4

votes

What improved for you when you gave up wheat/grains?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created January 23, 2012 at 12:33 AM

I'm doing pretty good with eliminating soy and dairy, and am on the fence about legumes since Archevore is looking pretty appealing as a starting place for me.

Wheat and grains are right now the most difficult transition for me. I've severely cut back, but haven't cut them out. I understand theoretically why they are bad, but was wondering if I could get some responses about what specifically improved for you after going gluten free and/or grain free to get a better idea of what it affects and to help motivate me.

Thanks!

Cd717290eb43a6e17061f9920deed977

(1267)

on January 23, 2012
at 06:14 PM

Just could not agree with this more! I thought going gluten free would be the hardest part of Paleo, because I've had a lifelong love affair with baked goods. In fact, going gluten free has been the easiest. Gluten can kiss my @ss!

Fc891327db916c10347b008acde0daca

(1022)

on January 23, 2012
at 12:00 PM

Wow, that´s amazing, good for you with your fertility!

0d0842381492a41b2173a04014aae810

(4875)

on January 23, 2012
at 07:22 AM

I get this as well. Sugar also seems to exacerbate the same anti-social symptoms, though one without the other isn't nearly as bad. After about a month free of both I'm a completely new person socially. After cheating briefly, you'll find me locked in my room, unwilling to come out, heavily inclined to binge-drink. The massive detriment gluten has on my mental state is astounding. I've become very curious about links between celiacs and suicide.

A53c4e4a8df8646da409295d7f7e3bc7

on January 23, 2012
at 06:12 AM

This was the case for my son! It was actually the main symptom he had, and the thing that had put him in the hospital in the first place. So many other things resolved for him as well... all the typical celiac stuff. He also had extreme dyslexia which prevented him from reading on a kindy level at age 10. Within 3 months of eliminating grains, he was flying through novels on a 5th grade or higher level. Corn or gluten bring the dyslexia back. For more of his story see http://theliberatedkitchenpdx.com/meet-the-liberators/our-story/

C2502365891cbcc8af2d1cf1d7b0e9fc

(2437)

on January 23, 2012
at 05:24 AM

My experience exactly.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on January 23, 2012
at 02:30 AM

Very cool that you're doing so well! I was pretty sick but lucky in that I didn't yet have IBS. As long as I stay strictly away from wheat I find I'm surprisingly good with everything else.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on January 23, 2012
at 02:29 AM

Very cool that you're doing so well! I was pretty sick but lucky in that I didn't yet have IBS. As long as I stay strictly away from heat I find I'm surprisingly good with everything else.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on January 23, 2012
at 01:51 AM

Try scooping the shrimp salad into a lettuce leaf instead of using bread...like chinese lettuce wraps.

931d78cfa5c1490abc0a0f2c4a82eede

(152)

on January 23, 2012
at 01:23 AM

Pasta and the occasional slice of bread right now. Pasta because I like it and bread because I have had a few meals that needed some filler (like shrimp salad on the go today before 3 hours of work out in the snow) I am doing surprisingly well cutting out baked goods. Once I move into my own apartment in a few weeks it should be easier not having what everyone else is eating around me.

931d78cfa5c1490abc0a0f2c4a82eede

(152)

on January 23, 2012
at 12:47 AM

I noticed that there are a lot of questions related specifically to wheat, but most of them were "why is wheat bad for you" (with answers about toxicity, the plants protecting themselves, absorption, etc) as opposed to what actual health improvements Also, if anyone has comments about dairy vs wheat improvements, that is also of interest. I am trying to keep an eye on improvements to things like seasonal allergies and acne and am curious what effects might come from gluten vs. dairy vs soy.

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24 Answers

6
D5a4ff096a452a84a772efa0e6bc626e

(2486)

on January 23, 2012
at 01:38 AM

My #1 change is that gluten makes me crazy in the social-anxiety sense; glutened I am paranoid about and paralyzed by other's reactions and intentions, which is miserable for me and everyone close to me. It was a huge and surprising finding, and unfortunately the return is the first sign I get that I've been inadvertently glutened. But how amazing to be able to live in the quiet headspace of the rest of humanity! It does take 100% adherence; when I was having a piece of sprouted toast every few days, I saw no change at all from my crappy 'normal'.

