I've been following Dr. Davis' heart scan blog for the past year, and have learned so much about how certain supplements can stop and even reverse plaque, high blood pressure, arthritis, diabetes, and many other health problems. And he talked a lot about wheat, and the many ways it destroys your health. But I've been hesitant to go wheat free. I love warm bread with butter, cinnamon rolls, pizza, pasta, cake, pie, Ritz crackers, pretzels, and almost everything else made with wheat. So it wasn't easy to make the commitment to go without them.
I pre-ordered this book, and finally went wheat free one week before the book was released. And what a difference. My blood pressure had been averaging 140/88 (taking two blood pressure medications). Now, after only two weeks of wheat-free eating, I've averaged 124/68 for the past four days. I've reduced one of my medications to keep my blood pressure from dropping too low after it fell to 108/58. It's crazy! And I'm not starving myself. I'm getting plenty to eat.
So, why did I buy the book if I already knew what to do? Because this book goes into great detail about WHY wheat is a problem. If you're like me, you probably think of wheat as four-foot tall "amber waves of grain." But that's not what we are eating these days. It's an engineered version that's two feet tall, and is nothing like what I ate as a kid in the 1950s. And unfortunately, it raises your blood sugar higher than eating a candy bar. And if you don't think that's a problem then you need to learn more about how high blood sugar affects your health.
"I don't need this book, because there's no way I'm giving up my bagels and pizza," you say. That's fine---if you don't mind being fat, developing diabetes and high blood pressure and heart disease and a host of other health problems---which is what the typical American is doing these days.
Or, you could buy this book and learn how to live a healthier, and quite possibly longer, life.
Update (9-12-2011): I've now been wheat free for three weeks (as stated above, I went wheat free one week before the book was released), and I've lost 7 pounds. That may not sound like much of an accomplishment, until you consider:
- I am 6'4", and have been stuck at around 210 lbs. for over two years. I have not been able to lower my weight by dieting or exercise.
- 210 is only 20 pounds over my goal weight of 190. And everybody knows how difficult it is to lose those last 10 to 20 pounds---especially at my age (61).
- This is my lowest weight since 2002.
- I have not exercised for the past three weeks.
- Although I have eaten no wheat for three weeks, I have eaten a few candy bars and I've had Blue Bell No Sugar Ice Cream almost every night. (I don't recommend this---particularly the candy bars.)
- I have definitely been less hungry than when I was eating wheat.
- The hypoglycemia I've suffered with for many years has pretty much disappeared.
- I fully expect to be down to 190 lbs. within a few weeks. I haven't weighed 190 lbs. in over 25 years!
Update (11-25-2011): It's now been nearly three months since I went wheat-free, and I've lost 16 lbs., which is about 1.2 pounds per week. So you might think, "Hey, that's no big deal--you could have lost that much weight without really trying." But you'd wrong. Way wrong. As I stated before, I was stuck at 210 for over two years. Dieting and exercising did nothing to reduce my weight. I had hit a plateau and was going nowhere. Now, in just three months, I'm down another 16 lbs., to 194! I'm within four pounds of my goal weight!
And now for another confession: during the three months I have stayed wheat-free, BUT...I have eaten Mexican food at least once a week (sometimes twice), including a basket of (corn) tortilla chips, chicken (corn) enchiladas, etc., an occasional chocolate bar, and other carbohydrate splurges. Yet, in spite of all that, I still lost 16 lbs.! My body fat is now at 14%! It's crazy!
Also, it got a lot easier when I realized I could still have breads--without wheat, of course. I am loving almond flour. I bought the Blanched Almond Meal Flour, 5 lb.
and have been using it to make pancakes, muffins, cobbler, :). And it tastes great! Here is the pancake recipe I use:
1 Cup almond flour
1/4 Cup water
2 Tablespoons oil (I use coconut oil)
1 Teaspoon baking powder (double acting)
Makes 6 4-inch pancakes. I top them with real butter (because remember: fat is okay--it's the carbs that are killing you) and Cary's Sugar Free Syrup, 24-Ounce (Pack of 4)
No sugar, low-carb, high-protein, and high-fiber. My wife and I each eat three pancakes and we are satisfied until lunch time.
