The Gluten-Free Diet Craze

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No this isn’t going to be a technical post about immunoglobulins or whatever they call those things.  Not even going to mention Th1 and Th2 responses.  No antibodies, no autoimmunity, not even leaky gut.  Rather, this is about looking at the big picture when it comes to the global “wheat hunt.”  And, as always, this will be a presentation of a new way of looking at things that most people don’t take into consideration.

Diets that eliminate wheat and other grains containing gluten are without question the most popular current diet trend.  Diet trends come and go, and are usually cyclical with phases of hysteria followed by dormancy followed by hysteria followed by dormancy ad infinitum.  These cycles are probably fueled by human nature itself, which tends to flow back and forth between states of irrational optimism followed by irrational pessimism, only to find a glimmer of hope somewhere and become delusionally optimistic once more.  This seems to be even more true when it comes to highly emotional things like our appearance (weight loss) and overcoming chronic and debilitating illnesses – something that the gluten-free world offers a great deal of hope and promise for (with giant stacks of sciencey-sounding stuff, dozens of experts and gurus in unanimous agreement, and no shortage of great short-term testimonials).

Grains have some very negative attributes (phytic acid, lectins, allergenic proteins, linoleic acid, aflatoxin), but so do fruits, so do vegetables, so do dairy products, so does sugar, so do nuts, so do seeds, so does meat, so do root vegetables, so does fish, so do legumes, so do eggs, so does chocolate, so does red wine, so does green tea, so does water.  Nothing is definitively good or bad.  Almost all foods have positive AND negative attributes, and at the end of the day we all have to eat something.  Plus, consume too much of anything and it’s likely to do you harm rather than good.

Wheat does have some positive attributes I’ve noticed in real world practice.  It is very calorie and carbohydrate-dense and palatable with a low water content.  This makes it fantastic for recovering from a low metabolic rate (and probably why cravings for it are so high when metabolic rate is reduced via diets, overexercising, stress, etc.).  It’s impossible to raise metabolic rate with watermelon, but wheat?  It works well.  Eating pancakes with syrup and plenty of pizza and cookies is a much more expedient route to metabolic recovery than trying to strictly adhere to “Paleo” foods that exclude grains, dairy, and refined carbohydrates – the most calorie dense and palatable of all foods.

That aside, what matters most is… Reality.

Reality Bite #1 – Most people who do notice losing weight when they eliminate gluten from their diets are losing weight because they are eliminating virtually ALL of their favorite foods.  Go ask 100 people what their favorite foods are today.  90 of them will contain wheat.  Many of the remaining ones will be eaten with wheat somehow, or other gluten-containing grain.  They may feel like they are eating more because they are consuming more bites and volume of overall food with the missing calorie-density of grains.  But that doesn’t mean they are consuming more calories.  Cutting out grain makes the diet less enjoyable, triggers a spontaneous drop in calorie consumption, and a subsequent short-term and temporary loss of weight akin to any calorie-cutting method.  In most cases, the weight loss on gluten-free diets isn’t magical or due to anything involving the immune system or inflammation.  Dozens of diets could be devised to achieve the same effect, such as food-combining, veganism, carb restriction, fat restriction, low-salt diets, excessive chewing (Fletcherizing), raw foodism, no-sugar diets, liquid diets, etc. – there are endless paths to temporary and usually minor weight loss, and I don’t recommend any of them.

Reality Bite #2 – The vast majority of people who embark on any diet, or restrict any food, will be unable to continue to live with that restriction forever if it is in disharmony with their normal social environment.  We know that for major diet changes to take place, it has to be a collective, societal change or else it is extremely unlikely to happen.  Even if it did work for weight loss and tangible improvements in well-being for the majority of people, which it doesn’t, most people would be off of it within a year.  A diet that nobody will stay on is not exactly a viable health enhancement strategy – and the often-reported heightened sensitivity to grains that occurs after eating gluten-free for a long time leaves a person in worse shape than they were before they started down the gluten-free path.

Reality Bite #3 – Most people don’t need to eliminate gluten from their diets to dramatically improve their health… Even if they are sensitive to it!  In fact, the overly-reactive, overly-allergic, hyperinflammatory state that often brings about the poor reaction in the first place, is a state that can be reduced without eliminating grains from the diet.  I’ve helped dozens of individuals daring enough to go down that road to eliminate gluten sensitivity.  There’s no question that being healthy eating whatever you want is a far better place to be than being healthy and avoiding nearly everything.  I look at dietary restriction as a last resort, not a first line of defense.  I recommend people “swing for the fences” trying to get to that state of ultimate dietary freedom before they start identifying and omitting problem foods – a route that is extremely stressful, socially isolating, and progressively less effective as time goes on.  I encourage people to look at food sensitivities as the disease, not something that causes disease, until they have exhausted all measures to overcome them.

Reality Bite #4 – Gluten-free diets suck.  Even if they could expand your lifespan by a few years or even a decade I would still be hesitant to do it.  Being carefree and easygoing about your diet and health practices is a strong virtue for health and beyond.  And foods containing gluten are very enjoyable to eat, which shouldn’t be discounted as “unimportant” or a sign of “addiction” and “weakness.”

Reality Bite #5 – Grain consumption has an inverse relationship worldwide with most modern degenerative disease.  This may or may not be meaningful, and I’m not very fond of any statistics interfering with a person’s highly individual dietary choices, but it’s the truth nonetheless.  Generally the more grain and carbohydrates in general that a nation eats by proportion of total food intake, the leaner and less prone to the major diseases that nation is (diabetes, cancer, heart disease, autoimmune disease).  One example would be the strong negative correlation between grain-based breakfast cereal consumption and obesity and diabetes.  Breakfast cereal is indeed a strong protector against obesity, gluten and all.

There are many others that I could continue to point out.  Hopefully this small dose will at least open up some people to a few simple possibilities.  Possibilities like…

  1. Gluten is not as bad for you as you think it is.
  2. Gluten-free diets may not have much bearing on long-term weight loss, if you even lose anything at all.
  3. It’s possible for many to actually overcome gluten sensitivity.
  4. Gluten-containing grains, used correctly as part of a comprehensive approach, may actually increase your metabolic rate and the systems of the body that are positively impacted by such increase (all systems, that is).
  5. You’re unlikely to stay on a gluten-free diet whether it works or not, or any diet for more than 6 months to a year – so just give up on the whole idea of dieting in general.
  6. All foods have negative attributes, and if you focused on the negative attributes in all foods, you’d be scared to eat anything and be REALLY screwed.  Even the act of eating does damage.  Not eating does even more.  Just eat the food and focus your energy on what you want to do with your time here, which is hopefully not constantly obsess over the tiny details of your diet.
  7. Restricting any food from your diet, especially something as appealing and endemic to the world’s menu as wheat, will probably lead to a nasty rebound effect when you finally fall off the gluten-free wagon.  Expect some weight gain as restricting anything will make you more likely to binge on it to excess as you become increasingly fixated on it during the restriction phase, and expect your ability to digest and metabolize it correctly to suffer as well, as typically happens when you don’t eat something for a long period of time.

Hey, maybe you’ve really tried but you just can’t eat gluten.  Great!  Everybody has a few foods that they don’t or can’t eat.  It’s not the end of the world, and you don’t have to let it define you.  Maybe you can stay off of it forever and feel considerably better.  Fantastic!  This post wasn’t about that.  This post was addressing the unecessary and unwarranted gluten-free craze that is currently peaking in our society.

More great thoughts on the gluten-free craze can be found in Scott Abel’s lengthy video series on the topic HERE.

In other news, Happy National Ice Cream Day!!!  Worried about ice cream being unhealthy too?  Read this post on ICE CREAM.

196 Comments

  1. Thanks Matt- great article. Will be sure to forward it to my buddy’s mom, who gave me her copy of ‘Wheat Belly’ to read, suggesting that the science really is there when it comes to avoiding wheat.

    I think I may have felt like you did about ‘Primal Body, Primal Mind’ as I read it. After several exasperated bouts of trying to give it a chance, I eventually got frustrated and stopped reading, deciding that it wasn’t worth the time to catalog the points of disagreement and still keep serahing for commonality.

    Wheat is tasty- bottoms up!

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      • Haha- well played.

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    • you get wheat belly given to you and meanwhile your back hanging out with your good old friend pizza, “if your buddy’s mother only knew” ( rahzel beatbox style) lol

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LjYobyChFqo

      reality bite # 6 we can’t sustain a population that allows for awesome shit like the internet without grain… superfood berries and paleo approved food with enough calories to keep a high metabolism would be impossible. No rice no corn no potatoes = mad max beyond thunder dome real quick when people start fighting over food.

      yep matt you should have made a wheat book too and make the buns look like well buns…

      Reply
      • I wish there was a liking option such as the one on facebook.

        You are so right Chief, China didn’t become a mega-country from eating fish heads. Rice all the way!

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        • “fish heads, fish heads, rolly polly fish heads, Fish heads, fish heads, eat them up yumm. “

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          • I totally remember that show.

          • I love you Cheif . And also you Mattie. Eating bread like a boss lately. Love it.

        • F**k rice, it was the gelatin that made the difference hehe

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  2. Removing wheat and carbs was def what made most damage to my health. I remember when I had cut it out for some months and then “cheated” I felt awesome eating it as if my body was screaming out it needed the carbs. But at the time having read too much garbage on the internet I attributed this good feeling to evil addictive opiates (Gluteomorphine,gliadorphine).

    There’s a reason wheat and rice is 60% of the world food supply. Without it we are f**ked!

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  3. Reducing wheat consumption and increasing rice and root vegetable consumption has reduced my overall protein intake (wheat has the most protein of the major grains). Also it has increased my intake of micronutrients (sweet potatoes are frequently rated among the most nutritious of ‘vegetables’ [I use quotes there because they are so much higher in carbs than most veggies]).

    I’ve also read that modern wheat contains 75 percent more gluten than traditional, to make baking easier and quick rise pastries possible (traditional breads were fermented overnight. Now…half an hour). That’s a lot of a single protein in one sitting. Imagine eating turkey that was bred to have 75% more tryptophan…not good.

    Rice by contrast has almost no protein and thus is benign. Just starch. One could feed congee (Chinese rice porridge) to the most infirm elderly or colicky baby without much problem.

    Finally, it takes awhile to both change food habits and see results from dietary changes. When I first started to get serious about eating healthier foods, I couldn’t go a meal without a wheat product. I was addicted. Cookies, pastries, you name it. I NEEDED them. Why? And at first, I also didn’t like sweet potatoes. Yet I continued to eat them. Now? I love them and miss them if I go a day without. Food habits can take YEARS to develop. But they do develop. Asians raised in Asia miss rice if they go without. Koreans miss kimchi.

    So if you keep reaching for cookies and pancakes, you will continue to do so. See how far you get with that. I guarantee those foods will, especially long term, encourage your body to retain water. They will bloat you.

    I still eat wheat. Its just too convenient to ignore. But I can and often do easily go without it and not miss it at all. I’m also in the best shape of my life at 33 and know I couldn’t have gotten here by eating pizza.

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    • That sounds completely reasonable to me Gabriel. Nothing wrong with eating mostly non-wheat sources of food.

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    • Wheat flour lists as 11% protein, white rice as 8% (nutrition data), not a huge difference. Turkey is mostly protein and I have no idea how you would breed for specific amino acids in muscle?

