On caregivers, faith, family, and writing…

Lose the WheatDavid and I both had our annual physicals last month, and it came as no surprise to either of us that both our doctors mentioned our weight. I’ve averaged an extra pound for each of the 14 years of our marriage, and he’s doubled that. Neither of us is what you’d call overweight, but we’re both approaching our I’m-not-going-there limits. In addition, we both have blood chemistry issues. His cholesterol is high, my triglycerides are high, and both of us have low HDL levels.

I once spent some phone time with a wellness coach provided by my insurance company, and she told me the only way to raise my HDL level (the good cholesterol) was by exercise. I guess David’s doctor agrees, because she told him to take a brisk walk every day. You can see how well that’s going as I sit here at my keyboard and he sits on the couch with his second cup of coffee, reading a Terri Blackstock novel. In our defense, he plans to work on his tree cutting and burning later today, and I have a date with the weeds in my garden.

As for his cholesterol and my triglycerides, those aren’t new issues. I once attacked his problem by following a low cholesterol cookbook, but that was several years and several pounds ago. We’ve both gotten lazy since then. My doctor and I have tried attacking my problem chemically, first with fish oil and then with timed-release niacin, neither of which worked. At this visit, he said the only way to lower the level is to lose a few pounds. To his credit, he used his best bedside manner, looked at me, and said I didn’t have a lot to lose. It was enough to keep me from stabbing him with a tongue depressor. Then he said he was reading a book called “Wheat Belly” and that I might want to take a look at it. Almost as if by divine intervention, the book appeared.

Well, not exactly. After my appointment, we went to lunch at the Senior Center. One of my friends there is very careful about what she eats, declining much of what is on the Center’s menu and bringing her own creations of quinoa, kale, and other exotic ingredients. When I told her about the doctor’s recommendation, she brightened and said, “I have that book!” She’s having trouble reading after some eye surgeries and offered to lend me the book until she can see better. She brought it to me yesterday, and I don’t think it’s exactly the book the doctor was talking about. It’s written by Dr. William Davis, the same man who wrote the original, but this is the cookbook.

At first I thought it wouldn’t be of any help, but I started looking at it last night, and the first 90 pages give what is probably the Readers’ Digest condensed version of the first book. The rest of the book consists of 150 wheat-free recipes along with some personal testimonials about the benefits of the program. It looks interesting, and David seems willing to give it a try, but it’s not going to be simple.

First, I have a kitchen full of wheat products, and I’m not about to do a wholesale purge and throw bags of cereal and boxes of brownie mix in the trash. Second, I’m not sure where to find almond flour, ground flax seed, sucralose, and guar gum. Our local food mart just started carrying soy milk within the last few months. But I enjoy experimenting with new recipes, and I’m open to anything that might improve our health, so I’m going to give it a try. If nothing else, it should provide some interesting writing material. Stay tuned.




Comments on: "The Great Brendle Wheat Belly Experiment | by Linda Brendle" (2)

  1. Linda, I have been on a gluten-free diet for almost two years. I feel a lot better; not as tired as I used to be. And I haven’t lost all that much belly fat. It took me weeks to discover all the foods that have wheat/gluten in them. Who would have thought that wheat would be in my comfort food: chocolate ice cream! I purchase Udi’s or Rudi’s gluten free bread – they are in the freezer in the bakery area or Gluten-free area of Kroger and Wal Mart. I like the white bread because it is most like regular wheat bread. I used to buy the frozen cookies, muffins, brownies (all gluten free), but now I get a box of the dry ingredients and add my own eggs, butter, milk and bake away. I like to get a gluten free pizza occasionally. On the gluten free food plan, I haven’t had to “give up” some of my favorite foods. And I’ve learned which brands to buy so that I don’t sacrifice flavor. Glutino (I think I spelled that correctly) brand oreo cookies taste just like the famous Oreos. What I found with gluten free foods is that I don’t CRAVE what I used to. I can now eat one, maybe two gluten free chocolate chip cookies, which I bake myself, and that’s ALL I WANT. I haven’t denied myself foods I like. I’m no longer hungry for loads of desserts and sweets. I have to be very careful about cross contamination – such as when a cereal is processed in a facility where wheat products are also processed. As I stated above, this process has taken me two years of slowly removing wheat from my diet. Eating away from home is still a big problem. NOT eating pancakes on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday was a real bummer! I remind myself of how tired I feel and the tummy woes I have to deal with when I consume wheat, and I get over it quickly. I hope some of my experience will be helpful to you and David.

    • Thanks, Eileen. This is very helpful, especially the part about finding some products at Walmart. I don’t know where the closest health food store is, but I know where Walmart is!

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