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Anyone give up wheat?

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Old 10-15-2011, 11:24 AM   #1
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Default Anyone give up wheat?

I read a few articles about the "Wheat Belly" book (still haven't read the book yet but will get there). Apparently the premise is that wheat has been over hybridized and modified and is the root of many modern ills - diabetes, asthma, skin problems, you name it.

My next door neighbour has really bad IBS and so I was talking with him about the idea of giving up wheat. He's interested but hasn't done it yet so I said "I will be the guinea pig and see what happens." I did not think I would have any problems and would be able to go back to it. WRONG!

I had crazy withdrawal symptoms - I wanted to cry and punch things at the same time, the top of my head felt like it was going to float off of my body - it was miserable for 5 days. And then it stopped. And I started sleeping through the night (which I haven't done in I can't even remember how long), my digestion improved - I didn't have crazy tummy issues anymore, the brain fog I have been suffering from lifted, my eczema cleared up, and I no longer have cravings. . . so I went wheat free for two weeks and then I thought I would try to reintroduce it. Bad idea. I ate two spelt (not even wheat, wheat) muffins and I got itchy, and my tummy was upset and I didn't sleep through the night.

Ugh - anyway I think I have a gluten intolerance. How could I live for so many years and not know that? I'm glad I know now but I wonder what other foods are giving me a bad time.

Anyway - if anyone else has tried giving up wheat would you be willing to share what your experience was?
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Old 10-15-2011, 04:02 PM   #2
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I have not given up wheat, but have been thinking about it. But, I've tried other approaches-- you know, no dairy, no fruit, no x,y,z and haven't experienced anything one way or the other.

I think I'll give up wheat this week and see what happens. If I can remember where to find the thread again, I'll report back.
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Old 10-15-2011, 05:13 PM   #3
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I gave up gluten for a year because a dietician thought I was gluten-intolerant. I got various symptoms flaring up at first, then felt a bit better than usual. After a year of this, I realised it was ludicrous and my GP tested me for Coeliac's disease. I had to go back onto gluten 6 weeks before. I got the withdrawal-type symptoms again, but then they went away, and I felt absolutely fine being back on gluten. Now, what really helped with gassiness and the like was starting to diet, i.e. eating a smaller amount at more regular hours. So it can be rather weird, and don't assume you have a wheat or gluten intolerance too rashly. It's definitely worth getting tested at the doctor, as well.

On the other hand, I developed a fabulous gluten-free vegan chocolate prune cake recipe that tastes out of this world and freezes/reheats beautifully. It takes a while to get the hang of gluten-free baking, but it has definite advantages when it comes to putting things in the microwave. Of course, it's off the cards right now, but when I'm at goal weight I might make another batch, put a bit less chocolate topping on, and cut it into seriously tiny portions to freeze.
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Old 10-15-2011, 05:33 PM   #4
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I tested negative for celiac disease, but I do have an allergy or intolerance to wheat, and possibly gluten.

After reading books like "Against the grain, primal blueprint, neanderthin, Life without bread..." and other low-carb, anti-grain and paleo diet books, I decided to do some experimenting.

I used a detailed symptom log (I started with Healthminder and then created my own following it's example), to log what I ate, how I felt, what the weather was, where I had pain, my body temperature, and symptoms.

I found a lot of patterns that have helped me manage my health, and in the process discovered that a lot of my symptoms disappeared or improved on a low-carb diet. I wanted to know what about the low-carb diet was working - was it carbs in general, causing my issues. Was it a class of foods like grains, or was it a specific grain?

I've found that wheat is the worst trigger, but all grains, processed carbs, and sugars can trigger similar symptoms in large enough quantities. As a result, I'm careful with all carbs, but am more diligent about avoiding wheat specifically.

I've found that with wheat, the longer I go without eating it, the smaller amount it takes to trigger a reaction (that's not unusual with food allergies and intolerances).

