General Diet Plans and Questions - Going grain 'free' has been awesome for me.

01-06-2014, 07:12 PM
I started my lifestyle changes and virtually eliminating bread and pasta and reducing potatoes a lot well before I even heard of Wheat Belly.

Why? I stopped and thought about what I was doing and experiencing. I was hungry all the time, especially after fast food and lunches. I could down endless amounts of carbs at buffets or places like Red Robin. I just seemed to be on a carb treadmill.

And switching to in house only whole grain bread and pasta did not seem to help. So I cut those three things out. Then I found it fairly easy to cut out potato chips, candy bars, fast food, after dinner eating, and ice cream.

It was like this whole constant hunger and treadmill disappeared. And I had a HUGE belly. Huge. And never drank alcohol.

In any event, if people haven't heard about Wheat Belly here is a cool link from the blog I liked a lot.

I will say that I have been eating much healthier and exercising much more. So no one thing can be responsible for everything. But the cutting out of bread and pasta ALLOWED me to then eliminate the other things. And I got way less tired so in some ways it even helped me exercise more.

Do I know all of the effects of wheat Dr. Davis claims are true? No. But I do know that it helped me a lot. I think if people are trying something, especially if they have a lot of mid-section fat, try it for a month. There will be a transition period where you might feel worse. Get past that week and then try it a month. I am virtually hunger free now. It is awesome. And signed up for my first 5K which I thought an impossibility.

BTW I searched pros and cons of Wheat Belly. I know there is plenty of flack. But hey what America has been doing the last 40 years hasn't really been working. And cutting back on grains did work phenomenally well for me.

01-06-2014, 09:06 PM
Yes, cutting out the grains and sugars works. I have the Wheat Belly book. Another good one you might like is by David Perlmutter, M.D. The book is called Grain Brain. :)

01-06-2014, 10:12 PM
I am also taking all the wheat/white/pasta/sugar out of my diet. I am actually doing it for health reasons... I have really bad ulcerative colitis..... I am hoping taking these items (with dairy) out of my diet will help. I have not read the entire book, really only excerpts.... But I agree w some of it. I need to lose weight.... But my health is more important.

01-08-2014, 01:42 AM
I highly recommend the book, GRAIN BRAIN --

If I could force all of my family & friends to watch this video, I would!
Worth watching! About 1 hour--

Interview with Dr. Perlmutter (Author of 'Grain Brain') --

Here is Dr. Perlmutter's website --

Here is his facebook page --

Worth checking out, people!

Lori Bell
01-09-2014, 11:29 PM
Yes, I agree. Gluten grains (and sugar) are evil for me.

Years ago I weighed 333 pounds. I lost nearly 200 pounds by counting calories. By reducing calories, I naturally reduced grains. Once I hit maintenance I began raising my calories to stop losing weight and being a sugar/ wheat junkie, guess where those extra calories came from? More bread and more sugar! So for several years, I white knuckled through my daily diet and found myself binging and restricting to keep my weight at 140. Well, to make a long story short, I dieted my way up to around 170.

I went to weight watchers for awhile and managed to lose/maintain over the holidays but it finally dawned on me after looking though old food journals that all my struggles came to a head each and every time I'd eat a meal high in gluten. I might have a perfectly on plan day and consume no more that 1200 calories, but maybe 500 of those calories would come from " diet" bread. Almost every time that happened the next day would be a binge. So I gave up grain, ( all grain for now) and sugar. I'm giving it 3 months and I'll reevaluate at that time.

Lori Bell
01-10-2014, 10:00 AM

I'm wondering if you had any " withdrawal" symptoms then eliminating grain? For the first several days I felt like total crap. Anxiety through the roof, brain fog, headache, and gastro weirdness. It took about 4 days to feel " normal" again. Now I'm feeling pretty darn good actually.

01-10-2014, 09:19 PM
This looks like a good book...I'll add it my list. I've been thinking of what made me gain 30lbs last yr after surgery-carbs and sugar, all which I had pretty much given up.