      However breeding so hard for gluten might be a problem, I’m gonna try baking bread with spelt, einkorn or whatever some day, if I can find it that is

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    • I have been eating wheat about once a week or so- but I still eat a very high carb diet, lots non-gluteny grains and starchy vegetables. I just feel so much better without it; when I eat it regularly I get so sluggish, bloated and my digestion just stops…. If you catch my drift. However, I definitely don’t think wheat is the devil and sourdough, pasta and pizza are my favorite foods. I don’t want to become totally intolerant of them, so having them once or twice a week and trying to keep my metabolism high with other starches seems to be working well so far!

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  4. Ach, I wish I could. I end up in bed for 5 days with a migraine. I re-test once every six months or so, to see if I’ve healed enough to eat it, alas no. Migraine city. Booh.

    Interestingly, I’m fine in Europe. Migraine and joint swelling comes after 3 weeks of daily pain-au-chocolat and bread. Something about the type of wheat used, maybe?

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    • Rebecca, while it could be a difference in the wheat… I would have my doubts… I would suspect stress first… when you were in Europe were you on vacation? vs the stress of your job back home? Generalized Stress can really lower metabolism and open you to more food sensitivities.

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      • There is most definitely a difference in the flours. Ask any baker who has used flour from France vs. US. It bakes totally differently. Certain countries (France, Italy, etc.) have specific requirements for flour such as protein content. Additionally, European flour is not enriched, while US flour is.

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        • Yup there is definitely a difference in wheat. I am of eastern European decent and bread makes up a huge portion of our diets. When I go there and consume a whole lot of wheat and rye I end up losing weight and feel awesome. Here I can still consume it but usually get bloated a lot more and I am not 100% satisfied after eating. I feel as though something is missing after eating the wheat here. It seems as though it is a filler and not the main course. I remember my grandpa talking about how the americans would come into poland and try to get farmers to grow spring rye instead of fall rye. Many farmers were against it since they new something was off with these new grains. To this day he speaks of farmers growing the fall versions of rye and wheat and keeping it for themselves, and selling off the other whea and ryet. I am sure these farmers know something that I don’t know. I am always reminded how there is so much symbolism in bread. Even in communist wasn’t the slogan “peace, land and bread’. Why add bread there when there is a vast variety of food. Must be something to think about.

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          • I use King Arthur Flour, which is really good flour from all that I’ve read/heard. Is there a way to get European flour in order to make a comparison?

          • I always buy pasta imported from Italy, too, because I swear it’s different. It makes up a large part of my diet.

          • That Italian presenter on the view said she only buys Italian pasta too, as apparently the gluten content is so different, she said American wheat is fattening. Here in the uk I practically live off couscous and pasta made in France and Italy, and local flat bread, and my health noticeably declines when I have a wheat free potato or rice day.

          • What brands do you recommend?

          • Emma, if you’re in the uk, I like Biona pasta best, and I have tried all the organic makes, garofalo are also ok, but their whole grain version is very whole grain and dark, biona’s are more like half and half and taste like white pasta. I like a lot of Bionas products and they’re not expensive either. I like regular couscous imported from France sold cheap in any health food store, or Crazy Jack do nice one if you can find it, and I love their bulgar wheat. Also waitrose or ocado are great, and I actually eat waitrose pitta bread everyday, it’s the nicest I’ve tasted by far and gives me no problems, it’s made with half brown half white flour and tastes like white. Doves farm do the best cereals by far imho, and their cornflakes and digestive biscuits are lovely. Hope that helps you somehow Emma!

          • …also waitrose do really lovely white organic pasta made in Italy, not expensive (@emma).

          • Thanks, Lulush. I’m in the USA. I’m not sure if that have that pasta here. I can check though. Sometimes specialty stores will carry imported goods like that. I for sure can’t have any of the whole grain options though.

          • the flour in sweden must be more similar to american flour. we get that same unsatisfied feeling after eating bread there too. i think it’s due to not being digested fully.

            you can buy einkorn here in the US, an ancient variety, might be better.

          • Not true Josefina. Wrote why further down..

      • Indeed personally my wheat and then grain intolerance started when backpacking Australia and New Zealand. A local nutritionist then told me that they have a much higher gluten proportion in their flours down there and that as such gluten sensitivity was very common.

        Reply
    • Does this happen with whole grain wheat, refined wheat, or both? If you are eating both types around the same time you may not be able to tell if there is a difference. It could be that you are having a problem with the bran/germ of the whole wheat and would be fine just having the refined wheat (see my post below).

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      • Thanks Emma. I didn’t dare to try again wheat, but the rice I tried was white one – so I don’t think the problem come from the bran…

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    • HAvent read through all comments yet so I dunno if someone already wrote this, but YES, US wheat and european wheat are different. Your commersially grown wheat is a short type of spring wheat, ours is a long type of autumn wheat. The main difference is that your kind short type has about 80% less nutrients than ours. I read up about this for about a year ago, can’t find the articles again though :/ (and have no time atm to dig for them) but yes there is a huge difference!

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  5. I used to think gluten made me tired but it turns out it was all the weed I was smoking.

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    • Nah, it was probably the gluten.

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    • Used to nap everyday 2-3 hours, tired all the time. (yes I am anemic but that hasn’t changed) Went gluten free and within 2 days I was no longer napping/tired. Difference is from everyday to weeks without having a nap. If I cheat (was scoped for celiac but negative), I feel awful and back to needing a nap!

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  6. Guys, i need some help here.. I kind of did a major fucked up thing,
    my man left for a week trip to LA and i thought .. Hey! I can try the potato stuff,
    being alone and working home. Bad, bad, bad. Monday ok, thusday i had a a serious
    trembling in hands and legs, vertigo and blank out. I was on street when it happened, i went straight forward to the first restaurant, it happened that it was chinese amd had some rice,
    beef and chicken. I felt a bit better , but not good. Yesterday, i tried again patatoes for lunch,
    felt bad after for the whole afternoon, eat pasta for dinner deciding to stop that idiocy.
    Today, feelingl very crappy, pasta for lunch, rice and beef for dinner. Still feeling weird,
    weak , extremely thirsty, some strange red marks on my face and guys..
    hold your self somewhere, i was 61 kg monday, tonight i go 64,7.. That is the most fucked up
    experience i have ever had on that side. And i am bloated like.. Uhh, hard to get a ref , i have never seen someone bloated like that. I checked patateos poisoning , cant decide if it sound like what i have. Husband will be back and i look like i am 9 months pregnant.. how was you trip love? You were a away for so long..

    Reply
  7. Your perspective is fine for people without autoimmune issues, but dangerous for those of us who were close to death before cutting out gluten (and have reversed all those issues going gluten-free). To those reading this with any sort of autoimmune issue, you will do well to ignore this post and cut out gluten as well as many other “normal” foods your body is reacting to (you have to do an elimination diet to find out what those foods are). Being sensitive to different foods is a sign of disease as well as a cause, so if you are sick and aren’t willing to cut out certain foods, you have to question why. Gluten and A1 casein are actually addictive (A2 casein has an entirely different effect), which is one reason it is so hard to get them out of your diet. Having completely eliminated them from my life and reaped the rewards of healing, I am not tempted to eat those foods in the least. As a result, my quality of life is light years ahead of where it was when I was eating my “favorite” foods. Thank goodness my enjoyment of life doesn’t revolve around eating pizza and ice cream!!

    Reply
    • I think it’s extremly irresponsable of you and others to encourage others to do extreme elimination diets, people can end up wrecking their metabolism and health.

      It is REALLY hard to do a proper elimination diet, and it takes a lot of knowledge and practice to do it right. Cutting out wheat and dairy are huge changes to most peoples diet and they can easily end up with calorie, carbohydrate-deficit and metabolical mayhem if they do it wrong

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      • What’s extreme is being so sick you can’t get out of bed, yet unknowingly eat foods that keep one sick. As for being “REALLY hard” to do an elimination diet – if you’re paying attention to how your body reacts, it’s straight forward. I don’t have any special nutritional knowledge and figuring out what I could and couldn’t eat was easy – because how I felt and how my body responded was very clear. I don’t understand why people think that you can’t get enough carbs or calories if you cut out a few foods temporarily while you heal. Gluten-free (or casein free) does not equal low carb in the least. And how can you wreck your metabolism without suspecting something is off or not change up what you’re eating if you start feeling bad? Our bodies give us feedback all the time and all we have to do is listen. Each person is responsible for themselves, and has to use common sense so they don’t cause themselves more problems. Seems like that would be obvious, but maybe not.

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        • I agree about the listening to your body part. I was dumb enough not to do that. Part of the reason is the diet guru insisted that all bad reactions were “die-off” and detox, so if you felt crappy it was actually a good thing and a sure sign of detox. Of course I have the full responsability for my life, I just think it’s really bad to spread such misinformation to desperate, sick and confused people

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          • Also I’m fascinated if you really are that good listening to your body. For example I get digestive upset if I eat food with rancid PUFA in it like peanut butter and potato chips (here in sweden its all fried in heart-healthy sunflower oil), but I seem to tolerate it better earlier in the day I guess since digestion is stronger then. I also seem to get problems from chicken eggs and pasteurized dairy. Since I haven’t tried raw goat milk or duck eggs, also it could depend on how it’s been cooked, the health and diet of the animals, it could also be related to my adrenal fatigue and possible hypothyroid and environmental allergies, also I wouldn’t be sure if it was the casein, lactose, hormonal content of the dairy, other stuff I ate, I mean there are so many factors and I applaud the person who could do a proper elimination diet considering them all

      • Eliminating gluten is really not very extreme at all. Maybe for someone that eats a ton of processed foods since it is in everything. But there are tons of GF processed foods too. And there are so many other grain/carb options out there. :) I think the fact that it makes SO many people feel better without it makes it worth a try. If you can in fact reintroduce it later with no problems that is great. But I can’t see why eliminating gluten would mess up one’s metabolism. Gluten isn’t a macronutrient or food group. Simply part of one. A small part of one.

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    • See my comment below. I also have Hashimoto’s, but discovered it wasn’t the gluten that was the problem. I feel better than ever having wheat in my diet again, in the right form, of course.

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    • Well Dara, I see from your website that you’ve bought in to the whole Lyme Disease hysteria, so all I can say is, happy trails to you. Or maybe not, since you probably are so frightened of deer that you avoid forest trails.

      Let me ask other’s here, since many of you have traveled this path. Now I know that many of you really have been ill and were seeking some cure. I am not doubting that. However, how much was YOUR EGO attached to BEING SPECIAL.? I mean, we all know that most vegans are SELF-RIGHTEOUS, However all of these diets have that element. The followers of these diets or protocols are made to feel special:

      I remember this skit that the comic Swami Beyondananda did. He said that there was this whole group of meditators who had the following mantra:

      LOOK AT ME
      LOOK AT MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE
      LOOK AT MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

      The same could be said of many dieters.

      So Dara, let me be the one to tell you, babe. You are special, in your own special way :)

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      • By the way, there is nothing preventing people here from falling into the same trap with Matt’s suggestions. If you find yourself bragging to your friends about how much salt you put on your food or how little water you drink or that you can eat 20 pancakes and a whole bottle of maple syrup at one sitting, then you’ve fallen into the trap and should immediately start to chant the above mantra.

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      • It’s fascinating when people project their stuff onto others and think they are the righteous ones. So Thomas, I don’t take your rant personally since you can’t begin to understand what I’ve endured these past 5 years of life-threatening, disabling illness, yet you feel qualified to pass judgment on my perspectives and experience.