I wasn't sure if it was wheat, or gluten causing the issues. Barley and rye contain gluten, but many foods with barley or rye also contain wheat, so I didn't have a lot of opportunities to experiment. Recently I bought a rye cracker that contained no wheat, and it did trigger a reaction - now with only one trial of one product I can only assume that I may have problems with other gluten grains (of course it also could be that the cracker was cross-contaminated with wheat).

I limit my starch, sugar, and grain intake, and try to choose the highest protein and highest fiber grains like quinoa, millet, amaranth and wild rice. I do also eat oatmeal, because I haven't had any problem with it.

At least for now, traces of wheat don't seem to bother me, but I try to be as diligent as I can anyway.

I don't buy many gluten-free products, because the carbs are still an issue.

I really miss "real bread" thought. Some of the gluten-free breads aren't too bad, but they just don't have the same springy-chewiness that good breads have.

The gluten-free pastas are excellent though. I like the quinoa and quinoa/corn blend pastas even better than wheat.
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Old 10-16-2011, 10:12 AM   #5
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You will pry bread out of my cold, dead hands. Ok not really. If I eat a lot of regular bread, it bloats me. I've gone long periods of not eating any wheat or gluten products, not really on purpose though. I love bread and flour tortillas and sometime, it is difficult for me to manage these things in my diet so I do without. I notice no difference though in eating wheat products vs not eating wheat. I say I can get bloated but it takes a lot of bread to do that and 1 or 2 slices is fine. I also eat gluten based seitan once in a while and that doesn't bother me one bit.

Personally, I think every new diet book has to have a twist so it wouldn't surprise me if there is a wheat free diet book. All the products we eat tend to have been manipulated over the centuries so If you are looking for something to eat that hasn't been modified or hybridized, good luck.
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Old 10-16-2011, 10:20 AM   #6
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I tested positive for Celiac Disease in January. It was shocking to me as I was already diagnosed with renal failure and this was a secondary condition. However, going gluten free has changed my life. I think the most amazing part was that I didn't really feel sick, but once I gave up all gluten I felt amazing. Now, if I get something with gluten, I feel like someone punched me in the stomach for at least three hours after and have to deal with the horrible digestive after effects. It was difficult at first because gluten is hidden in everything, but now... it is just normal and it doesn't even bother me. I adapt fairly quickly with a recipe that calls for gluten. I love it. They say 1 in 5 people have a gluten intolerance and don't even know it. I guess I was one of those. I must have had the intolerance for years before it evolved into the disease. I hear lots of people say they don't eat gluten and then I listen to what they eat and realize that they don't even realize they eat gluten. Once you start researching - gluten is in almost every single processed food in one way or another - often hidden in things like natural flavorings and caramel coloring. It was a huge learning curve for me, but now I have learned what companies to trust and what products I can enjoy with no fear.

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Old 10-16-2011, 12:10 PM   #7
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Debi - I feel for anyone who has Celiac's but that is different than any so called gluten intolerance. Celiac's is tested fairly easily but a gluten intolerance is mostly a symptom driven diagnosis. An allergy can also be tested for as well.

Celiac's disease - disease in which gluten damages the intestines and you can die as a result if not diagnosed/change of diet. The severity can vary from person to person.

Food intolerance - when your body doesn't have the enzymes to break down a certain food. Common symptoms include bloating, gas, abdominal pain and diarrhea. Dairy products are the most common food intolerance.

Food allergy - when a certain food enters into the blood stream and is attacked by the body. Symptoms vary but hives and other allergy type symptoms are seen. Peanuts are probably one of the better known food allergies.
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Old 10-16-2011, 12:17 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nelie View Post
Debi - I feel for anyone who has Celiac's but that is different than any so called gluten intolerance. Celiac's is tested fairly easily but a gluten intolerance is mostly a symptom driven diagnosis. An allergy can also be tested for as well.

Celiac's disease - disease in which gluten damages the intestines and you can die as a result if not diagnosed/change of diet. The severity can vary from person to person.

Food intolerance - when your body doesn't have the enzymes to break down a certain food. Common symptoms include bloating, gas, abdominal pain and diarrhea. Dairy products are the most common food intolerance.

