Wheat Belly: Quick & Dirty 2

In view of the many new readers on the Wheat Belly Blog, many of whom have not yet had an opportunity to read the book but are eager to get started, here is the updated Wheat Belly Quick & Dirty summary. It summarizes the essential dietary strategies of the Wheat Belly approach to 1) avoid all products made from high-yield, semi-dwarf wheat that wreak health destruction, and 2) create a diet that is otherwise healthy and appropriate for all members of the family.

This is the same diet I advise patients in my office to follow that achieves spectacular reductions in weight, provides relief from joint pain and acid reflux, reduces triglycerides, shoots HDL upward, reduces small LDL particles (the #1 cause of heart disease in the U.S!), and unravels diabetic/pre-diabetic tendencies. The diet starts with the biggest step of all: elimination of wheat. But a healthy diet cannot end there, else you and I could eat no wheat but fill our calories with soft drinks and jelly beans. So the next step is to limit carbohydrates if your goal is to lose more weight and correct metabolic distortions like high blood sugar and small LDL particles. Then, we choose our foods wisely to avoid the common boobytraps set for us by Big Food and Agribusiness, not to mention the friendly dietitian at the hospital! Diet in the 21st century is no longer just about carbs, proteins, and fats–it is also about being savvy about the changes introduced into our foods by food producers.

All wheat-based products (all breads, all breakfast cereals, noodles, pasta, bagels, muffins, pancakes, waffles, donuts, pretzels, crackers), oat products (oatmeal, oat bran), corn and cornstarch-based products (sauces or gravies thickened with cornstarch, prepared or processed foods containing cornstarch, cornmeal products like chips, tacos, tortillas), sugary soft drinks, candies.

Avoid processed foods containing wheat, such as soy sauce, Twizzlers, Campbells Tomato Soup, salad dressings, taco seasoning–examine ALL labels and avoid any food with mention of wheat. (It’s not a bad idea to avoid foods with labels! Cucumbers and spinach, for instance, generally don’t come with labels.)

Enjoy unlimited:
Vegetables-except potatoes; fresh or frozen, never canned
Raw nuts and seeds-raw almonds, walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, pistachios, Brazil nuts, cashews, macadamians; dry-roasted peanuts (not roasted in oil); pumpkin, sunflower, sesame, and chia seeds
Healthy oils (preferably unheated, whenever possible)-olive, flaxseed, coconut, avocado, walnut
Meats-red meats, pork, fish, chicken, turkey, eggs. (Consider free-range, grass-fed and/or organic sources.)
Ground flaxseed, chia seeds
Teas, coffee, water, unsweetened almond milk, coconut milk or coconut water
Cheeses—real cultured cheeses only (not Velveeta or single-slice processed cheese)
Avocado or guacamole; hummus; unsweetened condiments, e.g., mayonnaise, mustard, oil-based salad dressings; ketchup without high-fructose corn syrup; pesto, tapenades; olives

Fruit-No more than 2 servings a day (one serving is a level handful), preferably in this order (best first): berries of all varieties, citrus, apples, nectarines, peaches, melons. Minimize bananas, pineapples, mangoes, and grapes and only in the smallest of quantities (since they are like candy in sugar content)
Fruit juices-only real juices and in minimal quantities (no more than 2-4 oz)
Dairy products-No more than 1 serving per day of milk, cottage cheese or yogurt, unsweetened (Fat content does not matter.)
Legumes/beans; peas; sweet potatoes and yams; rice (white and brown); organic soy
Dark chocolates-70-85% cocoa or greater; no more than 40 grams (approximately 2 inches square) per day
Sugar-free foods–preferably stevia-containing, rather than aspartame; other safe sweeteners include erythritol and xylitol
Polyunsaturated oils–safflower, sunflower, mixed vegetable

”Gluten-free” foods made with rice flour, cornstarch, tapioca starch, or potato starch
Fried foods
Fast foods
Hydrogenated “trans” fats
Cured meats–hot dogs, sausages, bacon, bologna, pepperoni “fixed” with sodium nitrite
High-fructose corn syrup containing foods; honey; agave syrup; sucrose
Processed rice, rice flour or potato products-rice crackers, rice cereals, pretzels, white breads, breakfast cereals, potato chips
Fat-free or low-fat salad dressings

Quick tips:
For healthy breakfast choices, consider ground flaxseed as a hot cereal (e.g., with coconut milk, organic milk, or unsweetened almond milk; blueberries, strawberries, etc.). Also consider eggs; raw nuts; cheese; consider having “dinner for breakfast,” meaning transferring salads, cheese, chicken, and other “dinner” foods to breakfast.
Add 1 tsp or more of taste-compatible healthy oil to every meal. For example, mix in 1 tbsp coconut oil to ground flaxseed hot cereal. Or add 2 tbsp olive oil to eggs after scrambling. Adding oils will blunt appetite.
If you suspect you have a wheat “addiction” and are struggling to break it, use the first week to add healthy oils to every meal and reduce the amount of wheat by half. In the second week, aim for elimination of wheat while maintaining the oils.
Reach for raw nuts first as a convenient snack.
Use the recipes in the Wheat Belly Blog and book whenever cravings hit: cookies, muffins, brownies, coffee cake, cheesecake from the recipes can quell appetite with no downside.

