarettes by the time we were 20, he would give us $1000 and another $1000 at twenty-five. My brother and I are now 37 and 39 year old non- smokers, and my father maintains it was his best investment. Sometimes all you need is a catalyst – personally I think everybody owes it to themselves to do a wheat detox and observe the results. Just from this site, one sees how many revelations are gained when wheat abstinence is practiced.

      Incidentally, I wish my father would heed my advice about trying a couple of weeks off wheat. He is in fairly good health for 70, but lower energy and more joint pain than I would like to see. The wheat he does eat is mostly ground by my mother, and is red fife, an heirloom variety that (hopefully!) may escape some of the intensive and artificial hybridizations of the last 50 years or so.

      I suppose it’s a little like smoking organic tobacco, though…

      Eight months wheat free and counting, and it has changed my life so much. Good luck with your family!

  3. moreporkplease

    “a two week challenge so he can get past the withdrawal symptoms that so many people have”
    Great idea! Wheat is addictive and it definitely takes time to detox. Drinking broth and eating avocados helps replace missing electrolytes – but the detox requires patience and lots of support from your loved ones! So pay him well and lavish him with praise. :)

  4. Erika

    Dr. Davis,

    This is a great story! It is so inspiring to hear such positive results from simply cutting out wheat in ones diet! I recently read the book and am obsessed! I have had allergies and asthma my entire life and began the wheat-free lifestyle a couple of weeks ago.

    I have a few questions:
    1.) Is Psyllium Husk considered Wheat-Free?
    2.) Is Nutritional Yeast Wheat-Free?
    3.) Are there any “protein” or “energy” bars on the market you would suggest?
    4.) Are you familiar with Shakeology? What are your thoughts on that?

    I travel a lot for work and am always on the lookout for items that travel easily and do not need refrigeration in addition to the standard nuts, fruit, etc. . My mainstay in the past had always been energy bars, trail mix, and protein shakes while traveling, however I was curious if you have any suggestions for bar-type items I could purchase that fit the wheat-free lifestyle. Thank you!
    Erika

    • Kaylana

      Hi,
      Dr. Davis posted a recipe called “Trail Mix Bar” on Jan. 24th.
      All of the snack bars in my local area contain grain products in them. Not sure what’s available in your area.
      It might just be safer to make your own if you have time.
      Happy Trails!

    • Dede

      So glad you asked this – I was just at the grocery store yesterday searching for a wheat-free protein bar! No luck.

      • Janet

        LARABARS are pretty good for a chewy bar. Many of them just have a few clean ingredients, like the Coconut Creme Pie. You have to check the ingredients though. Chewy, sweet (but not too sweet) and dense. Check on the Larabar website. I believe they are cheaper than some of the fancier energy bars.

        • Barbwil

          I recently bought a box of Larabars at Sam’s club and do like them but they are high in carbs so I only eat 1/2 a day. They are cherry pie, apple, and cashew nut.

          • HS4

            Larabars also has a new line called Uber Larabars which have a lot of nuts in them. See http://www.larabar.com/faqs/view-all for some info (search for ‘sweet and salty’ to find the Uber bars – can’t search for Uber in English). There are 3 flavors I’ve seen: banana foster; apple pie and roasted nut. All are gluten free, sweet & salty, very good, about 1/2 carbs of other Larabars.

      • Erika

        Have you ever found them in stores or do you have to buy them online? Thanks for the heads-up, Ive never heard of these. I tried the Quest bars recently and was able to find them at QVC and they are really yummy, but Im not sure if they are wheat-free.

      • Boundless

        > … and a mixture of …

        You forgot the honey, which is a problem. It would be less of a problem if it were pure glucose, but ideally less sugars period. Had they used a little stevia for sweet, and something else to glue it together, I’d have been interested.

        Darn shame; there are a lot of bars on the market that are close to worthwhile, but they always seem to screw up something.

