Friday, December 7, 2012

What I'm Reading Now: The Wheat Belly Diet by Dr. William Davis

Five or six years ago I dragged my husband to see a nutritionist. I wanted to lose some weight and eat healthier. Since he is the cook in the family, it only made sense to bring him with me so he could support my dietary changes. After going through a series of interview questions, the nutritionist found out that Michael suffered from migraines. "Cut wheat out," she said, "Its a huge trigger for headaches." So he did.

The results were similar to what Dr. Davis describes in his book. Within days of cutting wheat out, Michael stopped having gastrointestinal issues. Weeks later, he noticed he hadn't had a headache. Over the next several months he dropped about forty pounds without changing anything except avoiding wheat. My daughter and I continue to have wheat in our diet, but I suspect my daughter has inherited her father's sensitivity. Because of this, we have made the decision as a family to cut wheat out of all our diets beginning January 1. I picked the book up to get some pointers and suggestions.

Since we had already experienced what a dramatic difference a wheat free life can make, Michael and I ended up skipping the majority of the book and going to the end, where Dr. Davis deals with the specifics of the diet. Of the chapters I did read, the author seemed to use good sources, I learned a lot, and although I did not take the time to cross check the references, my "Bullshit Meter" didn't go off.

The diet Dr. Davis describes is what our nutritionist tried to get us to do those many years ago and what our trainer is talking to us about now. Eat a lot of vegetables and moderate amounts of meats and grains. Nothing new there. The reminder was helpful and the recipes were interesting. Because we are dealing with a teenager, we have decided to start by cutting wheat only. Once we get that down, we will start to reduce the other "no-nos" in our diet. I've learned over the years that too much change at once can be over whelming.

I would recommend this book, especially if you are having chronic digestive issues, headaches, or any other ailment that is not responding to medications or is just lurking in the background. As I said, I've seen the dramatic effect in my husband and I think it is worth at least conducting an experiment to see if skipping the wheat products helps out. You really have nothing to lose and everything to gain.


  1. Rather than spend 15 bucks to buy the it just wheat? Can you use quinoa, spelt, etc? I am trying to do higher protein, less carb but it is hard to avoid wheat altogether. Bought some Ezekiel cereal--going to try that. Cant live without cereal in the morning. Would be jonesing all day. Maybe oatmeal.

    1. Hi Cathy! Thanks for stopping by. I got the book out of the library, if you are willing to wait, it's worth it if only to copy some of the recipes in the back, as well his diet recommendations. My husband has a wheat allergy rather than Celiacs so he is less restricted in his diet. He does eat quinoa and oatmeal for in the morning as well as breakfast burritos wrapped in corn tortillas. Rye spelt is OK for him. Ezekiel cereal does have wheat in it, so my husband would not be able to eat it since he is allergic to wheat rather than gluten. We eat Puffins for wheat-free cold cereal. It tastes pretty good and isn't totally off the charts in sugar content. I would suggest doing what we will be doing in January. Go through your cupboards, fridge, and freezer and toss anything that contains wheat, including the flour. Ultimately, what Dr. Davis is recommending, beyond dumping wheat products, is a low glycemic diet. You can pick up a book with glycemic indexes or probably find websites that list them. My family will be working our way towards that. However with a teenager, we have to go one step at time or it will be full rebellion. Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, and Plum Market have a lot of wheat free products. There are also numerous websites devoted to people with Celiacs that have great recipes and ideas. One more piece of advice: be willing to give up bread completely. You won't find a wheat free substitute that is worth eating. Hope this helps and good luck!