“Wheat Belly Cookbook” Review

Wheat Belly CookbookWhat happens if we ditch wheat? 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: 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:
  • stevia
  • erythritol
  • xylitol
  • sucralose.
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.

Flour Substitutes

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!) Cheers, Lisa

About Lisa Johnson

Lisa Johnson here. I've been a personal trainer since 1997, a Pilates instructor since 1998 and the owner of Modern Pilates since 1999. I'm hoping to give you some good ideas to get or stay in shape with a healthy dose of humor and reality. Thanks for joining me.


9 Responses to “Wheat Belly Cookbook” Review

  1. staci January 16, 2013 at 10:40 am #

    my son was diagnosed with celiac in October so we’re now wheat-, barley-, rye- and oat-free. (i do buy gluten-free oats, because i love oats that much). since he was diagnosed, i opted to change my diet as well (as i’ve already suspected i have issues too and am debating getting tested myself). It’s been a good change. I definitely can tell if i have wheat, though. my stomach will ache, ache, ache. i still would like to get closer to the ssos diet as i still eat some carbs but overall, it’s been a really healthy change, but mostly for my son and that’s all that matters. :)

    i’ve been getting some of my recipes from other bloggers and the living without magazine but haven’t tried doing flour mixes yet. i have been lazy buying an all-purpose flour and mixes (out of the sake of convenience). i hope to get more adventurous this year!

  2. Amanda @ Sistas of Strength January 16, 2013 at 12:22 pm #

    I eat almost entirely wheat free and I will say that my stomach has never felt better. I used to have a lot of trouble with bloating which I originally attributed to dairy. Now I think it was a combo of gluten and dairy. I will say buying alternatives are a lot more expensive, but it’s so worth it if you feel better!!

  3. malita January 16, 2013 at 4:01 pm #

    I’ve been experimenting with wheat free since July 2012, had some massive withdraws in August but after that I was fine. Funny thing was during my withdrawals I dropped almost 10 lbs that never came back. I always had bloating issues as well even after cutting out the processed foods. My middle is a major issue to me and its getting better.

    I will say one thing it does is it forces you to realize how dependent on the convenience of already made breads, pastas etc you are (which are processed foods) – when you have to make your own or use something different you realize how you have been living your life trying to be healthy and still eating the grocery store bread (tons of sugar and sodium) and the boxed pastas (also tons of sugar and sodium). So even if the wheat theory ends up false you are cutting out a lot of sugar and sodium. It also forces you to experiment and try new things, realize you don’t HAVE to have xyz in your diet for it to be complete – opens your mind up a bit.

    So on the sugar topic – after much thought and research I realized that we categorize “sugar” as sugar cane and everything else as “fake sugar or sugar substitutes”. I think that’s a bit off. They are alternatives to table sugar – they are the sugar alcohols from plants etc – its all processed no matter how you look at it but so is table sugar.

    Now equal, splenda etc -those are fake sugars. They are chemicals made to mimic sweetness.

  4. Mike January 16, 2013 at 11:55 pm #

    I just read the book and at least for one thing, it has gotten me interested in diet and nutrition. Some days I could have toast for breakfast, foccacia for lunch and pasta or rice dish for dinner. It has taken a bit getting used to but I definitely feel so much better and already down 3kg in 10 days.

  5. Di January 17, 2013 at 6:44 pm #

    I’ve been experimenting with wheat free after noticing a lot of bloating after wheat heavy meals/snacks. I believe I have an intolerance to it. But as you know according to the wheat belly books most of us do! Since I switched my diet I’ve noticed the following:
    much clearer skin!
    increase energy
    better sleep

    When I slip on my diet I notice within days. I’m sold! Also try other flours! Besan is chick pea flour and available in indian markets, as is rice flour (much cheaper than supermarket prices!).

  6. TraceyJoy January 21, 2013 at 11:49 am #

    YES YES YES!!! Even if you don’t have celiac you have some type of intolerance to the Fraken-Wheat, Fraken-Grain and the rest of the Fraken-Food family even if you don’t know it. These are not the grains of our grandma time period, heck not even mom’s childhood in the 1950’s. Even my beloved Ezekiel bread gives me the bloat albeit not much of it it’s still there. I can tell.

    Sweeteners/Sugar – I used 100% pure maple syrup from Vermont, Raw local honey and stevia. I used these in cooking and baking. There are few dessert cookbooks using stevia and it works well. It’s not sugar but it’s good and it’s work well for me.

    Thump’s up Di on the chickpea/garbanzo bean flour WOOT WOOT that stuff is the awesome. I don’t always make my own but I have an online vendor that I purchase from it’s great. There are alot of flavors out there that are non-wheat. You’d be surprised at what you can do.

  7. Karina Inkster January 21, 2013 at 3:00 pm #

    I agree that most people could benefit from eating less wheat and other processed grains, but I don’t agree that cutting out wheat is the key to weight loss. In fact, in some of the studies Davis cites as resulting in weight loss after cutting out wheat, more patients actually GAINED weight than lost weight. Check out this article: http://noglutennoproblem.blogspot.ca/2012/03/wheat-belly-busted.html

  8. Lisa Johnson January 27, 2013 at 4:51 pm #

    Karina, my question is if the franken grain is bad (I can accept this as a theory) then why don’t we just buy ancient grains and go back to what our grandparents ate? This book dismisses all grains entirely …

    Generally, as for bloating, I have noticed I get a bit of bloating when my grain intake goes up. I’ve also noticed my periods are a lot better when I’ve cut out grains. Yes, this is anecdotal, it works better for me when I eat less grains … everyone needs to gauge for themselves. :-)

  9. Sandi February 28, 2013 at 9:56 am #

    Everyone is different. I thought I was eating pretty healthy. 100% WHole wheat rotis, 100% whole wheat bread, fruits & veggies, lentils, eggs, rice etc. I just dont have a sweet tooth so sugar is definately not my problem.

    But I was overweight and had digestive issues. I eliminated wheat ( no I dont have celiac) and exercised. I added a lot of fiber in my diet. And the fat just melted off. Now I am at my goal weight.

    I still make wheat rotis for kids as they seem to like it and have no issues with it.

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