Factory hospitals

Twenty years ago, the American farming industry experienced a dilemma: How to grow more soybeans, corn, or wheat from a limited amount of farmland, raise more cattle and hogs in a shorter period of time, fatter and ready for slaughter within months rather than years?













(Image courtesy Wikipedia)

The solution: Synthetically fertilize farmland for greater crop yield; “factory farms” for livestock in which chickens or pigs are crammed into tiny cages that leave no room to turn, cattle packed tightly into manure-filled paddocks. As author Michael Pollan put it in his candid look at American health and eating, The Omnivore’s Dilemma:


To visit a modern Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) is to enter a world that for all its technological sophistication is still designed on seventeenth-century Cartesian principles: Animals are treated as machines—“production units”—incapable of feeling pain. Since no thinking person can possibly believe this anymore, industrial animal agriculture depends on a suspension of disbelief on the part of the people who operate it and a willingness to avert one’s eyes on the part of everyone else. . .


Pollan goes on to argue that the cultural distance inserted between the brutal factory farm existence of livestock and your dinner table permits this to continue:


“. . .the life of the pig has moved out of view; when’s the last time you saw a pig in person? Meat comes from the grocery store, where it is cut and packaged to look as little like parts of animals as possible. The disappearance of animals from our lives has opened a space in which there’s no reality check on the sentiment or the brutality . . .”


The same disconnect has occurred in healthcare for the heart. The emotional distance thrust between the hospital-employed primary care physician, the procedure-driven cardiologist, the crammed-into-a-niche electrophysiologist (heart rhythm specialist) or cardiothoracic surgeon whose principal concerns are procedures—with an eye always towards litigation risk—mimics factory farms that now litter the landscape of the Midwest. The hospitals and doctors who deliver the process see us less as human beings and more as the next profit opportunity.

The “factory hospital” has allowed the subjugation of humans into the service of procedural volume, all in the name of fattening revenues. Never mind that people are not (usually) killed outright but subjected to a succession of life-disrupting procedures over many years. But whether livestock in a factory farm or humans in a factory hospital, the net result to the people controlling the process is identical: increased profits.

The system doesn’t grow to meet market demand, but to grow profits. The myth that allows this growth is perpetuated by the participants who stand to gain from that growth.

See hospitals for what they are: businesses. Despite most hospitals retaining "Saint" in their name, there is no longer anything saintly or charitable about these commercial operations. They are ever bit as profit-seeking as GE, Enron, or Mobil.

Comments (8) -

  • Jenny

    11/9/2008 2:48:00 PM |

    Dr. Davis,

    Have you read the book, Hippocrates' Shadow? You have a lot in common with the physician who wrote it and I think it would be very productive for you to contact him and discuss strategies together.

    I blogged about the book in detail at my Diabetes Update Blog a few days ago.

    We patients can't do much about this, but physicians working together could.

  • Zbigniew

    11/9/2008 8:43:00 PM |

    adequate analogy Smile, but what we get here is a gloomy picture with little hope - while thanks to blogs like yours we may be more lucky than those poor animals.

    So the punchline should be something like "educate, read, b/c if everyone takes care of themselves then everyone will be taken care of"

    best regards,

  • steve

    11/10/2008 2:35:00 PM |

    would be interested in your views of Crestor study, and statins in general: when should they be used, etc?

    thank you

  • Anonymous

    11/11/2008 12:31:00 AM |

    Thanks Jenny, for mentioning the book, Hippocrates'Shadow. This sounds very interesting and I can hardly wait to find a copy.  
    Another great book is "How Doctor's Think, by Jerome Groopman,M.D.
    Dr. Davis, I appreciate this wonderful blog and your excellent advice. You restore some of my lost confidence in the medical profession.

  • puddle

    11/11/2008 3:30:00 AM |

    Thank you, again.  And again.

  • [...] (11)  http://www.newsobserver.com/2012/04/22/2016905/north-carolinas-urban-hospitals.html (12)  http://blog.trackyourplaque.com/2008/11/factory-hospitals.html  (13)  http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323829104578623720451833006.html (14) [...]

  • [...] (11)  http://www.newsobserver.com/2012/04/22/2016905/north-carolinas-urban-hospitals.html (12)  http://blog.trackyourplaque.com/2008/11/factory-hospitals.html (13)  http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323829104578623720451833006.html (14) [...]

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Tell me your wheat elimination story and receive a copy of my new book, Wheat Belly

Tell me your wheat elimination story and receive a copy of my new book, Wheat Belly

I'm looking for interesting wheat-free experiences.

For the past year, I have been writing my new book, Wheat Belly . After many, many late nights and soccer games missed, it's now finished. The book will be out in fall, 2011, to be published by Rodale, the Prevention Magazine people.

Wheat Belly will provide, in excruciating detail, the discussion of how wheat was transformed from innocent wild grass to incredible genetically-altered Frankengrain and why it has become such a health nuisance.

I am looking for interesting stories of wheat elimination for the online and special editions of the book. If you have an interesting tale of wheat-elimination successes, woes, or drama, I'd like to hear about it. Even better, if you would agree to be interviewed by phone (not for live use, just for comments and detail), the editors at Rodale will help tell your story.

If we use your story, I will have a free copy of the new Wheat Belly sent to you when it becomes available.

Please post your story in the comments here. I will then need to obtain your contact info, which we will do privately.

 

Comments (68) -

  • Tuck

    5/6/2011 3:23:45 AM |

    I posted my story here:

    http://yelling-stop.blogspot.com/2010/08/diverticulitis-my-story.html

    I can reproduce the symptoms on demand with consumption (always accidental)  of wheat and/ or seed oils now.  

    Finding out the cause of these problems was one of the greatest gifts I've received.  My wife and and daughters are also susceptible to wheat poisoning, and have had similar stories of recovery.  

    Thanks for your work on this, Dr. Davis.

  • aerobic

    5/6/2011 3:34:28 AM |

    Dr. Davis knows of what he speaks.  After being a diehard Ezekiel Bread toast and old fashioned oatmeal breakfast aficionado my entire adult life I could not understand why my blood lipids were so out of whack.  Small LDL was a solid Pattern B, Lp(a) was 22 and LDL was 159 according to VAP despite eating “healthy”.  At Dr. Davis’s advice I decided to give up grains of all types, wheat, breads, crackers, corn, rice, starch, sugars, etc.  I did not find it hard to do either.  My own internist even wrote me a prescription for pasture raised eggs and nitrate fee bacon for breakfast and advised that I should consider stopping Lipitor which I did.  I was indeed even more skeptical after that.

    I was shocked after 12-months as my Lp(a) is now 3, LDL is a pattern A and LDL is 99.  I even questioned my doctor if the test results got mixed up with someone else’s.  I only take Slo-Niacin, Vitamin D3, Vitamin K2, kelp, magnesium and EPA + DHA.  Despite the dogma constantly preached to us by the pharmaceutical companies, LDL is not the enemy and high cholesterol is not either, it is the sub-types of cholesterol that we should be concerned with.  We would die without cholesterol in our system! Carbs are good in moderation but they must be good carbs. Eating good fats do not make you fat and eating cholesterol does not raise your cholesterol.  I also found that the Lipitor while lowering LDL really well raised my small LDL really to an extremely high level.

  • paul

    5/6/2011 3:39:12 AM |

    In 2003 I was eating every form of crap purveyed by the local supermarket; HFCS, wheat, PUFAs, diet cola, you name it.  Then the MI, followed by a stent and meds "which I would be on for the rest of my life."  I was 59 about 30 lbs over weight, mostly sedentary.  Earlier in my life I was a decent athlete and I had a PhD in engineering, so I was inquisitive about the technical issues of my health situation and determined to fight for my life.   While researching, the meds took their toll - shortness of breath, palpitations, muscle atrophy, generally feeling not so good.  Compounding the situation was gut pain now and then.  Literature on the web convinced me to try changing my diet and begin exercising.  So I went HCLF, mostly vegan, quit the PUFAs, lost about 20 pounds felt better and quit the meds.  Something still wasn't right.  Couldn't shake the fairly high BP (160/90) , loose stools, gut pain, and though total chol went down I still had low HDL and high-ish LDL and trigs.   A year ago I was back on the BP meds and very discouraged.  About seven months ago, I accidentally ran across this website and some paleo sites and had an epiphany - wheat!  and sat fat!   I quit grains and legumes immediately, cut way back on sweet fruit, and started adding meat (which I had given up), eggs, butter, cheese and coconout oil.  Stools firmed up and I felt better, so much so that I quit the BP meds and was convinced I could beat the health problems.  I don't know that I have completely, but as of the end of April, I have lost another 20 pounds (now 5'10", 157 pounds), BP is 130/80, HDL is 61 (was 40) trigs 69 (were 92) , total chol is up a bit (198 was 170) but the large buoyant particles dominate (no previous tests to compare).  I feel like the knowledge Iv'e gained from this website has been instrumental in the (so far) positive outcomes.  Keep up the good fight!

