Wheat Belly

If you’re looking for another book to support why wheat isn’t the “amazing heart healthy” food it’s touted to be, Wheat Belly by William Davis, MD, is good choice. Though I’ll be honest, just like The Wahls Protocol, it is written by a doctor and got a little too “sciencey” at parts for me. I may or may not have skimmed some sections. 😉


Here are some excerpts that I found most interesting:

“An interesting fact: Whole wheat bread (glycemic index 72) increases blood sugar as much as or more than table sugar, or sucrose (glycemic index 59).”

“Wheat naturally evolved to only a modest degree over the centuries, but it has changed dramatically in the past fifty years under the influence of agricultural scientist. Wheat strains have been hybridized, crossbreed, and introgressed to make the wheat plant resistant to environmental conditions, such as drought, or pathogens, such as fungi. But most of all, genetic changes have been induced to increase yield per acre. the average yield of a modern North American Farm is more than tenfold greater than farms of a century ago.”

“A loaf of bread, biscuit, or pancake of today is different than its counterpart of a thousand years ago, different even from what our grandmothers made. They might look the same, even taste much the same, but there are biochemical differences. Small changes in wheat protein structure can spell the difference between a devastating immune response to wheat protein versus no immune response at all.”

“Aside from some extra fiber, eating two slices of whole wheat bread is really little different, and often worse, than drinking a can of sugar-sweetened soda or eating a sugary candy bar.”

“It is unlikely that wheat exposure was the initial cause of autism or ADHD but, as with schizophrenia, wheat appears to be associated with worsening of the symptoms characteristic of the conditions.”

During digestion, gluten is degraded to a mix of polypeptides. “These polypeptides were discovered to have the peculiar ability to penetrate the blood-brain barrier that separates the bloodstream from the brain…Once having gained entry into the brain, wheat polypeptides bind to the brain’s morphine receptor, the very same receptor to which opiate drugs bind.”

In regards to studying the drug naloxone in wheat-consuming versus wheat-free schizophrenics. “Clinical studies that might lead to conclusions that don’t support drug use are often not performed.” Who else isn’t shocked by that statement?

“Nutritionists established the fact that wheat increase blood sugar more profoundly than table sugar thirty years ago. As we’ve discussed, they glycemic index, or GI, is the nutritionist’s measure of how much blood  sugar levels increase in the 90 to 120 minutes after a food is consumed. By this measure, whole wheat bread has a GI of 72, while plain table sugar has a GI of 59 (though some labs have gotten results as high as 65). In contrast, kidney beans have a GI of 51, grapefruit comes in at 25, while noncarbohydrate foods such as salmon and walnuts have GIs of essentially zero: Eating these foods has no effect on blood sugar. In fact, with few exceptions, few foods have as high a GI as foods made from wheat. Outside of dried sugar-rich fruits such as dates and figs, the only other foods that have GIs as high as wheat products are dried, pulverized starches such as cornstarch, rice starch, potato starch, and tapioca starch. (It is worth noting that these are the very same carbohydrates often used to make “gluten-free” food.)”

“Ever notice how people with a wheat belly almost invariably also have arthritis of one or more joints? If you haven’t, take notice of how many times someone who carts around the characteristic front loader also limps or winces with hip, knee, or back pain.”

“The more wheat products you consume, the higher and more frequently blood glucose increases, the more glycation occurs. Glycation represents an irreversible modification of proteins in the bloodstream and in body tissues, including joints such as knees, hips, and hands.
The cartilage in joints is uniquely susceptible to glycation, since cartilage cells are extremely long-lived and are incapable of reproducing. Once damaged, they do not recover. …The damage of glycation is cumulative, making cartilage brittle and unyielding, eventually crumbling. Joint inflammation, pain, and destruction results, the hallmarks of arthritis.”

“There is no nutritional deficiency that develops when you stop consuming wheat and other processed foods.”

Worth a read in my opinion!

The Wahls Protocol

I had no idea who Dr. Terry Wahls was until I saw a short interview with her on YouTube in April. (You can see that here.) As our quest continues to heal Kingston, I was of course immediately drawn to her story. These stories provide so much encouragement when it seems like change is not happening fast enough. Healings are happening every day, and one of these days it will be Kingston’s turn! 

In 2000 Dr. Wahls was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, though she continued to practice medicine, she was eventually confined to a wheelchair and her future seemed clearly headed in one direction. After conventional medicine proved unable to help her, she turned, as so many of us do, to alternative methods. Spending hours researching and scouring the internet until she discovered the keys to helping her get her life back.

In her book she details her diagnoses and all of the steps from nutrition and exercise to alternative therapies that helped her eventually be able to walk, then ride her bike, and regain her life. It’s a little more “scientific” than I cared about, so I skimmed some parts, but the basic message and principles go right along with what we have been discovering on our own.

Here are some excerpts from her book that I especially liked.

“More than a hundred years ago, Thomas Edison said, “The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his (or her) patients in the care of the human frame, in a proper diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease.” This became my new course, my passion, and my mission….I also became passionately committed to helping other people become new people, too.”

“If you are missing half of the parts in an “assembly required” toy, it’s not going to work. This is not a new concept, but for some reason people tend not to apply it to our cells. They have some general concept that “you are what you eat” or that certain foods are “healthy” or “unhealthy” but really, it’s more concrete than that. Your diet directly correlates to your cells’ ability to function.”

“People with autoimmune disease are more likely to have a leaky gut and if you have a leaky gut, gluten and dairy are particularly damaging. When the intestine has holes in it, incompletely digested wheat (gluten) and/or milk (casein) proteins can get into the bloodstream. These undigested particles are too large to be in the bloodstream. If you are genetically vulnerable to having your immune cells be activated by gluten and/or casein, this will cause even more issues. Twenty to 30 percent of those with European ancestry have the DQ2 or DQ8 genes, which put them at risk for developing gluten sensitivity. In these people, gluten and casein proteins in the bloodstream can trigger an inappropriate immune response. This can lead to a hyperreactive immune system that can then become supersensitive to other foods that weren’t bothersome before, such as tree nuts, citrus, strawberries, or other vegetables and fruits.”

