Kate posted her story describing years and years of suffering at the hands of wheat, only realized when she rid herself of it.
I suspect I may be wheat intolerant. That is, allergic. Something that happened to me recently has “clicked” and I just wish it had not taken me so long to put two and two together.
When I was 15 years old, I had relentlessly gained weight over the previous year’s time. It was 1969. I decided I wasn’t going to put up with it, and with my mother’s endorsement I went on the then-popular “grapefruit” diet. I cut all carbs (and as a result, all wheat) out of my diet except for a half a grapefruit, three times a day. I never felt hungry, but I lost weight. When I was satisfied that I had lost all the weight I had gained the previous year, I reverted to a “normal” diet which included wheat breakfast cereal and bread or biscuits (wheat-based) at every meal. I was going to try to monitor caloric intake to make sure I would not regain the lost pounds. Within 24 hours, I developed pain in my upper abdomen which would not go away. I could hardly stand up straight. The pain soon spread throughout my whole trunk and did not subside for nearly a week. Mom thought I was faking it, or that the “grapefruit” diet I had been using was to blame. I never again went on a low-carb diet. I continued to gain a few pounds a year, every year, occasionally beating them back with severe calorie-reduced, high-exercise dieting, only to have the pounds return, with reinforcements.
Add to this the fact that my face did not ever totally clear up in spite of repeated promises from my folks that I would “grow out of it,” and was still sporting pimples even when I was in my 40′s. I had persistent constipation and eventually developed diverticuli. I got breast cancer in my early 50′s. I was growing less and less capable of dealing with any sort of stress. I felt “trapped” all the time.
So, for at least 40 years, I have had rosacea, edema in my lower extremities, persistent weight gain even while eating fewer calories than it should take to support a body weight MUCH smaller than mine, increasing mood problems, reduction in mental sharpness, the feeling of increasingly living my life in a fog, and the latest problem, itchy scalp.
The problems were amorphous at first, but the effects have been cumulative and I did not want to look forward to their continual worsening. The doctors would say “this will increase,” regarding my edema. “This is age-related” with regard to having no waistline anymore when historically I had never lacked a waistline even at my heaviest; “this is hormonal” regarding my mental fogginess, mental fatigue, and mood problems. All of them chiding me for not remaining “lean” and telling me that weight gain is a virtual guarantee of an untimely death. Recommending green tea, pilates, yoga, low-calorie diets, you name it. Not a word about wheat or carbs.
Having read blogs and discussions on the Internet, but not the Wheat Belly book, I decided to eliminate wheat from my diet to see if it would make me feel better. I stopped eating wheat on January 22 of this year.
I had been off wheat nearly three weeks, had lost about 6 pounds and was feeling better, and then had for breakfast, on a Sunday morning, a big bowl of cheap oatmeal from the discount grocery. It turned out that apparently, unless oatmeal of any sort is labeled as gluten-free and wheat-free, it is cross contaminated with wheat processed at the same facility. I ate it for breakfast and was awakened at 3:00 the next morning with pain in my upper abdomen EXACTLY LIKE the symptoms I first got when I was 15 years old. I couldn’t sleep, and the pain nearly ruined my whole day at work the next day. I ACTUALLY HAD A FLASHBACK. It was truly creepy.
I will not eat wheat again. I have had “the convincer” and I’m done.
To date, I have lost a total of 8 pounds. My skin is clearing up. My digestion is no longer sluggish. My mental sharpness is greatly increased, and my chronic bleak mood has lifted to the point that I’ve gone back to being the happy, positive, upbeat person I had been years and years ago. It has felt like turning back the calendar.
I might even start exercising again. I feel that good.
It makes me shudder to think how many years—decades—people like Kate have to suffer until they finally find the answer. And, as Wheat Belly readers all know, it’s the very same food that enjoys the repeated and enthusiastic endorsement of our own government, the food we are told should dominate our daily diet. People stumble through life, wondering why they feel so awful despite doing everything “right,” prescribed drugs by their doctors, undergoing procedures and surgeries, dying before they should have.
Minus the chief culprit of human illness, modern wheat, we revert back to health that humans were supposed to enjoy without the joint aches, gastrointestinal distress, skin rashes, and mental/emotional effects that now define our society. Yes, humans were meant to thrive, be happy, and be healthy . . . until the Evil Grain came along.