Are you crazy?

Heather posted this comment that illustrates why it is so important, once you’ve started the wheat-free process, to stick to it and not give in to the withdrawal phenomenon.

I’ve been on a wheat-free, gluten-free, corn-free diet for about 4 months now, and only within the last 2 weeks have I noticed the cravings go away, the brain fog lift, and most of my skin issues clear up. My brother also read the book and he agrees that I’ve probably been going through wheat withdrawal for the past few months.

I’ve also suffered from debilitating menstrual tantrums (for lack of better descriptions) for 1.5-2 weeks of every month for many years, and this past month, I felt normal!

I’ve lost almost 40 lbs in the past 5 months (only 80 more to go!). I sleep better, a good majority of my chronic pain has gone away, my blood pressure is normal for the first time in my life. I could go on forever about the things I’ve noticed that are different. And I’m only 29. I only picked up Wheat Belly this past week, and I was thrilled to find that there are others like me and that I am not crazy, like some people (including doctors) had me believing.

No, you are most definitely not crazy, Heather. You deserve tremendous credit for sticking to this dietary change despite an incredible 4-month long withdrawal from the opiate in wheat.

What is crazy is that regulatory agencies practice a laissez-faire attitude towards agribusiness and their products. Agribusiness changes multiple components of crops like grains, especially wheat, then sell it to consumers the next day–no questions asked by the USDA or FDA. Never mind that the thousands of hybridizations conducted on wheat strains generates unique proteins with each and every hybridization event. Never mind that non-wheat grasses were mated with wheat to introduce unique genes. Never mind that peculiar techniques like chemical-, gamma ray-, and high-dose x-ray mutagenesis–the purposeful induction of mutations–are among the techniques used to generate modern strains of wheat. And never mind that, while there is growing opposition to genetically-modified foods, wheat has been subjected to techniques that pre-date genetic modification. Modern wheat is instead the product of crude, unpredictable, and sometimes bizarre techniques that are WORSE than genetic modification.

It explains why a young 29-year old woman like Heather obtains relief from mind “fog,” acne, food cravings/appetite stimulation, chronic pain, reduced blood pressure, tumultuous menstrual cycles, and weight gain by denying herself “healthy whole grains.” What we are being sold is not wheat–it is not food and it is not suitable for human consumption.

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87 Responses to Are you crazy?

  1. Kim says:

    There is not 1 recipe that Dr. Davis advocates that includes white sugar. I believe many of our ailments, symptoms, and withdrawal is due to sugar elimination as well as wheat. Sugar is a powerful powder on the brain as well; so remember you’re going thru wheat and sugar withdrawal. It’s a tough combination, but you might as well try to do them both at the same time and consolidate your efforts . God Bless all of you trying to improve the health of yourselves, your family, your neighborhood, and your country. Kelloggs and Proctor & Gamble just may show a financial loss soon. A victory long in waiting. Jump if you’re feelin froggy!!


  3. I have been on a wheat free program for the past 4 months. I feel great, and definitely believe in the program. I am 77 years old, and I definitely have a “Wheat Belly”. I have only lost 10 lbs in the past 4 months, and I am getting a little discouraged. I do notice that I am on the last hole on my belts, and have not been there in years.
    I do not cheat and I am as careful as I can be since we eat out all the time. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

    • Damian says:

      Rich, the weight loss is a sign that wheat-free is helping. It may take longer to lose the weight, but slow and steady is fine. By sticking to this, you are doing great things for your body and mind.

      A couple questions for you:
      What kind of physical activity you enjoy? Are you able to walk comfortably? I find that walking trims me like nothing else.

      Do you have any other issues like thyroid disorder which might negatively impact your metabolism?

      Gluten is hidden in many products. Also, ingredients like corn syrup could be making it harder to lose.

  4. Suzanne Cannon says:

    Dr. Davis,
    I have been following the wheat belly diet pretty religiously with very little carbs for about 6 weeks. I exercise 5x a week and still am not losing as I should. I am getting my results from my thyroid blood work this week and I found out from my hormone Dr that I have an iodine deficiency. What she also discovered in my blood work was that my testosterone , dhea, and cortisol levels are high all of a sudden. My previous blood work showed they were all low,and adrenals were sluggish, but I was not put on any supplements. They only thing I take is natural progesterone and vitamin supplements. My question is, can my withdrawal from wheat be causing temporary stress to my body causing this surge in dhea, cortisol, and testosterone ? The Dr was concerned that I was going through some type of stress, but I am not. The diet is my only lifestyle change.

    • Dr. Davis says:

      I doubt it, Suzanne. While there are indeed withdrawal phenomena to deal with when stopping wheat, I don’t believe these odd changes can be explained by it.

      • JoAnne says:

        I have only eliminated wheat for the past week but just this morning I woke up with a rash on my belly. I have no idea if this is due to losing the wheat or if I need to see my doctor. Did anyone else experience a rash in the early stages of wheat elimination?