“Saturated fat. Saturated fat has a hydrogen atom at every available spot on the fat. It is very stable to heat and does not convert to dangerouse oxidized fats, which can be very damaging. Animal fats and coconut oil are primarily saturated fats. Their stability makes them the best choice for cooking.”

“I am a conventionally trained internal medicine physician practicing at an academic center, so it’s probably not surprising that, prior to my diagnosis, I was skeptical of alternative and complementary medicine. I believed people were wasting a great deal of money on these alternative, unproven therapies – that is, until I became a patient with a progressive disease for which there is no cure.”

People are impatient. People with chronic illness are even more impatient – they want to be well! At least, they want to be well right up until they give up on ever feeling better. Do not give up!”

There is always hope. We constantly replace our cells and the molecules within cells. The lining of your gut is replaced every week to two weeks. It takes about a year to replace your skin. It takes approximately one to three years to replace the cells in your liver and kidney. Blood vessel cells (endothelial cells) are continually repairing themselves. It takes seven to ten years to replace the myelin insulation around the nerves in your brain, in your spinal cord, and out to your body. It takes fifteen years to replace the muscle cells in your heart. It takes twenty years to replace the minerals in your bones and teeth. It is happening right now, inside you. Every day your cells are replacing molecules, replacing mitochondria, growing more mitochondria, and rebuilding themselves. It may happen quickly or slowly, but it is happening.”

Have you heard of Dr. Wahls before? Have you noticed a difference in how you feel based on what you eat?


Book Review: The Grain-Free Family Table

When I came across Carrie Vitt’s website, Deliciously Organic, the first week we were on our Whole 30 diet it was a life saver. We literally would have been eating baked chicken and steamed veggies every night if it wasn’t for her Paleo meal plan option. Worth every penny of that monthly fee of $6.

Today her second cookbook released, The Grain-Free Family Table and I am thrilled to be sharing it with you here.

First and foremost, my favorite part is the beginning of the book. If you are unfamiliar with Carrie Vitt, a visit to the dentist in 2008 turned her world upside down and left her with a diagnosis of Hashimoto’s disease. Unwilling to accept the doctors conclusion that she would be on medication for the rest of her life, she set out to heal herself using a grain-free diet, whole food supplements and cleanses. In the cookbook she goes into specifics about her dental visit, how she felt afterwards, her symptoms that left her house bound for months on end with no hope in site, her final diagnosis and her path to healing. As we work our way towards a total healing for Kingston, it has been such an encouragement to read her story and know we are on the right path to accomplish that. God created our bodies to heal and every story that I read like this lets me know that although it takes a lot of work and time, opting out of surgery is the right choice for us.

Living grain-free is a big jump for most of us and when we first started this journey at the end of September I was overwhelmed and not sure what was left to cook with or how to convert a traditional recipe into a grain-free dish. I am so glad I have this cookbook now, all-in-one place I can find all the grains to avoid and sneaky places they add it. At a glance I can see the types of flours that are healthy to cook with and why fats aren’t all bad. I learned that lard is actually a good thing. Yes you read that right, lard has gotten a lot of unjustified bad press all these years. Lookout, it’s staging a comeback folks.

Other things you’ll find are helpful tips on kitchen equipment, how to get your kiddos to embrace grain-free, and a super helpful conversion chart for converting your old favorite recipes.

As I flipped through the book, I couldn’t believe how delicious everything looked. I mean I know it’s a cookbook so everything is staged to look perfect, but those grain-free biscuits from the Creamy Chicken and Mushroom Pot Pie were calling this biscuit-loving girl’s name. Hmm. Let me tell you, they were not exactly like a “regular” biscuit (most likely the cook and not the recipe :) ), but this dish did not disappoint.

In every recipe there are the regular grain-free directions and ingredients, then at the bottom there are directions on what to substitute if you are Paleo or dairy-free. Which is great since we are also dairy-free at the moment. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any cashew milk ready (there is a recipe at the back of the cookbook) so I subbed in coconut cream for the main chicken part. This did give the overall dish a little coconut flavor, but everyone of us still enjoyed it. Yep, even the kids, K asked for seconds. We’ll definitely be making this, and the grain-free biscuits on their own, again.

Another recipe we tried is the Cauliflower and Bacon Hash. It’s in the breakfast section, but we like breakfast for dinner once a week and this was our go to this week. A simple twist on eggs and hashbrowns, this dish calls for 4 ingredients and is pretty quick to whip up. We used turkey bacon instead of regular bacon since I’m not a bacon eater and everyone scarfed this up too. The leftovers heated up well a few days later too.

Along the same lines is her Cauliflower “Fried Rice” recipe. This is in the cookbook, but we actually made it a few weeks ago when it was on one of our meal plans. In place of rice you use cauliflower cut to the size of rice pieces (in a food processor or we used our Vitamix and we used Coconut Aminos (her recipe calls for tamari sauce). This recipe was such a hit with the kids they each asked for seconds and then thirds. My kids aren’t picky eaters, but they don’t often ask for seconds let alone thirds.

There are so many recipes I can’t wait to try! I would highly recommend this cookbook or her meal plans if you are new to a grain-free lifestyle or even looking for a change to your regular diet. Click here to pick up your own copy of  The Grain-Free Family Table and check out her meal plans here.

Disclaimer: I was provided with a complimentary cookbook to facilitate my review. All thoughts and opinions in this review are my own.