    • Quest Bars are wheat free, contain almost no carbs, and taste glood. Most important, they have received Dr. Davis’ approval. You must order them online. I use them and highly recommend them.

      • Linda

        I looked up Quest Bars online and they contain 25g carbs. Is this still on the Wheat Belly plan?

      • Erika

        I’ve scanned this Blog and haven’t been able to find where the Dr. approves Quest Bars, does anyone know where he discussed it? Please let me know. Yes. I found Quest bars at my local GNC and they are really yummy and come in tons of flavors. I’ve switched to them from ThinkThin bars which has too many sugar alcohols and gives me bloating. Plus. EH quest bars taste a lot better!

        • Boundless

          http://www.wheatbellyblog.com/2011/12/gretchens-cheat-day/comment-page-1/#comment-5886
          “Quest bars are as close as they come to a reasonably benign, low-carbohydrate bar. However, beware: horrendous gas. …”

          You can use Google to search this site more thoroughly than the local Search does. Restrict to domain wheatbellyblog.com, .e.g:
          “quest bar site:wheatbellyblog.com”

          I haven’t tried the QBs myself. Quest offers samplers. If you have a Vitamin Cottage nearby, they might have some.

          • Lynn

            I have recently purchased 2 sampler boxes of the the Quest bars on line. I am considering going wheat free and glad to know these are acceptable. I have tried all the flavors with none of the gas issues. They are sweetened with stevia and erithritol. The protein is whey based and the fiber is from plants and almonds. Yes they have 24 grams of carb, but they also have 17 grams of fiber and only 1 gram of sugar. They are extremely dense and take a while to eat. I usually microwave mine to soften.

    • Caitlin

      Ergh, clearly I just WANTED it to say that, lol. Was totally blind to the slices included. Nevermind! Don’t publish! :)

  5. Dede

    I love this story – amazing how such a small change can provide such dramatic results! Thank you for the motivation this morning!

  6. Erika

    Thank you Kaylana, yes I saw that recipe and am going to try them in the future, I just haven’t had time with so much traveling! The coconut curry bars look good however they contain agave which the doctor suggests opting out of as part of the diet. I’ve heard that the Quest bars are good, not sure if anyone knows much abut those.

  7. Geraldine

    As some one has just pointed out to me – white flour is bleached using Dioxin! People need to check the product and buy “unbleached” flour if they want to persist with eating wheat. How many other food products are polluted with toxic chemicals?

  8. margaret

    My sister 52 years old and using a walker lost 130 lbs in 12 months, my father 84 years old and crippled – so no exercise lost 77 lbs in 6 months. both by going wheat free. I have only lost 15 lbs in 6 months but I have not been totally wheat free. I have never lost weight in my adult life before. It is wonderful.

    • Dr. Davis

      Wow, Margaret: a collective 220+ pounds among the three of you!

      Could I interest you in telling more of your and your family’s story for my new Wheat Belly Cookbook? If so, and we use the story, the publisher will send you a copy of the cookbook (without charge).

  9. Marv

    Exactly, Olivia! It’s hard to imagine having a bland bagel or even pasta again. What I like is what we put ON those items and I can still have that.

    So we eat with utensils now instead of our fingers, big deal. I’m buying stock in a flatware company…

    Congratulations, Marv.

  10. Michelle G

    This is so awesome! So inspiring. Thank you for posting. I just started myself so I am hoping to see some results soon. I have all the weight related problems, diabetes 2, metabolic syndrome. I’m hoping it will help with depression/bipolar 2. Could it be related to my kidney stones and now possible parathyroid problems? I know we shouldn’t blame EVERYTHING on wheat, but I’m curious.

    I greatly reduced wheat for a few days and then went totally wheat free for three days before getting a UTI. Now it’s hard to tell any difference! I’ll keep at it though. I’ll be having surgery for kidney stones in the next week or so. Outpatient so no worries about eating.

