No fake foods for Truemarrow

John has become a vocal advocate for the wheat- and grain-free lifestyle, having experienced reversals of obesity, hypertension, insomnia, anxiety, depression, and joint pains. Here’s his terrific story:

I started my journey I was 252 pounds, my blood pressure was 180/120, and I could not do my favorite physical activity, tennis, for more than 10 minutes without being out of breath. I was also having extreme trouble sleeping, I was anxious and depressed, and I had arthritic symptoms in my knees. Not sure about blood sugar, but I am sure I was prediabetic. I was also a 38 waist pushing 40 and my body fat percentage was estimated by a friend’s calipers at 30%.

My first solution towards regaining myself was exercise. I built up to be able to play hours and hours of tennis a day. I quickly realized however that 1) it is impractical to demand that of my body, and 2) not as much weight was coming off as I had hoped. So I turned to diet, and my idea of healthy was to go with “healthy grains.” I ate Subway with whole wheat for two months, oatmeal or bagels almost every morning, and my favorite snack was granola bars. After two months of this I had lost a little weight, maybe down to 235 at this point, but I felt highs and lows in energy throughout the day and I definitely hit a wall where I couldn’t lose anymore.

I saw your book promoted on a favorite site of mine, and I listened to a few podcasts of you. I had been thinking of giving up the carbs by that point, but you provided me with the confidence and scientific knowledge I needed. My diet gradually evolved into a vegetable- and protein-based diet with moderate fruit consumption and absolutely no wheat whatsoever, though I also avoid grains altogether 90% of the time.

My typical eating is fast ’til lunch, then have a big spinach or kale salad loaded with veggies and a healthy protein such as grass fed beef, organic chicken breast, free range eggs, wild Alaskan salmon, wild caught shrimp, or sardines. Dinner is more of the same, but I do things like cauliflower rice and fried cabbage, and I always cap the night off with a probiotic dessert: full-fat Greek yogurt with cocoa powder, nuts (macadamians, almonds, or walnuts), and a melon or berry fruit. Sometimes I add organic honey and a mashed avocado into that, or dark chocolate instead of cocoa powder. I am very big on avocados. When I get in the mood for breakfast, it is almost invariably a free-range omelette and a glass of green tea. Snacks are vegetables, nuts, and cheese combinations, and sometimes a piece of fruit or raw tempeh. Loads of spinach, kale, and vegetables of all kinds are my must-haves each day. Besides yogurt and cheese, I don’t consume much dairy and I switched to coconut or almond milk.

Wheat doesn’t factor into my diet whatsoever anymore. I avoid almost all processed foods, make my own dressing, and don’t take supplements. Currently , I am 179 lbs [down 73 lbs!], my last blood pressure reading was 115/74, my waist is now a 34 pushing 32, my body fat is 15%. I have abundant energy, I sleep like a baby, I virtually have no arthritic conditions or symptoms in my knee. Headaches I was getting are a thing of the past. I feel neither anxious nor depressed, and am very competitive on the tennis court again. And, while I do exercise, it is no where near the insane amounts I thought I had to initially. The thing I find most amazing is that I am never hungry or experience that “must eat” feeling, such as right after work or in the morning. It’s so different now, almost like a daylong satiation. To eat a salad and a steak and not even feel disgustingly full after it is such a drastic difference from the pasta plates and pizza I used to consume. It’s a beautiful thing.

The blog and facebook page that I run, Truemarrow, is all about the lifestyle I now lead and helping others for inspiration, examples of what to eat, and the process of transformation altogether. It is 100% committed to helping people live beyond wheat- and grain-based diets. It takes a holistic approach and will focus on things like exercise and meditation and simplicity, and will be told through my story and ongoing experiment.

John has created a YouTube video summarizing his experience.

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Comments & Feedback...

  1. Neicee

    Wow, John, what a difference! Great song for the video too. Thanks for posting and good luck in your journey. Don’t forget to update us from time to time!

  2. wrotek

    Dr Davis and others…do You think that coffee or caffeine, stimulate appetite ?
    I understand that stress stimulants prevent from eating, but after they wear off there may come phase of hunger to replenish energy . For example some stressed people overeat.

    • Neicee

      wrotek, I drink tons of coffee. Always have yet have never experienced the need to eat with it or lack thereof. Guess some do, some don’t. Now, wine while cooking turns me into a gourmet… ;)

    • Coffee is in the unlimited list:
      As I recall, Dr.D. has also recommended it as a weight loss aid.

      However, if ketosis, even part-time, is your goal, do some more research on coffee, or be prepared to routinely measure blood ketone levels.

      Dr. Thomas Seyfried, in his book “Cancer as a Metabolic Disease” (p381), reported that among student volunteers testing ketogenic diets, one was unable to drive his glucose levels down to therapeutic levels, even during fasting, due to drinking black coffee instead of water. Whether this was a caffeine or coffee effect as not explored. Just where this glucose might be coming from was also not explained. My guess is that the stress stimulating properties caffeine cause metabolism of glycogen stores normally out of reach in fasting.

      • I limit myself to two cups of coffee in the morning…..and when later checking ketones, I stay in the range……the only thing that throws me off the next day (18 hours fasting) is more than 8 oz. of wine the night before…..bummer!

