Is Wheat Making Us All Fat and Unhealthy?

I have been asked many, many times, “Have you read Wheat Belly? What do you think of it?”  I decided to answer that question here, and open it up for a friendly discussion so that I can hear your thoughts too!

First let me say this:  No, I haven’t read Wheat Belly. I’ve chosen not to read it because I already feel overloaded with all the information out there about what is healthy, what is not, and how I should be raising my children. (Oh wait, that last bit about being a parent has nothing to do with food or nutrition. Mostly.)  From the description and the reviews of the book, however, I can tell that Wheat Belly contains some helpful information that will benefit many people – especially people who are frequently eating many processed foods. 

Some people really can not handle eating wheat. If that’s you, then by all means, don’t eat it, and hooray for you that you found a solution for your body’s good health! But do I feel like we should all throw out the wheat? Well, since my wheat grinder is humming in the background in preparation for making bread as I write this post, I guess you probably know my answer.

Why does eating wheat sometimes make a person gain weight? Anytime you’re eating too many carbs (which is what wheat is) – you are likely to put on some extra pounds. But hey, anytime you eat too much of anything – you are likely to put on some extra pounds. The key words in those sentences, in my opinion is not “wheat” or “carbs.”  It is “too much.”  Any time you are eating too much of any food (or food group), you are going to lack balance, which can cause weight gain and/or health issues.

The word balance is becoming one of my favorites:  BALANCE. Bal-ance. Balanicimo! Balanciencioso

Folks – maybe we do need to stop eating so much food with wheat in it, simply so that we can fill our bodies with more vegetables in an effort to achieve balance. Maybe we should go easier on the bread – so that we can be sure we are getting enough protein food like healthy meat, nuts, eggs, and beans. It’s all a part of eating in balance.

I may be taking too much of a simplistic view of nutrition and health, but I don’t agree that one part of our diet – in this case, wheat – is the cause of all health concerns. (Isn’t it a fact that wheat and sugar almost always go together? I believe that is something we need to consider when we call wheat the “bad guy.” Maybe I’ll write another book to follow Wheat Belly called Sugar Gut.)

What I do agree with:  Many of us (my family included) eat a lot of grains – too many perhaps. Whole grains contain good nutrients, but we really must all be intentional about making sure our diets also include plenty of fruits and vegetables, plus healthy meats, dairy, nuts, eggs, and healthy fats. 

So if you are starting your day with donuts (and nothing else), having two rolls with lunch (with a side of jelly), eating a muffin for a snack, and then a burger with a bun for dinner, with three cookies for dessert – stop it! That’s not balanced, it’s really heavy on the wheat, and really light on…well, everything else, especially fruits and vegetables. 

What about the argument that our wheat today is not the same as it was 50 years ago? It’s true. There have been modifications made to wheat through the years. Bleh. Unfortunately, and I hate to break it to you, almost all of our foods (fruits and vegetables included) have been modified through the years. It’s frustrating, but don’t overthink it. If you do, you’ll be afraid to eat anything at all, and that’s not a fun place to be.  I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: God is bigger than the food we eat. (And Jesus is the Bread of Life.)

Do the best you can. Be intentional about eating a wide variety of nutrients found in real, whole food. And when/if you eat wheat, make sure you are also eating a peach, some green beans, and a hunk of chicken. Sound like a plan?

Hopefully that helps answer your questions about my thoughts on eating wheat. I certainly don’t claim to know it all. This is simply where I’ve landed after much research and prayer. I’d love to know your thoughts about eating wheat…

 

Comments

  1. Jennifer F. says

    I just want to say THANK YOU for posting this! In my quest to feed my family well, the extreme views on a variety of foods (especially wheat!) have left me feeling, on more than one occasion, that I’m not doing enough to ensure my family has a healthy diet. I like the sound of “balance!” I think I can handle that! :)

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  2. Cynthia Nathan says

    Why does “moderation in all things” come to mind? Let’s face it, we humans tend to go overboard. Even good things are bad for you if you eat enough of them!

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  3. Diane says

    I agree with what you said. I will add that for some of us wheat and certain carbs in general have to be eaten in extreme moderation. After many years of wondering what was wrong with me medically I went to a Natural Path Dr. who put me on a low glycemic diet to treat my problems Low glycemic is similar to but very different from a low carb diet, if that makes sense!;-) Part of that is very limited wheat products, even whole grain, stone ground, etc. etc. All that to say I think in large part you have to eat what works for your body and its optimal health. That sometimes takes some figuring out and balance is a great place to start. Thanks for addressing such a “hot” topic.

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  4. Kristin says

    I really like your approach to nutrition and specifically the point of “balance” or moderation. I am in the process now of reading Nourishing Traditions and making some serious changes to me and my husband’s eating habits. I also believe in more of a simplistic view of nutrition….after all, the things our bodies best digest and metabolize are those foods in which The Lord has provided us through nature and livestock.

    I do have a question regarding grain mills…..I am interested in purchasing one but would like a hand grain mill instead of electric one. Do you have any recommendations?? Also, in that book, Nourishing Traditions, it mentions about soaking your grains….do you do this at all or recommend this? To me, it just seems like a huge extra step in the process!

    Thank you for a great article!

    Kristin

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    Jennifer Reply:

    Check out this website: http://www.grainmaker.com/store/

    We bought one last year and love it! It is a bit of work when you are wanting really fine flour, but it does a beautiful job. We did a fair amount of research before purchasing a grainmill. We also wanted a hand mill. Would love to get the bicycle attachment, it just looks FUN :0)

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    beetree Reply:

    Hi Kristin,
    I just wanted to say that I have a Country Living grain mill, and I love it! It’s a hand mill, and it needs to be secured down to something (it’s pretty heavy). We use ours a lot, and everything bakes up so much better with fresh, whole grains! I love that it has the option to be motor-driven- or even hooked up to a bicycle! That way, you can work off your bread before you eat it! ;)

    Thank you Laura, for this post. I think “sane” voices need to be heard through all the hype of fad diets! I love your approach (and your recipe for whole wheat sandwich bread!)…

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    Kristie Reply:

    You can search the site about soaking grains. Here is one helpful post: http://heavenlyhomemakers.com/my-current-thoughts-about-soaking-or-not-soaking-grains.

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    Laura Reply:

    If you click on this link (http://heavenlyhomemakers.com/category/grains-and-grain-mills) you will find all of the posts I’ve written about grains and grain mills. Also, I really recommend the Nutrimill from Paula’s Bread (http://www.paulasbread.com/). She is great to work with!

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  5. says

    Amen,amen, and amen, sister! I’m with you tooting the balance and moderation horn. I’m sick of our society vilifying a single food item every few years – or I should clarify, food that’s been around for a long time. It’s probably okay to vilify the junk. :)

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  6. Rashelle says

    Thank you! Awesome post. It is so refreshing reading a balanced point of view regarding wheat and food. You are so right about being overloaded with information regarding what is healthy and what is not!

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  7. Jessica says

    Thank-you! Eating healthy can be sooo overwhelming! Especially with a large family who is set in their ways. Overtime, we are taking unhealthy foods out and putting the healthy foods in. I totally believe sugar is a bigger culprit than most people think. Thanks, Laura for all of your encouragement!

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  8. Sherry Shchaefer says

    Make that organic, pasture-raised chicken and I agree with everything you say. We as a society are sooo out of balance – nutritionally, spiritually, in so many other ways. Great article!

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  9. Trish says

    As a Believer, I think God, who created our bodies in the first place, has placed a few “hints” in his Word as to what is good food for us. If “grain” in the Bible means wheat, I think we can eat it! It may not be the same as it was in those days, but its wh

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    Trish Reply:

    (hit the wrong button and posted before done) — but it’s wheat.

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  10. Marcia says

    I follow a number of food bloggers as I try to feed my family in the best way that I can. Your approach is by far my favorite, specifically because you are coming from a spiritual perspective. “God is bigger than the food we eat.” I whole heartedly agree.

    I hail from the Caribbean where any one meal can contain up to three servings of carbohydrates. I agree that balance is key, and this is definitely not a balanced approach to eating. While obesity doesn’t seem to be a huge issue in the Caribbean, even with this way of eating, diabetes is definitely becoming a problem. So for my family, I plan our meals so that they contain only one small serving of carbohydrates and try to incorporate more fruits, veggies, and legumes. I have converted all my flour recipes to whole grain, and I constantly test my recipes using less sugar. I know that I am doing my best to feed my family well, so my approach is to pray about it, stop worrying, and leave the rest up to God.

