Through the New York Times bestseller Wheat Belly, millions of people learned how to reverse years of chronic health problems by removing wheat from their daily diets.
Now, Dr. William Davis has created an easy and accessible 10-day detox program. Wheat Belly 10-Day Grain Detox supplies you with carefully designed meal plans and delicious recipes to fully eliminate wheat and related grains in the shortest time possible. Perfect for those who may have fallen off the gluten-free wagon or for newcomers who need a jump-start to weight loss, this new addition to the Wheat Belly phenomenon guides you through the complete detox experience.
In addition to the brand-new quick-start program, Dr. Davis teaches you how to recognize and reduce wheat-withdrawal symptoms, how to avoid common landmines that can sabotage success, and how to use nutritional supplements to further advance weight loss and health benefits. Wheat Belly 10-Day Grain Detox also includes inspiring testimonials from people who have completed the program (and have now made gluten-free eating a way of life), as well as exciting new recipes to help get your entire family on board.
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About the Author
William Davis, MD, is a New York Times bestselling author and a cardiologist who advocates unique, insightful, and cutting-edge strategies to help individuals discover the health hidden within them. His blog wheatbellyblog has been visited by millions of people. Dr. Davis has also shared his passion for wheat-free living on national television shows including The Dr. Oz Show and CBS This Morning. His Wheat Belly Total Health program became a public television special. He lives in Wisconsin.
Read an Excerpt
YOU'VE BEEN ROLLED, TOSSED, AND BAKED
"Follow a balanced diet low in fat."
"You need whole grains for B vitamins and fiber."
"It's unhealthy to eliminate an entire food group."
"Everything in moderation."
This should all sound familiar to you because these nutritional mantras have been repeated over and over by dietitians, doctors, and the media. And, like many such pieces of conventional "wisdom," there is a germ of truth in each of thembut just a germ and nothing more. Following such advice not only does not help you control weight or obtain health, it also destroys your grasp over weight and health. It can be as ineffective as believing that total health is restored by taking a prescription drug, subjecting yourself to a 4-week program of "cleansing" enemas, or concealing bulges under a new set of Spanx. Modern misguided dietary advice has made plus-size aisles the busiest place in clothing stores, huffing and puffing commonplace when climbing a single flight of stairs, and type 2 diabetes a double-digit growth industry.
Don't feel bad if you fell for it, choosing lean cuts and trimming the fat off meat, reaching for low-fat yogurt, and opting for whole grain breads, muffins, and bagels. Many beliefs, once accepted as gospel, have fallen by the wayside over the years, kicked to the curb by new discoveries, new science, and new understanding. It wasn't all that long ago that you would have been burned at the stake for believing that the earth revolved around the sun, been prosecuted for voicing the wrong political views during the McCarthy-era purges, or cheered for Milli Vanilli's "Girl You Know It's True" win at the Grammy Awards. Human history is filled with such campaigns of misinformation. But only in the recent past has misinformation permeated nutritional advice on such a grand scale.
When you lose control over your health and weight because you ate "healthy" whole grains, doctorsstumped by why you feel so awful despite doing everything "right"prescribe drugs with effects that create the "need" for even more prescription drugs. This is the modern downward health spiral that most people find themselves trapped in today. Once you understand this absurd and self-defeating situation, you are empowered to change it. And you can begin to powerfully reverse this situation over the next 10 days, the number of days it takes your husband to stop procrastinating over fixing a leaky kitchen faucet. This detox process yields a head-to-toe body and health makeover, reprogramming your body at so many levels, both internal and external. Your body and health will undergo a transformation that may even have friends and family not believing it's you.
With the bad science and politics that drove the "cut your cholesterol, fat, and saturated fat" agenda of the latter half of the 20th century, the bonfire was lit even brighter by over-the-top profit opportunities for Big Food. The low-fat message gained a huge following. In its wake now lies the result: obesity, diabetes, arthritis, dementia, and other health disasters on a scale never before witnessed in the history of mankind. It's an unprecedented man-made social and health apocalypse that makes reports of tornadoes and radiation spills seem like small-scale annoyances, even banal, with nearly two billion overweight or obese people worldwide (including nearly 50 million children under age 5) and more than half of Americans with diabetes or prediabetes. The low-fat message, because it eliminated a source of satiating calories from fat, caused everyone to resort to more carbohydrates, particularly the carbohydrate source that most nutritional authorities felt to be the healthiest: whole grains, such as whole wheat, oats, and rye.
