I’ve mentioned in several posts that back in my grain-eating days, I developed arthritis –- especially in my left shoulder, which eventually required surgery to remove a bone spur the surgeon described as “tremendous.”  (He wasn’t paying the spur a compliment.)

At dinner one night on the low-carb cruise, I spoke with a fellow blogger named Howard Harkness (above, with his wife Georgene and Dana Carpender) who recounted a similar experience …  all the more harrowing in his case, since he plays and teaches violin, as he explained recently on his blog:

I had a number of health problems, including high blood pressure, poor night vision, chronic acne, almost constant heartburn — and a mysterious pain in my hands and knees. That “arthritis” started back in the mid-90′s, and had gradually worsened to the point where I was forced to quit playing my violin in public because I was unable to practice enough to preserve my skill — it hurt too much. I had complained to several doctors about it, and none of them could find anything wrong. One gave me some medication which had side-effects even worse than the arthritis (and, as I discovered when I quit taking it, it was highly addictive!). I decided to simply quit complaining and just live with it after one doctor suggested that I see a shrink.

… A little less than a week into the diet, I cut out the grains completely. No more bread. No more raisin bran with skim milk. No more rice, no more oatmeal. At that point, my wife and I went through the kitchen throwing out stuff.

It was almost as traumatic as going through a divorce, throwing out all those boxes of cereal, loaves of bread, bags of flour (we baked our own bread in those days, because we thought it was ‘healthier’ that way…), canned colas, popcorn (along with the air-popper) and other items we decided we weren’t going to eat anymore.

Two days after I had cut out all grains, something amazing happened. I woke up that morning with no hand pain!

You read the full story here.

Just imagine how many cases of arthritis could be avoided if more doctors made the connection between grains and auto-immune disorders.  Then they’d prescribe a gluten-free diet instead of a visit to a shrink.

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49 Responses to “Weekend Bonus: Grains and Arthritis”
  1. Jan says:

    The chronic arthritis at the base of both my thumbs has virtually disappeared since giving up grains and vegetable oils. It was quite bad, too – I couldn’t even touch my thumb to my pinky on either hand (well, without screaming in pain).

    Grains…they are of the devil.

    Wheat is murder.

  2. Brian says:

    Good for him.

    I’m always amazed at how traumatic this kind of exercise is to someone. Always! But only for a few days, then they start feeling better and wonder what all the fuss was about. 🙂

    And to your last point, unfortunately that would be fantasy land.

    We can dream, can’t we?

  3. Be says:

    How can the medical profession ignore this kind of “evidence”. Anecdotal, sure, but before prescribing “medication which had side-effects even worse” how can they not say at least, “Hey, some people have found that cutting out grains/sugar/carbs/milk/nightshades/etc has helped”? Are they really that hypocritical about the Hippocratic oath?

    I’m afraid if it’s not drug-related, chances are they haven’t heard of it.

  4. At work this week, the 3 coworkers I sit with all developed allergies. They were sniffling, sneezing, teary-eyed, and high on benadryl. And they all eat like crap. (Though they think that they eat “healthy” – but for them eating “healthy” unfortunately means eating little to no meat and lots of grains 🙁 ) I’m not sure how to tell them that they could probably fix their allergies if they changed their diets… I am worried I would offend them! I’m pretty sure that this arthritis example and their allergies fall in the same category – grain-induced illnesses. (I don’t even cut out grains completely, I just don’t eat much of em.)

    I’ve tried sharing this information with “health-conscious” people I know who suffer from inflammation and auto-immune disorders, but they can’t be convinced. All you can do is put it out there, then let them make their own decisions.

  5. Lori says:

    I sent my best friend that story (from the comments in the Heart Scan Blog). She has many of the same symptoms, and it’s hard for her to play the piano, which she does for a living. If she doesn’t find it easy to go gluten-free at home, she should find it easy when she comes out to visit me in a few weeks.

    I hope she gives it a try. I can’t imagine choosing bread over the piano.

  6. Harpo Mike says:

    That is one of the things i noticed about cutting down on all that stuff as well. A lot of the little pains that i would contribute to working( I install home security alarms) went pretty much away, or are not so bad the less carbs i eat.. Not to be disgusting, bit i think the buntion on my foot is going down as well. ( that might be subjective, but it sure does look smaller. ( that’s what she said.:).. ) It is quite amazing..:)

    I noticed I rarely get backaches or restless legs, which were fairly common for me when I ate grains.

