For as long as I can remember, my paternal grandmother (she died in 2012 at the age of 98) had fingertips that were almost right angles. Both she and her mother suffered from osteoarthritis. My grandmother loved to play the piano and write long letters – both things she was unable to do later in her life because of the pain in her fingers. I know that my grandmother didn’t want to pass it down to me, but I, too, suffer from osteoarthritis.


I was diagnosed with it in my late 30’s and in the past year or so it’s gotten worse. I’m happy to say that I’m still too young for surgery (I am guessing that wasn’t even an option for my grandmother or great-grandmother) but that also means that I have to manage the pain as best as possible until surgery becomes an option. My hands hurt when I play golf and tennis – two things I love to do. But they also hurt when I’m cooking which is my true passion.

Earlier this fall I was having dinner with some ladies and Laura G told me about a book she had recently read called Wheat Belly and how she had given up wheat with the hopes that it would help with her migraines and osteoarthritis. I was intrigued enough to read it myself. Dr. William Davis, a practicing cardiologist, makes a compelling argument that modern wheat (that grown in the last 50 years or so) has been so genetically modified such that it contributes to a whole host of health issues including (but not limited to) heart disease, diabetes, obesity and an increase in the occurrence of Celiac disease.

After reading Wheat Belly and doing my due diligence, I have decided to go wheat-free for 90 days to see how I feel. Based on the personal stories in Dr. Davis’ book, I should see a difference in how my hands feel in that time. If I feel better then I will make the long-term commitment. I am not following everything that Dr. Davis suggests in his book but I am going with his primary premise of eliminating wheat from my diet.

What is the difference between “wheat-free” and “gluten-free”? Gluten is a protein that is found in wheat, barley and rye. While all wheat contains gluten, not all gluten comes from wheat. Bottom line – going wheat-free is easier than going gluten-free.

Why am I telling you this? If I tell the world, I kind of have to stick to it. But, more importantly, I wanted to share my story in case anyone else is considering removing wheat from their diet. If that’s the case please let me know. Ed is supporting me in my wheat-free quest by joining me and going wheat-free for 90 days, too.

RieglPalate isn’t going to become a totally wheat-free or gluten-free site, although you will likely see more wheat-free or gluten-free site tags. And, for those of you who I make some of my “wheat” specialties for – don’t worry, I will still continue to make them and live vicariously through you!

Want to learn more but not sure you want to commit to reading Wheat Belly? Here are some good resources (and faster reads):

Look for periodic updates and feel free to ask me how I’m doing. Here’s to a healthy 2014!

To read more about my wheat-free adventure check out Wheat-Free Day 90 and Wheat-Free Day 205.

Share on Facebook22Tweet about this on TwitterPin on Pinterest0Share on Yummly0Email this to someone
2017-12-20T18:47:28+00:00 January 1st, 2014|Categories: Musings|Tags: , , , , , , |11 Comments


  1. Tanya January 1, 2014 at 1:34 pm - Reply

    Hi Nicole! I have been mostly wheat and dairy free for a while now and I’ve noticed a huge difference in how I feel. From time to time, I slack off (like over the holidays, for instance) and it’s like an instantaneous crap feeling when I do. I’m excited to see more gluten free recipes on here, and I’m also hoping that this helps with your pain! P.S. I was delighted to get your Christmas card this year, as always. Xoxo.

    • Nicole January 1, 2014 at 2:33 pm - Reply

      Tanya – Thank you for your post – hearing from you that it makes you feel better is very motivating. We’ve come a long way from huge cans of Vienna Sausage (I know we never ate those). Happy New Year to you and yours!

  2. Michele January 1, 2014 at 1:59 pm - Reply

    Good luck, Nicole. I will be very interested in seeing how this goes.

    • Nicole January 1, 2014 at 2:30 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Michele! Much appreciated and I will keep you posted.

  3. Dad January 1, 2014 at 4:23 pm - Reply

    Nicole, good luck with your quest. I wish you straight, pain free fingers for years to come.


  4. Peggy T January 1, 2014 at 4:37 pm - Reply

    Great post, Nicole, and I look forward to trying some of your wheat-free recipes. It sounds like limiting wheat may be good for many of us for a host of reasons. Reading about alternatives will be very informative. I hope your three months brings you relief as an alternative to surgery. Love, Peggy

    • Nicole January 1, 2014 at 7:54 pm - Reply

      Thank you! I look forward to sharing.

  5. MikeD January 1, 2014 at 8:59 pm - Reply

    I was on a modified paleo diet for about 6 months. It was great. In that time I felt like the progression of arthritis had rolled back at least 5 years. (I stopped taking glucosomine supplements too). Bread addiction is pretty difficult to break (yes, there ARE withdrawal symptoms). Admittedly, paleo is pretty extreme. Wheat-free probably realizes much of the benefit without such a rigorous discipline. I haven’t read it, but “Grain Brain” is in the same camp as “Wheat Belly.” If the impact of wheat on your body isn’t scary enough, what some believe it does to your brain will horrify you. Also, consider avoiding ‘nightshade vegetables’ to see if you notice any less inflammation. Perhaps it would be scientific to avoid wheat first then avoid inflammatory veges. You might also remove anything/everything that contributes to arthritis then reintroduce your favorites later (that’s a scientific approach too).

    Good luck, I hope you can find a food-solution to prevent the need for pharmaceutical (or surgical) solutions. 🙂

    • Nicole January 7, 2014 at 4:57 pm - Reply

      Mike – Thank you for your comment and for sharing. I like your scientific approach and suggestion about nightshade vegetables. Unfortunately, it would be way harder for me to give up potatoes than wheat. But, I may give it a try. Much appreciated.

  6. Cathy February 20, 2014 at 10:09 pm - Reply

    Hi, Nicole,
    How is the wheat free plan going? I just did the elimination diet a little over a month ago and an unexpected benefit was no migraines. Unfortunately this week, after 3 days in a row of reintroducing salads with dressing, a headache manifested itself. I believe it is the fermentation, or yeast process, involved with the vinegar. I can surely conquer this. The whole process has been so educational. Hope you are getting as much out of your journey as I am of mine! Just found your site today — nice!

    • Nicole February 24, 2014 at 8:12 pm - Reply

      Cathy – Wheat-free is going well overall. My whole body feels great – definitely better than when I was consuming wheat. Sadly the arthritis in my hands doesn’t feel any better. But, I’m still hopeful. I have definitely learned a lot and am glad that you are as well. I hope you’re able to figure out a diet that works for you and makes you feel better. ~ Nicole

Leave A Comment