When one decides to choose a wheat free diet, as opposed to being medically diagnosed with a condition such as Celiac Disease, there are several things that are immediately lost. The first is the ability to shop in most grocery stores and excess weight. On a recent trip to my local grocer I noted that, with the exception of the perimeter of the store where fresh produce, meat, cheese and other dairy are displayed, there were only four aisles which offered wheat free products. Have no fear, I still managed to spend $100.
Spend some time reading books like Wheat Belly by Dr. William Davis or Grain Brain by Dr. David Perlmutter and a trend emerges, one which explains a lot of the medical challenges faced by consuming genetically altered food products for a generation. As one who continues to struggle with weight, despite eating a healthy diet, I found it frustrating to continually maintain a regimen of good nutrition and exercise to no avail. Disclaimer: I enjoyed my wine and overeating. It wasn’t that I ate poorly, I simply ate too much and enjoyed wine too frequently. While this contributed to my weight gain, it certainly wasn’t enough to negate the effects of consuming what I affectionately referred to as my “twigs and dirt” diet.
I was doing some research and came across the books noted above. I thought…”What the hell”…and had them delivered to my tablet. I have always been interested in homeopathic nutrition, organic sourcing of food and avoiding big Pharma like the plague, however the content in these books blew me away. While some of the information was a bit technical (my eyes glazed over) I got the message: keep eating wheat based products and watch yourself deteriorate faster than Mother Nature can do on her own. At 55 that process is happening a lot faster than I would like to admit.
I realized that breaking my dependency to wheat was just like breaking any unhealthy relationship with alcohol, food or a toxic personality…go cold turkey and take it one day at a time. So, I quit wheat cold turkey. The first few days were hell. It seemed everywhere I went I saw bread, smelled bread, couldn’t pass by a fast food place without getting the shakes. My head throbbed, I was cranky (no one noticed…hmmm), and I was obsessed with eating every two hours. I was looking for my wheat fix.
After the third day (yea, it was almost biblical) I awoke from my wheat induced withdrawal to find that the sun was still shining, the birds were still chirping and I could survive without wheat in my life. After about a week, I started noticing other things; my ankle arthritis was gone, I wasn’t having digestive or heartburn issues, my appetite went from looking for food every two hours to consuming a bit of food 2 times per day. Is my weight loss attributable to the decreased amount of food I was eating? Of course. However the other health benefits I am experiencing cannot be attributed to anything other than eliminating wheat products from my diet. I fell off the wagon one day and binged on wheat. The next day was sicker than I had ever been from an alcohol induced hangover. That told me everything I needed to know.
I am fortunate that I can choose to make this lifestyle change, I applaud those who bravely accept this challenge as a medical necessity and I join you in the challenge to find foods that are appealing, healthy and clean. I will add categories to my website and this blog that will include recipes and how-to information on managing a wheat free diet. The challenges are many, but the benefits far outweigh them: better sleep, sharper focus, better digestion, diminished heartburn….oh and weight loss.