Fat and getting fatter

We all come to the wheat-free experience from our own unique directions, with our own unique perspectives. Here is how Rick was shamed into embracing the wheat-free lifestyle:

Last March I tried to put on a 38-waist suit I bought a few years ago and it was impossible to squeeze in. So on our way to a wedding I had to stop and by a pair of 40″ slacks. That should have done it – but no. I blamed gravity.

The doctor said 212 pounds wasn’t a problem for a 62-year old, 6’2″ man, but he wanted me back on the terrible pain-inducing Crestor and once again I balked.

Later that month we went to Florida. I was quite comfortable with myself and my 40” stomach ’til we were on the beach with old friends and the husband said to my wife, “How can he look like that?” I was bitter, but later on the trip, we saw my cousin and he looked like a rail and talked endlessly about your book.

I was a lifetime bagel breakfast, deli sandwich lunch, pasta 3 times a week (3-plates), and would–if no one was looking–eat a whole pizza anytime. I used to say when I ate a slice that I missed it and had to eat the next one slower so I could remember it. This is not a joke! I was terribly addicted. I didn’t understand. I haven’t eaten chips or candy in years; haven’t had a soda in 30 years. Why was I fat and getting fatter?

I finally accepted there was something wrong. In the 1st few weeks while reading your book, I started a gluten free regime. Every few pages you would kill another sub-product I had added. I finally stopped the halfway measures and abandoned all grain and all forms and sources of sugar, except for a few berries a day and the wonderful stevia. I have been on a basic meat and vegetables diet since then. I’m in the hunter-gatherer clan of your followers. I eat a ton of nuts too. I have invented many almond flour recipes and have outdone KFC with an incredible extra crispy recipe for chicken. I also have converted 3 old friends who were equally as tragic.

I personally went from 212 to 177 and it seems to have leveled off. Between me and my 2 friends, both 6′+ ex athletes, we have collectively lost over 90 pounds.

I will never go back. I love what I eat now. My arthritis has diminished. I feel great.

Rick’s experience is all too familiar, isn’t it? Ex-athlete, avoiding soft drinks and chips, trying to eat “right” . . . yet gaining more and more weight, wondering why his cholesterol was high, waist size growing–despite cutting his fat and eating more “healthy whole grains”!

Rick’s comment about the addictive effect is the key: Wheat stimulates appetite. It’s that gliadin opiate at work again: It makes you want to eat the whole pizza, it makes you want more carbohydrates, it increases calorie consumption by 440 calories per day, every day. With wheat in your life, control over weight and health is a losing battle. Remove it and the battle is won a lot more easily.

Rick also makes another essential point: After wheat, other grains are also problems. Grains are, at best, an expedient, a convenience, a source of cheap calories. But, like wheat, grains do not belong in the diet of modern Homo sapiens. Grains have been consumed by humans for 0.4% of the time we have inhabited earth, meaning 99.6% of the time we ate no grains. When Homo sapiens of 10,000 years ago consumed einkorn and emmer wheat, teosinte (corn), sorghum, millet, and rice, we experienced smaller femur size, a reduction in height, more iron deficiency anemia (evidenced by porotic hyperostosis in skulls), transverse ridges in the incisors signifying malnutrition, an explosion in tooth decay and loss, shrinking faces and jaws resulting in crooked teeth and deformities. This is why I say that, like wheat, consumption of grains is for the desperate or the misinformed.

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88 Responses to Fat and getting fatter

  1. Michelle says:

    Great testimony, Rick! Would you be willing to share your recipe for your better than KFC crispy chicken?

  2. Firebird says:

    He’s got to write back and give us his Chicken recipes. If he’s outdoing KFC, I want to know about it!

  3. Cathy Rixie says:

    Outstanding! Hope to get my hubby on board. I’ve been on the program for about a month and effortlessly lost 10 pounds.

    Would love to have your almond flour “fried chicken” recipe!

  4. Nicole says:

    Wheat and sugar the two most toxic ingredients known to every man, woman and child.
    Oh yeah forgot, toxic for our pets also.
    Time for all of us to move those two the trash bin.
    Myself and my husband have dumped wheat and we both lost plenty.
    When friends and family notice and ask, we tell them we both gave up wheat.
    Then that look comes across their faces….what….what…that’s it, you just gave up wheat….yep we did.

