Saturday, August 9, 2014

Wheat Belly, Bagel Butt, Pasta Face, etc.

As I've done with other failed diets, I decided to blog about this one.  One thing I learned a few years ago, while recounting past diets, is that I typically diet when there is a significant change in my life.  This time around it is a job change, as I start in the IBM Watson Group in one more week.  For some reason, the stress of continuity (or maybe it is boredom) results in me eating poorly and eating often.  When I am enduring change, I guess my energy is focused more on the change and I am more ready to eat better.  Weird, huh?

So, a few weeks ago, after landing the new job, I was seeking a new audio book to listen to while walking.  Wheat Belly came up near the top of my search, and so I gave it a shot.  Yada Yada yada, I started a wheat-free diet last Monday, finished the book yesterday, then I wrote the review you see in my prior blog post

Here are the bottom line points I learned from the book, which I probably should have just added to my book review:
  1. Wheat used to be generally good or OK for people, back in the old days 50-5000 years ago.
  2. Ask yourself, or look at old family photos from the 1940's - 1950's...  How many people back then had big guts and lard butts like they do now?  How many more people exercise regularly (run, work out, etc) now versus 30-50 years ago?  Back in the 50's and 60's, very few people were joining a gym or running or walking, for the sole purpose of EXERCISE, but they were generally not nearly as overweight as they are now. Something happened.   
  3. Due to efforts to genetically improve wheat to yield more, cure world hunger, and reap more profits for those evil capitalists at "Big Food" (just kidding... I've always said I can make anything political) What I meant was...

    Due to efforts to genetically improve wheat to yield more and cure world hunger, the wheat we eat now is not the same as the wheat of our ancestors.  There are many more chromosomes or (insert genetic engineering science term here) that has made today's wheat different than the wheat of yesteryear.
  4. An unintended side effect of that is that wheat products are highly addictive, even though we don't really even notice that (until we try to stop eating it).  The book compared it it some ways to morphine and other hard core drugs.  
  5. Wheat makes you hungry.  Related to being addictive, a few hours after eating wheat, you are hungry again.
  6. Another consequence of wheat, or the sugar converted from wheat when we eat it, is that it causes - or seems to cause or influence or impacts - cancer, hair loss, acne, celiac disease, upset stomach, brain disfunction, weakness, sleepiness, lack of good sleep, and I don't know what all.  Oh yea.. It causes you to be fat, or fatter, or fattest.  (Remember The Freshman Twenty, or Thirty, or Forty, in my case... The weight you put on from eating mostly pizza during the first year of college?  It's not just the FAT from the cheese and pepperoni!)
  7. Wheat is more than just bread, bagels, pasta, tortillas, flour, and pizza.  A LOT more.  It's used as a thickening agent or taste enhancer in many many sauces and other recipes.  As the author said, "Removing wheat from your diet is like removing sand from your bathing suit."
  8. Foods labeled gluten-free may or may not be, but more importantly, they usually replace the gluten with other stuff not good for you (such as other starches), so don't go all crazy buying and eating "gluten-free" foods.
  9. Red wine is a wheat-free alternative to beer.  
So, I started this past Monday.  I cut out breads, cereals, and all the other obvious wheat-like foods.  I also cut out breaded fried food like the Chick-fil-A nuggets on a salad.  I did have some gluten free cereal (Rice Chex, and some other Chex product), gluten free pizza from Zpizza, gluten free bun with Banzai Burger at Red Robin, and a little bit of some GF quinoa pasta with spaghetti sauce.  I had that fajita burrito (without the tortilla) that Lori always gets from Salsa Fresh. I've eaten more nuts (even salted ones), more cheese, more eggs, more bacon, and more yogurt than usual.  I ate fries as usual, popcorn at the movie as usual, and I haven't thrown out any beer.  A man has his limits.

I felt like after only about 2-3 days, I was losing the craving for wheat (breads) and was not as hungry throughout the day.  This was one of the promises in the book I was counting on.  It's a good thing, because wheat temptations were everywhere.  I stared down a huge box of Dunkin Donuts someone left on the counter this week.  Then, someone left the final lone donut out strategically tempting me from the very middle of our large kitchen bar.  I also stared down a half loaf of double buttered garlic Texas Toast that was prepared last night with the family's spaghetti and meat sauce dinner.  (My son Seth commented it was the best Texas Toast he had ever eaten.  Thanks for that unsolicited food review, son.)  I stepped into a Red Robin, and ordered the GF bun, which for some reason made my $10 Banzai look as pitiful as a single McDonald's cheeseburger.   I passed on taking a bite of leftover boneless wings and nuggets from my kids on a few occasions.  I skipped the homemade French toast yesterday morning and the Green Hope Cross Country pancake breakfast this morning.

So overall, I'm making good progress.  BUT, I do need to do more meal planning, before meal boredom sets in, and the Oreos beckon me from their hiding place in the cupboard.  I've lost about 3 pounds after 6 days.  But that could just be water weight.

I'll leave you with a quote from the book author, Dr. William Davis: 
“Aside from some extra fiber, eating two slices of whole wheat bread is really little different, and often worse, than drinking a can of sugar-sweetened soda or eating a sugary candy bar.”

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