Healthy Whole Grainlessness

Blondie weighs in on her first week of wheatlessness:

I have been trying Dr. Davis’ wheat free diet plan for a week and have noticed very promising results from cutting out all the wheat products I have been eating for years. I haven’t had any withdrawal symptons, although I’m still trying to work out substitutes for my cereal/toast breakfast, muffin for morning tea and sandwich for lunch followed a pasta dinner 3-4 times a week. My favourite biscuits and cake … I think you get the picture!

The main benefits I have found after one week:

The cramping pain under my ribs on my left side that I have been having for the last 10 years have just about gone, just an occasional twinge now.

An itchy rash on the skin on my upper arm that had defied all topical creams given by doctors for many years is clearing up well and is nearly gone.

The vague feelings of nobody loves me, everybody hates me weird thoughts I was having are also going.

My appetite is starting to self regulate and I’m no longer looking for a wheat/sugar fix after a couple of hours. I went without lunch yesterday after a 2 egg omlette with parmesan cheese and parsley for breakfast. In the evening, I didn’t feel that hungry but did have some fresh fish with a pepper, tomato and onion vegetable side dish for dinner, followed by some raw nuts a couple of hours later for dessert. I’m going to make some apple walnut bread and some muffins from the recipes in the book and I’m really looking forward to making the pizza.

Constipation also seems to be a thing of the past, without the high fibre multi grain cereal and bread I was eating. Eating more vegetables and more healthy oils and nuts are certainly fixing the gas and bloating I was experiencing previously and all this just after one week! I can hardly believe how much better I am feeling in body and mind and I am looking to feeling even better in the next few months and hopefully get rid of this wheat belly that has been getting bigger and bigger in the last few years.

Thank you Dr. Davis, I’m looking forward to my wheat free existance and continued improvement in my health.

Can any other food increase appetite, cause feelings of self-doubt and worthlessness, muck up intestinal function, cause joint pains, and cause all manner of rashes to appear?

No. No other food matches the astounding capacity of wheat to disrupt health in so many ways.

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Comments & Feedback...

  1. Meg Deptuck

    Try the Muffin in a Minute recipe for the muffin and try Shiritake spaghetti noodles for your pasta. Rinse them well first. I love them. I add blueberries to the muffins.

  2. Little Sister

    Always a pleasure to read of the experiences of others, because the changes are quite hard to believe. Is it in my mind that I’m happier, laugh more, sleep well, wake up early, have a solid, calm center, a great sense of well being … AND I’m not starving all the time, can easily control my appetite, the cravings are gone, the binges are gone, the self hatred over failing again and again and again to diet … gone. Oh, and the pain is 95% better, the a-fib has pretty much vanished… it’s just a non-stop miracle here too. Feeling very fortunate today.

    • Deanna

      Little Sister…all wonderful news! I’m wondering about your a-fib. I too have had a-fib in the past. I’ve had 2 heart ablations and have been free of a-fib for about 14 months since the last surgery. I’ve wondered how our current eating habits are affecting it, but don’t really have any way to know. Any info you can give me on your experience?

      • Little Sister

        Deanna, I was surprised that my a-fib was affected by going grain-free. I first experienced it about 8 years ago, but it seemed at that time to be related to a very low potassium level. Got that fixed and no more symptoms for a few years, then it flared up about 18 months ago and I went through the whole cardiac evaluation, etc. Took the two new drugs ~ Multaq and … something else ~ and experienced dreadful side effects. Quit taking them and considered my risk of stroke ~ low ~ and figured aspirin and Magnesium might keep the episodes at bay. I never had it all the time, or if I did, it was just for a few days at a time. But I was getting symptoms so severe at night that it kept me from laying on my left side and was pretty anxiety-producing when the racing, pounding would start as I was lying in bed. Certainly didn’t make for good sleep! Now I sleep any way I want to and don’t have any problems. The couple of times I’ve been accidentally wheated, the symptoms have started up again. It’s very odd, and I know Dr. D makes no claims for this affecting a-fib, but it certainly has with me. I am very, very pleased, because taking those drugs is not something I want to do. And coumadin! Yikes! Happy to hear that you’re symptom-free after the ablations. That’s great news. This way of eating will probably underscore and make even stronger your recovery :-) Yay!