  7. Obee says:

    I had the same sort of experience, but it didn’t involve arthritis. I had seasonal allergies so bad that I was often on two different kinds of inhalers. Doctors never really called it asthma but it might as well have been. Anyway, after eliminating wheat, all those symptoms went away, and have stayed away for about 15 years.

    Inflammation in a different form.

  8. Amy Dungan says:

    Wow, what a life changing discovery for him! I rarely eat grains in any form. And when I see other people eating them the words leaky gut syndrome immediately come to mind. That visual alone is enough to keep me away from them. LOL But I’ve noticed a serious difference in my health since cutting them out of my diet. There are so many reason to avoid grains… and so little time to explain them all. 🙂

    In addition to arthritis, I’ve noticed if I eat wheat, a bit of the old asthma comes back for day or so.

  9. Barbara says:

    I get that, on a lesser scale, every time I have anything containing gluten. Mostly in my knees and hips – it normally disappears a day or two after. But apparently it doesn’t exist…..

    There was an article in our local paper yesterday about the whole gluten-free ‘fad’ with the ‘experts’ totally dismissing this non-coeliac reaction. The writer gave it a long fandangled name I can’t remember now. Thankfully there was a portion of the article given to Dr Rodney Ford which I didn’t have enough time to read properly but I don’t feel it was as strong as the comments by those strongly in favour of gluten – as in the usual ‘we need grains to live’ kind of hogwash.

    I really noticed a difference after the surgery, while the shoulder was healing. Eat wheat, the shoulder would ache. Even now, if I decide to indulge in one of my very rare pizza nights, I may as well take an ibuprofen as an appetizer.

  10. Ginger says:

    Every person I know who’s given the wheat free/gluten free diet a try has reported feeling better, younger, stronger, more energetic and less achey, and reversed their digestive system issues. Going grain free, even more so. Personally, I had the same experience. I can’t recommend it enough and I’ve never felt like I am missing anything. I prefer ribs to bread anyway!

    I used to always pack Pepto-Bismal when I traveled. Now I can’t remember the last time I needed it. I’m sure it’s been years.

  11. tracker says:

    We have bags and bags of grains (wheat, oats, rye, etc) from before we started eating like this. We thought grinding our own grain was healthier LOL

    Now, I found out that deer really like grains and oats, so we’re working on feeding all of it to them.

    Awhile back, someone who’d just switched to a low-carb diet asked what to do with all the grain cereals in the pantry. I suggested dumping it in a field and letting the natural grain-eaters have a feast.

  12. Be says:

    Restless Leg Syndrome! You just reminded me of something that doesn’t bother me anymore! My previous back ache is gone but I attribute that to less weight and more energy & exercise. I guess they are ALL related to a good diet.

    I think a number of ailments are all driven by inflammation.

  13. Sue says:

    Me too. I no longer have asthma, hay fever, allergies or joint pain as long as I keep the grains out of my diet. On a positive note, in discussion with two gastroenterologists this week, I mentioned my ‘grain free’ status and nary an eyebrow was raised, nor comment passed ……

    No comments about the dangers of giving up an entire food group? There is hope after all.

  14. Chris says:

    I’m glad you can play violin again, George. I think I’m having less elbow and knee pain myself. I’m still new to LCHF, and I know I generally feel slot better. You’re wife is beautiful and you all look great!

  15. Firebird says:

    I’ve been low carb for several years with times on and off it as cheat days, etc. I have, in earnest, been really, really low carb for eight weeks now. Lost 9 lbs., but I still have issues with physical energy and stamina. I still have some allergies (generally pollen), which I take no medications for, I just bear it. But recently, I am experiencing nausea. Has anyone experienced this at the eight week mark?

    Chime in, anyone who’s been through this. I never experienced the nausea part, although I felt tired at times during the first couple of weeks on induction.

    • Angie says:

      Every time I have tried to go completely grain free, I have had horrible nausea. I have multiple medical problems including Cystic Fibrosis which messes with your digestion so I’ve always thought it was related to that. For me, it could also be that the foods without grains are too flavorful because that’s also an issue of mine and grains are so bland/plain that it’s a good buffer.

