Wheat liberation

Abbey tells this story of life transformed minus wheat. I call it “wheat liberation” because her story makes me think that she was a prisoner of the wheat message, in pain all the time and not understanding why.

Let the Wheat Lobby and uninformed dietary community prattle on about how “healthy whole grains” while we witness success after success in regaining health.

The last few years a lot of my friends have gone gluten free and have ballyhooed how wonderful it is and how good they feel, but I had been of the opposite mind: “What? Give up bread and cereal? What’s wrong with breads and cereals? It’s what we’re supposed to eat!” But then stories kept popping up on my newsfeed on the internet and I would occasionally read them if they had what seemed to be an interesting or new angle. I can’t even remember what article I read over the holidays, but it prompted me to download Wheat Belly on my Kindle. I took my time reading it because I really wanted to make myself understand all the science stuff in it and, I guess in the back of my mind, I was hoping this wasn’t just another Atkins, South Beach fad (been there done that, couldn’t sustain it.)

So while I’m reading, I’m thinking ‘What if?” As in, what if all this is really true? You see, in my story, I’m a very active 46-year old woman who, since I turned 40, has had a bunch of weird things go on with my body and I have felt like I am 80-years old physically for the last 4-5 years. It started with a diagnosis of hip dysplasia which resulted in 2 total hip replacements in 3 years. And in between that I was hit by a drunk driver and broke both wrists, my left femur, left kneecap and left heel. In fact, my heel is fused with bolts and my ankle doesn’t bend like the other one. I have metal rods, pins, and wires all over my body! I walk with usually only a slight limp. But all this mess has caused me to not be able to lose weight because exercise, while I still love it, takes SO much longer to recover from. A five-mile hike takes a full day to feel ‘normal’ again. And we are a scouting family so we do a lot of outdoor stuff. I hike and kayak with my teenagers, but it has gotten SO HARD.

Well, in my head I’m saying, as I’m reading, “I’ll just do this for one week. Surely I can live without wheat for one week just to SEE how it goes and how I feel. I’m not going to think about weight loss, I just want to know if I FEEL better.” You see, the parts in the book about blood sugar and inflammation are what hit me the hardest–-maybe my aches and stiffness getting up in the morning aren’t ‘old age.’ Maybe the long recovery after exercise isn’t because of the accident. Maybe I won’t be creaky and wobbly and have to hobble to the bathroom first thing in the morning until I limber up. It’s already hard to put a sock on my left foot because of all the metal in my leg; maybe I’ll be able to bend more easily. Maybe I’ll even lose some weight.

I really didn’t hold out a lot of hope. I decided I wasn’t going to be OCD [obsessive compulsive disorder] about the wheat because I don’t have celiac disease or diabetes. So I just didn’t eat my usual: bread, cereal, pasta, crackers, pretzels, pita chips (my latest addiction), or for the time being, rice and oats. Had my last wheat on Sunday, January 13, 2013.

On Tuesday morning January 15, I felt VERY DIFFERENT. Already I could swing my legs out of bed, stand and immediately walk to the bathroom, without having to center myself for balance, stretch, hear all the cracking and popping, and hobble to the bath. Very oddly, I didn’t crave wheat. I almost ate a cookie my daughter had made, but I realized that was reflex and I stopped before I ate. I love food so I am not counting calories but just eating mainly whole foods. I love the freedom to eat dairy and fruit! That is so key for me. I even had some (shhhh) candy. But the weirdest thing was that I was NOT craving wheat.

The next day I exercised and then I WALKED UP THE STAIRS WITHOUT THE HANDRAIL. I have to capitalize that because you just don’t KNOW how major that was. The next day I went to a movie and usually afterwards I have to do the whole stand, center, stretch, hobble routine that I do after any extended rest period longer than 10 minutes. I got up, walked to the aisle and did not use the handrail to get down the theater steps. Again, I can’t tell you the last time I did that. It’s been YEARS since my legs felt strong enough to do that.