  5. Jennifer says:

    I just bought the wheat belly cookbook and I am floored but what I have read. My daughter is 13 and has Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. I can’t believe I caused this by what I fed her. “Healthy” Cheerios and whole grain bread….supposidly healthy choices caused this issue…..I feel horrid!! I think it also explains her ‘fantom’ stomach pain that she has had for years and we have always been given antacids for! I too have been fighting a loosing battle with my weight for years and the only real success I had was on the 17 day diet that eliminates all carbs for the first 17 days but then slowly reintroduces them…..the wheat had it’s hooks back in me and I thought it was my lack of willpower that was to blame. Now, I live in a small town in Nova Scotia Canada where choices are limited and so is my budget. I cook for 6 and while my husband is supportive the choices are limited. I just checked out our local bulk store and it looks like I will be making most of my own nut flours. Another big challenge for us is my daughter’s school lunches…..her school is peanut, tree nut, and fish/fish product free……any suggestions?? I did see a rice pizza crust that is wheat and glutton free….is that a choice? Any help or suggestions are more than welcome as we begin our wheat free journey!!

    • Dr. Davis says:

      Tough situation, Jennifer, with your daughter’s limitations. It means making maximum use of real, single ingredient foods without the peanuts, tree nuts, and fish, such as hunks of cheese, seeds, baked foods made with the ground flour of seeds, meats (with fat), soups, and vegetables and fruit, of course.

      This is a huge mess that agribusiness has cultivated. It is nice people like you and your family who have to try and dodge all the problems they have created.

  6. May L. says:

    Well this is probably the 5th time I’m attempting to cut out wheat from my diet. I was given your book by my mother-in-law yesterday and after the first few pages I decided THAT’S IT, I need to try again!!

    The main issue I have every time I try to eliminate wheat is that I become ravenously hungry. Now I can understand that it’s because I’m craving wheat and since I can’t have it, I’m trying to fill the void with everything I CAN eat (I never feel satisfied though.) The longest I’ve gone is 12 days and without any signs of that constant hunger going away, I would always just give up and go back to my wheat-eating ways. This time I’m determined to not let myself get discouraged.

    I’m only at the end of day 2 right now. My only real complaint (aside from feeling antsy and craving something I can’t put my finger on) is itchy skin, it’s been driving me crazy all day. Could this be from withdrawing from wheat? My skin is absolutely crawling.

  7. Karen says:

    I am on day 6 of being wheat-free. I chose to make this change to lose a bit of weight and improve my health some more. I do not have celiac or gluten-intolerance.
    The first few days I was fine with no cravings or feelings of what have been described as withdrawal. The last couple of days I have felt foggy-headed off and on, and my sinuses are a bit stuffy. No cravings at all.
    Is the likelihood, severity, and duration of withdrawal relevant to quantity of wheat consumption before going wheat free and/or intolerance to wheat or celiac versus no issues with wheat?

    • Dr. Davis says:

      Yes, I believe that bigger wheat eaters experience bigger wheat withdrawal. It is not necessary to have celiac or gluten sensitivity to experience withdrawal.

      Beyond this, the determinants of withdrawal are not well mapped out, though I suspect there is a genetic component related to how opiates are handled.

  8. Jessica says:

    Hi all, I very recently started the wheat belly life style. Three days to be exact. I’ve been feeling very flustered. Literally my face gets flush. Could this be a symptom of the wheat withdrawl. Wheat had been very dominant in my diet previous to three days ago. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks Jess

    • Dr. Davis says:

      Yes, it can indeed.

      If so, it should dissipate by about 5 days after your last wheat exposure.

  9. Nancy says:

    Last summer, I went to a dermatologist for a constantly swollen and very red, itchy right hand … not surprising, threw an eczema label too, gave me a Rx for an expensive steroid ointment and sent me on my way. I decided that was it with western medicine healing and knew I needed to heal from the inside out so went to my acupuncturist. He took one look and said it was circulation and definitely could help and likely cure. As I was making my next appt. he had an article on your Wheat Belly book, so on my next visit we got chatting more about my skin situation along with my IBS. He suggested maybe a wheat sensitivity and to try eliminating it. I was very happy to do it and found it easy to manage. It has been about 5 weeks and while I definitely feel better in some ways, I am feeling a bit discouraged and frustrated to not see more positive improvements by this time with my skin, aches and pains. I’m trying to stay on track with my mind, knowing the many years I was “poisoning” my body and that it will take time. I also feel that much of this is no doubt the toxins eliminating themselves and believe the end result will all be worth it. I know everyone is individual in the timeframe but is this normal during the elimination process … I just need some hope as to if and when I will see results. I have no intentions of going back to wheat where I don’t miss it but just hard to stay upbeat with these challenging conditions and feelings.

    • Dr. Davis says:

      You might consider eliminating other dietary culprits, one at a time, such as all other grains, dairy, soy, eggs.

  10. Heather says:

    I just wanted to update (and maybe inspire someone else to try this) that I’m up to 65 lbs lost and feeling pretty great. Most of my skin has healed up, except for a couple little spots on my hands, but I wash my hands often for work. I’ve noticed that I find more relief for my skin when I avoid dairy as well as wheat (and corn).

