Slave to Wheat

TJ passed on this incredible tale of her lifelong struggle battling an eating disorder that essentially ruled her adult life. She endured food obsessions, emotional roller coasters, life and relationship disruption, “purging” to deal with weight issues . . . only to finally discover the answer.

It all started around puberty. I had been kind of a pudgy child, but around the summer before I entered 6th grade, I miraculously shot up to my current height (5’5) and weighed under 100 pounds. It was heavenly. I had lost my baby fat. Until the first menstral cycle: Oh goodness, it was harsh. I was up to about 140 lbs overnight, or so it seemed.

Then, the pressure from family to lose weight. My mother had me at Weight Watchers in no time and I was constantly consumed with calorie counts and weighing my portions—all at 13! All the cookies and fattening foods in the house were strictly inventoried and checked on a daily basis. A cookie missing? Well, it must have been that fat kid of ours.

My breakfast was traded for a Tab. My best friend used to smuggle me in good ole’ Wonder Bread and processed peanut butter and grape jelly sandwiches. I chucked the whole wheat offerings from my mother or traded it for Ding Dongs. Then I discovered restricting: limiting myself to a mere 500-700 calories a day, exercising for hours and, if necessary, purging by inducing vomiting.

My other friend in the neighborhood turned me on to bulimia. She used laxatives as well, but I could never let myself even digest the food, let alone wait for a laxative to work. I would panic once I swallowed more than was on my portion control list. By the time I was 16, I had probably gained and lost 45 pounds over and over a few times. I was on my way to yo-yo dieting.

The summer before I entered my senior year in high school, I discovered that food could medicate me. Whatever was going wrong in my “complicated” life, I knew that the food stash under my bed and in my closet would fix all of it. And, looking back, these were all high-carb offerings, loaded with sugar and wheat.

By the time I arrived at college, I had spent the entire summer exercising and dieting. Who wants to begin a new life at college fat? Well, I arrived skinny, but by Christmas, I needed a whole new wardrobe. Fat, again. To make matters worse, many of the girls in my dorm were bulimic and it almost became a cult lifestyle. Do you . . . or don’t you?

I managed to lose some of the weight before I came home for the summer (I knew my mother would kill me) and managed to live on nothing but apples and peanut butter and Diet Coke for about 5 weeks. But, it really didn’t matter. 3 more years of the gain-lose-gain-lose cycle.

I also discovered another way to keep the craving at bay: cigarettes. A pack of Marlboro Lights 100′s and a 2 liter of Diet Coke comprised my daily menu most days if I was in “lose” mode.

My senior year of college my mother found out about the vomiting and sent me to a therapist. It was useless. The therapist just said that I should try to hold off purging as long as I can and substitue a manicure instead. Then, if I can’t resist, then go ahead and throw up. And my parents paid money for this???????? I shoved it off and went on my merry way. Graduated, moved away to take my first job, binged and purged in my little crappy one-bedroom apartment I shared with my cat.

By this time, I was just fat. Almost 180 pounds. It fluctuated a bit by 10 or so pounds, but I was heavy. I got married, of course going on another crash diet to prepare for the event, but the morning after my wedding, I remember bellying up to the breakfast buffet and letting the diet go. Whew. I was glad that was over. My husband (now ex…) seemed to be alright with my weight. He would get frustrated at times, because I was so frustrated. We would get ready to go out to eat and I would cry because I had few clothes that would fit me. I would resort to the old spandex and we would go out. I would eat twice as much as my husband, feel like a failure, come home and go right to bed to sleep it all off.

Now, just under 200 pounds and only 26, I had to do something. I was binge eating, but not purging. So, I joined a gym. I cut out all fat from my diet and started my real love affair with wheat. If it didn’t have any fat, it was fair game. I did lose weight, but probably not in a very healthy way. I got down to 120 pounds in about 9 months. And, then I continued to lose more over the course of about a year. Also, at this time I took up running seriously. So, I was very physically active. But, my diet was not good and I went from eating very little most days and then completely losing all control because I was so hungry. The excessive running took the place of the purging. I found it difficult to engage in my past behavior now that I was married. It took a few years to perfect the new routine, but I found myself learning how to secretly vomit in the comfort of my shared bathroom, where to hide my food stash, all without my husband knowing.

