Wheat is Not So Neat

Wheat, a delicious, neat to eat treat - or is it?

Wheat, a delicious, neat to eat treat – or is it?

I’ve been a big wheat eater all my life. I would eat it in every form, bread; lots of bread; buns, biscuits, pancakes, cookies, muffins, and occasionally even doughnuts. I also ate it in the form of pasta, cereal and in beer. Growing up fat phobic most of the “breads” I ate were low in fat.

Toast

Toast was my all time favorite food. I used to eat toast every day, often several times a day. I ate it as a meal and a snack. I ate it for or with breakfast and I ate it before bed.  I loved toast. Especially hearty and rustic breads. Suffice it to say that I was a toast master. I was planning on writing a book about toast and I did write a song about it.

Cookies

I was also a cookie monster. I loved cookies, especially wholesome, healthy cookies. I was never big on cakes because they didn’t offer enough substance, unless it was carrot cake –  home made. I also loved pastries and pasta. I couldn’t have made it through college if it wasn’t for toast, pasta, and cereal, oh, and pizza and beer, of course. A hot bowel of cooked wheat berries made for a fantastic breakfast.

But, as I became more health and nutrition conscious I began phasing the worst of the baked goods out of my life: pasta, pastries, most cereals, all cakes and any cookies that weren’t made by me or my talented wife. This process has been going on for several years. Just think of all the foods that we, as humans, really don’t need to eat. The extras, the unnecessaries, the baked, the sweet, the frosted, the glazed, the alluring, the sweet infused baked goods.  Granted, there are plenty of baked goods that are not sweet and don’t contain a large amount of fat, but does that mean that they are healthy?

Amber waves of grain

Amber waves of grain

Wheat Belly

Several years ago the number of people I met who were “gluten free” kept increasing and articles on how gluten, and wheat itself, is bad for people kept popping up. Then the book Wheat Belly by William Davis, came out and explained why wheat itself, not just the gluten, is bad for humans. I’m not one to jump on bandwagons, especially nutrition. Nutrition is subject to fads as much as teenager’s clothes. So I will study, and listen and think and experiment before I give credence to anything.

The Issues with Wheat

The anti wheat advocates list a number of reasons people should not eat it, such as: it is a super carbohydrate and elevates blood sugar as much as sugar; it is anti-nutritious; it causes inflammation;  increases belly and visceral fat; increases heart disease; causes GI problems; brain and nervous system problems; and skin problems such as blemishes, acne, rashes, and morphine-like addictive actions in the brain.

Experiment

After much reading I decided to experiment on myself and abstain from eating wheat for – awhile, maybe a week. I didn’t have a strong plan or dedication. I just wanted to make a reasonable effort to see how things went. I couldn’t think of a reason not to do this. Keep in mind that I have not been without wheat since I was weaned, so who knows what might happen.

To my surprise, it really wasn’t that hard. Once I had the mindset that I was not going to eat wheat, the free muffins and bread at work were not tempting. I was inconvenienced occasionally when I wanted to eat a sandwich, but once again, after getting my mind around it, that was no longer a problem. There are plenty of other sources of starches and eating with a fork and knife is not so bad – unless you’re driving. But that is probably more dangerous than texting while driving, so I would definitely never do that.

It’s Not Easy, Wheat is Cheap, Easy & Convenient

My first wheat abstention experiment lasted about  four days. It wasn’t a big blowout, I just ate some bread (probably a sandwich) and then I was off it again. I kept abstaining from wheat as much as possible and making it as long as two weeks.  I have done this several times and each time I eat wheat I am more convinced that I should not eat it.

The benefits I found from not eating wheat were the absence of cravings for:

  1. Wheat, and
  2. Sweets

I have a piece of dark chocolate now and then, but I didn’t crave it as much as I did when I regularly eat wheat.  It was really amazing.

Wheat berries

Wheat berries

Recently I had pancakes for breakfast for the first time in about six months. I wasn’t expecting anything to happen because of this meal. I thought I’d eat it, enjoy the taste and crave more baked goods that day, fight the urge and then by the next be fine without. But what I experienced was surprising and could only be interpreted as an allergic reaction. My sinuses swelled up and it was difficult to breathe through my nose. I developed a low grade headache and my entire body felt cruddy. Not quite achy flu symptoms, but not far from it. I also felt a big grumpy and ready for bed. I took an antihistamine and felt better within an hour.

Stay Informed

I’m not trying to sway you. I simply wanted to give my opinion based on my experience.

  • I feel much better when I don’t eat wheat.
  • I eat less food throughout the day.
  • I’ve lost about 5 pounds.
  • My belly is flatter and
  • I don’t have overwhelming cravings for sweets and starches, and especially baked goods, any more.

You Decide

You don’t have to believe me or anybody else. I would suggest that you try your own experiment and abstain from wheat for two complete weeks. If you do this though, you must do it right, abstain 100% from all wheat products or you will not know the true effects wheat has on you. The most obvious sign that wheat is not right for me is when I ate it again after abstaining. Without that time to clear it from your body, you will not likely notice a difference. If you abstain 100% and you have no effects when you eat wheat again, then you are clear.

Eat on.

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