Wheat is Evil. (Wheat. What?)

So anyway, life had been crazy getting ready for the Army seminar thing and I hardly exercised at all the last month, with the exception of walking twice a day. Deadline crunching just consumes me like you wouldn’t believe. But overall I’ve stuck fairly well to the Paleo diet with the exception of travel. Oh and the odd handful of corn chips… and for some reason I had to have Black Raspberry ice cream and got through a half gallon of that somewhere along the way.

So anyway… about five weeks, mostly just walking as exercise, adhering fairly well to Paleo eating.

Nine pound weight loss. All fat, no muscle loss.


I’ll try not to become a True Believer(TM) on ya’ll, but it really seems to be working for me.

Anyway, short video on the evils of wheat. I believe you get a 30 second ad I can’t remove before the video.

Kids are finally back in school, so I’ll get back to the exercise more properly soon enough. Finally have the house to myself during the day and can figure out a routine.

/sigh of contentment

Jennifer: Yeah, I was not convinced about the Paleo thing at first…but the whole no processed food thing just makes sense.  Just being aware of what I eat (almost said what I put in my mouth…nudge nudge wink wink) makes a difference…more veggies, fruits and meat, less processed junk.  I mean really, if it’s so processed they had to add vitamins and minerals back into the food, that’s a bad sign, right?


  1. I’m not convinced of Paleo specifically, a lot of the more specific points are kinda illogical, but the broader idea of no processed food, low carbs, and more protein is a winner.

    You can pry my peanuts from my cold, dead hands.

  2. Neal was horrified that you got Jen pots and pans– but I said I wouldn’t mind except well- he does most of the cooking, I am fairly unimaginative in cooking food– I’d rather play with the baking. Jewelry? No, thank you.
    Neal bought me a Gift Certificate to a spa, I never got around to using it. He was so annoyed with me. Athol, maybe you can convince him– practical gifts are not a bad thing if you know your partner wants it. One of the best presents I got Neal was an expensive skillet- as i recall he really liked it and it is one of the most used pans in the house.

  3. While your mileage may vary, I will say that if I could give *one* piece of advice to my twenty year old self it would be go paleo. From age 20-24 I ate what most would consider a very healthy diet: no processed foods, whole grains, lentil soup, meat and vegetables, and was a healthy weight. I also managed to get sick 20 times in about 3 years, culminating with mono (though growing up I was very healthy), and also dealt with chronic insomnia/random exhaustian (doctors basically said “well you just have to stick to a schedule” yeah, well, when you’ve been up 20 hours and are wide awake at 6am, what are you supposed to do? So they just gave me a shitload of ambien). I would literally wake up around 10, get lunch at the cafeteria at school, and go back home and sleep for another three or four hours I as so exhausted. Doctors told me “that’s what happens at this school everyone gets sick” … well, no one I knew had the same problems. I’ve been paleo since about christmas 2011. I’ve been sick once, and it was very mild, only lasted for about 3 days (compared with the typical 2 weeks before). Also, my insomnia has utterly, completely vanished. Words cannot express how grateful I am to be healthy again. I love the food I eat, too. Once carbs are gone it’s amazing how good fruit, vegetables, nuts and meat taste. I am repulsed by grains, now, too–literally, if I have a medium size cookie or pizza or bread, I am ready for a nap within thirty minutes, not to mention I feel awful. Trying to get work done at that point is utterly hopeless. I’m really surprised that I haven’t heard it more often, but gluten FUCKS YOU UP.

    However, it is virtually impossible to convince people that paleo works. It’s amazing. I’m in the best shape of my life, love what I eat, am super healthy, and so is everyone I know who does paleo. I’ve given up trying to explain it (for the very small percentage who will actually seriously consider the diet, the film “In search of the perfect human diet” provides a nice summary, and Robb Wolf’s book “paleo solution” is rather persuasive). I will say this–the roughly 10 or so people I know who have tried paleo for 30 days have never looked back. 30 days is key. You have to overcome the carb withdrawl, and have a clean diet for long enough so that when you eat shit again, you realize how terrible it makes you feel.