Well, it certainly didn’t get any better. In a few years, I was diagnosed with anorexia (I still was a closet “binger-purger” and feared that someone would find out about my dirty little secret.) 33 years old and weighing in at under 90 pounds, I was carted off to a hospital.

In a way, I was proud of the fact that I, a former fat-ass, could qualify as “anorexic.” I was running 60+ miles a week and limiting myself to digest 1 plain bagel and some lettuce a day. Now, I was still binging and purging, but I made sure that I vomited up as much as I could and exercised the rest away. Inpatient treatment was absolutely horrific. I basically ate my way out of there. I had to get out as soon as I could to get back to my old lifestyle. I did continue treatment when I returned home, but I really had no respect for any of the people I was paying so much money to. I did not want to listen to them and thought they were absolutely insane. Maybe they were, thinking back on all of it.

Fast forward 10 years. Divorced over the whole mess. Still struggling, but worse. I have been going through this deadly cycle now every day, often 2 and 3 times a day. I resolve to quit. I empty the junk food out my refrigerator and freezer, leaving the 20 boxes of whole grain cereal in the pantry and the 2 loaves of bread, resolving to only eat low-fat foods. Follow the food pyramid, exercise, get plenty of sleep. Instead, I starve until 2pm, load up on a big bowl of cereal (no milk!) and fruit, then feel so sick and dizzy that I can’t function. I can only think about when I will get to eat again. It drives me crazy, I have one more bite, then another, then another.

I feel sicker and sicker and sicker, and then I have to throw up. I go out to eat with family and friends and vow to eat low fat. Load up on the bread, 1, 2, 3, 10 slices. I get all heady when my blood sugar goes through the roof and I can hardly concentrate. I zone out, eating more and more and more and more. I can’t stop. I go home, eat more and throw up. I’ll have an afternoon snack, Diet Coke and pretzels and vow to only eat as many as are in one serving. Yeah, right. 1 more, 2, 3, 30. Now I’m sick again. I have to stop but I can’t. Let’s clean out the freezer and then go vomit! I fall into bed late at night and sleep like a dead person. I can never seem to get enough sleep. It’s like a carb-induced coma! And the muscle cramps wake me up, and the nightmares. I dream that I eat and eat and can’t stop and then have to resort to keeping my food. Or throwing up in public. It’s haunting. Then I can’t seem to wake up in the morning.

The morning exercise program has gone out the window. I can barely do the basic things, let alone get to the gym. No energy. Having emotional ups and downs. Worrying constantly about finding more to eat. Obsessing about what I’m going to eat next. Dreaming of the new bakery down the street.

Then, there are other health issues. My gums have receded from all the regurgitated stomach acid and sugar that I would consume. The enamel is gone, probably from all the Diet Coke. I have terrible acne on my chin area. I have a permamently swollen left foot which no one knows the cause of (I have been to all sorts of doctors). I have terrible arthritis in my knees from the running. A few years back a routine blood test showed that I might have leukemia. The oncologist later ruled that possibility out and sent me to a rheumatologist. Many more tests, but no one could find out why my blood counts were so out of whack. They later returned to normal. Terrible edema. Fatigue. You name it . . .

That is, until I cut out the wheat and processed sugar.

The Wheat-Free Turnaround
8 days and counting. No urge to binge. No highs and lows. No emotional roller-coaster. The swelling in my left foot is almost gone. No queasiness. No acid reflux. Acne cleared up. I can’t believe it. I have never been in such control of my eating and appetite in 30 years. I had forgotten what it was like to be “normal.”

In a way, I’m still skeptical. I have tried everything in the playbook and still have lost the game. Who knew that I was probably just perfecting my wheat allergy with all that high carb eating? I could probably own Panera Bread with all the money I have spent there over the years!

This is big. I have never ignored the bread isle and gotten excited instead about the avocado sale. Just not my normal way of thinking. I think about how good I will feel in 18 days, 38 days, 365 days.

The possibilities are endless for me now. I can start to rekindle relationships that have been strained and brought to the breaking point by my terrible food addiction. I can save money. Food for bulimics is not cheap, even the off brands at the Dollar Store add up. I can get back to old hobbies and playing my piano because now I can focus. I am clearheaded and even-keeled.

