People have said this to me many times over the years.
Here’s another Wheat Belly Basics conversation for newcomers or a refresher for the seasoned Wheat Belly follower.
One of the reason that wheat and related grains are such effective causes of weight gain is that they contain a protein, gliadin, that, upon digestion, yields opioid peptides that bind to the opiate receptors of the human brain. These opioid peptides are responsible for generating addictive relationships with food, as well as behavioral and emotional effects.
Stop eating grains and an opiate withdrawal syndrome ensues: nausea, headache, fatigue, depression that lasts around a week. It is important to recognize this effect and not misinterpret it or allow it to frighten you, as it is a necessary process to get through in order to successfully free yourself from the appetite and health-impairing effects of grains.
This is another discussion in the series I call Wheat Belly Basics, meant to help bring newcomers to the lifestyle up to speed with some of the basic concepts, as well as a refresher for those of you who’ve been around for a while, and following the Wheat Belly lifestyle. I call this one Bread Is My Crack.
I call it that because many people have said that to me over the years — particularly when you propose to them that they remove all things made of wheat and grains from their life. Many people intuitively know that they’re going to experience a very unpleasant process, a withdrawal syndrome that generally starts within several hours of having their last bite (or hit) of something made of wheat or related grains.
They know they’ll start to get tremulous, shaky, foggy. They’ll start to develop overwhelming cravings for something made of grains or sugar. They also know that they’ll be fatigued and crabby. Many people know this intuitively. It drives home the point that, when you stop eating wheat and grains, many people experience a withdrawal process, a withdrawal and detoxification process. It is an opiate withdrawal syndrome.
Recall that there’s a protein in wheat, rye and barley called gliadin (and related proteins in other grains like zein in corn and avenin in oats), that, when you when you stop consuming that protein, it no longer provides a source of these opioid peptides — that is, partially digested small protein fragments — that are able to cross into the brain through the blood-brain barrier, and bind to opiate receptors, and have all sorts of peculiar effects.
Remember, people who have schizophrenia have more paranoid delusions and hear voices. People who are prone to bipolar illness can have their mania, their high, triggered. People prone to depression can experience more depression, suicidal thoughts. Children with ADHD or autism experience behavioral outbursts, and it erodes their attention span. People who are prone to bulimia, and binge eating disorder, can have 24-hour-a-day food obsessions created. In you and me it causes addictive behavior to food, increased appetite.
When you stop it, we go through an opiate withdrawal syndrome: nausea, headache, fatigue, depression, that typically lasts about a week or so. It is unpleasant, so for that reason, I detail some ways to soften the blow, we say, in the Wheat Belly books: the Wheat Belly original book, Wheat Belly Total Health, Wheat Belly 10-Day Grain Detox, all detail simple methods you can use to soften the blow. Easy things like: don’t exercise, and hydrate, and salt your food — simple measures you can take to make it softer.
If you’re going to have withdrawal syndrome (I don’t know of a way to not have it), and by the way, I stress this to everybody, because some people who’ve not read the books, who think this is gluten-free or just think by stopping grains they’ve got the program down, will be confused, maybe frightened by these feelings — thinking perhaps, they’ll say to themselves “this must be my body telling me I need wheat and grain”, which of course a terrible thing to believe. That has nothing to do with need, just as an alcoholic who’s missing his fifth of bourbon starts to get shaky and foggy and hallucinate. It doesn’t mean that the alcohol’s good for him and needs it. It means he’s dependent on it. Same thing here. In order to get off grain successfully, many people have to go through this opiate withdrawal syndrome.
So refer the books, and you’ll see ways to soften the blow. This is a necessary process, to get the other side, reclaim health, and control over your weight and appetite