Wheat Belly transforms lives in New Zealand . . . and a bread recipe!

Annie posted this story of complete health turnarounds in her formerly ill parents involving diabetes/prediabetes and a condition called Wegener’s Granulomatosis:

I live in Christchurch, New Zealand, and saw you briefly on a programme called “60 Minutes” when they were discussing gluten sensitivity. My parents both had many health problems that were talked about, so I read your book and blog thoroughly and started them on the Wheat Belly diet a few months ago.

Mum is overweight and has struggled with diets all her life. She was on bendrofluazide and candesartan for blood pressure and about to start diabetes medication. Dad has Wegener’s Granulomatosis and on long-term steroids and azathioprine after completing a course of IV cyclophosphamide. He also developed steroid-induced diabetes and was on metformin.

Dad had always been slim and fit and it has been heart breaking to see his quality of life decreasing, depression creeping in, and growing a belly that was getting so uncomfortable he could no longer tolerate full meals or bend to tie his shoe laces.

We all started WB together and have been very strict. The results have been amazing. Mum has lost a lot of weight, is off both BP [blood pressure] meds, no longer prediabetic, and has energy I’ve never seen before. Dad has lost 10 kg [22 pounds] (he was 88kg pre WB), which is a miracle and usually very difficult on steroids. His belly has decreased dramatically, he is off metformin and has normal blood sugars, his energy has increased, is sleeping better (without medication), and the inflammation in his sinuses and upper respiratory tract [of Wegener’s Granulomatosis] is much improved. He no longer sounds like Darth Vader.

I started WB with them to ‘feel their pain’ and we were only doing a week’s trial. I had no pre-existing health conditions (that I’m aware of) but felt really good on WB. We all went through a headache and fatigue period, but that soon passed. When the week was up it was obvious we couldn’t go back to eating grains and sugar. Quite a few of my friends have since started the WB lifestyle and are having positive results. I have been accused of ‘preaching’ but I feel so passionate about this change.

The results speak for themselves. Thank you.

This is a bread recipe I have created through playing with the recipes in your cookbook. It freezes well and keeps for over a week in the fridge. I think it tastes delicious . . . better than ‘normal’ bread.

Sunflower Seed Bread
2 C ground almond
1 C sunflower seeds
1/2 C ground flaxseed
1/4 C chickpea flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 C buttermilk or full fat milk
1/2 C tasty cheese
Mix all dry ingredients together then add milk, eggs and cheese. Put in a loaf tin and bake at 180 degrees Celsius/350 degrees Fahrenheit degrees for 45-50 mins.

[Note from WD: To minimize the potential for Baker’s ammonia, add milk and cheese to the dry ingredients with a teaspoon of lemon juice, wait one minute. Whisk the eggs and then add them to the mixture.]

Isn’t that great? Relief from diabetes/prediabetes, hypertension, abdominal fat, and at least partial relief from the phenomena of a very serious condition, Wegener’s. The reduced sinus and airway symptoms suggest that vascular inflammation has been reduced.

Wegener’s granulomatosis is an autoimmune inflammation of the blood vessels usually experienced as unremitting nasal congestion, discharge, and bleeding; airway irritation and asthma; growth of lung nodules; kidney dysfunction and kidney failure, among other phenomena. It is treated with toxic drugs such as prednisone, azathioprine, and cyclophosphamide that have side effects including infections and cancer. While Annie’s dad’s experience represents just one case, it is consistent with the experience of many others who report that other autoimmune conditions recede or disappear with wheat elimination.

Recall that the gliadin protein of wheat, in addition to being degraded in the gastrointestinal tract to small polypeptides that penetrate into the bloodstream and bind to the opiate receptors of the brain to stimulate appetite, also has the unique ability to “unlock” the normal intestinal barriers to foreign proteins/polypeptides, both dietary and bacterial. This is the purported first step in generating the misguided immune response characteristic of autoimmunity.

Of the 75 autoimmune conditions experienced by humans, what proportion are triggered by consumption of wheat, perhaps worsened by the genetic alterations introduced into the gliadin antigenic stimulant? We don’t have an answer yet, but my prediction is that the majority of autoimmune conditions, in all their various, painful and debilitating forms, get their start with the bagel, sandwich, or licorice you have every day.

