Gluten is the protein that is found in most common grains such as wheat, rye, barley, spelt, kamut and oats. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease associated with gluten intolerance in people who are genetically predisposed to gluten intolerance.
It has been known as early as the second century B.C. That grains containing gluten caused digestive problems for some people. In the nineteenth century grains were thought by some progressive doctors to cause digestive disorders and no carb, high protein diets were recommended. Today it is known that gluten causes inflammation and is involved in creating various other disease symptoms in the body for most people.
It is a sticky substance that is used in most baked goods as it binds the ingredients together. It also is found in most packaged and processed foods such as gravies, sauces, soups, spreads, dips, dressings, margarines, canned meats etc. Therefore due to the big demand for gluten by the processed food manufactures, high gluten grains were developed. It has been shown that people with mild sensitivities to gluten can eat the unaltered natural grains grown in Europe.
What causes food intolerances?
Symptoms such as gas, bloating,heartburn, constipation, diarrhea, skin rashes,sore muscles, headaches, low energy and weight gain are all indications of possible allergies, sensitivities and intolerances to certain foods. These reactions are normally a result of the body’s lack of proper enzymes to digest the food in question. These undigested food particles can be reabsorbed into the blood stream causing the immune system to send out inflammatory chemicals, such as cytokines and leukotrienes, to eliminate these foreign particles. If this process happens often enough the immune system can over react and begin attacking healthy cells and tissues. This is the definition of an auto immune disease which can lead to serious conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis.
Gluten intolerance is now known to be wide spread due to the abundance of high gluten wheat and grain products in today’s food chain. Grains were introduced into man’s diet about 10,000 years ago and it was vastly different than today’s altered and genetically modified grains. Our body’s DNA and metabolic functions have changed very little over this time compared to the altered and non foods that many now eat.
Action to take
1. Get checked for gluten intolerance. Even if the tests are not positive try reducing or eliminating gluten containing foods and see if you feel better.
2. Give gluten free foods a try, they are readily available in natural food stores and at some commercial grocers. Even if you aren’t having symptoms cutting back on grains can be helpful in reducing excess body fat and preventing disease in the future.
3. Transitioning to a gluten free diet is really just part of transitioning from a highly processed junk food diet to a healthy, real whole food diet. The health and longevity benefits are huge.
4. Shop for organic, non GMO, gluten free foods as much as possible.
Gluten grains Gluten free grains
barley Brown rice
Couscous Basmati rice
Common foods and ingredients containing gluten
1. Alcohol made from grains: beer,whiskey, vodka, liquors
2. Most canned meats & vegetables
4. Curry powder
6. Hydrolyzed vegetable protein
7. Imitation sea food
8. Instant coffees,tea,hot chocolate
10.Modified food starch
11. Rice syrup
12. Salad dressings
20 Glutanic acid
21.Mono potassium Glutamate
Its best to avoid all processed foods that come in a container with a long list of chemical ingredients as much as possible. Whole real foods do not have labels and additives.
There are now many gluten free cook books available.