Fatal mistake

Craig related this story of inadvertent wheat re-exposure:

I’ve been wheat-free for just about three months. Last night, I went to my niece’s wedding reception (some of you can see it coming, can’t you?) and I knew I’d have to be careful what to pick from the buffet. Goulash: obviously not. Beef on kummelweck, well, no roll, of course, but a big heap of beef is good. Oh, look! Green salad and fruit salad. Big helping of each.

So far, so good, eh? But then the fatal mistake.

You gotta have something on green salad and there sat a big decanter of Italian-looking dressing. With just a tiny voice in the back of my mind warning me, no, I lathered it on. And it didn’t take long for the consequences to begin.

Went to bed at 10:00 and woke up every hour thereafter ’til 3:00 when I finally gave in and got up. I’ve been sleeping like the proverbial rock for months, so I knew right away that I’d been wheated, starched, or both. And it had to be the dressing. All of them contain some sort of modified food starch — that’s why I’d thrown all mine out. I’ve found that, since giving up wheat, I’m very sensitive to starches. And a lot of commercial dressings have wheat as a thickener. But all I could do now was sit and wait for what was to come.

And it started: runny nose, trips to the bathroom and, by late morning, brain-fog so thick I didn’t know if I was coming or going. I’d had beef soup cooking in the crock pot overnight and when I went to strain the broth, instead of lifting out the ceramic bowl, I, in my dazed, herky-jerky state, grabbed the whole pot which then flew out of my hands as it was still plugged into the wall, spilled hot soup over my arm burning it (not seriously, but it hurts!) and flooded the kitchen floor as well as splattering the cabinets.

And after a lost half-hour of cleaning up the mess, let me tell you, my mood was black.

I’m so mad at myself. The last couple weeks of wheat-freedom had, in addition to the weight loss [35 lbs], the skin-clearing, the lower back pain and bursitis disappearing, and the arthritis in my neck virtually gone, had seen my mood go almost euphoric. I’m temporarily working out-of-town with an hour-and-a-half commute each way. I’ve been dreading this assignment, but found that I would wake up each morning excited about the day. I would use the drive to think all sorts of interesting things, and had so much energy at work that I couldn’t believe it.

So, sitting here tonight downing a stiff gin-and-tonic to get some semblance of a good mood back (even if artificially induced), all I can say is that I’m so dam*ed mad. Never again!

While I wish Craig didn’t have to suffer through his tough night of wheat re-exposure, experiences like this are SO instructive. They remind us just how toxic wheat was to us in the first place.

We ate it for years, tolerating the headaches, fatigue, mind “fog,” impaired concentration, joint pains, heartburn, urgent bowel movements, increased appetite, etc., but developing partial tolerance to at least some of the effects. We go off wheat, endure the several days of opiate withdrawal from the gliadin protein, then feel wonderful and free of all the wheat-related problems . . . until we have a re-exposure, intentional or inadvertent.

We’ve heard many of these wheat re-exposure stories the past 2 years, but stories like Craig’s are worth hearing over and over again as they remind us that “healthy whole grains” are not! They are perfect chronic poisons that revisit us with a vengeance when we drift back.

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83 Responses to Fatal mistake

  1. Susan Fox says:

    This happened to me so often that I finally stopped eating out or trusting anyone else’s cooking. I travel with ingredients and utensils, cutting board, bowls, etc. What a difference. I’ve now had no incidents since March. Knock on wood!! But I also had eliminated sugar (occasionally tiny amounts) and use xylitol, eat no starch whatsoever, and always eat real food, no processed. I feel so great that if I didn’t know my age and wisdom level I would think I was 18 again. I’ve been spreading the news about Wheat Belly, Dr. Williams and The Wheat Belly Cookbook as much as I can. I’ll be 67 soon and can still wear a bikini. I do work out but not to extreme. ..Push-ups, crunches and leg and other arm exercises. I followed Dr. Williams advice on purchasing ingredients. I buy a lot from Nuts.com and from our local farmers and food co-op.

    One last note is that I’ve noticed there are lots of copy cats using Wheat Belly in their book titles. We all need to spread the word that only Dr. Davis’s books are legitimate.

    • Dr. Davis says:

      Yes, thank you, Susan.

      Lots of copycats out there and getting the message wrong! We don’t want people getting confused. The differences can be fatal!

      • Susan Fox says:

        I have suspicions that the big food companies or the wheat lobby have put many of those out there to distract people from your message.

  2. Terry says:

    I hear ya. I was wheat free for about three months and decided to indulge in a few scones over a few days. My daughter was working at an upscale bakery and decided to bring some of her skills home for us to try. To be honest with you…I was just ticked. In spite of being wheat free and mostly sugar free, I hadn’t dropped any weight so I had a “to heck with it moment” and ate the scones.

