So, why did I create this blog? Well, if you quickly google terms such as “grain-free”, “wheat belly”, “gluten intolerance” etc, you’ll quickly see that there are a lot of people who have benefited greatly from either ditching grains or wheat completely from their diet or at least reducing their intake considerably. I am one of those. I have been almost 100% free of grains for the past five months and I have seen very impressive results on my health and physical appearance since doing so.
For as long as I can remember, I have always had a big round belly. When watching old super-8 movies which my daddy used to film when me and my siblings were kids, it’s very hard not to notice the big bulge on my torso. I guess my parents never bothered to think why I would have such a big belly as a kid, my dad being the son of a farmer and all, and with the official Danish food pyramid having wheat and other grains at the bottom of the pyramid, they never would even consider wheat as a source of bad digestion and inflammation.
As a teenager, I started getting quite chubby, with puffy neck and cheecks and starting to grow man-boobs. Our family doctor, referring to “conventional wisdom” on the subject, would tell my mother that we should cut down on the fat in my diet, and that was all he could offer of sound advice.
After graduating high school, I started joining gyms, cycling for long distances and occasionally jogging, and while I did gain some muscle, the belly would never leave me. I figured I was just “one of those people” who could gain muscle but never become lean.
Around the age of 30 I went through a tough break-up with my girlfriend at the time and I started using intense workouts and jogging as some sort of escape or therapy. I became quite muscly and so everything was a bit firmer, but I didn’t change much of my diet, and so I never managed to get rid of that retained water from my bad intolerance of substances like gluten and starch.
After a couple of years, I eventually let myself go into fast-food and laziness again. At 35, I was back to my usual bloated-belly-thin-muscles look. I had pretty much stopped exercising and was often having several servings of junk food a week. These photos are from our holiday in France, in 2010:
About a year ago, in 2011, my girlfriend told me about this new “Crossfit” type of workout, which sounded like a lot of fun, plus I heard that a lot of people saw very good results in short time doing it. Since I’d gained a bit more around the waist at that time, I’d give it a go and see if I liked it and it could benefit me physically. Besides, they had an amazing offer where you’d receive a two months trial membership for less than 200 dkr!
I loved the intensity and spirit in the Crossfit gym. The instructors were motivating and sympathetic. Eight months later I’d had a lot of fun workouts and I had outgrown most of my clothes by putting on quite a bit of muscle mass– but still not touching my diet and now eating even more carbs than ever, since those frequent, long and intense workouts made me very hungry.
So the belly and the man-boobs?? Still there! — despite working out VERY intensely three times a week, having high stamina and good strength, eating a low-fat diet and trying to stay away from fast-food (but as mentioned, still very high on carbs and full of grains).
By then, I had become facebook friends with some of the people in the local Crossfit gym, and they were posting things about this amazing “Paleo diet” they had started and lost a lot of weight. I started reading about it, at first sceptical that it would be another fad diet like so many others out there, but wait… this one actually seemed to be soundly and scientifically backed for once! Most of what I read was backed by scientific papers and not just “common knowledge” or “stay away from fat and exercise like a mad dog!”. I’d previously heard some of my friends recommend staying away from grains and starch if I wanted to lose weight. So after considering for a few days, I decided to give it a try and live off purely organic eggs meat and wild fish, and eating a lot of vegetables and nuts + seeds (I later realized excessive nut consumption is NOT a good idea, but at least I was heading in the right direction.
Here comes the shocker: After just 10 (ten!) days, my torso was completely deflated and I was almost completely lean! I could hardly recognize myself in the mirror, and my girlfriend got quite worried that I would also lose a lot of muscle mass and become completely bony. That did not happen. What happened instead was that my body stabilized at being lean, as it turned out I had just been retaining huge amounts of water on my torso due to my digestion being very sensitive to wheat and salt.