  4. Now go read Dr. Davis’ book, “Wheat Belly.”

    Than you’ll understand why “Paleo” seems to work.

    When someone goes “Paleo” or “Primal” they cut out the wheat flour and partially hydrogenated oils that are predominant in processed foods, like bread, pastry crusts, pizza crusts, flour tortillas and other flour/vegetable oil junk food products.

    You’re now discovering what it’s like to take “THE OTHER” red pill.

    See ya down the rabbit hole, brother!

  5. @Keoni – oh I understand the basic principles and the “why”. Game and Paleo are both rooted in evolutionary psychology, so it’s not a large step from one to the other.

    Give me time… I have ideas bubbling away… ;-)

  6. Been doing the Paleo diet, pretty strictly, for a little over 3 weeks. I’m down 12 pounds. Still fighting some cravings, but they are subsiding Haven’t seen any real other benefits yet, but they will come.
    Just another 50 pounds to go…

  7. Years ago I went to a spa for a facial and this Hungarian esthetician told me, “You shouldn’t eat wheat. It’s causing your acne and will make you fat.” I was only about 20 and couldn’t picture a life without bread/pasta so I largely ignored her, but never forgot what she said.
    Fast forward about 20 years to me running my female MAP and I drop flour and sugar as part of my regimen.
    I still eat oats, so I’m technically not Paleo.
    I’ve lost 15 lbs, and I wasn’t very large to start. I’ve gone from 28% to 20% body fat.
    OH – and my migraines are way less frequent.
    I’m not going back.

  8. The initial weight gain you see when you cut out wheat and other carbs is probably from decreased glycogen storage. Glycogen storages requires about 2.7 times its weight in water. So if you’re carrying around 1 pound of glycogen you’re also storing 2.7 pounds of water. If you stop taking in carbs you’ll rapidly deplete your glycogen stores and drop both the glycogen weight and the water weight. None of that is fat and has no over all bearing on your overall level of fitness. Likewise if you’re on a low carb diet and suddenly down a pizza you’ll store a bunch of glycogen and the associated water for and appear to gain a bunch of weight which again doesn’t mean you gained a bunch of fat over night. So if you’re relatively active and running on low glycogen then cut out the exercise the best way to keep weight off is to cut out carbs for that period of time, thus paleo works pretty well in that situation.

    Diets are great, but if you want to get permanent weight loss (or better weight change) you have to start lifting weights or doing some other high intensity interval training (surfing is my personal favorite-when there are waves and I don’t have to work).

  9. I lost about 10 pound in about 10 days when I gave up wheat. Lots of traveling/work so have just been grabbing what’s there which has been bad but I’m looking forward to going back to wheat-free with the slow down at work. My allergies were none existent when I gave up wheat and they’ve been killing me lately.

    So, yay for weightloss and health gain!

  10. “what I put in my mouth”….it seems to me that jizz would most definitely be on the paleo diet, chock full of vitamins and oh-so-tasty.

    I’m just saying.

    Sign me-

    JoJo the Caveman

  11. Could you provide a link to the video. The imbed doesn’t show up on my tablet. I’m wary of reading your site from work.


  12. I’m glad this seems to be working for you, and I hate to piss on anyone’s bonfire, but you are aware that 90% of the benefit you are noticing is coming from just actually properly monitoring and being aware of what you eat for the first time?

    I am sub 10% body fat, ripped, and eat an entire French stick every other day. It’s entirely down not only what you eat, but more important when you eat it, and how you divide your protein/fat/carbs between exercise and rest days.

    Check out LeanGains and have your eyes opened…

    And obviously avoid gluten anyway if you have a gluten allergy!

  13. Yep! I’m paleo-ish. I have fructose malabsorption, so I can’t have fruit. That’s my wishy washy justification for keeping my Breyer’s Natural Vanilla around. I haven’t lost weight, but my husband dropped 10 pounds easily. However, I’m alert in the morning, which is a miracle. My skin is better, hair is shinier, and I have MUCH better muscle tone. I’m also maintaining my weight effortlessly.

