Ulcerative colitis tamed

Traci posted this wonderful story of her dramatic relief from years of ulcerative colitis:

Dr. Davis,

For 24+ years I have suffered from Ulcerative Colitis (UC). This past Christmas, my stepmother recommend that I read your Wheat Belly book. I did because I had decided to remove carbs from my diet at the beginning of the year. She said your book would be a great supplement to my carb reduction. I had no idea that by reading your book my symptoms of UC would disappear!!!

Normally, I am treated with a medicine called Remicade which is administered via IV. Usually I receive this medicine every 2 months. Guess what??? It’s been 4 months since my last treatment, and I see NO signs of needing it yet!!! I truly believe now that my colitis has a direct connection to wheat!! My digestion has NEVER been BETTER!!! My gastroenterologist was impressed by my progress too. He said he would pick up the book and read it. I can’t wait to see where I am in 6 months, which is when I return to my gastroenterologist for a checkup. The way I feel now, I don’t believe I will have any need for Remicade within this span of time.

Anyway, just wanted to pass along that I’m checking every item I eat for wheat–-not for weight loss purposes, but for staving off the pain and symptoms of my inflammatory bowel disease. So far, apparently wheat sets off my colitis. I am thrilled to be controlling a disease that I’ve suffered with for 24+ years with a change in my diet!! If you check the price of Remicade, I am not only saving my colon but also the exorbitant price of treating it just by removing wheat from my diet.

Thank you for publishing your thoughts, research, and analysis of today’s wheat. It has saved my colon!!

Let’s talk Remicade. Remicade is one among several new Tumor Necrosis Factor (TNF) inhibitors, in this case a monoclonal antibody produced in large quantity, a protein that blocks a step in the inflammatory pathways. Side-effects: unmasking or causing infections, such as fungal infections (e.g., those from common fungi harbored in skin, doorknobs, or dirt), bacteria (especially latent tuberculosis), and viruses. Cancers have been associated with Remicade’s use, especially dangerous intestinal lymphomas, as well as liver damage and liver failure.

Cost? A single dose is around $900 if purchased directly, with twice that to cover the costs of intravenous administration. That’s per dose. This kind of pricing has created something like a $25 BILLION annual market.

Ulcerative colitis was the condition that prompted me to finally sit down and write Wheat Belly, the turning point that solidified my commitment to broadcasting this message far and wide. This experience involved a 38-year old schoolteacher who had struggled with ulcerative colitis for 12 years, taking 3 drugs including IV Remicade, but left with unremitting around-the-clock cramps, diarrhea, and hemorrhage–hemorrhage!!–that obliged transfusions several times per year. She was scheduled for colectomy (colon removal) with creation of an ileostomy, an orifice on the surface of the abdomen to capture the liquid stool rerouted to the surface, collected in a bag.

I met this young woman because of a minor heart issue, one that proved of no consequence. When she described her impending colon removal and ileostomy, I asked, “Have you tried wheat elimination?” She gave me a bewildered, “Are you nuts?” look, informing me that she had undergone two small intestinal biopsies and blood work that failed to demonstrate evidence for celiac disease.

“Yes, I understand. But many conditions caused by wheat are not revealed by such testing,” I told her. “And you’ve got nothing to lose!”

She did it. Three months later, she returned to my office, 38 pounds lighter, with a bright and memorable smile on her face: The cramps, diarrhea, and bleeding of her ulcerative colitis had disappeared. She was free of 1, 2, then 3 of the drugs, including the Remicade–CURED. That’s when I decided to go on this quest of wheat liberation.

As I often say, is there any way to overstate the case against modern wheat? What other dietary strategy holds such powerful potential for the transformations of health, even from the bring of colon removal?

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Comments & Feedback...

  1. Christie

    So happy for you Traci! I have been wheat free for one year now! and have been off my medicines for ulcerative colitis for 11 month after taking meds for 25 years!. No symptom except for over the holidays when I at wheat one time!! Reinforcement to stay away from the wheat! It’s truly a miracle!!

  2. Rashelle

    Hi Dr Davis,
    I recommend your book to everyone and share your blog on my FB all the time. Today I read the sad story of Aaron Swartz in The New Yorker. He too had UC and in the article it mentioned that he ate pasta. It made me so sad to think this young, brilliant and compassionate man felt he had no choice but to end his life. I think a huge study needs to be done on wheat and it’s affects on the gut and brain. I, too, suffered from depression (I have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis since 1998) and sometimes I felt that I didn’t want to live. But since the diagnosis of wheat/gluten intolerance (in Oct ’11) and the elimination of wheat (and all grains, processed foods and sugars) I cannot begin to explain, the almost euphoric state of mind I felt in the beginning of cutting out the wheat! I still feel great, but now I’m just depressed about the state of this country’s GMO/GEO/Monsanto problem. It makes me so upset to think how they are affecting the lives of millions of people and they are getting away with it!

    Thank you for sharing this much needed information and helping change the lives of millions!!

    • James

      Hi Rashelle,

      Yes, it is appalling but I feel that more and more people are liberating themselves from addictive and toxic pseudo-foods. This number will progress exponentially and either big business adapts to this emerging paradigm, or it dies and be sure that I for one will not cry over its grave …

      J.

    • Dr. Davis

      Thank you, Rashelle!

