Seeing is believing

Read this wonderful tale of freedom from the bonds of wheat’s grip over appetite, as well as relief from decades of Crohn’s disease.

I am 42 years old and I work as a flight attendant. I eat an excellent diet, I exercise regularly and I live a very active lifestyle. I run approximately 30 km [about 18 miles] a week. I am 5’7” and weighed 160.2 lbs.

I have been tracking my calories using the “MyFitnessPal” app on my iPhone for over a year and I have not been able to lose the 15-20 lbs that has crept up on me in the last 10 years. I carry the extra weight from the bottom of my rib cage to my mid-thighs. I thought this was normal for a woman my age but I always wished I could have that whole area sucked out and then my body would be perfect to me.

After discussing my weight-loss issues with a co-worker, she lent me the book “Wheat Belly.” I read it on my vacation and I decided to take the 4 week challenge of eliminating wheat from my diet. The first few days were not pleasant. I had a constant headache, I was irritable and felt achy all over. I had a sore throat and I thought I was coming down with a cold. I worried that I wouldn’t be able to find anything to eat that wouldn’t have wheat in it.

I have now been wheat-free for 13 days. I cannot believe the difference. I have lost 5% of my body weight in a week and a half. I now weigh 152 lbs. The most significant difference I have noticed is that I am no longer on the feast or famine rollercoaster I previously lived with. I am rarely hungry, I don’t have the massive starvation-like episodes if I didn’t “feed the monster” every 2 to 3 hours. I used to get shaky, irritable, cold, and completely obsessed with food and carbs if I didn’t have constant access to snacks. This has miraculously disappeared. I am taking in fewer calories because I am not starving hungry all the time but I am not taking in so few to warrant such a massive loss in weight in such a brief period of time. It is most curious.

My “skinny jeans” are looking fantastic on me, my belly is flat, I have this calmness and peacefulness about me that feels very foreign but wonderful. I don’t dream about food or wake up fantasizing about what I will have for breakfast like before. It’s like I went to bed fat and woke up skinny. I do not miss wheat nor do I crave it. I am drinking more water for some odd reason. I don’t know how to describe it but I genuinely feel thirst and hunger, whereas before I was just manically putting stuff in my mouth. It’s hard to forget what you’ve learned about nutrition and how to “eat well” when the Canada’s Food Guide Pyramid has been turned upside-down. To eat avocados, raw nuts, eggs, lean meats, healthy oils, etc. and not worry about the caloric implications is weird but wonderful. I eat carbs. I enjoy reasonable quantities of rice and potatoes and sweet potatoes and red wine and fruit and it doesn’t seem to matter.

The only thing I have changed is I have eliminated that one ingredient from my diet: wheat. It is in a lot of what we commonly consume. Every can of tomato soup, every salad dressing in the fridge, every chicken bouillon granule, every cereal, etc. contains wheat, wheat flour and/or hydrolyzed wheat protein. Even some ice cream and packaged oatmeals have wheat. I’m not much of a conspiracy theorist but it sure makes you wonder whether food manufacturers are fueling our addictions to wheat by making sure it is in everything.

There are many products available that are easy substitutes for the wheat-laced food that makes up such a large percentage of our diets. With a little creative swapping, you really don’t miss it. I made the flax wraps in the book and they were awesome. The local Bulk Barn store has all the ingredients you need to make all your favorite foods without wheat. I have a smoothie in the morning, lots of veggies everyday and a healthy normal supper. Last night, I made a beautiful roast beef dinner, mashed potatoes, veggies, etc. just watch out that the gravy doesn’t have flour or Bistro!

My story is interesting but my Mom’s is astounding. My Mom is 64 years old, she is 5’2” and 107 lbs. She has suffered terribly from unmanageable Crohn’s Disease for 25 years. She has had 3 major bowel surgeries to remove blockages and has very regular bouts of extremely urgent explosive diarrhea. Her doctor threatened that one more blockage and she will have to have a colostomy bag.

Even though she is up at 6 a.m., she doesn’t leave her house until mid-morning because she has to be near the washroom for 5-10 bathroom visits. She has been on prednisone, Asacol and many other medications. She is anemic and gets regular iron shots because the Crohn’s basically leeches vitamins and minerals out of her. She has osteoporosis due to calcium loss. She gets Vitamin D shots and she is unable to take some of the newer drugs on the market for Crohn’s because her vitamin levels are not what they need to be to make her a good candidate. She has always looked like she was 5 months pregnant even though she is a very petite woman.