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        • Dara, I got the Lyme diagnosis as well. Listen people, if you want to be diagnosed with Lymes, contact me. I know a doctor who diagnoses everybody with Chronic Lymes. If the test shows a few spirochetes, you’ve got Lymes. If it doesn’t, you’ve still got Chronic Lymes. You, too, can have this special disease. You, too, can concoct all kinds of conspiracy theories. You, too, can join the special Internet ghetto of people who will NEVER get over Lymes disease.

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          • By the way, Dara, disagree with me if you like, but please don’t pull out that tired New Age rhetorical trick…that is, if someone makes a criticism of you, it is automatically a projection.

            I mean, if that were the case, if everything is a projection, then all of the things You criticize must be projections, too. Think about it.

          • We need to be encouraging practicing other forms of autoimmune diets. I know the pain of losing two ‘prime of my life’ years to Lupus, but mainly to all the drugs that were thrown at me. I just kept away from crap, and 15 years later (ok 18. fine 20) I have two beautiful boys, a great marriage, closing on my PhD, and most importantly, ne’er another flare. I did do the no-gluten low carb thing for two+ years for vanity, and now I’m slowly healing thanks in part to Matt’s RRARF perspective. When my doc suggests not eating gluten, I say well I’m ok on it (in fact better than when I was w/o) so count me as a ‘statistic’ to track. Otherwise there never will be a challenge to a dietary premise (no gluten for autoimmune people) that could be further limiting someone’s quality of life. Pizza and Ice Cream haven’t lasted this many years as a favorite food if there wasn’t something behind it.

          • Thomas Seay

            I think both you and, Dara are right in your perspectives. As experience is our teacher. The problem isn’t projection. It is life
            experiences.

            While many here(myself included) have the Dx of Lupus, auto-immune, Lyme’s etc…
            And have vastly improved their health following Matt’s ideas;
            Doesn’t mean that Lyme’s or, Auto immune doesn’t exists.

            I eat gluten free. It helps me. That said I do challenge it every
            other month or, so. About a month ago I decided it was time for
            another challenge. I indulged for 2 weeks. Then I crashed.
            So it is back to gluten free. I think the next trial will be with organic
            all purpose flour and, homemade goods.

            I do know that my granddaughter was cured of Autism by following
            the GF,CF,SF diet.

          • Speaking of Lyme Disease……. I also got diagnosed as having chronic Lyme Disease via Igenex Laboratory and my LLMD. I have also been diagnosed as having various co-infections. I spent several thousand of dollars over a period of several years on treatment for chronic Lyme Disease and those other co-infections and my health problems didn’t improve at all. Actually, my health problems worsened. Though, I was told that I was just experiencing a herx reaction. I have also had the parasite diagnosis, the toxic mold/mycotoxin diagnosis ( I even have the dreaded genotypes for sensitivity to both mold and Lyme) and the heavy metal diagnosis. And I was also treated for those conditions. And again, my health problems didn’t really improve at all. But rather my health problems worsened. And again I was told that my negative reaction was due to a herx, or a parasite die-off or a detox reaction.

            But eventually, I came across Matt’s blog and my health didn’t really start to improve until I started to incorporate some of Matt’s dietary suggestions into my life. And my improvements have been rather profound as a result. My long standing chronic fatigue, brain fog, anxiety, muscle twitrching, muscle tremors, daily headaches, intestinal problems, breathing problem, joint pain, and vision problems have improved substantially.

            So, for that I owe Matt a very big thank you. Actually, I owe him much more than that.

            I can’t say whether or not Matt’s suggestions would help everyone that has been diagonsed with chronic Lyme Disease, co-infections, toxic mold syndrome or heavy metal toxicity but his suggestions did help me……. profoundly!!

            There was a point in my life, when someone that had a condition such as chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia had come up to me I would have told them that they needed to see an LLMD or a toxic mold doctor such as Dr. Shoemaker or a doctor that specializes in heavy metal detox and chelation therapy such as an ACAM doctor. But now, I would no longer first give that advice to such people.

            But rather I would now tell those people to give Matt Stone’s dietary suggestion a try first because your quality of life could depend upon.

            And for the record, for years I was deathly afraid of getting bit by a tick and I was scared to eat tuna and I was afraid to even touch anything that might have mold on it. But I am, no longer afraid of those things, I can sit in our moldly cellar without a problem. I now eat tuna fish and I am still alive. And I have pulled a couple of embedded ticks off of me these past few years and I feel fine.

            A healthy metabolism…….. it’s one hell of drug.

            I also got my humor back!!

          • Kevin,

            It’s fascinating to hear your story! :)

            My health started deteriorating rapidly almost 5 years ago, right after I had my daughter. I had gone through some very traumatic experiences, which included severe pneumonia and pleurisy when my daughter was only 4 weeks old. I had to be hospitalized for a week. Then I had a huge family fallout, I almost drowned at Lover’s Point in Pacific Grove, my husband lost his job and then we moved to another state. There was more after that too!

            As my health declined, I attributed it to all the antibiotics they gave me in the hospital for my pneumonia/pleurisy. I started doing candida cleanses and as I starved myself, I got excited as I had herx reaction after herx reaction. But really, I was just starving myself.

            My health continued to get worse and I started gaining weight as I alternated intermittent candida cleanses and low carb eating with binges. Eventually, I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia (my Dad and Grandma – his mom- have it too). I was diagnosed with severe adrenal fatigue, and some guru even said I have Hashimoto’s and Hypothyroidism,

            When I found Matt Stone’s site, I was getting migraines all the time, had twitching muscles and eyes, lots of anxiety, depression, pain all over my body, dysphagia (my food was constantly getting stuck in my esophagus when I ate), extreme fatigue and malaise, and sooooo much more.

            After incorporating some of his information, I started to feel better. Over the last week I realized that I am laughing more. Aloud. And I’m playing with my kids more and having more sex with my husband and going on walks and hiking. A year ago, I couldn’t do that and was focused on every detail of food that I put into my body that life was super-stressful. Last year, I thought I was going to die soon because life was so bad.

            I have a laboratory diagnosis that I am sensitive to wheat and dairy. But I eat just about everything anyways. I feel so much better doing it and am so much happier. I’m going to stop doing lab work with food allergies and focus more on how my body reacts to them.

            I still have a long ways to go, but life is so much better.

            Dara, don’t advise people with autoimmune diseases (or chronic illnesses – because it all goes together…) to stop eating food. We need food and the more foods we restrict, the worse our health can become. Restricting food made my life so much worse and caused stress for me and for my family, who had to ride out that hell with me. Restricting food made my chronic illness (which I seem to be healing) much worse. It also made me binge more and crave sweets, and carbs more. In fact, after “eating the food”, I hardly crave certain foods and can eat like a “normal” person with very few binges in between. It’s amazing!

            Give people enough of the foods they crave and they stop craving it.

            Some people really DO need to restrict food, like my Grandpa, who has Celiac. And others too. But restricting food because Gurus say to, is crazy.

          • +1

            I don’t know how the hell I survived with my restrictions for so long. And to have so many niggling health complaints vanish in such a short amount of time after eating so many foods I thought I’d never eat again has been a godsend for me.

          • Oh yes, Kevin, the famous HERX reaction. This is what the gurus tell you when you start going to hell: <> or <>. And you think, <<>, now I am finally getting rid of this stuff!

            And, oh yes, Igeneix, about the only lab in the country that diagnoses Chronic Lyme in the country. By the way, one of the owners of that lab has a son who was my Lyme Doctor. No joke. Remember Igenex is here in Palo Alto, where I live.

          • My ex-girlfriend got diagnosed with “chronic Lyme” by an MD with alternative leanings in San Jose. She tested positive at IGENEX.

            This guy has her spending thousands of dollars a month of hyperbaric oxygen, a gazzillion anti-microbial supplements, herbs, homeopathy, vitamins, injections and other questionable “sources of income” for him. She’s also down to living on chicken breast, salmon, zucchini, coconut oil, and asparagus. That’s her diet. Nice.

            Even though I am a licensed health care practitioner, I can’t seem to get through to her that she is being taken to the cleaners and is not getting results. I find it appalling how many practitioners seem to be taking financial advantage of patients with complex health issues. It seems sometimes that medicine, whether mainstream-pharmaceutical complex or the alternative-supplement-gorging complex is often a big financial black hole for those who avail themselves to it.

            Again – why does health have to be expensive and complicated??? Does it??

          • Great story. One of the things that drives me crazy about alternative docs is their loopy logic and abuse of “detox” or “herxheimer” reaction. It seems like pretty much everyone with these dx’s are almost always “detoxing” and they never seem to get better even though they spend many thousands of dollars on tons of supplements that their naturopaths, acupuncturists, doctors, etc sell to them.

            It’s really really nice to hear how Matt’s ideas helped you. It will give me much to reflect on in my own practice.

        • This is my first visit to this site_ and last. What a egotistical asshole to say such things to a person suffering from an awful disease. I guess breast cancer is just a made up hysteria too. This guy is the personification of the health snobbery he mocks.

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      • This is so unbelievably condescending it makes me feel sick.

        Do you think that people who have to dump gluten or other foods from their diets actually WANT to? It’s a pain in the neck having to read every packet and check every menu. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone in the wheat-ridden culture that we are surrounded by.

        If this diet gets rid of my wheat intolerance, I will be celebrating.

        I’m diabetic too. I must have brought it upon myself just so I could draw attention to myself. Maybe following this diet to get rid of it isn’t such a good idea after all……

        I have known for the last 5 years, since dumping gluten and losing 12 years of IBS-D, raging restless legs (ataxia), burning feet (neuropathy) and being a walking fungus-factory, that my issues were nutritional. I, like so many other people, just didn’t know what to do about it. Low-carb and supplements only helped a bit – but at the time I thought I had the answers – just like many other people do when they gain some respite from their issues through diet!

        If I’d known that a few months of overfeeding would have done the trick it wouldn’t have taken me 5 years to only get where I am now so painfully slowly and by going through all these years of horrendous ‘healing’ reactions.

        Motivation and education needs to be triggered and fed by encouragement and support, not condescension.

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  8. Oiy! Matt! So I had a particularly heavy wheat week, and at the end of it I had a particularly heavy week night…. By the end of the dinner I practically had sparks flying out of my ears I was so agitated… When I had my usual middle of the night wake up, I was so agitated that I felt I had finally gone off the deep end. I decided right the

    I tried going off wheat years ago, and it made no difference in

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    • ???

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      • I second this.

        dafuq?

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  9. Matt, after nearly 7 years of grain free life I am MORE than ready to go back to it. I became intolerant to grain but wasn’t born this way, despite my liking of Lady Gaga. I believe I might have done “healing” work on my gut over the years but last time I had a teaspoon of rice this year, I wasn’t at my best and this is an understatement. I also believe that thanks to you I have raised my metabolism and my temps are good. The question is: how to go back to grains now, in a sensitive way? Surely food I have avoided for 6 years is likely to trigger reactions…

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  10. I will tell you one awesome thing about the GF fad. It has made GF products approximately one bazillion times better for people, like my son, who have celiac — who really, honest to god and for real, can’t do gluten ever.

    So bring it on, celeb gluten-haters. It’s thanks to you that I can get a decent chocolate GF cake mix, pretty good rice pasta, and can go to a restaurant down the street that serves damn fine GF pancakes.

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    • For that I am happy. It is wonderful for people who truly do have to stay away from gluten to have food options out there. There is an explosion of gf; I see it everywhere now.

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    • Yay for GF food! I just enjoyed a chocolate and cherry gluten free cake. Tasted as good as cake made from wheat flour.

