Wheat Talk

"Wheat is not the same grain it used to be for our ancestors. Before 1900 wheat grains were much smaller, and the wheat was organic, and there was a much higher relative content of wheat germ oil, enzymes, fiber and minerals.” -SH

Wheat Talk

Back in the 1990’s, wheat and gluten were not so well understood as being a problem for so many people.  Nowadays the seriousness of the gluten allergy is common knowledge, but back then I had to help my clients who had pain, and even though it was an uncommon practice at the time, cutting out gluten was one of my strategies. I knew that gluten could “eat up nerve endings” as one MD had written on the blackboard of an MS support group, and do much more damage than met the eye.

So I gathered all the stories and evidence I could find that I could use, in story form, to tell my clients and hopefully motivate them to cut back or eliminate wheat and gluten entirely. What follows is basically what I would tell my average client, at some point, about gluten and wheat:


There are at least four gluten-containing grains, listed here in order of gluten content:

  • Wheat
  • Rye
  • Barley
  • Oats

In order to eliminate gluten we need to eliminate all four of these grains and that includes all the dishes made with wheat or gluten products – pasta, crackers, cakes, cookies, bread, pizza, toast, oatmeal, rye crackers, rye cereal, etc.

Why eliminate gluten? It is because gluten is a very long, and sticky, and hard to digest molecule. Little kids with strong digestion can have wheat, maybe, and get away with it (for a time) but as we age, our digestion weakens, and gluten is not fully digested. Instead of breaking up the gluten into small pieces of digestible amino acids, we break up the gluten into larger pieces, each of which is (according to Dr. Philpott, author of Brain Allergies) as powerful a narcotic as the strongest substances known to psychiatric science. Are you addicted to wheat? Would you rather give up sex, than your morning toast (as one survey showed was true for most Americans)? If so, just remember; being addicted to wheat is the as being addicted to street drugs. You are addicted to a powerful narcotic substance. It is not an accident that bakeries have vents that blow the scented air (from baking donuts and bread and croissants) on the sidewalk in front of their shops – that is because even the smell is compellingly addictive and will make you want to walk into the shop and buy bread or pastry.

Wheat is not the same grain it used to be for our ancestors. Before 1900 wheat grains were much smaller, and the wheat was organic, and there was a much higher relative content of wheat germ oil, enzymes, fiber and minerals. It was a much healthier food in those days. In ancient days, YES wheat was “the staff of life.” Today, it is a harbinger of addiction, over-eating, allergy and serious digestive dysfunction and disease. In Italy today (where unfortunately for them they have imported lots of American wheat) there is an epidemic of Celiac Disease (wheat allergy that has progressed to an advanced stage).

Today, thanks to modern science (in conjunction with the profit motive) wheat has been hybridized to be MOSTLY GLUTEN. The headlines in the 1960’s would say “New hybrid high-protein wheat synthesized” and I would think “Wonderful, America is so unselfish, we are feeding the world with our advanced scientific methods”. I actually thought America was altruistic, as in FEED THE WORLD at that time, because we grew so much good wheat. Little did I know that Government Grants to Universities were also intended only to increase Corporate profit, since the politicians and those giving out Grant money, themselves had been corrupted long time ago. It was all about profit, but they tried to market it as if they were doing a really good thing.

That means we now have big fat grains of wheat. This over-large wheat grows quickly with artificial fertilizer (more profit for USA Agribusiness) and has very little wheat germ oil (so it has a longer shelf life). A wheat kernel today is just like a little packet of glue, with almost no nutritional benefit. But because of corporate marketing, almost no American understands wheat in this way, although that is starting to change. When you take a bite of bread, or oatmeal, or cake, just remember that you are swallowing glue (this is where the word gluten comes from) and eventually this won’t be good for your gut.  

I had a client whose Lebanese mother, at that time, was 104 years old. She had a good memory and it was fun to talk to her – my client brought her for a session to my office once. I made a point to ask her about Halley’s comet (she remembered that) and the sinking of the Titanic (she remembered that) and also WWI (how could she forget). Then I asked her about wheat. Did she remember how wheat kernels were different back then in the early 1900’s and she right away said YES the wheat kernels back then were MUCH SMALLER, and tastier, just as I have written here. Today, most of us have never once eaten bread made from real old-fashioned wheat. Even the organic wheat today, is very puffy and too large.


