Small Changes

If you were told that one small change to your life-style/diet could improve your health and possible even save your life would you make that change?

I ask the question because, though I may be wrong, I suspect that many people, once they know what that change is, would say ‘let me think about it’ and then do nothing! Certainly you would want to know before you commit. If it was say, simply to stop eating lettuce then possibly, no problem.

It is undeniable that there has been an increase over the last 50+ years in the incidence of obesity, high blood-pressure, diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, stomach problems, cancer and many other complaints, yet it seems that one small change to diet might just, if not cure then at least relive many of these issues. So what is that change?

Wheat. Simply eliminate wheat from your diet. A book recently caught my eye in my local charity shop and attracted my interest so I bought it – I doubt I would have bought it at full price. The book is by William Davis, MD and is called ‘Wheat Belly’. I started reading it at once and found it considerably more interesting than I had expected. All his claims are backed up by references to scientific papers and research projects. Much of the information is now freely available but as yet it has not filtered through into the common consciousness.

The point that he makes is that although wheat has been the staple diet of western society for centuries, causing no problems, during the last 50+ years it has changed, due to hybridisation and GM into something that bears very little resemblance to the early types of wheat that mankind ate, and those changes are harmful to mankind. Coupled with this has been dietary advice to eat more whole grains (wheat) and it is during these recent years that the incidence of all the diseases of modern life have ballooned. People have got more obese, diabetes and all the other ailments are more prevalent and there is  also an increase in obesity in children on a scale never seen before.

Dr. Davis argues most convincingly for wheat being the culprit, and I reiterate, his assertions are backed up by science. I haven’t time to go into all the science here, for that you will have to read the book. However, giving up wheat is probably not quite as simple as it sounds. First to go are bread, cakes and biscuits, but far more of the foodstuffs found in our local supermarkets contain wheat – from tinned soups, gravy and sauce mixes, beverages, some yoghurts and much more besides, to chewing gum and lipstick – read the labels. (Modified food starch on the label? That’s wheat!)

Now I’m not obese, probably you wouldn’t even describe me as fat but I can pinch more than an inch of spare flesh around my middle – not healthy! Also I have been troubled with what would probably, if I went to the doctor, be diagnosed as ‘IBS’ for as long as I can remember, certainly since childhood. I haven’t let it interfere with my life, I just ignore it and suffer in silence. Apart from that I am physically fit and healthy, I do not suffer from high-blood pressure, as far as I am aware I do not have diabetes or any heart problems nor do I have arthritis, although as I am getting older I do have more aches and pains which no doubt will develop into arthritis if I am not careful. I am not on any prescribed medication.

However, I have been sufficiently impressed by what I have read to give it a go. It’s not a topic that normally fills me with enthusiasm (I eat to live not live to eat!) but I’m going to have to get rather more interested in food as I learn to cook and eat without wheat. The advice is to make a clean break and chuck out all the wheat-containing products is your kitchen. I can’t bring myself to waste stuff like that so I will phase it out gradually. Meanwhile I have been researching recipes for meals without wheat and there is plenty out there, including alternatives to cake and bread (note: ‘Gluten-Free’ from your supermarket is not advised as it contains all sorts of other undesirables, but can be used now and again. Also note ‘wheat-free’ and ‘gluten-free’ are not the same thing, although of course there are overlaps).

If you are interested I suggest you read the book and/or others on the same topic that are also available. There is also plenty of information on the internet. Take a look at and for starters, both contain some delicious-looking recipes I am going to experiment with over the coming weeks, including wheat-free alternatives to popular favourites.  I will keep you informed of progress and will be more than pleased if I lose that spare flesh and improve my temperamental tummy.

Incidentally, I met a friend a couple of days ago whose weight has ballooned in recent months for no apparent reason (he has some other health issues too). His doctor had no advice to help and has since retired. What has his new younger doctor advised? – cut out wheat!



