Stop Eating Bread

Photo by Blake Wisz on Unsplash

Next time you’re in a grocery store, just look at all the people around you. All the fat, miserable people just waddling through the motions barely hanging on to dear life.

Then I want you to look at all of the produce isles. Notice how many shelves are full of cereal, pasta, chips, pastries, and how entire sections are dedicated to nothing but bread. I’m not even going to mention the rows upon rows of sugary soft drinks and insulin-inducing sweets.

If that’s not enough, just look at the menu for any fast food chain. Nothing but hamburgers, sandwiches, breaded chicken, and fries.

Oh, and I haven’t even mentioned our favorite breakfast staples: Pancakes, bagels, muffins, and waffles.

Obesity Prevalence in the USA, provided by the CDC

Now what am I getting at exactly? Put simply, Wheat is making us miserable. Not just fat. Not just tired. Not just mentally suppressed. It may not be “killing us,” but it’s putting us on a fast-track to a slow and painful death.

I’m basing all of this off of two things: Wheat Belly by William Davis, M.D., and anecdotal evidence. If you want to skim a summary of the former, here you go. If you don’t think one’s own life experiences and observations are valid as evidence for certain arguments, then that’s okay. Sometimes I think they’re more than enough.

I used to feel mentally and physically exhausted most of the day, especially after meals. It didn’t matter if it was a weekend, a tough work day, the middle of my Sophomore semester. I wasn’t eating any sweets, desserts, sodas, or anything with excessive amounts of sugar. I ran about 2 or 3 miles every day, on top of regularly playing pickup basketball. I averaged probably 7 hours of sleep each night. Why was I so lethargic all the time?

My lack of energy and mental focus was affecting my relationships, my career, and even my mental health. Desperate for solutions, I tried a myriad of things: The keto diet, increased physical activity, meditation, more sunlight, more social activities, you name it. These certainly helped, but I still felt like a zombie most of the day.

One day I get a text from my parents saying they’re not eating wheat anymore? “No wheat?” I thought. “That’s insane. What on earth are you going to eat? It’s in everything.”

After watching my 52 year old dad eventually sport a six-pack and my mother stop having to take two-hour naps every day, I decide to try it out because I’ve tried about everything else I could think of.

After just four or five days of actively avoiding anything with wheat, flour, or corn, I am absolutely awestruck that I don’t crash throughout the day. I’m not rubbing my eyes or downing my fourth cup of coffee at 3pm to power through the all-to-familiar mental fog.

But maybe it’s a fluke. So I try it for another five days or so. I still feel, well, amazing. At least compared to the usual me. I don’t notice any vast improvements in my running pace or basketball abilities, but I actually feel alive. I can think clearly. I can focus on whatever I want. I can actually sit down and work on something without feeling like I’m slowly being drained.

It’s been about 6 months since I tried this simple “experiment.” And I’d like to say that I haven’t touched the stuff since, but that’s an outright lie. I actually had a burger for lunch today, and did it just hit the spot. But guess what? As I’m typing this story five hours later, I’m still feeling a little groggy from that addicting, smooth, perfectly processed brioche bun.

I could have ordered a salad and felt much better later on, but I didn’t. Maybe it takes a long time for old habits to die hard. Maybe the relentless advertising of that doughy, mouth-watering bun was too much to bear. Maybe my prefrontal cortex never sufficiently developed. But I do know this: I feel astronomically better when I cut wheat, flour, and corn out of my diet. I’m happier. I’m smarter. I don’t even need coffee to take on the day.

If you’re having trouble with lethargy, weight gain, or anything I’ve described above. Please just try avoiding wheat for a week, and see how you feel. Maybe it’s the solution to all your current problems. Maybe it’s a placebo with no data to back it up. Whatever the case, I feel obligated to share the solution that helped me with one of the most significant problems of my life.

Stop eating bread.

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