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  11. Amanda says

    Thank you for posting this, I have read Wheat Belly and unfortunately we do need to avoid gluten for our family. I have struggled after reading the book with guilt since he recommends no starchy flours, which unfortunately I have found make breads/ pastries taste the most “normal” to products made with wheat. I agree about balance and realized that if my daughters request donuts 3 times a year, its ok!! We do not eat bread more than twice a month and due to high cost , never buy gluten free processed food….yucky stuff!! Our eating habits have gotten so much healthier and any sweet treats we have are made at home. So my new philosophy will be when sweets are requested I will tie on my apron and whip up some GF goodies for my girls with no guilt and remember, its all about balance!!

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  12. Jennifer S. says

    So well said, Laura. We were actually given the “Wheat Belly” book by a friend. It’s still sitting in a dark corner of my cupboard because I did not want to be overwhelmed by reading another book. I believe God gave us wheat, but He also expects us to use our brains and be moderate.

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  13. Christina says

    Amen!

    Last year I became overwhelmed with guilt over what I was feeding my family. I baked bread. I cooked from scratch. I fed my family fruits and veggies and healthy proteins. But every place I turned someone was posting something about food and what you should or should not be eating. Then I read Romans 14 and it hit me that I was feeding my family the best I could. I don’t need to please others or judge myself by what others think I should be doing. I don’t believe that any food God created is bad. However, I do believe too much of anything is bad for you. So, I still bake bread. I still cook from scratch. And I still feed my family fruits and veggies and healthy proteins. I even feed my family special treats every now and then. And I don’t feel guilty about it.

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    Birdie Reply:

    Christina. Amen! Amen! Free, free, free at last :-)

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  14. Mary G says

    I agree that balance is key. I think many people are looking for a quick solution to things, and jumping on the latest trend seems to be common. Right now, it seems to be gluten free, paleo, and wheat is the root of all evil. Sometimes it’s hard to accept that extra weight often means that our input exceeds our outgo. As someone who is approaching 50, I can tell you that I need to eat a bit less and exercise a bit more to maintain my weight. It may not seem fair, but it’s true.

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  15. says

    Thank you for this post! Yes, it IS overwhelming, with all the variety of diets, news and reports out there about the foods we eat. It can become very discouraging trying to feed your family with all the “noise” out there about the latest and greatest foods, trends, fads and don’t forget the recalls coming down the pike! It’s nice to know I’m not the only one to feel the “do the best you can” and put your Faith in there to, to work for you. I believe Mark 16:18 comes into play here too (feeding your spirit man first, Bless your food, etc..), with common sense and your Faith, it will all be okay and try not to over think it too much!:)

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  16. says

    I wholeheartedly agree. Everything in moderation and BALANCE. Goodness. The problem today is the lack of veggies and fruits. Even my kids will turn their noses up at them. They just don’t appreciate them.

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    Birdie Reply:

    Hi Rachel. What is on our table is what we eat. If dc don’t like it, they put their plate away and do a chore or two while the rest of us eat. Don’t give up! :-)

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  17. says

    I love that you make healthy eating so easy! Balance = everything in moderation. I’ve been slowly making more and more stuff from scratch (my pantry hardly has any boxes in it anymore :) ).

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  18. Laureen E. says

    the word Balance is great in so much of our lives not just in how we eat, it’s been a favorite buzz word of my hubby and I for years now, we love wheat, we do try to do exactly what you say and we are working toward the goal of adding more “God Made” foods to our diets, especially raw fruits and veggies, it is a whole retraining of our eating in America, but once you break the cycle you feel so much better and you look better for the most part, there’s that other part of the balance called exercise that is hard to put up there on the scale to balance out the food side, but we can persevere and make strides, just don’t try to do it all in one day or you’ll fall off the balance scale all together.

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  19. Kristy says

    I feel like I am learning every day about all of the “bad” that is in our food. I have been stressed over the past year on what I should and should not feed my family. Thank the Lord, that your website has helped me find that “balance” and helped to teach me how much I need to cut out and what to buy. But even more, you remind me to leave it at our Savior’s feet, knowing that He is greater and I can trust Him fully. That is a blessing. Thank you for this post!

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  20. Katelyn says

    Thank you for posting this Laura! I saw the author of this book on Dr Oz, and he was NOT a living example of eating healthy- he looked very UNhealthy and even Dr Oz gave him a few raised eyebrows during the segment. It can be a good book for people that have gluten issues or as a start to get away from WHITE wheat and start getting healthy, but to scare the rest of us away from real eating and whole wheat, not fair. I’ve tried “carb free” on occasion if I feel I need to, but there is nothing like homemade whole wheat bread with 5 ingredients, toasted with butter on it ;)

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  21. Armstrong says

    I completely control my psoriatic arthritis with diet alone. I do not eat gluten, dairy, and sugar. Gluten is the biggest offender for me. After seeing how much inflammation just 1 bite of gluten does for me I have greatly reduced my family’s intake. I do make homemade bread for them but use organic spelt that is not GMO and is lower in gluten. I now eat mostly paleo. You may think lots of grains are fine until you get an auto-immune disorder. From my experience, it is almost impossible to control an auto-immune disorder with diet alone and still eat gluten. I don’t want my kids to go down this same path and am doing everything in my power to clean up their diet. This includes minimal gluten intake. It is not just a fad, it is real. Even my husband can tell when he has ate a lot of gluten. His knees start cracking and aching. You don’t know how much it effects you until you remove them. Try it, you may change your mind!

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  22. Patti says

    What a breath of fresh air! I was recently sent an invitation to a seminar on why we shouldn’t eat grains. Wait…what????? It seems that pretty soon, we won’t be able to eat anything. I agree with you on eating too much and I agree that we should be eating less processed foods. My belief is that the closer to the way God made it, the better it is for us.
    Thank you for your blog. I got your cookbook yesterday and poured over it last night. So glad to have it.

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  23. Dione says

    A friend and I have discussed this many times. God talks about out daily bread because in those days there were no preservative and bread would not last much more than a day. Today, mainstream bread can sit on a counter for a couple weeks and be ok. Because of this, more and more people are having problems digesting it. Wheat in its original organic form is not the issue, however, with the processed foods that are so widely consumed and the rampant use of drugs like Ibuprophen, Rx’s,that were not so common 50 years ago, more and more people are suffering from leaky gut and then are unable to digest wheat properly. With anything, to much is just that to much, but I truly believe that if doctors would look into healing the digestive tract there would still be some but very few that actually had problems with wheat. Just my 2 cents :)

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  24. Annalee says

    I just wanted to say thanks. I am always encouraged by your balanced view of nutrition, not over thinking it, and trusting the Lord. In my attempts to help my family eat well, I can get overwhelmed with all the information and finding what works best for us. So thank you. For reminding me of what is needed and giving me the freedom to let go of what is not. :)

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  25. Sheila says

    First off let me say, you inspire me! I am many years older than you yet you have taught me a great deal. I love your writing style and at times you make me literally LOL! :-) I enjoyed seeing pictures of the family packing books to mail and I received mine last week and I love it! Great job.
    Secondly, though I have not read Wheat Belly I have read a lot of things about it.
    One of the things I read showed how much of the scientific research he uses is only half truths. You are so right about balance. I like to say, “everything in moderation”.

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  26. Lish says

    I love your approach to food and it closely resembles our family’s view on food. I read your book cover to cover as soon as it came in the mail yesterday, and found so much to help my family in the kitchen. I agree with the importance of balance, in all parts of life, but especially when it comes to food. No one in my family has issues with healthy whole grains, but we try not to focus on them all three meals every day. I have friends who can’t have gluten due to true allergies but I get so tired of people telling me that we should cut out all our healthy whole wheat. Whenever we have a tiny health problem (and really we don’t have any health concerns besides an occasional cold and eczema flare up) people tell me that I need to put my kids on the gaps diet and cut out grains. I feel good, and my family feels good when we eat a balanced whole food diet full of good whole grains, veggies, fruit, meat and fat. Thank you for being a voice of reason and telling me it is ok if I want to make yummy whole wheat bread and pasta for my family.

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  27. Fletcher R. says

    Thank you for offering your opinion on this subject! Somehow I knew you would fall into the “eat wheat” category!! I tried reading this book, but quit part way through because in the back of my mind I kept hearing God’s voice saying, “Give us this day our daily bread.” Thank you for reminding us that all things must be in moderation. I strive for balance (and more veggies in our diets), but bread won’t be leaving my kitchen any time soon!

    I’m so grateful that a Savior that leads us. We can lay our food needs and desires before Him and He will show us the right path for our families. He will make the way possible.

