Saturday, October 1, 2011

Wheat Belly

I've been following Dr. William Davis' blog for a long time, and I've made enough links to it, that I have sometimes felt like a bit of a groupie.  So when his book came out recently, I didn't think I needed to read it.  After all, I thought I'd already absorbed his message.

But then I did recommend it to a friend who had been diagnosed with a dairy allergy in childhood and has been living with IBS for most of her life.   As it happens, we went camping together on the trip I described last week, and she couldn't believe how good she felt after a couple of days of eating almost no grain.  I had told her about going grain free before (I was worried I was beginning to sound like a proselytiser), but for the longest time she wasn't convinced.  We share an interest in wholesome cooking, and like most people, she found it very difficult to believe that whole grains might be bad for you.

Yet she felt so good after our camping trip.  And she lost 4 lb as well, which was a bonus.  So when I told her about Wheat Belly, she picked up one of the last few copies on the shelf at her local bookstore, and has been most enthusiastic about ditching grains ever since.  Not only is she feeling fantastic after about a month, but she has continued to lose weight and is now down almost 16 lb.  Effortlessly.

You see, she realized her dairy allergy was most likely either a misdiagnosis, or she may have grown out of it.  Because she doesn't have it anymore.  However, she most definitely does have a severe gluten intolerance that she hadn't been aware of. This would explain the chronic IBS symptoms.  Incidentally, her family physician had told her there was little to do about this, and that she would most likely have to live with it for the rest of her life.  He never mentioned that avoiding gluten is often an effective way to alleviate IBS symptoms.  How pathetic is that?

While I was at her house the other day, I peeked inside Dr Davis' book lying on the coffee table.  I realized it was worth a second look.  For one thing, it has some interesting looking recipes in the back.  I happened to open the book on his recipe for a pizza crust made of cauliflower.  I had found a very similar recipe online myself some time ago, and have made it several times already.  It's a big hit at our house!

If you haven't encountered it before, I'm pretty sure you are totally doubtful.  However, it's really delicious and even if you eat loads of it, it doesn't leave you feeling bloated afterwards the way regular pizza does.  I don't cook the cauliflower beforehand though;  I mix the raw florets in the food processor until they resemble coarse breadcrumbs.  I like to lay the crust on a sheet of parchment and bake it in the barbecue on a pizza stone.  Oh, and since I'm incapable of following a recipe, I throw on ingredients that catch my fancy.  The version in the picture above had tomatoes and yellow peppers from the garden, blobs of pesto from last summer's harvest, and mozzarella.  Yum.

But to get back to Wheat Belly, I decided to buy it after all.  Actually, I downloaded it onto my eReader, thinking this will be a useful format in the kitchen if I want to try out the recipes at the back.  If you're unfamiliar with eReaders, you should know that you can download the desktop application for free, and download books either from the store, or from your local library.  It's much cheaper than buying the book itself, and doesn't take up any shelf space either.

And I don't regret that I did it.  I'm finding the book very enjoyable to read - he writes humorously and explains metabolic processes in an easy-to-read manner that people who are as biology-challenged as I am can understand.  As he says, bear with him, and you'll understand more about lipoproteins than 98% of physicians.

I won't write a review, because I haven't finished the book yet.  Besides, you can find plenty of them (70 at last count), including many descriptions of personal experiences, on Amazon.  The only negative review I found seems to come from somebody who likely didn't read the book.  (Dr. Davis suspects it came from a grain lobby insider).

Go check it out - this book is especially well-suited for anybody who can't seem to lose weight in spite of eating "healthily".  Or if you (or somebody you know) suffer from celiac disease, arthritis, diabetes, heart disease or poor cholesterol.  Or even if you are simply curious about what the low-carb movement is all about.  I'm pretty sure you'll agree with me that Dr. Davis makes a compelling case against the consumption of wheat.


  1. I should add that I tried the flaxseed wraps from the recipe section and they are worth making again. They'd be especially good for people who are looking for an alternative to sandwiches.

    If you don't have the book, there's an online version here:

  2. Helping a good friend on the road to optimal health -- it doesn't get any better than that! I had a similar issue my whole life up til now, thinking milk was the devil (yet never getting any better for not drinking it) because my doctor said I was lactose intolerant. And that I would be for life. Wrong, wrong, gloriously wrong!

    'Wheat Belly' is one of those books I want to buy multiple copies of and leave them in airports and on buses, hoping that people will stumble across health on their way from Boston to Chicago.

  3. Oh, and re: the negative reviews on Amazon -- did you see how many people came out and commented about those reviews? The word is getting out; people are figuring out what truly works for their bodies, and are becoming vocal about it. I'm glad.

  4. Oh, I feel the same way! The degree of disinformation out there is quite horrific, so I am also encouraged by those comments and stories.

    I wish my husband could hand out copies of the book to his patients. Too many people are totally resistant to the idea of giving up grains (not to mention sugar and processed foods), but there are also too many overweight patients with CVD and/or diabetes who have no idea what they can do about it. Or diabetic patients who have been with a dietician for years without seeing any improvement in their condition or weight.

    He has referred quite a few patients to this blog as a starting point for further reading. He has seen a small number of major successes. As Kurt Harris said, "I'm not trying to save the world, as I find it generally does not want saving."

  5. Horrific is a really good word for it; when I think of how many people are genuinely suffering (and even dying) due to unawareness of toxic food, it breaks my heart. So much unnecessary pain. I know wheat and sugar aren't the root of ALL problems, but it seems a heck of a lot of people would be a heck of a lot better off without the stuff.

    I've seen that quote from Dr. Harris. I fear he's correct. But we make inroads where we can.