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495 Responses to Wheat Belly: Quick & Dirty 2

  1. Marie says:

    Hi I live in Ireland,. I am reading Wheat Belly at the moment. We still have tall wheat and no GM crops that I am aware of and I have never seen Coconut or Almond flour in the stores here. I have just finished reading a very well researched book written by a scientist that shows without doubt that Dairy is implicated in Hormone driven cancers like Prostate and Breast Cancer. It looks like I an going to have difficulty making dishes that need to be thickened like Stews and what do you use to soak up the juices of dishes where you would usually use Pasta, Rice and Potatoes ? Any ideas and input would be appreciated . Thanks

    • Barbara in New Jersey says:

      Why don’t you use the internet to expand your search area for these common flours? I am sure the larger cities or ethnic groceries will have these items. You might have to special order from a larger store.

      Also, there are many recipes on line for breads, wraps, biscuits and the like. GourmetGirlCooks has a delicious cheese biscuit. Look at paleo/primal sites for recipes too.

      Dr. Davis has stated many times that wheat is not suitable for consumption. Your tall wheat may not be as injurious to your health as the short wheat, but it is not good for your health either.

      • Ellabee says:

        I would tell myself—hey, a wide open market for my area!! I would guess there are many people like you in your area that would love to have these products more readily available!

    • Bea Pullar says:

      For many years I have not used flour- wheat, corn or any other type to thicken stews or soups. Instead, I use the stems of broccoli and cauliflower – chopped or processed. In fact, I keep a cup or two handy in the freezer. Marie I live in Queensland and find all of the flours in supermarkets, Asian food stores etc. Almond flour is generally in the baking area, but may also be on the Health foods shelves.
      A check with Google says that flour millers in Ireland import most of their wheat from EC countries – which means that your are probably consuming the semi-dwarf wheat. Bear in mind that Dr Davis has repeatedly told us that the old wheat varieties cause health problems – but the semi-dwarf wheat does far more harm. The message is keep away from grains – especially wheat.

    • James says:

      Why don’t you get one of those electric coffee grinders and use it to make your own almond flour or chick pea flour. You can also grind flax seeds. There are a lot of things you can eat to replace wheat. As for making thick stews, just let whatever you’re cooking simmer on a low flame for a bit longer and, voila! you will have a thick stew without the corn flour. Okay, it may not have the viscosity of something enhanced with corn starch, but it will be healthier.

    • Louise says:

      Hi Marie,

      I’m living in Ireland too.

      I buy ground almonds in the bakery section of supermarkets (look out for less expensive own-brands). Some health shops stock coconut flour (Quay Co-op in Cork, anyway).
      In place of pasta I have used chopped or julienned and lightly sautéed courgette.
      Instead of rice, grated and steamed cauliflower; instead of potato, puréed cauliflower – sometimes with a spoon of goat cheese to make it really creamy – experiment with spices too, for different twists.
      I think Dr. Davis mentioned Cream of tartare for thickening?

      Best of luck!


  2. Lee Bliss says:

    I am a vegetarian. The diet interests me and was recommended by my chiropractor, but I’m not sure what I will eat. Do you have suggestions?



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  4. Phil says:

    I have following low carb plan and in 4 weeks haven’t seen the scale budge. I am fdeeling frustrated. I am T2 diabetic and use metformin and actos. ,my mood is excellent after years of swinging from carbs on the brain. My pants have gone down one size, but can someone please be supportive and explain why the scale doesn’t budge. I believe it will, but am perplexed as why not yet?
    I think the low carb, moderate protein and high fat way of eating will be my lifestyle eating. I do not feel hungry nor have no cravings for no-no high carb foods.
    One day,one meal at a time….. Thanks .

  5. Sarah says:

    Chia seeds are an amazing thickener for soups and stews etc.

  6. Sandy says:

    Can anyone tell me the carbohydrate content of the Wheat Belly’s pumpkin muffins?

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  8. Karolyn says:

    just curious, what do potatoes have to do with wheat?

    • Bev says:

      I would like to know that too!