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  28. Amanda B. says

    Yeah! We need to think more simplistically about real food and get back to eating the way God intended!

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  29. Kimberlee says

    Being someone with celiac disease, wheat is not an option in our house. However, I cringe when people say they are eating gluten free because it is good for them. WRONG! Celiacs have some nutritional deficiencies to deal with because we can not eat wheat, rye or barley. Yes, our food has been altered over time and that is discussed as being one of the reasons that celiac is on the rise. However, eating gluten free because you think it will keep you from getting fat or because it is the next fad diet is the wrong thing to do. I can give you real life examples of people who have celiac disease who are obese. It is mostly because of the lack of balance of foods in their diet…meaning too much sugar, too much fat, not enough veggies, etc. Celiacs can be gluttons, too, just not on gluten. Therefore, if you can eat wheat, do it. If not, don’t…but don’t use it as an excuse to gorge yourself
    on other things to “fill the hole”. Just my two cents…

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    Birdie Reply:

    Thank you for sharing. Our neighbour has severe celiac disease, but would never pressure any one to conform to her diet. As I stated elsewhere, people like you, that take this attitude are compassionate. Blessings to you.

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  30. Erin says

    Yes, we eat too much wheat BUT lets focus more on all the sugar we are consuming. That’s the real culprit and our lack of fresh veggies and fruits on our plates. And if I hear one more word about “healthy sweetners” Agave for example….arrrgh. You are SO right, it is so simple just don’t get caught up in the hype.

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  31. Chris says

    Wonderfully said! Balance, balance, balance….. and don’t overthink ;) There is nothing perfect in this world, and nothing will be until Christ returns. Be intentional about your food choices and let God take care of the rest. Bless you!

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  32. Kim says

    The reason that wheat is unhealthy now is that all wheat in the US is dwarf wheat and genetically modified. We are not eating the same kind of wheat our parents ate. GMO products cause inflammation and sickness.

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  33. Jen says

    Until you give up wheat (or all grains) for 30 days and see how you feel, you don’t know if its affecting you or not. We did and we found we have a lot more energy, my thyroid returned to normal and my autoimmune disease is in remission. Praise God!

    Celiacs are not nutrient deficient because they don’t eat grains. They are deficient because grains have caused irreversible damage to their gut lining that makes it hard to properly absorb nutrients from the food they are eating.

    We don’t eat any grains at our house and our health has never been better. When studying the history of grains, they were never eaten in the quantity they are today. In the Bible finely ground flour was such hard work it was often given as an offering. Grains were scarce because they were labor intensive. They were also saved for famine.

    If I had been raised in a way that preserved and promoted a good gut along with maybe eating limited grains then I might be able to eat them today with no problem. That’s not the case for myself or most Americans.

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    lyss Reply:

    That’s so awesome that your health improved! I wish I could say the
    same. Sigh. I went wheat-free for 2 months one time(and in the 2nd
    month dairy-free also) in hopes of clearing my acne. No change.
    Recently I went totally grain-free(also no beans or potatoes) for
    one month, and again, saw no change. Maybe my body needed more time…
    I don’t know. But other testimonies I read said that they had clearer
    skin within a week of cutting grains/carbs.

    No changes was a de-motivator for keeping up grain-free eating.
    I will say that going grain-free for a while made me aware of how
    much grain foods(especially wheat) that we eat. As Laura mentioned,
    I began to realize that some days, I would be eating some form of
    wheat product three times a day! Too much…even if it is whole wheat.

    Interesting what you said about a damaged gut lining. I’ve read a lot
    lately about how good fermented foods are for us, especially since my
    parents are on the gaps diet, which is grain-free and focuses on
    probiotic rich foods to heal the gut. While not grain-free myself
    right now, we have been trying to eat more probiotic foods, which I
    hope will be good for our guts…in addition to eating less grains
    as my knowledge and budget allow. : )

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  34. Karen S. says

    I agree with you; we have been redeemed from “forbidden” foods, and bread was never one of those foods in the Bible anyway. There are too many references to the “bread of life” or “breaking bread” together for me to believe that it is something we should not eat. I too believe moderation is the key.

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  35. Jean says

    While I recognize those with Celiac disease can’t eat wheat, I think for the most part this is just one more thing in a L-O-N-G line of food fads…..Low fat, all fat, oat bran, all carbs, no carbs, and on and on. It makes me crazy when I see some fattening, over-processed thing in the grocery store with a big proud banner saying “Gluten Free”. Laura, your approach to whole foods, lovingly prepared and in balance, is, I believe, the way the good Lord intended us to eat when he provided all these things for us.

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  36. Chari says

    Amen and thank you for speaking out! I agree we should aim for a balanced life. There is such a huge movement to eat and live (green) perfectly for our bodies and planet. While I agree we should make good choices, those of us that are Christians should not get so caught up in it like you said. I was subscribing to a certain popular ‘health nut’ doctors daily email but I had to stop reading it because I found it stressful I was on a overload of information. Basically I was finding something I needed to change in my life every day and some of these things were environmental or out of my control. I don’t think it is so healthy to obsess about every little detail here on earth but rather focus on our spiritual lives and our children’s. I think the biggest battle we face is a spiritual battle and the future society our children will live in. That’s my opinion anyway :-)

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  37. Stacy says

    I was just asked yesterday if I had read the book Wheat Belly so your timing is impeccable. Thank you! Thank you! I love the balance you give & your so right God is bigger then all of this. PTL! I get so discouraged by the “do nots” of eating that I want to give up at times. We are eating lots of veggies & fruits these days. We have moved away from HFCS & processed foods. You have been a huge help in that! But it also takes a lot of effort to feed my family well. So every time someone dumps a new “thou shall not” on me I want to throw in the towel. Balance is KEY to life & eating! :)

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  38. says

    Thank you a million times for this post. It’s such a nice respite from the wheat police. I know that the protein in wheat is hard for some to digest. We have had our son on a gluten-free, casein-free diet for a year (also peanut- and egg-free, due to allergies). Due to digestive problems has had since birth, this diet has helped him. However, it is not for everyone. My husband and I still eat and enjoy wheat. I love my wheat grinder and my beautiful, organic, nutritious wheat berries. As my son’s digestive tracts heals, we hope to add a little wheat back in gradually over time. He is already much more tolerant to it than a year ago. As you say, it’s all in the balance. Thank you for making reasonable and logical points to counter all the hysteria. This is just another reason I adore your website and your family.

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  39. Lillian Hughes says

    AMEN, amen and amen! While I do realize that there are some true celiacs out there, I thoroughly believe that “grain free” and “GAPS” is just the latest fad. If you need to do these things for your health, fine, have a wonderful time. I, however, will continue to make my wholegrain 100% whole wheat bread and eat it in moderation. Anyone who is upset over that does not need to eat at my house.

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    Jen Reply:

    GAPS is an excellent healing diet, developed by a doctor, and mom of a son with autism. Many people have had great success reversing chronic health issues. I have been considering it to help some health issues in my family. Mabybe it could be considered a fad, but I’ve read a lot of great testamonials about it’s success.

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  40. says

    We’ve opted to eat a lot less wheat around here. (I’ve got one kiddo whose allergic.) But what I’ve noticed for myself is that when I eat wheat in baked goods that I’ve made from scratch (even if it’s white flour), I feel a whole lot better than if it’s wheat in a product from the store. Even so called whole grain bread that claims to have no preservatives or corn syrup. (The ingredient list for that stuff is still a mile long. My bread-6 ingredients)

    I do love to bake. And I do love whole wheat. But that love gets me into trouble with the balance thing. So planning meals that are mostly wheat free helps keep us in check and forces us to load up on veggies and protein–before we gobble down all the bread.

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  41. Jackie says

    I think this is a VERY well written post. My body doesn’t do well with any grain or dairy (NO CHEESE!) so I stick to a Paleo diet which makes me FEEL great. You wouldn’t believe the amount of vegetables I eat in a day to get enough carbs to keep me going :) But I do feed my kids bread and pasta because they love it…although it’s in moderation. MODERATION is KEY!!!

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  42. Aimee says

    It’s also important to note that everyone is different. We’ve looked into the Metabolic Typing and have been amazed at the results! I am most definitely a protein type and my husband is a combo protein/carb type. What this means is that my body turns carbs into sugar at a much faster rate, so they really aren’t that good for me- I just need the protein. My husband on the other hand can have both no problems. The other side to this is a carb type who can tolerate carbs but don’t need as much protein to function. Then there’s also the soaking and souring aspect that just make it so much healthier.