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  11. Oiy! Matt! So I had a particularly heavy wheat week, and at the end of it I had a particularly heavy week night…. By the end of the dinner I practically had sparks flying out of my ears I was so agitated… When I had my usual middle of the night wake up, I was so agitated that I felt I had finally gone off the deep end. I decided right then to try going off of it. When I woke up the next night I felt immensely calmer, and even more so the next.. I am totally with you about getting off of the food hysteria train, but I can’t ignore how much better I feel being off of wheat.. My moods are much more stable, and my inflammation is way down..

    I definitely don’t want to do this long term, but not because I miss wheat. I don’t… I’ve been able to keep up my carbs with the substitutes, and I’m pretty happy with that… I just don’t want to be in a food prison, and I want to get out of the place where trace amounts get me all agitated again. I seriously upped my wheat consumption in the past year to up my carbs, but it didn’t increase my tolerance… I was thinking of contacting you again to see if a session would be helpful here… I’d love to know your your strategy for decreasing sensitivity…

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    • I’ve love to know too. I suffer from depression and anxiety, and cutting gluten has made a huge difference in my life so far. It greatly reduced my depression, brainfog, paranoia, anxiety and inability to connect with my surroundings. I’m hoping that as my metabolism improves I may become more tolerant of gluten.

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      • I have the exact same reaction to wheat/gluten. I was diagnosed OCD and eliminating wheat has eliminated my anxiety. I tried Einkorn products about two months ago and developed terrible anxiety, difficulty catching my breath, weird tourrettes like twitches and AWFUL mood swings and anger. I would love to eat wheat again. I made a loaf of bread every day for three years and I miss it. How can I eat wheat again?

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  12. I’m one who is healthier off gluten – getting off of it got rid of my eczema and joint pain, neither of which I expected to happen (I went GF merely in support of my son, who is gluten sensitive – gets a stuffed nose from wheat). I’d rather NOT be gluten free, in terms of ease in the world. That said, it’s not a huge deal. If you need to be GF, get some very fine white rice flour from an Asian market and tapioca starch and you can make kicking chocolate chip cookies or pancakes or whatever else you want. For bread, Udi’s (in your frozen section) is fine, especially toasted. There is no real good GF bagel as far as I know, however.

    Every so often I question whether I “made” myself gluten sensitive through some crazy diet or some such, but as near as I can tell, I wasn’t sensitive, and then suddenly in middle age, I was. I’m hypothryoid, and the gluten sensitivity probably came within a couple years of that being discovered, so probably both are autoimmune.

    Love your blog Matt. I look forward to buying Eat for Heat on payday (this weekend, yay!) Already, just from reading here, I’ve dropped the “you must drink 8 glasses of water a day” mantra – yay again!

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    • Hey Steph,

      I too have suffered from eczema, and it was the absolute worst when I was pregnant and restricting sugar and wheat (WORST!). I was also hypothyroid, and since my metabolism has been healing the eczema has all but disappeared and it only flares up in one last place when I get stressed–can you guess where???–my hands. I thought nothing would ever heal my eczema but it seems that some metabolic rehab may offer us eczema sufferers a ray of hope!

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      • Ah! Interesting. Maybe metabolic rehab is in my future.

        How is your thyroid these days? And what is your metabolic rehab protocol, generally? Is it the 180 approach?

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        • I don’t have lab numbers or anything like that, but my temps are way up and I have noticed pretty impressive improvements to skin, hair, nails, libido, mood, sleep, menstrual cycles, and of course eczema. Since adding in exercise I have also put on a lot of lean muscle for the first time in my life, which is pretty cool.

          I have generally followed the 180D approach. But for the first few months I was still pretty attached to my health dogma and trying to raise my temps eating clean (legumes, brown rice, soaked grains, etc). It raised my temps but what really got me warm and feeling good was eating more sugar and giving those foods up for the time being–not like I have a craving for them anyways!

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          • Thanks for the reply! I have tried to give up sugar in the past and it never worked for me. I guess there’s a reason for that. :)

    • I think there’s no question its autoimmune. For me its 3 symptoms I get from eating wheat. 1) – stuffy nose, like your son, 2) one of my knuckles is a bit arthritic and when I eat wheat it always hurts when I wake up the next day and 3) acne. If I avoid wheat I never get acne. If I eat a lot of bread for a few days, a few days later I get acne, like clockwork. I think its best to avoid for everyone. The opening of the tight junctions in the gut in response to gluten (which causes the gut to release zonulin which is what opens the tight junctions) happens in everyone – not just in celiacs. When the tight junctions open food slips between the cells in the gut lining as opposed to going through them like it is supposed to and this causes heightened immune activity in everyone – not just celiacs. Celiacs have the added problem that they form antibodies to the gluten, which takes their immune response to a whole other level, but everyone has some heightened response to it.

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  13. I find white flour products much easier to digest than whole wheat stuff. I think the best thing is not to overload on wheat, like eating it everyday – keeps things balanced. Same with cheese, which seems to give me lethargy when eaten too much.

    Since my metabolic rate has gone up, I digest everything brilliantly. No constipation or stomach aches. Proves that transit time can make all the difference!

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    • Some wheat on a daily basis doesn’t hurt me but if I have too much in a day, i get one big pimple in the next few days. But, perhaps I am wrong and it is actually some other food that causes this. That is the problem with things like gluten – they are the first thing that you blame when something like this happens.

      Anyway, my skin is clear at the moment with moderate amounts of wheat. That saying about sleeping dogs comes to mind whenever i think of experimenting further!

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      • I find certain fruits like cherries and mangos, for example, give me dry, red, flaky eyebrows. Pizza has no impact on my skin. My dandruff has really improved since lifting my metabolic rate over the past 3 months.

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    • Yeah I used to be a strict Weston Price-er, grinding and soaking all my whole wheat and now, following metabolic healing, the thought of eating whole wheat grosses me out. I actually noticed that eating it causes my eczema to flare up.

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      • Fermented foods and grains do the same to me. WAP principles are somewhat questionable the more I delve into things. I used to eat heaps of unsoaked nuts and never had issues, but as soon as I soaked them, things like sinus and dizziness. I also haven’t had a cavity for 13 years or so. I thought phytic acid was evil, lol. Didn’t do my teeth any harm.

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        • But you feel crappy because of the die-off!!!! You were really getting better don’t you know!!! Lol.

          To be honest I feel a little let down by the WAPF “rules”. There are a lot of things I appreciate about what they are trying to do–I mean, I’m not about to start eating soy burgers and margarine again anytime soon–but their stance against even unrefined sugar can be pretty hardcore and I feel I was actually at my worst health-wise following a WAP diet to the letter.

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    • I agree. Not to mention that in that same Dr. Oz program that highlighted ‘wheat belly’ they also discussed the fact that many people have the same insulin response to wheat as white. So why was I eating wheat bread???? I like some wheat toast, but seriously.

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  14. Most people don’t get in car wrecks when they drive, so maybe we should end this seat belt craze?

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    • MAS,

      Actually, I always thought the government mandates to have everyone buckle their seat belts is an example of Governments Gone Wild! Seat belts do not always save lives and there have been incidents where the seat belt had actUAlly caused additional injuries and even death for some auto accident victims.

      BTW MAS, I loved your blog post about how Ice Cream is a better post-workout food than those crappy Whey protein powders :)

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      • They do stop you from becoming a projectile however, which could at least save someone else’s life. Seatbelts. Not ice cream!

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        • Seat belts and ice cream, especially if it’s homemade…yummm!

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      • I wish that I was wearing a seat belt when I was 11 years old. I was sitting in the front seat. No seat belt. We were t-boned. I went head first into the dash board. My neck has never been the same. I have a dowagers hump. I was in therapy for two years (it worked for the most part although I have found Yoga to be more helpful.) I don’t recommend skipping your seat belt if you are in the front seat.

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  15. Has anyone tried NAET (google it :)) for removing food allergies? I have seen some good yelp reviews on this in my area and was considering it for dairy. I still get bloated after drinking milk (was fine as a kid). I am now experimenting with Matt’s famous half-asses, hopefully this will go better.

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    • I’ve done NAET. All the basics plus a zillion others. I don’t think it did squat for me, but I also think my practitioner wasn’t very good. However, I wasn’t eating dairy at the time and now I can eat it without tummy problems. But I’m not sure NAET has anything to do with that. And dairy still gives me acne.
      My sister also did it and said it was really helpful. But she still has mad diarrhea when eating dairy, so…
      When I tried a couple sessions with a different practitioner (who I actually think knew what she was doing), she tested me and said I has passed all the basics— and then she did more treatments on me and I actually felt some kind of reactions from those treatments (weird stomach stuff for a day or so). But I’m not sure there were any long term results (couldn’t keep seeing that practitioner).

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      • Thanks ! I was about to try it out. There is the lady where I live who combines NAET with acupuncture and i was really hoping that would be the magic cure :(

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        • Sorry to give the bad news. But you might have better luck. It really could have been a problem with my practitioner and not the protocol. Or maybe I just needed to clear a lot of other things we hadn’t gotten to yet (although that sounds a lot like the paleo peeps: “you’re just not doing it hard enough”).

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    • NAET did nothing but empty my wallet.

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  16. How appropriate…posting my comment here as well…just in case you missed it in the other post.

    I just commented on this issue of white vs. whole grain, so I will copy and paste it here as well. There’s more to whether or not a food is good for you other than whether or not it’s in its whole food form. This is one of the reasons that I believe what Matt has to say about food and metabolism. I’ve experienced for myself firsthand that “healthy” food is not always the best for a person. As it’s been said before, “You are not what you eat, you are what you digest.”

    Anyhow, here’s what I said:

    I think there’s more to it than low carb or gluten free. I also have thyroid disease. I was wheat/gluten free for 6 years in an effort to improve my thyroid health. I didn’t show any difference with my thyroid health, but the depression I had, which I was on medication for, disappeared. Because of that, I continued eating wheat free. After 6 years of being wheat free, I hoped that my gut was healed if there had been any gut problems that I wasn’t aware of (I never had gut pain, etc. just the depression). I decided to add wheat back into my diet to see what would happen. Having been wheat free for 6 years, I started out with the yummy stuff that I had missed…pizza, cinnamon rolls, etc. By complete coincidence, the stuff I was eating contained white flour. After a couple of weeks of eating white flour based foods and noticing absolutely no problems, I ate two pieces of sprouted bread for breakfast one morning and, BAM, all my previous symptoms came back within minutes, headache, congestion, sinus irritation, depression, etc. I took a full day for my symptoms to begin to subside. I tried several times after this to eat whole grain and the same thing happened each time. I have been eating white flour based foods for about 5 months now and I still have no problems and am feeling good. Actually, the only time my thyroid showed any flare-up up was my short stint with paleo. I did paleo for just a couple of month and I had to have my thyroid medication increased, after 15 years of stable thyroid function with no increase in medication in all that time.

    Anyhow, I think grains are more complex than to eat or not to eat, whole grain or refined. Just as some people have a problem with different aspects of milk (casein, lactose, whey), I realize now that people are sensitive to the different parts of the grain. For me, it wasn’t the wheat/gluten itself that I had a problem with, it is the bran and/or germ portion of the grain that I have a problem with. The same may be true for many others. Until my experience, I had never heard anyone suggest this possibility. I hope this is helpful to some of you.

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    • I do pretty good on pizza, as long as I don’t eat it everyday, lol. But yeah, whole wheat just doesn’t make me feel good. I bought a Whisper Mill aka Wonder Mill (sounds like a fire engine, ha ha) and did an experiment with freshly ground whole wheat, which I then made some cookies with. Epic fail! Ended up constipated….. Now I use mashed sweet potato or taro root mixed with fresh ground white rice flour, and I’m fine. Taste heaps better, too!

