Wednesday, March 19, 2014

What is So Wrong with Wheat?

I was recently asked this after posting a pic of my wheatless meal on Facebook (a yummy steak with bell peppers, both cooked on the grill). 

Remember that I started this 30 day experiment basically in the dark with the intention of doing my research at the same time.  So, being 10 days in I am by no means an expert.  But, here is what I've learned so far.

  • The wheat of today, is not the wheat of the past (way, way past).  Hybrids instigated by man have been created to be able to produce more.  (Instigated by man indicates not natural).  Modern strains of wheat would not be able to survive in the wild.
  •  Causes visceral fat which gathers around your middle.  "Unlike fat in other body areas, it provokes inflammatory phenomena, distorts insulin responses, and issues abnormal metabolic signals to the rest of the body." - Wheat Belly
  • Causes high blood sugar. 
  • Wheat is an appetite stimulant.
These are just a few of the things that are "wrong with wheat", but they are the few that make sense to this normal person who is neither a doctor nor in the depths of years of research.  My favorite quote so far from Wheat Belly by Dr. William Davis is, "Wheat is therefore the great disrupter.  It's the floozy girlfriend of the midlife crisis male, busting apart the entire happy family."  This quote was made in reference to what wheat does to our ph levels. 

I was also asked today if I'm a believer yet.  I originally said that I might be admitting to you that I am succumbing to the latest fad.  I will tell you that I believe in the benefits of giving up wheat, but I'm not willing to concede yet that it isn't a fad.  Only time will tell for that.  Here is why I believe in the benefits of giving it up.

  • Apparently, somewhere around Day 7 I stopped snoring.  This is according to my (very happy) boyfriend who used to hear me snoring from the bedroom while he watched movies or played video games in the living room.
  • I have lost approx. a pound a day without physical activity.  I'm getting started with the exercise so I'm excited to see the impact of combining the two.
  • I have been more productive after work.  I have not been known to be incredibly domestic and Pre-Wheat Belly I would come home and immediately go to the living room and sit till it was time to go to bed (of course while grazing ALL NIGHT).  Now I come home, do homework, clean, or cook.  And as mentioned before, now exercise. 
  • I've completed tasks that I've been saying for months I either needed or wanted to do.  I believe that is the lifting of the brain fog that they describe.
  • In the past couple of days I have not experienced the mid-day slump that I used to.
  • I am no longer thinking about food, other than when I need to in order to prepare.  I hardly even notice when my wheat-eating boyfriend is eating something that is a no-no for me. Emotional eating has vanished.
So, if the status quo remains I will be continuing past the 30 day mark.  I have seen only benefits and no adverse affects at this point. 

It is exciting to start seeing progress and feeling good.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Losing Weight = More Time In the Kitchen

Astonishingly, yes. 

Today is the last day of Week 1 of my Wheat Belly experiment.  I would say over all, it has been successful.  I'm not going to give you a number this week because I'm not 100% sure where I started.  I did get on the scale on Day 1, but it was actually quite a bit higher than it had been 2 days before so I'm not sure how accurate a number it was.  I will say that the scale has gone down every day.

But I'm finding it hilarious how much time I've spent in the kitchen.  What types of things have I been eating? 

  • eggs
  • chicken salad
  • summer sausage
  • cheese
  • chicken
  • pork
  • steak
  • bell peppers
  • cucumbers
  • nuts
  • fruit leather
  • bread
  • cheesecake
  • donuts

Did I just say bread, cheesecake, and donuts?  Isn't this a wheat-free diet?  Why, yes I did.  And, yes it is. 

I have spent a lot of time in the kitchen hard boiling eggs, preparing lunches and dinners for the next day, and trying out some wheat-free recipes to make some things that I might miss or add some fun things into the experiment.

I will not be sharing the actual recipes here for copyright reasons.   All of the recipes described in this post came from the Wheat Belly (30 minutes or less) Cookbook. 

First I made Sandwich Bread.  The cookbook has you start out making an All-Purpose Mix that you will be able to use in many recipes.  It consists of almond flour, coconut flour, and flaxseed.  It is the main ingredient in the Sandwich Bread.

The bread was pretty short because it did not have a rising agent in it.  At first I was thinking that I would buy a different kind of pan, but then decided against it because even wheat-less - who needs that much bread?  The bread was also dry.  Next time I'm going to try it with some applesauce in it to see if that moistens it up.

I also made mayonnaise from the cookbook.  I have been encouraged to try to make my own now for a while but resisted.  Since the cookbook's recipe had very few ingredients and promised quick results, I decided to try. 

The recipe calls for white wine vinegar to attempt to preserve it a little longer.  I did find my end result had a little bit of a vinegar smell.  However, the consistency was just like Hellman's mayonnaise.  The recipe was a little big for me.  Made way too much so I will be adjusting with the amount of oil I use in the future.  And my chicken salad was DELICIOUS!

