Like many people I didn’t see much of a connection with the food I ate and my mental health. I’d raced to get to the gym in the morning and would quickly get my whole-wheat bagel with light strawberry cream cheese and a cup of coffee at drive thru. I’d work out harder than I do now and would not be able to drop the weight. My joints ached as though I was 60 years old and my skin was a mess. It would take everything in me to just…get…up as I felt a heaviness that sat on my chest and grew in strength. I became a master at hiding behind the depression and anxiety that crippled me behind a plastic smile that made me appear as though I was just like everyone else. I could never have imagined that one of the biggest culprits behind my physical and mental ailments was wheat.
Could it really be that easy?
I was honoured when friend and colleague of mine, Julie Daniluk had asked me to attend the live Wheat Belly event to meet NY Times Bestselling author, Dr. William Davis. I only wish his book at come out during the years I was an Ad Exec because I had no idea about how much wheat had been affecting me. My mother, who had suffered for years with polymyalgia rheumatica (inflammation of many muscles), was finally pain-free after eliminating it out of her diet. But, come on, people have been eating wheat for centuries! It can’t be that bad for you! This is true, people really have, but here’s where the shit really hit the fan:
Notice how the commercials of wheat show long flowing wheat plants? It’s not the case anymore. In fact, today, through hybridization, wheat can be produced in the millions as a dwarf plant. This means they were able to make more and feed more people. The problem? The molecular shift that happened in the wheat plan is what Dr. Davis believes accounts up to 75% of autoimmune disorders today.
Wheat & Mental Health
If you’ve ever been on morphine like I have in the past, you’ll know that these drugs function like an opiate, which produce hunger and major withdrawals. Wheat is no different because it functions in the brain in the form of opiate-like peptides. This is responsible for you to eat more food, to feel lethargic, depressed and high after eating. And it doesn’t stop there: Wheat’s exerts its effects on the brain tissue itself - not only on thoughts and behaviours. It affects the cerebrum and cerebellum of the brain, and other nervous system structures resulting in incoordination, seizures and dementia.
Why whole wheat isn’t better for you
While sure whole wheat has the fibre and nutrients contained, it will still raise your blood sugar more than 2 tablespoons of sugar! How is this possible? In wheat, 75% is the chain of branching glucose units, amylopectin and 25% is the linear chain of glucose units, amylose. In our bodies, amylopectin and amylose are digested by the salivary and stomach enzyme amylase. However amylose is much less efficiently digested, making it into the colon undigested while amylopectin is rapidly converted to glucose and absorbed into the bloodstream. And this is the main reason why it’s responsible for it’s blood sugar increasing effect. So if you suffer from any hormonal issues like PCOS where insulin levels tend to be skyrocketed, then stay clear of that bag of whole grain bread.
In the meantime, opt for gluten free choices like quinoa, millet, amaranth and buckwheat. You can even go for oats so long as its certified gluten-free (because it can be contaminated with wheat!). But remember, being gluten-free doesn't necessarily mean you're healthy. If you're subbing in your high carb gluten meals with high carb gluten free ones, then your body is still getting too much carbs to begin with! Remember to add more veggies to help keep you trim, balance out your hormones and to feel more alive then ever.
At the end of the day, balance is everything.