      Besides, as long as there are sufficient minerals in the diet, white flour products may be the preferred choice. My intestines are fine currently with white flour products, although I don’t overdo it, just to be on the safe (and balanced) side.

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    • Yup there are so many variables. But only you can decide what works for you. If a food makes you feel no good then try something else for the time being. Matt’s post reminds me of some of those drug commercials on tv. They list like 20 symptoms on some of them and then tell you that you have that problem. After the commercial is over you think to yourself, what do I not have lol.

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  17. I like this article. For years, people have been restricting foods they eat, however, as Matt notes, every food has something bad about it. So why not eat a wider variety so that you are getting the widest variety of nutrients while reducing the amount of any one given toxin, etc., that a particular food has? This seems like a much healthier strategy than restriction. Nobody KNOWS what the perfect balance of nutrients are….Why? We don’t even know what all of the nutrients are. Do you understand the implications of that? You can’t design the perfect diet if you don’t even know what it is. Best then is to eat as many different types of foods as possible. As Matt says, there will indeed be some that you truly can’t eat. Let your body decide, instead of somebody like P Pitchford who looks like one of those people they pulled out of Auschwitz at the end of WWII.

    Think about it. We’ve only began to known and isolate vitamins at the beginning of the 20th century. Who knows what as yet undiscovered nutrients there might be? Ray Peat doesn’t know. Michio Kushi doesn’t know. Dr. D’Adamo doesn’t know. Mark Sisson doesn’t know. Paul Pitchford doesn’t know. For that matter, I don’t know, you don’t know, Matt doesn’t know (no disrespect Matt). We didn’t get to the top of the food chain (we so bad!) by eating a specialized data of bamboo shoots like Pandas (no disrespect pandas :). Eat up and eat large!

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    • Whoops, that should read “specialized diet” not “specialized data”. Freudian slip there.

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    • Thomas I am pretty certain that the best nutritionists in bodybuilding for example are the ones that are open minded. Thye specialize a diet based on the individual since only the client knows what food works best for himself. That is why you see some people conditioning on 400 grams of carbs while others at 100. There is such a big difference in how people eat and feel.

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  18. I added gluten back in this past month. Obvious signs of intolerance after eating have subsided (brain fog, sleepiness, joint pain). Appetite and body temperature have dropped though. I thought it was stress at first, but my life isn’t very stressful to be honest. Anyway, I’m not going to cut out gluten again, but I’m not sure its doing me any good to have it back in my diet.

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  19. Um ok, I would love to be able to eat gluten! but every time I do my eyes turn red and my mouth tasts like blood so I think I’ll just skip it. Maybe some people pretend to have gluten intolerance and don’t “it sounds like you were one of those”.

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  20. Totally agree with the trying to eliminate too much. I have been told to eliminate dairy, night shades, soy, and so on. It’s just too hard to eat that way and there’s not a huge difference.

    For me there is a huge difference with wheat. I think it’s advisable, sometimes, to experiment for a short period of time. I had major reflux which the doctors medicated after diet changes didn’t help…then had to change the medication because it stopped…happened again…then two kinds of meds were required. Stopped eating wheat, stopped needing the meds the same week. Boom. Reflux gone. 12 years later (yes, I stopped gluten before the latest craze), if I get accidental wheat I end up curled into a ball in pain. It’s easy for me not to eat wheat–I’ve tested it extensively and I end up in a ball in pain.

    But I’m not going to cut out all the other stuff that *maybe* might make me feel a little better. I’ve experimented and it’s not worth it. No real change, not going to stick with it, and then it’s just extra work.

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  21. I’ve been gluten-free for about a year now when I decided to try it after reading about it in a book. Months later I had a blood test done for anti-gliadin antibodies for which I tested positive. I declined to get scoped to confirm the celiac diagnosis and told the doctor I’d just stick with the diet.

    The thing is, it’s had no effect that I can tell. I’ve had bad digestive issues for years which eliminating wheat did nothing to alleviate (cutting out dairy and sugary drinks helps, though) nor has it improved my brain fog or moods.

    I’m not really sure what to do at this point. On one hand I don’t miss wheat and I don’t want to damage my GI tract, on the other hand I can’t eat out at restaurants any more. Despite being off gluten I still have malabsorbtion. Whether I’ve done irreparable damage or it’s caused by something else, I have no idea.

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    • Have you tried a course of Triphala? How are your villi? I found that Triphala helped me heal in that regard. I used to not digest much (looked the same way going in as it did when it came out.) Its not a panacea, you do have some nausea because as the villi grow back they send messages. I don’t know if it would help you or not. BTw, I don’t own any stock in Nature’s Way or any other vitamin/supplement company.

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    • I did get the scope (was negative- so cheating doesn’t do damage but does have an effect) because with celiac, even a little gluten can destroy your villi. I chose to get scoped because in knowing that I do not have celiac, I don’t need to be super diligent for things like cross-contamination. You said that you told your doctor that you’d just stick with the diet- but are you sticking with it like someone who has celiac- watching cross-contamination issues, checking every lable, not using the same toaster/serving spoon, etc. You say you have no idea, perhaps getting the scope will give you one. It’s not that onerous considering what information you can find out.

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      • There is a bit of a problem with the diagnosis of Celiac Disease, because it is so useless. It can take several tests to achieve a positive result, but typically most people are only sent for one. If that comes back ‘negative’, you are told you don’t have Celiac Disease and sent packing.

        But this is why it is estimated that only 1% of Celiac sufferers are ever picked up, which means that 99% are still walking around (or have died!) oblivious to the fact that they have (or had) it.

        Even if the result is positive, the gut spread out is the size of a tennis-court so finding the damage through biopsy is like looking for a needle in a haystack – unless the damage is extremely extensive.

        So being told that you don’t have Celiac Disease is actually no guarantee you don’t at all!

        This diet is generally about absorbing as much nutrition as you can to make up maybe years of shortfall. But gluten/Celiac damage prevents the gut from absorbing food properly, especially when it has been a staple of the diet. As another poster mentioned, in the modern wheat strains, quantity has been sacrificed for quality, and I believe that there are some foods that use more nutrition than they give, of which wheat may be one. My take on it is, if there is any doubt, leave it out, at least until your body has healed….

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  22. Interesting. There is one thing that you’ve not covered though.

    A lot of the “gluten-free” diets focus on wheat flour as somehow being the source of all evil. What they fail miserably to address is the changes in processing wheat flour into bread (the most common form of consumption.)

    The white sliced loaf is a creation of scientists – the Chorley Wood process. The entire premise behind it is that bread – proper old fashioned bread – takes time. Time for the yeast to work; time to knead the bread (developing the gluten properly) and time in the modern world = money.

    So enter the Chorley Wood process. Thanks to the combination of chemicals and industrial processing the factories could make bread that would raise quickly; and come out as a soft white loaf shoved through a slicer.

    Now I’m in the UK. My experience with white-sliced is that it’s squidgy and soft – and goes mouldy. Ok, proper bread can go mouldy if it’s damp – but normally in the same storage conditions a decent loaf will go hard and stale (which you can actually still use.) If you eat the white-slice it tastes _sweet_; the amount of sugar that gets put in (and salt) is completely insane. And finally if you look on the ingredients you’ll find a huge list of additives.

    Why is this important? Well I’ve got a really interesting book on bread making. And in it the author states that it is his belief that the old method of breadmaking – that took time for the gluten to develop and the yeast to synthesis and make it rise – results in a loaf that not only tastes better; but is less likely to cause an intolerant reaction. His evidence – customers who get symptoms such as migraines; digestive issues etc. from factory white-sliced who buy his bread (made from decent flour; yeast; salt and water and time) and are absolutely fine.

    The same logic can be applied to pizza. If I make a pizza base from scratch I will put the dough together in the morning and then leave it to rise. By the time I get home in the evening I have a bread dough ready to go. It tastes so much nicer than ordinary pizza dough; and I’ve had some people who are normally highly reactive to things like white bread try some and find no or reduced issues. It’s an anecdote not data but it’s interesting enough to feel that there may be something in it.

    With regards to the lady who doesn’t have issues in France eating croissants – the croissant is actually a yeast leavened dough which has to rise overnight (as well as be folded a lot to create the layering.) In other words it spends a lot of time developing and isn’t subject to a gazillion additives in the flour.

    Reply
    • That’s really interesting. Are you referring to sourdough bread or? I’m sorry I know crapshoot about baking but I want to learn now so I can make my own

      Reply
      • A few months ago on a thread here I posted a bread recipe I use and a couple people tried it and liked it, so I will post it again for those that missed it. It is SUPER EASY. I do it in my bread machine, but if you don’t have one you can still make it and it doesn’t need kneading. It has a lot of nutrients for bread and slices well.

        Sally Lunn bread:

        2 eggs
        1/4 c butter or coconut oil
        2/3 milk (can use water but milk gives better crumb)
        1.5 tsp sea salt
        1/4 c cane sugar
        3 c flour (use a good one like King Arthur)
        1.5 tsp yeast

        in a bread machine, set on light crust because the sugar content is so high.

        Reply
        • Thanks for the recipe. I need to get me one of them
          machines, what are the advantages of a bread machine?

          Reply
          • The bread machine makes it super super easy. Just toss in the ingredients, check as it starts to mix to make sure the liquid amount is right, and then ignore for 3 hours. And you don’t have to heat your oven (I’m in Texas, so that is a huge plus during the summer!) I have a Sunbeam brand. I got it as a gift but I think they are around $100.

          • Hi Tierney

            I also have a Sunbeam breadmaker but I live in New Zealand so not sure if it would be the same as yours, but just wondering what setting do use? Also, is the yeast just plain granulated yeast?

        • Thank you for this recipe! I’m going to try making this next week. I have to do it in the oven because I gave away our bread machine during one of my low carb diets (it drove my husband crazy…)

          Reply
          • awwww, that is too bad. Well last time I posted this several ppl tried it in the oven and said it turned out well. Google “Sally Lunn bread” and you will find lots of similar recipes with oven instructions. Some of them say to make it in a bundt pan, but if you want for sandwhiches obviously don’t do that.

          • Thank you Tierney! :)

        • Thanks, Tierney. I’ve been using your recipe. This makes great french toast.

          Reply
      • My understanding is that the same arguments apply to dough leavened by yeast or sour dough starter (which uses wild yeasts.) The point is giving it longer to develop and longer to rise.

        A breadmaker will make making bread easier – a lot of them knead and bake without you needing to. However I personally don’t have one and when I make bread I look on it as my own personal work out.

        Reply
    • I’m in the UK too, and store bought white bread is just nasty. Same with most of the pre-packed loaves. I work in a place that sells organic, fresh bread and the loaves never go mouldy, just stale. Plus, its beautiful. Literally, heavenly. I don’t really eat enough of it to test the difference in how I feel though. I love bread, but I tend to only have small amounts otherwise I feel uncomfortably full. Like it expands in my stomach or something? I get the same thing with sweet potatoes, but not white potatoes, rice, corn, millet etc. Odd!

      Reply
    • I’ve found the same thing. My husband who normally turns into ‘Attila the Hun’ for the best part of a week when he gets ‘glutened’ can eat my slow-rise home-made bread without any problems. Not only does the long ferment help to pre-digest the gluten, it also releases 50% more nutrition. Win-win.

      I haven’t been able to eat it yet myself without any problems, but maybe I will be able to eventually as my gut restores.