      My nutritionist thought I might not be getting enough carbs because different people have different needs. My body is always fighting infections so I need more fuel than a normal person my size and she says even if it’s just starchy veggies instead of grains, I need more carbs. That does help somewhat so she may be on to something.. but I don’t get completely normal until I at least have some rice in my diet. That still is extremely helpful with my body pains, making them almost completely disappear.

      • PJ (RightNOW) says:

        Sounds like your gut biome, top and bottom, is simply adapted to grains. If you don’t get them, they start starving and they are unhappy, and when you feed them something different, the bacteria are not really designed to eat those other things, because you have bred and supported bacteria for grains instead.

        Not saying this is so; I haven’t got a clue. I’m just saying that “if I go grain-free I get nauseated” sounds like a problem with the body. Pretty sure that is not remotely normal.

  16. Susan says:

    I gave up grains over two years ago. I no longer do the “Tim Conway Shuffle” (as I call it) when I get up at night to use the bathroom. That was when I realized that something awesome was happening to my body. Although I gave up sugars, seed oils and all forms of grain at the same time, I am pretty sure the elimination of the wheat products has made the greatest impact in my improved health.

    Seed oils can certainly produce inflammation, but I’m with you: giving up the wheat was probably the biggest factor.

  17. Wie says:

    I can run down the list of comments here, thinking, “yep,” “that’s absolutely true,” and “me, too.” I’ve given up mentioning any of this to doctors, most of whom still seem to think that cholesterol matters more than inflammation, and that grains are a perfect food unless you have celiac disease, which is probably all in your head anyway. I’m the only adult in my immediate family who doesn’t take (or need) medication for blood pressure or cholesterol reduction and who doesn’t need a wheelbarrow for his/her belly. But I’m the one with the weird diet. yeppers.

    Speaking of avoiding grains, does anybody have a good substitute “breading” for scotch eggs?

    Stick to that “weird” diet, and you’ll be dancing at 80 while they’re either gone or shuffling along with the aid of a walker. Then they’ll label you “genetically gifted.”

  18. PrimeNumbers says:

    My arthritis (in my hip) improved dramatically on going low carb / no grain. I would very much like to see more research in this area.

  19. Howard says:

    Wow! If I’d known that my photo was going to be prominently featured on your blog, I would have picked a better-looking shirt to wear that night. BTW, for the few folks that might not know what Dana Carpender looks like, she’s the one between me and Georgene.

    Just got word that this got re-tweeted by Dr. Eades. Good thing I have GuestDietBlog.com hosted in a place that is unlikely to melt down…

    As I have previously mentioned, you are the main reason I chose to go on this cruise — and I’m really glad I did. (Georgene, who was a bit lukewarm about going on this cruise, now says it is the most enjoyable cruise she has ever experienced.) It was a real treat to sit with you and your lovely spouse at dinner, and enjoy the very pleasant conversion. Next year, the 5th Annual Low Carb Cruise is going to feature even more big-name celebrities, which is a good thing, but I suspect that the expected enormous increase in the number of people signing up for it may render it difficult to actually interact with those celebrities. After all, time is the ultimate scarce resource. But I wouldn’t want to miss it.

    Aside: Despite your remarks about being a night-owl, you did a fantastic job of setting the tone for the rest of the presentations, and I think that Jimmy’s decision to put you first was a stroke of genius.

    Thanks again, Tom, for your encouragement and words of wisdom in regard to the writing process!

    My pleasure, Howard. I really enjoyed meeting you and Georgene on the cruise. You’re a good writer, and I hope we hear from you often.

  20. Laurie says:

    I had a chance to talk to Howard during the muster drill about his arthritis and his music. I can’t imagine having to give up my music in high school. I was a music major and music was my world. I loved it! I have since taken up new hobbies but have fond memories of that time in my life.

    I’m glad Howard has reclaimed his music life. Meeting him and Georgene was a pleasure. I know we all have our victory stories of health woes overcome by our (now) grain free diets! 🙂

    Cheers,
    Laurie

    Howard and Georgene are a real pleasure. I’m looking forward to seeing them again next year.

  21. Dianne says:

    No more allergies for me either! And no arthritis, although it’s in my family history and my sister has it. (Of course, when I share with others, they look at me like I’m crazy. It’s discouraging.)

