Category : Gluten Free
To answer this question, we should first ask, “What is gluten? The word “gluten” comes from the Latin word for glue. It is what gives dough is elasticity. It helps baked goods hold together, and gives them their chewy texture. It extends the shelf life of food. Gluten is a family of proteins found in almost all grains. It is used by the seed to survive during the winter and germination periods. The colder the climate is, the higher the gluten content is. There are toxic proteins in wheat, rye, spelt, triticale and barley. When the starch is removed or washed away from wheat flour, the gluten is what remains. The two main kinds of protein in gluten are gliadin and glutenin. There are 3 million people in the United States living with celiac disease and 97% are undiagnosed. Some of the problems it causes are cancer, heart disease and obesity. These diseases and others have risen rapidly in the last 20 to 30 years. Celiac disease is just a small portion of a much bigger gluten problem. At the Mayo Clinic there was a study done on 50 year old blood to see if there was a change in how the body reacts to gluten. The people tested today were found to be four times more likely to have celiac disease. The change of environment, the increase in GMO foods, the increase in toxins has made us all more susceptible to the damaging effects of gluten on the body.
There has been research done on gluten that suggests that where your ancestors came from plays a role in how gluten affects you. The first evidence that wheat was grown on earth is from the region of Syria and Iraq. People from this region have been exposed to gluten longer than people from northern Europe for example. People descended from northern Europe (Ireland, England, Denmark, Norway, Sweden) have a higher rate of reaction to gluten.
In ancient times wheat was produced from a grain that cross-pollinated with a grass. That ancient grain is very different from the grain we have today which has been hybridized to increase yield. Our bodies are more sensitive to this gluten and cannot digest it easily. Grain in and of itself is not necessarily bad for you. Toxic grain is bad for you. Seven out of ten people today have a sensitivity to gluten. It has become a silent epidemic. Most people are not even aware of it and testing for it often gives false results If you have any kind of digestive disorder, food allergies or an autoimmune disease you have gluten sensitivity. Chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, weight gain, joint pain, rheumatoid arthritis, brain inflammation, and thyroid disease also indicate gluten sensitivity. Children with ADHD and autism have a gluten sensitivity.
Gluten stimulates your immune system. It is an inflammatory protein and when it is consumed goes into the gut and causes gut inflammation. We do not have the enzymes in our stomach to make it into small enough pieces so it can be absorbed and used as food. It has no nutritional value. If, through digestion, it could be broken down completely it would not cause a problem. Instead, these larger molecules go from the stomach into the intestine. They will eventually tear a hole in your gut lining. The gut is like a net, designed to keep food particles out of the bloodstream. When your gut lining is torn, food particles leak through and cause inflammation throughout the body. This is known as intestinal permeability or “leaky gut”. It is also a cause autoimmune disease. The gluten is seen as an invader in your body. Other tissues in your body are made up of protein also, so the body begins to see them as an invader and attacks them (known as molecular mimicry). It can attack the thyroid (hashimoto’s), large intestine (crohn’s), small intestines (celiac’s) liver (autoimmune hepatitis or cancer), joints (rheumatoid arthritis), myelin (multiple sclerosis), and the brain (cerebellar ataxia and alzheimer’s), ADHD, epilepsy and seizures, migraines, or schizophrenia). Anyone with an autoimmune problem needs to take gluten out of their diet. Thyroid, shogren’s multiple sclerosis and lupus are examples of this. People with acid reflux, gas, boating, infertility and poor sleep have inflammation related to the gut. If you have inflammation in your gut it causes your adrenal’s to work too hard which releases adrenalin. If you are sleeping you will have nightmares. Gluten is a factor in neurological dysfunction. It can change your personality, make you irritable, cause autism and behavioral problems in children,
The symptoms of gluten sensitivity can get better. Your gut has the ability to repair itself. When we sleep we repair our gut. Every three days every cell of your gut lining is completely regenerated.
Studies have shown that people with non celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) who adopt a gluten free lifestyle often feel much better in a matter of a few days. Their brain fog is gone, joint pain and swelling disappears. constipation or diarrhea issues are resolved. If you eat more “real” food instead of the processed, sugar laden foods that are so prevalent today, you will notice a big difference. Some other benefits of going gluten free are improved digestion, weight loss, better thyroid function and more energy. If you fix the gut, a lot of other health problems can fix themselves.
Anything that you eat that has gluten in it can be replaced with foods that do not have gluten. A delicious gluten free alternative to bread is coconut wraps. They are made from coconut meat, coconut water and himalayan sea salt. They are full of healthy fat. There is also a version with turmeric here. You can use them for a breakfast burrito or sandwiches for lunch. They are great with free range egg salad or chicken salad in them. Sprouted grain breads (like Ezekiel) or sourdough are also good alternatives. Nut flours like almond, cashew and pistachio, and other flours like coconut, brown rice, oat and tapioca, can be used in baking. You can find a variety of gluten free pastas made from quinoa or brown rice. If you give up gluten, processed food and sugar you will notice a big difference. Why not try it for just a couple of weeks and see how you feel? Feel free to leave a comment and let me know how your health journey is going for you!
To find out more about why you should avoid gluten visit Dr. Tom O’Bryan’s website here. He is a leading expert in gluten sensitivity and Celiac disease. He also has a new book out called The Autoimmune Fix that is worth checking out here.
If you would like to read more on this topic Wheat Belly by William Davis and Dangerous Grains by James Braly are two books worth reading.