  • Lori

    5/6/2011 4:18:37 AM |

    A year and a half ago, I was eating a diet with a lot of so-called "good carbs"--whole wheat bread and pitas, beans, fruit, and root vegetables. I was also working out hard six days a week. And I was putting on weight! When I stopped to think about when I started gaining weight, I realized it happened when I started eating wheat regularly. (I'd had stomach pain and thought something mild like bread would settle my it.)

    Just eliminating the two pieces of bread or one pita per day made me start losing weight and feeling a lot less bloated. (Whacking out the vast majority of the carbs later on cleared up my stomach problems and made the weight really start falling off.)

    A few months after going wheat-free, I had a cookie--my weakness. According to my blog entry from April 4, 2010, "eating that cookie [made with wheat] gave me a stomach ache, acid reflux for two days and painful nasal congestion--the viscous, sticky kind that won't move--for four days." After that, I started making cookies using wheat-free recipes, but mostly I ate basic low-carb fare like meat, eggs and salad. My appetite ratcheted way down. I'm normally pretty self-controlled, but in the past, once I'd start eating something with wheat in it, it was hard for me to stop myself. (That's how I found the Heart Scan blog: searching for "wheat appetite stimulant.")

    Some notes from my blog on the effects of wheat removal:
    My cravings for junk food have disappeared. I've stopped snacking on caramel corn, chocolate and diet soda on my non-free days. I eat two tiny pieces of chocolate per day, at most.
    My hair stays clean longer.
    Certain foods taste better. Coconut chai tea tastes like a candy bar in a cup (yes, I drink it straight) and even sardines taste better.
    Since I got a scale ten days ago, I've lost two pounds. I even had to tighten the straps on my backpack today.
    Three happy words: no menstrual pain.
    I have more energy. If I were a horse, my name would be Secretariat.

    My post with the quotes is here:

    http://relievemypain.blogspot.com/2010/12/why-try-gluten-free.html

  • robin

    5/6/2011 4:36:43 AM |

    I have a 13 year old daughter who was struggling with symptoms of irritable bowel, including nearly daily intestinal pain. As of about 6 weeks ago, she is off almost all wheat, and her pain has decreased about 90%!

  • John McMurray

    5/6/2011 4:44:31 AM |

    Despite diligently following the mainstream recommended low fat diet and exercising, my weight and body fat continued to drift upwards.  Bread and other healthy grains were part of every meal.  I was fat, embarrassed and my health was deteriorating.  I then ditched all refined carbohydrates, especially wheat and also sugar including "healthy" fruit juice and smoothies.  I switched from low fat salad dressing to pure oils (mostly olive).  Now having bacon and eggs when I would not touch them previously.  

    My weight and waist size is the same now in my mid 50s as it was when I was a freshman in high school.  Weight loss is close to 25%.  Blood pressure and blood glucose is down.  HDL well over 100.  Dental check ups have improved.  

    Every day at work, someone brings donuts, danish, cakes, cookies.  After a year and a half on this program, those items hold no interest.  Before this program, there was no resistance.  I enjoy my food more than ever.  I feel great.

  • Amy Dungan

    5/6/2011 4:55:55 AM |

    Hi Dr. Davis!
    I've struggled with IBS for years. It seemed to start after having my gallbladder removed in 1996. I assumed having the gallbladder removed was the cause and just toughed it out. I stuck to my low-fat diet and went on the best I could. It was horrible. I couldn't even enjoy leaving home for a meal because I knew that I'd need access to a bathroom in short order. The pain was excruciating, and the symptoms were quite frankly embarrassing.
    So after 5 years of suffering I stumbled on to the low-carb diet. It seemed that overnight my IBS was gone. I was ecstatic and felt I'd gotten my life back. It wasn't until later, when I'd experimented with adding the occasional wheat product back in, that I realize it was wheat causing my discomfort and intestinal issues.

  • Amy Dungan

    5/6/2011 4:57:29 AM |

    Oops.. messed up my website so when you click my name it's all messed up. My website is http://www.healthylowcarbliving.com

    Thanks!

  • Andrew Lancaster

    5/6/2011 11:13:56 AM |

    I started eliminating wheat about 18 months ago. I have had asthma since I was about 3 and was fed up with taking steroid inhalers, with prednisone when the flair ups were really bad.

    I'd tried eliminating dairy products with very limited success, and was convinced that there had to be a positive dietary factor to asthma, and if I could find and eliminate the culprit, the asthma would finally be vastly improved, if not "cured".

    I decided that what I had to do was work put which foods humans had evolved to eat and which had been introduced post farming / settling in one place. Wheat was the big answer - and when I looked online I found that both paleo and primal were "movements" following the same ideas.
    Within two weeks the asthma was so improved that I stopped using ventolin at all. I started taking the inhaled steroids (seratide) every other day, then every 3rd day, once a week and then finally - never.

    I have never felt as well, I can walk miles (which I never could previously), I can walk up hills which was always a trigger for wheezing / a puff of ventolin - and I can do gardening now for so long at a time that I give up because my legs / back ache rather than because I am wheezing.

    My GP was amazed when I told him that I no longer needed steroids on my  repeat prescription; he asked what I'd done to manage this "because no-one comes off steroids for asthma".   And as a side benefit, I've lost 18 lbs weight, and blood pressure has dropped to usually around 120 / 74, when just two years ago there had been a suggestion of starting me on statins.

    I try to get everyone I know to give up wheat. With as yet - no success at all. Friends comment on how well I look, are amazed that the asthma has gone - and tuck into a sandwich.

  • Joe Berne

    5/6/2011 12:00:36 PM |

    I don't get the obvious physical symptoms from eating wheat - no noticeable digestive issues, skin reactions, and so forth.  My issues with wheat are more subtle.  I'm the typical lifelong fat guy - I've been chubby my entire life; I only knew I had abs because without them I know I'd fall over backwards.  After adopting our second child, with the sleepless nights that go with an infant, I put on qutie a bit of additional weight on the typical lazy American pizza and diet soda diet.  

    One day, while reading this blog, I had a sort of epiphany.  I had always thought that carbs were my problem, but had trouble doing high intensity exercise on a very low carb diet, so I'd yo-yo back and forth from low carb to high carb.  What I realized was that every food binge I've ever been on - and there have been many, some epic in proportion - started with wheat.  I may have wound up the night eating a half gallon of ice cream, but I always started it with pizza, bagels, sandwiches, or the like.

    It took another couple of weeks for me to realize that few things made me happier than those wheat binges.  Not in the long term, of course, but temporarily - wheat makes me happy, you could say buzzed.  I can eat 6 bagels and be as happy as a normal person drinking a six pack of Budweiser.  I read an article about gluten affecting the opiate receptors in the brain and realized that I wasn't a sugar addict, I was a wheat addict.

    The night the series finale of Lost aired I went on one last wheat binge.  I haven't had a slice of bread, pizza, a sandwich, a brownie, a cookie, or a piece of cake since that night.   I get my carbs now from sweet potatoes or the occasional bowl of white rice.  I've dropped 40 or so pounds. I'm set to try for my third degree black belt in karate in two months.  Physically I feel better and am in better shape, at 40 years old, than ever - even better than when I was a teenager playing high school football.  And it turns out that I do have abs -there's visible proof now.  Long term friends are amazed at the changes.  And without wheat to drive me along my binges are a thing of the past - though I do indulge in manageable amounts of dark chocolate, wine, and the occasional gluten-free beer.

    Perhaps more importantly, I realized that I've been using wheat to mask my own depression for years.  I was unhappy for a long time and taking the edge off with gluten.  I've left my unhappy marriage, changed jobs, and totally turned my life in a different direction.  Nothing has made as big a difference to my health - and I've tried a lot of things - as giving up wheat.

    Whether you use this story or not, you should know that your blog has made a huge difference in my quality of life.  I can't thank you enough.

