Over the last few years, Gluten has developed a very bad reputation. With increased discussions about genetically modified foods, pesticides and many other issues, a lot of fallacy is being shared as fact.
Simply put, Gluten is NOT a bad thing for most people and it only has negative affects those who are sensitive to it. Those with gluten or wheat sensitivities have legitimate reasons to avoid eating it.
There has been a lot in the media over the years about genetically modified food and the effects of eating GMO, but that is a separate issue.
“There’s no question that celiac disease is on the rise, and non-celiac gluten sensitivity may be, as well. Some people have suggested that genetically modified wheat—also known as GMO wheat—might be to blame for these increases.” Source
There have been people who have been sensitive to gluten for centuries. Some people have a problem with it, others do not.
So What Is Gluten: Gluten itself is a protein composite that is found in foods like barley, wheat and rye. According to the Mayo Clinic “Gluten is a protein found in most grains. The gluten found in wheat, barley, rye and triticale (a cross between wheat and rye). While other grains such as corn, rice and quinoa also contain gluten, they don’t seem to cause the same problems as wheat, barley, rye and triticale.”
When Gluten is stirred in hot water water, the viscoelastic nature of it creates a sticky, slightly gooey consistency that makes for a great thickening agent. Because of this main characteristic, many processed food manufacturers use gluten as a thickening agent in their foods to bind the ingredients together.
The truth is, most processed foods contain gluten in some form or another. Even Ketchup has gluten (wheat) in it and something as common as beer, created from barley, also contains gluten. If you have a gluten or wheat sensitivity, you should avoid anything that contains it. This is why reading all labels and knowing all ingredients is crucial.
What makes Gluten a bad guy?
Gluten is an issue when you are a person who is sensitive to it. Those suffering from Celiac disease are not able to process the gluten in the food which cause problems like inflammation in the small intestine.
Many gluten sensitive people will have stomach issues as well due to the swelling and inflammation created by the gluten sensitivity. Sensitive people experience all kind of physical reactions like: Abdominal pain, diarrhea, bloating, hives, weight loss, and more.
As you can imagine, suffering physical symptoms like this are why gluten sensitive people must eliminate it from their diet. If you’ve ever tried to avoid gluten, you know what a Herculean task this might be. No matter how difficult, it really is necessary.
In many instances, preparing meals at home, studying nutrition, and taking supplements are advised. Depending on how one chooses to eat, a gluten-free diet might cause nutrient deficiencies so you’d be advised to take supplements.
Label reading: Gluten can show up in foods you’d never imagine and you’ll need to be more aware or risk getting “glutened.” You must become a label reader and get to know the ingredients you see on a label.
I for one have found that the few ingredients, and the more natural, the better. Keep is simple. Raw and natural are the best. (think veggies and fruit)
Dining out might end up being more of a challenge too. I for one have never studied a menu as hard as I do now because I have to work very hard to avoid gluten (wheat), dairy and eggs. Sadly, this is real life. You work hard to avoid gluten or you suffer the consequences and the only way your body can heal, is to eliminate it completely from your diet.
There have been times when I consciously make a choice to eat something I know I shouldn’t, with the awareness that for the next 1-2 days, I’ll be paying the price. (note: I am not diagnosed Celiac, just wheat sensitive)
As more and more people become aware of the fact that gluten may be the reason for various health issues, gluten continues to get a bad rap.
In today’s world, the internet has made the world a smaller place and people are now more aware because they hear about it, read about, and can research easier than ever before.
I discovered my wheat sensitivity almost by accident while visiting my chiropractor. I was having a lot of knew and back issues and I noticed I felt worse when I ate certain things. I just happened to ask my chiropractor if it was possible that certain foods could make my back hurt. He did a test, and yep…sensitive to wheat.
When I don’t eat gluten (wheat), my neck, back and knees don’t hurt so much.
Now, I can’t put the blame on it for sure, but gluten sensitivity is on the rise and many feel that GMO wheat may be to blame. I lived most of my life with no issues, but after moving to Kauai where GMO exists and higher use of pesticide than when I lived in Vegas, I developed sensitivity to wheat. Studies are still being done to determine if GMO wheat, and glyphosate are major contributors.
“Published in the journal Interdisciplinary Toxicology, the study begins by proposing that “glyphosate, the active ingredient in the herbicide, Roundup, is the most important causal factor” in an increase in celiac disease and gluten intolerance worldwide.” (SOURCE)
For the time being, if you often experience physical symptoms mentioned above like abdominal issues, skin rashes, or even headaches for no explainable reason, you might be gluten sensitive.
Try eliminating gluten from your diet for a month or two and see if the symptoms disappear and if you feel better. If so, you could be a non-celiac gluten sensitive like myself. In that case, now you know it’s best to minimize or eliminate gluten intake from now on.
If you’ve enjoyed this article, leave me a comment and tell me your experience with Gluten. You can also contact me with comments or questions.