Does Wheat Deserve All the Blame?
Posted On Apr 10, 2017
Wheat has never received so much attention as it has over the past couple of years. Everywhere we turn some expert on the Internet is proclaiming that wheat is downright unhealthy for a person. With the food industry jumping on the food bandwagon proclaiming to offer everything on the food chart as “gluten free,” we have to wonder what an expert on the other side has to say.
So we turned to Dr. John Douillard, DC, CAP, a globally recognized leader in the fields of natural health, Ayurveda, and sports medicine. In the past 30 years, Dr. Douillard has helped over 100,000 patients repair their digestive system to be able to eat wheat and dairy again. He is also the creator of LifeSpa.com, a former NBA director of player development and nutrition advisor, and author of the book, Eat Wheat: A Scientific and Clinically-Proven Approach to Safely Bringing Wheat and Dairy Back into Your Diet. In his own words, Dr. Douillard demonstrates eight simple steps to retrain our bodies to digest wheat again. We also asked Dr. Douillard to explain the types of wheat and what he ate in a typical day. We hope you find this information helpful when it comes to addressing the wheat dilemma.
Eight Simple Steps to Retrain Your Body to Digest Wheat Again
By Dr. John Douillard
In a recent report, 70-80 percent of people experience some form of digestive distress, while over one-quarter are obese and more than 100 million American adults are pre-diabetic and don’t know it. While many like to blame all of this on wheat, many food scientists do not agree.
While the standard diet, which includes processed wheat, is likely responsible for these health concerns, there is also plenty of science that links a diet rich in whole grains including whole wheat to weight loss, better digestion, and lower blood sugar. The Mediterranean Diet is still revered as one of the healthiest diets on the planet, and is replete with whole grains and wheat. The centenarians (folks over 100 years old) who live in the Blue Zones eat a non-processed whole food diet, once again, rich in whole grains and wheat.
So, why are so many Canadians having trouble digesting wheat? That’s just it… They are not digesting it! Many who are gluten sensitive today digested wheat fine when they were young, but are currently having trouble. Somewhere along the line, our ability to digest foods that are a bit harder to digest, like wheat and dairy, became compromised.
REMOVE ALL PROCESSED FOODS
The first step in rebooting digestive strength is removing all the processed foods. A processed food diet has been linked to a 141 percent increase in belly fat, high blood sugar and high cholesterol. In the same study, a diet of whole grains including wheat reduced the risk of these health concerns by 38 percent.
Fitness pioneer Jack LaLanne once told me the best way to eat is to never eat anything out of a package. The reason why processed foods are processed in the first place is so they can sit on a shelf for extended periods of time. Whole foods, as we all know, go bad quickly and it is not always possible to eat freshly cooked food. So, here are simple ingredient label navigation tips to avoid highly processed foods.
- Avoid all added sugars or artificial sweeteners. Allow nothing over 6 grams of naturally-occurring sugar per serving.
2. Avoid refined, cooked oils. (Anything baked with oils or fried, i.e., bread, baked goods, chips, etc.)
3. Avoid all chemicals. Don’t eat it if you don’t recognize the name in the ingredients.
REBOOT LIVER AND GALLBLADDER FUNCTION
In the 1960’s, when cholesterol was put on the nutrient concern list, food manufacturers started boiling, bleaching, deodorizing, and refining vegetable oils. They were used as preservatives to keep bread squishy and “fresh” for weeks. After almost 60 years of blindly consuming these indigestible oils, they remain the number one reason for the great digestive breakdown. The processed oils both congested the liver and gallbladder, rendering the liver’s bile unable to break down both good and bad fats and insufficient to buffer stomach acids. Without adequate bile production to neutralize stomach acid, the stomach will not produce the needed acid to digest proteins like gluten and the casein in dairy. This has resulted in a huge spike in gallbladder surgeries and epidemic levels of obesity, high blood sugar, and food intolerances. It is natural to blame the hard-to-digest foods, but removing them only addresses the symptoms and leaves the cause – weak digestion left untreated that will haunt your health down the road.
BOOST BILE FLOW
The first step in strengthening the stomach’s digestive acid is to make sure there is plenty of bile flow from the liver and gallbladder. To boost bile flow, enjoy these foods daily:
4. Eat one red beet and one apple daily. They can be raw, cooked, juiced, or blended.
5. Add 1 teaspoon of coconut oil and one teaspoon of high-quality olive oil.
6. Eat more artichokes, celery, and leafy greens.
7. Drink fennel and fenugreek tea with meals.
STRENGTHEN STOMACH FIRE
Once the liver is making adequate bile and the bile ducts and gallbladder are less congested, then you can stimulate the stomach to make the stomach acid needed to break down hard-to-digest so-called “allergenic” foods. Instead of taking digestive enzymes or an HCI stomach acid pill, I prefer to stimulate the stomach to make its own acid, and the small intestine and pancreas to make their own digestive enzymes. This is best done with the following five spices:
8. Ginger, cumin, coriander, cardamom, and fennel
Studies suggest that when these five spices are used together, they act as a total upper digestive reboot. They can be taken as a supplement, in cooking, or used to flavor food. These five star spices:
- Increase bile flow (no need for bile salts)
- Increase pancreatic enzyme activity
- Increase small intestine enzyme activity
- Decrease gas and bloating
- Increase fat and sugar metabolism
- Are powerful free radical scavengers
- Support optimal weight
- Support microbiology health (especially ginger)
- Improve gut health
- Support a healthy growth rate of good bacteria (especially ginger)
- Decrease H. pylori from adhering to stomach
- Are digestive stimulants
- Quicken the transit time in the intestines – supporting better elimination
Following these eight simple steps of nutritional navigation, boosting bile flow, and stomach strengthening, will set you on the right path to retrain your body to digest (and enjoy!) wheat again.
We also asked Dr. Douillard to help clarify a few questions we had after reading his article.
Since all wheat is not equal, what kinds of wheat products would you suggest are best to eat?
Most important is to eat non-processed organic whole wheat. For example, the ingredients in a loaf of healthy bread should read: organic whole wheat, water, salt, and organic starter (or sprouted or soaked grain). Most important is to avoid bread or grain products cooked with vegetable oils of any kind. They are there to extend the shelf life and may just shorten your life according to science.
These breads are often found in the refrigerator section or at artisan or natural food store bakeries. In supermarkets, you will more likely find these essential ingredient breads in sourdough breads. Start reading those labels—if you don’t recognize the ingredients, then don’t eat it.
Are the five spices you suggest better eaten raw or cooked and why?
The five spices, ginger, cumin, coriander, fennel, and cardamom, are perfectly fine if they are cooked or eaten raw. Traditionally they were used both ways. The flavor changes with heating but the benefits remain intact. You can dry roast them or grind the raw spices and sprinkle them on an already prepared meal. You can cook with them or make a tea out of them and drink it with the meal. The one golden rule though is that if you cook, dry roast or heat them, eat them right away and not as leftovers because the seed oils that are released after heating can become rancid if left out.
What is your typical diet in a day?
I try to eat as much seasonal foods as possible. The microbes in the soil change seasonally and the plants harvested in each season carry the microbes we need in our gut to help boost immunity in the winter, decongest us in the spring, and dissipate heat in the summer. In the winter, I eat plain yogurt with nuts and seeds for breakfast, I love a rich vegetable soup or stew with artisan bread and butter for lunch, and then a lighter dinner like a kale and beet salad and some more of that soup from lunch. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3618437/
For more information, please visit, www.eatwheatbook.com and connect with Dr. Douillard on Twitter, @johndouillard.