      You can appreciate how important it is that we discuss and educate others about these effects, as wheat consumption results in significant and potentially dangerous health conditions. Yes, even smart people have not put 2 + 2 together, so we’ve got to help them understand!

      • Karen Vujevich

        Hello Dr. Davis,
        I wasn’t certain if you might have seen this report or not. I received it yesterday from Medscape and the entire report is focused on gluten intolerance. In all honesty, I was expecting the perspective of this group of physicians to be like so many others and down play the role of wheat intolerance in so many health-related concerns. To my complete and pleasant surprise, they seem to now “be speaking your language.” Topics/articles included the following:

        Perspectives and News
        1) Gluten: What’s All the Fuss About?
        More on Gluten Allergy, Intolerance, and Celiac Disease
        2) Wheat Allergy: Guidance for Clinicians
        3) Could This Patient Have ‘Non-celiac Gluten Sensitivity’?
        4) Gluten Sensitivity
        5) Non-celiac Enteropathy
        Related Reference Topics
        6) Pediatric Celiac Disease
        7) Genetics of Celiac Disease
        8) Food Allergies
        Medscape Special Report [Medscape_Special_Report@mail.medscape.com]

        The message does seem to be gaining ground! Keep up the good work Dr. Davis.

  3. Margret Fehr

    I have not had the pain of an angry digestive system in over 1 month now. I was surprised that the last bout followed a meal that included rice. I didn’t think it could be the rice so I tried it again after the symptoms subsided and had 1 more week of pain. have not had any grain since. Other body pain is also greatly lessened and I have been sleeping so much better the last 2 weeks. My symptoms are not going away as fast as some claim theirs do, I was amazed at how quickly the brain fog I have had since early childhood went away, but the persistent night time brainchatter took a little longer. I hope it stays away!!! I have not lost any weight but I can’t see how I would not start seeing that happening soon. Scariest thing was, I had all the early stage symptoms my mother has, (bowel, bladder, she’s now incontinent of both, chronic fatigue, chronic body pain, etc, etc). I was looking down that road and thinking “this is NOT how I want my life to go”. But I wonder….
    If any studies have been done on the effect of grain on the bladder and urinary system. I used to have almost constant urge to urinate. I had to know where the bathrooms were at ALL TIMES, traveling was a nightmare, and I am only 45. . It felt like my bladder was constantly irritated but usually only passed small amounts. I blamed it on coffee, but I still drink that. Last week I drove 4 hours without stopping. Tena could lose alot of business if people get this kind of results, and our economy is already so fragile! lol.
    I would say that I credit someone else for this amazing transformation, but I have to say honestly I would have never listened to this info before. When the student is ready the teacher will come. I have to remember that when I speak to others who obviously need to get off grain, but any mention of that starts them talking very fast and loud and I know, this one is not ready….

    • Dr. Davis

      Excellent, Margret!

      Yes, there are data relating wheat consumption to bladder health, but in the form of interstitial cystitis. It makes me wonder if that is what you were experiencing.

      As you have come to appreciate, the effects of wheat consumption on health are no small matter! I am glad that you have found your answer.

      • Tim

        Hi Margaret,
        I stopped wheat, too, all gluten, and was still having issues. Better, but still GI problems. Then, I stumbled across the Specific Carbohydrate Diet and decided to remove ALL grains, and started a digestive enzyme with each big meal, and withina week, I saw improvement! Thank goodness because I am pregnant and was so worried about the baby. Have you looked into the SCD? Dr. Davis, I would love your opinion on this “diet” I can’t have eggs or nuts or seeds, so it is challenging, but it seems to help so far!

      • honeysuckle

        Dr. Davis, (this is indelicate, sorry) I started taking probiotics a few days ago and I am pooping a lot more than I used to. Before probiotics, I had what I thought was a healthy bowel movement every morning. Now I go 2 or 3 times a day, usually after I eat. It’s not diarrha, nor is it hard and lumpy. It just looks normal and the process is quick and effortless. Is this normal?

  4. Joann

    Dr. Davis….I think I already know what you’re going to say about this, but I love it so much I gotta ask! We don’t eat dairy products, so every morning my husband and I split a 16oz container of plain coconut milk yogurt. We add lots of chia seeds, walnuts, a small handful of blueberries, and sometimes we add a tablespoon of coconut oil or raw almond butter. I thought because the container says “plain” that it wouldn’t contain any sugar, but when I read the ingredients I found this…

    coconut milk (water, coconut cream)
    dried cane syrup
    chicory root extract (inulin)
    tapioca dextrose
    pectin
    algin (kelp extract)
    magnesium phosphate
    tricalcium phosphate
    rice starch
    natural flavors
    locus bean gum
    live cultures

    I see what I think are four sugars (cane syrup, inulin, tapioca dextrose, and rice starch). I know we probably shouldn’t be eating these, but maybe there’s only a small amount in there as the yogurt is mostly coconut milk, right? And isn’t it necessary for yogurt to have some form of sugar to keep the cultures alive? Your thoughts on eating this product, please? Thank you so much!

    • Boundless

      > … but maybe there’s only a small amount in there …
      The Nutrition Facts label should tell the tale.
      What is are the:
      Total Carbs
      Fiber
      Sugars
      And what is your serving size compared to what the label expects?

