I lived for years with chronic indigestion, including a growling, at times painful stomach, flatulence, heartburn and even acid reflux, and I was popping antacids on a regular basis. It was only when I was in my physiotherapist’s office this winter, at my whit’s end for recurrent nerve related symptoms, that she told me about the link between wheat and inflammation, as well as chronic indigestion. Willing to try anything, as years of physio had garnered little to no results, I went on a wheat free diet, an admittedly daunting undertaking, as over 60% of ready made products currently on the market, which we have come to rely on in our busy western live styles, have wheat as an ingredient. However, I persevered and in less than a week was seeing results, the first probably being that there was not a constant war going on in my stomach and that the excess gas had disappeared. As time went on, I found that the sciatic nerve pain that I had been experiencing also gradually disappeared and the achiness and weakness in my wrists went away. In essence, I felt as if I had been given back the body I had 10 years ago, before all these symptoms started to periodically appear.
While it had been recommended to me to read Wheat Belly at the start of my experiment, I had failed to do so and it was not until 3-4 months later that I read the book and wished I had done so from the start of my journey. Having a science background, I like to know why, why, why and this book delivers. What I like most about this book, is its delivery of the science of nutrition in an easy to read format, with lots of personal anecdotes about how going wheat free changed people’s lives, as it did mine. I think the single most important message I have taken from this book, is that in today’s western societies, we eat to please ourselves and have forgotten that food, in its most basic form, is the fuel we need to drive the machine that is our body. As the old adage goes, you are what you eat, junk in, junk out. Viewed like this, it makes perfect sense that what we eat will affect our bodies in many different ways, ways we would never think off, ways that we initially will reject. But when the science is presented to you, the penny drops and the ridiculous starts to make sense.
It would appear that as many as 50% or more of North Americans suffer from chronic indigestion, with the message from the giant pharmaceuticals to go ahead and eat what you want, just keep popping the antacids. As difficult as is the choice that I have made to eliminate wheat from my diet, I am much happier living with a belly that is at peace with itself. I have also found that foods I had sworn off in the past as being perfectly volatile in terms of gas production, such as broccoli, I can now eat with no repercussions, which begs the question that some foods eaten in combination can prove to be a lethal combination. More importantly, I also enjoyed an extended period of freedom from joint pain and nerve related issues.
A recent increase in discomfort with a concurrent increase in ingestion of corn in the form of popcorn, has me worried that I may be conducting a witch hunt on that grain as well. I guess I am feeling more than a little discouraged that so much of what we eat is genetically modified and we really have no idea the impact of these foods on our bodies, foods that were engineered to treat world hunger and may have created a whole other set of problems in its wake.