Last night, I cracked open my copy of Wheat Belly by next Tuesday’s Underground Wellness Radio guest Dr. William Davis. I’ll admit that after reading hundreds of health-related books, I’m becoming quite the book snob. If the author can’t get my attention within the first ten pages, I’m done. Moving on!
Wheat Belly had me hooked from page one. This guy can write! The information is scientifically backed, written in plain English, and absolutely spot-on. I even let out a giggle here and there. Can’t wait for our interview!
You know a book is good when you’re carrying it around the house with you – which is exactly what I was doing around dinner time. While cooking up a lamb burger (no bun), I recommended Dr. Davis’s book to my very fitness-minded roommate Jennifer. She and I have talked about the evils of grains several times before. Despite our discussions, she’s still not sold.
It’s cool. She’ll come around. 🙂
To her credit, my roomy brandished what I consider to be the most powerful dogma-defeating weaponry in the entire arsenal: logic.
When confronted with the erroneous misgivings of saturated fat and cholesterol by Real Food skeptics, I routinely respond by wondering aloud how an old school food (or nutrient) can cause brand new diseases. To her credit, Jennifer threw that very same logic right back at me. She wondered how grains – which have been around for at least ten thousand years – can all of a sudden cause so many health problems.
How can something that The Bible refers to as The Staff of Life be the source of so much modern illness? Didn’t God nourish the Israelites with the bread (manna) from Heaven? Well, according to gluten expert Dr. Thomas O’Bryan, seven out of ten people are sensitive to gluten, the toxic protein found in most grains! Were the Israelites somehow exempt from gluten’s wrath? Or was the all-knowing God just a little behind on his research?
The truth is that we are not eating the same grains that Moses may have snacked on as he hiked up Mount Sinai. In fact, we’re not even eating the same grains our grandparents ate! In just a mere 50 years, grains – wheat, in particular – have become a mutant species crafted by the hands of human intervention in the name of increased crop yields, resistance to drought, disease, and heat, as well as an end to world hunger – all of which are honorable causes and tremendous scientific achievements. However, the accelerated evolution of wheat through hybridization – a feat that would make Gregor Mendel proud – has been to the detriment of human health.
To understand how wheat has gone from a comparatively innocent wild grass to what the New England Journal of Medicine recently declared the cause of 55 diseases, we have to go back.
Indoctrinated to be a processed food salesman by my university-taught nutrition courses, I spent several years drilling the base of the USDA Food Guide Pyramid into the skulls of my personal training clients.
“Six to eleven servings of bread, rice, and pasta a day, you people!! How on Earth do you expect to meet your energy and fiber requirements? Do it! DO IT NOW!”
Fast-forward ten years to present day and I can’t help but wonder how much damage my whole grain zealotry may have caused. Who knows how many of my clients were overweight, fatigued, depressed, and more due to undiagnosed gluten sensitivity.