      • I’m not sure I understand what the “Total Carbs” should be for any particular item. Is there an acceptable range? Is this figure post-fiber removal? Sugar should be 0, right?
        I do check labels and have (shamefully) played around with this way of eating for far too long (8 months)–mostly grain-free, but having a difficult time eliminating sugar. I know I need to get serious, as I am a poor representative to those who could benefit from this knowledge and are watching me. I am happy for the 6# weight loss, but I know it could be so much better. I’ve told my doctor “No” to statins, am working at lowering my cholesterol numbers (more for his satisfaction than for mine), and fighting to remain script-fee by bringing down my blood sugar numbers.
        Love this blog … thanks so much, Dr. Davis, Boundless, James and Uncle Roscoe, as well as the many others who write to share their knowledge and testimonies. I am humbly grateful.

        • Boundless

          > … “Total Carbs” should be for any particular item.
          It’s not per item, it’s per 6-hour period.
          You want all the net carbs in that period to total 15 grams or less.

          Net carbs is total carbs minus fiber carbs.

          If the item contains Sugar Alcohols listed separately, use 50% as their net carbs (conflicting claims on the package notwithstanding).

          • Joann

            Thank you for clarifying that its 15g carbs per 6 hrs, not per item….I wasn’t aware of that! As for the sugars, I’m sorry, but I guess you’re going to have to dumb it down for me, I’m a little confused. 50% of what? If it has 8g sugars, I take 50% of that and end up with 4g? Is that right?

          • Boundless

            Real sugars (table sugar, sucrose, glucose, fructose, in fact most of the ‘oses) are 100% net carb.

            On the NF label, the number listed to the right of “Sugars” is 100% net carb.

            Other saccharides may be lower in net carb. Many of the suggested alternatives, see:
            http://www.wheatbellyblog.com/2012/10/in-pursuit-of-sweetness/
            are effectively zero net carbs.

            Sugar alcohols tend to be higher net carb that their sellers would have you swallow.

            Fructose has myriad problems beyond being a 100% net carb, and need to be avoided entirely (insofar as possible, given that it does occur naturally in many foods).

      • Joann

        Thank you, Boundless…I was just confused because I thought eating rice starch, tapioca starch, and sugar was always a no-no! So it’s okay to eat if the carb count is low? The nutrition facts state that there are 12g of carbs, 3g fiber, and 8g sugars per 4oz serving. So that means the total carbs is 9g per 4 oz serving, and that’s ok for carb count, but what about the sugars? It’s okay to eat those? I wouldn’t worry about it too much, but we do eat this every single morning so I want to get it right!

        • James

          Hello Joann,

          First of, relax, breathe … feeling better ? Good.

          OK, now carbs constitute a big family: from simple sugars like table sugar or fructose, to complex chains like potatoe starch, or even amylopectin A found in wheat.

          Any ingested carb that is digestible will probably make it into your bloodstream and metabolized into its most simple form: glucose. A rising level of glucose in the blood will make your pancreas secrete a hormone called insulin the purpose of which is to facilitate glucose transport from the blood into your cells. Roughly speaking, excess glucose that does not get “burned” right away or stored into muscles (glycogen, and you cannot store much of it) will be reconverted into triglycerides and end up in your fat-cells. Moreover, since fat is also an energy source that can be “burned”, know that insulin inhibits “fat burning”, so if you eat too many carbs, you will end up fat if you are not efficient at burning them, like most people that are insulin-resistant.

          The speed at which an ingested carb becomes glucose in your blood stream is measured by its glycemic index (or GI). As a reference, pure glucose (the simplest sugar) is set at 100. Low glycemic foods are foods with carbs that have a low index (say below 15). Other foods, like wheat bread, have a high GI. Table sugar has a GI of ~ 60, which is pretty high but not close to 100. The reason is that it contains fructose, which does not exhibit a high GI due to its special metabolic path … which does not make it healthy at all either …
          Anyway, to complete the picture, the GI is not all. We also look at the so-called glycemic load or GL. The GL is a measure of the GI x the amount of the glycemic food. Indeed, the GI is measured when ingesting 50g or 100g of a given carb. But some foods, even though glycemic, do not contain 50g or 100g of carbs but only say 2g or 10g. Example: a carrot may have a high GI, but its GL is low because the weight and carb mount of a carrot is low. So it is OK to eat a carrot once in a while of course :)

          When you are talking about sugar, you can forget about the GL: sugar is pure carb! so as a rule of thumb: avoid it.

          To complicate the picture, everyone is different and while I may not use much insulin on one food, you may experience an insulin spike. So the only way to know whether your carb intake is healthy is to have a so-called glucometer, measure your blood sugar level one hour post-prandial (after a meal or having ingested a certain glycemic good). If your blood sugar level is the same as your fasting level, no problem. Your fasting level is also something to check. It may be too high or way too low. But you will feel it anyway if that’s the case (dizziness, fatigue, etc).

          There are plenty of glycemic index charts out there and if you aim at eating low glycemic stuff (fat is 0, protein is a little different because the body can create glucose out of protein if needed … so be reasonable with your protein intake) you should be fine and need not worry. From the label of your coconu milk yogurt, I would stay away from it.

          Why not have eggs / salmon / avocado / etc, for breakfast ? Or low carb pancakes from almond flour and eggs ?