  14. I follow a keto diet, not too far off from Paleo, except when it comes to dairy. This video is relevant, for Paleo and keto (Low carb, high fat). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l59YyXpCT1M

  15. I just gave up almost all carbs, and upped my fat intake a lot, and my protein intake a little. I was never overweight, but I was a skinny fat and my energy levels were always precarious at best. This new way of eating has upped my energy levels, improved my muscle tone and just made me bright eyed and bushy tailed.

    What strikes me about all this is how it’s just going against all mainstream medical, scientific and popular thought. (My GP admits that I’m healthier in every way, but still tells me to eat 130 grams + of carbs per day (!) and says that wheat is perfectly fine for almost everyone. The cognitive dissonance…it burns…) People are realising that the advice they’re given about diet doesn’t work for them, and are going outside the establishment. It’s one of the biggest, quietest, politest rebellions I’ve ever seen.

  16. PastorGeek says:

    I have read both Paleo Solution and Wheat Belly and they are excellent. I have personally found that the Slow-Carb diet (from Tim Ferriss’ book Four Hour Body) works best for me. Depending how crazy you get on the weekly biet day off, it can look an awful lot like Paleo. Throw in some kettlebells and you are good to go.

  17. No wheat, no veggie oils besides olive oil and I’ve never felt better in my life.

  18. For anyone saying “Oh, you’ve just lost weight because you’ve stopped eating carbs.”
    No, I still eat carbs every day. Oatmeal and fruit and even Spelt tortillas and spelt bread. (I’m thinking that spelt wasn’t messed with genetically in the 60’s and 70’s like Dr. Davis explains about wheat. Possibly because it’s not as popular a grain?)
    I get instantly narco-sleepy when I eat wheat. Not spelt, though.

  19. @PastorGeek,
    I’m with you on the Slow-Carb Diet from Tim Ferriss. I lost 70lbs of fat in 6months last year on it. I’m still on it and doing Crossfit. I haven’t felt this superhuman ever before, even in college when I boxed, but ate crap.

  20. Our society bases their diet on two main things. Taste and convenience. Food in our society is truly a matrix that we must unplug ourselves from. Once you take the red pill on food and step outside the box, you can see how our government subsidies wheat and cannot/will not see it fail. In addition, our medical system makes a living on treating the symptoms and not the problem. There is always a pill for that symptom, just take two a day and keep doing what your doing. The benefits of eating “clean” or whole foods far outweighs weight loss. Weight loss is the main reason most people stop eating wheat, but once they change their diet, their lives are so enhanced internally and externally they can’t believe the food they have been eating since birth is actually killing them! What has been most difficult and frustrating for me is trying to convince the baby boomer generation of this information. (My parents) They cannot understand how having a biscuit/roll for dinner and a piece of cake/pie for dessert is harming them. After all, a sleeping pill, high blood pressure pill and high cholesterol pill will help do just what the doctor ordered! My success story sounds just like the stories above. My wife needs to re-size her wedding ring, it literally slips off. She now wears a promise ring in front of it….which she received as a gift from her parents in High School . She is weighing less now then when I married her 22 years ago. (She just breached 135!) None of my clothes are fitting now. I sleep good, no headaches and the best part for me is my blood pressure is now normal. I went from 175 to 160 and I have lost fat, not muscle. I have gained muscle and I’m stronger and looking better then ever. We have only been eating primal/Paleo since July 1st, and we will never go back. Keep up the good work Athol and Jennifer!

  21. @simon I couldn’t agree more. Most people go on the Paleo diet now are watching exactly what they eat! Everything in moderation. If you notice, most people that go on the Paleo diet are also stepping up their exercise routine at the same time so you have this monitoring of the diet and more exercise at the same time. Of course you are going to lose weight!

    Humans evolve pretty quickly (for those that believe in that stuff) Alcohol is a prime example. Most of us white middle americans have ancestors that have been drinking for close to 6000 years. Same with wheat, we’ve been eating for that long. I know for many it’s a religious-like thing and no amount of convincing them will make them see that having a sandwich or a slice a pizza every now and then isn’t going to kill them (unless if you are truly allergic). Wheat is the new enemy. It was fat before. Then it was salt. What’s next? Self control everyone!

