My Big Fat Wheat Belly

Even though I lost 30 pounds since I started yoga, without trying, just through the practice, the one thing that never seems to go away is the belly.   Apparently I am not the only one to notice this phenomenon.
Click to look inside
William Davids, the author of Wheat Belly (and a cardiologist) opens his book by directing our attention to previous generations, the one living in the 50's in particular, he says, and I paraphrase: look at the pictures, do you remember how people were a lot thinner? how obese children were the rarity rather than the norm?

Davids practices in Milwaukee where people are:
"panting-and-sweating-after one-flight-of-stairs fat... 240-pound 18-year old women, SUVs tipped sharply to the driver's side, double-wide wheelchairs..."

He then brings us to this time and notices how his wife being a triathlon athlete has friends in her training group that although physically in shape show fat around their body.  How can that be? he wonders.  Does this not stop cold the theory that all Americans are lazy couch potatoes?  He says that the majority of the people visiting his office say they don't get it, they eat "healthy" and they "exercise" and still...

And so comes his hypothesis (which of course he has proven by patients he has observed first hand):
"I believe the increased consumption of grains-or more  accurately, the increased consumption of this genetically altered thing called modern wheat- explains the contrast between slender, sedentary people of the fifties and overweight twenty-first century people, triathletes included."
Documented effect of wheat in humans include: appetite stimulation, exposure to brain-active exorphins (counterpart of endorphins) exaggerated blood sugar, process of glycation (which causes disease and aging) and more!

Who knew? Wheat, and then again, supermarkets are FILLED TO THE BRIM with it.  Matter of fact it is hard, VERY hard to find foods that do not contain wheat.  The other day I got myself a pumpkin soup, and it had tapioca starch in it!  since when does soup need starch?

How about those gluten free things they sell in the supermarket?

I have tried baking gluten free stuff and I have never felt worse after eating them.  The book explains why.  It is because these products supplement flour made of wheat with other starches like: tapioca, potato or cornstarch.  All worse than the original modified wheat and filled with carbohydrates.

Why Worry About the Belly?

Krishnamacharya:
Let me tell you what Krishnamacharya says about the belly: he says that a big belly is the main cause of untimely death.

Dr. Williams says:
"Wheat belly is not just a cosmetic issue but a phenomenon with real health consequences. In addition to producing inflammatory hormones such as leptin, visceral fat is also a factory for estrogen production on both sexes, the same estrogen that confers female characteristic on girls at puberty such as widening of the hips and growth of the breasts." 
Hello man boobs, I mean wheat man boobs
And also:
"Wheat can reach deep down into virtually every organ of the body, from the intestines, liver, heart and thyroid gland all the way up to the brain. In fact, there's hardly an organ that is not affected by wheat in some potentially damaging way"
Cases:

The book presents dramatic cases as, for example, a woman that came to him after being threatened to have part of her intestines cut of and being forced to carry a bag with her for the rest of her life so that elimination could happen.  Something unthinkable, but the type of thing doctors recommend these days.

This doctor asked the woman to try wheat free for one month.  She gave it a go and came back 3 months later feeling better and healed.

There are other interesting patent's stories worth the read in the book.

Is Whole Wheat Better?

No! - 2 slices of whole wheat bread, he says, send the same response into your body that two spoons of sugar.  Just because whole wheat bread might be slightly better than white it does not make it good.

So What do I Eat?

Wheat is in everything, and if the flour used for gluten free is not right then what do I eat?  Plants, fruits, meat...  Not so good for a yogi.  OR he recommends you try the original wheat, the non-genetically modified.  Where can you find that? here: http://growseed.org/ a place dedicated to maintaining the old time real grain.

I have tried a recipe made with almond flour on the book and it tastes good! (almond and coconut flour are OK, phew!)

---

To me this is an eye-opener.  I was completely brain washed by the HEART BENEFITS or the stamp of approval of the surgeon general on cereals, which are really a BIG FAT LIE.

For more see the book, you will not regret it.  There is in it all you need to know about the glycemic index (amount of sugar in the blood) and AGE, the correlation between the faster aging process and eating wheat.



