Follow these pages and you will hear these sorts of comments:

“I was addicted to bread, pizza, and cookies.”

Or “Unless I have some bread or pretzels every few hours, I will start feeling really weird.”

Or “I can’t stop bread–it’s my crack cocaine.”

I am often amazed at how many people intuitively understand that they have an addictive relationship with foods made of wheat and grains. It is often no news to them that they will experience an unpleasant withdrawal process when they are “deprived,” experience relief with another “hit.” Many are provided hints of this over the years when a few hours have passed since their last exposure to wheat/grains and the shakiness, mental “fog,” low mood, crabbiness, anxiety, and cravings set in. They will knock you over to get to the food buffet, resort to consuming a bag of stale pretzels or nasty leftover Hot Pocket. Relief is immediate with re-exposure.

Recall that the gliadin protein of wheat, the secalin protein of rye, hordein of barley, and perhaps the zein of corn, upon partial digestion, yield 4- to 5-amino acid long peptides that exert opioid properties, including appetite stimulation, addictive and repetitive desire, and withdrawal upon cessation. Unfortunately, most people don’t understand this basic principle. Instead, we call people “lazy,” “fat,” “slothful,” or other derogatory terms, when many such people are nothing of the kind. They are addicts, grain junkies. You wouldn’t make fun of someone hopelessly addicted to opiate pain killers; we should not misconstrue what a helpless, overweight, ceaselessly hungry person is all about: they are victims of this ridiculous notion of a diet dominated by “healthy whole grains,” as well as the proliferation of grain ingredients, especially wheat flour and cornstarch, in processed foods.

The dietary advice from “official” sources, such as the USDA, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and others, that tell us to cut fat and eat more “healthy whole grains” are like offering advice to drink more booze to an alcoholic, snort more cocaine to a cocaine addict, smoke more cigarettes to a cigarette smoker. They are not helping the situation–they are making it worse.

But remember: if you are just starting out on your Wheat Belly wheat- and grain-free journey, the next week can be very unpleasant as you experience the opiate withdrawal syndrome from stopping gliadin-derived opiate peptides and related peptides from grains. There are ways to soften the blow discussed in the Wheat Belly Total Health book and summarized here. Or, if you want a day-by-day, meal-by-meal map of how to accomplish this, get the new Wheat Belly 10-Day Grain Detox book that lays it out in as foolproof a way as possible.