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. Amy says:

    Great job on being wheat free, and great results! Can you describe how you make the pepper-jack chips?

  2. Donna says:

    Would love to know how you make the chips as well. We have had fun with plantain chips dipped in guacamole and salsa. All homemade of course.

  3. Chris Johnson says:

    Yes, pepper jack cheese chips-please elaborate-thanks

    • Janna says:

      Slice very thin chunks of cheese, place on cookie sheet sprayed with olive oil, melt, let cool and enjoy.

      • Neicee says:

        Years ago, Giada De Larentiis did a show on her native Italian foods where she made a cheese crisp called Frito(s). It’s basically 1 cup of shredded parmesan, 2 Tlbs. fresh basil leaves minced, and 1/2 Tlbs. lemon zest. I mix the chesses like parmesan, asiago, and pecorino romano….salty but good. Great with a kale salad with a Greek twist.

  4. Angela says:

    This is a very inspirational story, thank you for sharing it!!! I tried the WB last fall and after going on vacation from MN to TX and CO we were severely side tracked and have got to get back on track with this as we both were doing really well on the WB diet. Aside from the weight loss I loved that my Seborrheic dermatitis went away but shortly after we were side tracked it came back and it is such an embarrassing condition. Good luck with your last 20 lbs.

    • Neicee says:

      Haha, I just back from a long week in Texas. I could have fallen off the wagon but with perseverance was able to navigate the menus to where I was OK. Even one Mexican restaurant had a ‘gluten free’ menu and the manager was so proud of it she came out to personally hand it to me. Since it contained the obligatory rice/beans I just asked her for a full order of fajitas and forget the tortillas. That and a salad w/avocado was more than enough. Hardly anyone blinks anymore when telling them no bread with breakfast orders….getting easier all the time.

      • Neicee says:

        I do have to offer up kudos to the staff at Pappadeaux’s. If you’re ever in Texas do try Papa’s lobster/shrimp salad. Avocado, mango, and cashews with a citrus dressing was incredible. Also, their seafood cobb salad was another hit. I am so going to try to recreate those at home. Light/refreshing and it was over a 100 degrees outside with high humidity.

        • JillOz says:

          Do you notoice you don’t get as hot when you go off wheat? i was starting to get hot flashes – very uncomfortable. Not any more!

          • Neicee says:

            I have to admit to never having to experience a hot flash, since having a total hysterectomy at 26. I do notice that since leaving wheat behind that even with sweltering temps outside that my breathing slows and I can accommodate it better than others.

  5. Summer says:

    So happy for you! I could totally identify with your thoughts about food cravings. I’ve been wheat free for a little over a month, and it amazes me every day to be eating and living without the constant obsession that is caused by wheat in my diet. I finally feel free! Congratulations on all of your hard work.

  6. Sheryl says:

    Thank you for sharing your great story. I can’t wait till I can buy something to wear without an X.

  7. bh says:

    Ditto on pepper jack chips. :-)

  8. Steph says:

    It’s SO EASY and you can do it with any kinds of cheese and then add any spices you can think of! Just sprinkle grated (or small pieces of) cheese into a non stick muffin pan, and bake on low-ish like 300 until golden brown. Depending on the cheese type you might want to flip each one. The oil in the cheese makes them slide right out. Girlfriend likes them a little chewy in center and I like them crispy. So good with cream cheese or dip or goat cheese. This cuts the spice of the pepper jack.

  9. Glen says:

    What an incredible story! I especially like hearing about how you have navigated the menu of the wheat free lifestyle. Thanks for sharing such great tips and good luck with the new exercise program. I started running and lifting some weights recently. It really compliments this lifestyle. You will soon be ‘addicted’ to the way you feel after getting your heart rate going. I have noticed that this lifestyle makes working out/running a little easier since you feel better to start with… Not to mention, I really feel like my body responds so much better to exercise than every before. You are definitely on a great path!

  10. Helen says:

    here is a recipe I found for pepper jack chips :

    http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detail.asp?recipe=2512534

  11. Stephanie says:

    Awesome job!! So true too…one bite of wheat bring back cravings and makes me feel so hungry! It’s not worth it. And zucchini noodles in sauce or lasagna taste so much better than pasta anyway…I could never go back. I don’t even WANT pasta anymore.