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26 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. Hi Claudia,

    Excellent and timely post. Personally, I began noticing results immediately after cutting out wheat, and starchy carbs from my diet. I am very sensitive to them. I now derive my main source of carbohydrates from greens, vegetables, and whole oats. When I indulge in wheat or heavy starch products, my yoga and rock climbing suffer as a result (don't get me started after I enjoy a slice or 2 of pizza and go for a bind in Mari D the morning after.

    My friend, who owns a bakery, recently told me a very interesting story. I forget the exact details, but the core of it included how decades ago, [x] oil was primarily used in baking products. It is fairly healthy when consumed in moderation. However, lobbyists representing farmers that produced a product that made [y] oil, began pushing hard for its use, even though it essentially solidifies in our arteries. The considerations of health were never a concern and it's now pervasive. He says you cannot walk down any grocery aisle without seeing this oil used in every baking product. I wonder if the promotion of wheat falls into the same category?

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    1. Lu, I notice the same thing, I have been having a day "off" on saturdays where I indulge, and practice is just not the same on Sundays! I feel slugish, tired... and about the lobbying business, yeah, we must keep our eyes open indeed! Would be nice to know which oil it was... The promotion of wheat seems to definitely fall into it, every supermarket is filled with it! EVERYWHERE, it is actually very hard to find something that would not have it. I checked!

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    2. You have to read and decipher every label till you no what is safe to eat if it does not say GF. Even with GF you need to check to see what is in it also. I do not eat wheat anymore. Tried it once after quitting got heartburn, headache and could not stay awake.

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  3. As a triathlete and yogi that cannot seem to drop the belly fat, I'm getting frustrated in how the extra fat gets in the way of my forward folds and other poses. This post is quite timely, and seems like something I really need to read. Thanks!

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    1. Hi Carolina, I have been feeling the exact same thing, the forward bends, the Marichis even, Passasana, Kurmasana!...

      Two weeks into trying this I find I am more able and even tempted to do breath retention while pulling the stomach in a-la-Krishnamacharya during practice, so for example I try it before kurmasana, and get to go deeper into the forward bends... to me this book is quite a revelation and very worth a try.

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  4. Carolina John-I'm a former competitive triathlete and ultra-runner. I know with endurance athlete, "skinny-fat" is a term many in the world are familiar with. Here's an interesting read: http://lavamagazine.com/training/the-triathletes-anti-resolution-stave-off-the-skinny/#axzz1uNruDqeY

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  5. As a yogini who was overweight until her early-twenties and now eats 2 to 5 slices of whole-wheat bread per day, sometimes add wheat grains to soups and stews and loves seitan (which is nothing else than wheat gluten), I have to say that my now flat belly makes me have some reservations regarding Dr. William Davis’s apparent demonization of wheat. (But I have not read the book so I cannot really argue against – or for – his work.)

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    1. oh lucky you! To be honest all I know is I know nothing other than what happens to my own body, and for me, since nothing ever worked it is worth giving it a go... but lucky you indeed :-)

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    2. Magoncal, Interesting point. Dr. Davis explains that even though people may be skinny does not mean that they are healthy. The whole wheat still affects your blood sugar. Dr. Davis was running several miles a day and still was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Check out facebook wheat belly and read Wheat Belly. This book has changed my life and is quite an eyeopener.

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  6. Oh Claudia, I read this book back in October of last year, and what cannot be highlighted enough is the addictive quality of many grains, particularly wheat. Even knowing how non beneficial wheat is to my constitution I often cave in, but getting better and better at not doing so. It is even worse for people with IBS or digestive issues. It also makes sense from an ayurvedic perspective. I was diagnosed as mostly Kapha, and wheat creates a lot of imbalance...

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    1. That's right!... yes, James in on his fourth day and is dreaming of waffles, I had that two weeks ago now not so much, but I am allowing myself a day off... It all started cause after returning from India I was eating waffles for breakfast every day till I noticed 4 extra pounds! which led to research, and to this, with a day off cuase I started the findings through the Tim Ferris blog...

      Guess maybe the day off steers me away from cravings although sometimes I just want a good sandwich, but I know it would make me feel awful.

      Interesting that it aligns with Ayurveda as well...

