How much wheat do you think you eat in a day? If you're not sure, the answer is probably much more than you realize. Before I get to the reasons why we should all ease off or follow a wheat-free diet, take a minute to think about all the foods wheat is in!
- Breakfast is practically built on wheat: toast, cereal, pancakes, waffles, Pop Tarts, croissants, muffins and bagels.
- Lunch is commonly on sandwich bread, a roll or in a wrap.
- Dinner often includes pasta, wheat-crusted meats and breads again
- Processed snacks usually contain some sort of wheat, whether it's a handful of crackers or a whole grain bar
Benefits of a Wheat-Free Diet
So what are a few benefits of easing off wheat and grains?
1. You'll Absorb more Iron:
Not everyone needs additional iron. In fact, excessive iron can be dangerous. But if you're taking in foods that are rich in phytic acid, particularly wheat, oats, and you're probably not absorbing as much as you think. Low iron means low energy. No one wants that.
2. Your Bones Will Be Stronger:
Since grains block the absorption of calcium and we don't get much use out of the phosphorous (bone-building) that wheat contains, we run the risk of becoming deficient. Unless you're eating a diet rich in phosphorous-containing foods (see list below, or in Foods That Help You Stress Less), you could really run into trouble over the long run.
3. Your Joints Will Ache Less:
Aches are caused by inflammation. Inflammation can happen anywhere in the body - from your joints to your digestive tract to your heart to your face (acne). It's a really big deal that we need to pay attention to, but I'll save that rant for another day. Wheat contains a compound called lectins. These lectins are there to keep the wheat safe, fighting off bacteria and fungus. Guess what...it does the same thing in our digestive tract, too! Over the decades, wheat has been hybridized so much that our body is no longer able to adapt to the huge amount of lectins. Some people are so sensitive to wheat and other grains now, that they can no longer digest it (celiac disease). Most of us can tolerate a little with no problem, but when we go gung-ho eating wheat or grain-based products all day, every day - we become inflamed.
What You Can Do to Eat Less Wheat
There are a few foods that people are very sensitive to when it comes to telling them what's good and what's bad to eat. Wheat is one of those foods. I'm not telling you to cut out wheat. But if you've got aches and pains, skin problems, or even digestive issues, why not try cutting out wheat for two weeks and see how you feel?