        • Little Sister

          laying … lying … where is my 8th grade English teacher when I need her? :-)

        • Deanna

          Little Sister, thanks for the info. I took Multaq for a short time too…gave me headaches. The drug that worked for me…until it didn’t…was Amiodarone. I took it for several years, but you’re not supposed to take it long term (liver and thyroid). My a-fib was pretty chronic…always required meds to come out of it…thus the ablations. And was soooo happy to get off Coumadin. Still on 2 low dose aspirins. I’m curious about your remark about magnesium…haven’t heard of that in connection w/ a-fib.

        • Tanya

          Just wanted to say ~ I love your comment “I’ve been accidentally wheated” (not the situation of course, just the way you put it!)

  3. Deanna

    “The cramping pain under my ribs on my left side that I have been having for the last 10 years”…I have had that too for about 35 years. After reading a blog about the gall bladder earlier this year (http://paleoparents.com/featured/how-to-enjoy-bacon-without-a-gallbladder/) and studying the accompanying picture, I believe the pain is coming from my pancreas. When I’ve been to doctors through the years about this pain, they have done extensive tests (stomach, gall bladder), but not one mentioned my pancreas. I’ve been wheat free for 8 months and my pain has not gone away, but I’m still hoping. I’ve lost 20 pounds and I’m stIll losing slowly, have lots more energy, don’t feel bloated, am hardly ever hungry, and we have never eaten so well. We aren’t buying grass-fed beef yet because of cost and accessibility, but I do wonder how much more difference that would make. Anything on this Dr. Davis?
    Good luck Blondie, I think you’re in for more wonderful results!!

    • Dr. Davis

      Not sure, Deanna, since left sided abdominal pain is unusual.

      I do believe that pancreatic damage is part of the whole wheat picture, but I can’t say that it is the cause of a left-sided abdominal pain.

      Without a thorough physical exam, I’m not sure why this happens.

      • Carol

        I am having pain in the exact same place that started about 4 days ago for the first time :( Just started (2 days ago) going off wheat & gluten so I will have to see if it goes away.

  4. I love hearing success stories! I, too, found it difficult at first to come up with substitutes for all of the bread/cake-like things I used to eat. I have adapted some recipes from other web sites and put them in my blog: k-wellness.blogspot.com. Here is a direct link to my favorite biscuit recipe (tastes nearly like a Red Lobster Cheddar Bay biscuit): http://k-wellness.blogspot.com/2012/04/easter-recipes.html

    Hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

  5. I am in month 5 with similar results. I don’t see the gradual physical appearance changes, but folks I haven’t seen in 6 months, like my massage (Rolfing) person, who has been working on my body for 20 odd years, says I look fantastic, and went out and bought the book. Nice to have an informed opinion. I like what you have to say about the emotional problems that go along with this food. I couldn’t agree more. And yes, in the past few months my emotions have become less of a burden, and my mind is sharp once again. I also am in withdrawal from sugar (fructose) that found it’s way into every part of my diet. With all these changes I don’t pretend to have felt good, but some days I feel fantastic. Mostly is just a slow gradual take it easy and heal, kind of thing. It took years to get this way on healthy whole grains and ice cream treats, so I’m ok with a gradual response to treatment. And like I say, the feedback has been pretty good too! (if you wish more info on fructose poisoning there is an hour long lecture on YouTube by Dr. Robert Lustig, Professor of Clinical Pediatrics, in the Division of Endocrinology Director of the Weight Assessment for Teen and Child Health (WATCH) Program at UCSF, called Sugar, the Bitter Truth). Dr Davis, and Dr. Lustig, have not only saved my life, they gave me back quality of life. An obese person has the same quality of life as a cancer patient on chemo, says Dr. Lustig. Screw you wheat and screw you fructose, I’m breaking up with you, it’s not me, it’s you.