Chances are almost certain you will eventually become allergic and sensitive to wheat, as you age, and the more you enjoy your toast and pizza and oatmeal and sandwiches and cakes and crackers the sooner this will happen.  The sooner you STOP ALL GLUTEN intake the better for your health, your life, your future professional prospects, everything. Go two weeks no gluten. This will not hurt you. You will learn whether you are addicted. If you are addicted to gluten, those two weeks will be extremely difficult. You will go through the same kind of cravings as a drug addict going through detox. Yes you will miss your waffles, toast, pancakes, pizza and pasta and crackers and so forth. BUT you can substitute rice and millet and potatoes for starch, so you diet won’t be missing anything, not really. You’ll find it takes an iron will to go off wheat. It may help motivate you, as it did me, to understand that you may be just as helplessly addicted as any street drug user.

That idea made me stiffen my spine and resolve to actually go two weeks with no gluten. It was one of the hardest things I ever did in my life. I understood, for the first time, how heavily addicted I had been all my life to my gluten-fix. I’d wake up as a child, and my first thought lying in bed would be about either toast, or waffles or oatmeal or sweet-rolls, or whatever I thought we’d be having for breakfast, that had gluten. During those two weeks, life seemed like it was not worth living. Without wheat, without gluten, how could I be happy? But as I observed myself going through this, my will-power hardened and I determined NEVER again to let gluten control my life.

After that two weeks I stayed off gluten for 6 months (as one book recommended). Then I allowed myself to have wheat but ONLY when I was outside of my apartment (my rule was NEVER bring gluten into the home) and only one serving (like pasta or a sandwich) every two weeks or once a month. I have managed very nicely like that now for over 25 years.

One of my clients was a member of Overeater’s Anonymous or some similar organization. She was acting as a mentor for new members and she told me this:

“We do not allow anybody to join unless they first agree to go two weeks with no wheat or gluten containing grains – including barley, rye and oats. If they cannot do that, we cannot help them. Gluten is the main cause of compulsive overeating. It is the primary cause of addictive eating.  If they can do this, we can help them, otherwise, NO.”

Even oats have been hybridized. I can actually remember, in the early 1950’s, when while eating oatmeal, I could see each individual grain separately fall off my spoon. Today oatmeal is like sticky glue-gruel (and everyone just thinks this is how it has always been. NOT SO) and I don’t see how it can be healthy for ANYONE. Better for breakfast that you start using gluten free grains like millet, quinoa, and ground rice.

In my case, after 7 years as a vegetarian cook, where I made fresh bread weekly, and had too much, I got a rather serious peripheral neuropathy, where all my nerve ends hurt, or ached all the time, whether I was working or resting. Where are the nerve endings concentrated in the body? There are four places – feet, hands, brain and genitals. When we find that all those places ache, it is good to suspect peripheral neuropathy. Then cut out all gluten, first thing. It was not until about 7 months after I left that job that I got some relief from the neuropathy. I knew very well what it felt like in my own body, and now, as a Feldenkrais Practitioner, I can touch a person’s feet, or hands, and if I feel that same kind of energetic heat and pain that I recognize as gluten-caused peripheral neuropathy, I will tell my client you are addicted to wheat you eat too many bagels or too much bread or pizza (if they are younger). I have helped numerous clients who were struggling with nerve pain in this way. I gave this same talk to them, convinced them to give up wheat and other gluten-containing grains, and they found good relief.

I had one Jewish lady, overweight and with tremendous low back pain – and also with a serious peripheral neuropathy. She did not think I could help her neuropathy, and she had been seeing numerous specialists for some years, and had many tests run. They all told her there was nothing they could do, and she was discouraged about that. During one of our first sessions, as I touched both her feet, I felt the heat and the hot, torturing discomfort she was experiencing there. It was the same energetic signature that I myself had experienced during my years of peripheral neuropathy from gluten.

I said to her immediately: “You are extremely allergic to wheat, did you know this? You have to stop eating all those BAGELS!!” and in some astonishment she did acknowledge that she was having a bagel for breakfast and also lunch, for many years. I rather read her the riot act and actually convinced her to go 7 days with no wheat (I felt 14 days would appear to be too difficult for her).  She DID it and later was telling everyone what a genius I was, since it was only ME who had properly diagnosed and CURED her peripheral neuropathy. She was calling all her neurologists “a bunch of idiots”.  She referred many clients to me out of gratitude.

The key concept:  It is wise to assume you are already addicted to gluten and go for two weeks with no wheat, rye, barley or oats. You have nothing to lose and much to gain. 

© Copyright 2015 Steve Hamlin  www.mybodycanlearn.com