Now I am almost 3 weeks into my wheat-free lifestyle and it amazingly has not been a bad adjustment. My husband is about ready to try it after seeing MY results. Oh, did I mention my increased energy and sex drive? (tee hee). I don’t miss the wheat at all because I feel so dang good! I’m still amazed and part of me expects the good results to stop, but they haven’t and I am loving it. I have also lost 8 pound without trying. I do have a weight loss goal so I will continue to increase my exercise and strength training now that I don’t fear being incapacitated by exercise. I can’t wait to try a 5-mile hike. I know my ankle will hurt by the end but that will be pure accident-related, not wheat related, and I’ll be just fine with that!

Thank you so much for this book. Your history of wheat really helped me understand the WHY’S of how we got to where we are and what you said just resonated so soundly in my life. I am so glad I gave it a try.

This entry was posted in Inflammation, Joint pain, Wheat-elimination success stories. Bookmark the permalink.

55 Responses to Wheat liberation

  1. Renee says:

    Congratulations Abbey! I also have recently diagnosed hip dysplasia and had a right hip replacement 2 years ago at the age of 42. My left hip is well on its way to a replacement as well. I gave up wheat about 3 weeks ago. Honestly, I’ve cheated a couple of times (stupid pizza), but I have experienced the same results as you. I’ve since lost a few pounds, and I have taken anti-inflammatories much less frequently. Once the snow and ice melt, I plan on starting a walking regimen because I also want to lose weight. I have already recommended this book to several people…it’s AMAZING the effect wheat has on the body.

    • janet says:

      Good for you, Renee. I live in Northern Illinois and almost love the walking in winter best of all. I get those rubber things ice fishermen use for walking on ice and slip those on over my shoes and I never have to worry about slipping on ice or snow and gives a better grip just on the snow too. They are inexpensive. Good for ground, gravel, frozen snow and ice and pavement. The utilitarian ones you get at Walmart or Farm and Fleet are the best–the springs and golf shoe types don’t work as well. These I get are black rubber with metal triangle points and after you cup the front area on your shoe toe, it stretches over to the heel and locks. Easy on, easy off, although I keep my hiking shoes in the car with the things already on. Easier to manage if I am going to the local conservation district to walk.

      These things have transformed my walks to safer, more satisfying walks where I can pay attention to what is around me and not just staying on my feet. Get out there! You will warm up quickly or stick some of those heater pads in any areas that don’t get warm quickly (my fingers, for instance). I am 64 and can’t imagine not walking in the winter. I do take my phone and leave a note for my hubby if I go to the park so he knows where I am.

      Dr. Davis–made the mini pizza crusts today and will pile them with good stuff tomorrow and have for supper. There is a really good recipe for bread and pizza crust at Maria Emmerich’s blog that uses psyllium husk powder. It is pretty good and the texture is like yeasty french bread with a crispy or chewy crust (because of the psyllium) . I am trying that for pizza dough too. I took a taste of yours mini pizza base after baking this morning and YUM. They would make nice crackers too,just plain or with some cheese or goodies on top. Roll thin and bake. Maybe you already have it in your book, but still going through it.

    • Lindsey says:

      Oh, honey. Don’t give up pizza, just use Dr. Davis’s almond-meal & mozz cheese based crust. Roll it out thin as you can. You’ll never look at regular pizza again.

  2. Marv says:

    Wow Abbey! How good is that?? Welcome to the sequel to Abbey’s Life in I-max 3D.

    My ‘moment’ was bending down to pick up the newspaper (Hey, where’s the groan?).

  3. oolichan says:

    Abby, love this post…. very inspiring…. will you come back again in a few months and tell us how you are doing?

    The most unbelievable thing for me about cutting out wheat (and all carbs, for that matter), is that I have no desire WHATSOEVER to eat those wheat-filled, carb-filled goodies any more. Chocolate cake, chocolate ice cream, cookies, crackers, chips, pasta, candy bars – things I used to just LOVE and felt I couldn’t live without …. honestly, I just don’t want them any more. I realized this about myself about 4 or 5 months into the no-wheat almost-no-carbs lifestyle…. It’ll likely happen to you too, Abby … you just won’t want those unhealthy foods any more… it won’t even be a struggle. Good luck!

