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WHEAT FREE ANYONE?

Last Thursday my sister, brother-in-law and I went to see Dr. William Davis speak.  If the name Dr. William Davis doesn’t ring a bell then I’m sure his book “Wheat Belly” does.  Dr. Davis spoke for an hour about the evils of wheat.  Especially, our North American hybridized, high-yield, semi-dwarf version.  (Kind of sounds Halloweenish doesn’t it?)  Dr. Davis makes a very convincing argument that not only is today’s wheat causing ever expanding waist lines it’s also wreaking havoc on our health:

 “The wheat plant has been hybridized and crossbred to make it resistant to drought and fungi and to vastly increase yield per acre.  Agricultural geneticists have shown that wheat proteins undergo structural change with hybridization, and that the hybrid contains proteins that are found in neither parent plant…..we’ve created thousands of what I call Frankengrains over the past 50 years, using pretty extreme techniques, and their safety for human consumption has never been tested or even questioned.”  Dr. William Davis “Wheat Belly” excerpt from Maclean’s Magazine

In his book and on his blog Dr. Davis provides an extensive list of conditions and diseases from arthritis to ADHD that he believes are caused by wheat consumption.  Visit  http://www.wheatbellyblog.com/   for more information, but for the purposes of this blog I want to highlight three very compelling reasons to give up wheat:

Raises Blood Sugar – Just two slices of whole wheat bread raise blood sugar higher than a Snickers bar.  Davis calls our modern wheat a ‘supercarbohydrate’ because it is broken down so rapidly it spikes your blood sugar, as quickly as, eating pure sugar.  If blood sugar rises too quickly, your body secretes a greater amount of insulin in order to lower your blood sugar. Insulin helps bring sugar out of the bloodstream and it does this mainly by converting the excess sugar into fat.  When your blood sugar dips you may feel hungry, tired, cranky, and shaky and your brain feels foggy.  Your energy plummets and you need to get your energy back.  What do you do?  Instinctively you reach for something that’s going to squash your hunger and bring your blood sugar back up.  Crackers?  Cookies? Bagel?  Chocolate bar?   Once you start this cycle of sugar highs and lows you’ve stepped onto the ‘blood sugar roller coaster’ and unlike other roller coasters this one isn’t fun.   This roller coaster leads to weight gain, foul moods and disease.

Inflammation – Repeated insulin spiking leads to belly fat, insulin resistance, weight gain and disease. Insulin resistance creates an accumulation of visceral fat (the deep abdominal fat or organ fat).  This fat has a life of its own and sends out inflammatory signals into the bloodstream and this can cause: high blood sugar, high blood pressure and high triglycerides which can ncrease your risk for heart disease.

Gastrointestinal upset – Modern wheat can be difficult to digest and is a very common cause of food intolerances and sensitivities.  People who suffer painful digestive and intestinal upset such as:  acid reflux, irritable bowel disease, cramps, and bloating (to name a few) are often unaware that the toast they ate at breakfast, or the sandwich they had for lunch, may be the root cause of their intestinal woes.

What Dr. Davis had to say wasn’t news to me.  I know how damaging inflammation and blood sugar imbalances can be and I know how much better I feel and how much better my clothes fit when I avoid wheat. I always recommend my clients eliminate wheat and I have been witness to the positive changes they experience.  After a few wheat-free weeks they routinely lose weight, have less bloat, less acid reflux, better looking skin, slimmer waists and best of all – they feel great.

When you make a conscience effort to eliminate wheat you are forced to ‘think outside the box’.  You can no longer reach for your ‘go to’ breads, cereals and pastas.  You must think about alternative grains and start to read labels to identify hidden wheat ingredients.  You really have to avoid processed foods.  That’s what I love about giving up wheat.  Not only will you feel and look better – a whole new world of whole food awareness happens!

Beware if you’re being lured into the maze of ‘gluten free’ substitutes now on the market – don’t even consider them.   ‘Gluten Free’ is the current fad health claim.  It’s everywhere and there is an abundance of new gluten free ‘junk’ food in every grocery store.  Many of these foods replace wheat flour with powdered starches such as rice, tapioca, potato and corn starch.  These powdered starches are of questionable quality and they raise your raise your blood sugar faster and higher than the wheat flour they replaced.

When giving up wheat I urge you to think quality, whole grains and not processed food substitutes.  The ‘Wheat Belly’ protocol suggests for you to fully maximize blood sugar balance, and reap all the benefits of a wheat free life, you should significantly reduce all grain carbohydrates.  This will excel weight loss and it will help quickly reduce sugar/carbohydrate cravings.  Most of my clients find a complete elimination of grains too overwhelming to start, so unless you are diabetic or have other significant health challenges, you may find giving up wheat alone is enough to help you shed unwanted fat and gain energy and wellbeing.

If you’re thinking about giving up wheat and want some support join holihealth’s 30 Day Wheat Free Challenge on facebook.  The grand prize is a healthier trimmer you. There are no rules.  Just a group of people trying to give up wheat for 30 days.   I’ll post frequent helpful tips, hints, recipes and favourite products and we’ll get input from fellow challengers on their product finds, likes, dislikes and suggestions.  We’ll try to make giving up wheat fun and easy.  Come join us and you’ll have support for your first few weeks of navigating through a ‘wheat-free’ world.   Go to  holihealth – Nutrition & Lifestyle Trainers facebook page and join the event and make sure you hit ‘like’ to ensure you get all the healthy, helpful tips.  The challenge starts tomorrow November 1, 2013.

Visit holihealth regularly to learn more strategies for a holistic and preventative approach to wellbeing. If you would like help in learning how to implement and practice a healthy, holistic lifestyle please contact us info@holihealth.ca


4 Comments to WHEAT FREE ANYONE?

  1. adminholihealth

    Thanks! The Pumpkin Chia Muffins are a great ‘go to’ snack or breakfast. They’re loaded with nutrients and good fats that will keep you feeling full and energized. For a wheat free / gluten free option use brown rice flour and buckwheat flour. Here is the link to the recipe. Enjoy! http://www.holihealth.ca/2012/09/pumpkin-chia-seed-muffins/

  2. adminholihealth

    Hi Dana. Yes, you’re right spelt is an ancient form of wheat, but the gluten is more easily digested. I like spelt as a way to help people transition from commercial wheat, but if you’re gluten intolerant you need to avoid spelt. The recipe also suggests brown rice flour for a wheat free/gluten free option. Thanks for the question!

  3. Dana Deuitch

    I just took a look at the pumpkin muffins and they look very yummy. Question though – is spelt not a form of wheat? If someone were taking this challenge, should they avoid spelt and other forms of wheat as well?

  4. Suzanne Rutherford

    I just started this challenge and I had one of Nancy’s pumpkin muffins for breakfast. The are delicious and only 183 calories. Of course, they have no wheat! I made 2 dozens so I have lots left for breakfasts throughout the month. I think I will freeze them and I can heat them when I need a healthy snack. Yummy!

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