With regular, wheat pancakes I used to eat six of them, and then an hour later I was falling asleep (after my blood sugar spiked and then dropped like a rock). But with these almond flour pancakes, I stay alert and feel good.
Dr. Davis has a great recipe for Pumpkin Spice Muffins in the book. The suggested topping is cream cheese, but I topped them with sugar-free cream cheese frosting. My nephews ate them like cupcakes. :)
So I've lost 16 lbs. in three months--WITHOUT EXERCISING! Wonder what will happen when I start hitting the weights and the exercise bike regularly? ;) I'm about to find out. Stay tuned...
Update (1-22-2012): It's now been five months since I went wheat-free, and I'm still going strong. I originally stated that my goal weight was 190. But my secret goal weight, the goal I didn't actually think I would ever achieve, was 185. Well, guess what? I am now at 188! I'm gonna make it! I'm down 22 pounds since August. And believe me, when you're 6'4", a weight of 188 allows for very little fat.
In 2004 I hit my highest weight: 238. Now I am down 50 lbs.! I was able to lose the first 28 pounds by cutting back on the calories, mostly by not eating out so much. But once I got down to 210, my weight loss stalled for four years. I just couldn't lose anymore. Then I went wheat free---which is not a diet, but a new way of eating, and the excess weight began to fall off.
I'm loving it! Thanks, Dr. Davis!
Update (1-29-12): I've talked a lot in this review about my weight loss, but that's only half the story. Seven years ago when I weighed 238, my triglyceride count was 300. I started to cut back on the eating out and the snacking, and began to take fish oil capsules. After a couple of years I was down to 215 and my triglycerides were 155. Then I doubled my fish oil intake and improved my eating habits a bit more. Two years later my triglycerides were down to 99, which is pretty good, and my weight was 210. That's where I plateaued.
The following year I experienced atrial fibrillation, followed by an angiogram and two stents. This was about the time I discovered Dr. Davis online and began following his blog. So I started taking Vitamin D and Magnesium. I couldn't bring myself to give up wheat, even after trying it for a week and losing five pounds.
Then, about a year later in August of 2011, I bought his "Wheat Belly" book as soon as it was released and I finally determined to go wheat-free. Since then my weight has gone from 210 to 188-my lowest weight in over 25 years. I recently had a yearly exam and my triglycerides were down from 99 to 69! Wow! Dr. Davis likes to see his patients at 60/60/60 for triglycerides/LDL/HDL. These are numbers that most doctors would think wildly unrealistic, if not impossible.
My HDL is still a little low at 39, but considering the fact that my HDL has been low for many years and at the time of my last yearly exam it was 26, that's pretty amazing. My LDL was 44! Yes, I know that LDL is a calculated value-but still-44! I will continue to improve my eating habits. I still eat too many carbs. But I know I'm headed in the right direction.
When I see people who are overweight, have heart problems, diabetes, and all the other problems that could easily be addressed by going wheat-free and taking a few supplements, I feel so bad for them. But perhaps as they see more and more of us having long-term success they will finally read this book...and believe.
Update (8-8-12): It has now been nearly a year since I went wheat free. Do I still miss wheat? Yes, but not enough to start eating it again. If I went back to wheat, I would lose these benefits:
- My weight dropped from 210 to 186 (I'm 6-foot-4). I lost most of that weight within the first three months.
- My triglycerides dropped from 99 to 70 and my HDL went up from a dangerous 26 to an incredible 57! And one of the best indicators of heart attacks is the ratio of triglycerides to HDL (google it). A good value is 2 or less, the ideal value is 1 or less. My number is pretty fantastic: 70/57 = 1.23. Before going wheat free it was: 99/26 = 3.8, which is very bad. It's no wonder I ended up with a 75% blockage, and had to have stents two years ago before I discovered Dr. Davis.
- My chronic sinus problems went away. Before I gave up wheat, every time I put my head on the pillow, my nose stopped up. I could not breathe through my nose at all. That does not make for good sleeping. Also, I used to get regular sinus infections---usually a couple of times per year. No more. My sinus issues cleared up almost immediately after going wheat free.
Will going wheat-free cure YOUR sinus problems. I have no idea. It might make your left knee quit aching or make your headaches go away. You won't know until you try it.
All I know is that I am a much healthier person thanks to Dr. Davis.