I have just finished reading The Paleo Solution (by Robb Wolf) and Wheat Belly (by William Davis). I have been trying to avoid eating bread, sugar and dairy (mainly cheese) for a while now, yet my intention was really just to lose a few lbs. I never really knew the science behind my reasons for this lifestyle change, until I read these books and read some blogs and other references and am convinced that this is the way human beings should eat.

I have been blown away. Wheat, known as a staple in most everyone’s life and meals, causes or worsens the symptoms of so many ailments – from upset digestion and irritable bowel syndrome, to asthma, to sore joints, to eczema; to much more important and serious illnesses, like schizophrenia, diabetes and multiple sclerosis. Shocking. You may be thinking that this is bullshit. Well, my uninformed and mislead friend; it is not bullshit. Keep reading.

My interest in Paleo(lithic) eating habits just began recently with my research and interest in CrossFit. Many people swear by Paleo and I figured it sounded interesting – at least we could try it and see and feel what happens. After all, I have been pretty much eating this way for years. Meat (good!), veg (I like veg!), nuts and seeds (ok) and healthy fats (avocados…mmmm) – sounds good.

This blog post is about some insights and interesting tidbits I took from reading these books; and not a review. The books are excellent and I highly recommend reading them.

Wheat Belly explains how eliminating wheat from our diets can prevent fat storage, shrinks unsightly bulges and reverses many health problems. Yes, the term ‘wheat belly’ refers to the enormous layer of visceral fat from the waists of so many people. The book explains in great scientific detail the biology of what wheat gluten does to your digestive system – and how your body reacts to it hormonally and chemically. Initially, it didn’t make sense. What about the lack of activity nowadays? What about fast food? Pop? Sugar? Video games?

Another key point to Wheat Belly is that wheat is in everything. EVERYTHING! It is seemingly unavoidable. Once you start some research you will find that the switches are worth it – especially if you start feeling great, sleeping great, performing great and losing those dreaded moobs!

The Paleo Solution describes the Paleolithic, or hunter-gatherer, diet. Robb Wolf also gets deep into the history of the hunter-gatherer lifestyle and how the agricultural revolution has changed the way people eat and, subsequently, digest food. He talks about the benefits of the change and easy ways to implement this in your life. Recipes and food replacements are included and they are creative and appetizing.

Now for some biology 101. I am sure you have all heard about the glycemic index. The glycemic index (GI) measures the speed at which food is digested and converted to glucose – our body’s energy source. The faster the food breaks down, the higher the rating on the index. The index sets sugar (glucose) at 100 and scores all foods against that number. Foods that are made from wheat have very high Glycemic Index. Here are some examples:
• Table sugar is 59
• Mars bar is 68
• Snickers bar is 41
• Apple is 38
• A slice of whole wheat bread has a whopping GI of 72! Unbelievable right?!? Eating a piece of bread will raise your blood sugar more than a chocolate bar or a can of coke.

High blood sugar provokes high insulin production, which is released by the pancreas. The higher the blood sugar, the more insulin must be released to move the sugar into the body’s cells – such as those as muscles and the liver. When the pancreas’ inability to produce insulin in response to blood sugar occurs, diabetes develops. But you don’t have to be diabetic to experience high blood sugar and high insulin. The catch here is that foods made from wheat, convert to sugar so much easier. This constant high blood sugar, high insulin production cycle, will eventually cause the pancreas to stop producing insulin. In Wheat Belly, the author has cases of reversal of diabetes when all wheat is removed from the diet.

You may be thinking that this post will funnel towards gluten and Celiac disease. Well, yes and no. The Paleo Solution and Wheat Belly do talk in-depth about Celiac disease and how the damaged intestine lining is affected by wheat gluten which causes the sufferer with major stomach upset and hours, and potential days, of diarrhea, stomach pains and mental fuzziness. I am just noting that if you are looking to improve your diet, watch what goes into your body – ESPECIALLY if it says gluten-free on the package. A main point made in both books is that gluten-free foods, which do not have any wheat gluten (good, right?), are made with certain carbohydrates as ingredients – corn starch, tapioca starch, rice starch and potato starch. Interestingly, these carbohydrates have higher GI than wheat. You may think you are eating well, and you are because you are eliminating wheat from your diets, but your blood sugar is still rising and your pancreas is being affected adversely, which causes visceral fat deposition along your abdomen. Be aware.

Wheat also has addictive properties. Like morphine, heroin or any opioid, once wheat enters your blood stream, it attaches itself to your opiate receptors – causing you to become addicted. You seem skeptical once again? Of course you are. You have been raised to think that you need wheat. You need grains. You need those all healthy, all powerful, healthy whole grains. Just eat something with wheat, wait two hours while your blood sugar comes down, and see how you want and need some more?

You want a better sleep? You want to be in a better mood once you are up? You want to lose that spare tire that you can’t seem to shake (or wait, it does shake….)? All I am saying is try it for 30 days.

Open your mind; let yourself think beyond the status quo; and that yes, you are a smart, informed consumer; and that yes, you want to know what goes into your body.

It is just 30 days.

Advertisements