For the last two weeks, I’ve been embarking on a bit of an experiment. Some good friends of mine have been talking about Paleo diets and also a book called Wheat Belly. And saying enough good things about it all that it made me really think seriously. So – I bought Wheat Belly because I was intrigued by the concept – does wheat cause cravings and help to generate hunger pangs because of its impact on glucose levels? I’m not a heavy person – but recently it has felt really hard to keep my weight from rising. Too hard. Certainly too hard to maintain for the rest of my life. And that just didn’t seem right – do you really have to deprive yourself this much, and feel slightly hungry all the time just to try and keep your weight in check? And would it only get worse as you got older?
I felt like there has to be something that makes it easier, or at least not as hard. And many of the concepts in Wheat Belly made sense to me – particularly the part about wheat products being addictive and about people experiencing hunger pangs every 2 hours. I have definitely gotten emotional satisfaction from bagels and other baked goodies. And I can eat breakfast and then feel starved 2 hours later – I often feel like I am always hungry. The information about other disease impacts (arthritis, osteoporosis, etc.) just scared me, too. It definitely felt worth an experiment.
My plan was to go wheat-free for some period of time – at least 2 weeks, possibly a month – and see what kind of impacts I might feel. Clearly, going wheat-free takes some effort and seemed a little daunting – because our society is definitely set up to promote wheat at every turn. Especially for breakfasts for me – it’s hard to imagine what to eat for breakfast without some kind of wheat. And I’d have to say goodbye to my favorite cereal – Kashi GoLean Crunch. I’ve developed a slight love affair with that cereal this past year…
And frankly, I had cut a lot of wheat / carbs out of my diet already last year. I had noticed that heavy carbs or starches increased my weight and when I cut down on it, my weight went down. So I had essentially made my lunches and daytime snacks starch free (for the most part, occasional cheats with animal crackers or sometimes even cheez-its). But most days – lunches at the office were salads and hard-boiled eggs with fruit for mid-morning and afternoon snacks. And – being of Asian heritage, rice (now brown rice) is the starch of choice at night. So – would this really make a difference? Just cutting out my morning cereal? I wasn’t confident.
Finally – while I’m not a heavy person – my whole life, I’ve always had a belly. I often wondered – how skinny would I need to be for that to go away? It seemed omnipresent and just frustrated me. Bikinis were not in the picture for me. Wheat Belly’s argument was that people’s large bellies are driven by wheat – this intrigued me. Would this finally help me get rid of my belly?
After reading the book – I spent a little time thinking through what to eat for breakfasts, copying some recipes from the book and blog sites on the web, and buying necessary ingredients. Key ingredients seem to be a lot of coconut products (oil, milk, flakes, flour) and lots of nuts (walnuts, pecans, almonds). I found everything I needed at Costco and Whole Foods. And off I went! (stay tuned)