When you avoid wheat do you feel better?

Hard to get away from Wheat these days.

“Why would I want to do that?”, you might ask.

Excellent question.

Many reasons, some of which we talk about today.

We continue our series on the topics of food allergies and food sensitivities. This article focuses on issues with sensitivity to wheat and other grains containing gluten.

In a previous article we discussed two best selling books by physicians that discuss the health issues related to wheat. One book is called Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight and Find Your Path Back to Health by William Davis, MD. Buy Here

The second is called Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth about Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar–Your Brain’s Silent Killers by the neurologist David Perlmutter, MD. Buy Here

Dr. Davis describes how some of his patients decided on their own to eliminate wheat. As a result some found that their health problems resolved. Intrigued, he offered this simple diet change to some of his other patients, and was surprised at the dramatic changes he saw. After seeing the same beneficial results over and over again in over 1500 people, he felt he needed to write and let the world know what he found.

Dr. Perlmutter reported a similar story. He used this simple treatment of having someone eliminate a food from their diet and then seeing dramatic changes in their health.

Both Dr. Davis’ and Dr. Perlmutter’s books have some critics. However, the criticism says more about the short-comings of medical research than about these books. Both Dr. Davis and Dr. Perlmutter noticed significant improvements in their patients’ health when wheat was eliminated from their diets. But modern medicine often denies the validity and the value of what are called ‘outcomes studies’.

As we mentioned before, ‘outcomes studies’ refer to studies where many variables are changed at once, and the outcome that is measured focuses on whether people are healthier or longer lived because of the intervention.

Purists complain that it is impossible to control a study with more than one variable. True, but all that you can study using these simplistic statistical methods are simple things – such as does this drug do better than a placebo. Studies with only one controlled variable fit this statistical framework that medical science embraces. So this approach leads to the approval of drugs that may cause a tumor to shrink in size, but do not lead to any increase in survival for those treated.

Our approach to heath and wellness often follows an “outcome” approach. We look at what is going on for a person and then make changes based on years of experience and expertise. Not just our experience, but the experience of others over the last centuries that utilize different approaches to healing. We forget that the wealth of knowledge and understanding regarding health is vast and what we consider a “new” treatment is often quite old. If that method is effective – and safe – it does not need discarding in favor of a new pill. It is part of the shared wisdom.

I feel outcomes a valid measure for any medical intervention. If you try something – and it makes you feel better AND improves your health – do not let someone talk you out of your own experience because there is not yet a study to prove the validity of what you tried.

Just try it, and if it works for you, keep doing it.

Both of the books discuss a recent understanding into how wheat is grown in modern agriculture. Currently wheat is not a GMO (genetically modified organism). The issue stems more from the selection process, a process that for centuries helped farmers cull out the best producing seed to yield better crops. However in the last 60 years this selection process felt influence from industrial agricultural methods and practice. The result is a current variety of wheat wonderful for the farmers, but terrible for the human beings eating it.

Both Dr. Davis and Dr. Perlmutter describe modern wheat as a “perfect poison” for human beings. There are no more fields of tall stalks of wheat with golden grains waving in the breeze. Modern cultivars of wheat are only 18 inches high when mature and yield twice the amount of grain per acre than the older varieties. The wheat grown has very little protein – less than half of the older varieties. The new wheat has 50 times the amount of gluten.

You read right – 50 times.

In addition, a number of other gliadin proteins previously never found in wheat appear regularly now. Proteins that are much more prone to cause an allergic reaction than gluten. Current tests that look for evidence in your blood for reaction to gluten do not test for these new gluten-like proteins found in modern wheat. This may explain why so many people with a clear experience of reaction to wheat have negative blood tests. In fact a new diagnosis in the last two years, which gives validity to the reality of wheat intolerance, called “Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity” or NCGS seems to reflect this issue.

I urge you – do not get caught up in the erroneous arguments about the science around food sensitivities. Especially sensitivities to wheat. I mention the books by Dr. Davis and Perlmutter, but in our office, we see significant evidence that wheat is a corrosive toxin for many people. If you base your health solely on whether a study was done for it, then your health might suffer.

In the end – the proof is in the trying.

It is easy, simple and cheap to give up wheat for a few weeks. As you do – notice what happens.

As things go, fairly easy.

If you have a real sensitivity, the results will be obvious. If you feel better with wheat out of your diet, the real proof comes the day when you add wheat back in. You potentially end up feeling ill – like someone pulled the top of your head off and filled it with tar. People may try a period of eliminating wheat but it becomes a lifelong habit because of this personal experience of how better they felt without the wheat.

We’ll talk in a later article about why you may not want to fill the gaps in your diet with ‘gluten-free’ foods – since often these foods contain too much sugar and too many simple carbohydrates. We will save that for another time.

We do have some people who successfully added back wheat in the form of more ancient grains like the Einhorn variety of wheat. Also, there are ways to make breads using a process of fermentation that makes a true sourdough bread. This process is not difficult, and we will post recipes for the starter and bread soon.

In the meantime I encourage you to experiment with this notion of bringing awareness to the role wheat plays in your diet. How much do you consume on a daily basis? After a meal that has wheat do you feel tired or groggy? Do you have constant joint pain or stiffness? Wheat might play a role there too. Bringing your awareness to these things is a safe and easy way to begin making a lifelong change for your wellness.

Give it a try.

Leave a comment. Ask a question. We are at your service.

Until next time – To Your Health

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