Life suddenly is much more interesting now that sugar-highs have no hold over me. And all this because of an over-sized genetically-modified grain of wheat. Amazing. I found my cure. God bless you and your courage to go up against that freakish Triticum aestivum.

Some additional updates from TJ, another week into her new wheat-free lifestyle:

Things have been going remarkably well. I feel like I have regained about 20 years! The fatigue is gone and I feel blessed to have a few more waking hours in my day. Heartburn is completely gone. I can go down steps with ZERO knee pain! And to think I spent so much money and time in physical therapy for my achy joints. Also, I have suffered from foot pain for many years and find this to be subsiding as well.

Now I find that I’m able to listen to my body instead of ignoring and abusing it. My mind says “eat something” but my body doesn’t really want to eat every few hours. I think now that I’ve had almost two weeks of “re-feeding” and no purging, my system is in shock . . . a good shock, though. And, now that I have finished your remarkable book, I learned that the constant grazing is a sign of wheat addiction. It’s so much of a shift from how I have been living for so many years that it’s like learning to feed myself all over again.

I’m finding that my body is so very sensitive to sugar, as well, that I must cut down on the fruit and any food that will raise my glucose. Yesterday, the bowl of fruit with plain yogurt made me so dizzy. Also, another thing is that the binges, although I felt paranoid and guilty about them, did bring a bit of mental comfort. I’ve always sat down to my favorite tv programs with a large amount of nasty carbs and fast food, intent on making this binge the last one! My body now says “Stop! I don’t want that!”

Food Obsessions
Incredible. Stories like TJs remind us that wheat elimination is NOT just about losing a few pounds, or that gluten elimination is only for people who have “gluten allergy.”

Wheat gliadin is an appetite stimulant. In people without tendencies towards eating disorders, it triggers an increase in appetite, increased calorie intake of 440 calories per day, every day. Many people without eating disorders experience intrusive thoughts of food: food obsession. In those susceptible to eating disorders, the food obsession is so overwhelming that it rules their lives. Yes, a slave to wheat (and thereby the people who understand this phenomenon).

In all likelihood, eating disorders are just one way the gliadin protein of wheat exerts its effects in genetically susceptible individuals. In a child with ADHD, wheat gliadin causes behavioral outbursts. In a schizophrenic, it causes paranoia and auditory hallucinations. In someone with bipolar illness, it triggers the mania (the “up” phase). And in someone with tendency for an eating disorder, it triggers food obsessions that result in anorexia, bulimia, or binge eating and purging, behaviors that can change the course of a life in astounding and disturbing ways.

Is TJ just imagining that her lifelong struggle with food is now over since she identified the culprit that caused the food obsessions in the first place? I don’t think so. I think this is very real.

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86 Responses to Slave to Wheat

  1. TJ says:

    Thanks for the support. I was certain that my parents would have to bury me…and probably sooner than later. Now, with the incredible realization of what my allergy and addiction to wheat was doing to my body, I’m not so sure that will happen!
    Many prayers for all who struggle.

    • Myrna Silva says:

      TJ, I applaud your brutal honesty and for going public. Recovering form an eating disorder, I will always be haunted by demons on a daily basis. Since, WB 5 months ago, I have lost 10lbs and started to have fears once again. With advice from Dr. Davis and support from the WB Facebook page my struggle has become more like a challenge. I spend more time creating healthy meals. Now, I think of food as a means to feeling emotionally well, physically healthy, and mentally aware. I have the power to control this. It is more empowering than the false sense of having control over eating. Good luck, stay strong and fuel your body, mind and soul…………..

  2. JIllOz says:

    Dr Davis, thought you’d find this interesting.

      • Boundless says:

        > Abstract: “… strongly suggestive of a causal relationship between the amount of refined carbohydrate consumed and the distribution as well as the overall prevalence of cavities.”

        It has been reported in this blog that parents who get their kids off sugar, but allow them to eat crackers, obtain no decrease in dental problems, and may actually see more cavities.

        Eat wheat: half of the heathcare profession is dependent on “managing” the side effects of this all-purpose toxin.