I also made Breakfast Cheesecake and Cinnamon Donuts this weekend.  I would say that my cheesecake has too much of a vanilla taste...I MAY have put one too many teaspoons of extract in the batter.  The Cinnamon Donuts were incredibly easy and tasted awesome out of the oven.  I'm anxious to see what my family thinks about them this afternoon.

UPDATE: I'm finishing this post after the family gathering and the donuts were a HIT.

The amount of baking that I'm doing will probably halt soon because I really don't need to be eating the carbs whether they are wheat-less or not. But, I am doing an experiment and part of it is to learn how you can eat sweets without wheat.  I have put the left-over donuts in the freezer so they are there when I need them.
Onward to Week 2!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Wheat Belly????

Have you heard of it?

Let me start by saying that part of me is afraid that I'm about to tell you I'm falling into the latest diet fad.  This may be true.  I have no idea.  I'm just in the beginning stages of my research and decided that instead of waiting till I've made up my mind, I'm going to include experimentation as the main part of my research. 

Everyone knows that I'm a huge advocate for Weight Watchers.  That hasn't changed.  I believe that it is the best way for someone to lose weight with minimal deprivation. 

Part of the key here is "to lose weight."  I don't know if it is with age or the different type of people I surround myself with, including what fills my newsfeeds, but I've crossed the line from it being about losing weight to it being about a healthy lifestyle. 

Back to Wheat Belly possibly being a fad.  Its the same way that I have seen the Atkins diet up until now.  I did Atkins.  I was very successful on Atkins the first time I did it.  I lost 60 pounds.  But the minute I diverted, I gained it all back and then some.  And no one I knew that had done the diet had lost the weight for good.  They all had the same experience as me. 

First Reason I'm Willing To Try This Possible Fad:

What I've been doing hasn't been working.  I should rephrase this to say that what I had been doing from October 2011, until January 12, 2014, hadn't been working.  What happened as of January 12?  I gave up soda for good.  I have only had one since.  Then, on January 20th, I started a low carb diet.  I did not do this as strict as maybe I would have hoped I would.  But for the most part, at least throughout the week, I was pretty good at sticking to it.  The weekends were a little shakier, but I didn't gain weight through them, so I consider it a success. 

Since January 20th, I have lost 9 pounds. 

From what I've read so far, Wheat Belly is just taking my low carb eating to a new level.  I will be eliminating wheat and all forms of it from my diet.  When some read this, they will think this is just a matter of eliminating bread.  But what I'm learning is that it also means eliminating close to ALL processed food from my diet.  I will have to be very careful to read labels of the food that have them and make sure that there are no wheat ingredients the name wheat or any other name. 

Second Reason I'm Willing To Try This Possible Fad:

Sometimes, fads turn into something more.  I honestly believe that people are more health conscious than they were 10 or 15 years ago.  True, there are people that have already been leading healthy lifestyles.  But don't you agree that in the past 5 years, the number of people that you work with that run or workout on a regular basis has grown.  That there are more and more people in your life eating clean or, at the very least, cleaner?  Lets face it, if you are reading my blog, then more than likely this is the case. 

Even if you are the person that has always lived a healthier lifestyle, I'm sure that you can say that it has become easier for you to convince friends to come out and join you, whether it be run a race or do an aerobic class. 

Since the number of friends leading a healthy lifestyle has grown for me, I'm seeing more research on how what we eat affects us.  I believe that the chemistry of what we put in our bodies has an affect on us. 

Combine Reason 1 & 2:

Can you think of people in your life that you SEE go to the gym on a regular basis or walk every night that are still overweight or even obese?  Can you think of people that you really don't see eat exorbitant amounts and actually eat what looks like pretty healthy food, but are still overweight or even obese?  I would be shocked if you said you didn't know ANYONE like that.  There are a lot of athletes that are overweight. 

Atkins may have not been a fad if people were ready to listen.  At the time that the Atkins diet was popular, I believe people were only looking for a way to lose weight.  I know I was.  I don't remember ever thinking of getting healthy.  I never thought of lifestyle changes.  I thought of getting myself to the right size quickly so that I could then eat what I wanted. 


In the spirit of not continuing to do what's not working and hoping for a better result as well as the knowledge that some things look like fads when they first start and turn out to have longevity, I'm going to try out this Wheat Belly plan.

I am going to start a 30 Day Challenge tomorrow.  I have purchased the Wheat Belly book to read and help with motivation as well as do my research during the 30 days.  I have also purchased the Wheat Belly 30 Minute or Less Cookbook to aid in making sure I have the tools to plan ahead. 

I will be blogging about my experience and posting what I've learned as part of my research.

Through my research and experiment, maybe we will learn whether we should consider this a fad or something to start living by.