Steph: “Wheat is not worth it”

I asked Wheat Belly follower and success story, Steph, to share some of her wheat-free experience:

WB: What prompted you to eliminate wheat?

Steph: I had tried a “controlled carb” diet years ago and had some success. Of course, still eating carbs and wheat, it was pretty impossible to stay with this type of eating, especially since eating wheat just makes me lust for more carbs! Once I got interested in what Wheat Belly had to say about how eating wheat makes us want MORE, I had to read the whole thing. Once I did, I thought that the easiest way for me to see for myself was to try it. I went cold turkey on July 2, 2012 and followed the limited/unlimited/forbidden list exactly. I started dropping weight the very first week.

WB: Did you experience a withdrawal process? If so, what did you experience?
Steph: I had a low grade headache for a few days, which is unusual for me.

WB: Have you experienced any improvements in health?
Steph: Have I!?

I lost 70 lbs in less than a year, my blood pressure normalized, my chronic toe-joint pain (hallux limitus) is gone, my sciatic twinges went away. I dropped from a size 22 to a size 12. I wear clothes that don’t even have an X in the size anymore! This is epic!

I don’t feel bloated after eating, and my chronic loose bowels normalized. All of my blood lipid numbers normalized and are now in the “ideal” or “normal” range. The first thing that struck me about the change in eating was the way I started to NOT CARE about eating the carbs. I didn’t think about eating all the time, I didn’t clap my hands in anticipation of going out to lunch. I refused the bread basket when I went out to eat a salad, and I DIDN’T CARE! The change in my mindset about food and eating was the most surprising thing and one of the first things I noticed. This is the one thing I feared about making such a big change in eating the exact things that I loved so much–I feared that I would spend the rest of my life struggling to resist the carbs. So when I realized this was not going to be the case, I was extremely happy!

WB: Can you describe some of your favorite wheat-free foods that help you navigate this lifestyle?
Steph: I enjoy a lot of cheese, meat, including fish dredged in almond flour and different herbs, tomatoes with balsamic vinegar, vegetables, salads, avocados, anything involving coconut, lots of yogurt with nuts (and some reduced-sugar jam mixed in), I LOVE the Wheat Free Market foods muffin mixes, and I eat a lot of pasta sauce or pesto with meat but I just put it over zucchini instead of pasta. (At first I was trying to “noodle” it with a spiral vegetable slicer, but now don’t even bother. Who cares what shape it is? Sliced rounds of zucchini work in place of pasta just as well as “zoodles.”)

My girlfriend is also wheat-free and we discovered how much we love making “chips” out of grated pepper-jack cheese. We eat these like crazy and use them to dip or to eat with goat cheese. Another favorite recipe is making meat lasagna with lengthwise strips of zucchini and eggplant in place of lasagna noodles. Our favorite breakfast is Greek yogurt with nuts and chia seeds, sometimes hemp seeds, and some jam. We also have fun ordering all the “froofie” coffee drinks at our favorite coffee place, and ask for them with “all the fat but sugar-free!”

I have been wheat-free for 14 months (with occasional bite-size backtracking). I was not gluten-sensitive in the sense that it would cause me pain or a lot of discomfort. So there have been times since I have quit wheat that I did eat some forbidden foods, telling myself “Oh, just a little bit just this once,” like a little bit of naan at the Indian restaurant, or cake at someone’s birthday party. There have also been periods where I slacked off on my carb-carefulness (like eating too many rice and beans, or eating corn, or getting too much frozen yogurt). While I do notice a more bloated feeling when I bring grains back into my diet, the biggest problem for me is that the old eating mindset comes back. It makes it much harder for me to wait until I’m truly feeling HUNGRY to eat.

I also am at the point where I realize I am NOT going to lose the last 20 lbs or so of weight I want to lose without regular exercise, which is what I’m starting on this week: a running class with my girlfriend! We feel really good about how we are improving our health, and quitting wheat was the catalyst to all of it. I shudder to think how much wheat I was eating before. Now I shudder to think about going back to my old ways. Wheat is just not worth it!

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71 Responses to Steph: “Wheat is not worth it”

  1. Vivian says:

    Oh boy, I was an XXL for so many years…hating it and myself. Finally by spying “Wheat Belly” one day at a Costco, I “saw the light” and today (15 months later) am almost 50 lbs. lighter. The best news is that at my annual physical my doc admitted that I no longer need the meds (expensive) that I was prescribed earlier (I quit of my own accord 6 months earlier as I just had a gut feeling that they were no longer necessary)…no Mavik for blood pressure, no Synthroid for lazy thyroid, no Ezetrol for cholesterol, no Omeprazole for acid reflux! Count me happy dancing! She said that if everyone lost this kind of significant weight, no one would need meds for this kind of stuff! I am so thankful that I found your message, Dr. Davis. Keep on spreading the word!