    You can also make taco shells with shredded cheese! Put some in a small non-stick frying pan and let it melt until it starts holding together and browning…flip… when it’s done you mold it into a taco shell (hang it over a spoon, or use a paper towel roll bent down a bit) and they will harden. We use lettuce leaves for lots of stuff in place of tortillas, but sometimes you need a taco shell! :D

    • Barbara in New Jersey says:

      Stephanie,

      Terrific idea for taco shells!
      I would like to add: check the ingredients of pre shredded cheese, it might surprise you.
      Easy to shred your own cheese. Some tips are:
      Make sure your cheese is very cold.
      Use your favorite grating method.
      Sprinkle lightly with perhaps coconut flour or arrowroot or similar
      ingredient, perhaps 1/8 tsp per lb to prevent sticking.
      Place in large freezer bags or convenient sized containers, removing
      as much air as possible.
      Use in recipes unthawed.

    • Dr. Davis says:

      Thanks, Steph!

  12. Joyce says:

    Hi Stephanie, your story really encourages me! Congratulations on a job well done! I’ve been attempting wheat free, but the weight is just not coming off. Could you write out what your typical day’s menu looks like? And also how much do you exercise?

  13. Elizabeth says:

    Great news for sure! LOVE to read these testimonials as they’re encouraging to me. Your story sounds a bit similar to mine….thanks for sharing!

  14. Joule says:

    This is pretty much how I feel. I didnt take any pictures of myself when i started last year…. in fact I didnt even know about the book. I just was SO DAMN FAT that i was worried about becoming a diabetic. I was about 230 pounds…. and after one particular high carb meal at someones house…
    I got home and for some reason
    my eyes werent right. I got really scared because my vision was getting blurry.
    The next day….. i stopped eating anything with sugar…. and anything that turns into sugar. I figured that if I didnt eat any sugar or grains… that can become sugar….. i would be ok.

    It was very hard for me to get off of sugar…. my body didnt want to let go and it made me MISERABLE for
    a month. In fact…. in one last gasp…. to get me to eat sugar….. it made me SOOO dizzy I couldnt
    even stand up. BUT…. when that passed… 3 hours later I was fine and have had no problems since then and that was 9 months ago.

    Anyway…. I eat LOADS of green veg and low carb veg. but.. I LOVE raw carrots and they arent considered low carb I dont think. I also eat 3 oz of protein everyday and i have eggs for breakfast, I have been doing this for 10 months and i have lost about 100 pounds.
    I am also one of these people that didnt have any problem with wheat….. i could have gone on eating it forever.
    I didnt have any digestion problem with it. BUT ! you cant do that because wheat causes the cravings and addictions that make you eat more.
    SO…. like others have discovered…. its NOT worth it. I have NO craves and i am now in charge of what
    I eat…. not my cravings telling me what to eat.
    I will NEVER go back to my old diet…. NO WAY ! AND…. I am not yet done with weight loss… I want to get back down to my college weight of about 116. Maybe thats not realistic… but I dont care… I am gonna try. LOL
    If I dont make it…. I will be ok with where I am now…. but its worth a try.
    getting rid of sugar and getting rid of grains is the single most important thing I have ever done in my life.
    honestly… I dont know why I didnt do this sooner in life. I am 52 years old and I wish i had done this at
    22. I was never really fat when i I was younger but i always struggled with cravings. and THAT is a HORRIBLE way to live.
    so…. I dont know if this comment will get published but…. this is my story.
    when I finally discovered Dr. Davis’s book…. i was SO AMAZED at how similar it was to what i did.
    the weight loss was really a side effect of the dietary change…. I was really just worried about being diabetic.
    now… I dont worry about that anymore and i have no desire to eat sugar or wheat.
    This is a wonderful way to live…. wish I had done it sooner.

    • Dr. Davis says:

      I’m impressed at your self-made program, Joule!

      The blurred vision you experienced way back when does indeed suggest that you had high blood sugars sufficient to have osmotic effects in the eyes that distort vision. You did the right thing!

