Bet you thought I stopped reading, huh? I’ve actually read a ton since my last book review, just nothing that prompted anything worth saying. This, however, was a very thought provoking read. To review it though, I need to tackle it from two different perspectives: what he said and how he said it. And to be confusing I’m doing it in reverse order…ha!
How he said it. In his attempt to make the dry science palatable he filled the book with flat sarcasm and jokes that weren’t that funny because he was trying too hard to be funny. It left the book sounding very unprofessional which was a shame because he had decent points to make, which were substantiated with data. Also he was so biased it was off putting at times, because that bias came out as snarky. And not even “ha ha, that was good” snarky. It was just childish. You can be passionate and have a strong bias (why else would you write a book about it?) without coming off as the mean, weird kid on the playground that no one can talk to. The paragon, in my mind, for a nice balance of readability, professionalism and raw information is The Omnivore’s Dilemma. Everyone who cares about what they put in their mouths should read that book. Period. I wish I could give such a broad, unqualified recommendation on Wheat Belly, but I can’t. It was a quick read and he was interesting. Lots of good information, but he came off as being kind of a snot.
Now onto what he said. If you like wheat or can’t imagine life without one of it’s myriad byproducts, this book will be a rough read. He talks in depth about what wheat/gluten does to all the body systems and the chemistry and physiology behind what he is saying. Frankly, it is scary stuff. That’s why as soon as I can get myself sorted out, the kids are going off wheat too (husband guy joined me January 1st). To anyone who gets the GAPS diet, or the Paleo Diet, or is diabetic this is old news. For most people this is shocking and that is, of course, the point of the book. There is a lot of helpful stuff here, if you are struggling with health issues or are just interested in your body. I would recommend it to everyone, poor writing tone aside, because most people now a days should know what they are doing to themselves. However, it has been painted as very controversial which is why I don’t blanket recommend it to anyone who will listen. As far as his other diet recommendations (no sugar, few fruits, high fats and high amounts of quality meat and dairy) it is “dangerous” to some but nothing new. These ideas have been gaining traction over the last 10 years so really it’s nothing too far fetched.
Personally, it was helpful for me to understand a lot about why I feel so much better since I went off wheat/gluten 9+ weeks ago. It’s a long story but the short version is that I was having funky mood swings and was exhausted all the time (beyond normal “mom-life is hard” and “I chase active munchkins all day”). Finally I got to the point where I decided my cyclical meltdowns were not normal and around the same time I was muscle tested by two different professionals who both said, “Yeah, you and gluten…not so much.” So off I went and I haven’t been tired or had a weird meltdown since, despite getting pregnant at almost exactly the same time I went off wheat. For those of the Latter Day Saint persuasion, this can also be difficult because not only do you most likely have bags/cans of wheat in your house somewhere but we are taught that wheat is “the staff of life.” For me this was an easy reconciliation…my body doesn’t do well with wheat, so it’s not something I should have. And I don’t miss it. Honestly, the only reason the kids aren’t totally off of it is because tortillas and bread are convenient. As soon as I’m over morning sickness junk, shifting our diet is my top priority. Read it and draw your own conclusions as to whether or not this feels right for you and your body. I totally buy it, and have seen huge improvements. Who knows what will happen for my kids, especially my Layna? I know for sure that going off wheat certainly won’t hurt anything and there is enough to be gained that it is worth the inconvenience. Now to actually make it happen…stupid wheat being easy!