• April 2013

Is Your "Wheat Belly" Bothering You?

Review by Hope Katz Gibbs
Publisher
Be Inkandescent magazine

“Who had the audacity to write such an against-the-grain book exposing ‘healthy whole grains’ for the incredibly destructive genetic monsters they’ve become?” asks cardiologist Dr. William Davis.

“That’s me,” answers Davis, author of “Wheat Belly,” which explains how eliminating wheat from our diets can prevent fat storage, shrink unsightly bulges, and reverse myriad health problems.

“More than 80 percent of the people I meet today are pre-diabetic or diabetic,” Davis explains. “In an effort to reduce blood sugar, I asked patients to remove all wheat products from their diet based on the simple fact that, with few exceptions, foods made of wheat flour raise blood sugar higher than nearly all other foods. Yes, that’s true even for whole grains. More than table sugar, more than a Snickers bar. Organic, multigrain, sprouted—it makes no difference.”

His patients returned several months later with indeed lower blood sugar, often sufficient for pre-diabetics to have become non-prediabetics.

But it was the other results they described that took him by surprise. Many lost 25 to 30 pounds over several months, saw marked improvement or total relief from arthritis, experienced improvement in asthma sufficient to chuck two or three inhalers, got complete relief from acid reflux and irritable bowel syndrome symptoms, and saw the disappearance of leg swelling and numbness.

“Most also reported increased mental clarity, deeper sleep, and more stable moods and emotions,” Davis shares. “I witnessed even more incredible experiences like the 26-year-old man incapacitated by full-body joint pains who started to jog again, pain-free.”

What I like about this approach is that Davis isn’t promoting drugs, fancy medical procedures, or costly equipment. He simply suggests that we cut wheat from our diets.

I took Davis up on his challenge.

Although my diet has long been what I considered “healthy,” when my friend and Ayurvedic practitioner Jill Leslie suggested that a wheat-free diet might be a good idea—I started doing research.

In fact, as Davis points out in his book, more than 200 million Americans consume food products made of wheat. Statistics suggest that more than half of them experience some form of adverse health effect, ranging from minor rashes and high blood sugar to unattractive stomach bulges.

So I let go of the bagels and “sammies” I have loved for decades.

What is there to eat if wheat isn’t on the menu?

Good question. That’s why I picked up a copy of the “Wheat Belly Cookbook.” Want to join me in this new way of eating? Check out Wheat Belly.

Note that you can have “sandwiches.” They just use modified recipes for the bread. But since I was looking to avoid sammies altogether, below you’ll find three of my favorite non-bread recipes. Bon appetit!


Recipes from the Wheat Belly Cookbook. Photos by flickr.com.

Grainless Granola

Ingredients:

1 c. raw cashew pieces
1 c. raw pumpkin seeds
1 c. slivered almonds
2 T. whole flaxseeds or chia seeds
1 c. unsweetened coconut flakes
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 T. extra light olive oil, coconut oil, or walnut oil
1/4 c. sugar-free hazelnut syrup (or sweetener = 1/2 c sugar)

Here’s how:

1. Preheat oven to 350-degrees.

2. In a large bowl, combine the cashews, pumpkin seeds, almonds, flaxseeds, coconut and cinnamon. Add the oil and syrup; mix together.

3. Spread the mixture on the baking sheet in a 1/2-inch layer. Bake for 20 minutes, stirring once, or until golden.

Per serving: 315 calories, 9g protein, 11g carbs, 28g fat, 10g saturated fat, 4g fiber, 13mg sodium


African Chicken Soup

Ingredients:

2 T. olive or coconut oil
12 oz. boneless, skinless chicken breast cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3 carrots, sliced
1 onion, chopped
1 red or green pepper, coarsely chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 T. ground cumin
2 tsp. ground coriander
3 c. chicken broth
1/4 c. natural smooth peanut butter
3 T. chopped cilantro

Here’s how:

1. Place 1 T. of oil in a large pot over medium-high heat to cook chicken, turning occasionally, for five minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

2. In the same pot, heat the remaining 1 T. of oil and cook carrots, onion, and pepper for five minutes until lightly browned. Add garlic, cumin, and coriander, and cook for one minute.

3. Add the broth and bring to a broil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes until the vegetables are tender. In a small bowl, combine peanut butter and 1/4 cup of hot broth. Stir until smooth, adding the peanut butter into the soup.

4. Add the reserved chicken and simmer for five minutes, or until the chicken is heated through. Remove from the heat and stir in the cilantro.

Per serving: 321 calories, 26g protein, 15g carbs, 18g fat, 3g saturated fat, 4g fiber, 613g sodium


Feta Spinach Swordfish

Note: I like salmon better than swordfish, so I substituted it for swordfish in this tasty recipe.

Ingredients:

3 T. extra virgin olive oil
8 oz. portobello mushrooms
2 gloves garlic, minced
1/8 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
3 c. fresh spinach
1 15-oz. can diced tomatoes, drained
2 swordfish fillets (5 oz. each)
1/2 c. feta cheese, crumbled

Here’s how:

1. Preheat oven to 350-degrees. Coat baking pan with cooking spray.

2. Add oil to a large skillet, and over medium heat, cook mushrooms, garlic, salt, and pepper for five minutes. Add spinach and tomatoes, cover for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Place the swordfish in the baking pan and bake for 15 minutes. Turn the oven to broil for 5 minutes, or until the fish is opaque.

4. Divide the mushroom mixture between two plates and sprinkle the feta on top. Lay the swordfish alongside.

Per serving: 515 calories, 38g protein, 15g carbs, 35g fat, 10g saturated fat, 3g fiber, 1022mg sodium


Are you ready to take the challenge?

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