      • Barbara in New Jersey says:

        Karolyn and Bev,

        Depending on the kind of potato and preparation, the carb value is about 25-45 carbs per cup. This is a high starch food and provides more carbs in that one cup than you are supposed to eat all day. It elevates your blood sugar and creates many other issues concerning your health. If you are trying to burn fat for energy, then you are probably going back to burning sugar so your system can digest this. It often takes days to recover. Weight loss stops.

        The Wheat Belly book describes this process in detail and why high carb foods should not be eaten except in condiment sized potions.

    • Boundless says:

      > just curious, what do potatoes have to do with wheat?

      Do you have some context for that question?

      Potatoes are high glycemic. They are, depending on form, a WB limited or never item because no reasonable portion size will keep the total meal below 15 grams net carb. Potatoes are a good example of what not to replace wheat with.

  9. Bev says:

    I have been following the eating plan for almost 4 months. My blood pressure has dropped to a good level. I feel good but in respnse to Phil, my scales are not moving much either. I have lost 6 pounds but my shape is changing and I am keeping off those pounds. I slipped once and had pizza. Bad move. I was uncomfortable all night! Never again. I do not crave foods but find I am getting a little bored. I am not a fancy cook so plain foods are all I eat. I know I likely am having too many fruits and milk products but I am not a big vegetable eater. I think over time, I will gradually lose my goal weight. Eating out has become much easier as I usually have a salad with grilled chicken.

  10. Bec hill says:

    When you say nuts as a snack… How many do you have? 5..10?

    • Boundless says:

      > When you say nuts as a snack… How many do you have? 5..10?

      Up to 15 grams net carbs in a six hour period, if that’s all you eat. Net carbs is total carbs less fiber carbs. Nuts vary considerably on this score.

      Avoid nuts cooked in adverse seed oils. Don’t sweat the salt.

  11. shannon says:

    i would like to replace wheat flour with bean flours to use in baked goods with stevia- as i do not get much protein from meat for environmental and equity reasons. i see however that legumes are on the limited list while peanuts and hummus on the free list. this confuses me as these are both legume based foods. if we are too limit legumes and stevia, how much is okay? thank you

    • Boundless says:

      > if we are too limit legumes and stevia, how much is okay?

      Up to 15 grams net carbs in a six hour period, if that’s all you eat. Net carbs is total carbs less fiber carbs. Legumes vary considerably on this score. Some are quite high in net carbs, and should be consumed only in condiment quantities.

      I don’t think it is necessary to limit stevia.

  12. lisa says:

    are there any types of crackers on the market that are part of the wheat belly diet? since we cant have rice..thanks

    • Tina says:

      Hi Lisa ~ You can make crackers out of ground flax, spices and water. I don’t have the recipe off the top of my head but if you google ground flax crackers you should be able to find it. Good luck!

    • Mary’s Gone Crackers are great, they are low in Carbs, and Dr. Davis mentions them in the Wheat Belly book as a good choice for commercial brands. I’ve had them, and they are pretty tasty.

  13. Kelley says:

    The “quick and dirty” diet hints state that coconut water can be consumed in unlimited quantities following the wheat belly diet. (I am assuming of course this is pure cocnut water with no additives). Is this true? Is it possible that a liquid with so many carbs can have a glycemic index low enough to be consumed so often?

    • Dr. Davis says:

      Don’t purchase any that is sweetened, Kelley, else you will drive blood sugar issues.

      We try to stay below 15 grams “net” carbs per meal.

  14. Kelley says:

    Great- thank you!

  15. Mardi Gauer says:

    What about quinoa?
    I also need a safe way to sweeten my coffee? Suggestions?

  16. Cant Eat Nuts says:

    Hello, I am interested in going wheat-free, but have a problem. i am severely allergic to all nuts, including, pecans, almonds, sesame seeds, walnuts, hazelnuts etc. More than half of the recipes in these books contain one or more of these things. Nuts are suggested for breakfast, lunch and supper as well as snacks. i am at a loss! Any ideas? is there any good substitutes?

    • Barbara in New Jersey says:

      There are bean flours. Check paleo and primal web sites for more recipes. This is not an uncommon problem. Take a strong probiotic as recommended to heal your intestines and drink at least half your body weight in ounces of water.

      Many people find that after being grain and sugar free for long while, they can eat a small amount of nuts when used in a flour form like a slice of bread.

  17. Bonny says:

    Thank-you, Dr. Davis, for the wonderful information you’re providing. I am unclear on two points. 1. Since quinoa is touted as an ancient grain, would that be a nutritious alternative? 2. Many people claim great results from juicing wheat and barley grasses. Is that the same as eating the wheat berries with its harmful effects? Many thanks for your time to reply…