Is Wheat Bad For You?

March 16, 2012 at 11:32 am

Amber Waves of Death?!?


“Is Wheat Bad For You?” That’s the question I typed into Google this morning. The results were interesting.

Before I get to the results, let me back up a step. Since my family and I have gone primal, one of the chief differences in our lifestyle is the elimination of grains – particularly wheat. This wasn’t an easy step. You’d be hard pressed to find someone who loves wheat as much as I do. I mean, there have to be hot French Baguettes in heaven, next to a spread of triple-cream brie, dry Italian salami, prosciutto, and gallons of red wine, right?

We’ve discovered how much better we feel now that we’ve purged grains from our diet. I’ve lost 25 lbs. in two months (with relatively minimal physical activity – I work a sedentary job and don’t always find time to go walking) and Jamie has lost 20 lbs. This isn’t just weight loss, but actual fat loss. I’ve slimmed out far more with this drop in weight than I could have hoped. I was definitely rounder, for lack of a better word, the last time I was at this weight. I’ve lost at least 4 inches off my waist, and I can’t even wear my wedding ring anymore.

In addition, Jamie’s arthritis and chronic back pain have cleared up. My back pain is also gone (I have mild scoliosis and it causes serious issues in my neck and shoulders.) We both have fewer headaches in general, and Jamie never gets migraines anymore. We have greater mental clarity, strength, stamina, and energy. Mood levels have stabilized substantially. I’m prone to bouts of depression and anger, and those are just about nullified. The kids are more focused and less spastic. Not to be gross, but we hardly ever suffer from gas anymore. The chest pains I used to get on occasion (or sometimes frequently) are gone. I won’t know until I get to the doctor, but my guess is that both my blood pressure and cholesterol levels will be down. The list goes on.

Now, we haven’t just removed things from our diet, we’ve added things in. We’re eating more fat and cholesterol (the horror!) and in particular medium chain fatty acids like those found in nature’s wonder food, coconut oil. We’re also getting all of our carbs from vegetables and fruit now. We also eat a great deal less than we used to. This week, I’ve been skipping lunch altogether and eating a meal around 4PM, which holds me over (with the addition of a light snack) until bed time. I’m not hungry enough to eat three full meals a day anymore. And because of that, I’ve been dropping close to a pound a day this week. This is a good thing when you still have 40lbs. to go.

So let’s get back to the subject at hand. We believe a large part of the reason why we’re losing fat, feeling better, and generally feeling like we have a new lease on life is the elimination of grains, particularly wheat. That’s a hard sell to most people who’ve grown up on the USDA food pyramid. Americans are wheat eaters. We love our bread, cereal, cookies, cakes, etc. And you find wheat in a thousand other things you’d never expect, like pre-packaged meatballs and cans of tomato soup. It’s in everything. And considering it’s been one of the building blocks of civilization over the past 10,000 years, it’s got a bit of history to it. Not as much history as the hunter/gatherer lifestyle, but that lifestyle ended for a reason: it was freaking hard. And not conducive to building cities.

I’ve had discussions with people lately about how if we feel better because we got rid of wheat, it must be because we have a problem with wheat, not because wheat has a problem with humans. We must be celiac, or have gluten sensitivity, or be otherwise allergic. I will grant that any of these things could be possible, though I also find it strange that I lived my life gnawing on sandwiches and home made bread and having toast every morning for breakfast without having any major issues before I eliminated it from my diet and now suddenly I’m celiac. It could happen – people who are slowly poisoned by things don’t always get gravely sickened by them until they stop building up an immunity (think Iocaine powder) and it’s possible that eating wheat all the time kept me oblivious.

But I think there’s more to it. I’ve been reading things that lead me to believe that wheat might actually kill you dead over the long term. And that was worth finding out more about.

So back to my Google search. I’ve excerpted a few articles below and highlighted some of the salient bits. It’s a lot to read so I won’t blame you if you don’t.