I asked her to read the book and several of the ladies in her apartment building were reading it so we decided to try the 4-week challenge together to support each other. We listened to Dr. Davis on CBC’s Maritime Noon a few weeks ago and we were further convinced.

The changes in my Mom’s health are unbelievable. After 25 years of her body being wracked with uncontrollable diarrhea, she has not had an episode in 13 days. This has not happened in 25 years. Her stool is firm and she is able to control her bowel urges. Her stomach is completely flat. All her pants are loose and comfortable at the waist. It is nothing short of a miracle.

She was tested for celiac years ago and tested negative. She tried eliminating sugar and dairy with no success. She has suffered so much and the cure is seemingly so easy. She couldn’t continue working as a bank teller because she had to run to the bathroom constantly and without warning. She has been on a disability pension due to her medical issues. I am feeling angry at the medical community and society in general that no one ever suggested to my Mom to eliminate wheat.

I am having a hard time believing that these miraculous changes will be sustainable. I don’t crave wheat. I am not tempted to eat it for some odd reason, even though two weeks ago I fantasized constantly about multigrain bread, crackers and nachos. I can’t imagine it being this easy to lose weight. If I continue at the rate I am going I will have lost 10% of my body weight and reached my goal weight in 4 short weeks. I’ll keep you posted.

Grateful in Nova Scotia

Is it possible to overstate the enormity of these responses? Can you appreciate how different this is from just reducing carbohydrates?

This is about eliminating this grain that has worked its way so deeply into the human experience, endorsed by official agencies, blessed by the dietary community, become the currency of international trade, yet wrecks health in so many ways. Rid it from your life and, more often than not, you will be astounded.

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Comments & Feedback...

  1. Loekie

    “I am feeling angry at the medical community and society in general that no one ever suggested to my Mom to eliminate wheat.”
    I have the same feeling, my dad died of bowelcancer. He had al lot of other problems, for instance oedema in his legs and arms and he asked me if I knew something – I have had three years paramedic training. The doctors could not help him obviously. I had no solution for him, it was before my non-wheatlife. I blame the doctors to not suggest to eliminate wheat.

  2. Donna

    Congratulations to you and your mother! What a great story!
    I get so angry at nutritionists and doctors too. When I was pregnant with my son, I wish someone had told me about Atkins and grain elimination. I had gestational diabetes and had to do two insulin shots per day and prick my finger 4 times a day to check blood sugar. The nutritionist advised lowfat eating, of course. All that misery could have been avoided.

    • Sheila

      I am with you Donna. I had gestational diabetes all three pregnancies and it got worse every time. No one ever even hinted at wheat/grain removal. I too wish I had known then what we know now. However, I think after shooting insulin and checking sugar 5 times a day, it makes staying on this new lifestyle of eating even easier (I find it very easy anyway). I am hoping my children can follow this lifestyle too since I probably screwed up their systems too while shooting insulin during pregnancies.
      My husbands diabetes has gotten so much better and I’m hoping to get him off all meds.
      Thanks again, Dr. D

  3. Susan

    Have been grain/sugar free 4 months and have lost 25#s. Hurray. Blood sugar levels are extremely high but from reading Wheat Belly blog see that they will stay high while in weight loss mode. I have had huge success with acid reflix completely gone, sleep better, stronger nails and hair, first time in 20 yrs. no bowel urgency. Expecting to see improvement in arthritis, too. My problem is yeast infections. Medication gives relef for only a day or two. Probably due to the high sugar levels. What to do?

    • Barbara in New Jersey

      Good morning Susan,

      You are responding wonderfully to this way of eating!
      Dr. D. recommends a 50 billion cfu probiotic to resupply your intestinal flora with appropriate bacteria which has gotten lopsided with wheat/grain/sugar ingestion. Worth every penny! Try to find one with saccharomyces boulardii in it because this strain is attracted to the candida and dissolves it. I can’t explain the technical information. I know that this strain has helped me faster than probiotics without it. You may have to take the probiotic for months until your intestines are truly normal again.

      Also, for now, NO foods with sugar or fructose in it should be consumed! Perhaps some low sugar veggies are OK. Candida thrives on sugars so you want to “starve” it as much as possible. No grains at all, even in condiment amounts. Do an internet search for all your veggies. Those wonderful garden tomatoes are high in fructose. Carrots, beets, sugar snap peas, onions etc. should all be checked for glycemic values. Check whatever sweeteners you are using too as some are part sucrose. Use something like stevia or xylitol and even these in a limited amount until you get the overabundance of candida back into balance.