    Oh. My. Gosh. The fibromyalgia that I deal with came roaring in with the worst flare ever. My changes have been so gradual, I didn’t realize I WAS feeling better. Ever trigger point in my body woke up and I felt like a old woman (I’m 49), nodding off in my chair SEVERAL times in a day. It was horrible.

    I will never, ever knowingly touch wheat again. And I’ve since step up my efforts to eliminate grains. The Wheat Belly Cookbook has been a lifesaver for me in learning this new lifestyle. Between cleaning up my diet and practicing mindfulness meditations every day, the chronic pain I have dealt with for the pass 10 or so years is abating.

  3. June says:

    I have had this happen at parties when I ate something that didn’t LOOK like it had wheat in it. I am much more careful now!

    Tonight at a meeting I was attending someone told me that I look so much more healthy than when she met me a year ago. And next week I am going to my annual reunion with my three sisters. Last year they had to slow down for me. This time they will have to keep up with me!

    I am so grateful that I picked up this book nine months ago. It is so interesting to me that even on a couple of private facebook groups I belong to, people have started to ask about gluten. You have truly started a movement, Doctor Davis! Thank you for changing so many lives!

  4. William says:

    This is a bit off topic but if cholesterol isn’t the problem or not as big a problem as led to believe, why does the Track your Plaque program target 60 LDL?


  5. Steve says:

    I had a similar experience. I made pizza for the family, and then made a spelt pizza dough for myself, hoping it wouldn’t have the same effects on me as modern wheat. Well, a couple days later I started feeling anxious and, well, full of mysterious anger and rage… It went away the next day, but I wonder if the spelt is to blame?

    • Boundless says:

      It’s wheat no matter how it’s spelt.

      We do not know for sure that heirlooms are significantly free of all the toxic effects of modern techo-triticale. Part of the problem with modern goat grass is its pervasiveness. Someone would have to run an experiment where hapless volunteers consumed as much heirloom-based products as the general public today consumes of modern-based products. I’m not volunteering. You might reconsider.

      • Roxie says:

        haha I like the joke “no matter how it’s spelt” !

        I just think all grains are bad (except for my beloved white rice – for me at least), they shred your guts. I have a little mantra that I try to recall whenever the thought passes through my mind to eat a little wheat … would I seriously consider eating something that perforates my gut?

    • wrotek says:

      Is it the inflammation that cause anger and rage ?

      • Boundless says:

        > Is it the inflammation that cause anger and rage ?

        Hard to say, but I can make some layperson conjectures, which, as always, may not be worth what you’re paying to see them :).

        Keep in mind that it has been known since WWII that if schizophrenics don’t eat wheat, some of them improve. That was 25 years before semi-dwarf hybrid wheat escaped from Mutant Meals, Inc. This means that wheat has always harbored some brain effects, which probably affect those who aren’t schizo. Eat heirloom grains; experience heirloom pains.

        Another possibility is hyperthyroid (not hypo). I have hyper in my family, and “irritability” is one clear sign of a flare-up. You can check:
        and see if anything rings a bell. Hyperthyroid does seem to show up in the standard, otherwise mostly worthless, TSH & total T4 tests, and the treatment doesn’t involve the normal jaw-dropping incompetence of consensus medicine which one encounters with hypothyroid.

        Dr. Davis has written extensively on watching out for the emergence of undiagnosed thyroid problems when ditching wheat, but doesn’t seem to have opined on what’s causing all these thyroid problems in the first place. Is there a wheat connection?

      • Boundless says:

        Here’s an interesting Mercola article, on the wheat-brain connection, written two months before Wheat Belly was published:

        And to circle back to your original remark about spelt pizza. What is the actual genetic analysis of that spelt? Does it have any genes from techno-wheat? Bottom line: heirloom wheats are worth avoiding, even if they really are heirloom wheats.

        Wheat Belly pizza is a big hit at our house, even for guests still addicted to wheat.

        • bh says:

          I had a long-standing problem with depression. Since being wheat free for about 18 months, I was able to ditch the antidepressants. If I am accidentally wheated, my only symptom may be depression the next day.

        • Craig Howard says:

          The article you linked to was very interesting — and it specifically listed spelt as one of the grains that is high in lectin.

  6. Rich says:

    It is always a problem when invited to an event or travelling. Today, I had to turn down a friendly invitation for a quick lunch at Tim Horton’s here in Canada. I know there is nothing on the menu that I want to consume. I had my bag of nuts and my water bottle in the car. So and handful of nuts and water was my lunch today.
    While consuming it, I was thinking about extending the list of items one can take on the road that do not easily spoil. Perhaps beef jerky, made at home in a food dehydrator from gras fed beef, may be good addition? Are there any concerns about consuming dehydrated foods (other than large quantities of fruit)?

