Wheat Belly
Available at Amazon.com

I'll try anything once

| Not to put too fine a point on it, since I got back on all my meds last October, my weight has skyrocketed.

This is not unusual with diabetics, often a side-effect of the meds. And some of us just have that kind of body that responds even to the sight of food by adding pounds.

The last time I visited my doctor, he told me he had been reading a book called Wheat Belly written by cardiologist William Davis. The premise of the book is quite simple:

  1. Over the past 50 years genetic changes in the wheat we eat have resulted in undesirable and unanticipated effects on the human body: appetite stimulation, exaggerated blood sugar surges, inflammation, and various other effects. Agribusiness and the food industry are largely responsible.
  2. A very large proportion of the American diet consists of wheat, not only in the obvious forms such as bread and pasta, but as an ingredient in processed foods of all kinds. The advice to eat "healthy whole grains" parallels the obesity epidemic.
  3. To solve the problems created by modern wheat, eliminate wheat from the diet. And by eliminate wheat Davis means all wheat.

Anecdotally, Davis reports on patients who have eliminated wheat to see rapid weight loss and dramatic improvement in conditions like high cholesterol, diabetes, irritable bowel, skin rashes, heart disease, and on and on. Those who know me will recognize that list of afflictions!

So, I decided I would give the wheat belly diet a try and purchased a cookbook with wheat-free recipes. Recipes for cookies, tortillas, and the like make use of the general-purpose mix or specialized mixes. The sections for lunches and main dishes are heavy on single ingredients that you can buy in the produce, meat, and seafood sections of the supermarket. In that respect, the diet resembles low carbohydrate diets, except that all carbohydrates from wheat are no-nos.

Wheat Belly cookbook

Yesterday I made my first foray in search of ingredients that could be used to replace flour and wheat. I went to Clark's Nutrition and Natural Foods Market and spent considerable time searching up and down the aisles for things like garbanzo bean flour, almond meal/flour, ground golden flax seeds, coconut flour, xylitol, and phyllium seed (never did find that).

When I got home I made up a batch of all-purpose baking mix (sort of like Bisquick without flour).

This morning I used the baking mix to make a Triple-Berry Muffin for my breakfast. Besides the mix, there was milk, a dash of salt, melted butter, xylitol for sweetening, an egg, and some frozen mixed berries. I popped it in the microwave and stood back to await the results. (The quick muffins in the cookbook are all made in a ramekin or coffee cup and done in the microwave!)

Triple berry muffin
My Triple Berry Muffin

Damn! The muffin was surprisingly good. The texture was different from an ordinary muffin, but I rather liked that. And it was very filling.

Tonight I plan to try Pork Fried "Rice" using grated cauliflower in place of real rice.

While Davis singles out wheat as the major culprit, he also banishes other sources of gluten and carbohydrates (barley, bulghar, cornstarch, etc). Almost anything that comes in a can or a box has to be eliminated because it contains some wheat. Even Splenda has wheat in the form of maltodextrin!

Zealous proponents of the no-wheat diet make a big deal of avoiding even foods processed in the same location as wheat. And there are people — namely those suffering from celiac disease — for whom this is appropriate. But since celiac disease is one of the few health issues that I do not have, I don't plan on taking it to that extreme. I will be very happy if I can mostly eliminate wheat. I certainly don't want to be one of those people who goes out to a restaurant or someone's house and then makes a big production over what they can't eat. My brunch will trump wheat elimination!

Last updated on Apr 13, 2018

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