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  43. HollymMead says

    You go, girl! I KNEW we were kindred spirits. I, too, have tried not to be “down” on the book, Wheat Belly, b/c so many of my friends (many gluten intolerant) think it is THE answer. However, if you have a problem with wheat, or dairy, or peanuts, or. . .whatever. . .the key is that you have a PROBLEM. For those of us who do not, real grains are both delicious, nutritious and fun to prepare. There is no magic bullet for health, nor is there only one “smoking gun” that causes poor health.

    As a Christian, I believe that when God describes the Promised Land as, “a land flowing with milk and honey,” that we can presuppose that He meant that milk and honey are GOOD THINGS. (So, ruling out all dairy as evil would be worldview-wonky. Saying all sweets, even honey, are always bad would be contradicting God. I try to avoid contradicting God when I can.) The same holds true for grains. There is a reason that Jesus both identified Himself as the Bread of Life and used the planting and growing of grains in so many parables.

    It is sad if someone cannot eat dairy, or grains, but it is a spirit of FEAR that drives people to demonize entire food groups for everyone.

    *bites into her toast with honey*

    [Reply]

  44. Rita says

    Moderation is key, but if you have celiac disease, and they say 1 in 133 does and maybe more, even 1/8 of a pinky nail of wheat is too much. Be careful and listen to your body. If you feel so much better without wheat get checked out by your doctor. You could be ripping apart your intestines without knowing it. I know if I accidentally ingest gluten, even a tiny bit my weight jumps up 3 to 5 pounds and stays there for about a week, not to mention what it’s doing inside.

    [Reply]

  45. Lana says

    On a different note–could be that food intolerances for some is just lack of the ability to digest it. We as Americans need to slow down and actually chew our food. We gobble and swallow our food whole. My husband and I realized that we were gobblers and made a conscience effort to slow down and chew our food thoroughly. We feel totally different. I have to say that this was very hard to do and but now it is habit. We rarely have any digestive issues anymore and we eat quite a bit less too.

    Also, we need to be eating way more fruits and vegetables that are raw. Nutritional value and enzymes are completely lost by cooking them unless you are only lightly steaming them. I am constantly appalled by the menus plans that I see on the blogs that do not include any fresh raw foods. Much of our health problems are just poor choices in diet and not related to wheat.

    [Reply]

    Susan Reply:

    I agree with you Lana. We either eat on the run, rushing to go somewhere else (sometimes grabbing something while rushing out door).

    I heard that you should chew your food 32 times… I tried it, and drinking more water is a plus. We grew up having water at almost every dinner. Out of 7 dinners, we had water at 6 of them. If we had a breakfast item (pancakes, eggs) we had juice or milk.

    I do have water at many meals, but we do need to slow down and chew food more.

    Susan

    [Reply]

  46. Tracie says

    So many great points! I recently cut out carbs (grain) and sugar because my system IS overloaded and I am experiencing health issues because of it. Will I always have to be grain free? I hope not. But I know I need to get my body healthy. I am not making my family eat what I am currently eating, they don’t have the same health issues that I have. But, they are trying and enjoying some of the veggies that I have been preparing for myself, which is great! I definitely wouldn’t be able to do this without God. He keeps me steady, and whispers “You can do this.” whenever I need to hear it!

    [Reply]

    carla Reply:

    Totally agree!! Awesome, Tracie!!!

    [Reply]

  47. Jen says

    Yes! Personally, our family feels better when we avoid gluten, but I agree that balance is the key! A person can make the same mistake by crowding out nutritious food with gluten-free breads & snacks! Besides, the meats, veggies, and fruits will leave a person feeling full and even-keeled much longer than an overdose of any kid of grains/carbs (even the healthy kind). Yay for balance!

    [Reply]

  48. Talia B. says

    I am gluten free, mostly grain free right now. I agree that to much sugar is a huge issue. But for me, I had been eating WAP style for over a year and felt so much better than how did before. But when I removed gluten and most grains, I felt even better. When I reintroduced gluten, even in the smallest amounts, or even with low sugar gluten dish, I had the symptoms immediately cone back within a day. I consume less sugar when I bake grain free because it take less to sweeten nuts or coconut. So for me, this is what works.

    [Reply]

    Jenn Reply:

    Talia,

    [Reply]

    Jenn Reply:

    Gah, silly clumsy prego fingers hit send….

    We are in the same boat here. WAP was great, and no gluten followed by no grains at all was even better. In fact, cutting out all grains and following the paleo diet cleared up that pesky little pack of fertility I was experiencing as evidenced by the fact that I am indeed quite prego and wasn’t in a doctor’s office when I got that way which is how my first two kids came about. :)

    [Reply]

    Talia Reply:

    Congrats!!

  49. says

    Thank you for putting this topic in perspective. I have been following a few Real Food blogs and have been making small diet changes a little at a time, but when I started hearing about taking wheat completely out of our diet it was a little overwhelming.

    I love that you wrote to “do your best”. This is my mantra and I will continue to just do my best for my family. Thank you for your helpful posts and recipes.

    [Reply]

  50. Lori D says

    I whole-heartedly agree with your post! I have recently learned the benefits of healthy eating and balancing my choices, your info is right on! Moderation and portion sizes are definitely something that is lacking in the American society and processed foods have so much JUNK in them! Have you seen the movie on netflix called Hungry For Change? It is excellent and talks about how much MSG there is in processed foods and how that makes us fat too. You can watch in online for free till the 31st of March here…

    http://www.hungryforchange.tv/

    It is eye opening regarding refined sugar and processed foods!

    I used to HATE veggies, I am walking proof that your taste buds can change! I LOVE my veggies now and am no longer addicted to sugar, Praise the Lord!!!

    Thanks for your website and wonderful recipes and posts!

    [Reply]

  51. Angela says

    Hi! I agree with your ideas on grains – but unfortunately, my body doesn’t. :( I have had many doctors test me and say I have NO allergies/intolerances, etc. to grains (wheat included). However, when I cut out grains entirely and ate only meats/dairy/fruits & vegetables/fish, my symptoms (that I’ve had for years) disappeared. I didn’t even notice it until I started reintroducing homemade GLUTEN-FREE bread! Yes, my symptoms returned (and then some), and re-disappeared when I cut it back out. Each time I’ve tried (EVEN gluten-free) grain products, my body has told me “Nooooo!” So, although I agree and would really love to follow the idea of moderation in all things, every effort I make fails. My family are the same – weird symptoms each time they reintroduce. Now, keep in mind, I never noticed these reactions when I was eating it every day. My body just kept slogging along. But once I went without it for a month or two, that’s when my body started letting me know more loudly. I can’t explain it. I don’t understand it. I know it’s NOT just wheat. My homemade breads were wheat AND gluten FREE. It has something to do with grains as a whole. I don’t get it. My breads were even GMO free and organic. ???? Something has changed – and I can’t figure it out. So I just avoid it. It’s too much work to try and make bread that doesn’t make us feel yucky. And for what? There’s no nutrients in bread stuff that you need, that you can’t get elsewhere. So I make life easier (for me at least) and just reach for already ready veggies and fruits. But, to each his (or her) own! ;D

    [Reply]

    Lana Reply:

    This is a very interesting subject and I can shed a little bit of light on it for you. The way I
    have had it explained to me by my healthcare professional is that food allergies and
    food intolerances are completely different. A food allergy is a true food allergy reaction such as
    anaphylaxis (sp?). An intolerance is another type of symptom that while bothersome is not a true allergy. Intolerances can be caused by any number of things and for the grains problem it could
    even be an allergy to a pesticide commonly used on grains. My daughter had problems with apples
    and then we found out that it was not the apple but the petroleum based wax coating. So, all we had to do was peel the apple and the problem went away. The brain also retains
    an enormous amount of information in relation to what we come into contact everyday.
    If at some point your family ate for example a loaf of 15 grain bread that was
    in some way contaminated then the brain will remember that and is on alert
    when you consume any of those grains again. This is also why if you have a
    severe case of food poisoning from a food you may never be able to eat it again
    because the brain remembers and the body is prepared to be sickened again
    even though this particular time the food may be safe. This explained so much to me. Also,
    I found that as we unraveled my food intolerances that I had to just eat
    some foods and tell myself that I was okay. After a few good experiences
    with the foods again my brain stopped causing the reaction. At one point I
    only had 14 safe foods and now I can eat anything.

    [Reply]

    Lana Reply:

    I am not telling you to just eat anything and you will be okay. I had 2 1/2
    years of treatments and just cleaning up junk like parasites in my
    body before I could eat anything. The comment field is doing something
    weird so that is why my comment is so fragmented.