    • Dr. Davis

      Very good, Jerald!

      Yes, undoing all the damage we’ve incurred over years of inflammation, glycation, and overconsumption can take more than a few days.

  6. Sandy M

    I’ve been wheat free for about a year now. I’ve lost 22 lbs off my 5′ frame and am 62 years old. In the past two years, I’ve become a widow after my beloved husband of 44 years literally passed away unexpectedly before my eyes, watched my parents decline with Alzheimer’s to the point of having to place them in a nursing home and recently found out my sweet mother in law is slowing dying. To say I’ve been under a bit of stress is a huge understatement.
    Can we say “depressed”? Oh, I have my days, but believe me, if it weren’t for my diet, I would be a basket case right now.
    Dr. Davis’ book literally saved my life! As I sit here, happily munching on my steak salad, I cannot even imagine chomping on a burger with “gasp”, a whole grain bun! I will admit to munching on a few kettle cooked potato chips the other day, but those times are really few and far between. Right now, I’d rather starve than let wheat pass my lips, and some days I’ll drink lots of water in order to avoid the temptation.
    Hang in there! It only gets better with time, trust me!

    • Dr. Davis

      It sounds like you may be starting a new phase of life, Sandy!

      Imagine: We go wheat-free, lose weight, lose an array of metabolic distortions and disabilities and, in effect, regain 10-20 years of our lives. Many people are, in a sense, reborn and have many, many productive years now available to them.

  7. Dr. Davis, can you address that left-side cramping pain? Any thoughts as to Deanna’s theory that it’s the pancreas? I’ve had it for years despite being wheat-free since 1999 and fructose-free since 2003. All that my doctors have offered is “IBS” but I too have begun to wonder if there is a pancreas connection. I recently began taking pancreatic enzymes and, interestingly, the pain is gone since I started taking them.

    • Deanna

      I tried pancreatic enzymes a few weeks ago and, after 5-6 days, my pain on the left side under ribs got worse, so I stopped them. My gall bladder was diagnosed several years ago as “unhealthy” but no gallstones and I have a bit of pain there occasionally now. I thought the high fat in my current eating plan might be having an effect too.

    • Dr. Davis

      That’s interesting.

      However, left-sided pain is usually not attributable to a pancreatic source. Not sure what it means, as left-sided pain is peculiar in the abdomen. There is very little on the left side of the abdomen outside of the spleen.

      • Thanks for the comments! That’s the general idea that I had, that there wasn’t a lot going on on the left side. But it is interesting that others have noticed the left-side pain.

      • Ian D

        Could the pain be at all associated with the loss in visceral fat? As you abdomen and abdominal wall/muscles adjust to their new positions?

        I may have felt a bit if this (although its a while back now). Feel free to tell me I am making this up. :-)

        • Deanna

          Not associated with loss of visceral fat for me…as I had it for 34 years before I started losing visceral fat.

        • No relation to visceral fat for me, since that hasn’t changed. I’m not wheat-free for weight loss; I’m wheat-free due to gluten intolerance. I do still have some lingering unexplained abdominal issues, one being that left side pain.

          • Uncle Roscoe

            I too am gluten free due to gluten intolerance. Like you, I also have a left-side pain, right under the lower rib cage. I identify two possibilities:

            1. Spleen pain from hemochromatosis. Hemochromatosis is a buildup of ferritin iron in abdominal organs, especially the spleen. Hemochromatosis is very common among people with autoimmune diseases, as associated with gluten intolerance. Gluten gut permeability allows iron to bypass the body’s system of iron regulation.

            2. Precursor to kidney stones. In other words, the buildup of solids in the kidneys.

            When I drink lots of water the pain goes away. So I treat the pain by drinking water. Compared to diagnosis and treatment, drinking water seems pretty low impact. At any rate drinking water would probably prove more effective and safer than any prescribed treatment after diagnosis.