  • Sharon

    5/6/2011 12:27:30 PM |

    As a child I was on the worst diet possible.  We were allowed all the sodas we could drink.  We visited grandma not to far away and she allowed us to eat all the sodas and candy we could eat.  McDonalds was five blocks away so everytime we visited we ate at McDonalds.  My mother hated to cook and did not know what a vegetable was.  Now many many years later I am married with children.  We have changed our diet to a whole foods diet.  I even ground my own grain.  We did not eat processed foods, no msg, and had eliminated high fructose corn syrup.   Yet my sugars continue to raise and the weight would not come off.  I started having problems with my thyroid.  I went to an endocrinologist.  I looked at all the patients in the waiting room and they all had to weigh 300 lbs.  My parents went to an endocrinologist and my dad was close to 400 lbs and my mom was well over 200 lbs.  This was a death spiral and I wanted off.  I could not get off of the couch and in frustration my husband took me to the Hotze clinic.  We met Dr. Sheridan there who explained that the problem with diabetes was sugar and grains.  He took me off all grains (even rice and corn).  He also took me off of sugar and now I use natural sugar such as stevia but not too often.  He also addressed the hormonal and thyroid issues I was having.  He told me I would have to work very hard.  So instead of another pill I was actually told what to do.  Six months later I have lost 35 pounds.  I have lost a lot of inches mainly in the belly.  When I went visted Dr. Sheridan my fasting blood sugars was 156 with meds.  Now they are usually 120 and below.  I still have some work to do there.  My triglycerides have dropped a little over 100 points and without statins.  I have worked hard and I am off of the death spiral

  • Christy

    5/6/2011 12:52:57 PM |

    I went off of wheat about a year ago trying to get my cravings under control.  It worked and after being off of wheat for 40 days, I decided to try eating it again.  I added two slices of a good whole wheat bread to my diet.  What a mistake!  The itching that I had all of my life came back and within 2 days my right foot swelled up.  I went to urgent care at my drs office as I had badly broken this ankle a few years ago.  The Dr. looked at my ankle and was ready to send me to xray, then I said - let me throw this in the mix, I am itching like crazy for the past three days.  He scratched my arm with his nail, the scratch turned bright read in a minute.  He told me I was allergic to something and to stop doing it.  I know what it was - the wheat, as that was the only thing new I had added to my diet.  So I stopped eating it again.  

    While I was finding this out for myself - my youngest sister found she was allergic to wheat also.  We talked to our mom and got her off of wheat too. All of us have lost the 'wheat fog' that permeated out minds and feel so much better.

  • Pat Lowther

    5/6/2011 2:48:13 PM |

    I am happy to find this page.
    15 years  ago i gtested allergic to many things and the one that was the most significant was wheat.
    I fasted for 100 hours and was tested by an allergist. I reacted to many foods but he wanted me OFF wheat. I did as I was told and kept jornals, I still have them of my years without Wheat. No bread, pizza, nothing with yeast or wheat.
    My health really improved in that space of time. So much so I still avoid wheat. I allow myself to eat it once in a while and I know if IO wait for a long time I can do it again.
    I sffered from GERD and oesophageal spasms, they are now a thing of the past. I was so very thankful I found a person to help me. Because he had a busy ENT practice he had to give up the allergy practice but I handle this very well on my own. Pat in Maine.

  • MAS

    5/6/2011 3:40:40 PM |

    I cured my rosacea when I dropped wheat from my diet.  I'm also 20 pounds lighter.  Here is the roscea story.  

    http://criticalmas.com/2011/04/be-your-own-dermatologist/

  • Jonathan Carey

    5/6/2011 5:44:26 PM |

    I am an athletic, 46 year old heterozygous FH who suffered "Severe irritability associated with statin cholesterol-lowering drugs (see Beatrice Golomb study)" on all statins but pravastatin.  Three years ago I also gave up pravastatin which caused me to have severe muscle pain and plantar fasciitis. All of the resins, niacin, and others have produced other strange effects like angina or severe GI troubles.  Zetia produced extreme levels of itchiness.

    I decided to investigate a diet for diabetics, even though I was not one, and discovered the paleo diet.  Since giving up my life-long, low-fat vegetarian diet and switching to buffalo steak and eggs , my HDL levels nearly tripled to 91, while my TC stayed at 300 and LDLs stayed at 200.  My bodyfat % fell to 11% from 15%. My measured coronary plaque is 0.  My BMI is 21.3 and I maintain a daily aerobic routine.  My FH family history is my father died of MI at 66, his mother (Homozygous) had an MI at 39, then died at 69 of MI, her mother died of an MI at 54.  Everyone else (non-FH) lived to 90+.

    I would happy to participate in any future studies.

  • Howard

    5/6/2011 8:11:56 PM |

    Here is a story I plan to post on my own blog next week, possibly after some re-writing.

    A Gluten Story

    I had the honor of sitting with Tom Naughton at dinner Thursday night on the Low-Carb cruise, and among the topics of conversion was gluten. Tom related his experience with gluten elimination, and the resulting end of the chronic pain in his shoulder and hands. I found that story to be very interesting, since I had experienced the same sort of thing.

    My wife and I decided to go on a low-carb diet in 1999. It was a move of desparation, because we were both more than 150 lbs overweight. She had been diagnosed with diabetes, and was on two medications (advandia and glucophage), and was still having wild blood sugar swings, along with extreme fatigue. I wasn't quite to that point, but I had a number of health problems, including hypertension, poor night vision, chronic acne, almost constant heartburn -- and a mysterious pain in my hands and knees. That "arthritis" started back in the mid-90's, and had gradually worsened to the point where I was forced to quit playing my violin in public because I was unable to practice enough to preserve my skill -- it hurt too much. I had complained to several doctors about it, and none of them could find anything wrong. One gave me some medication which had side-effects even worse than the arthritis (and, as I discovered when I quit taking it, it was highly addictive!). I decided to simply quit complaining and just live with it after one doctor suggested that I see a shrink. My mother also complained of constant arthritis pain, so I assumed that it was just a genetic thing, and I would just have to live with it.

    My wife started on low-carb on December 3rd, 1999. I wasn't quite ready then, but I did decide that I would go along with the diet, starting with reading some low-carb books, starting with the Atkins New Diet Revolution and Dr. Bernstein's Diabetes Solution. I wanted to be the supportive husband in spite of the fact that I was convinced that low-carb was just a recurrance of the "Calories Don't Count" fad diet of the 1960's, and we would certainly be even worse off in six months, just like we had been after every other attempt we had made to lose weight.

    One of the things that I observed in her was that she felt *really* bad for a couple of days after starting low-carb. I had read about "Atkins flu" and decided that rather than going low-carb cold turkey, I would keep a detailed diet log for a couple of days to get a baseline carb count before starting, and then cut the carbs down gradually. I was a bit surprised to note that I was consuming in excess of 400g of carb per day. By day three, I had cut that to 200g. I didn't feel too bad, so I gradually tapered off the carbs and ramped up the protein and fat. I still kept a detailed diet log, although I don't really remember why. About a week into the diet, I cut out the grains completely. No more bread. No more raisin bran with skim milk. No more rice, no more oatmeal. At that point, we went through the kitchen throwing out stuff.

    It was almost as traumatic as going through a divorce, throwing out all those boxes of cereal, loaves of bread, canned colas, and other items we decided we weren't going to eat anymore.

    Two days later I had cut out all grains, something amazing happened. I woke up with no hand pain! That was really different. I had lived with chronic hand pain for so long that I had grown accustomed to it, and its sudden disappearance really startled me. I went back a couple of days in my diet log and saw the notation that I had given up all grain, and I begain to suspect a connection. I still wasn't really low-carb (I eventually reached what Aktins referred to as 'induction' level, or about 20g/day, but that was about a week later), and at the time, I had not yet lost any significant weight.

    That is not the only positive result I have experienced from going on a low-carb diet, but it was certainly the most dramatic. The disappearance of the hand pain is the thing that has made it really easy to stick with a low-carb diet.

    Am I certain it was the grains? Or more specifically, gluten? Not 100%, but it is the most likely culprit. Plus, since that time, I have experimented with "low-carb" bread, and within a few days, I have felt the beginnings of hand pain a few days after eating anything with a significant amount of gluten. I have also read enough about gluten to convince myself that I am much better off without it in my diet. I am fortunate that I am not extremely gluten-sensitive, since going completely gluten-free is pretty hard to do.

  • Susie

    5/6/2011 9:02:18 PM |

    Hi Dr Davis-Just wondering of your opinion of wheat grass when its juiced?  Is it as healthy as they claim? or just as harmful as the grain?

  • Ellis

    5/8/2011 1:52:28 AM |

    Dear Doctor Davis, I am very glad to have found your program and consider the evidence presented by long term users to demonstrate the efficacy of the low-carb, wheat free diet. I was intrigued when I came across this study from the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School. The study, titled "Low-Carb Diets Linked to Atherosclerosis and Impaired Heart Vessel Growth", convinced Anthony Rosenzweig, MD, Director of Cardiovascular Research to get off his own low-carb diet - http://www.bidmc.org/News/InResearch/2009/August/LowCarbDiets.aspx
    Would be very interested in your comments. Thank you, Ellis

  • Dr. K

    5/8/2011 3:31:02 AM |

    My story is quite simple.  I gained a ton of weight post neurosurgery residency  eating a lot of wheat and granola.  My labs became psychotic and I knew as a physician what that combo meant long term to my longevity .  I reopened my biochemistry books and began non stop reading.  When I finished reading I found out that I needed to eliminate several things from my diet with wheat and grains at the top of the list followed by most sugar/fructose.  I also limited omega sixes to get my AA/DHA levels to one to one.  In 11 months I dropped 133 lbs with this info I found.  Today I am all about optimization and limiting autophagic death of my cardiomyocytes.

