Fellow Adventurers, how are you?
I hope you’re doing great.
Because Yours Truly has been sick since Easter which, in dietary terms, was rather heavy on wheat and fat and, sadly, dairy – two days of millefeuilles! Well, what goes around (=empty calories), comes around (=”achoo!”), right? But I’m getting off topic…
Let’s have a look at a book that says your whole grain bread is killing you, shall we?
Well, Wheat Belly is the first “bad news guys – and look, a better diet” book to actually leave me frrrrrrustrated.
I know, I felt gloomy anyway. As mentioned above – I’m sick. As if this wasn’t enough, I’ve recently discovered that martens (aww…) have hibernated under my Sportster’s cover (cuuuute!), crapped on its seat (duh!), and feasted on its wires (WTF guys, WTF!?). I need a new seat now. And new wires. And the Harley needs a complete check-up and make-up. Not that weather in Berlin was compelling anyway. Boy oh boy…
And then I read a book that tells me to ban all cereals from my diet!!!
Don’t get me wrong, I will be fair with my review.
I also happen to agree with the most facts the book has to offer. I do love latest research and great real-life anecdotes put together in a comprehensive write-up.
BUT, Ladies and Gents, BUT!..
Well, one at a time, shall we?
WHO’S BAD? WHEAT’S BAD!
First off: Wheat Belly is a great book with great content and a good intention – and a catchy title, while at that. And if you’re on a “healthy diet” and maybe even being all sporty but a) can’t lose weight, b) can’t stop junk food craving, c) have symptoms like skin conditions, digestive problems etc. etc. – read this book.
It’s basically about why a wheat-free (or even gluten-free/completely cereals-free) diet is the best for us.
The book is understandably written. The author, Dr Davis, is a cardiologist, so he’s got a few stories about his patients to share – mostly how they got cured by stopping eating wheat.
He explains where the industrially used, man-made “new” wheat strain originates from and what its (rather horrible, trust me on that) effects on health are. In short, the “new” cheap and widely used wheat is highly addicitive, and the “whole grain” message we are bombarded with is a myth and a dangerous lie. So – yes: The book provides understandable, verifiable theoretical knowledge.
And that’s also the book’s weak spot: it’s all theory. Yes – the author’s right – wheat is cheap and put nearly everywhere, so it’s really hard to escape. The eager reader now needs practical knowledge.
A RANT: WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO EAT?
Now, I’m not really into bread, or pasta, or pizza, but they do make a good, easy, convenient base. Especially for vegetarians or vegans!
Most snacks are wheat-based, and pasta, sandwiches, pizza, burritos, buns, you name it rock many a menu. If you’re not an omnivore, a wheat-free diet gets tricky. And a lot of research does suggest that plant-based is best! So what am I supposed to eat?
Now I was thrilled to see the book’s suggestions in the recipe section.
I was disappointed.
Because that’s what the Wheat Belly recipe section offers:
- a set of mayo-based and mayo-free sauce/dressing recipes (seriously?)
- recipes like baked eggplant, ratatouille, aspagarus, tuna salad, fruit with yoghurt, berry smoothee, and other completely wheat-unrelated recipes (why, actually?)
- followed by a neat bunch of even more obvious dessert recipes like almond cantuccini, sweet bread, coconut flour/buckwheat flour based muffins, chocolate-tofu mousse
- one “pizza dough” recipe where the “dough” is made of cauliflower
- one “pasta” recipe with pasta made of zucchini
The recipes also feature a huge number of dairy products (which other researchers have proven to be just as unhealthy). But the recipe section fails to offer what it should offer – a proper substitute for pizza, pasta, and sandwiches. And no, dear Dr. Davis, with all due respect, a “pizza dough” made of cauliflower. Just. Doesn’t. Cut. It! (For the record: I love cauliflower.) To me, the recipe section is a token: “Look, we’ve got recipes. Check”.
So my conclusion: Read it, take in the knowledge – yes, absolutely. Expect it to fit in with any other research proving meat and dairy and corn starch to be as harmful as Dr Davis proves wheat is (Forks over Knives, Food Inc.) – no. Expect practical tips – not so much.
The book does have a spin-off – Wheat Belly The Cookbook. And while The Business Development Me can’t deny the elegance of this marketing job, as a Sympathetic Reader I wish the recipes in the “original” book were more helpful, more of Great Cliffhanger Recipes. You know, the kind that leaves you gasping for more good stuff. Oh wait, The Business Development Me also thinks “cliffhanger recipes” would be best now.
Because: How am I to know if the cookbook is any better?