Physically, my IBS went away, my skin cleared up, and (after a hypothyroid episode when I went VLC and lost a bunch of hair) I have more hair than I ever have, and it's growing crazy fast.

I can cheat with sugar, I can cheat with legumes, I can even gorge on fruit, but never ever ever gluten. Give it two supremely clean weeks, and then see what happens when you have a bit...

C2502365891cbcc8af2d1cf1d7b0e9fc

(2437)

on January 23, 2012
at 05:24 AM

My experience exactly.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on January 23, 2012
at 02:29 AM

Very cool that you're doing so well! I was pretty sick but lucky in that I didn't yet have IBS. As long as I stay strictly away from heat I find I'm surprisingly good with everything else.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on January 23, 2012
at 02:30 AM

Very cool that you're doing so well! I was pretty sick but lucky in that I didn't yet have IBS. As long as I stay strictly away from wheat I find I'm surprisingly good with everything else.

0d0842381492a41b2173a04014aae810

(4875)

on January 23, 2012
at 07:22 AM

I get this as well. Sugar also seems to exacerbate the same anti-social symptoms, though one without the other isn't nearly as bad. After about a month free of both I'm a completely new person socially. After cheating briefly, you'll find me locked in my room, unwilling to come out, heavily inclined to binge-drink. The massive detriment gluten has on my mental state is astounding. I've become very curious about links between celiacs and suicide.

5
6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on January 23, 2012
at 02:25 AM

For me the change was pretty dramatic, but I had no idea I even had a problem with it until I dropped it from my diet. I always thought is was normal to feel like taking a nap after eating, and that feeling disappeared the very first day without wheat. I would counteract the fatigue from having bagels, toast, or scones for breakfast with a minimum of 4 shots of espresso. The combo resulted in some pretty bad IBS, but at the time I thought that was normal. It is still nice not having to bolt for the bathroom 2 or 3 times after meals.

There have been some exceptions that don't seem to cause stomach problems like naturally soured sourdough bread, cheap ass hot and hamburger buns, beer, and croissants. I'm still trying to figure those out, but they do still make me feel like I need a nap and make me spacy, so I still avoid them for the most part. I also wonder if it is the wheat bran rather than the gluten that causes the most problems for me, or if it is a one two punch where one compounds the problems caused by the other. Whole wheat products seem to cause the most intense misery for me.

Within 3 days of dropping wheat I got my ability to concentrate and my memory back, I just thought I needed to increase my thyroid meds again before that. Within a few weeks I actually had to cut down on my thyroid medication and coffee because I was too amped up. Within a month the neuropathy I had had in my hands and feet for years went away. A few years later I was able to go off of thyroid meds altogether. I also don't turn red randomly the way I used too and my dandruff has gone away.

Until very recently I wasn't able to tolerate most wheat products at all and would get diarrhea within an hour of reintroducing them into my diet, but since adding bone broth on a regular basis I've been able to eat things like pizza with friends occasionally without stomach problems. My theory is that it took years to develop the gut problems in the first place and that the broth has healed my body enough to allow for a little more digestive flexibility.

Edit: I completely forgot to mention the elephant in the room, my main reason for going paleo in the first place, within 8 months of dropping wheat I got my fertility back and was actually able to get pregnant.

Fc891327db916c10347b008acde0daca

(1022)

on January 23, 2012
at 12:00 PM

Wow, that´s amazing, good for you with your fertility!

4
5e6a6f5c0fd3ab048f81c0a500206f41

on January 23, 2012
at 12:51 AM

Most noticeable changes were in my skin & nails...My acne, which I had had for at least the past 14 years, is almost nonexistent now, unless I slip up and have some gluten and/or dairy..then it comes right back in the next day or two. My nails are growing like crazy and are wicked strong.

The best change, IMO, is that I am no longer bloated/gassy after every meal. My stomach pains are gone & I have a different feeling of "fullness." It took a while to get used to, but now I know how to recognize the feeling of being satiated.