  • Might-o'chondri-AL

    5/8/2011 6:56:13 PM |

    Hi Ellis,
    Interesting enigma; EPC (endothelial progenitor cells) in circulation (C.P.C. circulating progenitor cells,  for simplicity  I'll stick with  EPC  ) went down  40% on rats fed 45% protein,  43% fat & 12% carbohydrates.   Age, diabetes, smoking and being immobile drop the EPC levels and the functionality of EPCs to begin with in humans.

    Exercise, weight loss, statins and angio-tensin receptor blockers (RAS blocker), and estrogen tend to increase EPC.  The context involves how much EPC is made,  how much persists (ie: doesn't  suffer apoptosis) ,  circulating levels of progenitor cells,  their particular age (ie: early  vs.  late stage of outgrowth work differently ) and how consistently they get to their target endothelial site.

    EPC  differentiation seems to involve an acetylated LDL molecule uptake into a mono-cyte where it binds to a lectin (ex: human selectin);  a matured late outgrowth EPC in circulation can proliferate itself > 100 times once outside of the bone marrow.  So,  there is the implication that certain plant lectins (carbohydrate linked protein) are capable of augmenting the EPC level;  soy beans have both lectins and phyto-estrogens, which may explain part of their  touted cardio-vascular reputation.

    Why the low carb/high protein/full fat diet for rats radically  lowered their  EPC measure ( supposedly both circulating early and late outgrowth combined) is  something I am not able to say. Data does show that the lower the EPC the higher the vascular risk of a  damaged endothelial mono-layer staying disturbed (ie:  not regenerated by EPC) and thus primed for plaque formation.

    Rat researchers you cited  said they boosted the protein content to mimic human low carb eaters practice;. Maybe (maybe not?) the proportion of  reduced carbohydrate based plant lectins  were not compensated for by enough other protein rich lectins (ex: whole soy as a protein  source with lectins,  verses purified soy protein).

    Doc,  I think,  includes soy in his dietary recommendation;  if soy phyto-estrogen mimics estrogen then it's action would be (like estrogen, and statins for that matter) via the PI-3-kinase pathway up-regulation of  bio-available NO (nitric oxide),  and  thus subsequent reduction of EPC apoptosis (ie: EPC doesn't die back so readily).  Doc, I also think,  stresses  regular exercise ; this stimulates erythropoietin ( glyco-protein that makes red blood cells) which itself (ie: erythropoietin) induces elevated levels of circulating EPC.  

    Docs regimen may also,  I am not sure about this,  boost levels of VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor) which increases circulating EPC;  age is associated with low VEGF in the general population. Of course I  did read the article where one doctor told the other  low carb dieters were commonly hospitalized with cardio-vascular  problems;  I am not an expert on this by any means.

  • Bill

    5/8/2011 8:27:31 PM |

    Ellis
    You need to be very careful about these mouse studies.
    The type of crap they feed the mice is often the cause of the negative results.
    Some of these 'scientific' chows are not what humans would ever consume.
    Question what kind of fat and protein they were getting.

  • Ray

    5/9/2011 4:31:47 AM |

    Hi Doctor Davis,

    I'm a 50 year old male who has experienced a lifetime of health issues. Besides battling weight gain from my thirties on, I suffered from recurring sinus infections, sinus headaches, post nasal drip, lung congestion, allergies to an increasing list of foods, irritable bowel syndrome, skin rashes, dry skin, insomnia, intense itching, urinary tract problems, benign prostate enlargement, a bout with gout, oral thrush, intense sleepiness after certain meals and lactose intolerance. I also would experience random episodes during the first hour or so of sleep where I would awake gasping for air. This would require me to sit up on the side of the bed desperately attempting to catch a breath. These episodes would last about 30 seconds and scare both me and my spouse. I'm sure I've left out something but that gives you some idea of what I've been dealing with.

    A number of these issues got better several years ago when I decided to eat a low carb diet and cut back on sugar, including fruit. My HDL levels increased and my triglyceride levels came down to below 100. I also began taking pre- and probiotics on a consistent basis as it became obvious to me that I was suffering from a leaky gut. My weight went down a bit and my sinus allergies got better but my digestive and urinary complaints remained as did my alarming nighttime breathing episodes. I could never figure out the trigger for these attacks as I would normally not eat anything past 6 in the evening and these episodes would occur an hour or two after I had gone to sleep usually around 10 or so. I tried cutting out dairy but that didn't help. So while cutting back on sugar, carbs and taking probiotics did resolve some issues, it was by no means enough to resolve my remaining health issues.

    What I had never tried was completely cutting out wheat,  even when I went low-carb. I figured if I remained within my "carb count" I could get away with eating "healthy sprouted whole wheat bread" and all would be good. And how bad could it be to have an occasional slice of bread, pizza or flour tortilla on the one or two nights I went out to eat during the week?

    After some research on gluten and wheat germ agglutinin and after reading your blog and others, I decided to go wheat and gluten free to see if that was the issue even though, according to the tests administered by my doctor, gluten was supposedly not a problem for me.

    The results have been nothing short of miraculous! My IBS disappeared and with it the painful gas and bloating that went with it. The steatorrhea I suffered from also went away and with my restored ability to digest fat, my dry skin returned to normal. My skin rashes cleared up. My allergies and sinus issues also cleared up. I've begun to lose weight again. My lactose intolerance went away. My urinary tract issues are gone. My sleep is much, much better than it has ever been and my nighttime episodes of gasping for air are gone for the first time in my life!

    God knows what other damage eating wheat has done to me that I'm not aware of but I've vowed never to eat it again. I just don't want to experience the ill health again or see the inside of a doctor's office anytime soon.

  • Katharine

    5/9/2011 10:12:07 AM |

    I went on the Atkins diet 8 years ago.  The wheat in my diet dropped dramatically.  Within a day my usual afternoon tiredness disappeared.  I felt more energetic and my usual abdominal pain went too.  I stopped being constipated. My nails needed to be cut instead of just being able to peel them off. My chronic iron deficiency anaemia improved and I have not had an apthous ulcer in my mouth since.

    Three years ago we went to nothern France to a holiday camp. It rained and rained.  The redeeming feature was a very nice bakery. I was so fed up I started eating the lovely croissants for breakfast. In 4 days the abdominal pain was back. I stopped these immediately and the pain resolved.

    I am a doctor, and it seems to me that my pre-wheat free diet symptoms had many similarities to someone with coeliac. It is too late to test antibodies now and I would not consider re-starting wheat for weeks just to prove the point.  My life is miles better without wheat.

  • Angela

    5/9/2011 11:05:14 AM |

    Dr. Davis I posted my journey on my blog - you have been a great source of information for me - I cannot wait for the book - free or if I have to pay!

    My daughter was diagnosed Celiac in December and I have had IBS issues my entire life.  We are both healthy and feeling good now.

  • Angela

    5/9/2011 11:05:55 AM |

    http://i-am-paleo.blogspot.com/

  • Ari

    5/9/2011 11:36:40 AM |

    For the last ten years, I've had the goal of performing a pullup with one arm.  I diligently trained to make this goal happen.

    While never overweight, I did have a bit of a belly.  Surely, the ten or fifteen pounds of extra weight surrounding my viscera wasn't helping me get over the bar.  No amount of exercise, no matter how intense, was getting it off.  The one-arm pullup remained out of reach.

    Then I eliminated wheat, oats and sugars from my diet.  The belly came off in a matter of weeks.  And with my frame fifteen pounds lighter (and few tweaks to my training), I was able to reach my goal and perform those one arm pullups.  (Photo available upon request).

  • Dr. William Davis

    5/9/2011 12:16:02 PM |

    Hi, Tuck--
    You are a great example of how dramatic the effects can be in some people.

    If you'd be willing to talk to one of my editors at Rodale, please let me know at http://typ.trackyourplaque.com/contact.aspx. This is an interview for comments, not for broadcast. They are just looking for interesting stories like yours to highlight this discussion.

  • Dr. William Davis

    5/9/2011 12:17:56 PM |

    Aerobic--

    Thanks for the detail on your lipids and lipoproteins.

    Please let me know if you'd agree to tell your story to one of my editors at Rodale at http://typ.trackyourplaque.com/contact.aspx.

  • Dr. William Davis

    5/9/2011 12:20:48 PM |

    Hi, Lori--

    Fascinating!

    I'd like you to share your story. If you'd be willing to talk to one of my editors at Rodale, please let me know at http://typ.trackyourplaque.com/contact.aspx.

  • Dr. William Davis

    5/9/2011 12:25:18 PM |

    HI, John--

    Great weight loss story!

    If you'd like to share your story with one of my editors at Rodale, please let me know at http://typ.trackyourplaque.com/contact.aspx.

  • Dr. William Davis

    5/9/2011 12:33:29 PM |

    Hi, Andrew--

    I could use a good asthma story like yours.