      Reply
  23. I agree with the idea that gluten sensitivity can be reduced by strengthening the whole of the system, absolutely. But I went gluten free after having lots of gross digestive problems and it was really helpful. I by no means eliminated grains. In fact, like a kid in a candy store in the gluten-free aisle, I was eating way more grains than ever before. Gluten free chocolate covered pretzels? Gluten free snickerdoodles??? Sign me up! And I did in fact lose a butt ton of weight right off the bat, but I’m sure it was just bloat that was finally released.

    That being said, I am utterly certain that my digestive issues were caused by STRESS, not caused by gluten. Gluten is difficult to break down, true. So if you’re already not running on all cylinders, you could have a problem digesting it. The epidemic of gluten sensitivity has more to do with less than vibrant health generally than gluten itself, in my opinion. Seriously, if I’m feeling free and happy and present, french toast and pizza is no problem. If I’m feeling angry, resentful, nervous, and I eat a regular slice of bread, I’m in trouble. Quality of life is definitely improved when I’m in a gluten-friendly state, but when I know I’m not in good sorts, I think it’s useful to avoid it. And that’s my two cents.

    I don’t frankly care too much about the content of this post…I’m too excited by the Reality Bites references! My favorite quotable movie. They’ve just discovered Nutra-Sweet gives you a third eye!

    Reply
    • Ooh, wait. I have an idea. I always ate really grainy, nutty, chunky breads when I ate wheat regularly. Gluten free stuff is all super processed…if I was suddenly eating a pile of rice flour pretzels and cookies instead of sprouted 78 grain bread…perhaps that’s why the bloat was released…

      Reply
      • I think you’re on to something there, Julia. I can’t comfortably digest “Dave’s killer bread” for more than a couple days before starting to feel some digestive distress. But I can make home-made white flour bread (organic, ’cause that’s how I roll) and eat it all I want with zero issues.

        Reply
        • Yeah I was thinking about this and realized that the last thing I ate prior to the worst eruption of digestive issues before finding relief inns gluten free diet was spaghetti and garlic bread. Not the cardboard stuff. Yeah, I dunno! I think the stuff about differences in European wheat to American is intriguing.

          Reply
    • I guess the best method is to try to be happy most of the time. Life is good :).

      Reply
  24. Matt, How would one go about reintroducing the body to its “intolerances” and curing the sensitivites? Just read your digestion book and your diet recovery book but you dont get into the specifics about people who have developed food intolerances in an attempt to eat healthier. I am currently sensitive to gluten, casein, coffee, soy and corn, but of course test negative for every autoimmune disease and allergy. I know it is from restricting my body through multiple diets the past 2 years (gluten free, candida diet, then paleo), but I am scared to go full RRARF with these foods. Do I slowly introduce my body to them one at a time so it gets used to digesting them again?

    Reply
    • I’d also ove to read more about reintroducing foods, Matt, if you ever feel like wandering down that road… would be great guidance for recovering food freaks like me to back out of our dietary dead ends.

      Reply
  25. Matt, brilliant article.

    One thing I can’t believe is that people don’t talk about variables relating to mood, exercise, sleep etc.

    If I eat wheat when I’m in a bad mood it sucks, good mood it’s fine.
    If I eat wheat early in the morning it’s usually fine, middle of the day- sucks, late at night- could go either way.
    If I eat wheat after exercise, usually fine. If I eat it sat about the house- sucks.
    If I eat it after a good nights sleep, usually fine. Underslept, no way- digestion can’t take it.

    Nutrition is highly dependant on other factors, biofeedback is the only way through it. Keep killing that dogma.

    Reply
    • I love this comment Matthew. It just about sums everything up and you could insert just about any food you think disagrees with you instead of the wheat and the same would apply.

      Reply
      • Yup, this is why it’s important to listen to your own body. I have noticed zero issues with wheat, but soy causes me massive stomach issues and chocolate gives me acne. I don’t eat them. We’ve all got our weak points.

        Reply
        • Did you try fermented soy and pure coco?

          Reply
  26. Everyone’s experience is different. Why can’t there be more respect and support for each other? I know the attitude of the blogger sets the tone, but really. We’re all in this together.

    Reply
  27. My comment about me being tired from gluten but realizing it was from weed was more of a pun on waynes world. (i used to be tired but turns out i had mono).

    Anyway, I agree that wheat is fine for most. However, the fact that plain wheat products (even white flour) are bland and disgusting without added ingredients (butter with toast, syrup with pancakes, cheese and sauce on pizza) says a lot.

    I think if you were forced to eat wheat products plain with nothing added, you would get sick of them fast.

    Reply
    • I don’t care to eat butter, coconut oil, syrup, or pizza sauce plain either.

      Reply
  28. I looked anorexic after following Wheat Belly recommendations.
    It also made travel difficult.
    As a book, Wheat Belly installs major fear into you.
    I’ve been much better since Matt’s programs, despite some wheat. Kicking long term adrenal & post viral fatigue. My skin looks thicker and has colour. Dark circles reduced dramatically.
    People are telling me I’m radiant – for the first time in years.
    My blood tests still show high wheat allergy. I have avoided it before for months at a time, but I would always get skinny & weak despite GF grain intake. Ate shitloads of quinoa and I still couldn’t gain weight. Strange! GF diets are very Vitamin B deficient. I think it makes you weak easily…..and run down.
    The downsides to wheat for me are some joint ache and major gas. But I’m determined to make my body accept some wheat. Work and travel is impossible GF (not to mention, miserable!). Been there, done that.

    Reply
  29. I am sorry to say but US wheat is something else. I went to Tennessee a month ago, and a lot of the refined wheat stuff literally made me sick as hell(projectile vomiting being one of them).

    Personally I think wheat quality is an important thing, and that whatever GMO is doing to the bread(plus mandated fortification) is fubaring the wheat supply in the states.

    Another problem with stuff made out of wheat is that a lot of it is made with vegetable oil these days. Almost all bread where I live is now made with canola oil and at the same time it started to upset my stomach.

    Reply
    • The other thing is all the chemicals, dough conditioners, etc. Processed bread makes me feel like crap (and tastes like poo, too). Zero issues with proper bread made from just flour, yeast, salt, etc.

      Reply
      • yes, when you smell store-bought bread it just smells nasty from all the chemicals in it.

        Reply
    • I don’t tolerate canola at all, I don’t eat bread made with it, mayo, and I do my best to avoid it. I do fine with homemade goodies.

      Reply
  30. Excellent post as always, Matt!

    It’s definitely damaging to engage in food restrictions without good reason.

    Like many people here, I’ve been through the “diagnosis” and treatments for hypothyroidism, low T3, Wilson’s syndrome, low ferritin, anemia, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, adrenal fatigue, heavy metals, candida, etc. But what I *really* had for 10 years was undereating and overtraining.

    Although this wasn’t the topic of the entry… is allergy testing useful? During the past several years I’ve had dozens of blood tests. Aside from dreadfully low thyroid, RBCs, and ferritin, the only thing that was abnormal was very high casein IgG. This wasn’t a quack who was claiming I had 100+ food allergies; we tested using a reputable standard lab (Quest Diagnostics) and I was negative for all of the other alleged food culprits. Due to the high casein IgG I’ve avoided dairy for about two months, and haven’t felt any real change, so I’m leaning toward eating dairy again. I guess my concern is that elevated IgG indicates that your body’s immune processes are overreacting to the antigen, but blocking it before the antigen can cause an IgE-mediated allergy. So high IgG prevents you from have a true “allergic” response, but there is a whole camp who thinks this means you’re showing a “hypersensitivity” response. I’m not sure if this means I’m assaulting my immune system every time I eat dairy? Anyway, I know the 180-Degree approach is to eat the food and not get bogged down in dietary minutiae, but when an isolated lab result shows something strange, I begin to think it should be taken into consideration.

    Anyone have insights on this? (And thanks already, Matt, for your response on Facebook.) How did you successfully re-introduce foods after eliminating them from your diet for a period of time?

    Good health to all~

    Reply
    • Hey Matt,
      I would love an editorial breakdown of the whole IgG food sensitivity craze. I was conned into getting tested a while back by some “holistic” doctor and of course I was sensitive to dairy, eggs, and gluten. I cut them out and could not tell the difference she also diagnosed me with IBS, which was weird because I can’t remember the last time I threw up or even had diarrhea. Now I’ve got some problems but I didn’t know that IBS was one of them; I’ve seen the symptoms list for irritable bowl, and that seems like the kind of thing you could diagnose yourself with. Needless to say, the knowledge that I have these hidden insidious sensitivities that are linked to every flippen’ chronic disease hasn’t exactly improved my health.

      Reply
  31. Matt, I’m gonna a little bit weepy and sweary here, but HOLY SHIT, my permabruise is gone. It’s been what 10 days doing Eat for Heat and a bruise which I got on my shin three years ago is gone. I bring this up in the gluten section, because one of the things recommended to me for my anemia and bruising was going gluten free. (Isn’t it just what alternative medicine types tell you for everything. “Cut out wheat!” “Cut out dairy” “next patient please!”) . Eat for Heat is some bad ass MOFO INFO. By the way, Bugles were the best suggestion for snack food. I was having no luck with low fat salty snack like pretzels but give me some coco oil and salt and BLAMO, WARM CITY. Sentences I never thought I’d type, “way to go General Mills.”

    Reply
    • Hahaha. Awesome. :D I’m so happy you’ve had those results. (Heh once I went to an underweight, sickly naturopath and described my symptoms of severe mental illness to her. She was baffled because I wasn’t eating dairy or wheat at the time lol. Yeah I didn’t go back, I know better than to trust someone like that. XD)

      Bugles are great. I also realized that Captain Crunch is salty and coconut oily, too. :P

      Reply
      • Puddleduck, is that you? Ducky from the old Curezone days??

        Reply
  32. I read every word of Weston Price’s NAPD and don’t recall him ever talking about sprouting or fermenting grains. He did spend time talking about the need to eat freshly ground grains since vitamins oxidize quickly when the grain is crushed. He also talked about the critical role soil fertility plays in producing grains with all the nutrients – both macro and micro – that we need. He also addressed the issue of gluten in healing and said he was able to help people heal using a nutrient rich diet containing bread from freshly ground whole wheat.

    I wonder if the epidemic of gluten sensitivity is due to rampant use of antibiotics – both in healthcare and in agriculture. Have we compromised our ability to properly digest grains by severely reducing microbial load of organisms that break down gluten with abx and other medications?

    Reply
    • I seem to remember something from NAPD about the grains being left to ferment in the fields for some time before harvesting–I could be wrong though. (Kudos to you for reading the entire thing–holy cow!!) But the WAPF crew definitely advocate sprouting and fermenting grains. It’s interesting that there is a difference there though, I wonder how it came about.

      Reply
      • Thanks Andrea. You’re right, WAP did mention grains being left on the fields to ferment. Such a long book – hard to track all the details. Still, he seemed more interested in soil fertility in general. The Swiss would move soil from the foot of the mountains back to the top; the Scots would burn peat in their thatched roof houses, then harvest the roofing materials to spread on the fields; and then some old Native American in the Canadian Rockies who would painstakingly grind up corn right before preparing it to eat because ”something would be lost” if he ground up the grain too far ahead of time.

        Still, I would think that WAP would approve of Matt’s RRARF diet for the most part. He warned against sugar, processed grains, and vegetable oils – saying they should be minimized because they were displacing, and the importance of nutrient dense foods, but otherwise he didn’t suggest elimination diet a la GAPS or like the Paleo auto-immune protocol.