3
34b560c8b9ce660d7839fb7e29d7be89

on January 23, 2012
at 08:54 AM

I was honestly skeptical about the whole grain thing. I thought that any improvments I was seeing were just due to a reduction in carbohydrate intake. It took me a few years to totally remove grains, especially wheat, from my diet. When I finally got a little more serious about it and would later backslide I would feel a definite difference. It was like minor symptoms that had always been there were finally noticeable to me in an undeniable way.

There was a time when I realized, almost violently, that my body would simply not tolerate lactose. I remember having to be picked up from school by my mother because I was doubled-over in pain due to abdominal bloating. I was always lucky enough to have parents who cared enough that I was rarely sent off to school with just cereal to eat anyway, it was either fresh baked biscuits with gravy or a stack of pancakes nearly every morning for breakfast. But even after cutting out dairy I would still experience bloating and abdominal discomfort quite regularly. We'd look at the Bisquick label and conclude that it was the powdered milk that was causing it.

I remember often desperately holding in a BM and scanning the environment for a place to relieve myself. These things just happened I rationalized. And even after trying to align the way I ate with the way my ancestors ate, years before I'd heard of Paleo, I still figured if I was to eat carbs that whole-grains had to be the best option. Later after discovering MDA and Paleo I still clung to the idea that complete elimination of grains was more about weight loss than anything else. It wasn't until I read this blog post that I decided for sure that it was the gluten and even got tested myself. Turns out I'm not celiac but the doctor summed it up best for me; "if cutting out the gluten is working for you... why not just keep doing that?" No arguments here, between being strict about the grain/gluten thing and eliminating/minimizing pufas I'm feeling much better than I ever have.

3
Dabdb4e771b72dff14709b0258b207a7

on January 23, 2012
at 05:30 AM

My stomach completely flattened out. My migraines ended. My energy skyrocketed. My PMS improved.

<3

3
6714718e2245e5190017d643a7614157

on January 23, 2012
at 12:43 AM

Bone and dental health improved due to reduced exposure to phytic acid.

Afternoon drowsiness after lunch between 1 to 3 pm disappeared.

Much more alert and have more energy due to stable blood sugar levels.

2
03fa485bfd54734522755f47a5e6597e

(3944)

on January 23, 2012
at 02:03 PM

Gluten is actually the easiest thing for me to avoid; I really feel no craving for wheat products at all (can't say the same about potato chips, ice cream, etc.). I think that's partly because there was one very clear change: the nasty headaches that I used to get every couple weeks just went away. Now I may get one a couple times a year, so it's a stark difference. Those semi-annual ones may be caused by something else (probably stress), or I may inadvertently get glutenized that often. I think it's also helped with sleep, mental fog, energy, heartburn, and a variety of other things, but the headaches were the one clear indicator.

But it's also because it's such a clear poison. When gluten causes problems, it's because it tricks your immune system into attacking your own cells. I damage my cells enough with outside influences; I don't need them killing each other off, thanks. Especially in the brain, which is where we're learning gluten may cause the most havoc.

If I (personally) eat too many carbs, I know my blood sugar will go up, and if I overdo it there could be damage to the pancreas. In the long term, I could end up with full-blown diabetus. But that's treatable; injecting insulin can't be any fun, but people do it and go on living their lives. And it's a relative thing: you have (and require) some blood sugar, and there's a range above that that you can flirt with before causing unusual damage. So it's easy to rationalize to yourself: "Hey, I'll just have a little, and it'll be okay. Hey, I ate this stuff for years, one more time won't kill me. I'll be extra good tomorrow."

But if I eat gluten and my immune system starts attacking my thyroid or hypothalamus, that's not just more of something that was going on normally; that's something different happening. And it's pretty much binary, since gluten acts as a catalyst: either you ate enough gluten to start the auto-immune reaction or you didn't. There's no "oh, it'll just do a little damage" range to play with. Being extra good tomorrow won't necessarily stop the killing.

