We’re wrapping up with the final chapters! Don’t forget to let me know what you thought in the comments below.
As a final reminder… I will be taking quotes directly from the book and won’t always use quotes when I do it. I’ve thrown in my thoughts but the majority of the material below is directly from the book.
CHAPTER 10 – My Particles Are Bigger Than Yours: Wheat And Heart Disease
This was an interesting chapter to me. We all hear that high cholesterol means we should cut out meat. I found it intriguing when the author mentioned carbs have the capacity to stimulate insulin, which in turn triggers fatty acid synthesis in the liver, a process that floods the bloodstream with triglycerides. So maybe we should be cutting out carbs? Specifically wheat since it spikes our blood sugar levels so much. Things are complicated even more if visceral fat is involved. Visceral fat acts as a triglyceride repository, but one that causes a constant flow of triglycerides into and out of fat cells, triglycerides that enter the bloodstream. Can we stay off statins if we stop eating wheat?
CHAPTER 11 – It’s All In Your Head: Wheat And The Brain
I was surprised to find out that brain tissue is affected by wheat. The author mentioned the effects on the cerebrum, cerebellum and other nervous system structures, with consequences ranging from incoordination to incontinence, from seizures to dementia. And, unlike addictive phenomena, those are not entirely reversible. Recently, it has become clear that brain and nervous system involvement results from a direct immune attack on nerve cells. The author continues with statements about brain damage occurring. The brain’s gray matter can be pulled into the immune battle with wheat, resulting in encephalopathy or brain disease. There are some sweeping comments the author seems to make. One stating that ‘all of this (brain damage) due to the muffins and bagels you so crave.’ I don’t think it’s all due to the wheat. I believe there could be more involved. There are so many foods we eat as well as health and beauty products we apply topically and the environment we live in (air we breathe) that we can’t possibly know that the brain damage any one person has is the direct result of eating wheat. He also mentions there could be fatal dementia from wheat. Again, I would like to know what other influences the people he sees with fatal dementia are dealing with. He does mention, however, that the percentage of dementia sufferers who can blame their disease on wheat has not been satisfactorily answered.
CHAPTER 12 – Bagel Face: Wheat’s Destructive Effect On The Skin
This I’ve dealt with first hand. I’ve done cleanses and have noticed when I cut out sugar and carbs my skin is noticeably different. It’s smoother and more even-toned.
The author states that cultures without acne consume little to no wheat, sugar or dairy products. As Western influence introduced processed starches such as wheat and sugars into groups such as the Okinawans, Inuits and Zulus, acne promptly followed. He goes on to list all skin-related ails caused by wheat consumption:
CHAPTER 13 – Goodbye, Wheat: Create A Healthy, Delicious, Wheat-Free Life
And now for the practical stuff. It’s hard to remove this from our diet. It’s everywhere. But just like any other habit, after you establish which foods you can eat instead of looking at the foods you can’t, it’s not so tough. It takes more planning since social situations are really tough. They don’t have wheat-free options a lot of the time and people are almost infatuated with getting wheat-free eaters (or any diet they’re not on) to eat exactly it is you’re trying to avoid. However, once you maneuver around these traps and learn tactics that work best for you, it’s not impossible to eat wheat-free. A lot of times I’ll eat before I go to a social setting. If it’s a dinner, I can almost always order something small like a salad and still feel like I’m participating.
Now, about fiber. We all hear that fiber comes from whole grains. But did you know that nuts and veggies have more fiber than whole grains? So your fiber intake actually increases when you go wheat free. Another false assumption is that you’ll miss out on B vitamins. A lot of our packaged foods have been fortified with B6, B12, folic acid and thiamine so dietitians warn us that forgoing these products could result in vitamin B deficiencies. However, did you know that B vitamins are present in greater quantities in whole foods like meats, veggies and nuts? White bread and other wheat products are required by law to have added folic acid. With one handful of sunflower seeds or asparagus you’ll exceed the folic acid content of wheat products several times over. It’s also been shown that folates of natural sources may be superior to the folic acid in fortified processed foods. Eat your nuts and green veggies to get lots of folate. Chicken, pork, avocado and ground flaxseed all contain B6 and thiamine. Further, eliminating wheat from your diet actually enhances B vitamin absorption. It’s not uncommon for vitamin B12, folate, zinc, iron and magnesium to increase when wheat is removed. This is because gastrointestinal health improves so your body is better able to absorb the nutrients.
What’s the best way to eliminate wheat from your diet? The author recommends going cold turkey. Stop eating wheat abruptly and completely. Gradual reduction could be tough since eating wheat causes such an insulin-glucose roller coaster and brain-addictive exorphin effects. You’ll have to deal with withdrawal but once that’s finished, it’s done. You won’t be dragging out the process like you would if you tried to eliminate a little wheat at a time.
Speaking of withdrawal, here’s what the author says we can expect when we eliminate wheat from our diet:
vague dysphoria, low mood and sadness
Just like cigarettes. How odd that removing a food from our diet have the same effects as removing a drug.
The author also mentions that wheat withdrawal can also cause diminished capacity to exercise which usually lasts from two to five days.
After about one week of no wheat there should be no more signs of withdrawal. The longest he’s seen is 4 weeks but he mentions that was very unusual.
The author provides a list of other non-wheat containing foods that we can eliminate if we want to remove even more appetite-stimulating, insulin distorting and small LDL-triggering effects of food. Removing these foods can also help with substantial weight loss:
Cornstarch and cornmeal
Fruit juices, soft drinks
So, what can we eat?? He gives us this list:
Meats and eggs
And eat a variety for the best health. Experiment with new foods. Grab a new veggie every time you go to the grocery store and google how to prepare it. It gets kinda fun.
Another important point the author makes is to start looking at breakfast as another meal and not one where you need cereal or toast. Think outside the box and give your body more variety. You’ll open yourself up to a ton of possibilities and breakfast will become easy. Have your leftover dinner or lunch for breakfast. That would help to make the prep go really fast. Use ground flaxseed, ground nut meals or coconut (unsweet) as a warm breakfast cereal. Treat it like oatmeal and top it with berries.
And there you have it. Wheat Belly is complete! What did y’all think? Are you ready to go wheat free? I’ve tried it for the past four weeks and overall I really liked it. It was tough getting used to eating more veggies to make up for the lack of carbs but once I got that down it was easier. The real difference came when I got off the diet and ate tortilla chips. Oh man. Talk about bloated and low energy. It was a serious lesson and one that really made me think. I’ve never dealt with an intolerance or allergy so it was a bit shocking to feel the way I did for as long as I did (half of my day).
Let me know thoughts and how you feel about going wheat-free. Or have you already tried it? If so, what did you think? Would you do it again?