    If you'd be willing to talk to one of my editors at Rodale, please let me know at http://typ.trackyourplaque.com/contact.aspx.

  • Dr. William Davis

    5/9/2011 12:35:14 PM |

    Thanks, Joe.

    I'd love to share your powerful story. If you'd agree to speak to one of my editors at Rodale, please let me know at http://typ.trackyourplaque.com/contact.aspx.

  • Dr. William Davis

    5/9/2011 12:41:47 PM |

    Hi, Howard--

    I'd like to share your story. The arthritis aspect of wheat exposure is very important and woefully underappreciated.

    If you'd agree to speak to one of my editors at Rodale, please let me know at http://typ.trackyourplaque.com/contact.aspx.

  • Dr. William Davis

    5/9/2011 12:43:01 PM |

    Hi, Susie--

    I remain uncertain about wheat grass. However, given the extravagant responses some people have experienced with wheat exposure and wheat removal, my bias is to avoid it and try to obtain phytonutrients by some other route. There are, unfortunately, next to no data on the composition of wheat grass nor tolerability in celiacs or other populations.

  • Dr. William Davis

    5/9/2011 12:44:35 PM |

    133 lbs! That's fantastic!

    If you'd agree to speak to one of my editors at Rodale, please let me know at http://typ.trackyourplaque.com/contact.aspx.

  • Jill

    5/9/2011 4:12:38 PM |

    My story is not really directly about me, but my son.  In an effort to control behavior, we decided to go a natural route.  After my niece was diagnosed with Autism and they put her on a gluten free diet, I decided to try it with my son.  He has always (since infancy) struggled with constipation and immediately after stopping gluten, he no longered suffered from constipation.  I was amazed and this was less than a week after we went gluten free.  That alone was enough to convince me he should not be eating gluten.  We have been gluten free for over a year now and I can see a definite, but sublte difference in his behavior if he has been "glutened."  His behavior becomes "off" in a way that I cannot really describe.  We call it brain fog, but it is more than that and he becomes agitated and has a harder time controlling his actions and concentrating.
    Since he is young, it was easier to make the household gluten free and not buy any gluten products.  My younger son suffers from eczema and though it hasn't eliminated his eczema and he still gets gluten snacks in school, I noticed when he is off gluten for an extended period of time his eczema is greatly improved.
    As for myself.  I stayed with the gluten free diet, too since I wasn't bringning it into the house and we barely went out to eat and if we did, we all order off the gluten free menu out of kindness to the kids.  I noticed after 4 months of being gluten free that I was waking up almost pain free.  Now I never had a lot of pain but I would wake up with stiff and/or painful joints.  After 4 months that pain was greatly reduced and after 6 months, that pain was totally gone.  I made the transistion to Paleo eating in October and since then, my weight has dropped over 21 pounds and I have lost 2 sizes and my energy has increased.  If I am glutened, I feel terrible and almost hungover the next day and sometime it lasts for a few days depending.  I will also gain up to 5 pounds which take me weeks (literally) to take off again.
    My husband eats gluten free almost all the time.  Sometimes when we are out or he is at work he will have cake or something.  He will also have a beer occassionally.  He tries to eat as paleo as I do.  He has dropped almost 10 pounds and experiences the same weight gain issue as I do if he eats too much gluten.
    All of these experiences have made me a believer of the gluten free/paleo eating style and I try to convert people all the time, unfortunately it is hard for people to give up their convenience foods and also to through the USDA food guide pyramid out the window...

  • Joanna

    5/9/2011 6:43:07 PM |

    This is such a little thing, but it does make a difference.  Several months ago my husband and I both went on a diet to lose some weight, eliminating carbs, sugars and most fruit.  So of course, I stopped buying and cooking with wheat and other grains - no more bread, rolls, pasta, cereal, rice, etc.   After a short time both of us noticed that pain we had in our feet - he has plantar fascitis and I have heel pain in one foot, got markedly better.  He also has an old shoulder injury that has flared up again but if he doesn't eat wheat it is much better after a couple of days.  When we have gone off the diet, such as on a short vacation, the pain comes back, then goes away again after we resume it.  Neither of us seems to have particular digestive issues with wheat that many people have but by simply removing it from our diets we reduce the inflammation issues in other parts of our bodies - and thus don't find ourselves reaching for that bottle of aspirin or ibuprofin as often.

  • Chris

    5/10/2011 12:28:03 AM |

    Here is my wheat story. Losing the wheat took away acne-like dermititis. For a few decades I have had chronic acne on my scalp, chest, and upper back, and occasionally ears. At best a dermatologist would prescribe me antibiotics which really didn't help and probably worked against me in other ways. It just doesn't make sense one should take antibiotics for the rest of their natural life to do away with a skin condition now found to be caused by the diet.

    Now some background. My first foray into low carb diets was the pseudo-low carb diet called South Beach. Low in fats but still without sugars, but kept grains. It worked up to a point but I was hungry all the time so eventually gave up the diet. But the key thing I saw how my body responded and remembered it when 4 years later I discovered paleo style diets.

    With paleo diets, major difference was cutting out even grains particularly wheat, while also ramping up the fats. I really didn't have to change anything else in my diet. I was in for a pleasant surprise.

    Everything went according to my previous diet attempt - I lost weight and more. Within a week starting I noticed something unusual: I had no more acne on scalp, chest, and upper back!

    Now, it could have been any number of things, but through simple experimentation, I am quite sure its narrowed down to the wheat. See once a week I would eat breaded stuffed jalapenos. Within a day of eating them them, acne returned, only to disappear after a few days. Same goes with other breaded foods, thats just the most common food I take in.

    With my ever thinning hairline, scalp acne is very noticeable, compared to the lesser public bare upper body, so this is a big deal to me. No more wheat!

  • Adam

    5/10/2011 2:47:28 AM |

    Well, I'm a type 1 diabetic. I eliminated wheat after a co-worker told me about the Paleo diet (which I duly researched). That led me to this site, which led me to Dr. Bernstein's Diabetes Solution. So not only did I go Paleo, I went low-carb on top of it, cheat and have milk (heavy cream really), and have never been in better health.

    I lost weight and became positively svelt. I had psoriasis on my elbows which went away completely, and my insulin usage dropped to a mere fraction of what it was before. I feel good, and my cholesterol et al are great.

    Until lunchtime today. I ate some pre-packaged meatballs (I'd had other flavours of meatballs from the same company before) and started feeling ill. I checked my blood glucose an hour after eating and it was up to 280!!!! I double checked the package from the meatballs and still didn't see anything in the ingredients, until on the opposite side, in small print, I saw "contains wheat". What does wheat do? It spikes your blood sugar, makes you ill, and it does it fast. Quitting wheat was much slower than getting beaten up by in during an accidental relapse.

  • Jimmy

    5/10/2011 10:23:44 PM |

    Hello,

    My story with cutting out wheat/flour/sugar/rice etc. is not nearly as dramatic as the majority of yours. Something very different has happened to me.

    I have alway suffered from milk allergies (ice cream, custard too). If I eat ice cream or drink milk, my sinuses immediately begining draining down my throat and the hacking and caughing ensues. A 'phlegmy' sore throat is then present  for 2 weeks and a lot of 'hacking up' that drainage that goes down.

    I elminated wheat/flour/sugar/rice and enjoyed moderate weight loss. After 3 months, I had a hankering for a glass of milk. Knowing that I would suffer, I drank the milk (cause I love  the stuff). No adverse reaction. I do not drink much, but do enjoy milk from time to time with no negative side effects. I actually did not make the connection until I fell off the wagon a few month slater and began eating wheat/flour/sugar/rice and the milk problems immediately returned.

    I am new to this site, but for me, when I go off of wheat, etc. and stay off of it for more than 2.5 months my milk allergies completely disappear.

    Best,
    James

  • Sverige

    5/11/2011 12:50:07 PM |

    Many blogs like this cover subjects that can’t be found in magazines and newspapers. I don’t know how we got by 10 years ago with just newspapers and magazines. His was really a fascinating topic, I'm very fortunate to have the ability to come to your blog and I'll bookmark this web page in order that I may come again one other time

  • Hanna

    5/11/2011 2:07:26 PM |

    Ellis,

    The study was done on rats. A low carb diet isn't a natural diet for rats to my knowledge. Nor does the article mention what sources of food the mice were fed. It makes a huge difference if the mice were fed hydrogenated soy oil as opposed to a natural fat. Besides, I always find it interesting to see who's behind a study: "Shi-Yin Foo is a trainee of the Clinical Investigators Training Program, jointly sponsored by BIDMC and Harvard/Massachusetts Institute of Technology Health Sciences and Technology in collaboration with Pfizer Inc. and Merck and Co."