So that's why I don't find it any harder to pass up the pasta aisle than I would an aisle that said "arsenic and strychnine." Once you see it as a poison for your body, it's much easier to turn down. I wish I could see sugar and vegetable oils the same way (though I'm getting there with the oils).

Cd717290eb43a6e17061f9920deed977

(1267)

on January 23, 2012
at 06:14 PM

Just could not agree with this more! I thought going gluten free would be the hardest part of Paleo, because I've had a lifelong love affair with baked goods. In fact, going gluten free has been the easiest. Gluten can kiss my @ss!

2
319cdfcd8ec0467f34a3c5aeb2a5e045

on January 23, 2012
at 01:44 PM

Sinus Allergies - definitely. I used to have allergy headaches that would make me vomit to the point of having dry heaves. When You've already got a headache that makes you feel like the poor guy in "Casino" with his head in a vise, throwing up just makes the pain worse.

My sinuses haven't completely cleared up and they probably won't for as long as live in the Willamette Valley but now if i have headache, a couple Excedrin clear it right up and able to go on with my day.

Nowadays if I eating wheat my stomach goes completely haywire, so i never noticed a problem while I was eating them but I wouldn't go back. No ill effects from corn as far as I can tell.

2
3cc6c371d2482e98d1f4e69329399493

on January 23, 2012
at 01:23 AM

My Rheumatoid Arthritis has gradually disappeared. Don't feel like I have to eat all the time. Feel more connected to my body's hunger signals.

A53c4e4a8df8646da409295d7f7e3bc7

on January 23, 2012
at 06:12 AM

This was the case for my son! It was actually the main symptom he had, and the thing that had put him in the hospital in the first place. So many other things resolved for him as well... all the typical celiac stuff. He also had extreme dyslexia which prevented him from reading on a kindy level at age 10. Within 3 months of eliminating grains, he was flying through novels on a 5th grade or higher level. Corn or gluten bring the dyslexia back. For more of his story see http://theliberatedkitchenpdx.com/meet-the-liberators/our-story/

1
46bee6b93ee79082ea1094f26c2da5a4

(837)

on January 23, 2012
at 04:42 PM

Most noticeable for me is my regular headaches STOPPED! Weight loss, muffin top quickly diminished. And appetite came down to a way more normal level. Come to think of it though from others responses, my face is clear of spots too.

1
27361737e33ba2f73ab3c25d2699ad61

(1880)

on January 23, 2012
at 04:15 PM

After I ditched grains (the worst being gluten containing -- esp wheat) joint pain ceased including what sports doc claimed was simply "runner's knee" pain; thyroid antibodies normalized; no more weird sneezing attacks and nasal congestion after meals containing wheat (all forms -- whole grain, sprouted, refined) and far less water retention pre-period and in general, and no more gastritis.

1
0d50f54d2c57d74806be35d916f8dc74

(634)

on January 23, 2012
at 01:35 PM

So many things have changed for me since dropping grains:

  • 90% fewer migraines
  • no more gallbladder attacks (the reason I came to paleo in the first place)
  • much milder menstrual cramps
  • I don't catch colds anymore!!!
  • no more afternoon energy lull
  • much less of that anxiety that used to hit as I lay in bed at night
  • no more gas and heartburn

I still eat too much sugar, but that doesn't have nearly the effect on me that wheat had.

1
F15e0bae42dbf0b8cfc71e62902497b4

on January 23, 2012
at 10:33 AM

My so-called IBS vanished overnight (genetic testing later revealed it was likely celiac).

I had more energy and my rosacea was noticeably better in a few days.

Over the next few weeks my nails grew out significantly thicker and less brittle and my occasional joint aches became milder and far less frequent.

At my next dentist appointment my dentist noted that my gums looked better than they had since I was a teenager (I didn't change my brushing or flossing habits at all)

1
A53c4e4a8df8646da409295d7f7e3bc7

on January 23, 2012
at 04:43 AM

Oh, wow. So many things changed for me, it's increadible. I went gluten-free last year, then started the GAPS diet which is very similar to Paleo but includes more probiotic foods and has a few other differences last february. I didn't think I had any problems - in my mind I was doing it for my kids!