    • Dr. Davis says:

      Wow, Viv: That’s terrific!

      You remind me of the very cozy relationship that agribusiness has with Big Pharma. It is very common for agribusiness companies, for instance, to be subsidiaries of pharmaceutical companies, or vice versa. Pretty creepy, eh?

      • Vivian says:

        Indeed, Dr. Davis…what a nasty, scary concept that is! In how many other areas of our existence is that scenario being played out!? Backroom handshakes that affect us without our knowledge.

    • Rita says:

      Was your weight loss slow due to your thyroid issues? I was told to take so many supplements and make sure my levels are normal which they are according to my Endocrinologist . any suggestions are most welcome.

  2. Vivian says:

    To respond to Joule: After my weight loss and being off wheat for so long, finally going to get a new prescription for very out-of-date glasses, I was told that my eyesight had improved by 3 points in each eye…not sure what that meant but I, too think that it had something to do with the body’s water content and the osmotic effect in the eye…this may have related to edema in my lower extremities…also gone. Once these problems were alleviated, eyesight was improved?

    • Barbara in New Jersey says:


      Sure is fun dancing through life rather than the slow, sickly shuffle isn’t it! Your mood improves too!
      Many people on this blog have reported improved eyesight and sinus conditions. That seems to be because those areas are no longer inflamed and they begin working in a normal manner. Your entire body is working the way it was meant to. You can look forward to other improvements in your health.
      This is really quite important because you are actually getting better rather than just “managing” your declining health.

      You mentioned saving money on meds no longer needed. Add in the other assorted items you would purchase at the drug store like pain killers, diarrhea/constipation aids, allergy pills and the like. You will be surprised how much more you are simply not spending. Then add in the money you aren’t spending on your groceries for the grain/sugar items you used to eat. You will be astounded!

      Great job!

    • Interestingly enough, after experiencing some progressive squinting while reading or being on the computer, I thought I probably needed stronger reading glasses. It turned out that I needed less magnification, not more!

    • Dr. Davis says:

      Yes, I’ve witnessed this effect a number of times, Vivian.

      However, because it is quite inconsistent, we’ve not discussed it. But I am convinced that, at least for some people, improved eyesight is a real phenomenon.

      • Sharon Buck says:

        Dr. Davis, I have just begun to notice this, too!! I can now hold my iPhone at arms’ length and READ the small print without my bifocals. Wondering why. The print it tiny but clear and not blurry like before. Sign me, down 50 lbs since Easter. Plus I only stopped drinking wine one month ago. My life has changed. Thank God and you. Sharon Buck

    • Dana says:

      Paleo eaters have reported a similar phenomenon with eyesight. That’s an interesting explanation for it and I think carb consumption in general contributes to that if you suffer hyperinsulinism. Chronically elevated insulin means your kidneys retain sodium and therefore water too.


  3. Ellen van der Kuil says:

    Quick question: would Dr Davis regard the aromatase inhibitor Femara® (letrozole) 2.5 mg as one of the drugs that block weight loss?

    • Dr. Davis says:

      Yes, it can, Ellen. But, even more importantly, there may be hormonal disruptions beyond estrogen that may at least partially interfere with weight loss.

      Unfortunately, this is not something best handled by a gynecologist or oncologist, but a functional medicine practitioner.

  4. Nobelly says:

    Dr davis in your book you state that fruit is alkaline in it’s effect on the body, but isnt it actually acid because of the high sugar content?

    Also, thanks for the advice to up the vit d – we went from 3000 iu up to 6000 iu daily. My husband had blood level checked after 8 months ( end of summer, plus spent winter in florida). It came back at 188 (75-250 normal range with highest for summer and lowest for winter). So obviously you were right about this! Should we increase to 8000 per day ( he has prostate cancer)?

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  6. Stanley says:

    Almost came to tears on page 66 of Grain Brain when he said “we’ve known for more than thirty years that wheat increases blood sugar more than table sugar , but we still somehow think that’s not possible. It seems counterintuitive “. Thirty years ? Dr. Davis ? Wow , thank you and others like you for bringing this to the general public . We are finally getting answers . This book is causing my jaw to drop more than Wheat Belly did , keep up the great work … Wheat is not worth it …

  7. Mark Walter says:

    We dropped the wheat from our diet in January and are astounded at the weight loss. We feel so much better in general and noticed the changes within a week.