        • Neicee says:

          Boundless, I had told my perio and regular dentist for years that carbs had a profound effect on plaque buildup. I had receding bone and TMJ. Have my teeth cleaned every three months because the pockets now cannot be managed by flossing. Since I totally gave up wheat/grains/sugar in Jan. 2012 my hygenist(murdered spelling) says she doesn’t have anything to clean anymore. I’m so paranoid about losing them though I keep going, and paying.
          p.s. – the loss of bone has slowed remarkably and the TMJ only bothers me after chewing gum for hours. :)

      • Dr. Davis says:

        Great find, Jlll! (I now realize I was calling you “Jill”!)

        Now, that’s obscure!

  3. Tara says:

    What a heartbreaking story. Be proud of the new strength and fortitude you have found.

  4. Freddy says:

    Dr. Davis, one of the reasons you recommend against wheat is because of the genetic modification it has undergone. What information do you have on buckwheat? It’s not a wheat at all. So is it fair game?

    • Dr. Davis says:

      To be correct, Freddy, modern wheat is not genetically modified, in the language of geneticists, i.e., no gene splicing techniques were used. They used cruder techniques that predate GM.

      Buckwheat is fairly benign aside from its carbohydrate content and all the consequences of carbohydrate consumption, such as blood sugar and insulin. This is why I advocate 1) eliminate wheat, then 2) for ideal health, limit other non-wheat carbohydrates to small portion sizes, e.g, no more than 1/2 cup servings (cooked).

      • Freddy says:

        Thank you much, very helpful. I’ll admit this was my first time posting a question and was surprised by your speedy response. I really appreaciate it.

  5. FrankG says:

    Just read this article at Medscape Nurses — you may need a free login — Celiac Disease: Not So Rare, Mostly Undiagnosed

    It begins with “The prevalence of celiac disease (CD) in the United States may be more common than originally thought, according to findings from the first large population-based study that sampled people from a variety of ethnic groups.

    Among the survey’s key findings are that nearly 2 million people have CD, but most of them are unaware of it.

    The study was authored by Alberto Rubio-Tapia, MD, from the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, and colleagues, and was published online July 31 in the American Journal of Gastroenterology.”

    but ends bizarrely with the unexplained comments “The researchers also report that in the cohort as a whole, 55 of the patients were on gluten-free diets (GFDs). “The weighted prevalence of persons on a GFD in the United States was 0.63% (95 % CI, 0.36–1.07%), which equates to an estimated number of at least 1.6 million persons nationwide,” the authors write.

    About 80% of the participants who were following a GFD had not received a diagnosis of CD. “This finding may simply reflect the growing popularity of a GFD in the United States in recent years,” the authors note. In addition, members of some households affected by CD may all follow GFDs just to keep food preparation simple.

    Even so, the authors emphasize that embarking on a GFD without first confirming the diagnosis of CD is not a good idea.

    “Symptomatic improvement of gastrointestinal symptoms after gluten withdrawal is considered a poor predictor of a CD diagnosis,” the authors note. “Self-treatment with a GFD is not recommended and should be discouraged.””

    They do NOT go on to explain why a gluten free diet is not a good idea despite recognising that it may lead to “symptomatic improvement of gastrointestinal symptoms”.

    • Dr. Davis says:

      This is the overly-simplistic thinking of the mainstream: Wheat is only about gluten.

      But wheat is about gluten, gliadin, glutenin, amylopectin A, wheat germ agglutinin, and unique alpha amylase inhibitors, thioreductases, and potentially hundreds of other unique proteins in this product of modern genetics manipulations.

      Just because somebody is not “gluten-sensitive” does not mean that any number of other components cannot do other forms of harm.

      • FrankG says:

        I agree that gluten is only part of the picture but even just looking at that one part: for some (as yet unexplained) reason these researchers are saying “it would be wrong to go gluten free UNLESS you are officially diagnosed with coeliac disease EVEN if you have found for yourself that avoiding it (which commonly means avoiding wheat) gives you relief from your symptoms”. WHY? Are they really so concerned that folks will be malnourished if they don’t get their ration of healthywholegrains everyday? Especially when advice on living well gluten free is available pretty much everywhere? Are they saying you should not take an interest in your own health and try things yourself but wait upon decrees from the gate-keepers of medical knowledge?