  4. Mary says:

    These stories are very helpful to me when I start to get complacent about feeling better. They help me “remember when” I was in a similar places, and remind me how it is really worth the change. Thank you for continuing to post them, so I don’t forget.

    • Abbey says:

      Me too, Mary. I was starting to worry that the effects were wearing off when I realized I was tired and sore because I had been exercising even more…because I felt so good! I am trying to ‘trust the program’. I KNOW what I felt like before ‘on wheat’ and I know that I do not feel like that now. Be proud of yourself Mary – most people I think are too scared to even try this radical change that we did.

  5. Neiha says:

    Congratulations Abbey!

    Dr. Davis I have been on the diet for two weeks and lost 3kg in the first week itself only to gain it back even though I am strictly following the diet no carbs, no grains, no wheat … The only carb I am eating is from the veggies.
    I am a hypothyroid patient and on checking the previous blogs got my blood test done all levels are within the range. T3 – 2.7pg/ml; T4 – 1.3ng/dl; TSH – 0.510uIU/ml. I am more energetic and seem to have lost inches :) Please advise anxiously waiting for your reply.

    • Dr. Davis says:

      More than likely, you lack sufficient T3.

      It means finding a doctor who will prescribe Armour thyroid or Naturethroid in place of levothyroxine (T4), or add liothyronine (T3) to your T4. This nearly always breaks the plateau, unless there are other factors impeding your success:http://www.wheatbellyblog.com/2012/10/i-lost-the-wheat-but-didnt-lose-weight-2/

      • Neiha says:

        Dr. Davis,

        Thank you so much for your reply and I am going to make an appointment to see the doc. I have gone through the suggested blog and have given up dairy and am contemplating starting the fast :) thank you so much for this life changing discovery :))

  6. Barb says:

    I have been doing without wheat for nearly 4 weeks and have hardly missed it. I don’t get so hungry and can go longer between meals. I think my head feels clearer but what I don’t get is that it seems Ihave actually gained weight. I am bloated and never used to be. i feel like my stomack is being pushed out from the inside. I gave up all obvious carbs including potatoes and rice. i have a hard time knowing what to eat for breakfast but have managed. Now i am worried this does not agree with me. I have been running as usual so everything else in my life is the same. Can you help? Does this no wheat thing not work for some folks?
    Today I want to quit but part of me likes being wheat free – but gaining weight is not an option for me, in fact I really need and want to lose.
    Thank you.

  7. Barb says:

    I just wanted to delete my last name. Can you do that for me?

  8. Janzo says:

    Welcome to your new life Abbey! Keep going, the great results will continue! I’m 3 months into Wheat Belly, and am still amazed at how my aches and tension are gone. I’ve joined the gym because I was feeling so good and had so much energy, and I love it. Today was the biggest test: both pizza and gourmet brownies at work at the end of a long, stressful week. I was tempted, but they just weren’t “speaking” to me the way they used to, and I was able to resist easily. And oh, did I mention my blood sugar levels are nearly normal? And I’ve lost the mythical “last 15 lbs”? I am so happy with the results that it is easy to stay on the plan.

    • Abbey says:

      That sounds so wonderful Janzo. I am feeling great. It is remarkable how I am not tempted the way I used to be. There was a lot in the book about how wheat causes the cravings and I can see how that is so true. There’s plenty of sweet and filling stuff to eat without wheat.

  9. Sonia says:

    Great work!
    It’s such an amazing change isn’t it! I you’ll be amazed what wheat is in- check your candy.. Often wheat derived glucose. It’s pretty sneaky. Good luck with it all! S

    • Sheila says:

      Annie, thank you so much for this link. What a great story and should shared to all. I had just gotten another “eye roll” about my wheat belly life and your story was the perfect uplift after that.
      I love to see kids get this type of non drug healing and their childhood back.