  • Ray

    5/11/2011 8:57:26 PM |

    Hi James,

    Yeah, I too thought I was lactose intolerant (see my story above) until I gave up wheat and can now tolerate it. This blog post explains why: http://high-fat-nutrition.blogspot.com/search/label/Wheat%20and%20lactose%20%281%29

  • Terrence

    5/11/2011 10:02:40 PM |

    An anecdote regarding my reducing and finally eliminating wheat from my diet: I did not eat any wheat for four to six weeks (I do not recall exactly how long). But, I really missed wheat and I now think I was/am addicted to it.

    So, one late afternoon I thought I would try some bread; I ate an entire loaf of white bread. The taste and texture were nothing special – bland really; and it was not filling.  Around 11:00 pm, I went to bed and noticed I was a bit gassy – I had some long and loud odorless flatulence. Early the next morning, I had some more long and loud odorless flatulence (it may have woken me).  The rest of the entire consisted of a LOT of very, very, VERY frequent long and loud odorless flatulence! It lasted ALL DAY. I did not go any where – I had no control over the frequent long and loud odorless flatulence.   It probably occurred an average of once every 15 minutes or so; but it was random and unpredictable. It also extended into the next day!

    I have tried wheat from time to time since then, and always with the same result – flatulence.  But, there does seem to be a threshold level – the more wheat, the more flatulence.

  • Sara

    5/11/2011 10:04:11 PM |

    My husband and I are both nurses.  He had a heart attack 9 years ago at age 48 (also on Vioxx) and I was diagnosed T2DM 2 years ago.  My blood sugar has steadily risen to the point of being on meds.  On his last visit to the cardiologist, he was told he had pattern B LDL.  The VAP showed about 70% small particles.  HDL_35,tri-138,LDL-74 Lp(a) -10 This is on 2 grams of Niaspan daily, 2 gms fish oil and a load of antioxidants.    He takes Lipitor 10 mg.  We came across your blog and everything just seemed to make sense .  We started about 3 weeks ago eliminating sugar, starches and grains.  We already had eliminated transfats  and polyunsaturated oils.   The cardiologist also increased the Niaspan by 500 mg as well.  In that time span we have both lost weight, him about 15 lbs and me about 10.  My blood sugar decreased in the morning from 220s on meds to around 150 (off meds!).  I did have one piece of bacon bread on Mother's day and FBS the next day was 189.  I love that I don't count anything and  am never hungry.  Last week I almost had to make myself eat.  My husband gets another VAP in two and a half months.  We are anxious to see how this all works out but are amazed at what just three weeks has done.

  • majkinetor

    5/12/2011 9:32:23 AM |

    Exactly my experience.

  • Sara

    5/13/2011 5:41:16 PM |

    I forgot to mention that I also have had an inability to control B/P with near syncopy and hypertension 220s/120s now somewhat controlled on 4 meds after 8 years of different meds).  I also have gout which while reading this blog may be related to the acidifying properties of the wheat?

  • Dr. William Davis

    5/14/2011 2:28:23 PM |

    Hi, Chris--

    Would you be willing to share your story with an editor at Rodale? If so, I'd be grateful. Let me know and I will pass on your email address.

  • James Simmons

    5/15/2011 4:29:06 PM |

    Sorry this is lengthy but what started out as a diet change to lose weight to help with my lower back pain actually improved my health over all. I hope people who have asthma will be inspired by improvements.

    http://www.infradead.org/~jsimmons/health/health.html

  • Shirley

    5/16/2011 4:26:53 AM |

    I have Hashimoto's. Last July I cut gluten from my diet, and suddenly the medication I took became too much for my body. Within a week, I went hyperthyroid. At the time, I was on 100mcg/day of Levoxyl. Since then, the dose I need to feel great (even better than before I cut wheat) has dropped—now I'm on 75mcg/Tirosint and 5-10mcg Cytomel/day. In addition, I was an ultrarunner for years, and yet I still had a small wheat belly. That has basically disappeared, despite the fact that my running mileage has dropped to 1/4 of what it used to be. My energy level has leveled out and is stable (and great) all day long—also a result of cutting wheat.

  • Carolyn Trammell

    5/19/2011 11:46:46 AM |

    The idea of eliminating wheat from my diet was in the book Eat Right for Your Type by Dr. Peter Dadamo. After planting that piece of information in my mind I became more conscious of wheat and my reactions to it. I recognized very low spells of depression and fatigue shortly after eating bread and made a connection and eventually learned to avoid wheat (It only took about ten years!). After finding out I had Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, I suspected all gluten could be a problem and removed it from my diet completely. Immediately my lifetime of anxiety and depression lifted,  my knees felt 100% better and my sinuses and headaches cleared up. I wasn't one of the lucky ones that lost weight but my digestion was much better. Unfortunately, I was not able to stop my autoimmune illness but my quality of life improved 100%. When I tell others about gluten and what it can do most people comment on how they love it so much and don't think they can or want to give it up, but a few have tried gluten elimination with great results. I am amazed at the addictive power of gluten. If it were not for the immediate problems I have when eating it, I would be back in its grip too, but it isn't worth the pain and there are other much better foods my body can process. I am also amazed how gluten has saturated the food industry and not surprised that many people are having more and more problems because of it.

  • G. Debussy

    5/22/2011 7:27:17 PM |

    Hello, Dr. Davis,

    I don't have a gluten/lipid story to share.  My story is concerning autoimmune problems.   I was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis in the early 1990s.  I also had chronic heartburn, IBS-type symptoms, eczema, and migraine-like headaches.   I have never been overweight, and tend to get underweight too easily.

    In the early 1990s, too, we decided to really endorse the "healthy" whole grain diet.  We bought a grain grinder, sacks of various whole grains, mostly gluten grains, an automatic bread maker,  and a pasta maker.  And of course, because breads and pasta made with whole grain is heavy, we added extra gluten to breads, etc.  It was during this time of our "healthy" diet, my autoimmune disorders escalated tremendously, but I had no idea gluten was the major factor in the deterioration of my health.

    In February, 2000, my wife bought "Protein Power Lifeplan," by the Drs. Eades.  Chapter six in that book dealt with diet and autoimmune problems, and gluten was discussed.   We decided to go gluten-free.  

    To make a long story short, by the end of March, I no longer had the terrible, migraine-like headaches that would last days on end.  My chronic heartburn and IBS-like symptoms disappeared.  But, it took about six and half months for my last AS flare-up in October, 2000.  My wife found information from a study done in Italy about gluten and autoimmune thyroid disease, and one of the bits of information that came out in that report is that it takes about six months for triggered antibodies to go away once the offending substance is removed.  In my case, the offending substance was gluten.  I have been flare-up free since October, 2000.  My autoimmune problems are in total remission....as long as I remain gluten-free.  If only we would have known of the gluten connection to my autoimmune disorders, I would never have had to experience the escalation and the permanent calcium scarring of my ligaments, etc. from doing the supposed "healthy" whole grain diet.  

    We are very passionate about the gluten/autoimmune connection, and we try to share my experience with anyone who has obvious autoimmune problems or other chronic health problems.  Sadly, the medical establishment doesn't understand that celiac disease is not the only disorder associated with gluten intolerance, and people with non-celiac gluten intolerance are being told by their doctors that if their celiac test is "negative," they don't have gluten intolerance.   This only ends up with lots of people suffering chronic health problems that may be totally alleviated if only they would do a truly gluten-free diet.

    Thank you for taking the time to read my story about gluten intolerance.

  • Steve S.

    5/24/2011 7:21:23 PM |

    I weighed over 280lbs. when my son was diagnosed with ADHD and Asperger's syndrome. We spoke with many Doctors in my area before we found a clinic that had options other then Meds. A Gluten and Casein free diet was prescribed and both me and my wife went GFCF for support.

    After a month or so I noticed my weight was dropping. My clothes were fitting looser and people at work started to ask if I had lost weight. Lucky for me I stated talking to a woman at work that had plenty of info on low-carb and "Paleo" nutrition. I read Gary Taubes and Robb Wolf and decided to take a 30 Paleo challenge. The weight started to melt off. After 5-6 months I've dropped about 50lbs. to 234. The wife and kids, who have no weight problems are thriving and enjoying eating this diet that excludes sugar, grains and legumes and gets plenty of good fats and dense calories from free-range eggs, grass-feed animals, fruits and plenty of veggies.

    I still have a long way to go but after loosing the weight I have a natural urge to exercise, I don't eat outside of meal times and never, ever feel hungry. Carbs are an addiction as best I can tell.

    Last week I had blood work done and my Doctor was alarmed at my total cholesterol. He suggested statins, at which I laughed. "I'm 36" I said! "This is what I was thought in school" he said. If my numbers don't fall in three months, he will be referring me to a cardiologist for a stress test.

    I'm glad to have found this website, it's great to find a Doctor ready to speak the truth about cholesterol. I will make it a point to read your blog. Thanks.