        It makes me angry that there seems to be this assumption that we are all best eating what the government agencies tells us, if at all possible… even if that means having to rely on medication for the symptoms it causes. I see it all the time with Diabetes — “you should eat like *normal* people but take medication to control your Blood Glucose” when a simple dietary change can lead to more dramatic improvements, usually with less medication and fewer long-term complications.. Maybe I don’t want to be “normal” if that make me unhealthy!

    • TJ says:

      This post made me think about some interesting findings I read about eating disorders…and comments made by my therapists and doctors:
      They are now running rampant in countries where they were never before prevalent. They always thought it was a “western” epidemic. Now, young girls across the globe are experiencing this terrible disease. I would be certain that it is due to increased wheat consumption, namely from processed foods made from imported GM flour, or from locally grown wheat from US seed suppliers ??????? Makes me wonder.

  6. Michelle Phillips says:

    Such a inspiring story for all people who do have food addict problems. Thanks for sharing TJ.

  7. Belinda says:

    Neicee, I will be thrilled beyond words if what you are saying about plaque build-up and the ever-evil wheat is true!! I, too, go for cleanings every 3 months (floss 2x day, use other dental tools daily, rinses, etc) and my hygenist does a deep cleaning by quadrant every 18-24 months! I am going to call and make an appointment next week!
    TMJ, too? As in bruxism? That would be outstanding, because I grind thru night guards like a maniac!

    • Neicee says:

      Belinda, I swear it is true. Yet, my regular dentist refuses to listen to it. We’ve joked about it. The bone is not receding at the same pace it was before and the one cranky molar that started getting loose and stabilized. The hygenist keeps noting it on the chart though. Been in your shoes with the extraordinary messures to save the teeth. I even asked about if there has been any research done on osteoporosis perhaps starting in the mouth, or exhibiting there before detection in other areas of the bone? I swear the guy thinks I’m nuts. Good luck in your journey with perio disease. My teeth are perfect (no actual cavities for 20 years), gums are extremely healthy, yet the bone recedes.

  8. JIllOz says:

    Dr Davis,
    I am listening to your Red Ice interview and have just got to the bit where youm mention Canadian farmers
    writing to you. It is gtreat to hear of their concern.

    If farmers want to grow wheat, they’ll have to redirect their crop to other markets, like those that use bamboo and other grasses in product development. Construction, baskets, living, home, building materials, maybe even medical, textiles – if you’ll pardon the pun, the design field will have a field day!! ;)

    If they want to keep growing for food market though, they probably will have to find other crops.
    As I have written before, however, what GUARANTEES do we have that scientists will not then muck around with flax/almonds/coconuts etc and distort them in turn? We don’t want another round of plant breeding problems inducing sickness!!

    After all, wheat )even if it was not a great idea to consume in the first place) was distorted because of a huge increase in (perceived or actual) demand ie a response to market conditions.

    This needs to be looked at.

    • Dr. Davis says:

      I fear the solution, Jill, will be both legislative and increased public awareness.

      Just getting efforts like the Truth in Labeling Act passed would be an important step in the right direction: If you change something genetically, just let us know on the label!

      • JillOz says:

        Dr D –
        You know one of the best benefits of getting off wheat and losing the belly?

        Fewer busybody morons sticking their fat ignorant noses in your food business and shopping cart, including idiot doctors, dentists and nutritionists!
        Note I said IGNORANT practitioners – there are a few excellent practitioners etc not afraid to actually research and ask questions and even learn from their patients.

        Two points –
        1) please stop using the ‘Arab Spring” metaphor for liberation from the wheat veil.
        Unfortunately it has been severely misrepresented and the so-called Spring, apart from the 1% or so who were true democracy warriors, is actually a resurgence of Islam which is an eneny of democracy. It is a metaphor, which, while well-intentioed actually distorts the WB message you’re aiming to transmit.