    My wife and i have lost over 30lbs each. My wife’s type 2 diabetes is gone! I’m astounded at how much better we feel in general, my loss of aches and pains and how clear my mind is. I thought I was on an early road to Alzheimers …it’s been truly life altering…we’re 58 and feel 10+ years younger. simply amazing..

  8. I started the Wheat Free, low carb and make sure there is FAT in the plan,on the same date as you stated above: July 2, 2012; I am one happy camper. Now 50 pounds plus down, I am out of PLUS sized clothes; I did not even know there was a Zero X size, 0X, which is the size I have been buying since July 2012. Wheat Free has made all the difference and WheatBelly is on my side table by my recliner chair. Just bought the cookbook and look forward to some new recipies.

  9. laura says:

    Well ive been not eating wheat or sugar for a while now 2-3 weeks, but not losing weight. Can anyone relate to this? What do you do to get the weight loss going????

    • Barbara in New Jersey says:


      The rule of thumb is 15 carbs per 6 hour period and 50 carbs per day. Why don’t you check the amount of carbs you are eating?

      • laura says:

        I didn’t think I was eating any carbs at all really, but maybe im wrong. I will check that to be sure. Thanks.

        • laura says:

          Can someone give me an idea of what they eat daily? I usually eat nuts, cheese, salad with olive oil, veggies, chicken, things like that. But maybe I need some better ideas.

          • Eggs and bacon, eggs and sausage. omelets, avocados, baked avocados, chicken/tuna salad, hamburgers on lettuce, steaks, pork chops, lamb chops w/veggies, eggplant parm w/meat sauce, soups, salads, duck breasts, asparagus wrapped in prociutto, baked chicken, bone broth, fermented veggies, veggies and hummus, pate’, stews, olives, cheese, nuts & seeds, sauteed’ peppers & onions w/meat, zucchini pizza, taco salad, chicken ceasar salad, ……pastured meats and organic veggies…..and use your iimagination!

          • Tony says:

            Hi Laura, it seems like you’re looking for some specifics. Here’s a one day’s example of what I usually eat:

            Cup of broth with 1gm of salt, 1 tblspoon of coconut oil and 10gm of butter all mixed together
            Omelet with 2 eggs, 85g spinach, 50g green bell pepper, 40g sliced crimini mushrooms, 1tblspoon olive oil, 5-10g butter.

            Or when I don’t have eggs for b-fast I have:
            1/2 avocado(50-60g)
            3oz of ham with plenty of fat(like 30-50%fat), definitely not lean ham
            Same cup of broth as above

            Black coffee with 1 tblspoon of heavy whipping cream
            1oz of hard cheese

            Salad with 85g salad greens, 50g cucumber, 40g sliced mushrooms
            3oz of steamed wild salmon or smoked wild salmon
            10g of lard

            50-80g of green beans or 80-100g broccoli with 20g of butter
            3oz of dark chicken meat, or pork, or beef
            1oz of macademia nuts
            1cup of broth with 1gm of salt

            That’s about 1600cal per day and I’ve been losing about 1lb per week. I take 30-40min brisk walk after dinner which gives me about 1500cal daily caloric balance. When I exercise I eat a bit more of fat but keep my daily caloric balance at 1500cal.

            I try to stay at 30g of carbs per day, about 70-80g protein and about 120-150g of fat.

            Of course you have to adjust for your gender, possibly age, height, etc. and make sure you don’t have other issues, see Dr. Davis’ post “I lost wheat but did not lose the weight”.

            I had to get pretty strict as my body did not like to part with body fat easily so I had to force the issue. I’m not one of those lucky people who report their weight just happily melting away on “unlimited” veggies, meats, cheese, nuts and avocados.

            I also check my blood ketones to make sure I’m burning fat.

            Hope this helps, good luck.

          • Tony says:

            Oh sorry, I always put 1tblspoon of extra virgin olive oil in my salad.

  10. Neicee says:

    Yep, Jan in Key West – all of the above and what ever is left in the refrigerator on Mondays gets turned into a soup. I have never spent so little time cooking, it’s liberating in so many ways! :) Also liberating for my body.

  11. Rita says:

    How do I check my key tones?

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