5 Good Reasons To Give Up Wheat Even If You Don’t Have To

image: istock Getty images

image: istock Getty images

It’s taken me some time to get to a place where conventional wheat products are no longer a staple in my house.  But I am there. There are simply too many reasons NOT to eat wheat products.

The notion of wheat-free seemed at first to go against my grain. However, having worked in the processed food industry for many years,  I have long known that the processed food industry works to deliver the least expensive, fastest-produced, ultra-long lasting ‘belly-filler’ to our dining tables. And wheat products such as bread, pastries, cookies and breakfast cereals are no exception.

However,  it wasn’t until recently that I read the book Wheat Belly by Dr. William Davis and found out there were so many more reasons to avoid wheat than I had ever imagined. Some of these include:

1) ‘Franken Gluten’ When industry scientists created cheaper, high yield wheat, consumers got wheat with gluten proteins that mother nature had never intended. In fact the hybridization that created modern wheat, resulted in wheat gluten proteins undergoing considerable structural changes some of which are found in neither parent plant.  Scary. But compound this with the fact that tests confirming the affects of this franken-gluten on human health were never done. Super-scary.  Did any of us ask to be guinea pigs?

2) Diabetes. Modern wheat spikes blood sugar worse than does regular table sugar. The Glycemic Index was developed in the 1980’s by Dr. David Jenkins at the University of Toronto (my alma mater). The higher the Glycemic Index foods cause a spike in blood sugar vs. low GI foods. Evidence is pointing to higher GI foods being linked to Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Are you surprised to hear that whole wheat bread has a higher glycemic index than does table sugar? I was. This translates to ‘whole wheat bread raises blood sugar on a gram for gram basis the same or worse than does eating a candy bar or drinking a soda pop’. Higher blood sugar leads to the natural aftermath of low blood sugar. The body compensates with by wanting more food and you can easily overeat.

3) Heart Trouble. Dr. William Davis, a cardiologist, confirms that wheat does trigger high blood sugar, increased visceral fat, and inflammation. As these are all contributing factors to diabetes, obesity, and inflammation.  And anyone of these issues, can go hand in hand with being seriously bad news for your heart.

4) Skin Afflictions. Wheat is to apparently to blame for advancing the telltale signs of time on our skin in the form of wrinkles and lost elasticity. And wheat is also linked to other skin problems, including psoriasis, and acne. And we thought chocolate and soda pop was solely responsible for the acne of our youth.

5) Osteoporosis. Wheat generates more sulphuric acidic when consumed than meat, apparently wreaking havoc on the acid/alkaline balance of the body.  Excess acid causes calcium to be drawn out of your bones. And where it used to be thought that osteoporosis was a problem of post-menopausal women due to lower estrogen levels, science now has evidence that calcium bone loss starts much earlier in life with a marked decline by age 40. And guess what is implicated..large quantities of wheat in our diets.

These are just some of the issues associated with wheat consumption that Wheat Belly outlines AND supports with scientific evidence. Of course everything in moderation but with wheat products being commonplace at breakfast, lunch and dinner, it becomes a potentially very serious problem. Who else thinks it’s time to re-think excessive wheat consumption?

5 Best Family-Friendly ‘After Sun’ Products

Now that summer is finally here and is accompanied by sun drenched days (Yippee!), I amMuskoka chair reminded of the need for after-sun products. My own experience has proved that some of these can be very hard on sensitive skin and that in many cases, conventional after-sun products don’t cut it.

I found out the hard way that conventional ‘after-sun’ was not going to work for us. One day, when I applied one to my young daughter’s skin, she screamed AND cried, ‘Get it off. It’s hurting me’!!

I had assumed the product was safe for her uber-sensitive skin as it was from a ‘natural’ products company.  Apparently, not so.  I checked the label after the screaming subsided, to find after aloe, were listed a few synthetic chemicals.  Clearly not suitable for sensitive-skinned kids. I then researched to find truly soothing products that would not cause us upset when applied.

As I hear so often that many parents identify with my need for only the most gentle of products, I am sharing my new fave, better-than-conventional skin soothers:

Dr. Robin For Kids Daily Moisture

  • Size/Price: 6 oz/177mL $16.00
  • Main Ingredients: Shea Butter, Safflower Seed Oil, Coconut Oil
  • Why We Love It: Dr. Robin is a pediatric dermatologist and developed her line of products for sensitive or eczema-prone kids.  She is also a mom of three wee kids. And Dr. Robin’s Daily Moisture works well on winter-weary skin too so if you have some left over at the end of the summer…lucky you!
  • Buy Here or Here

COOLA Body Lotion Bars

  • Size/Price: 2.75 oz./78g $22.00
  • Main Ingredients: Shea Butter, Beeswax, Almond Oil, Avocado Oil, Vitamin E
  • Why We Love It: Easy to apply. It is a bar of soothing, hydrating ingredients that you simply pick up like a puck and rub on skin. Older kids can apply themselves.  And we found it difficult to waste product.
  • Buy Here or Here

COOLA Radical Recovery After Sun Lotion

  • Size/Price: 6oz/180 mL $36.00
  • Main Ingredients: Sunflower Seed Oil, Aloe Vera Juice and delicious-smelling flower and citrus oils AND many ingredients are organic.
  • Why We Love It: Works so well AND smells so good! It comes in a tube large enough to do for the whole family for the entire summer season.
  • Buy Here or Here

Ella’s Botanicals Magic Balm

  • Size/Price: 62g/2oz $15.00
  • Main Ingredients: Olive Oil, Shea Butter, Beeswax and delicious-smelling oils of lavendar or tangerine depending which scent suits your fancy….Ella makes two Magic Balms. She says Lavendar is her best-seller but we are partial to Clementine.
  • Why We Love It: Soothes skin sooo well and we love that Ella is a person not just a brand name and a mom herself. Ella is a hometown favourite where I live for moms looking for all natural products for their kids.
  • Buy Here or Here

Consonant Unscented Hydrating Body Lotion

  • Size/Price: 8.5 oz/ 250 mL $22.00 OR 17 oz/ 500mL $42.00
  • Main Ingredients: Organic Aloe, soothing Sunflower Seed Oil and hydrating Coconut Oil.
  • Why We Love It: We love most products by this award-winning Canadian cosmetic company and this product is no exception. Unit for unit Consonant gives great value especially as many of its ingredients are certified organic.  We love that the larger format with a pump makes easy to use on squirming kids.  In fact we find it great for the whole family!
  • Buy Here or Here

I know there are lots of fabulous products I haven’t discovered yet. If you have a favourite , please feel free to share as I would love to hear! I do tend to favour local products as well as products that are standouts in their category no matter where they hail from.

Here’s to Happy Summer Skin!