  5. Mr John Frederick Zablosky says:

    Awaiting Chicken recipe..I used to love KFC..till I found out how inhumanley there Chickens were treated and Never went there again.

  6. Kimelah says:

    “Every few pages you would kill another sub-product I had added.”
    I like how you worded this.

    My father is in his mid-sixties, mostly vegetarian for most of his adult life. His weight would yo-yo all the time. He had a bad hip and back pain due to one leg being slightly shorter than the other, yet he’d still run.
    I told him about how I eat: meat and veggies, etc. It took him about six months, and then I got The Phone Call. He hadn’t touched grain in a month, no soy, no dairy, no legumes. He’d lost 10 lbs already and woke up every morning feeling mor energy than he’d felt in DECADES.
    Now, every time he calls, he lets me know something else that’s good in his life: no more hip pain, running again with NO PAIN (and in vibrams no less!), all this energy he has no idea what to do with it, so he goes jogging at midnight. :D

    • Dr. Davis says:

      Wow! Jogging at midnight in his mid-60s?

      You can see why many of us say that wheat elimination turns the clock back 20 years!

  7. Nick says:

    I have been wheat free, grain free, gluten free and possibly sugar free I know that sounds funny but in the book Dr. David suggests 85% dark chocolate with peanut butter. I basically have a piece of chocolate everyday. I would love to hear some opinions. Thanks!

    • Boundless says:

      As far as I know, the only concern with chocolate is the sweetener, and if sugar, the portion size. I’m always willing to be mistaken.

      At 85% cocoa, even a sugar-sweetened bar typically has only 5 grams in the whole bar. I usually opt for at least that percentage, and never eat more than 1/4 of the bar at one time.

      Below that %, study the sweetener type (avoid fructose/agave altogether), and consider alternative sweeteners (there multiple choices in sugar-free).

    • Rick Hoffman says:

      I was saving this one -that 85% has become quite a joke around here. Lots of healthy eating friends want to try it & when they do I get the same comment “this is the worst dirt I have ever eaten” as they spit it out. But I found a simple answer for returning chocolate to the wheat free/sugar free diet. Melt the dirt add stevia to the taste & use accordingly as a drip on. Wait till it hardens to eat for maximum effect. I have converted Dr. Davis’ wheat free cheese cake recipe to chocolate cheese cake by doing this. Totally delicious just like the old days back in the diner or bakery – just – YOU HAVE TO DIY!

      • Boundless says:

        > … YOU HAVE TO DIY!

        There are any number of sugar-free chocolate bars on the market that use acceptable alternative sweeteners.

        Personally, I’ve developed a taste for the 80% and up bars.

    • David Bauguess says:

      Someone else posted the following link and recommendation for making your own chocolate:

      http://www.rocofit.com/homemade-paleo-chocolate/

      My wife tried it, and we like it so much that we haven’t thought about buying another chocolate bar. She makes it with an extra generous amount of organic cocoa powder. In the comment section of the above website, a reader offered a variation, which we prefer. Instead of equal parts of coconut oil and almond butter, use 2 parts coconut oil to 1 part almond butter. Also, we like it best with real vanilla included. She sandwiches organic peanut butter between two layers of the chocolate. We feel it is so healthful and delicious, there is zero guilt in eating a generous serving every day. It’s melt-in-your-mouth creamy and delicious.

      Something of a downside is that it gets very soft after a while at room temperature. So, it needs to be stored in the refrigerator and/or freezer.

      • Boundless says:

        Ditch the honey in that paleochoc. Honey, even organic, is at least 50% fructose, and you don’t need the other 50% either (glucose). Switch to your favorite alternative.

        Commercial honey, by the way, may also not be what it claims to be, and may instead just be flavored sugar, or worse, HFCS syrup.

        Honey is a dietary error that seems to be peculiar to the paleo movement. It is sky-high glycemic (we need to be in ketogenic metabolism), and is loaded with fructose (which humans are poorly adapted to, for reasons not entirely yet clear).

  8. Joan says:

    @Nicole… our dog was actually the first to go grain-free in our family. It made him *terribly* sick, so I began making a crockpot of beef and vegetables for him once a week. He recovered, and became a lean, mean machine – a fine looking dog, with the silkiest coat you can imagine. I looked at him, about the same time I read Wheat Belly this summer, and connected the dots! None of us are sugar burners any more. No grains or sugar for any of us, even the dog.

