Followers of the Wheat Belly lifestyle often ask: “If I need to buy higher quality food—organic, grass-fed, minimally processed—won’t my grocery budget explode? I can’t afford that on my limited food budget.”
We do indeed seek out higher quality foods on the Wheat Belly lifestyle, foods that recreate the high nutrient density of foods that our ancestors consumed as they hunted and foraged in the wild—higher folate, magnesium, phytonutrient, fat content. But, more than likely, you don’t have the time, inclination, or knowledge that would allow you to go out and kill or forage your next meal. So we seek out second best and search for the highest quality foods that we can obtain in an industrialized food setting.
Admittedly, such foods cost more. Raising food that is pasture-fed, organic, without the expedients of toxic herbicides/pesticides but rely instead on human love and caring, costs more. So why doesn’t living on the Wheat Belly lifestyle, in which we reject the high-yield, commercialized garbage products of agribusiness, cost us more?
Simple: Eliminate gliadin-derived opioid peptides that are potent appetite stimulants and food consumption drops, even though we purposefully do not reduce calories.
The gliadin protein of wheat and related grains stimulate appetite, such that people who consume wheat and grains take in 400-800 more calories per day, every day. This is the effect that causes people with a belly-full of pasta, filled to bursting, to still feel hungry. Gliadin-derived opioid peptides drive appetite hugely, abnormally, unnaturally.
Remove gliadin-derived opioid peptides of wheat and related grains and abnormal appetite-stimulation is removed. You are content with, say, 3 eggs, bacon, and avocado slices at 7 am and do not re-experience hunger until 4 or 5 pm–a very different experience from wheat- and grain-consuming people. It is certainly different than the extreme perversion of appetite that causes dietitians to say outrageously silly things like “eat many small meals every 2 hours throughout the day.”
So calorie intake is lower, even though you will NEVER hear me say “cut your calories,” “push the plate away,” “smaller portions,” etc.—by 400-800 calories per person, per day.
If there are, say, 5 people in your home, 3 teenagers and 2 adults. You all go wheat- and grain-free, all experiencing a dramatic downturn in appetite as a result. Let’s be conservative and assume that all 5 experience a decrease in calorie intake of 400 calories per day. 5 x 400 = 2000 calories per day that you don’t have to shop for or cook. Multiply by 30 days per month and that equates to 60,000 calories per month that you do not need to purchase or cook—and that’s a conservative estimate. That’s huge. That’s the equivalent of 30 meals at restaurants—30 meals, or one per day. Yes: We are consuming higher-quality, nutrient-dense foods, but we are also freed from then abnormal appetite-stimulation of grain-derived opioid peptides. Most people following the Wheat Belly lifestyle therefore report no change in their monthly grocery budget or even a modest cost savings. Even better, make some modest efforts that take you closer to the source of your food and you can thereby reduce costs even further: have a garden to grow vegetables, start some berry bushes and fruit trees, shop at farmers’ markets, grow herbs on your kitchen shelves.
This means that you are eating healthier foods with more phytonutrients and fewer contaminants and experience less of the health downturns that most Americans experience following absurd conventional dietary advice while not spending more.