There’s a movement going on in the food world. People are changing to a more healthy way of eating. Whether they want to lose a few pounds or for health reasons or because of food allergies, many people are discovering wheat-free living.
Wheat has traditionally been a staple grain throughout history. It originated in southwest Asia and has been consumed for more than 10,000 years. It’s not native to the Western Hemisphere, having only been introduced after Columbus came to the New World. Wheat is one of the largest crops of all foods and is one of the most common cereals. It’s ground into flour for breads and baked goods as well as many other foods.
So why, then, are people doing away with it in their diet?
There are various reasons that include dietary and health reasons. We will take a look at these within this report.
Wheat contains gluten, which is what gives wheat flour elasticity and strength and allows bread to rise. Gluten is found in other grains, too, but in a lesser amount. That’s why wheat free doesn’t necessarily mean that it you will be eating a totally gluten-free diet. There are differences to these two types of eating, which we’ll discuss later.
Some sources believe that wheat is good for the body. After all, we need to get nutrients from grain. In fact, wheat as a raw material is nutritious. It’s when it becomes processed into products like pasta, noodles, breads and cookies using white flour that it becomes less healthy. The wheat grain is removed, resulting in more than half of the B vitamins, folic acid, zinc, copper and other minerals being eliminated.
Other sources believe that wheat in any form can cause problems, especially for those who have wheat allergies or are gluten intolerant.
Going without wheat means finding suitable alternative grains and recipes that suit your palate and budget. This report will discuss these options as well.
Why Wheat Free?
As mentioned above, there are numerous reasons to go wheat free. Wheat allergies and wheat sensitivity are a couple of the health reasons someone might change to a wheat-free lifestyle. Another factor could be someone who wants to lose weight by reducing the carbohydrates in their diet. Or there are those who are looking to go for a more all-natural diet like the Paleo lifestyle.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the reasons here.
A wheat allergy can occur in children and adults. It is the immune system’s response to a protein in wheat, where the body mistakenly thinks this protein is dangerous. Although many don’t realize it, wheat is a common food allergy, especially among children. The symptoms include chronic gastrointestinal troubles, asthma, eczema, infections, acne, fatigue, joint pain, and migraine. In rare case an allergic reaction to wheat can cause anaphylactic shock.
A wheat intolerance and sensitivity, on the other hand, occurs when your body has difficulty digesting wheat. Symptoms can take several days to appear. You could get poor digestion, bloating and wind. You might experience fatigue, headaches and joint pains as well.
Those sensitive to wheat can sometimes tolerate the gluten found in other grains such as oats, rye and barley. This is where wheat intolerance differs from those with Celiac disease. These people are allergic to all gluten and must avoid it forever.
Carb reduction and reducing empty calories is another reason to go wheat free. Wheat can cause a high glycemic index, or “high GI,” shown to be linked to obesity and diabetes. Wheat contains a unique carbohydrate that is responsible for the high glycemic index. For those wanting or needing to lose weight, cutting out those empty calories and reducing the amount of carbohydrates ingested daily begins with removing the wheat in your diet.
Many people have become more conscious of what goes into the foods we eat. People are concerned about the GMOs used in making grains and animals sturdier and genetically modified to withstand herbicide applications.
These are just a few of the reasons why a wheat-free lifestyle might be considered. How you feel and the recommendations of your doctor should be an indication of a move toward this type of lifestyle.
There are some benefits of living wheat free. According to Dr. William Davis, author of the Wheat-Belly Diet, (Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health, available on Amazon.com), removing wheat from the diet can reduce the risk of the following health problems:
dermatitis herpetiformis (DH)
elevated estrogen levels
irritable bowel syndrome
wheat-dependent exercise-induced anaphylaxis (WDEIA)
wheat-induced cerebellar ataxia
This is not intended to be a replacement for professional diagnosis or treatments. Please consult a professional medical doctor before starting a new diet.
Other health benefits you can get from a wheat-free diet might include:
Removing wheat from your diet is a great chance to add more whole foods. Processed foods found in packets are made with over-processed and added ingredients not normally found in whole foods. Whole fruits, vegetables, grains other than wheat, beans, nuts, lean meats, low-fat dairy and seeds all contain vitamins and minerals and more nutritional value than refined products.
Eating healthier actually costs less if using in-season vegetables and fruits.
Cravings disappear and other symptoms can be alleviated.
Removing wheat from the diet can help you alleviate health problems like rashes, skin irritation, nasal congestion and digestive tract issues. Living a wheat-free lifestyle can lead to an overall healthier weight because of the whole foods you will be adding to your diet.
Wheat Free Resources
As mentioned above, the Wheat Belly diet was founded by cardiologist William Davis, MD. His blog, WheatBellyblog.com (http://www.wheatbellyblog.com/) and his book, Wheat Belly, maintain that today’s wheat is both addictive and toxic.
The Wheat Belly diet is about eliminating wheat from our diets rather than a strict “do this or do that” type of diet. According to Dr. Davis, it’s a lifestyle choice. It’s not about calorie restrictions or exercise. His book, cookbooks and blog all promote preparing your food in a delicious, alternative way that can help the body overcome the effects from too much wheat.