  • Mamatha

    5/25/2011 6:04:06 PM |

    Two years ago, I embarked on the South Beach Diet to lose some weight before going on vacation. For the first time since menarche, I didn't have any symptoms of dysmenorrhea during the first phase (sugar and grain-free). I thought it was due to elimination of sugar but the symptoms reappeared in the second phase when I reintroduced grains, and I also regained some of the weight I'd lost in the first phase. That's when I searched for grain-free diets on the internet and learned about paleo and primal diets. Through elimination, I found out that wheat was causing my dysmenorrhea.

  • stuart

    5/26/2011 4:52:50 PM |

    The mother of all wheat elimination stories,

    Due to a construction project our family's diet was constricted.  Still very healthy stuff.  "Good" cereals for breakfast.   Sandwitches on "healthy" bread for lunch.  Whole wheat pasta a couple times a week and easier dinners.  Cookies and crackers for snacks.  

    After the project wraps up my wife is diagnosed with breast cancer and my youngest contracts a severe movement disorder blamed rightfully so on the staph germ.  Yes, slightly more to the story.  My wife was also on "the pill".

    Wheat was the third item eliminated in my daughters diet.  Her improvement was immediate.  Yet being the investigator I remembered that my daughter could walk into the hospital, but just three days later she could not walk out.  OBVIOUS  malnutrition due to scans and delays in meals due to tests.   So why couldn't my daughter make it a couple weeks before having serious difficulties from lack of nutrition?  She had been subject to subtle malnutrition all along.  Gluten forms a mucoid plaque causing the important nutrients from real food to get passed right on by.  

    Just check out celiac.org.  See all of the health manifestations of celiac disease.   It is not a disease,  it is a consequence of too much wheat and other glutens.  Most cheap and many "premium" foods add cheap gluten thickeners.

    So with wheat gone my daughter is testing into the gifted program.   Yes she is still vulnerable to staph, probably for several years.  The sheath on her nervous system was compromised by years of subtle malnutrition.  My wife looks better than most 43 year olds.  Very slim and strong.  

    The ultimate proof.  After a year and a half my blood pressure is very good.  I eat as much salt as I want.  My vision is excellent, but my night vision has returned to superior.  No sensitivity to car lights at night.  My total chol. is nearing good numbers.   No Muscle Cramps.  No teeth sensitivity to ice cream or anything for that matter.   No waking at 3am to go to the bathroom.

    Very interesting point:  Do you think people in the medical profession have any interest in this (excluding Dr. Davis)?   Oh H... No.  Why?  Because they already know!

    Why do you suppose a lowly turtle can live to 400 years?  Are they somehow superior to us.  No.  They consume fewer poisons.  Gluten and wheat are the biggest of our poisons.  Responsible for at least 4 dozen major illnesses as well as the common cold, flu, allergies.  All of it.

    The subtle malnutrition from gluten weakens All Tissues.  All as in each and every.  Your skin, veins, eyes, brain, nerves, heart.  Get it?  Weak tissue = health problems.  

    Want to cure medicare?  Outlaw wheat, barley, and rye.

  • Gabriel Alcocer

    5/28/2011 4:38:30 PM |

    After reading Arthur De Vany's "The New Evolution Diet", I was skeptical about it's premises. I am a Univ. of Texas trained Pharm.D. and the book's ideas seemed to fly in the face of my "training".  However, I decided to give it a try. It has been 5 months now and I am 25 lbs lighter and feel like I am 21 again (I am now 33). I remember when ketosis occurred like it was yesterday because it was a feeling I had never experienced. I lost any significant hunger for 2 weeks! I felt I was force-feeding myself and in that time lost an entire pant size. My first wheat rechallenge came when friends were visiting and they wanted pizza. I decided to go ahead and on that occasion I ate ravenously and felt as if I had taken amphetamines. It was not enjoyable and strange. Now, I don't touch the stuff, nor sugar, nor veggie/seed oils. My only problem now is that this new perspective has placed me at odds with the medical establishment and has made my consultations regarding drugs and diet that much more difficult.

  • Tom Martin

    5/29/2011 8:12:28 PM |

    October4th of 2010 I was a type 2 diabetic with an a1c of 9.8 and a blood sugar level of 280 (or higher).  I was put on medication that felt like it was going to kill me.  I was at 247 pounds (5' 7").  Basically, nothing in my body was working and I was going to die soon.  The thing I missed the most was the intimacy with my wife.  I was 61 and didn't want to finish things off like this.  I picked something that was important to me and made it my focus to get healthier.  Silly as it may sound, it was sex with my wife.

    First thing was I stopped taking the blood sugar medication.  I totally quit eating certain foods, the first being anything wheat or part wheat.  I began to limit my (good) carb intake to about 60 grams total a day and increased my good fat and good protein intake.  During this time I checked my blood sugar level with a meter as often as 12 times a day.  I began to learn what foods did to my blood sugar level.  I kept track and eventually developed a daily eating plan that started to control my sugar level.  I slowly added exercise to the plan.

    May 29th - Today my weight is at 178, my a1c is at 5.5, and average blood sugar levels around 100.  Cholesterol and other blood levels are fantastic.  My doctor is totally amazed that this all came about without medication and before any major damage happened to "body parts."

    The biggest thing affecting me was wheat related foods.  For me it's like time bomb...I can have a muffin and within the hour my blood sugar goes too high.  I realize that my body is not working (and won't) like a non-diabetic any longer but I have taken control of my lifestyle to the point where I feel great and all of my labs are right where they should be.

    My new eating style isn't a restrictive diet but the right diet...one everyone should have.  I even had some restaurants where I live add new "type 2"  options  to their menus...one of them a bakery.

    I like your site and have sent bookmarks to other friends.

    And yes, things couldn't be better with my wife!

    Tom

  • Janet Frank

    5/29/2011 9:29:08 PM |

    Just came across your blog at the recommendation of a friend. Look forward to your book.  My wheat story is probably like many others, but unfortunately, still not well-know enough! In a nutshell:  onset of bloating and mild reflux in about summer 2006, not long after dx of autoimmune thyroid disorder. Endoscopy confirmed esophagitis, but I was just given an antacid.  Sx waxed and waned over the next several years until there was daily reflux with sore throat and inability to take a deep breath (which I now know was due to inflammation). My own research suggested gluten intolerance, confirmed by stool testing, with 100% resolution going gluten free.  My TSH came WAY down, my sleep, mood, energy and libido are all better. I think my joints feel looser. I'm on a crusade.... keep posting your posts!

  • Chris Williamson

    6/3/2011 5:40:57 PM |

    I ran across your site and saw you are looking for stories about wheat/gluten.

    Here is mine. It was written as a story for my blog.... PT Courses.
    This is the story of a family that lives in Denmark. There is a father, a mother and a son. The son, who is filled with energy, likes to play outside quite a lot.

    The mother grew up in a struggling family and the food they ate reflected that. Oatmeal and bread were eaten quite a lot. Her mother worked and saved money in many ways. As a girl the mother was active and participated in many of the typical Danish activities. She would sometimes bike from Farum to Gilleleje. There she would go to the beach and visit her grandmother.

    The father also came from a struggling family. Both his parents worked. He had the advantage of living outside the city for parts of his life and around the water during other parts of his life. This meant wild game and fish were on the table quite often. There were times during his upbringing when raw milk was on the table and other times when large amounts of freshly caught shrimp, crabs and fish were eaten. There were other times when food was scarce and macaroni and cheese were a staple of the diet. Oatmeal was another.

    The father was a meat eater, with a capital M, who changed his ways when he moved to Denmark. He tried to learn from the Danish ways and traditions. He learned to drink wine instead of  "jack and coke." He was told that red meat was bad for him, so he started eating white meat as much as possible. The same thing happened with oats, he learned to eat oats with milk poured over them because it was supposed to be good for him. Being active and having to do labour intensive work kept him in shape.

    When he became divorced, he started karate again to help cope with the stress of his divorce and being alone in Denmark.

    After a few years he met his second wife. She was the opposite of his first in almost every possible way. This was actually when he started to learn that what he felt was good for him in Texas was good for him in Denmark. All the psychology books started to help him question why he did what he did. Reading several book a week open many doors. He started to see new useful information every where he looked.

    The couple was very happy together. At some point in time, being a weekend mother to the father's daughter made the mother want to have child of her own. They had a boy. Life went on, the family struggle but they were happy.

    Along the way the father developed asthma. He stopped working as a shoemaker and found other ways to make a living. The mother became a reflexologist who had customers on the side as well as having a normal 8:00 to 5:00 job.

    It was lucky for the father that his wife was a reflexologist. She helped to keep his asthma at bay so he could make his way through life and still be active with martial arts. He often wonder what was going on with his body. He felt damned. The doctors said just take the medicine and you will be ok. His wife helped him with all the pain in his joint with a witches concoction of garlic and alcohol that he took every day.The pain in all his joint went away for a while.