    • eema.gray says:

      Haha, our cat was switched to Blue Buffalo Wilderness (a grain free line) YEARS ago. We noticed her somewhat less “psycho-kitty” behavior (she is still a tortis shell, with the reputation torties have), her silky coat, her better weight maintenance almost at once. Never ever did it dawn on us that the same diet could do well for her humans. Took a solid 2 years and a paleo cook book from Costco to connect the dots.

  9. Deb Cooper says:

    I am sorry to hear that you veto all grains, I have found that I can tolerate heritage organic Spelt and Buckwheat grown by an amazing woman farmer who has been cultivating old strains of grains here in Ontario.
    I have been eating wheat free for almost 3 years, before “Wheat Belly” was published, lost 30 lbs. and now have no joint pain. After reading your book I understand why I feel so much better. But I still like a little cracker and biscotti in my day. The difference now is I am satisfied with a few crackers and “a” biscotti, whereas before it would have been the whole batch all at once. So please don’t say all grains.

    • Christine says:

      Does she ship her bread by any chance?

    • Dr. Davis says:

      Remember, Deb: Not all adverse health effects are perceived.

      You can, for instance, eat organic wheat, not experience the abnormal appetite-stimulation characteristic of modern semi-dwarf wheat, but still be quite diabetic, have cataracts, arthritis, heart disease, cancer, and dementia–with no hint of the processes leading to these conditions.

      No human was meant to consume grains in any form. Any consumption necessarily represents compromise to some degree.

    • JIllOz says:

      Buckwheat is a berry, not a grain.

  10. Robin says:

    I was wondering recently. (I do a bit of that.) Since for the last 40 or so years we’ve been told to eat lots of grains and lay off the saturated fats, and we have been getting progressively fatter and sicker, why don’t these “brains” of the “health” industry say, “Well, that doesn’t seem to be working. Let’s try the opposite.” Or, at least, something different, wouldn’t you think? I mean, how much worse could it get? Actually, there are plenty of studies showing that saturated fats are protective against heart disease. They’re just never cited, specially since 1970. My grandma was in her late 80s or 90s when she died (not of heart disease) and I remember she used to drink cream (raw). We got raw milk & cream from the milkie who came round with his big cans on the back of a truck. I used to peel the fatty layer off the top of the weekend mutton – that was MINE! We kids were skinny as rakes and fit as.

    I love reading these stories from people who have made great progress after leaving the grains behind. I’m really happy for them.

    Now for something slightly different. A few years ago I went to a talk by Victoria Boutenko (raw foodist). She said that grey hair was a sign of malabsorption of nutrients. That got me worried as I sat there, white hair suddenly glowing like a searchlight. Anyway, I am seeing more dark hairs on my head these days. I don’t think it’s my imagination. I think my hair is getting darker. I’ll let you know in another 6mths or a year. Victoria said her hair went back to its original colour. I’m wondering if anyone else has experienced this?

    • Geoffrey says:

      you’ll all be the first to know if my hair returns, or starts to return, to its natural color. I went gray relatively early, late 30s and always thought it was related to stress. I know I’ve been very sensitive to wheat/grains/sugars and after many years of playing around with this type of diet, I’m more serious this time. But I’ll admit, I don’t find easy. Today I’ve had sugar and high carb cravings, and not because I really need the food. But I’m rolling with it and not giving in to the urge. Life is just so level, and maybe even a little bit boring, when off the carb rollercoaster. I’m very aware of a calm inside, a leveling of mood. Tomorrow I’m making the pumpkin spice muffin recipe in the book, that might satisfy something.