    Just read an article in May’s “Today’s Dietician” that mentioned a study that showed individuals that tested negative for Celiac Disease in their early 50s tested positive in their late 60s. (It was a 15 year study.)

    By the way, love “Big Fat Fiasco” and your cruise talk.

    Testing positive for Celiac means reaching a fairly high threshold, too. It’s entirely possible to have negative reactions to grains without testing positive for Celiac — I was tested once and came up negative, but giving up grains still made several ailments go away.

  22. Judy B says:

    I have had the same benefits from going grainless! However, I can’t convince my mother (who suffers from severe pain in her wrists and has been on far too many meds – doctors keep changing the diagnosis) or my father (retired doc with diabetes and what seems to be some kind of mental impairment) that it would benefit them to give up any carbs! Very frustrating!!

    It’s nearly impossible to convince some people. You’d think they’d at least want to give up grains for awhile just to see if it helps.

  23. Linda says:

    Very interesting. Been low-carbing for nearly three years and this past January I began eating some low carb flax/oat bran/whole wheat wraps and pita breads. I have also begun suffering from back pain, and now arthritis like pain in my hips. I am really wondering if there is a connection. I guess there is only one way to find out! Into the freezer they go for the next several weeks. I’ve been blaming all this pain on either too many hours at the computer or my age or both! This will be very interesting! Thank you so much…………….

    Yup, go without grains and see what happens. I had arthritis in my 30s, but not in my 50s. Not many people can say that, unless they’ve given up grains.

  24. Caitlin says:

    My mom suffers from severe RA and by her own admission eats “tons” of wheat. However, the minute I brought up the possibility of her wheat intake aggravating it a fight started. Maybe I’ll get through..she knows there’s nothing wrong with saturated fat and cholesterol, but I’ll bet she hears so much misinformation where she works – a health food store.

    I feel ya. I have friends with ailments I know are probably wheat-related, but they’re totally convinced whole grains are health food while meat causes cancer. All you can do for some people is bless them and let them go.

  25. Giving up grains is one of the best things I’ve ever done regarding my health.

    I used to have trouble sleeping at night. I would get a stuffy nose and have trouble breathing. I would usually have to get up several times and use my ‘snot medicine’, even though I didn’t have a cold and felt fine during the day.

    I gave up the wheat and grains, including corn (it’s a grain, not a vegetable) to lose some weight, especially after reading books by Dr. Eades, Mark Sisson and watching Fat Head.

    Not only did I lose weight (without really exercising), but I also noticed that I was no longer having trouble breathing at night. I’ll never again go back to eating anything wheat related.

    Same here. I’ve experienced too many improvements to ever willingly give them up just to eat bread again.

  26. Roger says:

    How enjoyable to see Howard’s story featured on your blog. His wife is my sister, and the transformation in their lives subsequent to their radical dietary changes has amazed us all. I was educated about the evils of sugar and grains via a couple of newsletters several years ago. The chronic pain I’d been experiencing in some joints vanished once I began the VLC dietary approach, and I’m able to maintain my weight with no problem. I’ve always liked eggs, cheese, meat, fresh veggies and nuts, and had eschewed many of those things, or severely limited them, in the past. The VLC diet has enabled me to stop worrying about my blood glucose as well as my weight. Thanks for all you do, Tom.

    Your sister and brother-in-law were a pleasure to meet. Hard to believe they both weighed around 150 pounds more at one time.

  27. WSB says:

    What about a gluten free pizza night? California Pizza Kitchen is adding one soon.

    I’m not sure there’s one near me.

  28. Mark. Gooley says:

    Breadings… I’m not quite satisfied with any non-bread ones really. Some people use crushed pork rinds and say they like that, I’ve tried cutting bread crumbs heavily with the Kraft pre-grated Parmesan but not replacing the crumbs entirely… next I try that partly de-fatted coconut flour (haven’t done that yet).

  29. Debbie says:

    Howard, sorry I never had a chance to interact with you on the cruise. I felt like this year I had a lot fewer chances to meet my fellow low carbers than I did on last year’s cruise. I also had many aches and pains and asthma-like symptoms go away when I gave up wheat and grains. What a great feeling. But I can understand why people have trouble believing it – when it goes completely against your belief engine.

