I thought I was making healthy food choices by choosing whole wheat pasta, multi-grain crackers, grain cereal, sprouted wheat bread, etc. Little did I know, they were actually making me sick.
Prior to moving to a gluten-free diet, I struggled with seasonal allergies. Everything I tried naturally to relieve my allergies didn’t seem to cut it. The fatigue that would come from the allergies was overbearing, yet I wouldn’t take those drugs to relieve it. I was determined to find a natural solution.
One of my herbal buddies, Roland, mentioned that I may have celiac disease (intolerance to gluten/wheat). At first I thought he was crazy since my digestion was fine. Roland explained to me that my immune system may be working extremely hard to process all the gluten I was eating and in turn, basically could not handle any other deterrents such as the Arizona pollen and pollution in the air. Spring and Fall allergies were simply the tipping point for my immune system. Roland has some really nice credentials being taught by Dr. Oz, Dr. Weil, and many other MD’s and natural docs. Since I was willing to try anything at this point, I decided to make a commitment to be gluten-free for awhile. I did NOT think this was going to work.
Two weeks later, as many Arizona allergy sufferers were still sneezing and coughing, my symptoms were gone! My herbalist Kathy, also had me taking herbs to help clear out toxins so my liver can function better as well as some nutrient-rich tea (Nettle) for support.
This discovery on gluten may have changed my life forever. I feel strong, healthy, energetic, and determined to help others become healthy. This happened for me because I was open to health information and support of my friends. Sometimes the answer isn’t as obvious as it looks and we need to look to others for support and love.
What is gluten
Gluten is made up of the proteins gliadin and glutenin. Wheat, rye, and barley are some of the grains containing these proteins. Grains that do NOT contain gluten include: wild rice, corn, buckwheat, millet, amaranth, quinoa, teff, and oats (although oats are typically processed in wheat facilities). Between Ѕ and 1% of the population has celiac disease (often not diagnosed).
What it means to you
What does this mean for you gluten eaters out there? It’s simply information for you. People today are becoming intolerant to wheat, dairy, peanuts, etc. Be aware of how you feel. If you get bloated after eating, or get stomach upset, be conscious of what you’re eating and question it. What we think is healthy, may not be healthy for us.
If you have other health issues, it could mean that your immune system is being overworked in another area of your body, unrelated to what your symptoms are.
If you decide to try eliminating some of the highly sensitive foods (wheat, dairy, peanuts), I have been told that it is best to eliminate them for 7 days. Then, very important, bring them back into your diet in very small amounts to see how your body reacts. If sensitive, you will know with a very small amount.
Why are there so many people sensitive to gluten, peanuts and dairy today?
Humans used to consume grains raw but today there is a lot of processing. In addition to the over processing, nutrient-rich properties are often removed from grains to ensure smoother texture as well as longevity of the grain. Consumer health takes a back-seat to cost and convenience yet again.
In addition, wheat and soy for example, are used in so many processed foods today. Anytime we consume something in such abundance, we are likely to become sensitive to it.
Genetically Modified Crops (beware)
To more serious issues, genetically modified (GM) crops today use a high amount of pesticides/herbicides. The amount used has risen dramatically due to different reasons. One in particular is fascinating to me. The Monsanto company has genetically modified seeds (soybeans is a big one) to be resistant to the weed killer Roundup. They call the seeds, “Roundup Ready.” Therefore, farmers can spray the herbicide fully on the crops (yes, on the food we eat) and it will not kill them, only the weeds. Unfortunately resistance to the weed killer has increased. This means that much more of the herbicide is required to kill the weeds. Weed scientists have been warning for about a decade about resistance to herbicides forcing farmers to have to increase use over time. This is a serious issue for those that eat these foods as well as surrounding crops, pollen, wildlife, etc. For those readers that want to know facts about genetically modified crops, the following link gives good information. (I will warn you that reading it may make you sick to your stomach). Herbicides and crops
If that isn’t enough, that article mentions that the USDA has announced “it will completely eliminate the program [that tracks pesticide and herbicide use in agriculture] in 2008, due to budget cuts, and won’t be collecting any data ” It is interesting at a time when pesticide and herbicide use is getting extremely dangerous, that they would stop collecting the data. One can only wonder what kind of power is behind that decision.
Don’t get depressed by the information. Information is power and you can make better choices and hopefully educate others to make better choices. If you enjoy wheat bread, you could look for “organic wheat”, and “organic sprouted wheat” as a better choice. Moderation is essential when eating any food. And again, simplicity is a good rule to live by. Preparing whole, organic foods (un-processed) will reduce your consumption of chemicals.
Going gluten free was easier than I thought it would be. I can still eat rice, corn, quinoa, and all the beans, nuts, fruits and vegetables I want. Many healthier grocery stores are even getting better at labeling gluten-free foods. Although I’m not suggesting processed foods, you can find gluten-free pancakes, bread, crackers, cereal, etc. that taste great. You may notice restaurants offering a gluten-free menu as well.
As more people refuse to allow chemicals to be put into their food, I am hopeful this will force manufacturers and farmers to grow healthy food once again. Look for the movie “Food Inc.” coming in June. It exposes how food is manufactured today. www.foodinc.com
I would love to hear your comments on this subject and/or information you may have to share. Please contribute to my blog and help spread the word on this serious health issue: My Blog