        Reply
  33. We have access to so much information now that it can be detrimental (to our mental health/physical health). I informed myself on/adhered to a strict Paleo diet (and got sun, and played, and rested, and did everything that you are ‘supposed to do’) and felt pretty dandy and dropped some lbs… for a little while. Convinced myself that we are all intolerant to wheat/gluten. Totally hit the wall and gained all of that weight and then some back. Also… I feel like for a little while, my avoidance of gluten GAVE me a gluten sensitivity for a while! For all but a couple years of my life, I ate all sorts of grains and therefore, loads of gluten. No problems with digestion. I omitted it, realized it was silly, brought it back… and boy, oh boy! Gas, feeling like my stomach was going to burst open, episodes where I would have to take 4 shits in a row (I am such a lady, yeah?). Anywho… I didn’t stop eating it and quite soon, I found that not only was I feeling good, not getting sick, but things like sprouted/organic grains were actually aiding in my digestion. Yep. :D I can have a sandwich or some cereal and not feel like I’m going to die from physical pain, or going to kill myself because of the mental mind-fuck of guilt.

    Reply
    • So I wonder if Samantha’s experience is what healing food sensitivities looks like. As you reintroduce the “triggers” you will be miserable for awhile, but as you persist, your body regains the ability to assimilate those foods.

      Sounds like “herxing” to me. The key is the “herx” should be temporary. If the downward spiral doesn’t turn around, then you’re not herxing; you need to change course because your disease is progressing. The herx should not last longer than a few weeks.

      Reply
  34. Despite having Hashimoto’s and depression/anxiety, a GF diet did nothing for me at all. I gave it up after 8 months, when I began to notice I was actually having problems with some of the GF mixes, especially anything with oats or garbanzo bean flour in it. That garbanzo bean flour is a nasty SOB. I normally have perfect digestion but that stuff leaves me doubled up.

    I was so disappointed it wasn’t the cure-all I hoped it would be. I didn’t lose any weight, my depression actually got worse, and my thyroid dose remained the same. Instead, it was just extra stress added to my life, having to analyze every fucking thing that went into my mouth. Not worth it. If it is secretly opening up holes in my intestines (which I really doubt) then oh fucking well.

    Reply
  35. I wish they did have some gluten-free mania out here. It’s near impossible to eat out gluten-free. If anything, it might mean a little more diversity than noodles (wheat), bread (wheat), cookies (wheat), cake (wheat), you get the picture.

    Reply
  36. Hi Carrie,

    You may want to add carefully the food you have eliminated.
    For example if you eat grains, wheat for example, try to eat it as your only carb source along with only one source of protein ( cheese or fish or meat…..) and then only one source of highly digestible fat in moderation (butter). And try to eat the carbs slightly beyond appetite.
    I’m not a specialist like Matt or others in nutrition but this is my way of recovering, slowly, my digestive issue ( I have crohn’s disease). The most offensive food for me was fruits. Each time I made the combination of grains with fruits I felt miserable…..but cooked fruits at this end of a meal (like apple pie) was ok. I think that the best time to consume them is at the end of the day when your body temperature ( and the body’s abilities to deal with the acidity of fruits) is at his max( around 17h-17h30 and at least two hours before your dinner). And only one variety at the time.
    I do understand that everyone is different but I know some people who are in the same situation (IBD or recovering from elimination diets.) who had good results with such simply food combination. I hope it could work for you too.

    Reply
    • Thanks Wilfried. I like your idea of adding back the food at the time of day when you are warmest.

      Reply
  37. I would like to say that each time you eat grains choose always the refined one with nothing added over the whole stuff.

    Reply
  38. Great post! The gluten free fad is so far out there. I agree with what you said. In addition, I feel that if one has a sensitivity, fructose malabsoption is more likely. Most diets are higher in fructose than glucose, and wheat is generally rich in fructans, which break down into fructose. If I’m not mistaken, the body has two fructose receptors in the body: a fructose, and a glucose/fructose. The glucose/fructose generally being more plentiful. But if you exceed the fructose grams by the glucose grams, you’re relying on the lesser receptor which can be weakened many people. My understanding is that you want to absorb all of the fructose before it hits the large intestine.

    Fructose is a readily digestible sugar, which many bacteria can feed off of it. It’s not hard to have some not-entirely desirable colony form quickly with excess fructose in the large intestine. Gluten, on the other hand, is a protein. I’m no microbiologist, chemist, nor expert of anything in the health field, but my guess is that gluten is a lot harder to readily break down into slightly harmful components, and is more likely to be harmless if improperly assimilated.

    My diabetic ex was tested by a gastroenterologist and was found (with a hydrometer) to have lactose and fructose intolerance. She noticed a drastic improvement when avoiding fructose-excessive foods in terms of bloating, even down to specific fruits. The lactose was not as much of an issue, in my opion. For me, I think I may have some degree of fructose malabsoption, but I don’t sweat it too much. HFCS may not be as bad as I think, but the typical 55% fructose blend will net a 5% fructose excess. In high enough quantities, I could see it eventually contributing to malabsoption in unhealthy bodies. Rather than avoiding the fructose, however, you can generally sprinkle some pixie sticks or straight glucose/dextrose powder on the food. This usually seems to work for me and is a lot nicer than avoiding the foods altogether.

    All of that being said, the biggest key to health is low-stress, lots of good food, and as Matt has found out, keeping a good water/salt/sugar balance in the bloodstream at all times.

    And back to the gluten-free foods. I’ve tried to eat them years ago. Most of them suck. They’re made with so many gums and random starches. They’re really “fake” foods, I would say. The only tasty gluten-free bread I’ve had is certain types of millet bread. Of course not gluten-free, but I usually feel best on true German pumpernickel, toasted and slathered in butter. Granted, I think that pumpernickel may actually be richer in fructans (and closer to fructose when toasted) than regular wheat bread, but correct me if I’m wrong. At the end of the day, the only right thing to do is eat the food.

    On another note, I struck gold at HEB, picking up 5 quart bottles of Promised Land eggnog for a dollar a piece. Surprisingly, I’ve noticed a decrease in hand/feet temperature when having them (some odd 1500+ calories in a single quart). They have a tiny bit of chocolate, which I suspect does nothing. The per-serving ratios are 10g fat, 20g sugar, 4g protein, which tells me it’s about 8% milkfat or so. Even salting the eggnog a bit, I still feel cold and not as I should. Do you think it’s too much liquid or too much sugar for me? Hoping to try that “half-asses” some time soon! The cheese/dates work great for me, though.

    Sincerely,
    Teran

    Reply
    • Hey, another Texan…?

      Reply
      • That’s right! San Antonio. Good to meet someone else on here who’s also from Texas.

        –Teran

        Reply
        • cool, I’m in Bastrop County (east of Austin).

          Reply
    • @Teran Funny you mention fructose malabsorption as root cause as this is what I’m pondering lately as maybe the cause of my early onset childhood obesity and metabolic/energy/digestive&immune? disregulations….I think the Candida/Lyme was somewhat more the ‘cherry on top’ so to speak.

      Despite the fact I grew up on freshly baked croissants,bread as the daughter of a baker and my grandmother’s homecooked meals. After age 5 I slowly started to get chubby etc. Aparently from that moment on,’something’ changed as I slowly over the years became more&more addicted by foods/meals high in fructose and PUFA and years later on lots of sweet(mainly fructose,HFCS&sugar) foods, in other words foods that weren’t so beneficial to me. All my favorite meals,thinking back of it now,contained on or combinations of these factors..(bread,pasta,pea soup, French onion soup, warm apple pie,pork sausage,ham,fried foods,mayonaisse,garlic sauce,tomato sauce etc.)

      So yeah,that’s why I’m constantly second guessing myself whenever I like something too much,bc I’ll pay in some form for it whether it’d be bodytemp,constipation which leads to lots of mood disorders/anxiety/depression etc. afterwards,bloating,fatigue or whatever…..
      I mainly find it’s also the combinations….if i’d take on of the factors out,the food isn’t that appealing anymore…I get more of a ‘take it or leave it’ mentality towards it.
      So maybe some people are destined to kinda eat ‘bland’foods,bland to them, in order to function properly physically….

      Reply
  39. Matt,

    About the “half-asses”, would it work with heavy whipping cream or raw cream? “Cream-asses”?

    Reply
    • Add a little water to desired consistency – that’s what i do..

      Reply
  40. Each grain have different kind of hard to digest protein ( gliadin for wheat, secalin for rye, avenin for oat and so forth….) but I think that eating only one grain (and in his refined version) at the time could make a huge difference to overcome so called hard to digest grain’s protein.
    Always add a reasonable amount of good fat ( butter or cultured cream like creme fraiche) or adding a small amount of defatted ox tail or chicken feet broth to the cooking water could also do the trick.
    Combining carb, fat and protein in the simpliest way may be worth a try.
    One can still have a small amount of coke, sprite or other sugary beverages ( preferably made with sugar like Matt’s recommendation) with such meal for the S’s combo.

    Reply
    • Do they ever refine oats by the way? I have only found whole grain oats

      Reply
      • Not that I know of. What other grains, besides wheat and rice, are refined?

        Reply
      • Hi Kerrigan,

        You’re right I should be more explicite about that and oats in particular.
        For the process of refining oats, you could get some whole grains oats, grind them in a coffee grinder and then sift the flour which enable you to get much like a “refined” flour that you could cook like porridge with milk or broth.
        And that way it’s very gentle on the gut and easily digest.

        Reply
        • Sounds nice, which device would you use for sifting? I guess corn flour would be refined, and potato flour of course. I have had digestive problems with whole grain buckwheat and millet before, not sure if the flour is refined, otherwise maybe you could refine it yourself through sifting and what have you?

          Reply
          • They have fine mesh flour sifters that you can buy from Amazon.

            Here’s a link:

            http://tinyurl.com/bpoavwu

          • Thankz!

  41. Emma,

    Here in France we can get white kamut flour, pasta or white spelt flour, bread, pasta or even white einkorn stuff.
    We can also buy some sift rye flour or even refined barley grain.
    I don’t know what’s available in the U.S and for sure I made the above post from my own perception and for what I can easily find here.
    Sorry if I was not clear about that.

    Reply
    • I appreciate what you’ve shared. I’ll need to be more aware of what’s out there now that I know that whole grains bother me. I’ve never really considered what other grains might be refined besides wheat. It would be nice to have other options.

      Reply
  42. I am so tired of all the god damn lies. I don’t know if the lies are perpetrated intentionally. I suspect rather it is cognitive dissonance. I know that there really are people who have celiac disease, so I am not aiming fire at them. However, I am calling bullshit on those who claim their children were cured of autism or some other morbid condition by removing wheat. I am not going to be polite about it. You’re liars, and I’m not going to qualify the statement. If Matt bans me from here for saying this, I wouldn’t blame him. I know I’m an asshole. That’s old news.

    My introduction to “alternative” lying was when I tried macrobiotics many years ago. Everybody assured me that they hadn’t had a cold since starting macrobiotics. I went to Boston and got a consultation with one of the top macrobiotic counselors at the Kushi Institute. He walked into the consultation room and he was sneezing and blowing his nose. He had a cold…it was July! An opening salvo of the bullshit to come. Man, should have realized that was a bad omen.