      Remember to drink lots of water or iced tea to help flush out your intestines.

      • Susan

        Thanks, Barbara. So reassuring to get your comments. Can you suggest a brand name for a probiotic? Sounds like it may be the answer.

        • Jeanine

          I’ve had good luck with Ultimate Flora. I buy it in Whole Foods. I noticed they have one specially for women and vaginal health…which I’m guessing s meant to address yeast infections

        • Barbara in New Jersey

          Hi Susan,

          I have used Lichi Super Fruit Probiotic with great success. There are many other brands of probiotics. Lichi contains the candida loving strain which dissolves the yeast which has embedded in the lining of your organs. I was traveling and this brand did not need refrigeration.

          As long as you don’t eat any sugar or fructose for a few weeks, any good quality brand will do. Make sure you take the 50 billion cfu daily. You might need to buy a smaller dose and then work your way up to that amount.

          Hope this helps.

    • Susan, congratulations on your good results! Your blood sugar levels shouldn’t be high, although blood *lipids* can be. If you’re still eating starchy or sugary foods like milk, yogurt, fruit, potatoes and beans, you’ll need to cut back on those, too. You can get a $10 blood glucose meter to test your blood sugar before a meal and one hour later to see what the effect is. If cutting down on the carbs doesn’t work, see your doctor. He or she may prescribe Metformin, a safe, inexpensive drug to control blood sugar.

      • Penny

        I am one that the fatty acids in the blood stream does raise the blood sugars a little bit, so don’t freak out if they do. Dr. Davis has reassured me that this is normal to happen until weight loss slows. =)

  4. Alex

    To Grateful in NS,

    You will be surprised how easy it is as time goes on. I am just over 4 months into being wheat free and the change in hunger/starvation is just unreal. There are days I may eat only one meal, if any, simply because I am not hungry. I dropped 6 inches(!) in the last 4 months and for the first time in my life I really believe the goal weight I want to be at is actually achievable. I sleep like a log at night too. And, more importantly, my blood levels (trglyceride & LDL) have all fallen back well into the normal range. I too wish someone had told me to eliminate wheat back when I was a kid. At least better late than never.

  5. “I’m not much of a conspiracy theorist but it sure makes you wonder whether food manufacturers are fueling our addictions to wheat by making sure it is in everything. ”

    In the case of our food, I think it would serve us well to be conspiracy theorists. I’ve read Wheat Belly, and although I have had some slips, my goal is to be wheat-free. I’m getting ready to read “Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us.” I anticipate it will be a fantastic compliment to Dr. Davis’ enlightening book.

  6. I felt all of these difference in 13 days too! Unfortunately, I’ve been trying to work this out since February and 13 days is the longest streak I’ve had going… struggling to beat a carb addiction too. I’m keeping a diary of sorts on my blog about this experience and was wondering – wouldn’t it be great to start a Wheat Belly Blog ring? I’d love to be able to follow all of these success stories and those of others – by having a blog ring, we in the wheat free community can easily find others, keep up with how progress is going, and provide support.

    Dr. Davis – any chance you could get something started here?

  7. GaryM

    Stories like this also incite anger in me. Just think of how much the mother suffered when the solution was so simple! But what makes me angrier than the fact that the dietary “powers that be” along with “big food” just got it all wrong, is that today THEY CONTINUE to fight the Wheat Belly movement with public relations campaigns and misinformation. Defending grains today transcends mere incompetence and seems downright evil, especially in the face of stories like the one cited here.

  8. Ali

    So the test for Celiac was negative? Of course it was, they usually are. Most tests come back negative regardless of whether you have Celiac Disease or not because the testing procedure is so useless.

    In many ways being tested is worse than not being tested. Why? Because if the test comes back negative and they are told they don’t have it, but they actually do, they can go off and carry on their gluten-riddled diet to an early grave…..

    These days people (unfortunately) trust Doctors implicitly to look after their health. Because most people, including Doctors believe the testing procedure to be trustworthy and absolute, they have no concept that they are trusting the equivalent of Russian Roulette.

    The gluten damage not only suppresses nutrient absorption, but it can often suppress antibody response too which will inevitably give a false reading. Most sick people have a suppressed immune system – that’s why they are sick! And many drugs are designed to suppress the immune system even further. For those who may have some kind of antibody response, the threshhold for Celiac diagnosis is set at <10. But ANY response is an indication of an intolerance to gluten and the other modern grain proteins and should never be ignored. If you do get tested, always ask for the test results (readings, not just whether deemed positive or not), and if one test is negative but you know you are very intolerant, insist on further tests (my own Doctor now recognises she has often to send people for several bouts of testing before a positive result is achieved).

