…like hula hoops, the Rubik Cube, or Chia pets? You can’t even shop in a Safeway grocery store without seeing shelves devoted to gluten-free packaged goods. When something goes mainstream, it usually means it is the beginning of the end of the hype and we all sit back and wait for the next “new thing.”
Gluten-free is no fad, people, and gluten-intolerance is no joke.
Gluten is a protein (gliadin is the actual name) which is found in grains like wheat, barley and rye. Foods made from these grains contain gluten. But gluten can be found is plenty of products that are not the usual suspects, like bread, baked goods or pasta. Examples include condensed canned soups, vegetable cooking sprays, artificial coffee creamer, some veined cheeses such as Roquefort and blue, communion wafers, lip stick and lip balm, glue on stamps and envelopes, toothpaste, cosmetics, lotions and creams and prescription drugs, health supplements, vitamin pills, and so forth.
But we have been eating and using these products for years. Why all of a sudden are we talking about gluten being a problem?
Let’s face it. Modern day grains are not our grandmother’s grains. And it starts with the soil. Plants grown in the few inches of top soil covering the earth carry the nutrients of the soil
in the roots, leaves and fruit of the plants. Back in the day, our farmer forefathers didn’t use chemical fertilizers, anti-fungal agents, anti-bacterial sprays or toxic pesticides. There was no need for such additives and the soil was healthy, full of the microscopic life that created a fertile growing medium. The plants (food) grown in such soil contained the nutrients in this rich soil. In addition, the seeds used to grow the plants were probably heirloom seeds which ensured a purity of genetic material, if you will, from which our food was derived.
Those days are over. When industry turned from a war-time product base to a peace-time economy, the technology created to fight a war turned to how to make life “easier” for the modern homemaker…how to have foods that were processed for a long shelf-life, took no time to prepare, and could be grown in great quantities. Fertilizer, petro-chemical additives became a part of the food supply system in the form of soil and crop additives. Now we are dealing with seeds that have a built-in pesticide that turns away insects. All of these farming changes have created a “dangerous grain” and we are seeing the physical results of ingesting gliadin that comes from a toxic group of crops.
A person can become gluten-intolerant at any age. Just because you could eat your weight in pasta, enjoy toast for breakfast and cake for dessert when you were in your twenties and thirties doesn’t mean that the bloated, tired, depressed, fat, chronically GI distressed person you are in your forties and fifties isn’t related to your inability to digest foods that contain gluten.
Strong digestive health is a key component in overall vitality. The old saw is correct: we are what we eat and digest and metabolize. Many factors can wear down the integrity of the health of the gastro-intestinal tract and food sensitivities and toxins loom large in that equation.
Most people need to be off gluten. Recent research shows 1/33 Americans have celiac disease, the most extreme manifestation of gluten intolerance (UMD study). There is a gene for gluten intolerance appearing most commonly in folks of English, Irish, Scandinavian, Scottish, Eastern European and Jewish descent. Gluten sensitivity is common in those with alcohol and food-related disorders or a history of that in the family. This sensitivity to gluten is a risk factor for diabetes, infertility, osteoporosis, obesity and autoimmune conditions.
The good news about gluten-free products being everywhere is that is it really easy to go gluten-free now. If you could characterize yourself as fat, tired and depressed, you owe it to yourself to test whether becoming gluten-free could change your life. Try to go “free” for a week and see how you feel. If you don’t know if you are sensitive to gluten, contact us and we can give you an easy questionnaire which will help you determine your level of intolerance.
Personal experience with going gluten-free four and a half years ago manifested itself with rapid weight loss, cessation of all spring and fall seasonal allergies, sleep rhythms corrected to normal, and acid reflux meds no longer needed…to name just a few!
Gluten-free is not just a fad. It’s the road to health and vitality.