Let's face it: we love to eat! And the thing we love to eat most is carbohydrates… breads, bagels, crackers, muffins, cakes, pastas, and more. (Are you hungry yet?) and what these foods likely have in common for most of us is gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, spelt, oats, and kamut.
Years ago, our grandparents ate a basic diet of meat, poultry, and fish; root vegetables like squash, beets, and carrots; potatoes; and a variety of garden-free vegetables. Yes, they also ate breads, pies, and cakes, but they made them themselves with wheat flour that had not been genetically altered to increase its gluten content. And they did not have the convenience and ready-made foods with their hidden gluten additions enticing them and making their life 'easier' at every turn. Did you know that you might find gluten in such products as soy sauce, salad dressings, ice creams, rice mixes, canned and dried soups, couscous, barbecue sauce, frozen dinners, sauces and gravies, and many more every day items?
So here's the score: we are eating more grain products than ever before. They are added to most everything commercially processed, and even foods that we don’t think of as grain foods are likely to contain it. And even if you happen to be consuming the same quantity of grain as a decade ago, you would still be consuming more gluten because bioengineers continually work to 'improve' the gluten content so that it makes up a larger and more potent part of the grain. Estimates say that today’s wheat contains nearly 90% more gluten than it did a century ago!
Has our love affair with gluten become an obsession? Are we addicted? We just may be. And like all addictions, this one can have dire consequences for susceptible individuals… consequences that are often misdiagnosed or overlooked. Gluten sensitivity is not just about Celiac disease; that is, in fact, the “end stage” of gluten intolerance.
Gluten sensitivity is a chameleon-like condition, hiding behind a variety of symptoms that make it difficult, if not impossible, to draw the connection. Dr. Shari Leiberman, PhD, writes in her excellent book The Gluten Connection about her 20 years of clinical experience uncovering the root causes of her parents’ complaints. These include not only autoimmune conditions like lupus, MS, scleroderma, thyroid disease, Rheumatoid arthritis, and osteoporosis, but also such wide-ranging conditions as psoriasis, eczema, severe headaches, IBS, reflux, Crohn’s, fibromyalgia, asthma, and chronic infection, among others. Clearly, gluten can cause a host of problems! And if it is the cause, a gluten-free diet is the only real solution.
What if we do not have any concerns, if we are healthy and complaint-free? First, be aware of gluten’s prevalence, and its potential dangers. Choose a variety of healthy whole foods that are not sourced from grains. Also try a variety of gluten-free grains such as quinoa and amaranth. Goodness Me! has an updated gluten-free foods list available: check it out. Consume gluten in moderation, first by avoiding wheat, since it has the highest content. Soak your grains overnight to enhance their digestibility. Avoid processed foods. Be well nourished. And take care of your digestive system: it is the gateway through which nourishment enters your cells.
We at Goodness Me! have an abundance of delicious foods, free seminars, cooking courses, demos, and guests to help you shake the gluten addiction. Come and take part! By: Janet Jacks, Founder of Goodness Me!