  22. @alphaguy @simon

    Your approach used to be my reasoning as well. Your absolutely correct in that diet moderation + exercise = weight loss. What has happened is that wheat has been modified to withstand drought, increase yield and produce a genetically perfect looking loaf of bread. Science has taken wheat and modified it genetically to accomplish goals not possible even 50 years ago. Wheat in its early form looked nothing like the wheat of today. You could never have made a bagel or croissant with the early form. It didn’t exist. The wheat of today is an opiate that increases hunger and is addictive. Nearly 65% of our population is over weight in this nation which has gone up every year for the last 20 years. Your correct that overeating and eating without exercise is going to add pounds. What is amazing that by simply cutting wheat, fat drops off without exercise. The evidence is astounding. Please consider reading “Wheat Belly” and “The Paleo Solution” and then comment again. If that don’t change your mind, nothing will.

  23. @alphaguy @simon

    I’ve started a number of programs where I had to closely monitor the quality and quantity of food that I’m eating (Body-for-Life, The Leanness Lifestyle, etc). I typically had good results at first, but I had to keep doing high-intensity interval cardio 2-3 times per week to keep the weight from coming back. Also, it took a great deal of willpower to keep my food intake in check. I could lose 10-20 lbs, but a year later it would be back again.

    I’ve been doing paleo since last July, and I went from 210 lbs to 180 lbs by the end of 2011. I lost 4 inches from my chest, waist, and hip measurement. I also had to get my wedding band re-sized because it was falling off, and a couple of links taken out of my watch band. I’ve been holding steady around 180 for the past 9 months, although my watch band is getting loose again, so I’ve probably gained some muscle.

    I don’t monitor my portion sizes at all. I go to a martial arts class twice per week, and hit the weights once every couple of weeks. I need to up the physical activity in order to get rid of the last of my stubborn abdominal fat, but it’s honestly been quite effortless to lose those 30 lbs and keep it off. Well, other than the effort of cooking more meals and washing more dishes!

    In addition to losing the weight, my energy levels have improved dramatically. Some of that is of course due to slightly increased physical activity, but a big part of it is that I don’t get any mid-day sleepiness after eating. I attribute that to having steady blood sugar levels, as virtually all of my carbs come from a moderate amount of fruit.

    The steady blood sugar levels also have a profound effect on my emotional stability. I was frequently wrestling with depression and anxiety before I went paleo, plus I would frequently break down crying when my wife would say something “mean” or be unfair to me. I kept shooting myself in the foot and failing shit tests because I would get over emotional about everything. About 2 weeks into doing paleo, all of that changed dramatically, and I’ve had no anxiety or depression since. I also haven’t had an emotional breakdown in front of my wife during the past year.

    My chronic sinusitis is gone, as is my chronic acid reflux. I thought that my dust allergies were just getting worse as I got older, but it turns out that I’m allergic to both wheat and cow dairy. And Splenda too, oddly enough. I was also having some IBS issues that cleared up.

    I used to have a terrible weakness for sugary treats and baked goods… If someone brought a box of donuts to work, I’d have a hard time not eating 3 of them. I would get large Slurpees every other morning. ALL of my sugar cravings are gone. In fact, the taste of any of that stuff is revolting now. Slurpees and regular soda are flat-out disgusting in flavor — they just taste like pure sugar.

    As @dkb said, modern wheat is very different from traditional wheat, and it’s only been in existence for about 50 years (see Dr. Davis’ Wheat Belly). On a calorie-for-calorie basis, it’s nutritionally bankrupt compared to meat or fruit.

    Everyone in my immediate family is now doing paleo; my parents are less strict about it than me and tend more towards a paleo-inspired grain-free diet and they do NOT exercise at all. Both of them are slimmer than they’ve been for 20-30 years.

    @Keoni Galt:
    I agree that this is the OTHER red pill… although paleo was actually the first red pill for me. I discovered paleo and the MMSL/NMMNG stuff at the same time, but I had a lot more mental resistance to the relationship/attraction red pill than I did the nutrition/health red pill. However, in both cases, I eventually felt a profound sense of finally seeing the truth, and there is no going back, ever.