    [Reply]

  52. says

    As far as I understand it, lots of carbs work only on a starvation diet (like the poor areas of China where the people survive on rice with some fish and veggies, but rarely more than a subsistence amount). When we eat carbs, they are almost always in addition to plenty of protein and fat, and therefore are not eaten to survive.

    We find wheat makes us unnaturally hungry. We always get hungrier sooner if we eat a meal that includes too many carbs. I also gain weight when I eat carbs, and lose weight (to a healthier weight) when I don’t. AND my son gets a runny nose and my daughter’s eczema acts up when we eat wheat… So we don’t eat much in my family!

    BUT. I’m pregnant with our 3rd, and have not had any appetite to speak of during this first trimester. Almost nauseous, but not able to eat much. I’ve been eating more carbs, and it’s helped with the nausea and the appetite! Yay!

    [Reply]

  53. says

    Exactly, Laura. I could not have said it better. I TOTALLY agree – balance is the key – everything in moderation. We have almost completely cut out processed foods from our diet thanks to your wonderful website and have made a bigger effort to get more fruits and veggies in. We do still eat sweets, but in MODERATION and try to find more healthy alternatives to previously made goodies. We faithfully check labels and forego products with chemicals and additives. I was so surprised how many things we tend to think of as “healthy” that had additives – cottage cheese was my biggest surprise. We exclusively use fresh ground whole wheat and love it. We have been free from sickness of any kind for over a year and know it is partly due to our healthy diet. Thanks so much for all your great advice.

    [Reply]

  54. Christina D says

    Love this post SO MUCH! I am constantly saying “everything in moderation” and that goes for wheat and yes, *gasp* sugar! I’m working very hard to get my family (particularly my bread loving husband… because he used to eat exactly as you detailed in the “unbalanced” example)… and yes that occasionally includes grains and SOMETIMES a bit of sugar, but that doesn’t mean they get it every meal!

    [Reply]

  55. Shelley says

    Thank you for this post. I think too that it is good to be balanced in our eating. I have not read Wheat Belly, but had heard what it was about, so I emailed The Bread Beckers, Inc. to ask about our wheat being genetically altered into something that is not even wheat anymore. They said that organic wheat, which I use and grind myself, is not GMO. They sent me some good articles to read too showing how God intended for us to eat grains. In our family we just try to stay away from processed food, restaurants, and (the hard one for us)sugar, and pray that God will take care of our health.

    [Reply]

  56. Kathy says

    I agree with the whole balanced meal thing. However, where I get stuck is….I know 2 people very well who eat very healthy, non processed meals that are very well balanced and yet suffered from symptoms that couldn’t be relieved by anything else but the absense of wheat. If it is truly all about eating a balanced meal (and I know most American’s don’t) then why would my 2 friends (and I am sure they are not alone) only get relief from a gluten free diet?

    [Reply]

    Jill Reply:

    I think there is a big difference between taking something out of your diet for a while and reintroducing and taking something out of diet and working on healing the gut before reintroducing it. Diet/healing protocols like GAPS, SCD etc. take out grains, focus on healing through easily digested foods and time (aka a week on the plan isn’t going to cut it) and then reintroduce slowly.

    [Reply]

  57. Kelli says

    As ALWAYS, that was so well said! I definitely feel better when I don’t eat too many grains and have lots of veggies and fruits in my diet. As you and several other have stated, for most people, it really is just a matter of balance and moderation. Thank you!

    [Reply]

  58. Saliah Kako says

    Thank you for sharing that balance is vital or you’ll go crazy. With all respect, we do need to be concerned about some foods that harm every individual when consumed; such as hydrogenated oils which is causing so many heart problems. And thankfully this is an easy one to detect when label reading.
    I agree, everyone has different dietary needs and not one lifestyle is perfect for everyone.
    Thanks for continuing to share your stories and experiences!

    [Reply]

  59. Linnea says

    My understanding from Wheat Belly is that wheat and grains cause a blood sugar spike similar to sugar in the body. Eating grain free allows your body to maintain a steady insulin level. Also, the author points out that most of the grains we eat (esp processed, sugary ones!) are highly addictive. As the saying goes, Americans are typically overfed and undernourished. If you cut out grains, you’ll fill up on protein and veggies and, well, not too many people get fat from eating too many salads or nuts or even eggs/meat. It’s usually the bread, cereal, pasta, cookies, etc where we overdo it.

    I am still unsure about what’s best. Jesus did say He is the bread of life. There’s a reason we find grains so filling and comforting. I understand that grains are today are different, but like you said, so is all of our food!

    When I first read Weston A. Price’s book, I was encouraged by the way many of the thriving native people he visited were eating just a few different foods. They did not have endless variety. They stuck to simple and natural and had no access to sugar or anything processed. And even people living on, say, fish, oat cakes, and a few simple vegetables were healthy and strong.

    We are a family of 5 on a tight budget and there’s no way we could afford to eat grain-free right now so we are mostly just trying to stay away from processed foods. I read lots of food blogs, but I always come back to yours because your recipes are easy, simple, and affordable. And you are a good writer who makes me laugh too! Thank you so much for sharing your life with us. =)

    [Reply]

  60. Morgan says

    I have been pondering this for a while and I have come to the same conclusion as you. Eating whole grains works for MY family. It may not work for everyone. But I see no need to get rid of my wheat grinder.

    [Reply]

  61. Janette says

    Thank you for addressing this issue. I have skim read the book and do not agree with a lot of what the guy says. Everything in moderation is key and God created wheat so I can not say wheat is bad and the blame for everyone’s problems.

    [Reply]

  62. Jenny says

    Love this post! This is exactly why I read and recommend to others.

    YES. Balance is key. YES, some people have an allergy/sensitivity/intolerance and shouldn’t eat wheat at all. BUT…some of us have a little and do just fine. The key is finding the balance that your own body needs.

    Another intelligent and reasonable post. Keep them coming!

    [Reply]

  63. says

    I am on board with these thoughts. My family has recently gone gluten free, and because my husband and I have chosen not to, we often feel the weight of judgement. We’re on board with their decision- but we give our daughter a whole wheat bagel with cream cheese and they accuse us of poisoning her- in the meantime they are consuming large glasses of pop, GF frozen dinners, GF chocolate cookies, etc!

    So I agree that it’s all about balance. Just because something is gluten free doesn’t make it healthy for you. I know that not all gluten free families eat the way mine does, but this has been our personal experience with it, and it leaves us scratching our heads!

    [Reply]

  64. says

    I agree. I heard someone say once that as long as you are eating something your great grandmother would recognize as food, then that’s probably on the right track.

    [Reply]

    Rebecca Reply:

    And that’s the whole point of Wheat Belly. Even the organic wheat we buy today is NOT the same wheat that our great-grandmothers used. I can’t remember the details so I won’t try to explain, but it’s scary stuff.

    [Reply]

  65. Faith says

    thank you so much for this post and the one on being grateful for being busy serving the Lord.As always, your posts are right on time and just what the Lord wanted me to hear. Thank you for being such an encouragement to me and for continuing to shine His light here! Have a blessed week, and I am praying for you and your family :)

    [Reply]

  66. Kristin says

    Good to hear your perspective encouraging moderation! I read Wheat Belly a few years after reading Forks Over Knives and found both books overwhelming. My doable takeaway is to eat less sugar, added and naturally occurring, and limit intake of wheat and grains. I try to serve our family no more then 2 servings of wheat per day. So, if my daughter has oatmeal for breakfast, a peanut butter sandwich on wheat bread for lunch and we are having whole wheat orzo with dinner, I make sure to send her a fruit or veggie for her school snack.

    A lot also has to do with food combinations. For instance, putting some butter on a slice of whole wheat bread helps to slow your bodies absorption, thus regulating blood sugar, the same is true for eating a piece of cheese or a handful of nuts with a piece of fruit.

    I think a gluten free diet can be healthy, if that’s what your body needs. Just so long as the gluten free products are homemade with healthy ingredients or minimally processed. I have 2 GF friends. One, bakes her own low sugar GF breads using quinoa flour and coconut flour and the other eats Fruity Pebbles because they are “gluten free”.

    I do wish I knew where to find the older varieties of wheat talked about in Wheat Belly. I’d love to bake with it.

