See? This is what happens with wheat! It makes you so crazy you start shucking clothes and the next thing you know you’re running through a scratchy field with nothing but your wheat-club to defend yourself with! Oh the horror – I must avert my eyes. (photo credit)
Claim: Modern (a.k.a. monkeyed-with) wheat is bad for you. If you take all wheat products out of your diet then you’ll lose weight, look like a Greek God and have your pick of the Kardashian sisters (If I were you I’d avoid that Kim one, she seems just a wee bit flighty). This week Boing Boing featured a book called Wheat Belly by Dr. William Davis which lays pretty much all that ails civilization at the feet of the grain once called “the staff of life.” He calls it “triticum fever” and says it is even more dangerous than sugar.
First reaction: I knew it! Anything genetically modified or bred down to a single strain is evil! Plus, people have a hard time losing weight and people eat a crap ton of wheat products – totally makes sense! Time to chuck the whole wheat flour!
Second reaction: My favorite breakfast ever is cracked wheat – wheat kernels boiled until they “pop.” And I don’t have a “wheat belly” (I think).
Third reaction: But that proves his point – you love it because you are addicted to it! You sick, sick girl! If you love it, let it go! If it comes back to you (in what… the form of French bread? Yes, please) then it was meant to be.
Obviously it was time to call in the big guns: my nutritionist. I waited with bated breath as she contemplated my newest neuroticism. “Wheat isn’t the problem,” she started and I heaved a sigh of relief. “It’s the flour. Flour, even whole wheat flour, is super processed. Try to avoid any kinds of flours.” Sensible! And from a professional! My cracked wheat was saved! But then I realized that means no cookies, muffins, crackers, 99% of cereals, pretzels and of course bread. No more naan?!
And then I crawled into bed and admitted defeat. I just couldn’t muster up any more energy to care about this. Perhaps cutting out wheat is the “magic bullet” that will cure obesity. But then haven’t we heard the exact same promise, complete with research studies out the ying, about dairy, soy, animal products, saturated fat and all grains? Aaaaand this is exactly how I became orthorexic back in the day. Rather than marinate in my frustration, I found the perfect cure. The Boing Boing commenters. They made my day. Enjoy:
From Ian Wood: “My diet consists entirely of Crisco. I wear a size 32 and have the sexual stamina of an entire troop of Bonobos. My e-book, Shorten Your Way To Health is available on Amazon.”
From Stefan Jones: “You know what’s worse than Wheat Belly? An Oatmeal Butt. Even worse is having an Quinoa Wattle under your chin. The ancient Aztecs had those, and look how they ended up.”
From p9000: “I played bass for Wheat Belly, European tour, ’79.”
From xunker: “No, we’re not [addicted]. Seriously, do you know how hard it is to snort a line of bread dough? Not to mention getting it in a syringe and shooting it.”
From The Howl: “You know what else causes sagging, distended bellies? Starvation. Those high-yield semi-dwarf varieties decried above have saved millions of lives. Every time someone buys this book, Norman Borlaug sheds a tear.”
Again from Stefan: ““We don’t have ideal human food. “ Oatmeal with sardines. The kind of sardines that come in hot sauce. You’ll never eat enough to get obese, and most predators will stay away from you. Trust me.”
From James Kimball: “Imagine a diet that banned all food from cardboard boxes – it would help people, but not because the cardboard made the food worse. If there were a craze of cardboard-free products, they wouldn’t be any improvement, since the food would still be processed junk. ”
From Brian Sprague: “”Has a greater impact on blood sugar levels than a candy bar.“ Which is why endurance athletes carry slices of whole wheat bread instead of glucose gels. Oh, wait.”
AGAIN from Stefan (brother was on a roll!): “” . . . after that 4-week period you discover new mental clarity . . .” In this day and age, achieving mental clarity is just begging to get depressed over the state of the world. I demand a comforting level of delusion, and Hot Pockets!”
In the end I decided to try my nutritionist’s advice (apparently I pay her so I can argue with her?) and go from there. What do you think about wheat? Is it different from other grains? Have you ever tried avoiding it? Anyone else get caught up in the research wars like I do??
P.S. In regards to Intuitive Eating questions about limiting flour products: IE is all about eating in a way that makes your body feel and work at its best. It’s eating what you need not necessarily what you want and learning to distinguish between the two. Geneen Roth talks about how she avoids sugar – not because it’s a “diet” or “bad” but because it makes her feel sick. It’s a fine line but I hope I haven’t crossed it…