Quit your Bitchin' and Stop Eating WHEAT!
I was cruising around the bakery/deli section of a local grocery store and standing in front of a display of baked goods was a husband and a wife. I over heard her telling her husband that ever since the doctor told her she had to stop eating wheat she had been obsessing over all of the food she was going to have to give up. She had a box of doughnuts in one hand and a bag of bagels in the other, neither of which was wheat free. I could tell that she was getting really, really antsy trying to find something in the bakery that didn't contain wheat. With a desperate whine in her voice, she said to her husband "These are my favorite (the doughnuts) and you know I can't live without my bagels." Out of his mouth came a very unsympathetic, "Quit your bitchin' and stop eating wheat". I wanted so badly to stop and have an intervention with this very insensitive man. I would have loved to give him a lesson on having compassion and to also explain why it seemed so difficult for his wife to stop eating wheat. I also wanted to tell the wife that this feeling she was having about not being able to "live without her bagels" was actually based on scientific facts. WHEAT IS ADDICTIVE!
When you eat wheat and your body starts to digest the wheat, it makes a "morphine like" substance. This substance attaches itself to the brain's opiate receptors. These receptors control pain and addictive behaviors. This "morphine like" substance causes you to have an almost unnoticeable high.
How many times have you eaten something that tasted so delicious that you actually swooned, squealed with delight and actually felt just a tiny bit high? I can almost bet it was something containing wheat like a fresh Krispy Kreme doughnut, thick crust pizza or an amazing Italian pasta dinner. Each main ingredient being wheat.
Most people do not realize that they are actually addicted to wheat. Why would they? They don't even comprehend that their morning cinnamon and raisin english muffin is actually causing their body to react as if it had been given a very, very small smidge of morphine. Instead of thinking in terms of addiction, they actually think in terms of cravings or even obsessions over their favorite wheat-containing food. It doesn't help that wheat is an appetite stimulant. It will make you want to eat more of everything (not just foods containing wheat).
What happens when someone stops eating wheat? The good news is that after removing wheat from their diet they experience better sleep, reduction of headaches, improved moods & fewer mood swings and improved concentration (just to name a few). I haven't even listed the major benefits for digestive health when someone gives up wheat. That is a whole other post I plan to write.
The bad news about what happens when someone stops eating wheat is that they will most likely go through withdrawals. Just like I mentioned above, when you eat wheat your body creates a substance that allows you to feel good. When your body gets addicted to that "feel good feeling" through foods containing wheat it will command you to keep filling your body full of these foods. When a wheat addicted person stops feeding their body wheat they can feel overly tired, get the dreaded brain fog, have really bad mood swings and possibly experience feelings of depression. Thankfully, these symptoms go away in just a few days to a few short weeks. Don't let these uncomfortable short term symptoms derail you from giving up wheat. The health benefits far out weigh the harmful long term consequences. Evidence is emerging that wheat (an other forms of gluten) are playing a larger role in brain diseases (Alzheimer's) than ever thought possible.
If you need to cut wheat out of your diet for health and/or dietary reasons and are having a really, really hard time giving up your much beloved wheat filled foods, I am not going to say "Quit your bitchin' and stop eating wheat". What I will tell you in a nice, encouraging voice is that giving up any addiction is HARD. It takes courage to admit you have a problem...even if it is only about doughnuts, pizza and pasta. Be kind to yourself when you start your wheat free journey. If what you are telling yourself sounds harsh and negative in your own head, your chances of success will greatly diminish. Treat yourself how you would treat a loved one if they were going through something similar (with kindness and compassion). You may have relapses and that might just be a part of your journey. Ultimately, when you are able to give up wheat you will feel so much better that it will make all of the discomfort totally worth it.