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Comments & Feedback...

      • I have just baked this new bread recipe from the person In New Zealand. It tastes and looks fantastic.When it is bakingI the aroma is just like baking an ordinary loaf of bread . This will be my recipe from now on.IMy husband and I have been wheat free for 3 months. We are 75 and 76 years old but I figured we are never too old to make changes. We are feeling great and are being followed by our family doctor who follows your diet Dr. Davis and he was the one who told us to purchase your book which we have. I also have your cookbook and have made many of your delicious recipes. Every one of them was great. Thank you Dr. Davis for your book as I truly believe that this is not a fad as I hear more and more people going off wheat products. I lost 8 pounds the first two weeks but now i have plateaud and can’t seem to lose anymore weight but remaining the same.Is this happening to anyone else?

  1. organicguy

    Sea salt is a better choice if concerned about hypertention,or a alternative to the useless refined white salt.

  2. Juliette

    Thanks so much for your wonderful ideas and for the health benefits you are sharing with everyone!

    • Robin

      Don’t know. I’d try grinding most at first to see how it turns out. Maybe sprinkle some whole seeds on top? I’m going to make this now.

    • Annie

      Yes, leave them whole. I also found that adding lemon juice made the sunflower seeds turn green.

  3. Beverly

    I am a breast cancer survivor and I am told that I shouldn’t eat flax? A lot of the baking recipes have flax in them. Can I substitute something else for the Flax?

    • Janknitz

      I’m sensitive to the phytoestrogens in flax (causes me to bleed). I substitute almond flour when a recipe calls for flax, sometimes 50:50 with hemp seeds (not sure if those have estrogen-like compounds, too, though–check with your oncologist).

  4. Bea Pullar

    Great story. Tasty cheese is one of the hard cheeses. About 60 years ago I was diagnosed as being allergic to flaxseed so I have been wondering about the best substitute in wheatfree recipes. So far I have used sesame seeds.

  5. Wow…. inspiring story of regained health!!
    Thank you for posting it.
    Off topic: GUESS WHAT I DID?
    I ate a piece of pizza last night. After going & staying wheat free this January 8th.
    I awoke this morning with debilitating nausea (that Pepto-Bismal wouldn’t touch) and have spent the entire day in bed or in the bathroom w/ watery diarrhea. I’ve also experienced headache, body/joint aches & pains, not to mention pretty uncomfortable anxiety and depression.
    I just finished reading every entry in Dr. Davis’ wheatbellyblog after-Christmas 2011 post titled “Do you have food poisoning?”. It informed me as to why this reaction to “re-exposure” is soooo much worse than I ever experienced in my previous 54 years of ingesting wheat. And I also felt like less of a dummy falling off the wagon.
    LESSON I LEARNED: This going-off-wheat thing I am doing? …..it is no longer ELECTIVE….
    it is MANDATORY.
    I just gave myself a little aversion therapy, didn’t I?

    Again Dr. “Badass” Bill: I cannot thank you enough for your groundbreaking work that is helping me turn the corner in my quest for superior health AND for this blog that is such an amazing source of support!!!!

    • Marv


      Exactly, it’s hard to sufficiently thank “Badass” for putting his rep on the line and enduring criticism from the nutrition police. Sure he makes a few dollars from book sales but the man changed my life too! I literally feel the clock going backwards. “Thank You” sounds so puny doesn’t it?


  6. Lu

    Made this bread last night. Its not bad, a little crumbly and insanely heavy :) It is tasty though.

    Thanks for sharing your great story!

  7. Kathleen Correa

    I have envisioned what a grocery store will look like when the wheat Belly explosion takes over. I see the center isles full of meats, fruits, veggies, nuts, and oils, and the outside perimeter with necessary house hold goods.

  8. Jacqueline

    I made the bread last night. I separated into 5 little mini loaf pans to cut the baking time down. It was totally delicious

  9. CS

    I used half ground almonds and half walnuts. The bread was good, but a little bland. I drizzled a tiny bit of honey on top and it was excellent.