    • Wellness Meat has a grassfed/grass finished beef jerky that is sugar-free….also, as a traveling treat, we like kale chips which we make in the oven with olive oil and smoked paprika.

    • Erica in RSA says:

      Rich, have you thought of keeping a cooler bag in your car? That would increase your options. For instance, you could put chilled cans of tuna or sardines in it, perhaps add some baby tomatoes and sliced cucumber and cheese. I’m thinking in terms of things which you can eat with your fingers, apart from the tuna/sardines – for those you merely need a spoon, and perhaps a can opener depending on whether or not you have the sort of cans which require it. In all but the hottest weather a cooler bag should suffice to keep the food fresh.

  7. Jesse says:

    Dr Davis is there any brand of protein powder you recommend while being on Wheat Belly? or any ingredients in protein powder you recommend staying away from whilst on the diet? I’m trying to build muscle and not sure if protein powder is wheat belly approved. Thanks

    • Boundless says:

      Dr. D. has said previously when this came up:
      “I’m not a big fan of whey, so don’t spend a lot of time thinking about the best brands. At the very least, look for brands without added sugars.
      “I think that dairy and whey are fairly small issues for most. They are insulinotrophic, i.e., they stimulate as much as a tripling of pancreatic insulin production. But I don’t believe this is such a big deal that we should avoid.”

    • RenegadeRN says:

      I learned about the Jay Robb brand of protein powders from nutritionist Maria Emmerich.
      Dr. Davis posted a couple of her recipes here, and ever since I visit her site frequently. Great recipes!

      I can’t do ANY dairy products due to severe intolerances to whey and casein, so I use the egg white protein powder from Jay Robb. It is made with no hormones, antibiotics, and only uses stevia as a sweetner.


  8. Mike says:

    Dr. Davis: At restaurants, along with my meat or chicken or fish entree, I’ve been replacing the potato and mixed veggies with tomato slices and cole slaw. Is that all right?

    • Boundless says:

      > … been replacing the potato and mixed veggies with tomato slices and cole slaw

      I’d agree with ditching the potato (hi gly), but mixed veggies are fine as long as there’s no sauce, or a known low-gly wheat-free sauce (there may be residual cooking oil, tho). Tomato is fine. Cole slaw may or may not be a hazard, depending on what the sauce is. Many contain sugar.

      • Neicee says:

        I haven’t purchased frozen veggies in sauce to microwave in years. These are reserved by millions for those nights they’re tired or too busy other than to go through the rote of cooking. But, my hubby did. Asked him to stop off and pick up some veggies…..I had to know so logged in for some fascinating stuff.
        Butter sauce:
        Water, butter, food starch modified, salt, natural flavors, maltodextrin, modified butter oil, dehydrated butter, shortening powder, guar gum, sodium bicarbonate, annatto and turmeric, xanthan gum, sodium lactylate (sp?), beta carotene and may contain milk!
        So if they’re sold in stores I’m betting that’s what you’re getting in many restaurants too!

  9. Michael Kovacs says:

    Last night I went to a local restaurant to celebrate my niece’s birthday. It was “Wing Night” so I decided to go with it and not make a scene. It was the worst mistake I’ve made in the 4 years I’ve been wheat/Gluten free. I had the worst Migraine in my life today. I know they dip the raw wings in flour so the sauces stick to the wings. Lesson Learned. Not going to do that again. Why cant Restaurants voluntarily put allergen warnings in there menus so people like you and I can be spared the embarrassment of having to ask.

    • Dave says:

      Wings are probably what I miss most about this lifestyle. (Whole Foods is the only place I know where you can get wings without flour, although the wings tend to be small and mostly bone. I guess that’s from the lack of drugs they give to chickens at most farms.)

      We have to ask (demand, really) for allergen information, and hopefully the more questions we ask, the more likely restaurants will provide that information on their menus.

      • Dr. Davis says:

        You know, Dave, you can make healthy and delicious wings yourself just by using a healthy sauce!

        (I have included some chicken wings recipes and recipes for sauces in my new Wheat Belly 30-Minute Meal Cookbook, but not out until December, 2013.)

  10. Loekie says:

    I am wheat free since february 2012. My weight went from 94 to 90 and stayed there a long time. Lately my weight is dropping down more quickly, at the moment 87 – is alright. But lately I also have sometimes convulsions in my leg at night. Should I take a magnesium supplement?

    • Barbara in New Jersey says:

      Dr. Davis,

      I wonder if you have any additional insights on magnesium, vitamin K, vitamin D and iodine supplementation? Your 2008 article is wonderful, but I am hoping that it has been studied more and you have more information and recommendations now.

      What about silica? Food grade diatomaceous earth has been discussed as very beneficial for remineralizing bones and healthy, cellulite free skin. Your recommendations?


      • Dr. Davis says:

        Hi, Barbara–

        Hmmm. Substantial discussions on each of these issues.