        • LydTN

          I’ve noticed the wine thing too. If I have 2-3 glasses or more it can throw me off for about 36 hours. It’s only an occasional thing, so I haven’t started worrying about it too much yet, but if I don’t get below 200 soon it will have to be one of the next cuts.

        • It appears generally accepted in the keto community that alcohol kicks the liver out of ketosis. I suspect that dosage vs. persistence is not really known yet, and won’t be for some time – plus it’s apt to vary by person. If NK is your goal, you either abstain from antagonist agents, or you measure regularly to discover their extents.

    • Dr. Davis

      Your experience may need to be judged individually, Wrotek.

      The majority of people experience net weight loss, though very modest, with coffee. But there are surely occasional exceptions.

        • HS4

          When I drink coffee (mostly decaff, but sometimes not) I almost always feel I must have something with it, preferrably a sweet something. For that reason I generally do not drink coffee at all. My husband has exactly the opposite reaction – will drink coffee with any type of food (savory, sweet, whatever) but also frequently drinks it alone and never misses the food.

          I drink mostly herbal teas (such as rooibos which is a hearty tea) and never feel I must have food with them.

          Perhaps these preferences are a result of upbringing? I remember, in my parent’s house, coffee was usually only available at two points in any given day – with breakfast and with dessert. Never at any other time, unless there were guests in which case the coffee was always accompanied by baked goodies. I did not start drinking coffee until I was in graduate school but still have always associated coffee with food.

        • LydTN

          Wrotek – Have you tried a low-acid coffee? I’m not sure if it would help, but since it has a different impact on digestion, it might. Also make sure that your coffee is coming from a high altitude source, organic, and low mold. Sometimes cheap coffee causes a cortisol reaction that may explain the appetite. I know when I have coffee that’s not what I normally by I sometimes experience a sort of blood sugar crash feeling after a couple of hours that makes me feel like I need to eat.

  3. Raphi789

    Hello Dr. Davis,

    Speaking of fake foods, would you consider Khorasan Wheat ( and Einkorn Wheat ( one of them?

    It seems to me like consuming 1-3 slices of these a day on an otherwise healhty Wheat Belly/Paleo style diet is a real pity. My parents seem to think that it is not negatively affecting them simply because there seems to be no obvious improvements in their health after eliminating them for a month. I’ve tried to explain that some of the benefits are in NOT GETTING SICK in the future, but that doesn’t seem to convince them. Am I misguided in my attempt (being too strict here) or can you suggest a few arguments for my benefit?

    Thank you very much for all you work Dr. Davis, it is a very powerful tool in shaping ones health!


    • Dr. Davis

      I will be discussing just this issue in upcoming blog posts, Raphael.

      Suffice to say that NO human benefits by consuming the seeds of these grasses, also known as “grains.” Consuming grains, by necessity, represents compromises: cheap, easy, commoditized, and tasty calories that provide sustenance in exchange for shorter and unhealthier life in the long run.

  4. L.S.


    Can you link a resource about measuring blood ketone levels. I would like to learn more. Thanks

    • > … link a resource about measuring blood ketone levels.

      Actually, no. I’d have to search on that, perhaps starting with Attia’s blog:

      And it’s probably not be necessary. If what you are worried about is coffee effects, measuring blood sugar might be sufficient, and that’s easily done. I misspoke myself above. Seyfried was reporting that glucose wouldn’t go low enough, not that ketone bodies weren’t high enough, so measuring ketones might not be revealing of coffee effects.

      • L.S.


        I’m interested in general about how to measure blood ketone levels; not in regards to drinking coffee. Thanks for the link.

  5. Stacey Bennett

    Hi, Dr. Davis,

    I have been following Wheat Belly for about 4 weeks. I am diabetic and my blood sugars just do not seem to be coming down. I have lost 6 lbs., but keep reading about rapid dropping of blood sugar, and this does not seem to be happening for me. My BS will fluctuate up to 100 points in a day and I am having a lot of nausea and headaches. It is not a case of too many carbs as I am eating less than 30 per day. I take metformin and Victoza. Any ideas?

    Thanks in advance for any feedback.

    • stephen ottridge

      4 weeks is too short a time, It took me 5 months of being wheat free before I was able to stop injecting insulin twice a day. I only measure my fasting blood sugar. Now i simply take just 2 Metformin a day.

        • stephen ottridge

          I don’t keep track of carb intake, can’t stand bureaucracy other than recording blood sugars about twice a week now. I do keep portion sizes small, at least small for me.

        • stephen ottridge

          at start 26 units of NPH insulin last september. As my blood sugars improved I steadily reduced my dosage. Don’t have my diary with me at the office but I think I was taking 12 units a day at the end. Eventually last April the diabetic clinic said to stop taking insulin altogther .

    • Dr. Davis

      Some people fail to experience an initial drop in blood sugars while they are dropping pounds.

      This is due to the release of fatty acids into the bloodstream that is part of weight loss. This usually subsides when weight has plateaued for a few weeks.

  6. We are wanting to purchase Wheat Belly to sell at our office. Do you know how we can get in touch with someone that we could buy whole sale from? Please let me know when you can. Thanks!