Wheat Withdrawal Zinger


Here’s a smoothie that contains many of the ingredients helpful to get you through the process of wheat withdrawal, the unpleasant withdrawal process from the gliadin-derived opiates in wheat.

Once you remove the health disruptive effects of wheat, there are efforts necessary to regain full health. This will be a topic that I will discuss in a number of Wheat Belly Blog posts in coming months (as well as provide topics for another Wheat Belly book to be released September, 2014). We begin with this Wheat Withdrawal Zinger, a smoothie packed with nutrition that corrects some common nutrient deficiencies of former wheat-eaters and begins the process of restoring healthy bowel flora.

A blender or food processor/chopper with a strong motor is recommended, strong enough to handle the tough green, unripe banana. Note that the banana must be green and unripe. In it’s unripe form, the sugars are in a polysaccharide form that humans are incapable of digesting to sugar (and is thereby “low-carb”). Undigested polysaccharides (fibers) are then consumed by bowel flora, such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria, fermented to fatty acids, especially butyrate, essential for bowel health, helping suppress unhealthy bacterial species while cultivating healthy species, and even yielding metabolic benefits, especially reductions in triglycerides and blood sugar. One green, unripe banana yields 10 grams of indigestible fiber of the estimated ideal intake of 10-20 grams needed per day.

For magnesium, I used the Cardiovascular Research brand mixture of magnesium chloride and acetate with 133 mg of elemental magnesium per teaspoon. If you find another liquid or powder source of magnesium, try to avoid magnesium oxide and citrate, as absorption is poor and diarrhea is common. The Vitamin D dose can be adjusted to suit individual needs; as 5000 units is a common need for adult men and women, I listed this as the quantity, at least to get started.

Although potassium is not added, the coconut and banana provide a generous quantity of potassium. (461 mg of potassium if carton coconut milk is used; 1053 mg if canned coconut milk is used.) 5-HTP, or 5-hydroxytryptophan, is included to help deal with the cravings that some people experience during wheat withdrawal. Because it raises brain serotonin, many people choose to continue this chronically for its mood-elevating effects. (Anyone taking a prescription antidepressant or carbidopa for Parkinson’s disease, however, should not use 5-HTP except under supervision to avoid excessive serotonin levels.)

Iodine addresses the re-emerging problem of iodine deficiency as a cause for mild hypothyroidism that can stall weight loss. (Consult your healthcare provider if you have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis before you supplement iodine.) Aloe vera is wonderfully soothing as the gastrointestinal turmoil of prior wheat consumption subsides.

Wheat Withdrawal Zinger
All components can be modified--increased, decreased, omitted--to suit individual needs. If you are already taking vitamin D, for instance, there is no need to add to your Zinger. To alter flavor, replace ground nutmeg and cinnamon with, say, a handful of blueberries, raspberries, or several strawberries.
Recipe type: Smoothie
Serves: 2 cups
  • 1½ cups coconut milk (carton variety, or 8 oz canned + 4 ounces water)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 1 green, unripe banana, skinned and coarsely sliced
  • 2 ounces aloe vera juice (whole leaf, filtered)
  • Liquid magnesium, 150 mg (elemental magnesium)
  • Vitamin D3 liquid drops, 5000 units
  • Iodine (potassium iodide) drops, 250-500 mcg iodine
  • 50 mg 5-HTP
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  1. Combine all ingredients in blender. Blend until banana reduced to puree. Drink immediately.

Oh! And be sure to check out all of my other Wheat Belly Recipes too in the recipe section of this site!

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Comments & Feedback...

      • Terre

        I would like to understand those “extra ordinary” ingredients before I ingest them. I have inadequate knowledge of those elements…. why would I add it in to my juice, how much, how often… I’m 150lbs. any info would be great.

    • Dr. Davis

      Remember: There’s nothing wrong with saturated fat.

      In fact, I would say that we should eat the fat on our pork and beef, eat more liver, use more organic butter and ghee, use more coconut oil.

      • Thanks, yes, I use coconut oil…just wondering what purpose it’s serving in this smoothie. Taste?

        It’s a great idea and resistant starch is hot these days in certain paleo communities. I get headaches from potato starch but maybe I could tolerate a green banana.

  1. mel

    Alice coconut oil has so many health benefits! If you read up on it you will find info on how it is used up by the body when you ingest it unlike other saturated fats that just get stored up in the bidy as fat.