Food allergy - when a certain food enters into the blood stream and is attacked by the body. Symptoms vary but hives and other allergy type symptoms are seen. Peanuts are probably one of the better known food allergies.
Well, I wouldn't say the test was easy by any means. I had to be sedated and had to have an upper and lower endocscopy and several very expensive lab tests along with skin biopsys. And, from what I have read... gluten intolerance leads to Celiac Disease. I am sure that not everyone that has an intolerance gets Celiac, but it is certainly a risk for anyone that does have a gluten/wheat intolerance. I did have symptoms of gluten intolerance for a very long time, but I did not realize that is what was happening. I believe that if I had caught it sooner when it was just an intolerance or allergy I would not be dealing with a disease. But... that is what I have gleaned from my last several months of research. I am sure opinions vary on the subject, like anything else.
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Old 10-16-2011, 12:46 PM   #9
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Well it may not be easy for the person being tested but is definitive. Also, I haven't read anything about intolerance/allergy causing celiac's. It seemed more that like other allergies, celiac's starts mild and usually by the time it is diagnosed, it is more severe.

Overall, it seems that there is a lot if misinformation about gluten intolerance out there. For some reason, many natural health type people have deemed gluten as the enemy and they point to those with celiac's as the evidence. Food allergies and intolerances aren't fun but celiac's is more severe than a simple food intolerance. Like you said, gluten is in various processed products including things like soy sauce.
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Old 10-16-2011, 01:00 PM   #10
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Quote:
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Well it may not be easy for the person being tested but is definitive. Also, I haven't read anything about intolerance/allergy causing celiac's. It seemed more that like other allergies, celiac's starts mild and usually by the time it is diagnosed, it is more severe.

Overall, it seems that there is a lot if misinformation about gluten intolerance out there. For some reason, many natural health type people have deemed gluten as the enemy and they point to those with celiac's as the evidence. Food allergies and intolerances aren't fun but celiac's is more severe than a simple food intolerance. Like you said, gluten is in various processed products including things like soy sauce.
Either way the treatment is the same. No wheat. No gluten. There is no treatment other than that for allergy/intolerance/disease that involves gluten/wheat. It does get daunting at times to go through all the online research. I may very well be mistaken about the connection between the three issues. I am still fairly new at this gluten stuff.
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Old 10-16-2011, 01:14 PM   #11
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I avoid wheat in all forms. A few years ago I did an elimination diet to try to nail down things that might be aggravating my inflammation. Wheat turned out to be a big culprit for me. I can have one serving of wheat once a week without problems but any more than that and I wake up with swollen, achy finger joints. I also notice a lot more digestive aggravation whenever I eat wheat so I just eat wheat as a last resort.

There are so many things I was used to when I was obese and seriously overeating that I probably wouldn't have noticed any difference without wheat. (skin rashes, digestive problems, reflux, overall sluggishness and aches...) It's amazing how easily we convince ourselves that our symptoms are just normal and/or age related
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Old 10-16-2011, 10:41 PM   #12
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One problem in diagnosing celiac disease, is that false negatives are quite common, especially if conducted while the person is avoiding wheat, or before damage has been done.

So, it's really hard sometimes to distinguish between intolerance and celiac disease. Apparently there's a genetic test, which is alleged to be the most accurate - unfortunately it's also quite expensive, and not covered by medicare or most insurances (which suggest an elimination diet, instead).

I don't know if I have celiac disease. I was off-wheat when I was tested, but my doctor said it was a more sensitive test, so I'm fairly confident that I do not (though the possibility exists that I and the test are wrong). I know it's very tempting to think that I do not, especially when I'm smelling hot, baked bread or pizza crust...

I've occasionally indulged in a wheaty treat, deciding that I was willing to accept the inconvenience of an ugly, itchy face. I then went home, slathered my face with steroid, and hoped that the breakout wasn't going to be one of the nasty ones (where the rash becomes oozy, weepy and crusty - or so itchy that I want to scratch the skin off).