      • Annie says:

        Yes, and it touched me so much too! I saw myself in this little boy, cause i couldn’t walk properly as the pain in my feet was so terrible. I would’ve been in a wheelchair for sure in time (i did use one a few times, and i’m just 38 years old). Eating the WB way saved me litteraly! Now i can walk with no pain most of the time ( somedays 1 feet hurts a little, i think i need more time to heal). Can you imagine this kid having that pain in ALL his body, now free of pain just by eating no gluten (and so)?

  10. Alene says:

    I’ve been following wheat belly for about 10 months and I found that losing weight was easy. Aside from any health issues, I think people need to realize that the addition of almond flour baked goods every day can slow weight loss or even raise it (I know after a treat filled week). I lost about 25# with few baked treats and find that now these same treats help me maintain.

  11. janet says:

    The gal who does my hair said last Thursday that my hair feels thicker and seems to her that I have more of it! I only go there every 2 months or so maybe she knows something! Been wheat free and Paleo for over a year now. Another good by-product of wheat free and whole food? Hey, I will take “more” of all the good stuff!

    • HS4 says:

      I’ve noticed the same thing – my hair is thicker, especially on the back of my head. Next time I see my hairdresser I will ask him if he’s noticed the same.

  12. Dev says:

    Question for Dr Davis…I have asthma breathing issues and been on prednisone…Nasty awful drug, anyway posted here before,I have allergy tests coming up but afraid to cut wheat before the test because I want to know how allergic I am if at all. So should I wait to cut the wheat til after allergy tests to b sure I get true results? Thanks in advance!

    • Dev says:

      And yes, I know we all have wheat sensitivity but I want to know how bad mine is so if cut it out afraid results will be incorrect. Hope my question makes sense.

  13. Abbey says:

    Thanks so much y’all for your comments and encouragement! I am so glad to read about everyone’s experiences and feel energized by them. Thanks for posting my story Dr. D. I’m already telling a lot of folks about your book and researching recipes to continue my wheat-free eating. I cannot believe I STILL don’t crave wheat. You couldn’t have paid me to believe that before I tried it. I’m not even tempted to snack on wheaty stuff. I’m just so pleased. Thanks for all that research and putting it in a book that really spoke the words I needed to hear. And thank you for this website!!

  14. Loanne Meyer says:

    I was fortunate enough to find the Wheat Belly book last November and have been following the plan ever since. Am down 21 lbs and not having problems with being hungry or figuring out what to eat. I’m concerned, however, about a comment made earlier in this post about starting to eat the almond flour/flax meal rolls, breads, etc. I have more weight to lose and don’t want to get stalled because of these items. I’m really wanting to try a few new recipes (since I have the cookbook now, too). Any comments? I do feel better, though. More energy, clothes fit better, no brain fog! I understand eating this way doesn’t mean all my ills will go away (darn!), but really feel better overall. I’ve known for several years that I have issues with wheat, but haven’t been willing to do much about it until this book came along. My one main improvement is no sinus/nasal congestion. It’s so good to wake up and be able to breathe in the morning! Oh, and sleeping better, too!

  15. Patricia says:

    Abbey your story and everyone’s comments here are so encouraging. I’m getting ready to jump in to the Wheat Belly lifestyle and am hoping I too will find freedom from aches, muscle soreness, fuzzy headedness, extra pounds. You all have encouraged me that I won’t be the exception to the rule. Thanks.

    • Abbey says:

      Patricia, I wish you the best of everything as you jump in! Please check back in an let us (me) know how you are doing. I am still so happy and pain free after a month.
      Funny though, now that my body doesn’t hurt and ache from the wheat I have discovered a knee injury from being dumb and thinking I was still 20. LOL. I got a steroid shot and for first time in almost 4 years I am completely pain free. Any aches are lingering from my bad accident and are only just annoyances. Anything beyond that is muscle soreness from exercising and I am SO happy to be able to exercise again without being totally wiped out. Still amazing is how I have no cravings…
      Thanks again Dr. D. This wheat free stuff rocks.

