Gluten, we are breaking up and we are never ever ever getting back together!

Gluten, we are breaking up and we are never ever ever getting back together!

I have not read Wheat Belly by Dr.William Davis yet, though after 44 weeks on the NY Times Best Seller List, it is quite likely you have. On the contrary, over the last 44 weeks I have faithfully stood by wheat, except when I have tried to shave off a pound here or there. A few of my friends who have eschewed the grain are irritatingly slim so I have succumbed to the hype and given the no-carb diet a whirl. There’s no doubt about it, it works… until I hit the bread hard and come up three weeks later with all the self loathing of a meth addict wearing their pants on backwards somewhere 80 miles from where they began their binge.

While I yo-yoed with this no carb diet, never imagining that I would forgo wheat long term, I discovered (much to my croissant loving chagrin) that not only do I look different when I’m not eating wheat, I feel different.



photo by Maya Visnyei

It would appear that I have a wheat intolerance. True, I’m self-diagnosed, but when I go on a weight loss regime and cut out wheat, that stomachache I’ve had for 30 of my 39 years disappears, the stiffness in my hands that developed recently and that I attributed to being a symptom of age – all gone within 24 hours. And my psoriasis, which has always been a bit of a bother, fades away.

I’m always suspicious of people …particularly doctors promising a cure for all that ails you. In fact listening to Dr. Davis, I get a little squidgy as he alleges that cutting out wheat will alleviate asthma, acne, arthritis, acid reflux and the list goes on and on with him citing everything from A to Z. Where he has won me over is when he says, “Try it for a month, see what happens.”

I’m here to provide testimonial not a scientific account that things are better for me when I cut out wheat.

After hearing Davis defend his wheat is the mother of all evil theory on CBC’s Q with Jian Ghomeshi I made a decision. I’m breaking up with wheat.

Now what?

Deciding that you want to lose 10 pounds is somewhat different from deciding to cut something out of your life because it makes you sick. There should be no turning back, no cheat days. Goodbye wheat. It’s over.

I’ll be writing about going gluten free, trying recipes, experimenting with chickpea flour and figuring out how to do it in a house with a gluten loving family.

I know I’m not alone and would love to hear if you’ve gone gluten free and what tricks you may have discovered to surviving and sticking with it.

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  1. Sharon
    March 01, 10:11 Reply

    Heidi – I went vegan & gluten free for 60 days last year. I think the secret is being prepared. I made meal plans (& grocery list) for a week at a time with recipe books in hand. It would take me a couple of hours on Sunday night, then shopping on Monday morning (Loblaws & The Big Carrot) & a ton of time in the kitchen every day. I don’t have any medical reason to be gluten free but found I was definitely feeling better (less lethargic) and having more energy. Sadly, all my energy was being zapped by the time I spent cooking 🙁

  2. Javamom
    March 01, 10:51 Reply

    Wheat! Everywhere you turn there’s a thing about it….when my mom was diagnosed by a naturopath that she has wheat ‘sensitivity’ and she cut it out of her diet, she no longer felt bloated. Ever. She’s also off dairy….so, what do I do? I try the same. I cut the dairy and it didn’t do much for the bloating. I cut the wheat, and? Bingo. I looked like I lost my pouchy tummy…and I felt 100% better. Having said this, I still eat wheat now and again, I just make more aware choices about wheat now. Have toast for breakfast? No pasta for dinner, at least not wheat pasta….and maybe skip bread all together the next day. It works for me, and in the meantime, I am a gluten-free recipe searcher, like so many others. Looking forward with what you have to say on all this. 🙂

  3. Heidi
    March 01, 12:36 Reply

    Sharon, I know you well, do you have these grocery lists and menu plans. Might I have a copy?
    And Javamom, it would appear you and I have both the same mother and the same condition as I do. I will likely have a similar life style. But when I go off the regime, I tend to really go off the rails. I need to stick with it and find ways around it – all a work in progress.
    Thanks for reading!