I had a number of improvements that I've outlined here: http://theliberatedkitchenpdx.com/physical-health/changes-on-gaps/

Almost 2 months ago I started a gluten challenge so that I could be tested for celiac disease. I was also hoping to better understand which of my symptoms were due to gluten and which were the other changes we made. I've blogged the whole challenge, and the symptoms have been horrid. http://theliberatedkitchenpdx.com/physical-health/joys-gluten-challenge/

1
0d0842381492a41b2173a04014aae810

(4875)

on January 23, 2012
at 04:42 AM

For me:

  • My back-acne disappeared.
  • The last remnants of my regular acne disappeared, maybe one zit a week or so previously.
  • I attribute both of the above to the healing of my leaky gut, which equated to the fact that I could eat "off-diet" sporadically without much in the way of consequences.
  • My brittle, white, "somethings wrong here" looking toe-nails cleared up; to reveal strong, healthy looking nails.
  • My perpetual runny nose disappeared.
  • The last remnants of my ulcer related symptoms disappeared, these were GERD-esque in nature; heartburn mostly, to the extent that I would sleep on an angled mattress, and pop a Zantac from time to time.
  • A general sense of mental clarity became prevalent; as others have said, after-lunch tiredness disappeared. My need for caffeine diminished. Eventually I began to realize this to be true metabolic flexibility. That is to say, whether I was eating fat, carbs, or nothing at all, my body knew how to make energy out of it. I pretty much can't help but feel amazing these days.

My skin looks radiant and I get compliments on it pretty much daily. The metabolic flexibility is the biggest improvement I've noticed, as it allows me the freedom to fast or to eat what I want, without anything but positive ramifications. This is after approximately a year of paleo diet; I feel this was enough time to heal my leaky gut and other related symptoms.

1
Bfa1c9eacfc94a1b62f3a39b574480c6

(3700)

on January 23, 2012
at 01:05 AM

I'm actually not sure...I never binged on wheat products but I think without wheat and grains (now about 3,4 years with no major cheats), I have had less incidence of...

-Random mild bloat

-Food coma/crashes

-Mental fog

-Injuries from exercise and dance

-Random mild pains

-Crappy recovery and sleep

I have no cravings for bread or any of that stuff either.

Out of curiosity, what wheat/grains are you still participating in?

Wheat does have some inherently addicting properties...but you care enough to ask for encouragement and wanting to be healthier here...so stay strong!

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on January 23, 2012
at 01:51 AM

Try scooping the shrimp salad into a lettuce leaf instead of using bread...like chinese lettuce wraps.

931d78cfa5c1490abc0a0f2c4a82eede

(152)

on January 23, 2012
at 01:23 AM

Pasta and the occasional slice of bread right now. Pasta because I like it and bread because I have had a few meals that needed some filler (like shrimp salad on the go today before 3 hours of work out in the snow) I am doing surprisingly well cutting out baked goods. Once I move into my own apartment in a few weeks it should be easier not having what everyone else is eating around me.

1
96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on January 23, 2012
at 12:38 AM

There are MANY questions/threads on this.

A quick list of my symptoms that went away within 3 weeks:

  • stuffy nose and sinuses
  • hacking cough
  • food-triggered migraines
  • GERD
  • GI tract unrest, discomfort incl. bloating
  • restless, fractured sleep
  • tingling, stinging down through shoulders, arms
  • joint discomfort, spine/shoulders/hips/knees
  • rapid pulse, high-normal blood pressure

0
39124d66b1b422e03375568bb6f2a326

on October 21, 2013
at 04:07 PM

On top of the many other things that others have mentioned...

I have had tremors in my right hand for at least 10 years, bad enough that I walked into a neurologist's office with a friend once and got sent to the ER immediately for a rush MRI for suspected brain tumor. (which, fortunately, I did not have.) I also got tested for Parkinsons and put on serious neurologic medication for about 3 days (after which I refused to take it any longer - it was worse than the tremor...)