    [Reply]

  67. Trudi says

    Great post Laura! When I first started grinding my own flours about 15 years ago, I wanted to know everything about what I was doing and why. I not only wanted to know for myself, but also so I could intelligently explain to those I knew who thought I’d lost my mind! Among our family and close friends, we’re no strangers to food allergies, diabetes, IBS, gluten intolerance, cancer, etc. For those who don’t already have intestinal issues, eating freshly ground wheat (NON-GMO!) is good for your digestion due to the insoluble fiber in the bran (it’s been removed in white flour and a lot of store-bought whole wheat flours). We must have both soluble fiber (fruits and veggies) and insoluble fiber to keep out intestinal tracts (and therefore the rest of our bodies) healthy. Bread made from freshly-ground flour is also not converted to sugar in our system as quickly, and our bodies more completely metabolize it. When my mother was diagnosed with stage 3-4 non-Hodgkins lymphoma 10 years ago, she was put on a strict diet which included absolutely no bread. When her doctor found out she made her own from flour she ground herself, he said she could eat it because it wouldn’t turn into sugar in her system like store-bought breads would. (Cancer cells feed on sugar). It also wouldn’t cause inflammation in her system, which stimulates cancer cells. Basically she was put on a diet of organic whole foods, free range meat and eggs . . . just like the Lord intended!

    Wheat (gluten) seems to get such a bad rap. As other posters have mentioned, so much is balance and moderation. And as was also mentioned, we shouldn’t take lightly the issue of GM food. It’s a definite threat to our health today, and at least one GM ingredient is in 60-70% of processed foods (another reason to cook from scratch!). It causes a myriad of inflammation problems in our bodies. Even if we grind our own wheat, we need to be careful about using non-GMO grain. Obviously it’s impossible to keep from eating ANY GM foods, but the more we are aware of and can eliminate, the better. It may be years before we know the full extent of the consequences of GM foods. When I was growing up in the 60’s and 70’s, the health conditions we deal with today (cancers, diabetes, intestinal issues/inflammation) simply did not exist on the scale that they do now. However that was also when processed foods came into full swing. We were told the latest “medical research” said you needed to restrict egg and red meat consumption, use margarine instead of butter, and cut back on sugar by using saccharine instead (just to name a few). Very few people even bought whole wheat bread, much less made it themselves — not when we had “Wonder Bread”! It took over 20 years for “medical research” to admit that what they told us was wrong. So with GM, I’d rather not make guinea pigs of my family, thank you very much!

    [Reply]

  68. Jill says

    The question “is wheat making us…” is pretty indicative of how apathetic we Americans are. We want a fast answer, a quick solution without having to think, investigate, and reflect first. One guy says wheat made him fat so hey, I’ll give it up too. This lady said gluten messed up her gut. I ‘m gonna cut it out, too. And so on. That’s so much easier than doing my own research and considering my own lifestyle choices. (This is how most Americans think).

    My opinion is that nutrition doesn’t boil down to one type of food. Your nutrition is a combination of what you eat, your physical activity level, your sleep routing, the amount of toxins you’re exposed to, how you treat your illnesses, and your mental health. To think that all that is required to be Healthy is to give up one food item…wheat, gluten, sugar, whatever ….is all it takes to be Healthy is foolish thinking.

    [Reply]

  69. Rebecca says

    You know, I do respect and appreciate your opinion. I agree that when you choose to feed your family healthy foods it’s quite overwhelming because there are all kinds of expert ideas about what’s healthy. However, I think you should have been more careful with your title and research your facts before throwing them out there. If you haven’t read Wheat Belly and researched the history of modern wheat, then how can you tell your readers that it’s all about balance & moderation? The book has all kinds of scientific evidence to the contrary. It’s fine if you don’t want to read it, but I don’t think you should pretend like you know what it says. Also, your statement that “almost all of our foods (fruits and vegetables included) have been modified through the years” is misleading. It’s not the same as the changes they’ve made to wheat. There is hybridization (many fruits & veggies) and GMO, and there’s a big difference. Modern wheat has been completely changed, and it’s not good for anyone. I’m glad that your family is still able to eat wheat, and I hope that continues for you. But please be careful–you have a lot of blog readers and when you mix your opinions & facts, it’s unprofessional. Your title makes it sound like you’re going to answer the question. You don’t…you just give your opinion and completely downplay the medical & scientific evidence that was published in Wheat Belly. This is your blog. Give your opinions, but don’t pretend they’re facts.

    [Reply]

    Karen Reply:

    Wow, guess you didn’t read the VERY LAST PARAGRAPH of the post.

    [Reply]

    Lori Smith Reply:

    I must say that Laura’s article was great. I agree totally with her. I have been hearing so much about this book called the “Wheat Belly”. No I have not read it. But I agree that whole foods are the way to go. I think all the wheat that people eat today is processed. Most people do not make bread. I feed my family whole foods. Laura is an inspiration to me. I make all my own bread with organic wheat. I think that grains are good for you. Our bodies need some grains. We eat wheat in moderation. I do agree that there are some who people who can’t eat. I think there is a big push right now for all people to be gluten free. That seems to be all I have been hearing about. People can give up wheat but in turn they do gluten free. Now you are buying all these gluten free products which are PROCESSED. Does not make sense to me. I know several people who have bought the book and are now convinced they need to be gluten free. Now they spend so much money on all this gluten free food which in my mind is processed.
    Where do we draw the line. I think our bodies were made to eat whole foods and as little processed as possible. I know it is impossible to be perfect here.
    Seems like this is another fad. Can’t wait to see what the next one is.

    BALANCE truly is the key here.
    Thank you Laura for being an inspiration to me. I love all your posts. Wished I could have met you at one of you meet and greets.
    I am all the way over here in California.

    [Reply]

    Birdie Reply:

    Thank you for your response Lori. Absolutely impossible for us to be perfect. My neighbour is deathly allergic to anything wheat and is very careful to watch what she eats. But, she feeds her family bread, ect. No complaining, griping, condemning on her part. I had a friend that was vegan. She never made you feel like you were a evil person because you ate meat. She actually served meat to me when I would visit. She was a true friend. I worked with a lady whose daughter was deathly allergic to peanuts. The girls skin would blister if she even had a drop of the oil on her skin. Mom taught her that SHE has to deal with HER allergy, inform others of HER allergy, and not expect the world to change because of HER allergy. I think that you become more compassionate when we respect others food choices. I will stick with garden, fruit, meat, grains, and treats (homemade like Laura’s), ect. By the way Laura, we love your chocolate honey sweets. I added walnuts. MMMM!

    [Reply]

  70. says

    You hit the proverbial nail on the head! Balance is something our society doesn’t really heed much these days. After all we did invent the Big Gulp!
    Moderation, we would all benefit from it. If I consume too much wheat my body tells me, whether it’s my joints aching, or my tummy rumbling! That is my signal to slow down and pick up nuts, fruit, or some veggies and dip (which my kids LOVE your homemade ranch recipe! Me too!). Thank You for all you do, Blessings and have a wonderful Resurrection Sunday!

    [Reply]

  71. Birdie says

    Excellent post Laura! Why do I get the “feeling” that I have to make food my enemy? No way! I was reminded of how bad processed food and restaurant food was the other day. I indulged and had side effects because of that. But that was MY experience. I mostly make from scratch and we enjoy our food. I like your attitude, sense of humour, and your respect of others Laura. Thank you for the job well done. :-) Blessings.

    [Reply]

  72. Becky says

    I have to comment here. I’m with you, didn’t read because of info overload. Trying to homeschool and learn about holistic meds, and eating well, it’s just time-consuming, I have NO ME TIME. BUT, let me say this, with all the junk/chemicals that are in our (U.S.) food supply, I am reminded of the Bible, and what it said in the end times about someone eating poison and not being harmed. Sorry, I just don’t have the time to look up the exact verse. But it’s what I cling to, and how we pray over our food, which we honestly do the best that we can, but I know that there are holes that need to be filled.

    [Reply]

  73. says

    I think it has more to do with the lack of proper preparation & over-processing than anything else. When I have time or remember to do it, I always soak or sprout my grains. Otherwise, I don’t consume them. It’s just waaaay easier on my digestive system.