01-10-2014, 09:52 PM
I think that some people are sensitive to grains, particularly to gluten and will do better to avoid them. Some even have celiac disease. And, I'm glad the OP found a way that works for her. And, I think that is really great.

I personally went gluten free for December (grain free for the first two weeks), as did my husband. In our case, what we found out from it was that we are not gluten sensitive. So - for us - we haven't found a particular need to avoid gluten or grains.

Of course, to be clear, I do avoid refined grains and junk food. The problem with a lot of grains is people eating foods that have grains in them that provide no nutritional benefit.

I don't personally have any issues for me with eating brown rice, or the occasional whole wheat pasta or whole grain bread. I don't actually eat a lot of grains, but have found that I don't have negative symptoms from it.

As for the Grain Brain book, there are two sides to many stories. Here, is a column by a well known Paleo fan that raises some concerns about the book:

And, here is another analysis of the book that I found illuminating:

As for the overall discussion on grains, this is an article I also found interesting:

I've read a lot that Katz has written and some of the things that he points out are that we aren't likely to find that there is one food that is bad and that all we have to do is quit eating that food.

Sure, grains can be eaten in an unhealthy way. I'm sure that if I never ate another cookie, donut, or piece of cake in my life, I would be the better for it. Also, some people are sensitive to grain and do much better enjoying. Some people aren't sensitive to grain but love it enough that they find it hard to control eating it. (This is why I don't bring cookies into my house any more).

I have no problem with someone choosing not to eat grains. Indeed, I went gluten free for a month to see how I reacted to it. I am just skeptical of some of these writers who want to pick out one food and say it is the source of all ills.

Lori Bell
01-10-2014, 10:08 PM
Koshka, I'm really interested in your grain free then gluten free experience. Why do you feel it didn't benefit you? Did you follow a plan or restrict calories while doing it, or did you just eat anything you want with the exception of grain/ gluten? Did you lose any weight during this time? Did you binge or fall off the wagon? I'm very interested what anyone who has totally committed to it experienced. Thanks!

ETA: I just noticed your weight loss blog so I read your summary for December mentioning your gf diet. It appears you lost more weight and struggled less staying within your calories, ( during the holidays no less!) so I would count that as success! All I am looking for in going grain free is the ability to stay on track most of the time. If that is all I get from it then hallelujah! :)

01-10-2014, 10:46 PM
I think it did benefit me because I gained information. I found that I was not sensitive to gluten and that going grain free didn't really help me. I'm not saying it wouldn't help anyone, just not me.

I basically followed the Gluten Free version of South Beach which is why I didn't eat any grains for the first 2 weeks. I am a WW member and I count my calories on My Fitness Pal. I am working on losing weight and continued doing that during this. That said, I didn't make any special effort to stay within my WW points (I even did simply filling which doesn't count points during part of this) or to eat a particular amount of calories. I ate when hungry and worked to eat in a healthy manner. I generally think South Beach is pretty healthy so felt comfortable using it as a guideline.

The first 2 week I ate vegetables but didn't eat grain and no fruit. After that I added in some fruit and added in non-gluten grains. I didn't eat a lot of grains even for the second 2 weeks. I ate some corn tortillas and had brown rice a couple of times. DH tried gluten free bread and didn't like it. I didn't try it. I did find in the store that it is possible to buy gluten-free junk food (cookies, etc).

I didn't binge and didn't find it particularly hard to follow although it was easier after the first 2 weeks. For example, I like to sometimes eat hummus with a whole grain flour tortilla and didn't love not being able to do that. Once I could eat a corn tortilla it was fine.

I started on December 2nd. From then until 1/1, I lost 3.3 pounds which is a reasonably good weight loss for me since I tend to be a slow loser and this, of course, did encompass the holiday season.

I wasn't particularly trying to restrict carbs (except to extent you do that going grain free) but did find that doing this did restrict them quite a bit and, restricted my calories. We ate out once or twice a week during all this and, obviously, had to be careful what we ate. I ate the Chicken Power Hummus Bowl at Panera, for example.

