Bellies and Other Things

A friend has sent yet another e-mail extolling the virtues of following the wheat-free diet regimen. For over two years now, she has periodically sent me these things inferring I could cure myself of MS. Well, for almost that long I’ve used this information and, so far, I’ve still got the thing.

To be fair, I haven’t followed the diet to the letter. Everything on the “don’t eat” list have been staples of mine since forever: bagels, toast, hot dog and hamburger rolls, cakes, cookies. Even giving up pasta was unthinkable – I’m Italian! But the premise of genetically altered wheat has a basis in fact. The wheat we consumed fifty years ago is not the same stuff we eat now.

I knew I was in trouble the moment I read “The Wheat-Belly Diet” by  William Davis, M.D. I got it on loan from my local library. Right there I should have guessed I may not be a devotee of the plan. If I thought I would be, I would have bought the darn thing. For a while, I couldn’t get past its cover:  pictured were six bagels, one atop the other. Just the sight of that made me hunger for one with cream cheese. Once I got past that, I read about the harmful effects of whole grain. Among them:  chronic illnesses, minor skin rashes, high blood sugar, and yes, those unattractive stomach bulges, or, as Dr. Davis refers to them – wheat bellies.

For all these years I’ve been telling folks my tummy was the result of childbearing. But since my kids are now having kids of their own this excuse has worn a little thin. But since I’m battling MS now, I’m motivated to be a little more conscious of what I eat. The book explains the addictive quality of this new grain, and I believe it. That’s why I cannot go totally wheat free. That and my belief that 100% doing of anything is borderline psychotic. Furthermore, drastically changing and eliminating anything totally right off the bat can’t be good for us.

So, I’m slowly (like two years slowly) eliminating wheat from my diet. I’ve got wheat-free pasta now, so I’m a happy Italian camper. Still, wheat can be included in the most unlikely places: cream-based soups, for instance. They use wheat as an ingredient. Label reading is a must and I confess to being sloppy in this regard. But I don’t have Subway subs anymore, or burgers from Wendy’s. If I slip up and do have a bagel from Dunkin’ Donuts (or one of their donuts, for that matter) I am distressingly conscious of being a bad girl. My body gets weak with MS symptoms and I call myself every bad name until I return to “normal.”

Still, I cannot pass up little treats like cheese with wheat-ed crackers, wheat-ed Cheerios in the morning, a wheat-ed burrito wrap with any filling for lunch. I think I’m about 80% percent wheat-free but I still have 100% MS. Maybe someday they’ll come up with an ice-cream diet to cure MS. I’d be all over that one! I’d even buy the book.



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