Visualizing 50 shades of grain

With their new film, Dr. William Davis and director Jeremy Seifert want to inspire you to take back your health.

This unlikely duo is working on a new documentary about the health effects of consuming wheat and grain products.

“I do eat bread … soft and squishy … butter on top,” Seifert admitted. “I say all that to say that I’m coming at this as a bit of an outsider.”

Davis, author of Wheat Belly, and Seifert, director of GMO OMG – a documentary on genetically modified organisms in our food (see page 21 for film review) – are in the planning stages of a new film, with the working title of 50 Shades of Grain.

The kick-off for the project was held Sunday night at Spatz Theatre on Trollope Street.

Davis and Seifert want to go back to the roots of grain consumption and explain exactly what it does to our health.

They first met in Canada when Seifert was at a showing of GMO OMG, and Davis felt that the audience in Halifax would be the perfect environment to unveil their plans for the future.

Davis’ Wheat Belly has changed the way many think about the effects of having grains in their diet. In the book, he suggests that the consumption of wheat can cause and worsen a number of both physical and mental health problems such as arthritis, acid reflux, asthma and schizophrenia.

Seifert is coming into this project with a different point of view and is reluctant to give up grains.

“I truly love beer,” he said.

“You’re going to have to fight really, really hard to wrestle that IPA (India pale ale) out of my hand.”

The filmmaker read the bestseller and wants go on this journey to see for himself the health effects of wheat and the connection to growing obesity and Type 2 diabetes in North America.

According to the Canadian Obesity Network, one in four adult Canadians and one in 10 children have clinical obesity. Type 2 diabetes is one of the fastest growing diseases with more than 60,000 cases per year, according to the Government of Canada.

Davis said he already has a big “I told you so” ready.
Though the book is already a bestseller, the documentary should reach a broader audience.

“Art does a great job, if it’s good art, of helping us see something that you might look at every day but see it with new eyes,” said Seifert.

“I think it would be a success if just at the end of the film people started seeing and looking at the food they’re eating, especially that bottom base (of the food pyramid) in a whole new way.”

One of Davis’ main points was that he hoped to get people off medication and reliance on the health care system.

A group of people attending 50 Shades of Grain at Spatz Theatre line up to meet Dr. William Davis and get their books signed. (Photo Deborah Oomen)
A group of people attending 50 Shades of Grain at Spatz Theatre line up to meet Dr. William Davis and get their books signed. (Photo Deborah Oomen)

During a question and answer period after the presentation, Flora MacLeod took to the microphone to share her health journey and meet Davis.

“You need to say thank you to someone who saved your life,” she said.

After cutting out wheat, MacLeod said she lost 100 pounds in eight months. On top of weight loss, she said, injuries healed much faster and she found herself in much better shape.

However, around the same time she had a brain tumour, and felt people didn’t take anything she said seriously about her dietary revelation.

She admires Davis for fighting the medical profession.

“They mean well, but they’ve been taught absolute bullshit,” said MacLeod.

Paul MacInnis of Autopoetic Ideas, the organization that ran the event and is involved with the filmmaking, said he just wants people to be empowered by their own health and hopes “people just begin to trust their own bodies and their own experiences with health.”

“You don’t have to wait for data, don’t have to wait for the food industry to confirm what you already feel. If you’ve tried this and have tried going grain-free, a lot of people have profound effects and that’s amazing and hopefully they’ll trust that and stick with it.”