Ben shared his 3-week experience living the Wheat Belly lifestyle after being diagnosed with celiac disease:
“My family doctor diagnosed me with celiac and wheat allergies. These pictures were taken 3 weeks apart: prior to the diagnosis and three weeks later, a photo of me after following the Wheat Belly books that my doctor recommended I get.
“I still feel like I eat like a king. I am just a lot more cautious about what I put into my body and I am seeing the results!”
You can see that Ben’s face shows the changes we expect to see as inflammation recedes: reduced cheek and around-the-eyes edema, larger, more prominent eyes. Celiac disease is a disease of the small intestine but, just like people without celiac disease who experience reversal of body-wide inflammation, we can see the reversal of Ben’s facial inflammation.
Of course, most people who follow the Wheat Belly lifestyle and experience huge successes in reversing health problems and losing weight do not have celiac disease. People without celiac disease can have, for instance, cerebellar ataxia, peripheral neuropathy, temporal lobe seizures, migraine headaches, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, acid reflux, irritable bowel syndrome, dysbiosis, fibromyalgia, type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, autoimmune pancreatitis, autoimmune hepatitis, seborrhea, rosacea, psoriasis, hypothyroidism, asthma, chronic sinus infections, depression, paranoia, anxiety—yet not have any sign of celiac disease. Celiac disease is a condition that has been the focus of most research on the toxic effects of wheat and related grains. But that should not be interpreted to mean that, if you don’t have celiac disease consumption of wheat and grains must therefore be safe.
Ben is more likely, by the way, to experience complete relief from his celiac disease than by just following the misguided “gluten-free” diet prescribed by gastroenterologists who never bothered to study the agricultural/biological aspects of this advice. By following the Wheat Belly lifestyle, rather than the gluten-free lifestyle, Ben will:
- Avoid any potential for prolamin protein cross-reaction. The gliadin protein of wheat, the avenin protein of rye, the hordein protein of barley can be mimicked by the zein protein of corn and the avenin protein of oatmeal, for instance, because there is overlap in the amino acid sequences among grain prolamin proteins. This is why I say that gluten-free is not good enough; grain-free is better.
- Avoid the junk carbohydrates of gluten-free processed foods. In the Wheat Belly lifestyle, we reject all gluten-free foods made with cornstarch, rice flour, tapioca starch, and potato flour because they send blood sugar sky-high, cause weight gain, distort bowel flora, and dramatically increase risk for type 2 diabetes, hypertension, cataracts, heart disease, cancer, and senile dementia. Ben will also avoid the potential contamination of cornstarch with the zein protein of corn.
- Correct vitamin D deficiency. People with autoimmune diseases like celiac start with lower vitamin D levels than people without such conditions. Vitamin D deficiency does not cause an autoimmune condition, but vitamin D deficiency allows it, a “permissive” effect. Restoration of healthy vitamin D levels therefore protects Ben further from recurrences or flare-ups.
- Cultivate healthy bowel flora. People with celiac disease or any other inflammatory bowel disease or autoimmune condition all begin with disturbed bowel flora, dysbiosis, that, like vitamin D deficiency, makes the inflammation worse. As the gastrointestinal tract heals minus wheat and grains, it is time to restore bowel flora by “seeding” with healthy species of bacteria, then “watering and fertilizing” with prebiotic fibers, discussed at length in the Wheat Belly Total Health book and summarized here.
Don’t make it tougher than it is: just say good-bye to all grains, then take the handful of steps to restore your body to the way it was supposed to be all along.