When I got pregnant with Liam, I weighed about 12 pounds less than I do now. I have never been able to reach that pre-Liam weight. (Yes, one theory is that it's all his fault.) Even when I trained for my half-marathon this fall and my running was regular and included distances in the double-digits. Lately, my running has suffered a bit because of my schedule: fall play turned into spring musical turned into spring sports for the kids. But, I am not "inactive" by any stretch of the imagination. I am the mother of three very busy kids. Even though people tell me that they can't see the 10-12 pounds I've put on, I know it's there. And I know that as I get older, it's only going to get more difficult to maintain a healthy weight. I've also noticed a decline in energy and an increase in fatigue.
I stumbled upon a best-selling iBook called "Wheat Belly" by Dr. William Davis. Perhaps you've seen him on Dr. Oz's show, or on any variety of television features lately. Dr. Davis is a cardiologist who recommended that his patients cut out wheat to combat pre-diabetes and diabetes conditions. Why wheat? Because whole wheat bread raises blood sugar index as much as or more than table sugar. I was surprised by that. Aren't we always hearing how we should increase our whole grains? Dr. Davis's book outlines the history of what is now our modern wheat -- it's not our grandmother's wheat, that's for sure. Those amber waves of grain are about 18 inches high now.
Wheat also has an effect on the brain which is similar to addictive substances like drugs and alcohol. Wheat is used as a filler in many, many food precisely because of this addictive effect. Make people want to eat more = make more profit. The logic is not difficult to follow, really.
As I started to read "Wheat Belly," I found his discussion of modern athletes to ring true. Dr. Davis found himself overweight despite running 3-5 miles several times a week and following the commonly prescribed pyramid diet. When he advised patients to cut the wheat, guess what happened? They lost weight, their symptoms (lethargy, IBS complications, rashes, chronic headaches and joint pain) disappeared. He was focusing on their blood sugar levels and discovered amazing side effects. When those same patients re-introduced wheat into their system, they noticed an increase in their symptoms.
I have decided to attempt the wheat-free (or as close to it as possible!) lifestyle for a week. I showed a TED talk by Google engineer Matt Cutts to my rising juniors last week. As part of their summer journal assignment, I've encouraged them to try a variation of his 30-Day challenge -- I made it a 7-Day challenge instead. His philosophy is simple: small, manageable changes are more sustainable. Time becomes more meaningful because life is being lived deliberately.
I will track my progress here on my blog. I've started the day with scrambled eggs and black coffee (the black coffee is a story for another day...quick version: a student who is a barista at Alabaster taught me that if the coffee is good, I really don't need cream or sugar).