    I have a question. I had some soup that had a trace of wheat, it was in soy sauce that was the last or 2nd to the last ingredient. Does this mess up my wheat free streak?

    Thanks!

    MichelleG

    • Dr. Davis

      With your collection of health issues, Michelle, it pays to be meticulous about wheat elimination. Even the smallest quantity can set the whole mess in motion.

      I predict that you will be pleasantly surprised at how much better overall health becomes in ALL your conditions with this approach.

  11. Michelle G

    What an amazing story! Very inspiring. I am just beginning my wheat-free journey and I’m excited about the changed that I’m hoping it will bring. I have all the weight-related problems – diabetes 2, metabolic syndrome, etc.

    I have a few questions: Will being wheat-free help with the symptoms of depression/bipolar type 2? I have been fighting this most of my adult life. And, I’ve been having problems with kidney stones and possibly now problems with the parathyroid/calcium levels. Does wheat affect this at all. I know we should blame EVERYTHING on wheat, but I am curious.

    I reduced wheat greatly for a few days (I needed to go grocery shopping) and was wheat-free for 3 days before developng a UTI. Now that is messing with feeling any benefits, I know. I’m keeping at it though. I have already lost about 4 lbs.

    Thank you so much! I am looking forward to this lifestyle. It seems difficult to totally eliminate wheat. I had some soup yesterday that had a trace of wheat. It was in soy sauce that was the last or 2nd to the last ingredient. Does this mess up my wheat-free streak?

    Thank you very, very much!!

    MichelleG

    • Michelle G

      Opps, a few typos in there, but I hope y’all will know what I mean!

      MichelleG

    • Dr. Davis

      Wheat elimination ABSOLUTELY has effects on depression and bipolar illness!

      Not to say that people who eliminate wheat experience cure. But many, if not most, people with these conditions experience marked improvement.

      Given the sad state of affairs of the drugs for these conditions, if eliminating wheat offers a potential partial solution, in my mind it is well worth it–no cost, no side-effects, no benefitting the profiteering drug industry.

      • Michelle G

        Thank you Dr. Davis,

        I am willing to do just about anything at this point. I have been on the same “drug cocktail” for 7 years or so. I can function but just barely. Diabetes, depression/bipolar affect each other and create a vicious circle.

        I’m feeling better already. I’ve definitely lost 5 lbs. I don’t feel quite so tired during the day. It takes less food to satisfy me and the urges to binge are much less. I’ve even had some low blood sugar episodes. Current treatment for diabetes does not take into account a low carb diet. I have to be careful to have a certain amount of carbs periodically. I’ve been trying to use fruit primarily. Once I quit having the unexplained high readings consistently, I hope to reduce/eventually eliminate these meds also.

        I take 8 different prescription meds plus supplements every day. Completely Ridiculous!

        Thanks!!

        • Uncle Roscoe

          With parathyroid, calcium, and kidney problems I would try eliminating all dairy (casein) in addition to wheat and gluten. See what happens.

          Don’t supplement fruit. People don’t need sugar. We need fat. Fructose is the most harmful sugar by far. There is no difference between the fructose in fruit and the fructose in table sugar or high fructose corn syrup. Citrus carries a high aspartic acid load, and many other fruits include potentially hazardous polyphenol dyes. Amylose starch is not a big problem to humans. The proteins which come with many carbs are what make the foods hazardous. Witness wheat.

          The kidney stones could also point at another common problem these days, cyromazine poisoning.

          http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?oe=UTF-8&hl=en&q=cache:o-TlH_byC8gJ:http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=74031.0+pesticide+%22kidney+stones%22&ct=clnk

          Cyromazine is a chemical pesticide commonly sprayed on coffee and tea in Asian markets. More and more western coffee and tea comes from asian markets. Cyromazine metabolizes into melamine plastic in the kidneys. The problem is a significant new source of chronic kidney stones. Try switching to safer sources of coffee. Stop drinking tea, at least until you get this sorted out.