          • Joann

            James….wow! What a storehouse of knowledge you are! Thank you so much for all the information. That explains why I crashed shortly after eating my yogurt today! I felt an overwhelming urge to nap after eating more than my usual serving…I ate 8oz with blueberries today! I’ve been thinking this stuff is healthy! From 2pm – 5pm I was out like a light and couldn’t understand it because I’ve been doing so good on my diet (I thought!) Again, thank you for taking the time to give me such a lengthy and detailed explanation of carbs/sugars. I guess it’s obvious I haven’t read the book yet. I’m on a long waiting list to read the one at the library, and I’ve been getting all my information from the blog!

          • James

            Hi Joann,

            Yeah, for the sake of my health and that of my family (wife and 2 kids), I read A LOT during the last 5 months, and I am still learning a few things. The last bits of interesting info I learned recently deal with cholesterol … there’s a growing awareness that statins are actually toxic and totally useless / harmful because of a misunderstanding around cholesterol. But that’s another topic.

            Talking back about your yogurt, as a rule of thumb anything that contains tapioca starch / cane sugar / maltodextrin / whatever sugary stuff is to be avoided if you are “carb-sensitive” (or another way to put it: insulin resistant, which is a symptom of a fatty liver – and that is very unhealthy …). And try to remember this: anything with large quantities of fructose should be seen as liver poison.

            Really, it is easy: eat real foods, prefer healthy fats (including naturally saturated ones like coconut oil, butter, lard, etc), proteins (moderate amount) and veggies / nuts (except peanuts) / seeds. Fruits should be consumed with moderation due to their fructose amount.

            You can also play around with sweeteners such as stevia or xylitol, they are not addictive, little to no glycemic, and derive from natural stuff. Xylitol has health benefits (teeth protection, slight alkalizing effect, starve yeast and bacteria that usually feast on normal sugar, helps bone density, etc) and tastes just like regular sugar, albeit a little cooling. You can use it for baking as well. Stevia is much more sweetening and bitter. I don’t know much about its baking properties since I prefer xylitol for satisfying our sweet tooth (which to be honest has “shrinked” dramatically since we eliminated all sugars from our diet.

            So in conclusion: eat foods that will keep your blood sugar level close to fasting levels and relatively constant throughout the day. If you are into heavy work-outs, you can always eat more carbs (the starchy ones which are slower to be absorbed) after a work-out to replenish your muscles glycogen stores.

            I can only recommend you read this famous article by Gary Taubes: “Is Sugar Toxic ?”

            http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/17/magazine/mag-17Sugar-t.html?_r=2&ref=general&src=me&pagewanted=all&

  5. E.

    Wow – what a story. It gave me goosebumps to hear about why you decided to write the book.

    I have to be honest, these days, whenever I hear ANYONE complain about any health issue — from weight gain to joint pain to acne to snoring — my gut reaction is, I wonder if this would improve with wheat elimination?

    It’s so wonderful to hear that people are able to open their minds a bit and experiment. It’s just too bad the opportunity sometimes only comes along after so much invasive and irreversible medical treatment – not to mention, financial and emotional expense.

    • Dr. Davis

      I agree, E: Elimination of wheat should be the DEFAULT strategy, the first thing we think of, since it shows up in so many varied ways from head to toe.

      And it’s free, easy, and has no ill-effects!

  6. As someone who has suffered with ulcerative colitis since 1995, thank you so very much for writing Wheat Belly. I heard about it on the 700 Club during an interview with you. Something inside me said I needed to read this book. I had tried eliminating everything else I could think of like dairy for 11 years, sugar, chocolate, etc. Doctors say there is no specific diet, go home and figure out what makes you flare up. It seemed impossible to figure it out, nothing helped. My symptoms were not as bad as the one in the story, but bad enough to alter my life and my famiy. I had to quit my job 18 months after my diagnosis, I was too exhausted and sick to work. Luckily after a couple of years I could work from home. After giving up wheat for two days, I felt relief, just two days! I tell everyone that will listen to give it up, no one has as far as I know which is sad for them. Maybe one day they will.

    • Dr. Davis

      Terrific, Linda!

      Elimination of this incredibly bowel-disruptive grain has the potential to turn your health around, as you’ve learned!

  7. Mike

    Not really on topic, but wanted to share a nice experience. I am fully committed to the wheat-free lifestyle as the benefits have been obvious to me. Energy, lack of hunger, loss of belly fat, elimination of acid reflux. It’s not a diet but a change. My problem has been fast-food lunches. So few alternatives. I do like a sandwich, or did, that is! I saw some veggie wraps at my local Whole Foods and asked the lady if she’d use the collared greens to make me a ham and cheese. She happily did and it was delicious. I’m now going back there regularly for my sandwich without bread. Beats a Wendy’s burger without the bun any day!

    • JillOz

      There’s a cafe I go to that happily serves me a “breadless baguette” chicken salad! :)

      All these great breadless contents!

  8. John

    In the 19th century, it was not unusual to find cocaine used as an additive in some foods and drinks. Today such a thing would be obviously unhealthy (and illegal). I wonder if some day we’ll look at wheat (and perhaps processed sugar) the same way?

    • Boundless

      Coca Cola still contains cocaine, although since 1914, it’s a “denatured” cocaine that comes from a uniquely licensed lab in New Jersey. Presumably it adds only flavor now, but I see no need to consume any products of that brand.

      I fully expect wheat and sugar to someday carry the same cachet as tobacco.

