Have you ever wondered why no matter how many whole grains and no matter how much whole wheat you eat, you just can’t seem to feel your best? Let me start off with a disclaimer; I am not a healthcare professional, nor do I play one on TV. My observations are my own, and my results may differ from yours. Please be smart and seek the assistance of a licensed healthcare professional before making any drastic changes to your eating habits.
Now that we have that out of the way let me give you some background information. I am a typical 30-something with a relatively sedentary lifestyle. Until my late 20’s I had a very active lifestyle but things started to change as chronic back pain began to take over my life. Long story short, I’ve gone through just about every rehabilitation route you can think of, most recently including surgery.
I’ve learned through research that wheat, or more specifically a protein found in the gluten of wheat, can cause allergic reactions in some people. Things such as sacroilitis (this is what I suffer from), asthma, hay fever, eczema, abdominal cramps, bloating, chest pains, depression, mood swings, adhd, etc have all been attributed to wheat allergies. This is not an exhaustive list, for more information and to conduct your own research, I would recommend starting with this article. After more research and talking to a few healthcare professionals I decided to try and give up the wheat.
The first thing I noticed was the belly bloat, or the absence of it. I have regularly woken up in the morning as my “normal” size and gone to bed at night almost two pant sizes larger for as long as I can remember. This issue disappeared after just three days with no wheat products. I kid you not.
Next was the increase in my energy levels and the diminished back pain. I say diminished because it still gets “tired” if I overexert myself but it’s nothing compared to the debilitating pain that had my legs giving out from under me that I had been experiencing for the past couple of years. I can now bend, stretch, reach and turn without wanting to die. That by itself is worth every loaf of bread I’ve had to pass by in the grocery store.
Lastly, I’ve noticed a significant drop in weight. This may be due in part to the absence of belly bloat, but I think the drastic reduction of carbohydrates in my diet has more to do with it than anything else.
One other major thing I’ve noticed- I crave fruit. The fresher and jucier the better. I no longer crave brownies, cookies and cakes, instead I find myself reaching for healthier options, such as fruits and veggies. This is astounding. I have never been a fruit and veggie lover and now I don’t even have to pretend to be one!
I’m not saying that giving up wheat is for everyone. Like I said earlier, these are just my experiences. They are the result of my own research and discussions with my own healthcare professionals. I’ve made mistakes, I’ve slipped and gone back, I’ve given in to temptation. But the important thing is that I keep trying. It’s important to me to feel my best. And if removing wheat and whole grains will help me accomplish that, then so be it!
One last piece of advice: If you choose to drop the wheat, do it naturally. Don’t head out in search of “gluten free/ wheat free” substitutions. Those have their own issues. Choose foods that are naturally wheat free, your wallet will thank you and so will your stress levels.
Desiree’ is the writer and creator of Life with our Family, a family friendly blog about raising a blended family, cooking with kids, and the ups and downs of a novice gardener.