Going wheat free is easy, right? You just stop eating gluten and you start losing weight and it’s wonderful. Not exactly. Unfortunately, there will be a few days where you may very well experience wheat withdrawal symptoms. In fact, it’s estimated that about 40 percent of people who go wheat free experience what they generally describe as ‘flu-like’ symptoms.

Assume You’re Going To Get Wheat Withdrawal Symptoms

You don’t know if you’re going to be one of these people or not, so it’s best to assume you are and to prepare for it. If the wheat withdrawal symptoms catches you unprepared, you may give in before you begin reaping the benefits and the rewards are definitely worth the short struggle, as awful as it might be.

Okay so the first step is to brace for the likelihood that you’re going to feel pretty cruddy for a few days. The second step is to understand why you feel so awful. For me, it helps to understand. Maybe you don’t care why you feel terrible. However, knowing why your body is behaving the way it is, may give you some strength to endure. Bear with me and if you really don’t care then skip to the next section.

Why Does Wheat Withdrawal Happen?

There are a few theories about why wheat withdrawal happens. The answer probably rests somewhere in the middle with a combination of reasons. Many people believe that wheat withdrawal happens as your body changes it’s primary fuel source. This is likely the case if you’re someone who eats a lot of wheat based products.

For example, if you have a bagel or cereal for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch, and maybe pizza or a burger for dinner then you’re eating wheat at every meal. Stop eating wheat and your body all of a sudden doesn’t have those fast burning fuels to give it energy. So you might feel sluggish.

The other contributing factor to wheat withdrawal may have a lot to do with the fact that there are elements in wheat and gluten that are addictive. The gliadin component of gluten actually has an opiate like quality to it. Stop putting it into your body and your body is going to have a reaction.

Wheat withdrawal symptoms can include:
  • Sluggishness
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability and moodiness
  • Depression
  • Nausea
  • Digestive problems like constipation and diarrhea
  • Cravings

Sounds like a real party, right? The good news is that it only lasts a few days. Additionally, there are several things you can do to reduce symptoms and get through this withdrawal process more quickly.

1. Drink A Lot

Stay hydrated. It helps flush toxins from your body and it prevents the side effects of dehydration which can make withdrawal worse.

2. Eat Healthy Fats

Eat avocados, nuts and seeds. Whole coconut milk (the kind in a can) is also a satisfying treat. You’ll feel full and it’s said to help curb sugar cravings.

3. Enjoy Something Sweet

Have a piece of fruit with your breakfast. The fiber will help your digestive system stay on track and it calms a sweet tooth. A smoothie with coconut milk, pineapple, and a bit of orange juice and protein powder makes a delicious breakfast or snack.

4. Exercise

It gets your mind off of the symptoms and helps you get through the process more quickly.

5. Sleep

Your body is adapting and dealing with something new. Treat it kindly and make sure to get enough sleep.

Okay, now that you’re ready for cravings, let’s take a look at how to make sure you stay on track and effectively navigate your wheat free lifestyle.