  9. Katherine

    At 7 months pregnant, I am suffering increased IBS (enough to make us worried about preterm labour) symptoms plus my interstitial cystitis is acting up as well. I have known (and own it on the kindle) about wheat belly for awhile however finally my husband is on board for giving up wheat as well. (If only he understood that giving up 90% of it while ignoring the wheat in things like his veggie burger won’t work too well….he seems to think that the obvious things are the only changes he needs to make)

    Looking forward to receiving the wheat belly cookbook today!

  10. tatertot

    Hello Dr. Davis –

    I have only one problem with your wheat-free protocol: It takes nearly all of the Resistant Starch out of the average person’s diet.

    The SAD eater gets about 3-5g/day of RS, many health agencies recommend 20-30g/day for marked improvement in colonic health. By removing wheat, what little RS is ingested, is now largely gone.

    There are many easy ways to increase RA: Underripe bananas, cooked and cooled potatoes and rice, dried green plantain chips, and raw, unmodified potato starch in smoothies. When targeting RS, it is easy to get 20-30g/day.

    Please read: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1467-3010.2005.00481.x/full for a very unbiased look at RS.

  11. Janknitz

    And yet, a physician expert on non-celiac gluten sensitivity today wrote:
    “We found that gluten-sensitive enteropathy is responsive to gluten withdrawal, but now we are seeing other patients who tell us that they feel better if they withdraw gluten. And they have found this out by going on the Internet or talking to friends and family who have had causal experience with this. Now we have patients out there doing a variety of things on their own accord and without a lot of medical judgment. That is not so good, particularly when you start talking about withdrawal and restrictive diets.”
    http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/780029?src=wnl_edit_specol&uac=172965HG

    Because, you know, it’s so dangerous to cut out grains and feel better!

  12. Fiona Jesse Giffords

    Sometimes it not just about weight loss, it’s about the pain you are suffering daily. The digestive system often fails to workouts due to some disease like colitis and we need to maintain a proper diet to tackle the disease.

  13. wolfgang

    I have been on a wheat free diet since over a month now and have experienced the benefit of losing some ugly belly grease very rapidly. Overall I can’t say if I feel much better, some days I really do though, which makes so enchanted like having found the answer to all problems while the next day I’ll be so tired blaming the lack of carbs for it. But as I am suffering from a tooth abscess (looking for REAL dental health cure after 40 years made me bump into wheat belly among other carbcutiing diets and other ways to improve my teeth without having them destroyed at each dental visit ) all my remaining fatigue could be do to that.
    So for the moment I am very positive about wheat belly and carb cutting. It makes so much sense, it is so obvious that alle diseases from cancer to diabetes have to do with too much free energy in the blood available at all time.
    I also experienced, and this is the less poetic aspect of my post, a change in digestion, total absence of farting and burping (sorry) since I cut off carbs, which means something is happening inside. The “dark side” (lol) though is what ends up in the toilet looks more like coming from a rabbit (exit toilet paper) than what I formerly supposed to look like human faeces. Sorry for getting into these details, but I have been told so much that one needs fiber fiber fiber for a HEALTHY digestion, whatever that might be, that now I see the result of cutting carbs thus fiber is indeed very real… is there anything to be concerned about? Is what I experience standard protocol?

    • James

      Hey Wolfgang,

      Yeah, I remember the early days on his diet change: rabbit crap, etc.
      But don’t cut fibers out of your diet, they are carbs that do not make it into your blood sugar and help your digestion.
      Increase your amount of salt as well, and don’t forget magnesium-rich foods with high a absorption factor.
      And if you want to help this part of the digestion, add a bit of xylitol in your diet :) It is healthy and because it is a sugar alcohol, it is not fully broken down in our guts. If you eat too much at once though, you may trigger more than you wished for … so beware :)

      J.

      • Carol

        James,

        Please list some magnesium-rich foods with a high absorption factor. I am very bad at figuring out the nutrients in food. Also, why do you say that peanuts are bad? I eat a small handful every day, and I find that they have less carbs than raw cashews, for example.

        • Boundless

          > I am very bad at figuring out the nutrients in food.
          See:
          http://nutritiondata.self.com/

          This site is very good at figuring out nutrients in food.

          What they are weak on, however, is:
          * listing ingredients in prepared foods (they just don’t), and
          * their database is not comprehensive

          Prepared foods ingredients can usually be found by doing a general search for the product brand, item name and “nutrition facts”. If none of the hits are on the brand’s own web site, that usually tells you all you need to know (run away screaming) :)

          • Boundless

            Here, for example, is dry roasted salted cashews:
            http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/nut-and-seed-products/3172/2

            This brings up another issue with this site: their judgements on whether a food is healthy are mired in the low-fat low-salt low-cholesterol traps. Make your own assessments.

            From a WB perspective, the issues with cashews are:

            1. Dry roasted is tricky to find (no oils, as these are usually oils you don’t want to be consuming). I don’t consider salt to be an issue, and accepting salt make dry roasted nuts easier to find.

            2. Carbs, and consequently portion control. 2 ounces of cashews would be your 6-hour limit of net carbs.

            I just ate some cashews, by the way.

          • Carol

            Thank you, Boundless. Yes, I use the nutrition database but I can see no way that would bring up lists of foods with certain nutrients. I also mentioned raw cashews. You may have missed that, but those are the only kind of cashews that I eat. Love reading your comments by the way as you are extremely knowledgeable.

