Friday, September 25, 2015

Wheat is the culprit

Last November I cut grains, sugar, dairy and caffeine out of my diet. That means that on most days of the week I didn't indulge in any of those things, but periodically I had each of them in turn as the craving hit me. Still, my sugar, grain, caffeine and dairy consumption has been very small for ten months now and I've noticed big differences in my energy, mood, menstrual cramps and weight. (Making these dietary changes has not been easy and has required large amounts of acupuncture, meditation, EFT, hypnotherapy, self-hypnosis and crying.)

But in September I decided to try a different experiment. On September 1st, I cut wheat out 100%. I had noticed that indulging in cookies caused me an arthritic kind of pain the next day, so I made the decision. I stopped letting myself have the occasional sandwich or burger with the bun. If I had a sugar craving, I had to satisfy it with gluten-free chocolate or pudding or ice cream (and I don't love those things). I started reading food labels and avoiding wheat-derived ingredients such as hydrolyzed protein, emulsifiers and caramel coloring. I stopped treating myself with breaded items like fish sticks and chicken patties. I cut wheat in all its forms just to see what it would be like.

To avoid feeling deprived and cranky, I allowed myself to start eating cheese again and organic, plain, whole-fat yogurt. So September has been the month of adding back some dairy, but cutting ALL wheat, 100%, no exceptions.

Results? My stomach feels so much better! All digestive pain has stopped. For years I thought I was lactose intolerant because eating dairy products always caused a stomach ache. So I carefully carried a lactose digestive aid on me at all times and took those pills whenever I had some cheese or ice cream. But the stomach aches still happened. I couldn't figure out what was going on. Now I know my problem wasn't the dairy; it was the wheat products I always ate with the dairy. It wasn't the ice cream; it was the cone. It wasn't the cream cheese; it was the bagel. It wasn't the cheese topping; it was the pizza crust!

Things make so much more sense to me now. My morning yogurt hasn't caused me discomfort because I don't have it with toast or other wheaty foods. Wheat was my problem. (And sugar, of course. Always sugar.)

My chiropractor confirms that wheat is extremely inflammatory, and inflammation causes all sorts of problems, only one of which is joint pain. So I'm done with wheat. In my newfound knowledge, I now walk by bakeries, fast food joints, sandwich places and pretty much any restaurant and think, "You're selling inflammation! And you're selling inflammation! And you! And you!" I'm full of horror at the amount of wheat Americans eat all day long: breakfast bars/cereals/pastries, pasta, sandwiches, cookies, fried everything, tortillas, wraps -- even the dusted seasoning on restaurant french fries. Some restaurants even add pancake batter to their scrambled eggs. My imagination fills with images of surging blood sugar and insulin levels as people nibble their way towards pre-diabetes. It feels endemic and never-ending. We're all surrounded by wheat. I want to cry out a Charleton Heston-like warning to the world, "Wheat is inflammation!"

I'm sure I'll calm down soon.

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