      • Joule says:

        Yes Dr. Davis … thanks for telling me that about my eyes…. thats what I figured.
        I’m so broke…. I dont have health insurance so I just did what I thought would
        make things better. NO sugar….. and NOTHING that MAKES sugar got me past what could have been a serious health threat.
        Now I feel so free ! I dont count calories …. I eat what I feel like eating…. I actually listen to my body. I do what I am told. lol
        My body never tells me to eat anything with grains or sugar…. I can have pretty much anything I like. I make grilled cheese sandwiches made with medium thick slices of Jicama for bread….. OR…. nut butter sandwiches with sugar free preserves I make at home and using jicama slices as bread.
        occasionally I will over eat something but it doesnt seem to matter… the scale never shows it…… I guess all the excercise I do helps as well.
        AS LONG AS I STAY AWAY FROM SUGAR AND GRAINS… I AM FREE !
        I dont have to diet….. I just have to eat all the whole foods I have come to love and depend on.
        The only thing I watch is my protein intake at meals. Never more than 2 eggs at breakfast,,,, and never more than 3 or 4 ounces of protein at dinner.
        Protein is ALWAYS overshadowed by a TON of veg on the plate LOL
        Lunch is usually always my homemade ranch style beans made from scratch…. with lots of hot peppers and beef bones for flavor… slow cooked in my crock pot for 8 hours. lol
        but never more than 3 tablespoons at a time. I just dont feel I need to eat large quanities of them to be satisfied.
        Dr. Davis…. i discovered all this on my own but YOUR BOOK states EXACTLY what I discovered because i was SO scared i was going to become diabetic.
        As long as you give up sugar…. and wheat and grains …. you can gain a life
        free of craves and (for me) free of dieting !
        Thanks for all the recipe ideas and success stories. I now own your book and it only adds to what I discovered on my own.

        • wrotek says:

          I am sure You will get the desired weight, after all if it drops, it will continue to drop

          • Joule says:

            I hope you are right. LOL I eat ALOT of food…. mostly assorted colored veg… and usually in 1/2 to 3/4 pound servings with my daily protein.
            i LOOOVE BIG meals ! if you eat the right stuff…. you can eat all you want. so… we’ll see if the scale continues its downward trend.

  15. Cynthia says:

    Good on you Steph…thanks for the tip on the cheese chips too! Now with your exercise things can only get better and better. Good luck and thanks for your inspiring story!

  16. Ri says:

    http://www2.macleans.ca/2013/09/10/gone-gluten-free/

    DR DAVIS YOU’RE MENTIONED IN THIS ARTICLE!MACLEANS MAGAZINE WROTE AN ARTICLE ABOUT GOING GLUTEN FREE-they seem to think that this gluten free thing is a ‘craze’ and more and more people are jumping on board and its really not necessary unless your a celiac or have gluten intolerances-they almost seemed to mock you when they mentioned how you consider modern day wheat to be the frankenwheat! the sad truth is the people who are still advocating eating wheat are probably overweight, unhealthy and would rather stay that way than make positive lifestyle changes-its easier for them to try to discredit you for all the amazing life transformations you have helped people make including myself than it is for them to put the bagel or muffin down -to each their own at the end of the day but the writers of these articles or pro wheaters are actually trying to encourage others to destroy their health and that just makes me angry!! being part of the wheat free movement has been the best lifestyle change I have ever made and I have to thank you for that Dr D you’re the most candid honest physician out there and even though you probably know it would land you on the hot seat you still continue to speak out and share the facts and educate people -I have a great deal of respect for you for that-it takes a strong brave man to stand up and speak out despite being flooded with criticism and backlash but just know that we are all behind you!

    • Dr. Davis says:

      Thank you!

      Yes, while I am grateful that the Maclean’s piece discussed the gluten-free issue, it leaned too far to the “gluten-free is unhealthy so perhaps you can eat wheat” argument, which is colossally bad advice!

  17. Ri says:

    btw here’s a great wheat belly recipe for salad – a girlfriend of mine made it the other day and its absolutely delish!!! I didn’t get the exact measurements but this is what she used:
    mixed greens, chopped strawberries, chopped green apple, goat cheese, pecans, avocado and the dressing was a red vinegar, olive oil, maple syrup mix

    by far one of the tastiest salads i’ve ever had- definitely worth trying out!