  16. Judy says:


    Your story resonated with me because I had a lot of the same problems as you and also was confounded as to what was wrong with me. Not being able to be idle for more than 10 minutes, and having excruciating pain when I did move. Feeling the after effects of any kind of activity the next day. Having to hobble to the bathroom in the mornings, and yes, the creaks and pops.. and the unrelenting PAIN. Almost 2 weeks in now, I have about 90% less pain! I can get up and walk in the mornings, like you! NO cravings either. The unrelenting pain in my neck, upper back, wrists, ankles, big toe, GONE. It is great to read stories like yours.

  17. Karen says:

    Any tips on finding nitrate/nitrite free bacon and sausages? I know some have “celery juice” which contains nitrates?

    • Dr. Davis says:

      Do you have a Trader Joes in your area?

    • Boundless says:

      > Any tips on finding nitrate/nitrite free bacon and sausages?

      Whole Foods, Natural Grocers and other so-called “health food” stores often have it. Look also for side pork.

      > I know some have “celery juice” which contains nitrates?

      May not be a problem. Nitrites are a problem.

  18. Karen says:

    Thank you for the suggestions! We don’t have a Trader Joes or Whole Foods here…but I will keep searching. So the nitrates are okay but not the nitrites is that correct??

    • Boundless says:

      > So the nitrates are okay but not the nitrites is that correct??

      Upon another look, I’m beginning to wonder just how much a problem either of them really is, especially in the context of a low-carb diet with ample vitamin C. There’s lots of information on the web, so don’t rely on my opinion.

      Nitrites are a speculative problem if the meat is cooked at high temperatures, which can convert them to nitrosamines, which are known carcinogens, but with little data to quantify the cancer risk in humans. WB tells us not to cook at high temps.

      Nitrates can be converted to nitrites by the body. Nitrites can be converted to nitrosamines, but this is significantly inhibited by the presence of anti-oxidants, such as vitamin C.

      Added nitrates can be hard to avoid, because they may be disguised as “celery juice”, which can naturally contain more sodium nitrate than the processor would have added explicitly.

      I still lean toward uncured bacon / side pork, and seek claims regarding no antibiotics, for several reasons:

      1. There’s no need for added sugar, which is common, entirely apart from the nitro salts.
      2. There’s no need to expose yourself to medications for conditions you don’t have. The average person consumes more medications from processed meats than from actual prescriptions.
      3. There’s no harm in minimizing nitrates and nitrites as long as food safety is maintained.

      If recent observations are correct, regarding cancer cells being glucose-brittle, and being unable to thrive, or even survive on ketone bodies, then anyone on a borderline or full ketogenic diet is likely at very low risk for cancer. Any consumed carcinogens will be shooting blanks, so to speak. WB is at least a borderline keto diet.

      The cancer data on nitrates and nitrites is weak, and was probably studied in the context of a glycemic diet in all cases. Switch to keto, I’ll bet the weak correlations, and risk, vanish entirely.

  19. Lynn says:

    Your post may be the deciding factor in my decision to finally purchase the Wheat Belly Book and give it a try! I, too, have been hearing more & more about it, but also get so confused ~ and frustrated~~ by all the different ‘diets’ out there! I don’t want a diet just to lose some weight (I need to lose about 15-20 pounds) but all I care about is FEELING GOOD! I ache all the time, my joints hurt and have been diagnosed with ‘non-specific connective tissue disease’ & arthritis, which really just means that I ache a lot but not much I can do about it! So I am desperately trying to find some way of eating to help me feel better. I don’ t like to take medications, I don’t want to just cover up pain, I want to actually feel better! I also have a heart murmur and VSD in my heart, so of course, I want my heart to be healthy too! My concern is though, I ‘m not much of a meat-eater, in fact, I rarely eat it, but eat many other ‘healthy’ foods~~ beans, veggies, fruit, “whole wheat pasta”~~ so….. the thought of trying The Wheat Belly diet does concern me ~~ but if I can feel as good as you do, it will be well worth it!!! Thank you for such an inspiring message! Now all I need to do is order the book and start cookin’!