Okay, this is a departure from what you usually see on my Native Gardener blog. But this is important stuff. Learning about what goes on in your own body, paying attention to your nutrition and health ---- got to be healthy before you can create a healthy garden!
A Book Review: Wheat Belly, by William Davis, M.D.
A look at the book’s cover, and you might think this is just a book about losing weight. This book is about so much more! Wheat Belly takes us on a journey toward understanding: what wheat is, how it interacts with our bodies, and just why wheat is such a pervasive problem in today’s diets.
Since the 1970’s, the “healthy grain” has gone viral. Cereal replaced eggs & bacon as a “healthy” breakfast, and boxed/frozen “convenience” foods became the normal staple of the kitchen pantry. Wheat can be found in all processed “convenience” foods; you do not have to buy wheat bread to get wheat in your diet. And today’s waistlines are a telling sign. Wheat is a complex carbohydrate that breaks down into sugar in our bodies. Did you know, for example that two slices of wheat bread have more sugar than two tablespoons of white table sugar?
Wheat Belly is also a book for people with gluten sensitivities and those with Celiac disease. In that regard, I was gratified to see the book started out right up front with the answer to the questions: “What is gluten? And why isn’t wheat the healthy grain my grandma told me to eat?”
Wheat, as modified in the past 50 years, takes a destructive toll on our bodies in so many ways --- as Dr. Davis explains. Some people have detrimental health effects from consuming wheat even without being gluten sensitive, including diabetics. Wheat affects the way our skin ages, our mental clarity, and so much more. Having done considerable research on the gluten issue myself, I was happy with the sound and sane foundation this author puts out there. The information is clear and easy to understand even if you have never researched wheat before.
In Wheat Belly, Dr. Davis suggests a wheat free diet would make Americans healthier and almost disease free. He backs up his ideas with years of research and includes a formidable list of resources for further investigation by those who want to continue studying food and health.
Dr. Davis suggests an optimal diet plan and includes recipes that make it easy to get started living wheat-free. Obviously, individuals will have to make adjustments to the plan --- vegetarians will want to avoid recipes containing meat; diabetics will want to carefully monitor their sugar, etc. I would tweak some of the dietary suggestions, including the subject of raw nuts (they need to be soaked to avoid belly aches), high sugar content in fruit (taking into account glycemic load rather than glycemic index), making a distinction between simple (good) carbs and complex (bad) carbs, and encouraging portion control when it comes to meat, rather than “all you can eat.”
Most Americans cannot imagine living without the “healthy grain” known as wheat. “If I can’t have bread or pasta, what will I do?” Wheat Belly does an excellent job of clearing up the confusion of how it can be possible to eat healthy and without our “daily bread.” Wheat Belly is easy to understand, very readable, with a nice dose of humor added in.
What is wheat? Where is it found in my food? What does it do to my body? How is it able to change me, what is the science behind it? Why isn’t it the same good grain my grandmother ate? How can I “get off” this addictive grain and still eat delicious meals? Will I suffer nutritional deficits? All of these questions and more are answered, as Dr. Davis guides us away from the colorful-boxed aisles that make up the center of our supermarkets and introduces us the healthful world of real food.
An excellent read I think everyone should pick up, Wheat Belly is guaranteed to change the way you look at your “daily bread.”