  10. Kathy

    Made this last night. Very nice. I used sharp, shredded cheddar cheese, left the sunflower seeds whole, and it worked well.

    I’ve really never understood the idea that if you go wheat free there’s nothing to eat. There is a world of wonderful food available. In the past year since reading Wheat Belly and going wheat free, I’ve lost pain in my joints, ravenous hunger between meals, and 8 pounds. I don’t miss wheat!

  11. Loekie

    Dr. Davis, do you think that with this diet hartproblems are also reversible like diabetes II?
    Since february 2012 I am wheat free and I think that my heart is feeling better than it was. As a vegetarian I always have had low bloodpressure and low hart rate – 43 a minute – and the hart rate is now 50 most of the time. I am not visiting a cardiologist but my whole family has atrial fibrillation – four brother, mother, father – some at a young age. They all have high bloodpressure. I think my whole family has glutenintolerance because they also have skin, teeth and digestiveproblems, some are depressive, but they don’t want to know it. I am 52 and the youngest.

    • Dr. Davis

      If I understand your question, yes, atrial fibrillation can become less bothersome with wheat elimination.

      However, many of the changes that allow the development of atrial fibrillation in the first place, such as glycation of the heart’s conduction system, are irreversible once they develop. So wheat elimination is more powerful to reduce the situation that leads to the rhythm, rather than as a means of reducing it once established.

      • Rhonda

        What tests can be used to determine if glycation of the heart’s conduction system has already happened?

        • Loekie

          ECG? Your own observations and feelings about your heart? Do you have a regular pulse?

          Btw I am not a die hard vegetarian, I do eat fish and sometimes chicken.

          Dr Davis, thanks for your answer, very much appreciated.

  12. Rhonda

    Think I’ll try to pass on the autopsy for a while longer! :)
    Since starting WB last summer, I have been feeling so much better and was hoping that I might not suffer the same heart disease that runs so strongly through my family. I guess I was just hoping that I could reverse any damage already done with my new way of life-not realistic, I know-but since I never in a million years would have believed a year ago that I could give up sugar and wheat products, it made me start to believe that anything was possible. ECG is always normal, Loekie, and I feel fine, but I worry about what I can’t feel.

  13. Jodi Shafer

    Hi Dr Davis
    I am 48 yo female w celiac disease (gluten free 10years), hypo thyroid Hashimotos well controlled on Levothyroxin 10yrs, microscopic colitis 4 yrs. not well controlled, just started another medication for this, and psoriatic arthritis, depression and possible Lupus. My daughter 16 yo had pancreatitis two years ago in and out of hospital until we discovered she has Lupus last August. She too has been wheat free though no celiac just feels better wo wheat/gluten for past 6 years. She still has chronic pain and occasional flares of either Lupus or Fibromyalgia symptoms, low energy. I have 5 siblings, 4 of those 5 have autoimmune issues, some debilitating. Some are gluten free some not. My question is after reading your book and already being wheat/gluten free, would tweaking my diet in accordance to your book would I/we feel thAt much better? I could lose 20lbs and exercise everyday for about an hour, either high cardio or cardio and weights. Cannot lose weight no matter what I try. I know his is long and you are busy but am desperate to help my family and mostly my daughter to feel better. ( We are neighbors, live in Mpls area:). Thank you for any help. Also very curious where we grew up in Wi why all 5 of 6 kids are sick was there some type of chemical exposure etc. seems too many in one family to be this sick all the time!

    • Dr. Davis

      Easy, Jodi: You are being treated with levothyroxine (T4), while your doctor neglects the all important T3, the real thyroid hormone.

      He/she assumes that you will convert T4 to T3, which occurs in only about 20% of people.

      Key: Get a new doctor. Clearly your current one is willing to let you stall in weight loss enough to impact health and cause frustration without pinpointing the cause.