    For example, I have a friend I met on an online LC group who began following a Ray Peat eating plan – which involves, among other things, eating potatoes and other starches daily, and eating sugar daily – usually in the form of ice cream. She has potatoes with her meals and ice cream every night – and says that for the first time in years her blood panels are all normal, her elevated liver enzymes have normalized, her blood glucose has stabilized, and her health has improved in every measurable way.

    And improving your health and diabetes by eating potatoes and ice cream just goes so against *my* belief engine that I admit I can’t wrap my head about that either! So I probably feel about her eating plan the way grain-eaters feel about ours.

  30. Angel says:

    I completely cut out wheat from my diet for a month in the fall of 2007, a few months after I started low-carb. I noticed absolutely no difference in how I felt, before, during, or after, so I resumed eating wheat.

    Sometime in 2009, I started developing muscle problems – I would get sore really easily, and it was extremely easy to pull or strain my muscles. This was especially a problem at my work (only a part-time job) because I couldn’t use the computer for very long without getting sore in my lower arms and hands.

    February 2010, my chiropractor determined via muscle-testing that I was gluten-sensitive. I cut out all gluten, and the muscle problems eventually cleared up. I ate gluten once or twice later that year, and the next day – the muscle problems came back. So no more gluten for me, ever. If I get it now, it’s accidental.

    My husband cut out gluten a few months after I did. His chronic headaches went away. He used to have to buy the family-sized bottles of aspirin, but he says now that the only time he gets headaches is when he eats gluten. It doesn’t take much, either – he ate some leftover BBQ pork from a church dinner for a few days in a row, that had a gluten-containing BBQ sauce, and he got a headache.

    I wish gluten weren’t in so many foods! I always have to research now before I eat someplace, to see if they have items that they advertise as gluten-free. Just because I’m not eating any obvious wheat products, doesn’t mean it’s not there! Food manufacturers use gluten like it’s pixie dust or something. 🙁

    I’ve heard from people with Celiac disease that the stuff shows up in all kinds of foods. Fortunately, those trace amounts don’t seem to bother me. I guess the more we prepare our own food, the easier it is to avoid gluten.

  31. TR says:

    I wish this was true for my auto-immune diseases(psoriasis.) Its gotten worse since I started the low carb diet, but all of the benefits outweigh the psoriasis. My boyfriend’s asthma has improved dramatically, which is amazing! One interesting side effect I’ve experienced since changing my diet is that my finger nails are no longer brittle or break. They are currently longer than they have every been! That was a nice bonus!

    Sorry to hear the psoriasis is still bothering you. Any chance you have allergies to some food you’re still eating?

  32. PHK says:

    “…used to always pack Pepto-Bismal when I traveled”

    haha. i remember my travel “survival kit” was growing bigger & bigger (aspirin, anti-histamine, OTC digestive aids, supplements, sleep aid, etc).
    now like you, i dont’ remember last time i needed those.

    except i just pack some Omega 3 + small bottle of ghee, some cheese. fat is the only thing i’m not sure when eating out. cause even high end restaurants & Whole Foods use Canola or soy oil.

    Fred Hahn told a funny story during the cruise about asking for real butter in restaurant. The waiter couldn’t quite grasp that margarine isn’t actually butter.

  33. The Older Brother says:

    Great story, but whatever amount Mr. Harkness is demanding to replace that picture of you on his blog, I’d recommend paying it!

    Cheers!

    I do look rather surprised in that one. Someone else posted a picture of me talking to Fred Hahn, and it looks like I just insulted him and he’s inviting me to step outside.

  34. gharkness says:

    I agree with Older Brother. I asked Howard why he looked so hard to find such an unflattering photo, because it made you look really strange. He said it was because only “strange” people are interesting. I guess that tells you what he thinks of me….

    We have lots of much better photos of you, Tom, and one in particular with Chareva in which you positively glow (she does too, but SHE glows anyway)! I’ll see if I can’t “make” Howard behave and put up something nicer!

    Well, I certainly look interesting in that photo, then. Yup, Chareva tends to glow in photos, and I tend to glow when she’s nearby.