I wondered if I would feel "better" once I quit eating gluten. To be honest, I didn't feel any different. DH said he didn't feel any different either. (He has also been following WW, has lost 65 pounds and is close to goal). Of course, it was possible that we wouldn't feel any different while doing it but might feel worse once we added gluten back in (starting New Years). As, it turned out it made no difference. I didn't feel worse or better when I added gluten back in.

During December, about 3 weeks in, I asked DH if he felt any different not eating gluten. He said, "Yes. I feel like I want some bread."

Overall, I think that any time you make some big class of foods off limits such as grains or gluten you will normally eat fewer calories particularly if you would normally eat those foods. While I wasn't a huge grain eater - well I didn't think I was - I would usually eat a tortilla, or a piece or two of reduced calories whole wheat bread most days. When I did think I suddenly wasn't eating those calories any more. There is no doubt that doing that reduced my overall calorie intake (I was below my typical intake for the month).

That said, I didn't personally feel that I had any health benefits from not eating gluten. I know that some people do get those benefits. I am just not one of them. It was a good exercise to do this and see what it was like and see if it made a difference to me. I think that now that I am eating gluten again I am being more careful about the quality of the grains that I eat in that I saw how caloric they were and so I only want to eat them if they are nutritious for me.

Lori Bell
01-10-2014, 11:05 PM
Thanks for your detailed reply to all my questions kashka. Very informative. Wishing you much success in 2014.

01-11-2014, 12:27 AM
Lori yes I had some withdrawal symptoms. Similar to what you described. Mine went away in less than a week.

Since then it has been much easier. And I would do it again a thousand times. I feel like I not only have my health now but freedom. When you are in carb let's say 'slave' mode and hungry all the time and brain fogged your quality of daily life is so impaired. And then your health, oh boy.

I also have the following now. I can eat some carbs, pizza, fries, chicken wings, and I don't relapse or get hungry like I used to. I attribute this to my body actually being able to use some carbs now for fuel. Before it was swimming in so many carbs it was just trying to remove the glucose from my system and all the carbs were doing were being stored not used for fuel.

Koshka grains were the thing for me. The reason is they had so many secondary and tertiary impacts. They made me far hungrier far sooner than any other kind of food. They made me particularly lethargic. They messed up my blood sugar far more than any other food.

They were my key for sure. Your mileage may vary. But thank goodness I did target them.

01-11-2014, 10:05 AM
I also have grain and sugar issues. Wheat causes the most extreme reactions. I know they're not imaginary effects, because hubby notices a reaction even before I do. My first symptoms are a puffy, red face and seborrheic dermatitis around my nose and eyebrows (flaky face "dandruff" that without steroid cream becomes weeping, crusting sores that itch and burn insanely).

Hubby noticed the redness, puffiness, and flaking before the next symptoms, water retention, itchy, burny hands and feet, then brain fog, then joint and muscle pain, then an IBS flare of diarrhea and/or abdominal pain and finally insomnia (which could just be a side effect of the other symptoms - hard to sleep with ditching, burning, aching pain and stomach upset.

Thankfully, I do not have celiac disease, and trace amounts do not seem to trigger symptoms. I can use ordinary soy sauce for example without worry. I read labels carefully, and if a wheat ingredients is at the end of a very long list, I might (might being the operative word) take a chance.

I had a major craving for green bean casserole this week (because it's one of my holiday favorites and on Christmas Day at my in-laws' I had only a bite or two (and had a reaction anyway because I also had a tiny sliver of raspberry pie and didn't do as well as I'd hoped when it came to avoiding the crust.

Anyway, yesterday I made a nearly gluten-free version with carmelized sauteed mushrooms and onions (one small diced onion, two small cans mushrooms and 2 tbs butter) in place of the Durkee fried onions inside the casserole, and 1/2 cup crushed Sweet Onion kettle chips as their replacement on top. I also used 1 can of asparagus and one can of green beans and cut the soy sauce in half and replaced the other half with fish sauce. I used the lowest wheat condensed mushroom soup I could find (which didn't contain any obvious wheat, but did contain "food starch" towards the end of the list (which often, but not always is wheat). Progresso has a gluten-free mushroom soup, but it can be hard to find.

This is still pretty much "junk" comfort food, so I don't plan on eating tons of it, or making it often, but I'm glad I could make a reasonably "safe" version.

Non-gluten grains and pseudograins also can trigger the same symptoms, but only in MUCH higher doses.

Rice and quinoa do not seem to trigger any symptoms except temporary water retention (and weight stalls or gains if I eat too much).

Starch and sugar (even from fruit) can also trigger some symptoms, but the reaction tends to be mild as long as I stick to small to moderate amounts of whole-food sugars (fruit, sweet potato, the occasional white potato) or very tiny amounts of refined sugar (one small hard candy or a couple junior mints is ok, but a 2 oz candybar is not).

And by ok, I mean no severe symptoms (other than rebound hunger and cravings). I do NOT mean "a good idea."

To feel my best, and avoid temptations virtually all my carbs need to come from lots of low-calorie veggies and 2-3 servings or less of fruit.

To learn these things about myself, it took me about a year to a year and a half of experimenting and precise logging of food, exercise, sleep, and symptoms ( courtesy of Memory Minder Health log).

01-11-2014, 01:25 PM
Koshka grains were the thing for me. The reason is they had so many secondary and tertiary impacts. They made me far hungrier far sooner than any other kind of food. They made me particularly lethargic. They messed up my blood sugar far more than any other food.

They were my key for sure. Your mileage may vary. But thank goodness I did target them.

Oh, I have no doubt that grains in general or gluten in particular are issues for many people. That is why I actually tested it out so see how it affected me and it turned out I was not one of them. But, I'm really glad you figured it out for you!

01-11-2014, 03:02 PM
I had allergy testing in general, wheat, was one of them and one of the few I had no reaction to. I am not sure how thorough that test is, but I don't believe I am 'allergic' to gluten. It is just wheat in particular is absolutely horrible for my efforts at getting healthy. Messes up my blood sugar and appetite a lot.

01-14-2014, 05:43 PM
I started on a low carb grain free diet on March 19, 2013. Previously, I had lost over 100 pounds but struggled with keeping my calories low enough. I regained about 50 pounds and was constantly hungry and had strong food cravings. Felt like a total failure. Recognizing that I needed help, I went to a doctor that specializes in weight loss. She put me on a low carb gluten free diet because she believes that everyone should be gluten free.

I did feel bad the first week but it was worth it. I have been amazed at how easy this has been for me. Where I once struggled to stay on 1200 to 1500 calories, that is no problem on this diet. I lost weight faster on this diet than I ever have. Sometimes I forget to eat!

During the holidays I allowed myself some sugar and grain as a treat. Guess what.... the cravings reappeared. I am convinced now that I should stay low carb and grain free. This seems to be the key for me. Time will tell.

Mrs Snark
06-19-2014, 05:26 PM

I'm too tired to pick apart your broad generalizations about running, so I'll just say: a lot of runners will scarf up cookies, chocolate cover almonds, muffins, cakes, not to mention bananas, apples, and oranges, plus chocolate milk and they will live long healthy lives and enjoy those foods and running into their golden years.

Lots of non-runners die from heart attacks (shocker). It happens eventually to a fair portion of the non-running public.

06-22-2014, 09:57 AM
Diamond, not long ago you were saying that your transition period took took 2-3 months to adjust to grain free. Recently you've been saying it took you only 2-3 weeks. Now you say the transition took a week. Pretty soon you'll say it took only the weekend. Who knows where the truth lies but the story is becoming more and more fantastical. Thank goodness I have no belly fat but there is no special hip and thigh diet unfortunately.