        2) We should stop thinking of doctors as our metaphoric mother. While there are doctors who are caring and knowledgeable, there are many overworked, casual practitioners who are simply unsuitable for this profession. hence, we should not be called patients – it is too easy to patronise people who are “patients”.
        We should be called medical clients/customers. After all, doctors do not work for free, they are paid for their services. As people who pay them (whether by private or govt means) we are entitiled to ask questions.

        THEREFORE (apolgies for getting to the point so slowly),
        Dr D, can you put up a short list of some introductory questions to ask your doctor?
        A family member was saying “I trust my doctor, he knows what to do”. i told him he should be asking questions – this is not an insult to the doctor, but he needs to know what is happening for his health. He said he does not know how to research or what questions to ask.
        So have you a few questions to get him and others like him who bvegin from a position of zero knowledge started?

        • JillOz says:

          Just to add – I have a lot of respect for knowledgeable practitioners who treat their patients/clients to the best of their ability. There are some wonderful caring nurses, doctors, denitists, naturopaths out there. And when you ask them questions they do their best to answer.

          There are also cackhanded hacks out there who should never be allowed within reach of a stethoscope, who just do stuff to you becuase they won’t admit they don’t know what afflicts you or becuase you’re there and they need to write off something against tax.
          These people are not doctors/healers, they are a burden on the health system.

        • Dr. Davis says:

          I hear you, Jlll.

          Let me ponder this. I’m not sure there are a discrete list of questions that are specific to this conversation.

  9. My daughter has a similar, horrific story. She was a chubby child, with well-meaning, but misguided parents who tried to help her with a low-fat diet and programs for overweight kids. Despite (or because of) our efforts, she weighed over 300 pounds at age 17. She lost half her body weight, but, without the knowledge of her family, she developed bulimia with her efforts to maintain her weight loss. Her eating disorders, insomnia, and depression hit their peak when she was living alone, attending a highly stressful, intensive acting program in NYC, and following a vegetarian diet. Five years later, on a wheat-free, low-carb, paleo lifestyle, she is happily married and her mood and eating disorders have vanished. She is set to enter an accelerated masters degree program this fall and has no doubt she will have the energy and stamina to pursue it and work full-time with the mental focus and good physical health she has achieved.
    I am convinced that eating disorders are part of the entire insulin resistance/carbohydrate intolerance syndrome that has ballooned to epidemic proportions as a result of the low-fat, grain-based diet we were brainwashed into adopting over the past 50 years.
    My daughter is a big “Wheat Belly” fan (in fact, she is the one who bought the book and shared it with me), and as I reported in an earlier post, I made the carrot-cake recipe (using zucchini rather than carrots) for her wedding in April and they were a huge hit with my family, almost all of whom are on low-carb, grain-free diets.

    • Dr. Davis says:

      Wow, that’s wonderful, Peggy!

      I shudder to think how many other young women are out there, lives distorted or ruined by this effect.

      This is among my priorities: to help fund research to better document the association of wheat gliadin and eating disorders.

  10. Loretta says:

    Thanks for everything you do. :-)

  11. Loretta says:

    Dr. Davis,

    A question. I’ve tried to get my Dad who is diabetic and has CAD to read your book and have talked about low carb to him. He has developed pancreatitis, which has been quite troublesome and painful. Do you think the elimination of wheat will help and what does he need to do/ what kind of Dr. does he need to see. Frankly, I’ve just about lost confidence in most medical doctors these days, as they either seem to be entirely uninformed or totally resistant to any of the new information coming out. Hold outs to the dark ages. Although, I will say my family MD is quite supportive.


    • Dr. Davis says:

      Yup, most of my colleagues are truly in the dark ages with nutrition. Thank goodness for the occasional open-minded!

      The question of pancreatitis is complex. While it might respond over a long period to wheat elimination, your dad needs an upfront answer. Pancreatitis is very serious business and can be due to a number of causes, including gallstones and drugs. So this needs priority before any change in diet.

      • Loretta says:

        Thanks Dr. Davis. Yes, he is on Metformin and, in googling that I see, in some instances, where it can cause pancreatitis. I will pass this along.

  12. LivingInFreedom says:

    I, too, dealt with anorexia and binging/exercising for years. Little did I know I had undiagnosed celiac.

    Since eliminating gluten, and going on the candida diet for my systemic candida, I feel like a free woman! Just want to encourage people, as TJ did…there is hope!!