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  7. Bobbie and I have been down this road for a while -- somewhat part of the mostly raw diet. Sorry to do a link here, Claudia, but a search for "wheat" on our site would pull up everything. My cholesterol's dropped, we both lost a lot of weight and body fat -- our doctor was pretty amazed.

    http://theconfluencecountdown.com/

    Apologies if this isn't the best protocol.

    Bobbie's also done a report on wheat, as part of a college course she taught last fall. (She did the work with the students. How's that for a teacher?!)

    S

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  8. That is fine, whatever helps is good, I will have to do that search and read more about the wheat studies... Interesting with the raw diet, I tried for a while but could not keep up with the amount of work it represented with all the dehydration, but perhaps I went to fancy...

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  9. Another thing to remember: We're talking about recently (last 50 or so years) hybridized wheat. I've been making bread with heritage grain, and it's great.

    And, yes, raw is a lot of work. We end up eating a lot of salads -- and the Vita-Mix is key. But if we can plan ahead, we do some dehydrating.

    I hope you've marked Feb. 28, 2013 on your calendar. :)

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    1. Me thinks I will try that heritage gran too, to mix with the almond flour, see if I can find a bit more consistency so I can spread things on it!

      About Feb 28... tempting indeed.

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  10. Looking forward to reading the book! Thanks to the Yoga Retreat Center I work at I have benefited by more yoga and less gluten. I never considered myself sensitive to gluten but I certainly notice a difference when I am not eating it. My belly feels way less blotted and looks noticeably flatter. We have so many guests and yoga teacher training students that have gluten allergies so I have been fortunate to learn how to eat gluten free and adopt this way of eating. I feel way better, have more energy and way less cravings. It definitely works for me too!

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    1. Guess seeing so many different students go through would do that... yes, lucky you! the book is very interesting.

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  11. hmm.. interesting. Definitely interested in reading the book now.. I'm concerned though that as a recent vegan I will have nothing left to eat.. Hearing that Soy is bad (estrogen producing) now wheat is bad (seitan, cereal). Im concerned I will have nothing left to eat if I listen to all the chorus.. I do have a persistant belly I can't seem to get rid of.. Does wheat belly eating deny steel cut oatmeal for breakfast?

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    1. Anon, I TOTALLY hear you, it is very difficult. As per the oats, it does not say specifically, so for example what I am doing is putting half of steel cut oatmeals and half of finelly chopped almonds, walnuts and grinded flax seeds, plus other nuts. That with bananas, so at least reducing greately!

      It is very hard for vegetarians, however I did find a way to make bread with almond flour, and the heritage grain (mixing it so the effect of wheat is not so hard and also the grains are not genetically altered)...

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  12. hi claudia, 
    so, i was discussing this with a friend yesterday (who wanted to lose weight), and it made me pick up my food bible- healing and whole foods (recommended to me by an amazing acupuncturist years ago). it says that wheat "encourages growth, weight gain and fat formation". so i guess it is not a new thing.also, they mention that another problem with wheat is rancidity of the flour (also an issue with nuts and oils) which can cause allergic reactions.so does this book say that all the modern grains are bad? there is still rye and millet which make good breads.

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  13. Suzanne, I dont remember specifically about rye or millet, I do remember he mentioning how the "glutten free" alternatives are horrible, like potato starch or the famous tapioca starch, which is pretty much in every glutten free product out there... as well as corn starch etc...

    Interesting what you found bout wheat on the food bible...

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  14. Claudia,

    I looked at the Wheat Belly blog and there was a list of what we could eat (if we followed the diet) and what we couldn't.... There were a lot of things mentioned we couldn't eat. I always thought oatmeal was really healthy, the natural rolled oats or steel cut kind. That and it lists honey and agave in the no-no section. This seems kind of crazy. Is it possible to just cut out the wheat as far as cereal goes and breads?

    Brianna

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  15. Brianna, I did not know there was a blog for them, will check it out.  I read in the book that agave and oats were not so good, but I still do steel cut oats in the mornings, after practice, and I do half what I used to do, and add the other half as chopped nuts, which comes out great...  so far this has been working for me.

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  16. claudia, did your belly fat go away after cutting back on wheat food?

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  17. Usually I am not regular to read article on blogs, but I would like to say that this write-up very pressured me to check out and do it! Your writing taste has been surprised me. Thank you, quite nice article.

    Andres
    stomach help
    stomach help

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