Friday, February 24, 2012

Giving Up Wheat

I have some big news: I stopped eating wheat. This is a good thing. I feel great! A couple of weeks ago I finished reading "Wheat Belly" by Dr. William Davis. Even before I was done reading the book, I had decided to give up wheat. The first week and a half of being wheat-free I lost four pounds. Four pounds! Although it was probably mostly water weight - still! This was after three weeks of trying to lose weight my own way and not seeing the scale budge at all. I was so frustrated after those three weeks. I found myself looking to the internet for inspiration. I was on either the Huffington Post Healthy Living or MSN's Fitbie. Both of those sites profile people who have lost a lot of weight. One of the women being profiled said that she read this book called "Wheat Belly." I was intrigued and looked it up. The reviews were so good that I downloaded the book to my Kindle that night. I started reading. The next day I didn't eat wheat. The day after that I noticed my tummy shrank (mostly water because I was bloated from the wheat). The day after that I noticed the pain in my muscles and joints was greatly diminished. A week and half later, I was down four pounds. Wow. I guess I shouldn't eat wheat.

I found out that wheat has an inflammatory response in me. I didn't realize how much pain and discomfort I was in until I gave up wheat. I finally feel comfortable in my skin. What started as a quest to lose weight lead to me finally finding out what has been giving me so much pain and discomfort all these years. Not only am I losing weight and in less pain, I also have better digestion, which is a big deal for me having suffered from IBS since I was a teenager. I will be discussing all of this with my doctor and whether I should be tested for celiac disease or if it is a wheat intolerance. In the meantime, I'm going to enjoy this awesome feeling.

No more recipes made with this.
I really recommend reading this book, but I will try to sum it up. Basically, when humans evolved millions of years ago, we were hunter-gatherers, subsisting on meat, nuts and berries. This is what our bodies were evolved to eat. Then we became farmers and started eating grains. Then we started fiddling with these grains. About fifty years ago, agriculturists started to engineer and modify wheat and corn to grow in unfavorable conditions. This is great when you are trying to feed starving countries, but they didn't do any testing to see what kind of effect this would have on us. Well, I think the past fifty years we have been a part of this testing and the result is obesity, diabetes, heart disease and a host of other diseases. Eating modern wheat (even whole wheat) causes an insulin response, which causes you to store fat and also sends your blood sugar on a roller coaster, making you hungry. Dr. Davis recommends a diet low in carbs and high in protein and healthy fats. After doing lots of research I've found that it is similar to the Paleo or Primal diet. In addition to giving up wheat, I've been trying this Paleo/Primal diet with mixed results. I'm still working on finding a good balanced diet that works for me.

I don't think that wheat is the only cause of obesity, but it is a major one. Along with sedentary lifestyles, "super sizing," eating too much sugar (which often accompanies wheat in the form of cookies, cakes, etc.), and too many processed foods, our country has become obese. Wheat is just one of the pieces of the puzzle. Truth is, nutrition and the effect food has our bodies is way more complicated that we ever imagined.

While going wheat-free worked for me, I don't imagine it will help everyone. A lot of people can eat wheat just fine. Unfortunately, I can't. I feel so great right now, I can't imagine ever going back to eating wheat. So you can imagine that there will be some changes in my blog. Gone are the days of cookies and cupcakes. Honestly, after spending too much time on allrecipes.com, I don't care if I ever even see another damn cupcake with swirly frosting again! (Yes, I realize I have one of those cupcakes in my slide show up there, just one of the many moments of weakness being involved on that site.)

I will be making a different kind of this.
I hope I don't loose too many readers of my blog with this shift in diet! I will still be sharing what I'm cooking and baking, and there actually might not be that much difference. Right now, I even have a loaf of banana bread in the oven that smells delicious. Well, it's Paleo banana bread, which means that it is made with almond flour and very little sugar. (I will post about this bread soon.) What we eat for dinner really hasn't changed that much though. I won't be making many pasta dishes, but definitely be looking for healthy chicken, beef and fish recipes. So please stick around!

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