    • Neicee

      Coconut oil? I cannot find any other oil that you can use both topically and internally, with great results. It’s also the only oil that can claim it is antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal. Great stuff. The outside of your body loves it for nourishment and the inside does as well. I have eaten between 1 – 1 1/2 teaspoons in my coffee for about 5 years.. Recently upped that to over 3 1/2 teaspoons and it was like afterburners kicked on. It will never be missing from my pantry.

      • JillOz

        Hi Neicee, can you expand a little on the effect of 1.5 vs 3.5 spoons of C.O on tea?
        What do you mean by “afterburners”? :)

  2. Tom

    Since we don’t all live where we have our own banana trees in the back yard, where does one get green, unripe bananas? My local supermarket only carries fully-ripe and almost-fully-ripe bananas. There is very little if any green in them. Thank you for your work.

    • organicguy68@gmail.com

      Lately i see alot of unripe organic bananas. If you could find a health store near you,or talk to the store manager. It wont hurt to ask for unripe bananas.

    • Fred

      I get them weekly at Sam’s or grocery – just ask for the ones in the back room… they ship green. Sam’s has been better – they put cases out in the back for us now!

    • Barbara in New Jersey

      Helpful hint:
      You can store the extra green bananas in your refrigerator, making sure you leave some air space around them as the give off a gas. This will stop the ripening process since refrigerators are too cold to allow for ripening.

    • Markus

      Hi Tom,

      the resistant starch Dr Davis is referring to is optimally available in green plantains (bananas for cooking, ususally sold green) or also in banana flour. Check out at your supermarket for those foods! Half a plantain or 2 TBSP of banana flour should to the trick. Or 2 TBSP of Bob’s Red Mill Potato starch will do about the same.

      At the lowcarb-scene there’s actually a lot of talk about the usage of this resistant starch, one of the pioneers is Richard Nikoley, see here


  3. Jen

    What’s the purpose of using an unripe banana?? I find that I feel unwell after eating green bananas but if I ear a ripe banana I am fine.

  4. Neunano

    Dear Dr. Davis,
    This looks like a great shake to try anytime! Having been wheat free for over a year, I was fortunate not to have any withdrawal symptoms at all! I do take those recommended supplements and feel great.

    However, I do have a question about something I expected to change by going wheat free but that change is not happening – meaning my LDL. I hope you can comment.

    This past December 2013 at my annual physical, I asked my doctor to order an NMR lipoprotein panel (instead of the usual lipid panel) as well as C-Reactive Protein and Hemoglobin A1c tests. Since I had been wheat-free for 13 months and also had been conscientiously reducing all carb intake, I also said that I wanted to stop taking the statin drug I had been on for several years, having read so much about its negative effects. My doctor agreed to my request as long as another NMR was done in 6-8 weeks.

    The statin dosage I had been on in 2012-2013 was 20mg taken every other day. The month before my 2013 physical I only had 8 pills left, (and not wanting to refill it given my intentions) I spread them out for the entire month, virtually cutting the dosage in half. As you can see, the comparable areas of the tests from 2012 (standard lipid panel) and 2013 (NMR) are very similar but the 2 NMR tests done 7 weeks apart, 1 on a statin and 1 not, yielded very baffling results. Because strokes and atherosclerosis runs in my family, I am very concerned about the huge jump in LDL-P from 1019 to 1797 and the small LDL-P increasing from <90 to 149. I also don’t understand what the HDL-P means and why the triglycerides would go down without the statin even though I guess that’s a good thing.

    Since my doctor really doesn’t know how to explain these test results, I am simply being encouraged to resume taking the statin especially due to my family history. Is there ever a use for that drug even in small doses? I now also supplement with CoQ10. How do I decipher all this?

    Thank you for any input you can provide and for the exceptional work you have undertaken.