    [Reply]

  74. Mary Ann says

    I have thought about this post off and on all day. Why? Because I have been on a gluten free diet since the first of November. It was not easy at first but my husband gave up gluten too, in support of me (nice guy that he is!). I went off gluten NOT to lose weight but because I had testing done that shows me to have a gluten intolerance. Since I have an autoimmune disease (Hashimoto’s), I am willing to try and do what I need to do in order to reduce inflammation (all autoimmune diseases are inflammation based, as are most other diseases, including cancer). What I struggle with is when I think “why can’t I just have a balanced diet? Why do I have to cut out gluten?” It is crazy making and it’s so enticing when I read your post b/c you are echoing how I feel. Except I AM stuck with a gluten intolerance and I CAN’T eat gluten and maintain my health in the way that you suggest. I have to remind myself that gluten free is the new normal for me, not because I’m jumping on a fad bandwagon but because my health requires it. I think it is safe to encourage everyone to eat more fruits and vegetables and to reduce or even eliminate as many processed foods as possible without making yourself crazy over it. But to imply that wheat in moderation is okay partly b/c it is biblical is not an encouragement. I do enjoy your blog and this isn’t meant to be critical as much as it’s meant, I suppose, to encourage you to consider how those of us who do need to eliminate wheat are probably already frustrated by this seeming lack of “balance” particularly when I have a perfectly good grain mill and pounds of unground red winter wheat berries in my freezer that I can no longer use. I made my own homemade bread weekly for years…and I miss it.

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I’m sure you do miss it!! Sounds like you are one, like I mentioned in my post, who really and truly does benefit from taking wheat (and gluten) out of your diet. I’m very glad to hear that you found something that helps. Hopefully there are other grains you’ve found that your body can tolerate better, or if not, other foods you’ve found that you love!

    [Reply]

    Mary Ann Reply:

    Thank you Laura for your kind reply. Yes, I am working on it. I have done the usual brown rice flour/starch combinations but I’m trying to move towards healthier alternatives. I bought some teff but haven’t used it yet and I have a strong learning curve on coconut flour. Then there’s almond flour… And I’ve just discovered I like red quinoa which is a plus. So thank you for your kind understanding of my frustrations. It really a matter of just moving forward for me and not looking back.

    [Reply]

    Julie Reply:

    Hi, Mary Ann. I just wanted to say I understand where you’re coming from. I gave up gluten nearly six years ago after a Celiac diagnosis. It is so hard, especially early on, to find satisfaction with new food and a new lifestlye defined by a lack of convenience. I also wanted to let you know that it does get better. After six years, I don’t miss gluten at all. Whenever I have a craving for something “gluteny,” I’ve always found a way to make it myself and it often tastes better than the original version! Good luck.

    [Reply]

    Mary Ann Reply:

    Thank you Julie for your encouragement. Wow, 6 years! You are right about adjusting to a new lifestyle of inconvenience, though you are equally right about it getting easier as time passes. I’m not sure if I would have made it this far without the complete support from my husband. And yes, I am trying to have a positive attitude about trying new recipes (I have always enjoyed baking).
    Many thanks.

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  75. Leanne says

    Because I am gluten intolerant, our family avoids it for the most part. It’s easier and a bit cheaper for us to just be gluten free instead of both. I am sensitive enough to it that I have to have a separate toaster, etc. Anyway, as far as other grains, we tend to go whole grain: millet, quinoa, and rice being our favorites. I still struggle with digesting all grains so I limit mine to small quantities (no more than 1/4C per day). When I tried paleo, I got very sick and gained 8 pounds so clearly not the best lifestyle change for me and my body. I think the biggest thing is God made each of us unique and so our dietary needs are unique. Balance is definitely the key. Just keep in mind, balance for one person may seem very out of whack for another.

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  76. Leanne says

    To Mary Ann: I have been gluten free for two years because of health reasons that have nothing to do with losing weight. In fact, I have met very few people who chose to eat gluten free to lose weight. I know exactly how you feel. It’s very discouraging. I have 4 autoimmune diseases and two have seen significant improvements since I went gluten free. I also have numerous other foods that I can’t eat so it’s very frustrating. I was actually told by a nice lady at church “All food was created by God so you can eat all food.” I told her I would be happy to eat the tomato if she could please use the epi pen on me after my first bite (I was a bit snarky). She walked away. As far as making your own gluten free bread, there are several great gluten free cookbooks (My favs: Quick and Easy Gluten Free and Keepers at Home Gluten Free Cooking)have wonderful bread recipes. Best of luck to you and I hope you find peace while on this adventure.

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    Mary Ann Reply:

    Leanne, thank you so much for the cookbook recommendations. I will look those up! I have three books that I’ve been slowing starting to use and have amassed a variety of GF flours and grains. Of course every cookbook seems to have their own approach so I go from having all of the separate flours and starches along with the all purpose GF flour (in my case, Better Batter Flour). I think it is the idea that in an ideal world that I should be able to eat wheat and I can’t. I know b/c of the books out now that some people think this is just a fad and that “just one piece” won’t really be that bad for me. It is hardest to eat at other people’s homes b/c I don’t want to be a bother or dictate what they fix.
    On a positive note, I have finally found a really good pie crust recipe, biscuit recipe and an excellent chocolate chip cookie recipe. I just have struck out on a good bread recipe up to this point so I am happy to get your recommendation on the books. Thank you so much for sharing those.

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    JoAnn Reply:

    Mary Ann,

    My family is starting to go gluten free because of an intolerance with my daughter. Could you share the recipes you talked about, pie crust, biscuit & chocolate chip? Do you have a blog that the recipes are on?

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    Emily Reply:

    I’m not Mary Ann and these may not be the same recipes, but I highly recommend the Gluten Free on a Shoestring blog: http://www.glutenfreeonashoestring.com. Nicole’s family is gluten free and she creates awesome recipes! She uses and recommends Better Batter flour blend – that’s also what I use (I’ve been GF for 7 years) and I love Better Batter!

    Mary Ann Reply:

    Yes, yes, Emily is right! Both the biscuit recipe and the chocolate chip cookie recipe came from Gluten Free on a Shoestring. It is a really good book. I got the piecrust recipe from the King Arthur Flour website under their gluten free listings. Also really good is the granola bar recipe from the Smitten Kitchen blog. I also just got The Healthy Gluten-Free Life by Tammy Credicott. It is a big book and every recipe has a color photo with it. It is not just a baking book. I’ve only made the garlic vinaigrette recipe which is good but my husband has marked several recipes in it to try. I do gravitate towards the gluten free baking books myself b/c I can usually wing it with the non-baked items by substituting a GF version of bread crumbs or flour as a thickener, etc. I was drawn to Tammy’s book, however, because she tends to use healthier flours (teff, millet) and not just the brown rice mix. Still, if we are keeping the idea of balance in mind, then I think they are all fair game. I love Better Batter flour and I love the philosophy of the company. They have financial aid assistance for qualifying families which I think is super. I bought my Better Batter flour in bulk (you can only buy it online) and I keep the extra boxes in the freezer.

  77. Andrea says

    I am gluten intolerant, but if I could eat wheat, I’d eat it in moderation. Decreasing my carbs has caused some weight loss in me. Getting rid of sodas and sugary desserts has made the biggest difference in my weight loss. Laura, your family is a great example of eating wheat AND being THIN! No one in your immediate family is overweight! Do you have any guidelines for you family as far as sweets? For example, “only desserts on Saturday? Once or twice a week?

    Thanks for the fabulous post, Laura.

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  78. Julie says

    As a celiac, I’m sometimes frustrated by the gluten free “trend.” When people go gluten free in a mistaken belief that it will help them lose weight, it cheapens the term gluten free for those of us who will become ill after eating it. It may be picky, but I want my restaurant servers to take those words seriously and not assume it’s some kind of fad.

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  79. Callie says

    Great points, Laura. I think it is odd that all of the sudden, gluten allergies started popping up everywhere. Coincidentally, a huge, expensive market for gluten-free products opened up as well. With some in-depth research, I found that most white-bread products ( white bread, dinner rolls, tortillas, cereals, dried pastas, etc) are enhanced with gluten to make them softer and tastier. With the amount of these products that many of us consume on a daily basis, it’s no wonder that many are experiencing a gluten toxicity, rather than an allergy. Convenient for the corporations who double the price of gluten free products, no? Cut down and focus on whole-wheat, complex carbs : )

    [Reply]

    Cindy Reply:

    Please know that many people in the gluten-free market
    are those with true, antibody allergic reactions to wheat.
    A little girl’s (who’s parents gave careful instructons)grandmother assumed her
    granddaughter’s allergy was synomous with gluten intolerance and
    put a tablespoon of flour in a casserole. She almost died,
    was intubated and hospitalized for three days. Leave the gluten-free
    people alone–they will either spend money unwisely and figure that
    out or be healthier for it, but leave them alone so people don’t
    think it’s petty. My son’s severe, repeated ear, throat, and skin infections
    and projectile vomiting STOPPED IN A WEEK with the removal of wheat
    which also happens to equal gluten.