          • Deanna

            Interesting Uncle Roscoe, I’ll have to research the spleen info. Sometimes lots of water brings on my left-side pain, especially cold water, especially at night. I always drink room temp now…now that im used to it, I like it better. I also often get the pain when I lie on my back. I’ve never known anyone else before who has it. This is interesting to exchange ideas on it…maybe we’ll come up with something.

      • Deanna

        Dr. Davis, for me the pain/cramp/pressure is very high up…corresponds to where the gall bladder is on the right side, except it’s on the left.

        • Dr. Davis

          Yes, that’s what is odd.

          There is very little on the left side that might be involved with a wheat effect. There’s the spleen, the kidney and adrenal gland below, the distal transverse and proximal descending colon, the lung and its pleura, as well as diaphragm above. So what the heck could cause a left-sided abdominal pain?

          I can only speculate.

  8. Ditto to all of the above. I’ve commented here before about my progress but time to update. I am now 9 months 99% wheat free and have also cut all other starchy carbs and sugar. It has been nothing short of miraculous for my husband and I. My weight has dropped 30 pounds (13 kilos) and my husband is down 12 kilos. In all that time we have never fallen off the wagan, binged, cheated… never. Sometime we plan to eat something off track if we know we’ll be in a difficult situation ie, rice with a meal. The main thing is to just get back on with the lifestyle.

    I have to agree with you all regarding the change in mood though – I am so much more relaxed and happy and really can only put it down to my better diet. The sense of control I now have over my body is amazing – anyone who has experienced yo yo weight loss over many years will relate to that feeling of no control. Losing weight but just knowing it will go back on! This is the first time in my life that I know the weight will not go back on. I love the lack of hunger I now have, the hunger that would drive you to eat 6 donuts or an entire cake.

    The other main change has been the absolute lack of bloating and gas. This was gone in the first few days and only returns if I have something that contains a little wheat – always a good reminder to keep away from it.

    Finally my prediabetes has corrected and my HbA1c is now 5.3 – normal. We are never going back to wheat.

    • Dr. Davis

      Thanks for the update, Lynda!

      You’ve likely added many years to you life, as well.

    • @Suzanne I’m not Dr. Davis, but this is an easy one: THAT STUDY IS CRAP! You must have not read the comments at the bottom of that article.

      Not sure which one of the many bad “studies” was presented at that conference, but besides being funded by some group with opposing interests & agenda, the other thing they all have in common, besides being based on an erroneous hypothesis, faulty procedures & bad science, is that all those studies use hydrogenated & partially hydrogenated soy, corn, cottonseed (Crisco) palm, coconut or other originally good saturated & polyunsaturated oils & fats that have been corrupted & adulterated into Trans Fats by high heat & chemical extraction, filtering, deodorization & processing. It it ONLY the UN-natural, artificial, industrially processed, ADULTERATED trans fat grocery store vegetable oils packaged in clear bottles & stocked on open shelving at room temperature that “induce oxidative stress and create the free radical” cascade & chain reaction that alters & adulterates ALL the cholseterols in bodies of mammals that eat them, whole natural saturated fats like butter & organic cold extracted coconut & other vegetable oils are critical for cellular membrane conformation & cellular structure & nutrition. If you require more proof just read the Wikipedia pages about butter, butyric acid & saturated fats versus Linseed Oil, Drying Oils with their organic polymers, natural plastics that get harder with exposure to oxygen, which is why HEATED vegetable oils are used for paints & varnishes and are what arterial plaque is made of, & Trans Fats, it’s all obviously apparent & plainly stated.

      Here’s a couple of quick absolutely iron clad & bomb proof scientific facts for you to think about:
      Assertion from the suspect article: “Carbohydrates… have been the primary source of calories for most of the world’s people for millennia.”
      AND THEY SHOULDN’T BE, EVER! “As the Textbook of Medical Physiology makes clear, 97% of the time (the vast majority), muscles can’t use carbohydrates as fuel – they need fatty acids. These are obtained by metabolizing your own body fat. The science is therefore opposite to the “popular notions.” The carbohydrate diet that everyone told us was so good – and that most nutritionists and physicians still maintain is best in spite of the science against it – has put America and the rest of the world at enormous risk for diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. The number of obese people has skyrocketed and huge numbers of kids in recent generations are growing up obese because those who should know better have let opinion, rather than proven science, rule.” From Brian Peskin article “The Myth of Cardiovascular Health From Exercise” quoting from the 1984 book, The Exercise Myth by Cardiologist Henry A. Solomon, M.D.

      Or how ’bout this one from Wikipedia re Cardiac Muscle: “Under basal aerobic conditions, 60% of energy comes from fat (free fatty acids and triglycerides), 35% from carbohydrates, and 5% from amino acids and ketone bodies. However, these proportions vary widely according to nutritional state. Continued in next paragraph: “In the condition of diabetes, more fat and less carbohydrate is used due to the reduced induction of GLUT4 glucose transporters to the cell surfaces.” Think about that one for a while, this is why good natural fats are a critical part of the diet for diabetics & is why diabetics subsisting on processed foods, fats & oils have higher rates of atherosclerosis, heart attack & cancer.

      Since last October I’ve been having a running discussion with and have presented Dr. Davis with information about how high carb diets & glucose metabolism cause cardiac electrical signal disregulations & induced sudden cardiac death in highly conditioned carb loading professional athletes such as marathoners. After thinking about the recent death of 58 year old long time mountain trail runner and vegetarian Micah True who was found dead after going missing for 4 days. From Wikipedia re Micah True: “An autopsy was inconclusive with respect to the actual cause of death, revealing, however, that True was suffering from idiopathic cardiomyopathy, which had caused the left ventricle of his heart to become enlarged. The autopsy report of the Office of the Medical Investigator of New Mexico noted that “[t]he decedent did not have a regular physician and no medical records particularly electrocardiograms or blood pressure readings were available for review” and “[t]he best determination is that of unclassified cardiomyopathy which resulted in a cardiac dysrhythmia during exertion.” [31][32]”

      I’ve been researching that and I found yet another piece of the carbohydrate-cardiac disfunction puzzle in the Wikipedia article about Cardiac Fibrosis: “The description below focuses on a specific mechanism of valvular pathology, but there are OTHER causes of valve pathology and fibrosis of the cardiac muscle.”
      Cont: “Fibrocyte cells normally secrete collagen, and function to provide structural support for the heart. When OVER-activated this process causes thickening and fibrosis of the valve, with white tissue building up primarily on the tricuspid valve, but also occurring on the pulmonary valve. The thickening and loss of flexibility eventually may lead to valvular dysfunction and right-sided heart failure.

      Connection with excess blood serotonin (5-HT)
      Certain diseases such as gastrointestinal carcinoid tumors of the mid-gut, which sometimes release large amounts of 5-hydroxytryptamine, commonly known as 5-HT or serotonin into the blood, may produce a characteristic pattern of mostly right-sided cardiac fibrosis which can be identified at autopsy. This pathology has also been seen in certain West-African tribes who eat foods (Matoki—a green banana) containing excess amounts of serotonin.” The article goes on to explain how pharmaceutical drugs cause high serotonin levels that cause cardiac fibrosis, apparently this mechanism and the connection to serotonin & certain carbohydrate foods is well known.

      For anyone that bothers to look, there are a whole bunch of carb foods that have naturally high serotonin levels. From the Wikipedia article re Serotonin: “Research also suggests eating a diet rich in carbohydrates and low in protein will increase serotonin by secreting insulin, which helps in amino acid competition.[16] However, increasing insulin for a long period may trigger the onset of insulin resistance, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and lower serotonin levels.[17][18]”

      And that’s not all, for athletes the effect gets worse: “Muscles use many of the amino acids except tryptophan, allowing more muscular individuals to produce more serotonin.[19]”

      It’s becoming increasingly clear to me that it is virtually IMPOSSIBLE to subsist for a lifetime on a high carbohydrate diet and maintain an exclusive glucose metabolism and practice carb loading & extreme exercise without suffering some form of massive physiological damage. Carbs should come with a warning label: EAT AT YOUR OWN RISK!