I haven't had allergy testing, because my blood pressure medication makes the scratch test unsafe - I've been told it would interfere with the effectiveness of the medication they would use if I had a severe allergic reaction.

Even if I knew for certain that I did have celiac disease, I'm not sure it would be that much easier to give up wheat. If the prospect of looking like a rotting zombie with nose and lips swollen to twice their normal size doesn't always deter me, I'm not sure that the prospect of death is that much more frightening.

I recently read that there's been some research that suggests that weight loss can improve autoimmune issues with gluten, and the first thing I thought was "Yeah, maybe when I'm thinner, I'll be able to eat wheat again."

Sometimes I feel like I would kill for a decent crusty, dinner roll, or even a cheap frozen pizza.
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Old 10-17-2011, 12:20 AM   #13
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I read Wheat Belly and wasn't impressed. There are so many books out there that try to pick one food and turn it into a catch-all evil, but it's usually just hype to sell yet another book. If we avoided all of the foods that are promoted as bad for us then we'd probably just sit around eating lettuce all day

I've been wheat and gluten free since February. I did discover that what I thought was IBS was actually a problem with gluten and that is no longer a problem as long as I avoid gluten.

I read Wheat Belly out of curiosity after discovering my gluten intolerance. But I did not experience any other health changes promised by the book.
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Old 10-17-2011, 12:48 AM   #14
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I think it's easy to jump to the conclusion that if a particular diet or the elimination of a specific food dramtically improves the quality of life for some people - then it must be great for all people.

I think the reverse is true as well. If some people are harmed by a food, medication or activity, some people will draw the conclusion that it's bad for everyone.

It also seems that the "one-size-fits-all" approach to health, weight loss and nutrition is still in the majority. At best it's acknowledged that "your mileage may vary," but the actual respect given to a wide range of diets is still often only lip-service.


I also think that people need to understand a little bit about research methodology, especially the role of chance and placebo/suggestibility effect before conducting their own experiments.

Eliminating a food or attempting any kind of treatment experiment and suddenly feeling better doesn't really prove anything if you try it only a few times... or if you aren't documenting your actual symptoms, and ideally using more objective measures than just "do I think I feel a little better?"

For example, a mythbuster's style show tested people's reaction to msg by giving half the room food with msg and half the room no msg. In both groups half the group was told they were getting the opposite of what they actually got. In the groups tested, many people reported experiencing msg "reactions" even when no msg was in their food if they were told that the food contained msg.

A large number of the people who reported being msg-sensitive also reported a reaction when tod their food contained msg - even when the food contained no msg.

And a large number of the people who reported being msg-sensitive did not report a reaction when their food contained msg - but it actually did not.


Similar research results have been found with aspartame and other substances that people report having a sensitivity to.

For myself, even though I experienced a clearer complexion than I had in decades, and had less joint swelling and pain, and my IBS improved - I wasn't really convinced that giving up wheat was the cause, until my husband could tell when I'd eaten wheat by looking at me even when I hadn't said anything.

A couple other incidents that convinced me was eating a noodle dish in a restaurant thinking they were wheat noodles. When I didn't react, I was surprised (only learning the next visit that the noodles were actually rice noodles). And a few times I reacted thinking what I was eating was wheat-free only to learn that it wasn't (for example, I didn't know that virtually all licorice contains wheat. I never even considered the possibility, so I didn't real the label. Now I read the labels on everything, even if there's no reason think wheat is an ingredient).
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Old 10-17-2011, 03:40 AM   #15
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I haven't given up wheat per say, but I rarely eat it now, I eat carbs about 4 times a week (half a sweet potato, some oatmeal...). What does happen is when I eat something that has a LOT of wheat my body seems to reject it.

Case in point: yesterday I made some home made whole wheat and oatmeal bread (that brown whole wheat flour, oatmeal, yeast, salt, sugar, olive oil, milk and water), had a few slices of it. Today I have been to the toilet about 9 times and it's 4.30 in the afternoon.

I guess my body couldn't handle such a wheat overload after I started my new regimen.
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