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  80. Mary N. says

    There are so many “diets” out there, but I think the real meaning of diet is a good and healthy way of eating. But that is so hard to do anymore when there is so much chemicals used in, not only growing food, but also in the processing of the food. I have purchased regular veggies at the store and also organic veggies of the same kind and the organic spoils way faster than the store varieties. Which proves right there that the chemicals put on the foods grown are meant to keep them longer, but they (chemicals) creates havoc in our bodies. And once it is in our system, it is so hard to get the toxins out of our bodies. I do a good cleanse 3-4 times a year, but one still doesn’t know the full effects of what the chemicals do to our bodies. God made pure food, but man has ruined a lot of the pure food with additives and chemicals. I think the best remedy is to be sure and ask God to bless and purify the food we eat at every meal. Also a lot of probiotics in cultured foods and kefir and yogurt help nutralize the toxins in our body according to Sally Fallon’s “Nurishing Traditions”. And I think the soaking of the grains and sprouted wheat flours make a big difference in the reaction of the grains in our bodies. Soaking and/or sprouting breaks down the phytates, etc. that cause a lot of reaction to grains. It’s stems down to a trial and error basis. I so wish things could be different and we had the good food we used to have years ago, before they started using the chemicals, etc. I pray that God will show all of us the right avenues to attain the good health we seek.

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  81. says

    My family follows a Paleo diet. While we do sometimes ‘cheat’ a little (when going out to eat or traveling mostly), we definitely feel much better when we avoid grains, dairy, legumes and processed sugars. Thank you for discussing the topics of grains and their affect on us here. We try hard to eat as much of our food in it’s most pure form, as God intended it, and we’re leaner with more energy than ever before!

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  82. Vanessa says

    Hi Laura,
    I agree with you!! I have recently been introduced to a baking with natural yeast. I know the last thing you need is more research to do, but I feel quite a push from The Lord this morning to share this with you! I’m reading so many comments here from people who cannot digest grains, that I think it would be great if you could check this out and possibly share your findings and opinion. Natural Yeast is like sourdough but without the sour taste. Baking with natural yeast is a lost art these days, but from what I am learning the natural yeast is what breaks down the harmful enzymes in grains and makes all the vitamins readily available for digestion keeping the dough from spiking our bodies’ defenses. Until the 19th century homemade yeast was all there was! The Fleishmann brothers developed active dry yeast for the military during World War Two and in 1984 they patented RapidRise Yeast. At this time we see a rise in celiac’s disease, gluten intolerance, acid reflux, diabetes, and wheat allergies. There is evidence that natural yeast can help combat these problems. There is tons of info on http://www.calebwarnock.com, http://www.thebreadgeek.blogspot.com. I purchased Caleb’s cookbook and it states that it is important to balance and eat the recommended amounts of grain servings (6 one ounce servings, not 3 slices of bread in one meal:)) and that we have crippled ourselves with overuse of grains…balance!!! Also talks a out the importance of using the whole grain. Anyway, so far we are loving our new refrigerator pets of natural yeast that doesn’t taste like sourdough at all!!! And I love my new cookbook. It is easy and I don’t have to buy yeast anymore:) I hope this all makes sense and that it may benefit someone else. God bless you for all you do to encourage others!!!

    In Christ,
    Vanessa

    [Reply]

  83. Myra says

    I have read only parts of “Wheat Belly” and agree with you that moderation in any situation is key. I also don’t completely agree with some things in WB like the characterization of honey as “unhealthy” and Splenda as a good alternative. However, I think there are some valid points to the gluten-free/grain-free/paleo movements, and if someone has even minor health issues, they should not be afraid to take a long, hard look at reducing or eliminating grains. It certainly doesn’t hurt to try it for a month or so and see how you feel.

    Personally, I have been gluten/grain free for about 8 months now, and it has made a world of difference. I tried it in an attempt to clear up some eczema, which it did, and also had the side benefit of losing weight. Maybe I’m not reading your article correctly, but you seem to be implying that anyone who loses weight while not eating wheat was simply eating too much bad stuff in the first place. I have to take issue with that, and have also run into that thought sometimes when people comment on my weight loss and I mention that I have cut out gluten–they automatically assume I was eating tons of white flour/sugar/baked goods etc. However, I have eaten a healthy whole-foods diet with home-made whole grain products for years now, in moderate quantities, and very few baked goods/no refined sugar. By all accounts my diet was healthy, yet cutting out wheat has had a huge impact. So please, don’t assume that someone who is overweight or has recently lost weight was eating donuts and jelly rolls all the time :-) Our bodies are all different, but I think more people would benefit from reducing grains than most people think.

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  84. pmom says

    Moderation is a great idea for many people, but we are all individuals. I used to be a moderation person, but God has been teaching me many lessons lately. My daughter has problems with gluten and other foods. As a family we have embraced these and moved forward. We are gluten free and sugar free (honey and maple syrup are ok in moderation). This has made a dramatic improvement in my daughters health. God is guiding us in our journey and we should listen.

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  85. Kelly says

    Not trying to be rude, but how can you comment on something (much less have a blog on) something you’ve never read. If you had read the book, you’d realize it was not the wheat Jesus ate thousands of years ago or even the wheat from 30 years ago that is the problem. It’s the genetically engineered wheat, or dwarf wheat that was made to help a starvation problem in the early 80s. The man who did it won one of the big “Prizes” of the day. Problem is they never tested it- FDA never compared it with our regular waves of grain. The thing is,this wheat was cheaper to make and grew 10 fold, so now it is the same wheat that 99 percent of the wheat we eat in everything. This is tip of the iceberg for this compelling and life changing book. My patents quit eating wheat and bot lost 20-30 pounds, to start with. Today’s wheat is NOT good for us . Please read more of the book, especially if you want to start an intelligent conversation about it!

    [Reply]

    Jean Reply:

    Laura’s entire blog is NOT based on reading or not reading Wheat Belly. And in this post, she was commenting on wheat in general, not reviewing that book. I’m sure, as you say, you weren’t trying to be rude, but you came across as very judgmental. Just as you don’t want her (or us) to dismiss Wheat Belly, please do not dismiss her so lightly. This is someone who has taught us much about eating healthy, whole foods and was merely expressing her opinion here. Please re-read her last paragraph! We will never all agree on everything, but I think a civil conversation can be carried on in a well-rounded blog.

    [Reply]

    Kathy Reply:

    Kelly’s comment didn’t seem uncivil to me…

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  86. Christina @ Youthful Homemaker says

    Thank you for posting this! I completely agree. Balance is what our bodies need- not crazy diets (whether they encourage us to eat too little or too much of anything) might seem good short term, but in the long run we’ll be so much healthier with good old fashioned balance!

    [Reply]

  87. Carol says

    Several points concerning Wheat Belly & it’s theories:

    1. Dr. Carolyn Dean notes magnesium deficiency can cause or result in most of the items/points/assertions in the book. In many cases, the problem is magnesium deficiency, not “wheat belly”.

    2. I am not celiac but have many gluten sensitive symptoms, which have made me wonder . . . but I never wanted to exclude wheat or gluten so I didn’t do an elimination protocol to find out.

    3. I now have symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) in my hands, and ten guesses what I’m supposed to stop eating? Yep you guessed it: cut out ALL gluten. Prior to getting RA symptoms, I didn’t know there was a connection between RA and gluten. So, even tho I, like you, are leery of eliminating an entire food group, and believe there are other factors such as magnesium and such as the sugar point you made, clearly I now have to eliminate gluten. I am taking other measures first, re, natural help for RA (eliminate sugar, take more D3, EFAs, and more). But unless I have complete success, yes I’ll be hopping on the gluten-free bandwagon. Much as I don’t want to. So my point is: there are other reasons other than “wheat belly” and celiac, to go gluten-free. And this change in my life occurred just 3 months ago, after 50 years of eating wheat.

    [Reply]

  88. kelly says

    HI Laura and any one else that might know the answer!

    Where can I buy WHITE wheat in the EAST? I need it in Maine so looking for a place that ships it there for a reasonable price
    thanks

    Kelly

    [Reply]

  89. Jill Thurow says

    Laura,

    You might want to read Wheat Belly, the book talks about the way wheat is produced. It has been frankified since the 80s for a higher yield. I use einkorn wheat which is an old grain that has not been altered, and grind my own wheat also. It still has the nutrients that wheat used to have. He also talks about gluten, and everyone thinks whole grain flour, which is a misnomer, anytime something is griound it is no longer a whole grain, is gluten-free. Why, I don’t know? Einkorn is a better option.

    [Reply]

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