  14. Carolyn Trammell

    Dr Davis, What a beautiful story about your patient that narrowly avoided extensive colon surgery and inspired you to write the book. Being wheat free for several years has been a blessing but I was still eating refined carbs and starches. Now, I am experimenting with a low starch diet and it has improved digestion tremendously even after only one week. I am not in the bathroom as much. What a relief that is. In addition to your work, I came across information about a low starch diet for the improvement of not only inflammatory bowels but also certain types of joint and arthritis pain. I was still having joint pain and it wasn’t from gluten because I wasn’t eating any. I had to be brave because I was playing around with a vegan diet and starting my day with oatmeal and you know about all the grains and starches and beans (ugh!) that go along with being a vegan. Finally I decided I was getting too old not to eat animal protein so I am focusing on that, some good fats and vegetables and leaving the starches behind for the most part. The funny thing is that without the starch, sugar loses some of its appeal. I wasn’t expecting that. So, at 60 years old, I hate to say too much about it, but I think I have found a way to eat that is satisfying, nourishing and good for my health all at the same time. Thank you for your work and for sharing it with so many people.

  15. I have been healed of UC by doing a home fecal transplant. I aquired UC in 2009 after taking a Zpack antibiotic for a sinus infection then a month or two later I had knee surgery, where I was given an antibiotic during surgery.

    The very next day after surgery, I had explosive diarrhea, gas, cramps. Tests showed it was not C-diff or any other infection. Doctors said I would have to live with it for the rest of my life and take drugs the rest of my life that suppress my immune system.

    I learned about the Specific Carbohydrate Diet and stopped eating all yeast, sugar, starch, wheat and lactose in May of 2012 after suffering for 3 years of bleeding, diarrhea, gas, cramps, etc. These are the foods that feed the bad bacteria, then your body tries to flush it out with mucus and beings to protect itself with inflammation. I don’t believe it is my immune system attacking itself – but it is attacking a bacteria that is causing damage and my immune system is trying to kill the bad bacteria off.

    The SCD diet did help but the stronger microbes began to die off, being starved from their regular diet of those things I quit eating and create a flare of my UC symptoms. After a two month flare I did a home fecal transplant.

    I have been symptom free every since. I still eat SCD as I want to give my digestive system time to heal and for the good bacteria to get well established in my colon. I don’t want to ever go through this again.

    I would recommend anyone with IBS, UC or Crohens to research fecal transplants and check out my blog – http://healed-from-uc.blogspot.com.

    It had given me my life back.

  16. Sophie

    Hi Terri,

    I can relate to your story because Ulcerative Colitis was ruining my life until I tried Sky Curtis’s fecal transplant treatment plan. Her guidebook was clear and it was so easy and safe to do. I did it myself with my mother as a donor and now I am completely better. I feel great and eat anything! I bought the guidebook off her website httP;//www.fecalinfusions.com. This actually works!

  17. Nick

    I’m glad to hear so many positive stories about the effect of wheat elimination on UC. I had UC diagnosed in 2007 but they said it was the microscopic form that could only be diagnosed by a colonoscopic biopsy. I’ve had a couple of flare ups since then but none in two or three years and I have been taking 4.8 gms of Lialda daily and thought I’d have to do so for the rest of my life. I’ve been wheat free for just over a year now and have seen great improvements in weight (down from 230 to 185 and now stable for a few months), in all my blood work, and just generally. Both my Internist and my gastroenterologist say I’m doing great but they think the improvement is due to losing weight not to lack of wheat. I talked my internist into halving the dose of simvastatin last summer and will see what results look like at my next physical. The GI doctor says he doesn’t believe in changing a therapy that is evidently working and I’m a bit afraid to cut out the lialda myself in case the UC symptoms reappear. It seems hard to justify an off schedule colonoscopy just to see whether wheat elimination has removed the microscopic defects in the colon. I have stopped taking Nexium and my reflux hasn’t come back, I’ve also cut back the Lialda to 2.4 gms daily with no observed change in bowel habits yet. I also followed the advice in the January posting about supplements and took 60 days of probiotics, along with ongoing magnesium, fish oil and vitamin D. I doubled my multivitamin which got the iodine up among other things. I guess I’m changing so many things it may be hard to figure what is happening for a while. Any ideas?

    • Dr. Davis

      Yes: Get a new doctor ASAP!

      Find one who will act as your advocate in health, not a protector of the status quo.

      This issue is far too important to subject yourself to the indifference and ignorance of your gastroenterologist.

  18. I also have had ulcerative colotis for a long time now. I’ve had Ulcerative Colitis for a year now, and I have to say that the begining is the worst part of it all. I saw myself drop 20 pounds in less then a month because of UC. However, after a long time of suffefering I was introduced to a medicine that changed it all for me. The doctor started giving me Predisone and I saw my life go back to normal really fast. I have my story in my blog.

    • Wendy

      Good Evening, Miguel~

      I was diagnosed with non-specific Ulcerative Colitis in August, 2008. Did well initially with prescriptions, but had major flare April, 2010. Not knowing any better, and trusting my well-meaning allopathic GI specialist, I asked for Prednisone. He prescribed an initial dose of 60 mgs./day. In about 4 days, my flare stopped, and for the next two weeks I felt AMAZING! Then, IT happened: I felt no energy and depressed – like the Life was being sucked right out of me. The following August, only 4 months later, I quickly gained over 30 lbs.! I hadn’t increased my caloric intake, and I was still so EXHAUSTED. I didn’t know what was happening but researched the drug on the ‘Net and what I read was terrifying…and my GI doctor wanted to wean me off the drug “slowly” so I wouldn’t have a relapse and/or flare. I truly wasn’t sure what to do, but figured that my doctor knew more than I did, and was familiar with the newest treatments available.

