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Whatever the true reason for the increase in our waistlines, I decided to buy the book. I actually downloaded it onto my iPad2 so that I could support our local independent bookstore. (This was my first and possibly last electronic book; I really like to peruse and flip through pages that I've read without a lot of bother. Plus this book had notes in each chapter and I could not easily look them up.) I read it avidly and agreed with many things he had to say about wheat. Basically, the idea that wheat has become ubiquitous in our diets, in so many different products, is indisputable. His real premise, with which I agree, is that the wheat we ingest does not bear much resemblance to the "amber waves of grain" that we think of as wheat. It's been genetically modified in order to make it produce more at a lower cost, and all without any research on whether it is harmful to those of us who eat it. Here's a quote from p. 6, called "Wheat, the Unhealthy Whole Grain":
Of all the grains in the human diet, why only pick on wheat? Because wheat, by a considerable margin, is the dominant source of gluten protein in the human diet. Unless they're Euell Gibbons, most people don't eat much rye, barley, spelt, triticale, bulgur, kamut, or other less common gluten sources; wheat consumption overshadows consumption of other gluten-containing grains by more than a hundred to one. ... I focus on wheat because, in the vast majority of American diets, gluten exposure can be used interchangeably with wheat exposure. For that reason, I often use wheat to signify all gluten-containing grains.Dr. Davis makes a great case for stopping the consumption of wheat. I tend to go along with what he says about it, as well as the observations he has made about all kinds of fructose sources (often hidden with esoteric sounding names) and their terrible consequences on the body when consumed in even small doses. And here I had started eating agave nectar, thinking I was doing good things for myself (not!).
Anyway, I did some research on other gluten-containing grains, such as rye, and I found out some very interesting information. For one thing, since rye has a much lower gluten content than wheat it is usually combined with wheat when used for making bread. I looked for straight rye breads and found that my local health food store does indeed carry some, but there's not much. It needs a sourdough starter if it doesn't contain any added sugars. A variety of pumpernickel is imported from Bavaria, although there is actually a 100% rye bread made locally that is hard as a rock. It's good, though, and I'm using rye as a replacement for the spelt bread I have grown so fond of at the Great Harvest Bread Company. Their spelt has lots of honey to make it rise, and I noticed that I would often crave the bread for its sweet content. One place that has lots of interesting facts about rye is Grindstone Bakery. I will continue to keep rye and brown rice in my diet, since I have no gluten issues. I asked the owner of the GHBC if they make spelt without added sugar, and he said they experimented with it, but it wasn't successful. It needs a fair amount of honey.
The reason for my endeavor into a wheat-free diet is to find out if cutting out wheat and all added sugars (other than from fresh fruit) will improve my cholesterol numbers. I was so convinced that I would be looking at great numbers after losing fifteen pounds and eating lots of healthy foods. I ate my spelt bread and sourdough wheat breads, occasional excursions into pizza when eating out with my friends, but otherwise not much wheat. I don't eat processed foods very often, but I am now thinking that I need to make an effort to keep my glycemic load to a minimum. I now check on this website (Diet and Fitness Today) to find the glycemic index and glycemic load of the various foods that I eat. In January I will again have my blood drawn to see if the numbers have improved. Oh yes, one more thing that I added: I started taking fish oil daily at my doctor's suggestion. Although I'm not going to be able to tell what might have changed my numbers, I'll know I'm on the right track if they go down. (My total cholesterol was 259, up 15 points from January of this year.)
Whew! This post got a lot longer than I wanted, but I'll stop here and release my readers to other endeavors. I do hope to hear from you about any ideas you might have about these steps I've taken.