Monday, January 02, 2012

Wheat Belly.

Dear People in My Life,

Preface: You may realize by now that I am a curious person. I question things. I don’t just take it at face value. I want to know the whole story. I love fringe and outsider thinking. And this leads me into some very off-the-beaten-path territories sometimes. But I love trying on new thought and belief systems in search of greater truths. To me, it’s fun. But to others, I can see that it clearly threatens them in some deep way, making them defensive, dismissive, or most often, just generally uncomfortable – “can we talk about pop culture and the minutia of our day now?” Yes, I guess so.

Doesn’t stop me!

So the latest path that I’ve been following can be generally filed under the label of “nutrition.” It’s a natural extension from my love of food, which led to a love of cooking, which led to interest in farming and thinking about food sources, and now, I’ve just been thinking about what is the best for the human body. What is the fuel that makes a healthy mind and body, and what is the crap that turns us into sloven miscreants? I don’t know about you, but I want to be the best possible version of myself.

It’s amazing to me how much there is to know, and how so much of it is just not obvious. We eat 3 times a day, every day! It’s something we cannot avoid!! And yet, I’d wager most people just don’t put too much thought into it. They eat what’s available and easy.

So my latest guide down this path has been a podcast called “Gnostic Media” hosted by Jan Irvin. He’s had a series of interviews with doctors and nutritionists to discuss a variety of whole health applications. For the past few weeks, I’ve been obsessed with the idea that one such individual advocated – that the modern diet has excluded a slew of essential minerals and anti-oxidants, and that a large percentage of modern diseases have been the result.

But it’s not like our ancestors took vitamins, you nay-sayers might be thinking. Well, this doctor explains that we used to cook with wood ash, and it would get in our food. And that wood ash would be spread into the vegetable gardens as well, and that this was the source of essential minerals that we have been missing out on when we switch to electrical, stove-top cooking. This Doctor claims to have cured everything from type 2 diabetes to alzheimers’s by introducing the missing minerals en masse to patients. I can’t go into this any further, or I’ll lose track of my main point. If you are interested, listen here to the podcast on minerals.

What I really wanted to share is today’s interview on……Wheat Belly!

He says wheat creates that gross fat that wraps around your organs and causes a distended belly. And that by just eliminating wheat, you can take inches off your waistline, as well as correcting a lot of other health problems from IBS to skin problems. Again, if you want the details, listen to the interview here. Or read testimonials on Dr. Davis’ website.

Now. If you want to be on the same page as me, of course, first listen to those podcasts. And then, please join me in a wheat free diet! I’m avoiding wheat at all costs, starting immediately. And come New Years, that is my #1 resolution. I am going to go at least 4 wks completely wheat free, and will report back on any changes I notice. And hopefully, I’ll keep it going from there, but I’m giving it at least that much time to figure out for myself what the benefits might be.

I think it will be hard, but not impossible. Biggest pitfalls are obviously beer, pizza, pasta and bread. But it’s not a resolution if it’s not a challenge. Wish me luck!

And people in my life whom I love and want to live long, happy, disease-free lives: please join me in taking nothing for granted when it comes to what we consume. I swear – it will be fun! (and for another day, get me started on water.)

From a Macleans interview with Dr. Davis:

"William Davis, a preventive cardiologist who practices in Milwaukee, Wis., argues in his new book Wheat Belly that wheat is bad for your health—so bad that it should carry a surgeon general’s warning.

Q: You say the crux of the problem with wheat is that the stuff we eat today has been genetically altered. How is it different than the wheat our grandparents ate?
A: First of all, it looks different. If you held up a conventional wheat plant from 50 years ago against a modern, high-yield dwarf wheat plant, you would see that today’s plant is about 2½ feet shorter. It’s stockier, so it can support a much heavier seedbed, and it grows much faster. The great irony here is that the term “genetic modification” refers to the actual insertion or deletion of a gene, and that’s not what’s happened with wheat. Instead, the plant has been hybridized and crossbred to make it resistant to drought and fungi, and to vastly increase yield per acre. Agricultural geneticists have shown that wheat proteins undergo structural change with hybridization, and that the hybrid contains proteins that are found in neither parent plant. Now, it shouldn’t be the case that every single new agricultural hybrid has to be checked and tested, that would be absurd. But we’ve created thousands of what I call Frankengrains over the past 50 years, using pretty extreme techniques, and their safety for human consumption has never been tested or even questioned.

Q: How does wheat make us fat, exactly?
A: It contains amylopectin A, which is more efficiently converted to blood sugar than just about any other carbohydrate, including table sugar. In fact, two slices of whole wheat bread increase blood sugar to a higher level than a candy bar does. And then, after about two hours, your blood sugar plunges and you get shaky, your brain feels foggy, you’re hungry. So let’s say you have an English muffin for breakfast. Two hours later you’re starving, so you have a handful of crackers, and then some potato chips, and your blood sugar rises again. That cycle of highs and lows just keeps going throughout the day, so you’re constantly feeling hungry and constantly eating. Dieticians have responded to this by advising that we graze throughout the day, which is just nonsense. If you eliminate wheat from your diet, you’re no longer hungry between meals because you’ve stopped that cycle. You’ve cut out the appetite stimulant, and consequently you lose weight very quickly. I’ve seen this with thousands of patients.

Q: You seem to be saying that aside from anything else, wheat is essentially the single cause of the obesity epidemic.
A: I wouldn’t go so far as to say that all obesity is due to wheat. There are kids, of course, who drink Coca-Cola and sit in front of video games for many hours a day. But I’m speaking to the relatively health-minded people who think they’re doing the right thing by limiting fat consumption and eating more whole grains, and there’s a clear subset of people who are doing that and gaining weight and don’t understand why. It causes tremendous heartache. They come into my office and say, “I exercise five times a week, I’ve cut my fat intake, I watch portion size and eat my whole grains—but I’ve gone up three dress sizes.”

Examples of Wheat:
Breading, coating mixes
Communion wafers
Flour or cereal products
Pastry and pies
Soy sauce
Teriyaki sauce
Wheat breakfast cereals

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