      • Robin says:

        Yeah, some days you just feel like something sweet. Sometimes I buzz up some cashews, add a bit of sweetener, water and carob or cocoa. Maybe some raisins instead or the sweetener? Are you getting enough saturated fat? I find it keeps me satiated. We had some calves’ liver, poached eggs cooked in coconut oil & butter, & a bit of salad for breakfast and I’m still not hungry now at 3:30pm. We also have coconut oil in our coffee. At the supermarket, I sometimes feel like having some chocolate (72% is the highest here that I can find) and other times I just don’t fancy it. When I do feel like something sweet, I just remember the sugar rush/insulin thing. That usually does it for me. :)

    • Amanda says:

      Robin I was thinking the same, what I noticed on myself is that I was getting lots of gray hair, then at 49 I stopped the wheat, I’m 52 now, I have noticed that I still have the gray hair, is not changing, lol, but I can say is that I am not getting gray hair at the same speed as before. We are going to know so much about aging in the nexy few years! thanks to Dr. Davis and others who do not buy the mainstream lies we have been impossed in the last decades.
      I have noticed in Native people in Canada, First Nations people, that lots of them are very tall and also they get gray hair later in life than others, although they eat bad like the rest of people, they got the genes of hunters and gatherers since they had no much agriculture when Europeans got here. Just a thought…

      • Robin says:

        Hi Amanda ~ I meant to also put in my post that I read somewhere that consumption of grains inhibits the absorption of minerals so that’s what I’m thinking. Now that I’m not eating grains at all, I’m getting more dark hairs showing through – not from the roots as in a band of new dark growth, not like a single hair of gray and black. Then I thought, well, I didn’t go gray from the roots; it just went gray right the way down the shaft, hair by hair so it seems it might slowly be reversing. To what extent remains to be seen.

        “Mainstream lies”. You’re not kidding. I’ve read a few books on the cholesterol con, the saturated fat/heart disease hypothesis (a myth). The one I’m looking at now is Cholesterol and Saturated Fat Prevent Heart Disease by David Evans. Got it from Amazon for Kindle ($4.79). It summarises 101 studies which are against the “Prudent Diet” and supportive of saturated fats actually being heart-healthy but you never hear about them. They’re never cited anywhere so you have to go searching because there’s too much at stake for the drug & “health” industries. One day it will all come out and there’ll be some professionals who won’t be able to reconcile the fact that because of their advice, millions of people have become very sick and/or have died. The literature has been around for decades but has been kept well under the radar.

  11. Nicole says:

    Good to hear about your dog Joan, the food lie for pets is just as big as our food lie.
    A very profitable industry and we all know what that means.

    • LorLor says:

      On that topic, does anyone have a favorite grain-free cat food that’s available commercially, or will I have to start giving her our leftover chicken and steak? Not that she’d mind . . .

      • Claudia says:

        in Canada, BC (Before Grain) – I get it from PetCetera – my one cat, that’s barfed 3 – 4 x a week for 13 years, even on Hills Hypoallergenic Feline food that cost a small fortune, has stopped barfing since going grain free – who would’ve believed it

        • Dr. Davis says:

          I believe the benefits of wheat elimination apply to most mammals, Claudia. The exception are ruminants, creatures with multi-compartment stomachs that equip them to digest grass and grains. We are, of course, creatures with single compartment stomachs, entirely unsuited to grain consumption.

  12. JEY says:

    Dr.Davis,
    Looking forward to seeing you on Dr. Oz tomorrow. Your CBS interview was so good; sure this went even better.
    Hoping the editors don’t do the hachet job they did to Gary Taubes, but if so, I know people who heard the Taubes interview and decided to find out the facts for themselves. Bought Why We Get Fat anyway, and are still committed low-carbers following the Westman plan in the back of the book with No sugar and No grains. I’ll be cheering you on.

    Terrific story Rick! I found out that thick-cut organic oatmeal also was a problem for me, and am completely grain-free. Nut flours make great substitutes in baked goods, Deb. Try Dr. Davis’s recipes or search for “gluten-free and sugar-free” recipes on the web…the biscotti will still taste lovely, maybe even better with almond flour.

  13. Kim Nelson says:

    I’d like to know your take on einkorn flour…

    • Boundless says:

      Dr.Davis on einkorn:
      http://www.wheatbellyblog.com/2011/12/upper-crust/

      It may not really be an heirloom einkorn, due to inadvertent genetic cross-pollenization. And you’ll pay a premium to revert to this ancient human dietary error.

      Einkorn (and emmer, and spelt) are predictable, but temporary distractions on the road to grainless enlightenment. We were there too. Moved on.

  14. Robin says:

    I have a question about Garden of Life Raw Protein Powder. It has sprouted grains…brown rice, quinoa, etc.( no wheat)… Do those raise blood sugar levels?

