I am a carb junkie. I love cereal and bagels for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch, and pasta for supper. My snack of choice is pretzels, a granola bar, or whole-grain anything. I have a weakness for fresh bread and any kind of ‘doughy’ dessert. Coming from a background of long-distance running, this is not entirely surprising, as I was always coached to carb-load to fuel my runs. Upon entering into the world of Crossfit a couple of years ago, I was introduced to the Paleo lifestyle- essentially a hunter/gatherer diet that focuses on protein, fat, and vegetables. Quite the shift from my carb-heavy nutrition. But I wasn’t quite sold, and continued along eating a ‘healthy’ diet, complete with mounds of carbohydrate, mostly in the form of wheat.
The Universe tapped me on the shoulder a second time when Wheat Belly became a NY Times Bestseller. The buzz surrounding this book was big and I was intrigued with the research angle. Written by a cardiologist, Wheat Belly points out many observations that I was noticing in myself: despite all the training I was doing, my body was holding onto abdominal fat, I felt the highs and lows of my blood sugar throughout the day, and I felt bloated a lot of the time. The wheels in my head were spinning as I ate my breakfast bagel.
The final push for me came through my baby girl. She is exclusively breastfed, and when she was six weeks old, I started to notice that she was developing an eczema-like rash on her feet and arms. Being a chiropractor who supports natural medicine, I decided to try eliminating wheat from my diet to see if I noticed a change in her- after all, wheat promotes inflammation in the body. I am not exaggerating when I say her eczema cleared up completely. Immediately. Within a day or two, her rash was gone. And another side-effect that I hadn’t anticipated was that her spit-ups also stopped completely. Immediately. She went from being a twice-a-day puker to never spitting up again. She is 19 weeks old now, and she has not spit up since the day I eliminated wheat when she was 6 weeks old. Pretty compelling evidence if you ask me.
As is the case many times as a parent, we will sacrifice for our children, but not for ourselves. My daughter was the incentive I needed to try a wheat-free diet and now we’re both reaping the benefits- no more bloat for me, no more mid-afternoon cravings and fatigue, and I’ve lost five pounds. Does this mean I’ll be wheat-free always and forever? Probably not. My mother-in-law’s homemade bread is too good to pass up from time to time, and I never say no to birthday cake, but for the most part a wheat-free lifestyle is the new me. My name is Ashley and I am a reformed wheat-addict.