How to Lose Weight and Feel Great

Haven’t we all heard this one!

When New Year’s rolled around this year, we promised ourselves we were going to lose weight. But we weren’t diligent about it, in fact I think we put on more weight. Looking for yet another holy grail, I started reading about diets and nutrition, and one thing led to another, and then another, and exciting new worlds opened up. I learned some pretty shocking stuff, too.

I eliminated a few things from my diet, and I have done so well that people have asked me to share what I’ve learned. It’s a vast, complex subject and I’ve tried to distill it down to as few words as I can. At the end of the post there are links to resources if you want to explore further.

I started on this path with the Paleo Diet, which basically asserts that man has not yet evolved to eat modern food. Fundamentally, if you eat like our paleo ancestors, you will lose weight naturally and be a better person (just kidding about that last part).

Along the way I learned about wheat and gluten and how good ol’ American wavin’ wheat has been modified to increase its yield tenfold and make it more resistant to pests and drought, and make the stalks easier to harvest. In other words, it ain’t your grandma’s wheat, and the extraordinary high amounts of gluten in modern wheat are making some people sick. We weren’t meant to eat the seeds of grasses; they’re for cows.

I’m sure you’ve heard about Celiac Disease, it’s the buzz these days. Celiac is an autoimmune disease and you can’t get the nutrients from your food. But it’s actually pretty rare, and that’s not what I’m talking about.

What I AM talking about are the 50% of people who are sensitive to gluten and don’t know it.

Grains cause inflammation in our bodies, and inflammation is responsible for a number of health problems that get worse as we get older. Things like coronary artery disease, diabetes, obesity, and more. When you get a bug bite or bang your knee, it becomes swollen and inflamed. This something you know, because you can see it. Well, the same thing goes on quietly inside you, in your arteries, your intestines, your joints.

I have eaten bread my whole life without any ill effects. But the more I read about grains and how bad they are for your health…well, I decided to quit eating them for a while. I saw marked improvements in my health, and the weight is coming off easily. I also gave up sugar, but we’ll get to that later.

Here’s what happened: In the four months that I have not had wheat, I have not had a migraine. For decades I suffered several migraines a month, each lasting 2-3 days. Then I started noticing I have not had a canker sore in a long time either—I used to get those a couple times a month and I never knew why. I would get gunky sinus drainage at night, and my nose was often plugged up. That’s gone, too—I can breathe! Stiff, achy joints are a memory, and I have ankles now! Wow!

I decided to do an experiment to see what would happen if I stopped taking my asthma meds. Ordinarily, if I forgot to take it, I would have symptoms by the end of the day. I am now into my second week of not taking asthma meds and I have zero wheezing or tightness in my chest. Asthma…gone! (That medication was expensive!) And that’s just the stuff I can tell. I have no idea what is going on in my arteries or liver. Or my brain.

In four months I lost 20 pounds (so far) without trying very hard.

So let’s cut to the chase. I gave up wheat. Pizza. Bagels. Donuts. Big, fat blueberry muffins and cinnamon rolls. Cookies. Whole grain bread. Even cereal—especially cereal! It may be labeled “Heart Healthy,” or “Natural,” but that’s just marketing. I won’t eat them because they are toxic and they were making me fat and sick. I’ve told you before about the food pyramid and how it was devised by the USDA to benefit agriculture. And how it was based on bad science. Remember Ancel Keyes?

So what do I eat? Answer: Everything else! Meat, chicken, fish. Beautiful, fresh vegetables with butter and salads with dressing. Eggs. Cheese. Fluffy cheddar omelets for breakfast. Nuts. Avocados. Bacon! I might have some dark chocolate for dessert, or raspberries with whipped cream. How easy is that.

We no longer eat processed food because it’s full of stuff that wears out your body. Intrinsically we all know this, but processed food is convenient and readily available. But eventually it catches up with us. We get fat around our middle and it’s harder to lose weight and keep it off, our blood pressure goes up, our cholesterol gets out of whack, our organs are stressed…the list goes on.

