Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

7 Steps to Going Gluten-Free

Food
7 Steps to Going Gluten-Free

Below are Wheat Belly Total Health top tips for going grain-free.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

1. Start Phase 1 food eliminations. Get ready for a life-changing event on par with birth and marriage. The plan is simple: Eliminate grains, eat real, single-ingredient foods and manage your carbohydrates. For starters, try eliminating some of the things on this list:

All wheat-based products:

• Breads

• Breakfast cereals

• Noodles

• Pasta

• Bagels

• Muffins

• Pancakes

• Waffles

• Doughnuts

• Pretzels

• Cookies

• Crackers

• Wheat-brewed beers (Check out the best grain-free alcohol options.)

• Wheat-brewed liquors

• Bulgur and triticale (both offspring of wheat)

All rye products:

• Rye bread

• Pumpernickel bread

• Crackers

• Rye whiskey

• Rye vodka

All barley products:

• Barley

• Barley breads

• Soups with barley

• Beers made with barley malt

All corn products:

• Corn

• Cornstarch

• Cornmeal products (chips, tacos, tortillas)

• Grits

• Polenta

• Sauces or gravies thickened with cornstarch

• Corn syrup

• High-fructose corn syrup

(For a complete list of foods to minimize and start phasing out to regain your health, follow the entire Wheat Belly Total Health plan.)

2. Choose a non-stressful period to experience withdrawal. Leg cramps, crankiness, mood swings—these are all common symptoms of grain withdrawal. "If you have the luxury of managing your time, choose a period when you don't anticipate high stress," Dr. Davis recommends. "Don't choose, for instance, the week an annoying mother-in-law is planning to visit, the start of a new and challenging project at work or the week before your dissertation is due. Ideally, choose a long weekend or vacation."

He also recommends pampering yourself during this phase of the Wheat Belly Total Health plan. "Watch movies, laugh, enjoy a glass of wine, lie in the sun, get a massage. Like a bad hangover, this will pass," he says.

Read page 1

3. Hydrate. The precipitous drop in insulin caused by removing grains also reverses the sodium retention of wheat and grain consumption, causing fluid loss (diuresis) and a reduction in inflammation, Dr. Davis notes. "If you don't compensate by hydrating more than usual over the first few days, you may experience light-headedness, nausea, and leg cramps," he says. (If you're hydrated, your urine should be nearly clear, not a dark, concentrated yellow). A great habit to start the day right is to drink 16 ounces (2 cups) of water immediately upon awakening, since we awake dehydrated after lying supine and mouth-breathing for eight or so hours.

4. Use some salt. Specifically, sprinkle sea salt or another mineral-containing salt on your food to compensate for the loss of urinary salt that develops due to the drop in insulin levels, Dr. Davis says. "Salt, along with water, addresses the light-headedness and leg cramps that commonly occur during withdrawal," he explains.

5. Supplement. Magnesium deficiency is common, especially in people who have consumed grains for a long period of time, and it can magnify some of the symptoms of withdrawal from grains, particularly leg cramps and sleep disruptions. "Among the best absorbed is magnesium malate at a dose of 1,200 milligrams (mg) two or three times per day. (This is the weight of the magnesium plus the malate, not just "elemental" magnesium; this provides 180 mg of elemental magnesium per 1,200-mg tablet or capsule).

"I advise patients to also supplement iodine with inexpensive drops, capsules, or kelp tablets (dried seaweed) at a dosage of 500 micrograms (mcg) per day, which is more than the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of 150 mcg per day and, I believe, closer to the ideal intake," he says.

6. Consume fats, oils and proteins liberally. "Do what your grandmother did and eat the skin and dark meat on your chicken, and ask for the liver," Dr. Davis says. (Just make sure it comes from grass-fed animals).

Save the bones and boil them for soup or stock, and don't skim off the fat or gelatin when it cools, he adds. Dr. Davis also advocates for adding olive and coconut oil to your meals, and making smoothies and salads with good-fat foods like avocados.

"Remember: Fat consumption does not make you fat, nor does it cause heart disease," he says. "Bury that bit of nonsense with the 'healthy whole grain' fiction."

7. Take a probiotic. Dr. Davis says to try getting 30 to 50 billion CFUs (colony-forming units, the measure used to quantify bacterial numbers) or more per day, and look for a supplement containing mixed species of lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria.

Yogurt and fermented foods can be helpful, but aren't powerful enough for repairing the damage done by grains, he says. "While fermented sources of healthy bacteria (such as yogurt, kimchi or kombucha) can be modestly helpful long-term, they are insufficient in the special situation of grain withdrawal, during which rapid repopulation with a broad range of species is desired."

He says taking a high-potency probiotic accelerates colonization by healthy bowel flora once the disruptive effects of bowel-toxic grains are absent.

"This addresses the bloating and constipation that typically accompany grain withdrawal, with relief usually occurring within 24 hours of initiation of the probiotic," he explains, noting that you shouldn't need to take probiotics for more than eight weeks, since the idea is to repopulate your gut with healthy bacterial species after the grains have been removed. (If symptoms such as heartburn or bloating return when probiotics are stopped, this suggests that something else is wrong, such as an issue with the pancreas or with insufficient stomach acid, which may require a formal assessment, or at least a more prolonged course of probiotic supplementation).

YOU ALSO MIGHT LIKE

7 Benefits of Going Grain-Free

Move Over, Quinoa, a New Superfood Grain Is in Town

6 Reasons to Eat an Avocado

A North Atlantic right whale feeds off the shores of Duxbury Beach, Massachusetts in 2015. David L. Ryan / The Boston Globe via Getty Images

The population of extremely endangered North Atlantic right whales has fallen even further in the last year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said Monday.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Hundreds of Canadian children took part in a massive protest march against climate change in Toronto, Canada, on May 24, 2019. Creative Touch Imaging Ltd. / NurPhoto / Getty Images

By Heather Houser

Compost. Fly less. Reduce your meat consumption. Say no to plastic. These imperatives are familiar ones in the repertoire of individual actions to reduce a person's environmental impact. Don't have kids, or maybe just one. This climate action appears less frequently in that repertoire, but it's gaining currency as climate catastrophes mount. One study has shown that the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from having one fewer child in the United States is 20 times higher—yes 2000% greater—than the impact of lifestyle changes like those listed above.

Read More Show Less

Trending

For the first time on record, the main nursery of Arctic sea ice in Siberia has yet to start freezing by late October. Euronews / YouTube

By Sharon Guynup

At this time of year, in Russia's far north Laptev Sea, the sun hovers near the horizon during the day, generating little warmth, as the region heads towards months of polar night. By late September or early October, the sea's shallow waters should be a vast, frozen expanse.

Read More Show Less
Fossil remains indicate these birds had a wingspan of over 20 feet. Brian Choo, CC BY-NC-SA

By Peter A. Kloess

Picture Antarctica today and what comes to mind? Large ice floes bobbing in the Southern Ocean? Maybe a remote outpost populated with scientists from around the world? Or perhaps colonies of penguins puttering amid vast open tracts of snow?

Read More Show Less
A baby orangutan displaced by palm oil plantation logging is seen at Nyaru Menteng Rehabilitation Center in Borneo, Indonesia on May 27, 2017. Jonathan Perugia / In Pictures / Getty Images

The world's largest financial institutions loaned more than $2.6 trillion in 2019 to sectors driving the climate crisis and wildlife destruction, according to a new report from advocacy organization portfolio.earth.

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch