The Loh Life is writer/performer Sandra Tsing Loh's weekly take on life, family, and pop culture in early 21st century Southern California.
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Wheat belly: part 3, Christmas in January!

Sandra Tsing Loh continues to investigate a new diet.

Hello!  It's me, your new anti-glutenous friend!

Apparently, there are more and more of us each day, the PAG's - People Against Gluten.  And, we're relentlessly cheerful and energized!

To me, "gluten-free" used to be just a tedious aisle at Trader Joe's full of oat bars that tasted like wood chips.

But that was before I discovered this groundbreaking new book, Wheat Belly!

Wonder why post-holidays you have that wheat belly, bagel butt, or what author William Davis, MD, calls man cans?

For 30% of the population, the problem isn't high fructose corn syrup or sodas - but wheat!  Even simple whole wheat bread, two slices of which can spike your glucose higher than two tablespoons of sugar!  Huzzah!  I didn't even like wheat bread that much anyway!

The problem is, modern wheat isn't just wheat - it's a genetic modification, made for the convenience of contemporary agribusiness!  By contrast, what our ancestors ate was Eikorn bread, which causes far less of a glucose jump then wheat.  At least that's what Davis found, when he experimentally ate Eikorn and wheat bread back to back, and did fingerstick checks of his blood sugar levels.

Which became a bit of a problem, as I and my wheat belly heavily waded our way through the next 150 pages of the book.  So much complicated medical analysis!  Of wheat and digestion, skin, insulin, LDL counts, PH levels and Celiac disease, which is really serious, but affects just 1% of the population.

"Yes," I thought.  "But what about the book's star - Wheat BELLY?"

When I buy a new diet book, I have certain... expectations.  First, the book should open, as Dr. Phil books do, with the slap across the face - "You fat tub of lard!"  Then, it rubs the wounded spot saying, "It's not your fault.  It's just that other diet books are wrong."

But then, it should excitingly disclose which boringly healthy foods are actually bad, and which sinfully forbidden foods are surprisingly good.  And, by the end of Wheat Belly, finally, here it came!

The list of dreaded foods to beware?  Kidney beans, lentils, and... Yogurt!

We Wheat Bellies CAN eat unlimited nuts, avocados and - wait for it, people - cheese!  Not non-fat or low-fat cheese, but real cheese!  Beer is frowned upon, distilled from wheat, but Smirnoff vodka?  Distilled from potatoes!  Ding ding ding!  It's Christmas in January!

It recalls the romance of my first diet book, in the 1970s, when we chubby, Tab-drinking teens were told rice cakes and carrots were bad, steak and cheese, surprisingly good!  Of course, the book was Martinis and Whipped Cream by Ed McMahon, and almost four decades later, I am still dieting.

But still.  My cup is half-full.  Though not of wheat.