    @Athol Kay:
    Honestly, it’s going paleo that has allowed me to be able to start running the MAP. It’s made it much, much easier to get physically fit again — and stay fit. More importantly, the emotional stability that set in after about two week finally enabled me to stand my ground and bump back when my wife was being a complete bitch instead of collapsing into a sobbing, pathetic mess and further reducing her attraction to me. It’s also much easier to stay logical and focused and not let her dominate an argument by nitpicking my grammar or choice of words, re-defining words to suit her purpose, or shifting the goalposts.

  24. Wheat is bad. Sugar is bad.

    But, when taken in small amounts at specific times, it is ok.

    The timing of nutrient delivery is also very important.

    The idea that we need to eat a big breakfast is such a farce. Personally, I don’t eat a thing until 3 or 4pm every day. And then on days I lift (most) I eat some extra carbs like a sweet potato or maybe even a small desert. and then on days i don’t lift, i dont’ eat any carbs at all.

    the centerpiece of all of this of course is fish, grass fed beef, chicken and vegetables. lots of vegetables.

  25. @AnonJohn: “The idea that we need to eat a big breakfast is such a farce. Personally, I don’t eat a thing until 3 or 4pm every day.”

    I used to skip breakfast naturally, from lack of hunger, in my teens and early twenties. Then somewhere along the line, I bought into the mantra that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Recently, after reading about intermittent fasting, I’ve decided to go back to what felt natural to me back then. Having my last bite of food by 7pm and not eating anything until 11am or 12pm is totally painless for me now, and I don’t even feel the need to pile on the food when I do eat. But I do eat freely between 12 and 7, no starches but yes fruit in moderation. I have cut out wheat entirely from my diet for a month at a time and have never noticed any difference. I generally do no starches at all, but will allow a few cheats here and there on a weekend. Do not notice major differences when I do cheat. I know people who are sensitive to wheat, so I think this is defintely an area where YMMV.

  26. Milf_in_training says:

    Different people’s bodies are different. If I don’t eat within an hour of waking up, I feel faint.

    I’m also a Slow Carb fan, though I’m pushing it more Paleo by eating fewer beans. I’ve done plenty of food watching before, but eliminating starches (not just wheat, what they do to corn will scare your pants off) is making a huge difference.

  27. Crash Jones says:

    “Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It” by GaryTaubes.
    Covers a lot of the same ground. I highly recommend

  28. Athol, PLEASE don’t venture into this subject on your blog beyond general advice to get on a “healthy” diet. It’s technical, very controversial, and replete with specious arguments and pseudoscience. Cult-like devotion and rancor are more the rule than the exception. And that’s among the MDs and PhDs; it only gets worse among the kooks. This will only distract from your message and hurt your credibility in the topic on which you are an expert. There are a thousand other forums for the Great Diet Debate.

    I’ve got too much of my own stuff to write about as it is.

  29. i started Keto (less than 20g of carbs per day) 2 months ago tomorrow. I’ve lost 41 pounds. In 60 days. I’ve gone from barely walking to the mailbox (which is 1/4 of a mile away, it’s not THAT bad) to walking 3.8 miles in a little over an hour. It works because for the first time in my life, I’m simply not hungry most of the time and I eat what most people consider a small normal meal. (minus carbs of course).

    People (who are skinny) always say “oh, just eat less”. Well no shit, but it’s not that easy, I’m still hungry. But on Keto, I’m not hungry. I bet I’m eating 1/3 of what i was eating before and yet I”m full and satiated.

    Everybody is different, but clearly the .gov propaganda of high carbs low fat is totally wrong. (and the obesity levels of the nation prove it).

  30. crazyvan498 says:

    Grok on! It’s awesome to see to many of you taking the red pill when it comes to dieting. The last five years of my life have been in incredible transformation of taking the red pill. I read Atlas Shrugged, became a libertarian, started primal living, read game theory blogs, and mmsl. Heavy doses of the red pill. The establishment is not looking out for our interests. We all need to do what is right for us here on earth right now. When all else fails do the opposite. Thank you George Constanza.


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