      So, I was on that poison for 20 months! It negatively affected every single system in my body. My last dose was in December 2011, and it was one of the happiest days of my life. I figured, “No more Prednisone, no more problems!” But, I and my body are STILL dealing with the side effects. I don’t know how long it will be until I’m healthier, but I’ve got to stick it out and help my body heal from these abuses as best as I know how, educating myself in the process.

      I had a FMT through my GI doctor’s associate (after researching and requesting it, myself) on April 16th. I’ve had some symptomatic “speed bumps” and my first post-procedural follow-up was May 21; and, I’m taking only 1 of the 4 pharmaceuticals that I was taking before the FMT, and I’m on-track time-wise in my recovery. Because my current non-UC-related physical symptoms began about 3 weeks post-FMT, and 5 days after stopping my Budesonide (a relatively mild steroid) my doctors & I all believe that I’m detoxing from all the drugs I had been on for my UC. And I’m more than okay with that, in spite of the pain in my joints. (My extensive lab work from May 22 shows no inflammation or other indicators for the joint pain I’m experiencing, just slightly low HDL levels.)

      (Note: During my 5/21 post-FMT follow-up appt., my doctor told me that in early May the FDA had ordered a stop to ALL FMTs – for UC & C. diff patients, et al – until they can do further research to clinically determine the benefits and risks involved to donors and recipients, and develop standardized protocols. Proposed FMTs for life-and-death emergency cases may be brought to the FDA’s attention for approval, or DENIAL, of this easily-performed, inexpensive, and life-saving procedure.)

      I saw Dr. Davis’ interview on The Dr. Oz Show via the ‘Net earlier tonight, and I’ve been researching the Wheat Belly lifestyle change on my computer almost constantly since then. I plan to implement the wheat-free dietary changes as soon as I can see my FMT GI doctor and consult with her. (Actually, depending on what I find in my own research, I may start sooner.)

      I read these posts re: UC, and saw yours, Miguel. Now, granted, everyone responds differently to different medications, but I wanted you to know my personal experience. And my regret. However, I do believe that everything happens the way it’s supposed to, or else it would happen differently. Right? ; ) Please pay close attention to your health, and if anything “feels” wrong – even based on your “gut” instincts – consider non-pharmaceutical options that are healthier than Prednisone. But, don’t just listen to me: Do your own research on your health care options and communicate with your physician(s) – YOU ARE YOUR OWN BEST HEALTH ADVOCATE!

      Be Well – in ALL ways!

  19. Anoop

    Hello All !! I need some advise
    My wife (a practicing family physician) was diagnosed with UC about a month ago. It was pan colitis as could be seen from the colonoscopy reports and the biopsy confirmed it. She was prescribed Mesalamine. She took it for 2 weeks and did not see any improvements in her symptoms. After taking it for about 2 weeks, she developed severe fever 104+. We did not initially link it to her medication. Her physician started her on some antibiotics. Did not help. Finally we took her to the ER since the fever wasnt coming down. She also had severe cough. The thinking was, her colonoscopy disturbed the gut bacteria. They did CT for upper body found some nodules in her lungs which the pulmonologist thought were nothing. They did an EKG found nothing. Then they did a TEE (a horrible test to go through), found nothing. The Infectious Decease specialist saw her and found nothing alarming. They did blood work for all possible things and found nothing. All this while in the hospital, they were continuing her UC medication. They were about to do some bone marrow and lever biopsy when finally one the docs thought the UC medication might have something to do with it. They stopped her medication and right about the same time, I showed my wife the UC case in the Wheat Belly book i read. We decided eliminating wheat is an easy thing to do. It has been a week off wheat and off her UC medication and still no fever and the bowel symptoms have improved. Her BMs have reduced from 10+ to ~4. She does not need to wake up middle of the night to go. We also started a meticulous journal to track the bowel symptoms and her eating habits. She was prescribed prednisone for her cough. Today will be her last day on prednisone.
    We went to her GI yesterday and recounted the whole story. We also told him about wheat elimination and how it might be helping. He flatly denied wheat has anything to do with it. He suggested alternate medications, like steroids/biologics. He thinks prednisone might be helping subside the UC symptoms. He thinks it is very evident from her colonoscopy that she has severe UC and there is no way around treating her with medication. He says if not treated now, the flareups could be much worse in the future and could even turn malicious.
    I see two sides of this story. One where colonoscopy showed there is a definite problem and treatment for that barely helped and possibly backfired. Another where removal of wheat has shown improvement within a week. The one unknown is if predinisone is helping UC. The answer to which we will find in 2 weeks after the medicine is completely out of her system. As you can understand, it is very scary to go against the advise of a qualified specialist. Please advise. We live in Atlanta, GA. If you have any GI you can recommend that would be great.

    • Barbara in New Jersey

      Anoop,

      Very scary indeed!