  9. NancyM

    I’ve found dairy products can make me ache. They make my muscles spasm, give me sinus issues and constipation too. They’re really tough to root out of the diet and they keep coming back. I swear off over and over. Talk about addictive! But wheat/gluten was the very worst of them all.

  10. Georgene showed me an article in the Food Issue of Smithsonian Magazine this morning that make me want to gag. It was a story about how “food scientists” are working out ways to add healthywholegrains to EVERYTHING.

    As Tom Naughton would say, “HEAD. BANG. ON. DESK.”

    I immediately pounded out a screed post on it at nEquals1Health.com. You might want to look at the Smithsonian article (I have a link to the online version in the blog post) for future comment. We really need to counter this drivel!

  11. HOPE

    Dear Dr. Davis,

    Awhile back you were asking for women 50 years or older who live in the New York area to volunteer to test the wheat belly diet, with the website Fab Over Fifty.

    Wondering if you have any results yet and if so could you share them with us.

    Thanks,

    Hope

    • Dr. Davis

      Hi, Hope–

      Unfortunately, only a handful of people willing to be filmed, none of whom have stuck with it.

      We will try this again, hoping for some who can stick to the diet despite all the distractions of life.

  12. Grenville

    Hi, I had a question regarding the wheat you had tried from growseed.org. I never did seem to get an impression if you felt that this wheat was ok to use. From what I understood it had a lower GI and didn’t contain the added factors that modern wheat has. Thank you so much. Tomorrow is day 1 of wheat free for me. Thoroughly enjoyed your book.

    • Dr. Davis

      While einkorn is better, I do not believe it is entirely benign.

      If ideal health is your goal, I believe we should eat NO wheat, no matter what form.

  13. Linus

    I think that the rash that would never go away is herpetiformis dermatitis. Did you ever get a biopsy? Going gluten free clears up herpetiformis dermatitis since it is a celiac related issue. You might want to look into that if you are interested in the cause.

  14. Shelby

    This is so inspirational for me. I have been dealing with a variety of physical symptoms for years now that I always pushed aside and made excuses for, but as of late, my gastrointestinal troubles have become too much to handle. I heard about this book and read the whole thing cover to cover in less than two days and was immediately convinced that this wheat-free lifestyle could help me. After reading others’ testimonials and tales of success, I am so excited to take this journey and reap in all of the benefits associated with eliminating wheat and other starchy carbohydrates from my diet. I hope I can have as much success as you did! And thank you, Dr. Davis, for providing me with this solution!

    • Dr. Davis

      That’s great, Shelby!

      Just be sure to come back and post your story. We’d love to hear more!

  15. Ed

    5 days with no wheat containing foods…….nasal allergy seems to have disappeared , no runny nose or excessive sneezing. Seems too good to be true. Will continue wheat/grain free.

    • Dr. Davis

      Wheat elimination yields improvements in so many unexpected ways.

      Actually, your experience is among the more common observations. So this thing called wheat was driving inflammation, edema (swelling), and allergy of your upper respiratory tract. It likely was doing damage in other ways, too.

    • Dr. Davis

      Never happens!

      Oh, you don’t mean me? Well, I like osmotic agents, since they are “soft” (ha ha, didn’t mean to joke) ways to push things along, such as magnesium oxide, 500-1000 mg, or magnesium citrate, 800 mg, along with lots of hydration. A little trick: Have a bunch of sugar-free gum or candy made with sorbitol or mannitol; they too exert an osmotic effect.

    • Dr. Davis

      I know of no connection, Nicole.

      The list of conditions that we can blame wheat for is astoundingly long, but it does not include hemochromatosis to my knowledge.