          I got kidney stones from some cheap coffee.

  12. David O'Daniel

    From what I’ve read of Dr. Davis’ blog. Much of the wheat problem seems to have occured after changes to wheat crops in the 1970’s. Is it possible that “heirloom” wheat might still be available and does it represent significant health problems? Or is wheat, in general, not healthy for most people? I’m curious. Please correct me if my thinking is off. Seems like we are heading in the same direction with GMOs.

    • Dr. Davis

      Hi, David–

      Wheat that predates modern strains is better, though not necessarily GOOD.

      While modern high-yield, semi-dwarf wheat is the WORST, I personally feel that even older, heirloom forms have sufficient problems to make them undesirable if ideal health is your goal.

    • Uncle Roscoe

      I’m looking forward to Dr. Davis’ comment on your second link.

      My understanding of dyslipidemia goes like this. Glycation from fructose and opioid ingestion causes the liver to start making compact low density lipoprotein (CLDL) particles. The blood fills with glucose and uric acid. Vessel walls and tissue membranes become inflamed. The body stops using cholesterol particles of any sort, so the blood fills with cholesterol of all sorts, including good HDL cholesterol and unconverted triglycerides.

      We got into the modern misunderstanding of dyslipidemia by judging all cholesterol equally ……i.e., if you have too much cholesterol in your blood, then stop ingesting fats …..which is, of course, incorrect. The scientists in your second link are attempting to perpetrate this myth by narrowly examining the high HDL readings of people with lipid profiles damaged by processes which have nothing to do with HDL.

      How should one view blood HDL concentrations? I think HDL is irrelevant within range. The important markers are CLDL, total cholesterol and triglycerides. If HDL is high, then look at the important markers. If they’re high, then start testing reactions to fructose and food proteins.

  13. Ian Darling

    Nice to hear you have been having such great success.
    I have had many of the same results. Asthma free is one of the greatest, my inhaler has not been used for 3 months now. My exercise induced asthma has disappeared. Now that Spring is hear I am looking forward to getting more active and overall more healthy.

    Recap –
    Wheat free since early January (only 1 or 2 minor ,oops that had wheat in it)
    Asthma Free
    Mood improved
    20 pounds lost
    Energy level much higher.
    Psoriasis way better
    Aches and pains lessened.

    Will not go back to eating wheat and look forward to improved health.
    Thanks Doctor Davis! Keep up the writing and motivating.

    • Dr. Davis

      Fabulous, Ian!

      We really, really need to formally pursue the connection between wheat and asthma.

      I spent a fair amount of time on the recent Low-carb Cruise with Jamie Hayes of Brisbane, Australia, owner of a chain of exercise facilities, who lost a brother to asthma at age 23. He is deeply committed to this cause. We will need to collectively develop the data that document this effect to educate physicians and the public: Wheat causes asthma in many people.

      • Ian Darling

        Thanks Dr. Davis
        It was great to hear that I was not the only one that noticed a decrease in my asthma symptoms. It has been life changing.
        In the back of my mind I keep having this feeling that it is the cause of many more ailments and we are just scratching the surface of its negative effects.
        AGREED! More research needed.

  14. LaurieLM

    Salud Olivia and congratulations that you had the good fortune to find the Good Doctor Davis and his life and health giving messages and ideas and that you also had the happy sense to give it a try. What did you have to lose? Your pills, distress and misfortune at the hands of Big Pharma, and Big Surg Supply, that’s what!!
    I recently re-read an article in ‘Discover’ titled “Reckless Medicine”, Nov 2010.
    It opens with the story of a woman who had an untested (although she and her docs didn’t know it wasn’t effective) mesh installed to cure a minor incontinence problem. Now her life is ruined and her bladder is literally shredded by the mesh. How many more people are made chronically ill with polypharmacy….one pill for a symptom chased by ever yet another symptom, side-effect- and yet another pill with more problems and discomfort on and on….Or the people who get their digestive organs re-plumbed and chunks removed instead of first being informed about trying LCHF, NO WHEAT before enduring the knife. What ever happened to first do no harm. Our system is broken, it’s wheat what broke it and I think Good Doc Davis might almost single-handedly be the one to fix it! Thank you effusively, Doc and bless you Olivia. And I recommend everyone read the Discover article. Brace yourself it’s a horror, but instructive.