  35. Milton says:

    The Pepto-Bismol line struck a chord with me as well. I’m still learning and adjusting my diet as I go, but one thing is for certain now, and that is the effect of grains on my body. Twice in the past three weeks, I’ve had a couple of slices of bread (white bread on one occasion, whole wheat yesterday). Each time, I have a stomach-ache the next morning. Three weeks ago I tried a bowl of a ‘healthy’ grain cereal and the stomach-ache began before I was even finished! So for me, even occasionally indulging in grains is no longer an option.

    Some improvements are easy to measure. Aside from those occasions mentioned above, I do not suffer stomach-aches or upset stomach anymore. I don’t suffer heartburn. I don’t suffer acid reflux. Arthritis and asthma are more difficult to quantify, as both have traditionally been mild and I had already cut back considerably on refined sugar about a year ago. Lately I’ve all but eliminated it and have had fewer starchy foods as well.

    I guess I’m stuck eating eggs, bacon, sausage, and ham for breakfast and beef, pork, fish, fruits and vegetables for lunch and dinner. Which would be tragic if I didn’t find all of those foods absolutely delicious. I find that I don’t miss the foods that I’ve had to give up, mostly because I feel great. That’s the kind of compromise I can live with… literally.

    The real tragedy was when I avoided the bacon and eggs, thinking they were bad for me.

  36. dlm says:

    Don’t give up on giving advice. I remember someone telling me that my quitting smoking would be best for my husband who did not smoke. A few year later, I did, and it was. Advice may sink in; it may take time to see any results.

    It’s a balancing act. With friends who are committed vegetarians, continuing to point out that their ailments are likely grain-related would probably just result in having fewer friends.

  37. Firebird says:

    I actually had a woman in the gym this morning tell me that the reason for my nausea and stomach issues is because, being on a low-carb diet, that my immune system has weakened.

    What I think is happening (according to my mom, a retired nurse) is the mucus drip in my throat. When too much gets into the stomach, it causes all the bloating, constipation and nausea that I experience. I get this several times a year and it lasts three-five days.

    I wish there was something out there to rid myself of that drip. The all natural stuff — Fenugreek, Stinging Nettles, etc. do not seem to work.

    That’s hilarious. My immune system was so weakened by giving up grains and sugars, I’m never sick anymore.

  38. Ali says:

    TR – as the skin is the biggest detox organ it is likely that you may continue to suffer with the psoriasis until your body has finished detoxing from the grains and any other toxic crud you may have consumed prior to going LC. what we put in, the body has to get out, one way or another, and different bodies detox in different ways.

    Personally, I picked up the gluten link over three years ago and dumped it along with most dairy (apart from butter and occasional heavy cream) and my restless legs, burning feet, IBS, muscle pains and many other things went away, including fungal issues (I was a walking fungus-factory). My Hub also dumped it too (to keep me company!) and was amazed when his depression, extreme irritability and chronic brain-fog went away (if he gets ‘glutened’ now, he turns into Attila the Hun for the best part of a week!).

    Is it the grain, or is it what has been done to it? Most of it is highly processed, and hybridization has changed it beyond recognition from the ancient wheat. It is far higher in gluten and far lower in nutrition, and without enough of the right nutrition the body can’t process it properly, so it becomes toxic. The processing also removes much of the nutrition. People have eaten bread for thousands of years, yet it is only in modern times that it has become a problem.

    This ain’t your great-grandfather’s bread … although the ancient Egyptians apparently suffered from their wheat-and-honey diets as well.

  39. Mom Naughton says:

    I agree with your big brother! You are better looking that! Love you, Mom

    As a comedian, I don’t object to pictures where I look … uh … interesting.

  40. Jane says:

    I’ve been decent at staying away from grains lately. Not perfect, but decent. Except this week. This has been a week of grains from pizza to taco hell. Not easy to stay away from when you are out and about and need to grab something on the go.

    Burgers without buns. That’s my go-to meal if I’m out and about and fast food is all that’s easily available.

  41. Linda says:

    So, without getting too technical, can someone explain what it is about gluten that causes so many problems for so many folks? Gluten is a protein, right? Not a carb, but it is found in flours, therefore in all baked goods. [Color me confused!]

    Briefly as I can state it, gluten is a protein that can damage the intestinal wall, seep into the bloodstream, and provoke a number of auto-immune reactions. Gluten isn’t the only problems with grains, either. Lectins, another proteins found in grains, can also produce inflammation and auto-immune reactions.

