6 Reasons to Go Wheat-Free (At Least For a Bit)
By Sara Novak, Planet Green
Food trends come and go. One moment we’re shunning fats and the next we’re drinking flax oil down by the spoonful. One moment carbs are low fat and the next we’re removing the bun from our burger. It’s rather hard to keep up. But then there are some diets that seem to have a little more traction, and more importantly, have motivations beyond just weight loss.
Just today a Facebook friend proclaimed that she had gone wheat-free for a month and had never felt better. Last week in a yoga class the girl one mat over explained that since giving up gluten she felt the weight of depression lift. While there have yet to be enough studies to back up such claims, holistic practitioners say it’s a diet that’s working in a big way.
Why are we giving up wheat? What are the benefits?
1. Celiac Disease
This is by far the most studied reaction to wheat. Wheat has gluten in it and those with Celiac Disease have a severe intolerance to gluten. Much of the early popularity stemmed from doctors beginning to diagnose Celiac Disease, an illness that damages the lining of the small intestine and prevents the absorption of nutrients in the body. Celiac Disease affects 1 out of 133 people and even still 97 percent of people with Celiac Disease go undiagnosed, according to Eco Salon.
2. Tiredness or Feeling Groggy
Many people give up wheat because they think it makes them feel tired. Many alternative health practitioners believe that wheat can create an imbalance in the minerals of the body which can create a deficiency of magnesium that results in tiredness.
3. Cave Men Didn’t Eat It
We didn’t always have wheat and that may point to why intolerance is so widespread.
“You have to remember that Stone Age man didn’t eat wheat,” Dr Nick Avery, a former GP who now runs the Centre for the Study of Complementary Medicine and is the consultant for Boots on homeopathy told The Independent. “It was introduced only 10,000 years ago with the cultivation of crops. Which is relatively recent compared to the diet of millions of years ago, for which our bodies are better adapted – nuts, berries, fruits. We overdose on wheat and end up eating it for breakfast, lunch and dinner – toast, sandwiches, a pizza. It’s too much.”
4. Weight Loss
You knew I would include this one and I’ll tell you why. Wheat can cause fluid retention in the body which results in weight gain. By giving up wheat, you’re able to reduce puffiness and lose a few pounds, nothing too drastic. Other weight loss may come from having a smaller range of foods that you can eat.
5. Avoid Bleach and Preservatives
If it’s processed, often times wheat is refined with bleach, preservatives, conditioners, and a host of other additives. Even when wheat says that it’s “whole” it’s often processed, with many nutrients and fiber especially, stripped away.
Depression can be triggered by wheat intolerance. Lucretius said, “One man’s food is another man’s poison.” Mark Hyman, MD of the UltraWellness Center in Lenox, Massachusetts, said this to Elle Magazine:
The culprit and cure for most psychiatric disorders lies in the gut, Hyman says. Allergies and toxins in food, the environment, and drugs damage it, causing it to become inflamed and to “leak,” allowing undigested food and bacteria to slip into our bloodstreams. This leads to autoimmune disorders, malnutrition, and brain damage. To heal, he recommends taking supplements, discontinuing nonessential drugs, and embarking on an abstemious diet often called the gluten-free, casein-free diet (or GFCF), which eliminates all foods containing wheat or dairy
Maybe going wheat-free isn’t for you but making dietary changes can have a big impact on the way you feel from day to day.