    Head aches became the norm. He developed hay fever. Once again his wife stepped in and help him. She had the same problem a large part of her life as well as an allergy. It showed it self, via the skin on her hands. She had always had this problem, so it was just a normal part of life. She was a gentle soul and she simply went on with life.

    The father, on the other hand, had a temper. He would become angry and would have to do something about what ever the problem was to feel like there was some form of control in the increasingly large collection of problems. The mounting physical problem were getting to be too much. Something had to be changed.

    Some years later, the family had more or less stayed in the same situation but now the boy was having problems with his joints. His hip joint would fill with fluid and it would have to be removed. It was a traumatic and painful experience for the boy. The needle that was jabbed into his hip was more the size of a garden hose than a needle. He trusted his parents when he was told that it was for the best and it would help make the pain go away.  His leg would come back into place and he could use it again.

    Once again the doctors said: “take these pills” they will help. They could not say why his body was attacking itself. They said that he might out grow the problem. The family would have to just wait and see. The little boy had to be careful not to jump too much and run too much. He felt imprisoned. The family did what they could to cope.

    It's later in their lives now and the situation has changed, the father had worked behind the scenes to figure out what was going on. Being surrounded by people who thought in different way helped. Having learned that acupuncture had fixed the pain issues from a back injury at work helped him understand more. The doctors at the hospital could not do any thing to help. Learning that one doctor didn’t really think he had asthma, while another did, made him think even more. "Do they know anything after all?" Knowing the power of body and mind from martial arts helped once again to make him think out of the box. The many talks the parents had provoked quite a few thoughts, which help the family today.

    Jumping forward in time to present time, the situation is better. The boy has only growing pains, which are normal when kids grow. His mother and father massage his calves when it hurts too much to sleep. He jumps, runs, and climbs trees which are too high for the parents peace of mind. His skin problem are much better. The dark bags under his eyes are gone.

    The mother has skin problems still but they are getting better by the day. She can eat nuts without her skin giving her problems if she is careful about the amount. She doesn’t train more. In fact she bikes to work less at the moment. She has lost weight and she feels much better.

    The father has lost weight as well, he is now 92 kg. He likes the fact that his wife says that he has the body of a man half his age. He is 45, a statement like that is very good for his ego. His asthma is much better, he doesn’t have migraines any more, he has stopped having all the pains in his joints. Even the pain in his hand, that comes from braking boards when he trained karate, are gone. The gas in his stomach is gone. His wife is very happy about that. Nobody wants to sleep beside a fart machine, do they? The whole family enjoys the fact that hay fever is no longer such a problem.

    The man wonders why the Danish doctors don’t have the information which has made such a drastic change in his life. Gluten is bad for you! Why do they avoid all the research on the subject? He knows that the reason that the government agencies in Denmark and around the world don’t want to support the truth is that there is a lot of money involved.

    The family you just read about is my family. All of what you read is true. We are not a paleo family, but we are moving closer every day.

  • Oscar

    6/6/2011 10:59:05 AM |

    Hi Dr. Davis, I'd like to share my experience.  I was 92kg, and had some abdominal distension - IBS symptoms my doc said were a chronic disease I had to treat with clebopride for ever (being 30 yrs old by then). I gave up wheat and all grains (except for some ocassional rice) and also all dairy products, after reading the research of Dr. Jean Seignalet  about 7 years ago. The change was all sudden and wonderful. I lost 10kg in about two months, losing another four in the following year to get a stable 78kg for my 1,87m height. The abdominal problems, slow digestion, etc, dissapeared forever without any medication. My mild psoriasis dissapeared as well. It has been a change for life.  In the last six months I have moved to introducing more meat and fat to low carb, feeling even better.  I get very angry when I see the USDA and other government agencies inducing people to eat grains.  Thanks a lot.

  • Peter

    6/11/2011 10:37:16 PM |

    I eliminated wheat and other gluten sources 7 months ago.  The effects were immediate and continue to be dramatic.  55 pounds lost (I looked like that kid in your former blog post on "Wheat Belly"), blood pressure dramatically reduced, joint stiffness gone, skin cleared up and seasonal allergies GONE.  The last one just blows me away, pollen so thick this year it's sticking in my throat and I had suffered so in years past.

    What else can be said.  I wish Atkins had never existed because any attempt to explain what has happened to me is met with people thinking this is what I am doing when in fact it is the whole primal/paleo thing.  Hard to package and sell a negative so information related to eliminating gluten remains almost cultish, a sin really.

  • Jeffrey Matthias

    6/13/2011 2:16:11 AM |

    Shortly after my 31st birthday I had a physical followed up with a cholesterol test. My HDL and LDL levels were fine, but my triglycerides were at 1168. This what the day I learned what triglycerides are. My doctor wanted me to go on a fibrate immediately, but I asked her a)if I could get a retest where I was sure I had fasted correctly (and them some!) and b)if I still had a problem, what I could do in my lifestyle to correct this instead of taking medication.

  • Jeffrey Matthias

    6/13/2011 2:19:31 AM |

    Well, it looks like an error lost the other few paragraphs, so I will sum it up:
    Retest was at a still alarming 600. I found your site and removed grains, sugar, and cut down to about 1 drink of hard liquor a week.

    After 3 months, my blood pressure was normal, I'd lost 40 pounds, and my triglycerides were at 168. Still a little to go, but my doctor was amazed at the results.

    Now I just have to work to figure out new meals that work within the way I eat. I will eat like this for the rest of my life.

  • Peter

    6/17/2011 12:02:14 PM |

    I accidentally went wheat free for two years in the 1960's.  I joined the Peace Corps and was sent to an island of 400 people in the western Pacific, where the people ate breadfruit, coconut, and fish.  I ate the same, and without trying to got down to a good weight.  There was no wheel on the island, much less a scale, so I'm not sure how much weight I lost.  The people seemed healthy, with lots of very old people.  I went back to the island decades later, and they now have imported food and rampant obesity.  

    It puzzles me why the government thinks Americans need grain on their plate, since lots of cultures don't have it and don't have any obvious health consequences from grain deficiency, apart from the fact that they don't tend to overweight.

  • stuart

    7/24/2011 5:12:54 PM |

    Gabriel,
    Welcome to reality!

  • Gwenyth Udd

    7/26/2011 12:35:26 PM |

    Wheat-free communion bread:

    I didn't take communion at church for several weeks after discovering I was wheat intolerant.

    Actually, the first Sunday I was still in wheat withdrawal and was really crabby, so I stayed home so as not to have to face, and abstain from, communion bread and all those wheaty cookies at coffee hour afterwards. The next morning, day number six with no wheat, was the day I woke up feeling wonderful and energetic, and began to celebrate the advantages of a wheat-free life.

    I did abstain for the next few weeks. Then I thought, "One little piece of wheat bread won't hurt me," and I took communion for three weeks. Tiredness sneaked up on me gradually, and I started to get itchy patches on my skin again, and my breathing got huffy...one little piece of wheat bread per week was a bad idea.

    So I checked with our priest and got the okay to approach the parish bread baker about trying a gluten-free bread mix for the communion loaves. He was amenable, and produced some lovely round loaves from a box of gluten-free sandwich bread mix that I found at the grocery store. The bread is a bit crumblier than wheat bread, so it has to be handled carefully. I felt very touched that the whole congregation was joining me in this.

    A few weeks after we started using the new kind of bread, there was a baptism and the baby's visiting godmother-to-be asked one of the ushers if we had any gluten-free communion wafers and could one please be set aside for her. She was startled and pleased by the answer, "Our whole loaf is gluten-free."

    This reminded me that I should anticipate what to do if I visited another church. I got on the internet and found that a company called Ener-G Foods makes gluten-free communion wafers. I ordered a packet of fifty of them. They're made out of potato and rice flour, and are a little bigger and darker than the usual wheat wafers.

    Now before I visit another church I call ahead, and if they don't have gluten-free wafers I ask if it's OK if I bring one for myself. I put one of the wafers into a baggie and carry it in a covered glass container (my favorite Pyrex again--this time the 1-cup size*) to protect it from breaking--they're fragile. I arrive fifteen minutes early, find the sacristy, introduce myself and hand over the wafer to be put on the little plate with the others, then find the priest and introduce myself so my face will be familiar at the altar rail.

    I've done this at three churches so far and been welcomed at each one. Someday I'd love to call somewhere and find out that they already have gluten-free bread or wafers. I feel like a pioneer, an ambassador for the next person with the same need.

    And I take a small bag of almonds to munch on at coffee hour.

    It's always worth the trouble to stay wheat-free.

  • Dr. William Davis

    8/2/2011 2:58:44 PM |

    Wow! I hadn't checked back in a few weeks and am thoroughly impressed--and grateful--at the incredible stories!
    These stories are so wonderful and compelling that I will be posting many of them on the blog as a feature. Sorry, but I used up the books I was going to give out for using the stories with the Rodale editors. However, perhaps we should do this again in future.

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