  4. Lisa Durbin
    March 01, 17:20 Reply

    We’re grain-free and it’s really not been that hard – but I’ve had quite a while to test out various recipes! Many of my Friday posts have been grain free and include things like coconut flour. It’s a lot of trial and error, but it’s great when you find a recipe that works. 🙂

  5. Maureen
    March 03, 11:00 Reply

    I’ve had similar results as you. While I never had a stomach ache, I did have a pain in one knee and thought I was getting arthritis. When a friend told me her joint aches in her hands went away after eliminating wheat in the house due to her child’s intolerance, I tried it too. The pain went away and went I tested the theory and started back on the wheat it came back. Now I’m off it for months, no joint pain, have more energy and the serious acne from my rosacea is almost nonexistent. I can’t lie. I really miss the wheat, sooo miss a great pizza. There are great rice pasta brands out there and the great bread recipe from Gluten free Gourmet Bakes Bread book has made it easier to deal with. It does take a lot more planning of meals. What have you missed the most?

  6. Lynnette
    March 03, 11:51 Reply

    Try going raw for a week or a raw food detox. The benefit of going raw is that you aren’t destroying the beneficial enzymes found in a lot of food. Recipes can be unbelievably creative as well, not just juices, salads and smoothies. Obviously wheat free but it’s also entirely processed food free. It requires a lot of prep time in the kitchen and wait times but it can change some peoples lives.

  7. Viviana
    March 03, 15:20 Reply

    I also discovered to be gluten intolerant. It is very difficult for me to have a gluten free life with a family that loves bread and sweets. It is not easy to find recipes that will be accepted by my family, them having no problem with the wheat. Where could I subscribe to get easy family gluten free recipes? At least main courses that are gluten free, because in regards of desserts I just could avoid them, being responsible for myself and not bring my family into it when they have no problems with the gluten?
    Thank you

  8. Heidi
    March 05, 09:37 Reply

    I have to be honest, I’m still very much at the early stages of this process, so I’m reading everything I can get my hands on (there’s a lot of website, I haven’t found a favorite yet) and asking myself what I’ll miss and trying to seek out alternatives that will satisfy me. I’m hoping that because my kids are still little that I’ll be able to swap out this for that with little protest. I think I’ll be the most difficult convert. One thing I read over and over and what Lisa mentions in her comment above is time and trial and error. There is going to be a learning curve – somethings will be successful and others won’t. I like the idea of starting by simplifying what we are eating. And as for what I’ll miss the most? Just not having to think about what I’m eating so much. I suppose that too will come with time.
    Thanks for reading!
    See you soon,

  9. Amanda
    March 05, 13:47 Reply

    A few tips that might help out. Bulk Barn has a great gluten free all-purpose flour mix (make sure you grab the little white & red card that tells you how much xantham gum to add for what you’re baking), and decently priced xantham gum. Once armed with that, most of your previous ‘gluten’ recipes are still usable–just add a bit more moisture (be it water, milk (almond, soy, rice, or goat), apple sauce, etc). It’ll take a little bit of playing, but it gets easier with time. And this is easier on your wallet than buying tonnes of other recipe books, or multiple types of flour. However, a friend who has been gluten free for years highly recommends Gluten Free For Dummies as a good starting point.
    Also, if you plan to make your own bread, make sure, if using a bread maker, that it has a GF setting, or it may break down/catch fire.
    And, for kids, corn pasta goes over a heck of a lot better than rice. It’s orange, but far tastier, and less likely to turn to paste if overcooked.
    Good luck, and have fun.

  10. Judy Alexander
    March 11, 21:04 Reply

    Hubby and I have gone gluten free after reading “Wheat Belly”. Using Xantham gum will start little growlies and rumbling in your tummy. Not the best stuff to be ingesting anyways. (Lots of info on the net regarding that). Use “pixie dust” instead, which you can type in and “Gluten Free Doctor” has the recipe. Make “Mock Better Batter” flour and don’t add the gums. I use it in my regular gluten recipes. Remember 140grams of gluten free flour equals one cup of gluten flour. We have never looked back and enjoy all our food. Our grown kids and grandkids are also gluten free. I have lots more hints if you wish to hear them. Judy

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