11 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Renee Espriu
    Sep 04, 2017 @ 18:49:19

    Well written and thought filled information Libby. I am wheat and gluten intolerant, lactose intolerant and corn intolerant amongst other things. Before my heart surgery I began to change my diet and now have it down to some few things I can eat labeled GF but I always check every label of everything I buy. As it is only me I try to be mindful of making everything from scratch as I would not be able to finish it all. My sister and granddaughter have Celiac disease and I have a daughter who is allergic to corn product. But in any case, most things that are on the market have things we should not have and it can be a difficult task to sort it all out. But, ultimately, the outcome is better health for sure.


    • Libby
      Sep 05, 2017 @ 10:08:10

      I have already taken a few tentative steps since starting to read the book less than a week ago and have cut down on wheat bread products. My stomach is already feeling better. Fortunately my husband and youngest son (who lives at home) are happy to share the experience. Cooking from scratch I’m sure is the answer rather than pre-prepared supermarket food, at least you then know what is in it. Having said that wheat-free products are available if you look for them and need to save time! My eldest son is lactose intolerant and has already gone down that path. 🙂


  2. elaine patricia
    Sep 05, 2017 @ 07:40:31

    I have sort of known this for quite a while but I am not the proud owner of much willpower. Hope you do well.


    • Libby
      Sep 05, 2017 @ 10:13:11

      🙂 I can usually summon up the willpower, at least in the short term! It will be a time-consuming learning process, finding different ingredients and learning how to use them, reading labels etc. and I’m sure my willpower will be tested to the limits – especially as we are going touring through France and Spain in our motorhome shortly! Whilst I speak both languages moderately well (I can get by!) understanding the food labels might be a challenge!


  3. julespaige
    Sep 05, 2017 @ 16:29:36

    There are many alternatives when it comes to eating healthy. One company now advertises cauliflower shaped like rice and another veggie to substitute for something else. Also after a certain age your digestion does change. Many doctors recommend limiting red meat to once a week after 50. One does need to be careful if certain veggies give them gas. While releasing gas is quite natural…one famous doc says we do so over one dozen times a day…I wonder if taking those tablets that are supposed to prevent gas are worth he money. Or if they are any good for your body?

    Some who have dairy issues can eat hard cheeses and lactose free products. I have to tell you I tried the nut milk once and just found it too gritty. I’ve been walking more and trying to maintain a weight rather than loose or gain. Drinking water is supposed to be good too, but then your day as well as your night becomes interrupted and then you are told you need medications to stop you urges or leakage. Really – Make up your mind Science community. But I know we are all different. So we need to do what is best for our own bodies. Good luck!


  4. julespaige
    Sep 06, 2017 @ 13:55:15

    Modified food starch is that always from wheat? Starch can come from potatoes, peas, corn, rice and probably other vegetables too.


  5. fitnessbyjacob
    Oct 08, 2017 @ 18:28:46

    I really like the idea of making really small changes in your overall day-to-day life to make a more drastic change in your overall health. The one that I think people should focus on is sugar, which a lot of wheat products have quite a bit of, surprisingly!

    One of the biggest changes I’ve made is cutting soda and energy drinks out of my life. By switching to coffee and some other alternatives, I feel that the weekly consumption of sugar has plummeted, even if I didn’t make any other changes!

    I have a tip for reducing soda consumption here, for anyone interested:

    I think cutting bread out of my diet would be incredibly difficult, but reducing the amount of sugary drinks every day could be a massive improvement, what do you think?

    Thank you for the post, very well thought out!


    • Libby
      Nov 14, 2017 @ 15:51:26

      Sorry to be so long in replying but I have been away and mostly off-line. Of course you make a good point about sugar and that wheat/gluten contains quite a lot of it! Reducing sugar, if the aim is weight loss, is a great idea, but reducing or eliminating wheat is about more than just weight loss it’s about health in general and the effects that wheat has on the body. There is no need to completely eliminate bread and bread products, just eliminate wheat bread/products. Bread can be made from other types of flour including almond flour and ground flaxseeds. Since I don’t drink sugary drinks or soda drinks anyway I do not have the option to exclude them! I tend to try not to drink too much coffee as this also affects my stomach but I do drink herbal teas.


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