  42. Lori says:

    So many of these comments hold true for me, too. Although I tested negative for celiac disease and minor exposure to gluten doesn’t bother me (think chicken breast rolled in flour and grilled), eating as little as one cookie made of wheat gives me a stomach ache, water weight gain, acid reflux and horrible sinus congestion. Having other grains on a rare occasion doesn’t bother me.

    @Linda, grains in general (and beans, nuts and other seeds) have phytic acid, which gloms onto minerals like calcium, zinc, iron and magnesium, preventing you from absorbing them. Soaking, roasting, and sprouting (i.e., traditional preparation methods barely in practice today) help reduce the phytic acid and makes these foods more digestible, but the Weston A. Price Foundation warns that the human diet shouldn’t be based on these foods.

    Readers of the Heart Scan Blog are probably aware that the mutant wheat now in commerce is genetically very different from what was around just 30 years ago.

    This raises the question of what to eat in place of wheat. My answer is bacon.

    I’m with you on the bacon, which I now dip in egg yolks instead of toast.

  43. Amber says:

    I have been anemic my entire life, even as a child. Doctors could never tell my mother why. Every 2 to 3 months (since I was little) I have been sick with something… a cold, the flu, strep throat… you name it. In September, I was put into the hospital because I was in Atrial Fibrillation with a heart rate of 180 for over 12 hours. (I am 33.) Doctors, tests and labwork could find nothing wrong except I was very anemic (which of course suprised them, because I am overweight.) With the help of my PCP we decided to try a gluten free approach to life… 9 months later… I have not been sick with anything since… I have not had any episodes of A-fib… and I am no longer anemic…

    I could get the celiac’s/gluten testing done… but I would have to submit myself to wheat again and quite frankly it’s not worth it. My whole life I have lived with stomach aches and weird bowel problems… I just thought everyone got a stomach ache every time they ate… It’s all gone… When I tried to explain all of this to the cardiologist he replied that he didn’t know anything about all of that. I am supposed to take Cardizem for this one day problem (might I add, my blood pressures are in the one teens over eighties). The pill made me feel terrible. I no longer see that doctor and I refuse to take a medication because the Doctor simply does not want to take the time to listen to me. Throwing pills at a problem doesn’t always fix it.

    I should add… I am an RN… I work in a surgical ICU… I work with doctors who routinely prescribe low fat, high grain diets for their post op heart patients… along with (of course) their “cholesterol lowering” statin drugs… When I look at that patient’s pre op cholesterol levels… they are often times not elevated… hmmmm What am I supposed to tell my patient’s when they ask me, “oh… well if my cholesterol isn’t high, why am I taking this?” I’ll tell you what I tell them… “Ask your doctor.”

    Incidentally, I started on a low carb diet in February, (along with the GF) I have lost almost 60 lbs… in 4 months… Had my lipid panel drawn the other day… triglycerides were 105, HDL 59, LDL 93, total cholesterol 171. I eat a big ole KC strip about 5 times a week… fried in butter… or olive oil… or even lard.

    They have it wrong… when are they going to open their eyes?

    I’m hoping what “everyone knows” is slowly starting to change. More on that in tonight’s post. In the meantime, we have to keep our own eyes open.

  44. WSB says:

    Matteo’s over on Carothers for the GF pizza trial

    http://www.matteospizza.com/

  45. Howard says:

    Ok, ok, ok… I found a better photo in my collection, and put it up instead. Georgene is still not satisfied with the cropping job I did, so I may end up editing it some more.

    I wasn’t complaining, but my mother thanks you. I like that little glow over my head. Looks like I just came up with a great idea.

  46. Elenor says:

    Oh how cool! Your movie-star mother actually reads your blog!! That’s super!

    A reluctant movie star.

  47. Caroline says:

    I tried to tell my friend, who was only 27 when she got arthritis in her wrist (and she was paying for ridiculously expensive medication), that she should stop eating grains, potatoes, corn, etc. I found this information in “Live Right For Your Type” a few years ago. She wasn’t buying it, so I just sent her this link and apologized for being a pest (but a pest who cared about her wrist and wallet) 😛

    I hope she gives the grain-free diet a try.

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