But, like the message to cut fat and saturated fatnow debunked by more recent studies showing that fat and saturated fat have nothing to do with cardiovascular diseaseso the "eat more healthy whole grains" message was also based on flawed science and misinterpretations. The purported health benefits of whole grains were based on epidemiological studies (i.e., studies of health in large populations) demonstrating that if white flour products are replaced with whole grains, there is less diabetes, less weight gain, less heart disease, and less colon cancer in the population observed. That is indeed true and not in question. Careers and entire university departments of nutrition have been built on this premise. But the next question should have been: What is the effect of removing grains, white and whole, altogether? We cannot answer that question with the same "replace one with the other" epidemiological studies; we have to look elsewhere. Such grain-eliminating studies have indeed already been performed.
What happens when we remove grains? Clinical studies have shown:
• Weight loss (not less weight gain)
• Reduction in overall calorie intake
• Drops in blood sugar and hemoglobin A1c (a long-term measure of blood sugar)many people with diabetes are cured
• Reduction of blood pressure
• Increased likelihood of remission of rheumatoid arthritis
• Reversal of neurological conditions such as cerebellar ataxia, some forms of seizures, and peripheral neuropathy
• Reversal of multiple forms of skin rash
• Reductions in paranoia and hallucinations in people with schizophrenia
• Improved attention span and behavior in children with attention deficit disorder and autistic spectrum disorder
• Relief from the bowel urgency and disruption of irritable bowel syndrome
That's just a sample of the evidence that already exists in the scientific and clinical literature. This is not conjecture or claims based on a few anecdotes. It is based on a rational, scientific examination of the evidence, coupled with the experiences of millions of people who have come to understand the power of this lifestyle change. When a wheat- and grain- free lifestyle is put to work in real life, the benefits documented in clinical studies can be seen in action with unexpected and dramatic reversal of numerous health conditions.
Such a collection of changes is rare to impossible when weight loss is achieved through a painful few weeks of calorie counting, liposuction, or kickboxing or other strenuous exercise. If this were just a weight-loss program or just a program to shrink your waist, well, that would be sort of interesting in a reality TV sort of way, complete with emotional outbursts and breakdowns. But it would not be accompanied by the sorts of body and health transformations we are seeking. In this detoxification process, we are going to go further than just losing weight; we are going to work to restore health from head to toe. Weight loss, feeling better, and looking younger are simply reflections of the dramatic improvements in health you are going to experience.
In particular, you are likely to experience a powerful reversal of inflammation throughout your body. The reversal of redness, swelling, pain, and hormonal signal disruption that we may experience variously as seborrhea, rheumatoid arthritis, acid reflux, leg swelling, or irrational anger all reflect the receding wave of inflammation previously caused by grains.
These are changes that I observe in people every day with the health strategies detailed in the Wheat Belly books. In this easy-to-consume, bite- size book, you will read about such changes from our detox panelists, even in the brief 10-day timeline of this program. I predict that many of you, like our volunteer panelists, will receive compliments from family and friends after these initial 10 days on how different you look: thinner, yes, but it's not uncommon for your appearance to begin to change, especially that of the face with less eye puffiness, less facial edema, and relief from the redness of the cheeks and seborrhea along the nose (what I call the signature rashes of wheat and related grains), as well as developing better defined facial contours, reduced waist size, smaller hips, reduced cellulite on the thighs, loss of edema in the ankles, even smaller feetno kidding. I bet you'll even smile more readily, given how much better you feel inside.
The Wheat Belly 10-Day Grain Detox program begins with the elimination of wheat and grains, the essential first step that gets the detoxification process under way. But this detox involves additional strategies for full benefit. These strategies are necessary because they undo many of the unhealthy effects that grains have exerted on your body and that have accumulated over the years, such as abnormal rises in insulin levels and altered composition of bowel flora (the microorganisms that inhabit your intestinal tract). Many of the drugs that your doctor prescribed to treat the destructive health effects of wheat and grain consumption will also need to be reduced or discarded. Remove the initial cause, correct the varied consequences, and the majority of drugs are no longer needed and health can finally reassert itself. Without grains, life is indeed good.
These sorts of benefits have nothing to do with celiac disease, the autoimmune destruction of the small intestine from gluten in wheat, rye, and barley experienced by 1 percent of the population. While this detox program could be undertaken by someone with celiac disease, it is primarily aimed at people without the disease, meaning the other 99 percent of the population. These benefits also have little to do with being "gluten-free," a misleading concept that has the potential to ruin health and weight in other ways, which we'll discuss throughout the book.