    My own Celiac test came back negative with a reading of 1 but then I had a very suppressed immune system. Fortunately I didn't believe it and dumped all grains anyway. After over 5 years I am still in the process of healing from the damage it did to me. My mother wasn't so fortunate. She was diagnosed with Celiac just 4 weeks before she died at the age of 64 from multiple organ failure. She was so malnourished her body just consumed itself. Whilst her symptoms positively SHOUTED Celiac Disease all her life, not ONE Doctor picked it up until it was way, way too late.

    If I'd known back then what I know now, things might just have been far different for both of us. I am just grateful that my own lightbulb moment happened before it was too late for me…….

    • > Most tests come back negative regardless of whether you have Celiac Disease
      > or not because the testing procedure is so useless.

      Even if the test was reliable, it’s going to be a misleading negative 83% of the time, due to individuals who are acutely wheat reactive non-celiac, or NCGS as it is often misleadingly called.

      Even if a test could catch the “NCGS”, why bother?
      The treatment is to eliminate exposure to the pathogen, and in the case of this pathogen (wheat), that’s something that benefits every one who sets their dial to zero.

      We have a strongly (perhaps not acutely) wheat reactive in the family. We have no plans to bother with celiac testing.

  9. Donna

    Love reading your story and all the others on here. It’s truly remarkable how much better everyone feels by eliminating wheat.

  10. fudgecake

    In all fairness to doctors, how many over the years would have been taken seriously, and how many would have retained their patients, if they had told them to stop eating wheat and other grains. Most people base their entire lives on a pizza, a glass of beer, a bowl of oatmeal, a sandwich for lunch. People can understand surgery, medication, and suffering with an illness. That’s within our capacity to understand and accept. But to give up wheat? It wouldn’t make any sense at all. Well, it’s starting to. I’ve got 20 weeks of wheat belly diet behind me and doing very well and am very grateful.

  11. Susan

    It is always good to hear these positive stories. I too suffer from Crohn’s and found that eliminating wheat from my diet had a profound and positive impact on my health. I also found that diary and sugar weren’t my friends either.
    Best of luck to both you and your Mom.

    • Linda

      God Bless Dr. Davis for his book, blog and this valuable information!!!
      Crohn’s Specific Questions:
      Would appreciate to know:.
      Will not eating wheat be enough to stop a Crohn’s flare up?
      Have you found a probiotic (brand and count) specific to Crohn’s to calm or not aggravate a flare up?
      and how long till symptoms improve?
      Thank you!

      • Dr. Davis

        No, absolutely not, Linda. You cannot start and stop wheat and hope to obtain a response, since the autoimmune process set in motion by wheat goes on for an extended period. You must eliminate 100% for an extended period to obtain all the benefits.

        The super-duper high-potency probiotic VSL3 is the best I know of, something that most people just need to take for several weeks to repopulate the bowel.

  12. Hello Grateful in NS – I’m a fellow Nova Scotian and was drawn to your story because I have a family member who also suffers from Chron’s disease and will be forwarding this information to her.

    I took the leap to go wheat-, grain-, legume-, and sugar-free in December during the holidays. People say I was crazy, but once you get through that you can get through anything. During that week is when I noticed almost immediately that my body began to tell me when I was full before my plate was empty.

    I went to my personal doctor in January to have my bloodwork done and received a prompt lecture on the fact that I was ditching an entire food group. Once I talked to her about what ’round-up ready’ really means, her eyes popped. It was then that I realized that we must do our own research and be our own advocate for health. I am going back for a check-up next month, so I will be interested to see both what my changes are and if she has since done some of her own research.

    As someone mentioned earlier, I’m sure that if she had said to me “you need to eliminate wheat” I would have likely ignored her.

    I can’t believe that I am almost 7 months in to eating this way and it’s hardly an issue for me. It’s amazing that I have tried other weight loss programs, and I would possibly eat well 5 out of the 7 days. Now, I don’t even think about it, it’s just normal. My only struggle now is that when I eat somewhere besides home, they always want to give me the ‘gluten-free’ junk. Holy smokes, that stuff is a tough as nails. I can’t imagine that being any easier on our guts.

    Keep us updated on how your mom does!

