What's the deal with gluten?!

With all the gluten hype, I've needed to remind myself why I avoid this vilified food complex.  

Am I caught up in the hype?  

Am I that easily influenced by marketing?  I then hear the little, big voice inside that reminds me of the headaches, bloating, acne and other unmentionable symptoms that arise when I eat something with gluten.

Gluten awareness is in fact not a fad, but a red flag that something is wrong or different with our food.

 Many do chalk gluten free labeling/living/foods up to a passing trend, retorting,  "how could something my family has eaten for generations be bad?".  Others who have identified the culprit to feeling so incredibly awful, are so thankful to know they are not alone.  How wonderful it is that gluten free foods have become more readily available.

A bit about gluten:

  • Gluten is a protein complex. It is wheat, barley and spelt, millet, semolina, kamut and may be cross contaminated due to processing in rye and oats.
  • It may be added to dough to help bread rise in baking.
  • Wheat has been augmented through hybridization to contain 90 percent more gluten than that of our grandparents generation.
  • We are over exposed to gluten as it is in most processed foods.
  • Many have underlying digestive issues that contribute to gluten sensitivity. 
  • We are a "sicker" society due to air pollution, chemical and heavy metal toxicity stress and junk food, contributing to an inability to handle more burden on the body from food allergies. 
  • Gluten is added to far more foods as a thickening/binding agent than ever before
  • Symptoms related to gluten sensitivity or intolerance include: digestive disorders, headaches/migraines, sinus troubles, diabetes, osteoporosis, dermatitis, psoriasis, chronic fatigue syndrome, weight management challenges, arthritis, MS and other auto immune conditions.
  • Gluten intolerance is essentially an allergy. Histamine is released when introduced in the body. Stomach cramps, skin eruptions, itching, swelling, hives, sneezing, vomiting or diarrhea may be experiences soon after.
  • Histamine is not produced in a gluten sensitivity. Symptoms may be experienced over time.
  • Celiac disease is an auto immune condition that is caused by foods with gluten. The standard for diagnosis is biopsy of the small intestine.
  • Good substitutes for foods with gluten are amaranth, quinoa, rice as a grain or milled into a flour. You can also try coconut or Jerusalem artichoke flour.

Why are people reacting to gluten?

You would wonder why people are so sensitive to gluten theses days.  The cause is linked to a few factors including, frequent exposure/ingestion, the modification and chemical treatment of foods that creates an allergic response and genetic risk factors.  

Let's face it, gluten is everywhere and as a society, we are consuming it in mass quantities.   

I strive to eat gluten free for myself and my family.  I also suggest it to my patients as I've seen many symptoms clear up with the elimination of it from the diet.  Now that you have some basic in's and out's, you make the call.