    • Dr. Davis says:

      Yes, they definitely will if present in sufficient quantities.

      Generally, a “net” carbohydrate (total carbs minus fiber) exposure of 15 grams or more is sufficient to start sending blood sugar skyward.

  15. Nick says:

    So is the 85% chocolate considered sugar free?

  16. Marv says:

    Exactly, Rick! DIY those recipes and experiment. I’ve been making sweets with sweetner Swerve Dr. Davis once mentioned. Expensive but a great substitute, even in homemade ice creams. Not missing a thing and not eating whole pizzas anymore!

    Dr. Davis, I look in the mirror now and just LAUGH!! I tried so hard to look like this for so many years – your wisdom and the courage to share it has made it so easy. My clothing give-away pile is just a’growin!

    – Marv

    • Dr. Davis says:

      That’s great, Marv!

      Think of all those people sweating away like mad with exercise, spending oodles of money on “slimming” meal replacements, subjecting themselves to “cleanses” and enemas . . . while unwittingly consuming an appetite stimulant!

  17. Nick says:

    Is a small amount of dark chocolate going to derail the WB benefits? Also how much sugar should be consumed?

  18. Anthony says:

    FYI,
    My anecdote about eating less harmful (sic) forms of wheat. I’ve returned from two weeks in Paris at the end of October. I gorged myself on French bread: morning, noon and night. Shucks with a bakery not one block from where my wife and I stayed, that was easy to do :) I had been previously wheat/grain/sugar free since our previous year return from Paris on the flights of which we read Wheat Belly. So, no symptoms of any kind. Indeed I continued my body fat % reduction, slept like a brick, bowels normal, blah, blah.
    One day just a couple or three before our return, we saw on one of our walks through the city, an Italian Restaurant where decided to have lunch. Hell, I said, this is France, they are probably using the ITalian form of einkorn, so in we went and I had an Italian meal of thin spaghetti in olive oil, chives and grated parmesan cheese along with bread and some phenomenal Italian red wine.
    Within two hours of eating, I had every single symptom associated with my previous history eating wheat: bloat, gas, diarrhea, hemorrhoid inflammation, lousy sleep that night and the next two, impending sense of doom. My wife echoed these symptoms.
    Conclusion: either it was the cumulative effect of eating French wheat added to eating the Italian wheat (btw, the waiter said that they made their own bread by importing the grains from northern Italy), or, it was the ITalian wheat version by itself. It took me fully two weeks to get back to normal . HTH, tony
    When we return to the south of France next year , you can bet that

    • Anthony says:

      ….. I’ll not be eating Italian wheat LOL (sorry for this second post; hit the wrong key before sending the last one and didn’t notice it)

  19. Doug says:

    Robin,

    I’ll go you one better, after being wheat free for 7 weeks I’m seeing some hair return. Just a little at the edge of my male pattern baldness, maybe some of the follicles that haven’t been completely killed off by the stress of a wheat diet. I don’t know for sure but I’ll take it. My wife confirms it’s not just wishful thinking on my part too.
    That’s on no grains what so ever, no rice either.

    Doug

  20. Steve K says:

    Since I’ve started the ‘Wheat Belly’ lifestyle I’ve lost 6 pounds. I didn’t need to lose 6 pounds. I’ve found myself scrambling for calories. The biggest thing is that I haven’t felt ‘hungry’ (makes sense without wheat) but I need nutrition. I’ve forced myself to eat on a fairly regular schedule but I’m not eating enough. According to my current plan I need roughly 3000-3500 calories a day. I’ve barely touched 2000 in the last few weeks. I don’t want to kill those calories with a ton of red meat or more of a suitable filler. I’m to the point (8 weeks) where I really need to find a balance. I can’t afford to lose more weight.

    • Christopher Freeman says:

      I would suggest using high quality oils for calories, like Hemp Oil and Coconut Oil. Both are quite beneficial for the human body. The avocado is also high in calories and vitamins and minerals as well.

    • Dr. Davis says:

      Use more oils in your meals, e.g., coconut, olive, walnut, butter. That easily adds to calories.

      Eat healthy snacks, such as the muffins, cookies, and brownies from the recipes on this blog and in the book.