    Thank you for writing this book, Dr. Davis. May it be a tool to bring health and healing to many!

    p.s. I’m from MKE, too :)

    • Dr. Davis says:

      Hey, fellow Milwaukeean!

      Yes, and note that we are not talking about hospitalization, nasty drugs, electroshock therapy, or frontal lobotomy. We are talking about a shift in food choices that is life changing.

  13. Pingback: Slave to Wheat | Wheat Belly Blog | Allergy to Wheat - Symptoms Treatment

  14. Mrs. Ratfire says:

    Thank you for posting this, it took courage. Keep on the program, you will be healed. Best wishes for your continued success. Mrs. Ratfire

  15. Sarah says:

    Hey TJ,

    I just wanted to say this is very similar to my experience. It really is the wheat and carbs.

  16. Rose says:

    Both my husband and myself eliminated wheat from our diets about 3 weeks ago. Though we have not lost weight, we both feel our bodies are healthier from the inside out and that is what is most important.
    I am a healthy 62 year olf and my concern is that I am unable to take vitamins. The many attempts over the years have left me lethargic and this includes any form of calcium supplement. I have even tried Tums but they upset my stomach. For about 4 years now I relied on Total cereal for 100% of my calcium, adding yogurt etc to get the extra 50% needed for my age. I am trying to substitute veggies but am told that I will still be running low on calcium. I have osteoporosis and my bone density is a major concern as I am unable to take Boniva etc as they upset my stomach. A decision will need to be made soon regarding some form of treatment. I see the wheat elimination as my only hope in helping my bones but I still feel that I should have a big source of calcium as in the cereal. I would love to get your thoughts on this and any suggestions. Many, many thanks for all that you do!

    • Dr. Davis says:

      The most important factor in bone health, Rose, is vitamin D. Getting a blood level of 25-hydroxy vitamin D of 60-70 ng/ml improves bone health/density in the majority and quadruples intestinal absorption of calcium. Vitamin D, along with elimination of wheat, can be a powerful combined regimen for bone health.

      Obtaining sufficient calcium in the diet is likely not an important factor for bone health. New data, in fact, is suggesting that calcium taken in supplement form increases risk for heart attack by 25-50%, likely because calcium is passive and just goes anywhere, including arteries and heart valves where it does not belong.

  17. Daniel Stinson says:

    A Quarter of What You Eat Keeps You Alive,
    Three-Quarters of What You Eat Makes Your Doctor Rich.

  18. sss says:

    After years of undiagnosed gall bladder disease I finally found Dr. Smedley’s site about gall bladder disease and got out my FULLY DISTENDED gall bladder that showed up on EVERY imaging as “normal.” Until I could find a surgeon willing to take it out despite the “normal” readings on all the images, I followed Dr. Smedley’s Saint Anthony’s diet — no fat diet. He does allow whole grains but I discovered that eating corn was just plain painful. I kept the whole grain cereals (with low fat soy milk) because I really had little choice — I was down to so few things — plain baked potatoes, broiled chicken breast, plain salad — that I could eat with out substantial pain, period. Including no dairy products because that reaction (not to be too graphic) mirrored samonella poisoning. Ok, so when the surgeon took it out he was amazed that the fully distended gall bladder had not ruptured. He even gave me the surgical photos to send to every surgeon who had passed on my case. But, that was then. After the procedure I could finally eat milk products again. But, I began to notice that a feeling of distention and pain near where the gall bladder had been. And, I developed arthritis in the joint where my thumb joins the palm of my hand. Somedays it was worse than others. And, the constipation came back, too. But, every investigation said the bile duct was “patent.” So, then I saw you on one of the morning shows and decided to try deleting wheat from my diet. I started on Labor Day — cold turkey. I’ve had no cravings. Although I’m allergic to nuts, I’ve managed to get by eating sunflower seeds and chick peas, even homemade beef chili and omelets with cheese. So far, so good. Today, my hands hurt less and my hip isn’t stiff. I’d love to see you and Dr. Smedley collaborate b/c it seems to me based on anecdotal evidence that between the two of you, you pretty much resolve most of the reasons people have eating disorders.

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