    People’s egos are more important to them than their health. People will lie and lie about their health, rather than admit they were wrong and their wonderful DIET (naturopath, nutritionist, alternative MD, Life Coach-whatever the F that is) is screwing them up. I totally enjoy this interview with Nazariah (I have posted this before). It documents this lying among Raw Vegan Gurus: http://www.chetday.com/rawfooddietnazariah.htm . I know. He looks like a freak in his Essene Halloween outfit, but he’s got the raw guru thing down pat. Pretty much could be said of other Health Gurus. It might be instructive to go through a day with some of the Paleo “leaders”. I bet their lives aren’t as peachy as they portray on their websites. Let’s face it. If you’ve got to wear Vibrams to prove your manhood, you’ve got serious problems. I’ve got to believe their lies do more damage to their souls than to their bodies. Guarantee you that they are a very sad lot.

    There aren’t many health gurus, but there are a lot of adepts. They are liars too. They lie to themselves and lie to their friends. They lie to their family members, however, this latter is around them enough to see through their shit. Usually they end up hating their family for “NOT BEING SUPPORTIVE”, which is to say that their family isn’t buying into their shit.

    STOP LYING.

    Reply
    • Part of it is ego, part of it is believing in fairy tales and happily-ever-afters. What you wrote reminds me of the post I did on hyperchondria – where no matter how sick you are you still believe you are healthy and saving everyone’s lives like a superhero. http://180degreehealth.com/2011/06/hyperchondriac

      Reply
    • Bluntly stated. I tend to mostly agree, though. Macrobiotics was the diet that would protect us from cancer and all other degenerative diseases. Why, then, have many of the leaders died of those very things? There is some truth in many theories, but so much that is wrong. In looking for answers, people tend to place their hopes in the tidbits of truth while missing the bigger picture. True, too, that paleo has its failures. One such person is a long-time friend who has clung to the dogma in spite of a now life-threatening illness. They don’t see the connection because they are wedded to what they need to believe, especially if their reputation and livelihood depend on it

      I have been through it all, too, as far as various health practitioners go. An unusually skilled Chinese doctor (one of a kind) literally saved (and vastly improved) the life of a loved one who had tried just about everything over the years. This doctor would definitely support the eat-the-food principles. He would not casually dismiss severe allergies to gluten or whatever, but he recognizes that the food is not the problem. Healing can and does happen in his care.

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      • I’m very bitter about macrobiotic gurus since a friend of mine with inoperative late stage lung cancer was dragged to a macro clinic across the country (his last road trip! Fun!) and then fed miserable food that he hated for the remainder of his life. I understand the desperation that his family felt, but once the macro gurus got their hooks in, their was no turning them around.

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        • What’s really lame about Macro is how cool the founder George Ohsawa was. He was totally brilliant – had his blind spots for sure – but his early, now-out-of-print books, from the 60s strongly emphasize fluid/salt dynamics, observing urine color and bowel movements, and was not as dogmatic and rigid as the later Kushi-inspired “standard macrobiotic diet” which is narrow, rigid, and dogmatic.

          Ohsawa smoked, was known to hit the whisky bottle, and usually stayed up til 2 or 3am writing and working like a fiend and traveling all over the world to give talks.

          There’s one story that i love about how he cured his supposedly incurable tropical leg rot that he got in Africa while staying with Albert Schweitzer, by eating lots of salt (many umeboshi plums) and seriously restricting his water intake. Apparently, since no one had ever cured themselves from that before, Schweitzer was totally incredulous.

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    • I have a Facebook friend who is a pretty prominent and somewhat well known raw vegan. She constantly posts things about raw veganism and how it will (pretty much) save the world. Unfortunately, she is always very stressed (she doesn’t seem to handle stress very well) and is now having some major problems with her teeth – she’s constantly having tooth pain. Sadly, I don’t think she would listen to me if I told her to just start eating more food and other kinds of food.

      It’s so sad to see Gurus clinging to their dogma (and encouraging others to do likewise) while they wither away from illness that could have been avoided.

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      • If only the vegans actually knew that plants get by best on animal contributions (both fecal and their own little bodies. We could be vegans, but plants don’t do well that way.)

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    • Hi Thomas,

      Really good post.
      When I was sick and had a bad relapse of my crohn’s I spent like a year to consult with tons of naturopath, alternative docs you named it….
      Each time, they told me to cut sugar, starch, wheat, dairy, to eat raw stuff for the enzymes content of the foods etc….The short term results? I lost almost 10 to 15 kilos in less than one year and of course the symptoms of my crohn’s worsened but you know it was part of the detoxification process….The long term result? Surgery and almost of my colon was removed and I ended up with 57 kilos ( my height is 2 meters….).
      So 5 months after the surgery, I stopped everything (consultations, weird diets, supplements…) and thanks to this website I began to eat the foods.
      I mean white bread with salted butter, few trips in Mc Donald, irish stew, boeuf bourguignon, couscous, pasta , pastries, ice cream, coke, sprite, chicken and beef pies, homemade well sugared jam, croissant…..eating at restaurant…..the short term results? In less than 18 months my weight is now 99 kilos and it’s stabilized….The long term results? So far and almost 3 years after the surgery I’m still free of symptoms and don’t even have diarrhea….Thought I made multiples complications during my flare’s up ( two fistulas, abscesses…) and was considered by my M.D to be a difficult case of crohn’s.
      Sorry to be so long but I felt the need to tell you that, in my case, what you said in your post it’s only the truth.

      Reply
      • Well, I came across a post on Facebook today stating that the atrocities committed in Conneticut on Friday were likely because the killer had eaten too much gluten. You can’t make this shit up. Worse than the Twinkie Defense.

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        • I reckon that if I eat this here pancake, I might have to shoot ya…

          (spoken with Clint Eastwood-style vocal impression)

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        • I see no reason why that couldn’t be true – if people are eating little else other than gluten-foods! It’s not too much food that makes you fat, it’s too much of the wrong kind of food that makes you fat. If you eat food that takes away more nutrition than it gives, then is it any wonder the brain gets addled?

          If they wake in the morning to processed cereals, or commercially-made pappy bread toast, have cookies or cake mid-morning, pizza, pasta, bread for lunch, more cookies in the afternoon, pizza, pasta, pies, fries, etc all cooked in PUFAs, and highly-processed wheat snacks all evening, where’s the nutrition in that?

          This protocol is not saying don’t eat wheat – if your body can process it ok – it’s saying balance it with lots of other very nutritious food. Calories without nutrition are no good for anyone.

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          • Too little food can also make/keep you fat. Indeed i think the best way to be fat is to vacillate from too little to too much food.

          • Or vascillate between too much exercise and too little exercise.

      • Hilarious! I’ve seen that guy before. He’s one of the biggest ego maniacs I’ve ever come across.

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  43. Brilliant as usual. I posted something similar last week. I’m so glad more and more people are recognizing the trickery of the Diet Du Jour/Food Villain mentality.

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  44. I like the premise of the entire article.

    I found Reality bite #5 to be questionable initially but then I thought about it and it doesn’t seem too crazy.

    Before I started dieting, I remember restricting my fluids a little bit and having much nicer skin even while eating my normal wheat filled PUFA diet.

    I’ve also noticed that when my body temp is revved up, that I do not react nearly as bad to wheat.

    My entire teenage life, i’ve had cold hands and feet, a body that was cool to the touch, constipation, and a croaky voice. I thought when I cut out wheat and my acne got better, that it was because bread was so damaging.

    Now i’m starting to think it’s damaging in the context of a low metabolism. Still not an ideal food choice, but it isn’t nearly as terrible as I thought.

    When I ate fish and veggies for every meal every month back in the beginning when I was really stupid, when I tried eating a cliff bar, I reacted horribly for AN ENTIRE WEEK. I broke out in huge breakouts for a week. It was really rough. NEVER had a reaction like that before. The explanation was that my much more “pure” body was more sensitive to junk. HAH. What a shitty explanation. Health is about becoming more robust in the face of crap, not more sensitive to it.

    I have greater food freedom when my metabolism is the focus.

    However, I believe PUFA filled vegetable oils are still awful and I get colder any time I consume large amounts of it. I think the one step that would make this country healthier automatically is to toss out all the vegetable oils. It’s not the cure to everything, but I would bet a large amount of money that MANY people would get better if consumption was significantly reduced.

    Reply
    • I would definitely suspect rancid PUFA is at least partly related to thyroid issues, at least I think I have noted this in myself. It’s definitely the prime suspect being the most abundant ingredient in processed foods.

      I don’t think you should stress about eating salmon,avocados,chicken and lard though, these probably have other compunds that protect from damage, lard is 90% saturated and mufa, chicken fat is 80%, mostly good.

      What I’m confused about though is this business about PUFA being incorporated in tissues. Isn’t the human capable of producing its own saturated fat to store as tissue and cell membranes? Would be thankful if somebody could explain this to me

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      • Yeah, I’m not worried about all PUFAs for ever, and even I can take vegetable oil consumption to a certain level, but they are used in EVERYTHING and is probably a huge reason people with low metabolisms are at that point in the first place.

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    • I agree with you about the PUFA’s being probably the most damaging of foods. From what I understand, eating vegetable oils is akin to eating plastic. Totally messes our cell membranes.

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      • You’ll notice too that a lot of wheat foods, especially sweets, are full of PUFA, like donuts, which begs that question of what specifically about the donut is “bad” for you…I suspect it’s the crappy oils they fry them in.

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  45. I tried to add wheat back in the late 2000s and couldn’t; just made me totally crazy.

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  46. Yes, certainly eliminating gluten for many years never helped me much. It’s really, really difficult to get back on it though, but I’m trying slowly.

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  47. Hi Matt! Good post :) I am one of the unfortunate’s that’s actually been diagnosed with celiac disease. If i eat it, i get violently ill :-( I wish i knew of a way to lessen the sensitivity…but at this point I am too scared to add any gluten back in! The side effects are too awful for me … I enjoyed this tho!! :-)

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  48. I won’t go into my whole long story here, but after doing STRICT paleo/primal for a year and gaining 5-10 pounds, I found your site and I. Am. Done. I love bread and pasta. I really stopped craving it after going paleo. But seriously, a fresh-baked slice of bread slathered with butter and cinnamon sugar? Come on. That’s bliss. On the first day of HED or RARF or whatever you call it, I ate a ton of pasta and bloated up like a Macy’s parade float. But I persevered. I sold my manual grain mill (purchased to make grain-free breads (WHAT?) and if I wanted to indulge in breads with gluten, I would have to grind the grain by hand for 15 minutes to “earn” it), bought an electric one, and have dusted off my breadmaker. Not because of some crazy diet rule I made up, but because fresh homemade bread from freshly milled flour *tastes* damn good. Temps are up about a degree to high 98s consistently after only a week and I feel great.

    Regarding the whole phytic acid thing, here’s a great article I came across. It has a decidedly religious slant, I know, but as a Christian one of the things that always bugged me about paleo is the number of references in the Bible to bread. People try to make all kinds of arguments about ancient grains, yadda yadda yadda, but the truth is that (like you said) every food has good and bad properties. That just never sat right with me. I just wish people would tell the whole story – yes, phytic acid might bind up some minerals that you don’t get the benefit of, but it also binds up, um, TOXINS that you don’t get the benefit of. People, tell us the whole story and then let US decide. Don’t hide the ball. *Rant over*

    http://info.breadbeckers.com/phytic-acid

    Anyhow, thanks for helping to set me straight.

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  49. Glory be. I have also heard that wheat is a spleen food and happy spleens reside in people who SLEEP.
    And now so what is the first step to healing oneself from allergic responses? That’s the direction i want to go.

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  50. Hi, im back to be an opinionated douchebag and rain on your soggy breakfast parade

    Reply
  51. Omg matt fix your blog! Every time i try to post i get a captcha error or it cuts off most my text

    Reply
    • Done. Gonna see if we can roll without it and not get spam bombed.

      Reply

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