Wheat Belly 10-Day Detox Put to the Test
In March 2015, my publisher and I invited a group of volunteers to Rodale's Manhattan offices to undergo an initiation to the Wheat Belly 10-Day Detox program. I had posted a request for volunteers on the Wheat Belly Facebook page and received an outpouring of offers to participate. All panelists shared an interest in getting started on the detox program and obtaining results as quickly as possible. While most expressed a desire to lose weight, all hoped to regain control over various health conditions.
The panelists (all female) in our group came from different parts of the country. To get them started on this process, we helped them understand a bit about why this lifestyle works so wonderfully well, but just as with the rapid-fire approach used in this book, we focused mostly on the how: how to identify grain-containing foods, how to go about eliminating them from their lives, and how to successfully navigate the first 10 days of the detox, including how to deal with the uncomfortable and disruptive process of withdrawal to begin a lifetime of health recovery.
We provided them with the very same recipes that you now have in this book, asking them for feedback, which was then factored in, and we improved on some of the recipes. We weighed them and measured their waists, arms, and hips on the first and last days of the detox. We also asked them for their thoughts on how they dealt with this process; the symptoms, aches, and pains they endured; and any health improvements they experienced. They shared their successes, their failures, the ups and downs of the process, the struggles with converting their kitchens to this new wheat- and grain- free lifestyle, and the sometimes reluctant or skeptical looks they got from family members.
I will be sharing many of the panelists' experiences throughout this book. They all underwent the very same detox program that you are about to begin. All survived and lived to tell their stories.
You will learn also that not only will you not become deficient in nutrients, but that nutrient levels increase with wheat and grain eliminationexplaining why, for example, many people experience reversal of iron deficiency anemia and vitamin B12 deficiency with this approach. I also take the mystery out of fiber and show why the conventional notion of a high-fiber diet is largely a fiction of marketing, little different than sprinkling sawdust on your food. There are better ways to achieve bowel and overall health than gnawing on twigs.
The Wheat Belly 10-Day Grain Detox therefore requires not only changes in lifestyle but also changes in your thinking about food and nutrition. Replacing your size 24, meant-to-conceal dress with a sleek, size 4 dress designed to show off your slender new body will go hand in hand with changes in the way you view food, replacing the health- and weight- destroying fictions with advice that actually works.
GRAINS: A HEALTH AND WEIGHT CATASTROPHE
I promised to spare you the science and rationale behind the Wheat Belly concepts. But allow me to sprinkle just a bit of understanding over why this approach works so wonderfully wellso much so that I am sometimes accused of concocting success stories. But I can assure you that no fabrication is necessary because (1) I really don't have that much imagination, and (2) such jaw-dropping successes occur every day, and we can readily add you to the list. I believe that just a little explanation is in order to assure you that this approach is genuine, based on scientific interpretation, not only anecdote or speculation, and that real results can be anticipated.
I call wheat and grain elimination a "2 + 2 = 11" effect: The total in this lifestyle is greater than the sum of its parts. Some people initially view the Wheat Belly approach as nothing more than cutting calories or cutting carbohydrates. But this is a misconception due to not recognizing all the reasons why wheat and grains disrupt health and why removing them yields larger-than-expected benefits. Removing all the factors in grains responsible for inflammation, for instance, results in a wide array of weight and health benefits.
So let's do a quick rundown of what is contained in the wheat and grains that make a bran muffin, poppy seed bagel, or tortilla poisonous components of diet. I'll keep it brief, and then we'll pick up again with workable strategies to get you going.
GRAINS YIELD OPIATES. Not figuratively, but quite literally, these opiates are not too different from morphine or heroin. Chances are you are not a pill-popping, tourniquet-on-the-bicep, IV drug-injecting, fringe member of society slinking in corners and dealing in the dark, but rather a nice, law- abiding member of society. The gliadin protein of wheat and closely related proteins of other grains (secalin in rye, hordein in barley, zein in corn) yield, upon partial digestion, small peptides that bind to the opiate receptors of the human brain. In people with conditions such as bipolar illness and schizophrenia, they yield effects such as impulsive behavior and paranoia; in children with attention deficit disorder and autism, they cause behavioral outbursts and shorten attention spans; in people prone to bulimia and binge eating disorder, they cause 24-hour-a-day food obsessions. In those prone to depression, they cause dark moods and even suicidal thoughts.
In people without these conditions, grains "only" trigger appetite in an irresistible, never-satisfied way. (Several of our detox panelists shared their experiences, by the way, of being relieved of this appetite effect that had previously ruled their lives.) Most of us take in 400 or more calories per day from this appetite-increasing effect, sometimes as much as 1,000 or more calories per day. Some people even develop incapacitating and addictive relationships with food due to exposure to gliadin-derived opiates, witnessed in their most extreme form as the food obsessions in people prone to eating disorders.