Eat Wheat: A Scientific and Clinically-Proven Approach to Safely Bringing Wheat and Dairy Back into Your Diet
by Dr. John Douillard DC, CAP
Reviewed by Rose Kress
What is a book about eating bread doing on a website for managing your mood? Some research has shown that eating wheat helps to combat depression. You might be asking, “How can that be? When I eat wheat, I feel so sluggish and tired.” And so, we come to the heart of why this book belongs on the shelf of someone suffering from depression and anxiety. It is not wheat that is causing the problem, rather it is our relationship to wheat.
Eat Wheat is about reclaiming healthy digestion, and a healthy life. The author, Dr. John Douillard, is an Ayurvedic Practitioner. The word Ayurveda means “the science of life,” and is a model for living in harmony with the world around you. One of Dr. Douillard’s many talents is to make a complex system like Ayurveda interesting, fun, and accessible. What you will find in Eat Wheat, is an introduction that is easy to understand with tools to implement in your daily life for healthier living.
Part 1 of this book goes into the reasons and causes of wheat and dairy intolerance, and why these are relatively new to our society. How new? Within the last generation! Dr. Douillard cites research that shows archeological evidence of cereal grains from around 30,000 years ago and the suggestion that our human ancestors were eating wheat berries, and grasses like barley and wheat, as far back as 3.4 million years. That is longer than human ancestors have been eating meat. (5) Also according to Ayurveda and Dr. Douillard, and backed up by research, the rise in wheat and dairy intolerance is directly related to our digestive capabilities.
Part 2 goes into the Ayurvedic fix for digestive issues. Why is optimum digestion so important to us? In Ayurveda, digestion is more than just food. It is digestion and assimilation of food, emotions, thoughts, and events. When digestion is limited, it is as if our life backs up in our intestines. Maybe one of the reasons that a particular event continues to impact your life is that you have not fully digested and assimilated it! This section provides tips for eating to improve digestion as well as recipes and herbal suggestions.
Dr. Douillard cites over 600 studies in Eat Wheat. New research shows that humans have been eating wheat for 30,000+ years, so this means that genetically we can digest wheat. Why is it then, that in the past 10-30 years, there is an explosion of gluten allergies? Modification of the plant for harvest, pesticides used on the plant, and genetic modification of wheat play a roll, but that is not all. A key element often left out is how and when a person eats wheat. Due to the globalization of society, we are now able to eat what we want, when we want it, instead of in harmony with the season. Dr. Douillard explains that our digestive tract has seasons from living in harmony with the planet for millennia.
One of the most interesting portions of this book is the chapter on glymphatics, which are lymphatic channels that “drain the brain and central nervous system of toxins and beta-amyloid plaque. (49) Dr. Douillard cites two different studies that link congestion in the glymphatics to “poor cognitive function, brain inflammation, autoimmune conditions, depression, brain fog and Alzheimer’s disease. These channels help to regulate neurotransmitters, like GABA. We have known for years that decreases in GABA are related to depression and anxiety. This research suggests that physiology plays a much more significant role in mental health than previously thought. The technique that Dr. Douillard describes for clearing the glymphatics is to vigorously massage the head, followed by putting nasya oil in the nose. A LifeForce Yoga technique for beginning to clear those drains is sound. Try massaging your head vigorously while using the “ng” sound (like at the end of king). The massage and the vibration will help to break up the clogs and get the brain draining.
Eat Wheat is a great doorway into Ayurveda and how to apply its wisdom in your daily life. It is easy to read and easy to understand. Dr. Douillard has provided us with yet another wonderful resource for improving our lives.