24 days gluten free and my tremors have 90% resolved. There's still something in there not right with the nerve... but I don't spill my drinks anymore, and I can hold my hands still.

You may not have tremors like me... but I imagine there are numerous things in our bodies that gluten aggravates or magnifies... I just wish the doctor would have suggested changing my diet to me before my whole family spent a very stressed few months...

0
A14573b3470874a8456559c9143bcdae

on October 21, 2013
at 02:06 AM

My blood sugar leveled out,I'm not hungry all the time. I got abs, gained weight. I was very underweight before. I was essentially malnourished because the wheat was blocking all of my nutrients. Never had any energy, felt like I couldn't put one foot in front of the other. Felt "dirty" all of the time. Always sweating. Nights sweats, day sweats, cold sweats, palms of hands constantly wet, bottoms of feet underarm. Very nasty feeling. I couldn't ever shake anyone's hand. My emotions were out of this world! Over analyze everything! Cry at the drop of a hat, was mad at the world, but now I love everything! My life and attitude has totally changed but if I get a little gluten in me, I feel crazy, sweaty, stinky, like I have the flu all over again! I seriously think gluten had me sick my whole life! I'm turning 30 next month but I feel younger than I did when I was 15. Oh yeah I had horrible periods and pms. Excessesive bleeding and extreme pain along with mood disorders. I planned to be out of work at least a day of two per month with my period, and was out more with the other gluten sickness. Also horrible migrains and joint pain. It has been 1 year and I will never go back! I am healthy and happy the first time in my life! It's like being born again! No lie! Paleo is the way to go! and I really smell great!

0
7201a46217c0323ae076cb65dd872768

on January 23, 2012
at 02:22 PM

I spent the first 27 years of my life popping Claritin and Benadryl for seasonal allergies and sinus infections. I used to get the flu/a cold at least 4x per year. Since I gave up grains (especially gluten-containing grains) 3 years ago I haven't had so much as the sniffles. Also, that little spare tire around my waist that never seemed to go away is now gone with no sign of returning.

0
Cdee7454bccdc4ac14ec23b9657eb573

on January 23, 2012
at 07:53 AM

I recently cut out all wheat and added sugar for five weeks. I lost about two pounds of weight, but otherwise didn't notice any difference in my health status. I wanted to lose some excess fat weight, so I probably cut back on total calories, too.

I'm blessed with good health to start with.

-Steve

0
D7cc4049bef85d1979efbd853dc07c8e

(4029)

on January 23, 2012
at 03:54 AM

Never checked my blood . . . however . . . I gave up grains as part of everything I gave up when I switched to Paleo. These are my improvements.

  • Lost 30 pounds and going (172 to 142)
  • GERD disappeared
  • Years-long persistent and mysterious cough (thought to be caused by GERD) disappeared
  • Back pain gone
  • Snoring no longer (so my wife of 13 years says)
  • Flexibility improved (could touch ankles before, but now can touch palms to floor)
  • Dry flaky skin mostly normal
  • Mental fogginess lifted
  • Memory improved
  • I used to take head ache pills 2 to 5 times a week, I haven't taken any in 4 months.
  • Intestinal, urm, irritability now normalized

I've never had my blood tested recently, though 8 years before I was told I was borderline high blood pressure. I would love an excuse to get a full blood screening done just to know . . .

0
293ba4c95d190bc616b27d85b10d705a

(661)

on January 23, 2012
at 01:42 AM

More stable blood sugar. That's about all I've noticed

0
Eb54f663195dc92f1dab4e0e7ef6b4d0

on January 23, 2012
at 01:36 AM

I'm only three weeks into a strict paleo diet, and the most dramatic diference for me is the lightening of my severe hyperpimentation that i have has since my pregnancy 5 years ago. It is such a welcome change after years of having ipl laser treatment to help lessen the splotches that only worked for very short periods of time. I still do a little heavy cream in my morning coffee, but no wheat, grains or legumes. I can only imagine that my hormones are just starting to balance out, and i am looking forward to seeing how much more changes as i continue to eat this way! i also have a general better feeling of health all around at this point.

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