  15. Boundless

    > … My doctor thinks I must be wheat-intolerant or gluten-intolerant but, as he put it, “There is no medication for it, so the treatment is to stay away from it.”

    That’s because non-celiac wheat intolerance is NOT A DISEASE. All humans are now wheat-intolerant. It’s just a matter of degree and decades. Modern wheat has been bred into something that is now a human toxin. Heirloom wheats weren’t exactly meritorious foods to begin with.

    PS – there is also no medication for hemlock intolerance.

  16. Louise Stevens

    I am happy that I came to this site today….I read the “Wheat Belly” book last week and started going wheat-free…I am 50 pounds overweight, low energy, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and had an atrial fibrillation episode at work last year…..I am feeling much better already in a week…but the only symptom I noticed was mild headaches….I was glad to see someone else had experienced this as well as I am not usually a “headache” kind of person….I have started walking everyday as well and eating much better.

    Thank you for the book….changing my life and my husband’s life as well…working on my adult children as well
    Louise

  17. davy

    I’m reading this blog and I’m ‘quite’ enthusiastic. I’m going to drop all the wheat. Since I’m having problems with:
    1. acne
    2. depression
    3. bloated, water retention
    4. weak concentration, ‘foggy brain’
    I’m a male (27 years) so acne cannot be due to puberty or hormonal changes. My sebum secretion is also a lot during the day.

    I hope I can solve my problems with this ‘diet’. However since I’m a highly active sportsmen I occasionally need my carbs. Can I use wild rice (or brown rice) instead of the wheat? Doesn’t give this the same problems?

    Best regards,
    Dave

    • Dr. Davis

      No, it does not, Davy. It’s just a carbohydrate.

      If you haven’t yet done so, I would urge you to read the book. You will find more answers there.

  18. What a testimony! I almost want to start eating wheat again so that I can stop eating it! :0) I have stubborn belly fat that will just not go away, no matter how low carb and high fat I go. It’s been three years, and I still have body fat of 35% or so. No sugar, no wheat, no gluten, just protein, veggies, healthy fats and a tiny bit of berries only now and then, and still not a lot of progress.

    • Dr. Davis

      You really, really, really have to get an intelligent assessment of thyroid first, then cortisol, Rebecca, else you may be stuck in this situation.

      In other words, you can follow a PERFECT diet, but still fail to lose the weight you want to lose if there is something blocking your success, such as low free T3 thyroid hormone or excessive reverse T3.

  19. Josie

    Hi Dr Davis – and all posters on here :)
    A few weeks ago I posted on here a question about symptoms of intolerance coming back ten fold after a break from wheat. After years really of general poor health and months of continual muscle aches and pains, ankles, knees, hands hurting after meals etc., I took wheat out of my diet for a few weeks after reading your book and then, to prove things, reintroduced it one day and has such extreme reactions over 72 hours that it was pretty scary. Wheat is back out of my diet again and I feel much improved but my Dietician has told me my reaction was because my body had “craved” wheat for those weeks as it really needed the wheat hence my quite extreme reaction when I ate it again?? I don’t believe her, as I know how well I feel now but what would you say to a health professional to try and convince them there may be another way to look at things? She has advised me she will take me off her books if I don’t go back on wheat as I am “deliberately hindering any recovery by following a dangerous path”. Wondering what your thoughts are and guessing you guys maybe come across this a lot??
    Many thanks
    Josie….