    Date: December 2012 December 2013 February 2014
    Blood test type Lipid Panel NMR NMR
    Statin dosage 20mg, every other day 20mg, every 3-4 days none

    Total Cholesterol 258 254 326
    HDL-C 118 114 115
    HDL-P (total) —- 43.2 47.6
    LDL Size —- 21.7 21.7
    LDL-C 130 129 202
    LDL-P —- 1019 1797
    Small LDL-P —- <90 149
    Triglycerides 50 57 45
    LP-IR Score —- <25 <25

    C-Reactive Protein —- 0.14 —-
    Hemoglobin A1c —- 5.2 ___

    • unterderlaterne

      @ Neunano, I am so sorry, that you did not get an answer to your important questions. I also was waiting and waiting! I feel your frustration ! I am in the same boot as you, regarding the family history . I am doing battle with my Doctor, who is pushing statins constantly! Too many leg, calf and foot cramps to continue them. But that fear of a stroke keeps me from enjoying eating bacon and other fats. Too many years of brainwashing I guess! We really will never know how many people on this diet(grain free , low carb and high fats) died. I am indulging in Olive and nut oils ! Coconut oil still scares me!
      I still hope that you find your questions answered eventually! Barbara S.

  5. Neicee

    Jen, my daughter had had a very worrying rash of all but open sores – mostly her legs. Had her oatmeal and banana every morning. Ran out one day of bananas and low and behold the irritating rash started to go away. She had filled prescriptions for all kinds of expensive creams and lotions. Now, she only uses coconut oil and is finding that it’s clearing up nicely, it’s also making the scars go away. Plus, I get nervous when eating a banana…..I feel like I could jump out of my skin. Must be the sugar.

    • Angelyne

      Neicee, the green banana might not have the same effect on you, since only ripe bananas are sweet. In ripe bananas, the starch has been converted to sugar.

      • Neicee

        Angelyne, I would venture to guess that 9.9% of all commenters here know that. That’s why I haven’t eaten ripe bananas in over 20 years.

    • organicguy68@gmail.com

      Try a health store. Or if not near one,try a good supplement company that sells in stores ,and sells online. But do your research.

  6. Ranae

    Caryl – I buy my D3 and magnesium from iHerb.com. You can even save $10 off your first order of $40 or more; or $5 off orders less than $40 if you use coupon code NMT185. Here’s the link, just type in what you’re looking for in the search bar and then read real user reviews.: http://www.iherb.com?rcode=NMT185
    I’m in Canada and have stuff shipped all the time, it reaches me in about 2-3 business days vis DHL (courier to my door). Hope that helps you! This smoothie looks good!!!

  7. ivy seeds

    sounds like a great drink.
    are there any ingredients in this drink or that we can add if
    constipation is an issue? (while eliminating gluten from the diet)

    • Dr. Davis

      The green unripe banana actually addresses this, as does the magnesium. I should have mentioned that this drink is ideally combined with a high-potency probiotic, e.g., 30-50 billion CFUs per day, a strategy that nearly always reverses constipation.

      If you are really struggling, doubling the magnesium will cause an osmotic effect.

    • NancyM

      I use flax meal. I like to make microwave crackers out of flax meal and lupin flour (both low carb). I add onion powder, salt, other spices. I form it into a paste and spread it on a Silipat (silcone baking sheet) cut down to fit the microwave. Then I microwave it in 1 minute and 30 second increments (adjust according to your device) until it is crispy.

      Great with ghee and almond butter on top. I also slice up a hard-boiled egg and put that on top. My favorite meal nowadays! My boyfriend thinks I’m completely “crackers”. :)

  8. Colleen

    Forgive the silly question – but I am brand new to this. What kind of elemental magnesium do I purchase? It seems it comes in tablets or a gel. Any brand recommendations? Same for the aloe.
    Thank you!

    • Dr. Davis

      I specified a brand of liquid magnesium in the recipe. There are only a few.

      If you would like to use a capsule that you open and add to the mix, I’ve used Source Naturals magnesium malate.

  9. Susan

    Dr. Davis,

    I was excited to hear about the use of the green banana in smoothies and have been using it for about a week. I am wondering about the net carbs in it and was not able to find anything online that looked reliable. Do you have information on this?

    Thank you,


    • > I am wondering about the net carbs in it …

      My eyeball estimate is that it’s pretty close to zero.

      You can run the ingredients through a site like
      to confirm.

      Contrast this with typical smoothies, which are often an entire day’s net carbs when prepared at home, and instant diabetes if purchased at retail.

    • Dr. Davis

      Yes, if truly green and unripe, it is essentially zero, as you are unable to digest the starches in their polymeric form. This is why we consume it: because your bowel flora can digest it.