  11. Susan says:

    A doctor friend sang the praises of the Wheat Belly Diet for herself and her patients, so I Kindled it, read it and began the next day. I have been 100% wheat free, I’m pretty sure, for just over a week now. I do still consume other things, like brown rice and quinoa (although not daily).

    Last night at a party, I met a woman whose figure I admire. She told me that she has been 100% gluten free for years. I wonder if the weight loss I so desperately crave comes from not ingesting wheat or all kinds “carbs”. The woman told me she is “totally Paleo”, which I find a little unnerving since I am primarily vegetarian. I consume less than 6 oz of chicken or fish total in any given week, sometimes less. I will not return to red meat and would prefer to not up my intact of animal products. (I know Dr Colin Campbell personally.)

    Does anyone have an opinion? My firm intention is to lose at least 15 lbs.

    Thank you.

    • Diane says:

      If you would like information on how to be vegan or near-vegan and optimize your weight you might read some of Joel Fuhrman’s books. His approach, which achieves fantastic weight and health results, emphasizes eating a nutrient dense diet, which especially is focused on vegetables, some fruits, some beans, nuts and seeds and a modest intacke of whole grains and either no or a modest weekly intake of meats, etc. He does not discuss eliminating wheat specifically, but grains in general are to be whole and only at the very most 20% of calories. It would be entirely reasonable to cut out wheat entirely.

  12. April Mitchell says:

    My familY has been on the Wheat belly diet for almost three weeks now. When researching, I found that it not only would help me with my various health problems but could help my children. My oldest out of four (8 yrs old) has done very well and his anger issues have lessened and we aren’t struggling as much with homework. Our second (7 yrs old) has always been a pretty easy going kid and has been fine. However, my youngest two (5 & 3 yrs old) were doing better last week, but these last few days they are historical. My 5 year old is on the ground throwing tantrums as if he was two again! They are both crying about everything and anything. I am not sure what to do or think about this. I thought getting rid of wheat was going to help all of us. Are they still withdrawing? I feel better, but am unfortunately stocked up. I also haven’t dropped any weight which is disappointing. I do however only have ten pounds to lose so maybe it will take some time. Any thoughts or advice would be great. Tank you

    • Boundless says:

      Are you sure the tantrum throwers aren’t getting wheat outside the home?

      And has sugar intake been driven way down for all?

      • Barbara in New Jersey says:

        What about other starches like in those gluten free foods? Very high glycemic, so they can be acting like sugar in your two younger children.

        • April Mitchell says:

          They should not be getting wheat anywhere. I do pack their own lunches to take to school and the school is really strict about not sharing food. I have made some non wheat sweets partially because I like to bake and partially because I feel bad that they haven’t been getting their favorite foods anymore! I haven’t been buying those gluten free packaged goodies because of all those starches and extra stuff. The sugar that has been used is the stevia or honey. It seems like such a minimal amount compared to what they were getting. Do you think it could be these natural sugars?

          • Barbara in New Jersey says:


            There has been a recent news reports about an enormous fraud in the honey market with contamination by Chinese wholesalers. Check your honey to see if it is locally produced by beekeepers or a more generic brand that may or may not be contaminated. Check your other foodstuff for country of origin. This might not be noted on the packaging so inquire with the listed company as to their source. The Chinese are notorious for adding nefarious ingredients to products in order to enhance their profitability.

            While it is unusual for a delayed reaction like this, perhaps your 2 youngest are having one or one of them is copying the other in tantrums.

            Also, check if there has been a lot of a new ingredient in their diet. Maybe a previously unknown allergy exists. Hope these suggestions give you some new ways to look at the problem.

  13. April Mitchell says:

    Thank you for your thoughts. I really appreciate it. We live in Hawaii and use local honey. What can I use to substitute it, syrup? Isn’t that just as bad? And stevia too isn’t so great? We have to have our sweets!! Also, we have tried both pizza recipes and the kids are not thrilled. Does anyone have other pizza dough recipes. We love pizza and movie nights in our house, but they haven’t been so exciting for the kids with not liking the pizza!

    • Barbara in New Jersey says:


      Dr. D has provided a list of acceptable sweeteners. Read his book or this blog. WFMF sells an excellent product.
      As for pizza, why don’t you check the paleo or primal food sites for crust recipes if the WBCB ones aren’t to your liking. Check out GourmetGirlCooks, Linda’s Low Carb Recipes, Maria Emmerich’s recipes, NomNomPaleo and Magic Dough (which will cost $3.99 for the recipe). There are many, many recipes to choose from as well as sweet treats for your children.

      • Neicee says:

        Let’s not forget Mark’s Daily Apple, Elana’s Pantry (heavy on desserts and some not using dairy or nuts). Oddly enough, Yummly can be rigged in their search to exclude allergies, low carb, and really can simply be searched for new ideas. Though celiacs do use some foods we exclude, their website has recipes categorized by country. I’ve enjoyed their sections on French food and Asian. I sometimes pull out recipes from the ‘old days’ and the challenge is to remake them. I bore easily…. :)

  14. April Mitchell says:

    Thank you for your suggestions. I will check out those sites!