  14. ettie

    Hi Dr Davis
    I made this bread last week when we Jews celebrated our holiday called “Passover”. In this holiday wheat is forbidden so I made it as a substitute and it was wonderfully tasty (my mother in law loves me even more right now thanks to u). I know this recipe is going to be always in my kitchen menu. By the way at the time I didn’t have sunflower seeds so I made it with pumpkin seeds and it was so good. Oh and I didn’t have enough ground almond so I switched one cup with corn flour
    and guess what, no harm done it was still very good. And about the cheese I didn’t know what kind of cheese is that so I put a simple soft white low fat cheese. Thank you for this recipe (where can I find more?)
    Ettie from Israel

  15. Gisele

    Dr Davis,
    There are many ‘meal planning’ sites which have been developed to help individuals follow various ways of eating. They include weekly meal plans, grocery lists, searching abilities, etc. to ease the work of implementing the ‘diet’. Can I suggest that at some point you have someone create this type of planner to ‘complement’ your books/web site, etc.? Individuals like me could really benefit from something like this, even if it was at a reasonable cost…
    I’ve read your book (have both books) but starting the ‘diet’ with my husband seems a bit daunting at this point (picking recipes, setting up grocery lists, etc.) … so I’m procrastinating! It’ll definitely be a ‘drastic’ change for us. Regards

    • unterderlaterne

      Gisele, try my very favorite site *http://www.gourmetgirlcooks.com/. It is beautiful and uncluttered with photos that will delight ! ” GG ” posts the meals she has every day, her recipes are very easy to follow. My favs are *chicken pot pie* and * Greek spinach Feta Pie *, so far , I am new to the grain-free diet (6 weeks about) and she helps me out with meal selection.

      • Debbie

        Unterderlaterne, I just visited the site you recommended and wow! Thank you so much for sharing. She did say: “all of my recipes posted since July 10, 2012, are wheat/grain free — that’s when I became wheat/grain free.” What a great site and inspiration.

  16. Elizabeth

    Also from New Zealand, I am a Tbype 2 diabetic, on insulin after some 30+ years since diagnosis. I have been given a great deal of advice and different regimes over the years, and f Lund out for ,unselfish what is good or not. For instance, at first I was told to avoid sweet things. But one day I was out and needed to eat, so bought a Savoury Muffin..containing cheese and a little ham. I was amazed t o find that it caused my blood-sugars to go into,orbit ! I worked put for myself that it was the white flour but continued to eat bread with whole-grain labels . Not until six months ago,did I hear about the possible part that WHEAT plays.
    Now on a wheat free diet – not gluten free necessarily -,I feel good, but as I have treated myself to dairy products and chocolate to compensate for the ( addictivee ) breads I have not lost weight yet. But my ‘belly ‘ feels lighter and I am not bloated …
    I anticipate more good results.

  17. George C

    Thanks so much for this recipe.

    This is my favorite bread so far, it’s about number 5. The sunflower seeds were an absolute BRAINSTORM! Their flavor lingers on after eating, which is awesome – even better than while chewing. I actually enjoy eating it with nothing on it – almost a dessert.

    I used the seeds whole. And, I didn’t know what “tasty cheese” was either, so I made one batch of 3 loaves without cheese, and a second batch with 1.5 Cups of shredded mozzarella. I can hardly tell the difference between the two versions — either I have to try more cheese, or a hard cheese. Not a hint of bakers’ ammonia with the original recipe.

    I’m on the last loaf (#6) now, so I have to get more Buttermilk and make more.

  18. @ Annie from New Zealand,
    Thank you a thousand times for your awesome and nutritious bread. I savor it with a little mayonnaise and slices of baked turkey and a slice of Yarlsberg. cheese. It is so filling that I can only eat one slice of bread. I am full until dinner time, What a life saver this bread is! Thank you, thank you, thank you!
    Barbara from California.

    P.S. My husband still eats wheat and grains. But when I gave him a slice he said: Oh my this is a winner!

  19. Hillary

    Yummy, sounds good!
    Can you also make this receipe with almond floar? What if I leave the cheese? Will it still taste good? I try to stay away from milk products

    • unterderlaterne

      Hillary, why don’t you try it with almond or coconut milk. Yes you can leave out the cheese. Otherwise I would follow the recipe, it just is so perfect!