  18. Lucinda says:

    Ri:
    I believe there are so many out there who are ready to sabotage the efforts and successes of those of us who have given up wheat (and grains/sugar) because of their own unwillingness to do so. I just spent a weekend away with a friend who has been complimenting me on my weight loss for a year now. I keep telling her to ditch the wheat (and all the GF crap out there) and sugar and she’ll have similar results. She has every excuse in the book (not the WB Book!) as to why she hasn’t – fiber, vitamins, “I have cut back a lot”, “I only eat Rye”, “I had an upset stomach, so I needed some toast to settle it down”. She has been steadily gaining weight for the past 8 years, despite regular exercise. (now about 70lbs overweight) This weekend as I passed over every bread/wheat option while eating out, and even though I said nothing to her about eating wheat, she somehow felt compelled to explain to me why she was eating the bread with/before our meal. I replied nothing. Just enjoyed the wheat free/sugar free selections I’d made while she had her egg-white omelette. In between meals she purchased and ate a croissant, gluten free donuts and a pumpkin spice latte while I had no cravings at all. I feel sorry for her because she has a multitude of health problems plaguing her – high BP, high cholesterol, sore joints, rosacea, bloating, endometriosis etc., and has a lingering cough. Some people just love their addictions more than they want good health. I used to be one of them until I myself took the step to go wheat free and WOW…what a difference. I love NOT being addicted to food.

    • Lucinda says:

      Meant to add about the sabotage issue – this friend, as other friends/family members and certain media and corporate, don’t like the fact that we’ve found the solution to so many ills. Wanted to say that over the course of the weekend, said friend offered me all of the wheat/sugar/junk gf items she herself ate, even though she knows I have not eaten wheat for a year and a half. When I would decline, she’d bring in the excuses – “it’s just a bite” or “I need a little something to settle my stomach”, or “these remind me of when I was a kid”. It felt like she wanted me to gain back the 35lbs I lost, even though she compliments me on how good I look now. Don’t get it!

      • Barbara in New Jersey says:

        Lucinda,

        It is the friends and family who “don’t get it”. If this way of eating were a fad and only pertained to you and your individual health issues, this blog would not exist. Nor would the many clean food products (pastured meats and eggs/dairy) or even the high glycemic gluten free products be readily available.

        Few of us here would ever go back to the foods that made us sick in the first place.
        It is important for you to keep in mind that it is not your concern about what friends and family (adults) choose to place in their mouths. It is only your concern about the food you place in your mouth. Only when they get sick or tired will they try to find a way to change their dietary habits. It is their choice and their bodies. You are happy with your choices. Respect theirs.

        • Neicee says:

          Barbara in New Jersey, I’m trying to turn over a new leaf and just not talk about it unless specifically asked. Your comment is right on and perhaps I’ll print it out on a small card for handout. :)

          I have one friend that constantly talks about her aches and pains and now lives on a diet of prescription drugs, spaghetti with a touch of butter, virtually no meat, veggies or fruit, and can’t wait to pop several cans of soft drinks starting at breakfast. Every conversation gets turned around to her woes but won’t listen to anybody but her own inner self giving her excuses. We can choose poor health or we can choose life.

          And, lastly, after being very serious most of my life, I’m learning to play again and have fun.

      • Dr. Davis says:

        I can only believe that misery loves company, Lucinda!

  19. Mike Peters says:

    Dr. Davis

    I have read your book, went wheat free today, but have a question about peanuts… are they okay to eat?

    I looked at a bag of salted in the shell nuts, commonly called stadium nuts, and it says they are gluten free and it lists no ingredients. Is it safe to eat if I’m trying to follow this diet?

    • Boundless says:

      > … peanuts… salted in the shell nuts …

      The main concern is carbs if you consume large quantities. Looking at a typical product (Fisher), a little under 2 cups of these (still in the shell) is your single-meal/6-hour carb limit of 15 grams net.

      With shelled peanuts, you also need to watch for unhealthy oils, but that usually is not an issue for still-in-shell.

      • Boundless says:

        > With shelled peanuts, you also need to watch for unhealthy oils,
        > but that usually is not an issue for still-in-shell.

        On reflection, oils are an issue, even for “raw” and dry-roasted. The fats in peanuts are almost entirely omega 6, so you need to make sure you’re keeping in O6/O3 balance.