In fact, what if we actually lose most forms of starchy carbs from our diet? According to William Davis, MD, author of the new “Wheat Belly Cookbook,” your entire life will change. (Amazon affiliate link)
The effects from a wheat-free diet include:
- improved mood
- increased energy
- clearer thinking
- better sleep
- reduced appetite
- diminished heartburn
- less joint pain
- clearer sinuses
- even decrease the effects of PMS
So here’s a little trick I learned. If someone comes out with a ground-breaking book about how to eat a certain way — such as Davis with this title, or the Paleo Diet folks — just wait a few months, as there will be a cookbook that soon follows. The bonus is the cookbook covers all the basics of the author’s theory in succinct form AND gives you recipes to play with too. For me, that’s money much better spent.
Wheat Belly Cookbook Changes
The “Wheat Belly Cookbook” ditches everything wheat and “wheat-like.” The central idea behind all of this is the wheat served to us today has been sooo genetically modified that it no longer reads as “wheat” to our digestive systems. This creates a long chain of bad internal reactions that lead to us being addicted, yes addicted, to wheat.
Dr. Davis says that wheat is the only substance besides alcohol where he has seen a true addiction in subjects, and that you can actually suffer from mild withdrawal symptoms when you eliminate it from your diet. I beg to differ and would add sugar to the list as having a mildly addictive effect as well. But I’m just being picky.
So basically Wheat Belly is Paleo: stick with lean proteins, lots of fruits and vegetables, and as little starch and sugar as possible.
Sugar in Recipes
While Davis does think ditching the table sugar and corn syrup is an excellent idea (hard to argue with that one), he swaps it with one of four sugar replacements:
Davis refers to these as non-nutritive sweeteners and, therefore, okay to use in recipes. I have some reservations about using fake sugars and instead try to use as little sugar as possible … but when I cook I use real sugar. This is a decision you’ll definitely have to weigh for yourself and what works best for you and your family.
The flour substitutes recommended are primarily coconut flour, almond flour, and ground golden flaxseed, but Davis uses others as well. His list was pretty extensive and I did a bit of a double take. If you have a nut allergy — as my son does — there’s a lot you can’t use. Be aware of that if you’re considering a Wheat Belly diet change.
You will have to do some prep if you’re going to go wheat-free and this book is great at helping you set up your kitchen with the new ingredients you’re going to need, even being as detailed as to remind you to clean out the cupboards where the flour used to be to make sure you don’t cross-contaminate anything. There’s also a thorough shopping list for stocking up the pantry with everything you’ll need. Finally, be prepared to spend more money when you cook. Almond and coconut flour are a whole lot more expensive than plain old flour.
The “Wheat Belly Cookbook” is a really good choice if you would like to try a gluten-free lifestyle either for health reasons or just out of curiosity. I can tell you that since I started doing “The Smarter Science of Slim” diet I have been living wheat-free for several months.
I agree with Davis about menstrual periods; mine got lighter and with a lot less PMS. When I had a back slide over the holidays, everything came right back, as fierce as they ever were. I’m not gluten intolerant, but not being out of commission for a couple of days a month is a good reason to keep the wheat to a minimum. I will definitely be trying out some of the nut-free recipes with my family.
Have you been living a wheat-free diet? What recipe books do you like? (Also, in full disclosure, I did pay 100% retail for this book at my local independent bookseller, the Brookline Booksmith. Love that place, so support small bookstores!)