  20. Frank

    Dr. Davis,

    I notice this recipe calls for buttermilk OR full fat milk. Is that only this recipe or any or your recipes that call for buttermilk because I found many of your recipes contain buttermilk.

    I’d rather use full fat milk, if possible, because many stores seem to carry only lowfat buttermilk and I have the impression (especially from Maria Emmerich’s blog) that low-fat anything is not healthy. Using whole milk would be easier. The buttermilk is often old before I can use all of it.


    • Dr. Davis

      I believe two recipes in total use buttermilk, but it is not an absolute. Whole milk works just fine.

      • Ira-Jane Wilton

        I was pleased to read the “sunflower seed” bread recipe.
        I’ll be trying it out shortly as i have all the ingredients now except the seeds!
        I keep hoping to come across a bread machine recipe as I just bought a bread machine a week before starting the Wheat Belly food plan.
        Any help with that would be greatly appreciated.
        Ira-Jane in Ontario Canada

    • unterdelLaterne

      Denise , you will love this bread, absolutely my favorite! Instead of buttermilk I use now the whey from the yogurt I make, it needs the *tang*. Do not be shy using your own spin, regarding flavoring or seasoning. I only use 1/2 the amount of flaxseeds(whole) and sometimes leave the cheese out !
      I add ground caraway seeds (Dr.Davis idea) and whole caraway seeds! Bon Apetit! Barbara.

    • Bridget

      make buttermilk by adding some white vinegar or lemon juice to any type of milk, I never have buttermilk and use this when recipes ask for it

  21. Denise

    “Tasty Cheese”, a term used in Australia and New Zealand, means a cheese something like a sharp cheddar cheese (in the US) so mozzarella might be a bit bland for this recipe. Thank you Annie for sharing this recipe I can’t wait to try it.

  22. Denise

    UnterdelLaterne. you are right – this bread is delicious – I especially like it toasted. Thanks Annie for this recipe -do you have any more gems to share with us?

  23. Valda Anderson

    My husband is a type 1 diabetic…since he was 57 yrs old. For him, it’s genetic but he never ate wheat products all his adult life – unwittingly, because he just never wanted them. I believe he had his diabetes all this time but it was kept under control with his choice of diet. When we began orcharding and he had a heavy workload (he had been a pilot all his life) he began eating bread, bis cubits etc etc. type 1 diabetes roared into his life and is now controlled by insulin jabs. His weight has skyrocketed and he has a very large belly as well.
    My gastric bypass dictated a carb free, high protein diet but being lazy, I simply ate the same meals as my husband chose and needed…high carb at every meal.
    Well, NO MORE! My daughter put me onto the Wheat Belly Lifestyle and I am hooked. I feel much better even after one week. No cravings and a new interest in recipes and meals for myself. The sunflower bread recipe is lovely…my classic scones looked like something a caveman made but the bread is perfect.
    I’m on the road from misery to happiness…oh, yeah!

  24. Kate

    I know this is a stupid question, but I’ve never baked bread before (I’m kind of a mess in the kitchen!). When it says in the recipe, “It freezes well and keeps for over a week in the fridge,” does that mean before or after baking? If before, do you need to thaw before baking or do you just bake longer?

    Sorry for the dumb question!

  25. rahnella

    I used plain low-fat yogurt instead of milk or buttermilk. Makes the bread moist and holds together better.

  26. Making a recipe that calls for buttermilk? Use this simple substitute, and you won’t need to buy any:
    Prep Time: 5 minutes
    Total Time: 5 minutes
    •Milk (just under one cup)
    •1 Tablespoon white vinegar or lemon juice
    1. Place a Tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice in a liquid measuring cup.
    2. Add enough milk to bring the liquid up to the one-cup line.
    3. Let stand for five minute. Then, use as much as your recipe calls for.

  27. Bernadette

    I used some of muy almond flour from making almond milk, and used kefir in place of the buttermilk. It’s great!! Very tasty!!

  28. My eye brows are short which means I have a thyroid problem. Will this effect my ability to loose weight on wheat belly diet. Iv been doing the Dr Oz wheat loss diet for two weeks.