  13. Daren

    I also have/had Crohn’s and took a whole host of meds for almost 20 years, before going Paleo and dumping Wheat almost 3 years ago. Off all meds, lost 35 lbs, feel great and haven’t even seen a Gastro doctor in 3 years. Yep — Wheat is THAT BAD.
    Good luck to everyone.
    Daren

  14. Drae

    “I am feeling angry at the medical community and society in general that no one ever suggested to my Mom to eliminate wheat.”

    When I think of all the health conditions in my family, “anger” becomes too mild a word to describe how I feel. From my father’s heart condition his doctors could never pinpoint to various digestive disorders in my aunts and uncles to my grandmother’s mental health. ALL of it, I now know, caused by modern wheat. I can’t help but view the majority of the medical profession now as a bunch of “butchers and drug pushers” as I saw them called here in one reader’s comments about his visit to the doctor. I do realize there are other smart, wonderful doctors like Dr. Davis who know their stuff and DO help, but that tends to keep me angry- that so many others in the field are giving the few gems a bad reputation. It’s a damn shame.

    Thankfully, Dr. Davis has turned the game on its head and countless lives have been changed for the better. Plus we can keep more of our hard earned dollars instead of feeding the “healthcare” beast. Believe me when I say I tell as many people as I feel comfortable that my favorite aspect of my wheat-free lifestyle is no more headaches, unless I eat wheat! Since I get a lot of Dr. Dre cracks with my name, a friend recently suggested I start handing out a prescription to read two chapters of Wheat Belly and call me in the morning. I just might.

  15. Douglas Richter

    I used to eat a bowl of Grapenuts cereal and two slices of dry, wheat bread toast every morning. 2 hours later, I would have this ravenous, uncontrollable hunger. I knew something had to be wrong. I would exercise until my knees ached. Then I would eat a sandwich from Subway with Wheat Thins instead of chips. I could never lose weight. Something had to be terribly wrong. After 3 days without wheat, I have had to move my belt buckle to the last hole, I am sleeping incredibly better (I have an iphone app that measures sleep cycles based on movement and reports a sleep quality percentage), I have been able to get more work done at my job, and most importantly, I no longer have uncontrollable hunger. Thank you, Dr. Davis!

  16. Denise

    Great story!

    Anyone tired of explains why you are wheat free?

    My new response is going to be, “We don’t eat wheat for the same reason we don’t consume arsenic!!!”

    Maybe people will finally get it.

    • Agree!

      I’m also tired of explaining to people that I also don’t eat gluten-free products when I say that I want something without the ‘bun’ or whatever it might be. I suppose I was naive to it too, but it is really indicative of what we know/don’t know about what Grain-Free means.

  17. Sharon

    Hi all I am also cutting out Whaet, Gluten and dairy for 4 weeks because of crohns. People are giving me mixed messages about weight saying I will lose weight and then others saying I will put weight on because Wheat, Gluten and Dairy free products are really high in sugar and carbs. I have started eating Gluten and Wheat free bread, cereal and snacks. Any advice please really don’t want to put weight on should I just not eat at all.

    • Barbara in New Jersey

      Sharon,

      Read the book! Read this blog! Read Wheat Belly Quick and Dirty chapter on this blog. You will understand why you will lose weight, not put it on if you keep to the guidelines of 15 carbs per 6 hour period. You will find your answers there. Check out paleo recipes as well as Dr. D’s Cookbook.

  18. Linda Hanley

    I had IBS my entire life and since going Wheat Free due to reading Wheat Belly I have not had IBS! I also tested negative for Celiac, but when I also took out Barley and Rye, I truly have no digestion issues. I was on Prilosec for 15 years due to reflux…none now that I am Gluten Free. No body aches and pains. There was a feeling of loss at first…you have to be very careful with what you eat in restaurants, etc. Being Episcopalian, I asked my priest to use Gluten Free host for my communion. That also really helped. I think that there should be more studies as to why so many of us have had these problems with wheat. I do believe it is the GMOing of America. Good health to all!

    • Loekie

      And another medicus in the reactions:
      ‘I have been preaching this to my patients for the past 18 months. It is amazing to see the transformation in their health as they continue the journey with no wheat.’

  19. Lady Tate

    What about the good wheat that was grown in the past? Why not start growing it AGAIN!!

  20. Vanessa

    I started making my own (sourdough) bread with spelt (wholegrain) several months ago, though I have no (known) intolerances I
    had suffered constipation for years. The difference is amazing!