by Denise Buchanan
I spent the Christmas Holidays in not-so-sunny Seattlerelaxing with friends and eating generous portions of buttery-rich clam chowder, flan, pies, jambalaya, creamed potatoes, chicken wings and whatever else crossed my path. No wonder when
the New Year rolled in, there was an ever increasing roll around my waistline. When it reached gastronomical proportions, I put the brakes on my eating, looked in the mirror and gasped at the soon to be born child that was swelling
in my belly. Sad to say I couldn’t use the excuse that I was pregnant even though everyone around me was biting their tongue to refrain from asking, “When are you due?”
Having a slim build and high metabolism at age 49, standing 5ft 5ins, weighing 130lbs, I usually have no trouble eating and staying slim in the face of many a smorgasbord. However, this time I blamed the dull, overcast, rainy days in Seattle for pushing me into an eating frenzy. It didn’t help that my boyfriend was a top rate chef. So eat I did.
I noticed that the problem was not so much that I ate everything in sight, it was that I never seemed full for very long and was
constantly craving sweets, breads or pastries that left me feeling bloated and uncomfortable. I then had to recover on the sofa from the binging, and as soon as I felt better, experienced an empty feeling that left me searching for the next treat.
When I got back to my home in California after 12 days of this, and the sun hit my body, I immediately felt energized to exercise and get busy losing the 8 pound “companion” I had gained on my short trip to Seattle. I exercised, ate smaller portions, drank lots of water, and worked my body hard. But, I still wasn’t happy with how I was feeling, and even with eating smaller portions of food I wasn’t losing my spare tire.
So what was I doing wrong?
A dear friend suggested that, as I was almost 50, maybe I had developed intolerance to some of the foods I was eating. That lit a spark that led me to pay attention to how I was feeling after I ate each type of food on my plate.
What I found was that when I ate wheat-based products I experienced bloating, indigestion, congestion, irritable bowel, highs and lows, and general brain fog – and when I had a diet free of these products I experienced greater energy, I breathed better, my mind was sharp, I had regular bowel movements, and most of all, I started losing my pot belly!
So it had nothing to do with my upcoming half-century mark! That made me feels even better. I did further research and was surprised to learn of the many ailments and constant cravings linked to wheat-based diets.
Dr. William Davis, in the book “Wheat Belly” broke down in simple language that approximately 99% of the current food supply in the United States is laced with genetically modified grains that have been shown to wreak havoc on the human body, leading to various digestive and health disorders. Once his patients eliminated the wheat from their diets, they found themselves on a path back to health.
What wheat products do more than any other carbohydrate, according to Dr. Davis, is greatly elevate blood sugar level in the body. This is important because when we eat bread and wheat-based products, our body releases the hormone insulin which converts the wheat’s sugars or glucose to fats. The higher the blood’s glucose level after eating, the more insulin is released, and thus the more fat is deposited – particularly abdominal or deep visceral fat.
Dr. Davis and many other health practitioners are onto something significant. Their ideas run counter to all the Food Pyramids and stand the test when you see obese Americans of all ages following the Standard American Diet, (SAD for short), with little or no sustained health improvements. Could it be because a SAD diet is high in unhealthy saturated and hydrogenated fats, low in fiber and complex carbohydrates, low in plant based foods and high in processed foods?
What is sad, is that the American diet contributes to diseases such as cancer and coronary heart disease yet the country is spending more money on cancer research than any other country in the world. Perhaps we need to take another look at what we are eating first and develop a lifestyle approach that works. I can say that eliminating wheat from my diet has certainly made a huge difference in my energy level and overall feeling of well being. Of course, it meant finding a new way of eating that supports the optimal functioning of my body. What does this new way of eatin look like?
It’s a diet filled with fruits and vegetables, organic nuts, meats and dairy, and it provides a way to take my health back into my own hands. This diet does however, require a shift in consciousness away from the Standard American Diet. The best gage to use to judge the effectiveness of a wheat-free diet is how you feel after you have tried it. I feel great and I have so much more energy. I can even say now that I look forward to a fit fifty and to future holidays filled with fun, because I will be creatively designing scrumptious items for the menu, and I will have more energy to enjoy my friends and family rather than spending my time feeling bloated on the sofa.
Sacred Gardens provides services to assist you in growing and harvesting your own fruits and vegetables, in containers, in your back yard, on a farm, within a community garden or even on the parkway strip in front of your house or apartment.
We help you become integrally involved in cultivating and growing new seeds in your life and transform the way you see and use food. We also provide garden-fitness classes, cooking classes, farm tours, sacred garden tours and individual consultations. Let 2012 be the year you begin to cultivate the best of yourself and step into the bigger life and smaller waistline that is waiting for you and your loved ones.
Article updated 3/10/12
Denise Buchanan has a Masters in Landscape Architecture, a Masters in Spiritual Psychology and she is a Licensed Landscape Contractor and a Certified Aerobics Instructor. She is the President of Sacred Garden Designs, Inc. a sustainable landscape design firm in Los Angeles that is committed to healthy living and cultivating a healthy world…one garden at a time. She can be contacted at email: [email protected] at www.sacredgardendesigns.com