      My thoughts are to immediately buy high potency probiotics (50 billion cfu) and take them. You may need to start at a lower dose and work your way up to 50 billion cfu. Any health food store will carry them in their refrigerated compartment. It is critical to replenish the bacteria in her intestines ASAP. The next step I would do is eliminate ALL grains from her diet. Check her foods for wheat in any ingredients used to prepare her meals. Hydrate with at least 48 oz. water daily. As symptoms subside, you can check for other allergens.

      Realize that many people here on this blog have had health crises that prompted them to disregard standard medical advice which was not helping them to get well but was running up tremendous bills, supporting the medical community while impoverishing the one who is ailing. Wheat and grains are not your friends. Keep remembering that your wife had improvements when wheat was eliminated and got worse with standard medical treatments. Courage! Her bowel is telling her NO MORE WHEAT OR GRAIN!!!!

      Also, read as much of this blog as possible. You will be astounded at the recoveries from ailments once the WB way of life is adopted. Many UC sufferers have taken the time to communicate their experiences. Dr. D. often recommends a functional medicine practitioner. Hope this helps.

      • Anoop

        Thanks a lot for your response. She is already taking trubiotics brand. I will see if I can get her something more potent. Will keep the group posted on the developments.

        • Barbara in New Jersey

          Check the archive for January, 2013. It has a column written by Dr. Davis about “Nutritional supplements needed and why they are needed.” He bases this on his experience with his patients. Very informative and should answer most of your questions. Gives names of several brands of probiotics. These brands all have many different strains of probiotics, not just the 2 listed for Trubiotics.

    • Ella

      Anoop,

      She could eliminate all grains, sugars and industrial veg oils (highly inflam, too much omega 6) as well as the wheat and nightshades. Add plenty coconut oil, animal fats (care with dairy – lactose and pro-growth IGF risk) , natural fish fats rather than supplements, and perhaps evoo. And lots of iodine and selenium rich foods.
      Watch circadian rhythms, ie avoid blue lights in the evening from computer screens etc, good meal times (high protein/fat breakfast on waking, last meal at least 3 hours before sleep), no night shifts.
      Lots of good quality fluoride-free, very cold water.
      Investigate mitochondrial supplements.

      Avoiding wheat is hugely important but it was only part of the solution for me.

      Look for upside down Pg/E ratio and altered cortisol daily rhythm, leptin resistance.
      Food and circadian rhythms ==> better hormone function ==> better gut microbiota

      Together this can make an enormous difference.

  20. Ann

    There is a parallel growing interest in wheat elimination in the UK and more and more people are recognising the value of going wheat-free. We are still faced with the problems and confusion over ‘gluten-free’ – an ever growing range of rubbishy gluten-free products on our shelves. However, there is also real interest in the paleo-primal movement and many of our leading endurance athletes are going down this route – cargo-loading seems to have had its day!

    I’ve been wheat free for eight months, lost 22 lbs, have had my first summer in 50 years without hay fever and feel great. So, any USA travellers visiting the UK – yes, it is easy to stick to your eating plan and people over here are increasingly ‘getting it’!

  21. leigh

    I have not had wheat in years – I am on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet and I agree that Wheat and other grains are not beneficial particularly when consumed in high quantity and the way it is grown etc… as for the medical INDUSTRY and the drug INDUSTRY they are both shameful in the way the promote symptom suppression over cures.

  22. Amy

    I too have UC and was diagnosed 2 years ago. Without much direction from my doctor I felt lost and uninformed. My mom, my husband, and I have done research and decided we would try the Paleo Diet. It is basically “Clean Eating.” It too, limits your carbs and all other bad products that are now put into almost everything you buy. Paleo eliminates breads, dairy, legumes, and refined sugars. I now can tell immediately if I eat something my stomach doesn’t agree with,and know not to return to that item. I have found several triggers for me: eggs, sugars (very limited sweets now), beans and even some veggies. We have been eating like this for three full months. I had a follow up colonoscopy recently and where I was a moderate case of UC when first diagnosed, I am now in remission!

  23. I tried gluten free, and unfortunately I was not one of the lucky ones that it worked for. I am happy to read these success stories though! Getting healthy naturally as opposed to over consumption of pharmaceuticals is always a great thing!
    However, I would caution you strongly against using the word “cured”. There is NO CURE for ulcerative colitis. what this woman is experiencing right now is called REMISSION – a period of inactive disease. Many people experience these remissions for years, or decades at a time, but at some point the disease flares up again & must be treated.

    • Brigid Skelton

      No doubt you are correct that the right word is remission, and not cure.
      That aside, the Wheat Belly way of eating is not about eating “gluten-free”. Gluten is only one small component of wheat. There are many other compounds in wheat which cause harm in the body. I am sorry that your “gluten-free” eating has not helped your condition. I recommend reading Wheat Belly by Dr. Davis (most libraries seem to have a copy) to get the full picture about the different components of modern semi-dwarf wheat and what each of them do when they are in our bodies. It is very interesting reading, and may help you. Best wishes to you.

  24. Brigid Skelton

    No doubt you are correct that the right word is remission, and not cure.
    That aside, the Wheat Belly way of eating is not about eating “gluten-free”. Gluten is only one small component of wheat. There are many other compounds in wheat which cause harm in the body. I am sorry that your “gluten-free” eating has not helped your condition. I recommend reading Wheat Belly by Dr. Davis (most libraries seem to have a copy) to get the full picture about the different components of modern semi-dwarf wheat and what each of them do when they are in our bodies. It is very interesting reading, and may help you. Best wishes to you.