        Stay tuned: I will work on ways to get this content out.

    • culinary adventurer says:

      Hi Loekie,
      Three words: Apple Cider Vinegar – a teaspoon is plenty and it works real fast to stop leg and muscle cramps. You can mix the Apple Cider Vinegar with water or anything you like if the taste is too intense.
      Also, Tonic water that contains trace amounts of Quinine works but only use a little because it has sugar and Quinine has some effects too if overused.
      When I had leg cramps (and sometimes still do) they also happen if I do not stay hydrated. Statins also cause them and I no longer take those. I know how painful they are and how quickly they come on so I do empathize – deep breathing helps bring more oxygen and that helps too. Hope this helps.

  11. Neicee says:

    Loekie, I would guess the vast majority of us have had leg/hand/arm/ or buttocks cramps. It’s weird because I never had those after dropping gluten and then wheat free. It surfaced only after I dropped all known carbs (potatoes/rice/corn) limiting any exposure to those in vegetables or fruits. That also prompted water loss so the body was adjusting to it’s new mandated situation by the brain knowing I couldn’t give in to the cravings which I’d allowed over the years. Only after reading various posts here about increasing salt and magnesium did it stop. I’ve slowed down the salt because it’s no longer needed as much and still take at least 400 mg. of good magnesium, along with 4000mg of D3 – and use pure magnesium oil on areas that seemed to hurt because of my osteoporosis. Perhaps the K2 has helped a whole lot more than I previously thought too? I do know that things are way better because I’m the whirling dervish again doing housework, and no sore muscles.

    • Loekie says:

      It felt rather scary, but I read today on the internet that it’s also a symptom of the Atkens diet, the body is searching for a new balance. What a relief it was when I read that! What is K2?

      • Neicee says:

        Loekie, I’m still learning about K2. I am doing everything possible to avert the ravages of osteoporosis, which I received in March 2013. I had a very high blood serum calcium level – it was leeching from the bones. My endo thought it was hyperparathyroidism yet the surgeon said no (God bless the man). So I started researching. It was something Dr. Davis wrote about way back in 2008 on Lef.org that peaked my interest…way before WB. I found it the other day and couldn’t believe I’d missed it. Seems this is a part of the puzzle of where calcium is supposed to go when eaten or taken in supplement form. For whatever reason calcium can get confused and take a detour to your veins/arteries rather than your bones….thus, causing major damage and possible heart attacks or strokes. I’m sure he’ll address this when time allows. He did on trackyourplaque.com. which I’d saved to a folder and forgot it….what can I say, I’m blonde :)

    • Michael Kovacs says:

      Raw Cacao Nibs and Beans are loaded with Magnesium and prevent me from getting cramps. Sprinkle a tablespoon of raw cacao nibs over frozen blueberries, coconut oil and whipping cream cream. Delicious!!!

      • Loekie says:

        Nice! I have discovered that pumpkin seeds also contains lots of magnesium. I wonder if you might as well take pumpkin seeds in stead of a magnesium supplement or that it’s better to take both, and when you take a magnesium supplement it’s better to take a combination with zinc? I read somewhere that magnesiumoxyde is not so good as another magnesium but I can only find magnesiumoxyde in the shops.

        • Loekie says:

          Update: a blood test has revealed that my thyroid is too slow. That can causes cramps. Since I know this, I eat daily a tiny portion Wakame for the jodium.

  12. Willow says:

    My daughter has been grain free for about three months and, prior to that, gluten free for a few months. She asked to be tested for celiac disease because of the symptoms she has when consuming wheat. Unfortunately, you must consume gluten for weeks before the blood test. She lasted three days. She felt horrible, her sleep was impacted, she developed congestion and her personality changed for the worse. It got to the point where we just didn’t talk to her because of her mood. She will get the blood test but we know there’s not much chance of her having the celiac antibodies. She is also getting the genetic test which might show something since we do have celiac disease in the family.

    What is the bright side is that she has found out about this so young in life. I do wish we had known earlier since she has been moody probably since the age of two and this way of eating has gotten ride of her moodiness.

  13. Johanna says:

    Hey, keep it up. Just remember that Gin is made from wheat, and some ((not all of course) can react to wheat in gin. Vodka however tend to be made of potatoes. (I have a vodka tonic sometimes) I try to avoid wheat as much as possible and I feel great, so I was glad to come across your story. Take care!

  14. sara jacobsen says:

    I noticed recently that the premade vegan soups I eat (I don’t have access to a kitchen) contain food starch and corn starch. What is the issue with starches? Do they contribute to belly fat as well?

    • Barbara in New Jersey says:


      The issue is they rather quickly raise your blood sugar. You then burn sugar for energy rather than fat.
      Your liver stays fatty and your belly fat grows.

      This is explained in depth in the book and on this blog.