The other side of the coin is sugar. Sugar is poison. It’s poison and it’s addicting. The food companies know it—processed foods are designed to be addictive by scientists who develop the right balance of sweet/salty/fat “bliss point,” so you will want more. It’s a three Trillion dollar industry.

Even worse than sugar is high fructose corn syrup. HFCS is in everything because it’s cheaper than sugar. But the body doesn’t process it like sugar, instead it goes straight to the liver to get stored. That’s one reason kids today are getting fatter and fatter. We were lucky that we didn’t get raised on that stuff, but it’s in our food today. Look in your pantry. It’s everywhere. Sugar also has many disguises; evaporated cane juice, brown rice syrup…because the manufacturers don’t want you to know.

In a nutshell, sugar raises your insulin levels, and what you don’t burn is stored as fat. Eventually the insulin can’t keep up with the demand and your blood sugar stays high. Over time, this leads to obesity Type 2 Diabetes. It’s way more complicated than that, but that’s the Cliff's Notes version.

One more thing, just when you thought it was safe, Aspartame is ten times worse for you.

It’s not easy to give up sugar and wheat, because they are addicting. You even go through withdrawal. But it’s only a few days, it’s kind of like jet lag. And then you wake up. I mean, you WAKE UP! It’s like a veil is lifted and you have energy and your brain lights up. Your body will start to burn fat instead of glucose for energy. Glucose burns quickly, that’s why you get hungry in a few hours. Once you start burning fat, which burns longer and slower, you DON’T GET HUNGRY. That’s what I find amazing. No hunger.

You do have to read labels. But I’ve found it’s just easier to not eat anything that comes in a box and only buy foods without a nutrition label.

The takeaway is this: We’ve been fed a load of crap.

Get rid of the foods that are making you sick. Investigate on your own, I’ve provided some links if you want to learn more.

Paleolithic Diet

Modern Wheat

Ancel Keys

Food Pyramid

The Darker Side of Wheat

Leaky Gut

Gluten and Inflammation

Your Brain on Gluten

Inflammation and Metabolic Syndrome

The Cholesterol Myth

Glycemic Index

Sugar: The Bitter Truth

HFCS

Aspartame

Gary Taubes

Dr. David Perlmutter

Maria Emmerich

Dr. Mark Hyman

Comments

Marilyn said…
I have been wanting to call you, now that we are home. Have read The Grain Brain, The Wheat Belly Diet and researched Paleo. What did you basically follow. I touch nothing white (including potatoes) anymore if it can be avoided. No bread, crackers, cookies etc.

Since we left home at the end of June, I have lost 8 lbs. I have eaten some "wheat" stuff when we have gone to a friend's for dinner. I am diabetic. Still waiting for the rear end to get into gear, knees to stop hurting. And to get a wonderful night of sleep.

I'll be calling you. Would love to go to Michael's for pizza, or out for Mexican..so far I have been cooking at home or doing the cooking when we are away.

Miss you girl - it has been hot, hot, hot around here. Can't wait for it to be over!
Becky B said…
You go Girl! I've been wheat free for a year. Didn't have a lot of weight to loose but my belly is gone, my arthritis is better, I'm not hungry & I've maintained my weight loss (10 lbs)
Anonymous said…
Congrats on the weight loss and glad you're feeling better.

This isn't going to be a diet blog now, right? I miss the quilting. :)
Judy S. said…
Interesting post, Rian! Have you read about FODMAPS? It helps explain the sugar-thing and other digestive issues.
Interesting reading and your health/weight progress is very inspiring!
Anonymous said…
Thanks for the valuable info. It takes me a while to digest the whole story. I do know I would have a hard time giving up sugar completely. I will save this info and refer to it until I adopt it. Older sister is good about her eating certain foods and in moderation. Middle sisters what is chewable!