Funny how we learn things. My path started with a
diagnosis of cancer, which eventually led me to creating a directory
of wellness practitioners, the ones who truly believe in the first
rule of medicine: Do No Harm.
I took many road trips throughout Minnesota
because practitioners didn’t, at least 20 years ago, advertise in
papers or in the Yellow Pages. They worked locally and got clients
by word of mouth.
I visited a lot of health food stores because
practitioners posted business cards there and the people in the
stores knew nearly every practitioner within a fifty mile radius.
It was in an out of the way health food store
where I’d first heard of Weston Price.
I even remember (I think) the sentence, “Weston
Price discovered that heart disease followed the movement of wheat
throughout the ancient world.”
Think of it. Paleolithic humans were hunter
gatherers. They hunted (and fished) and gathered fruits and
vegetables. They also gathered grains.
It wasn’t until humans settled into
communities that agriculture was invented. One of the first crops to
If you think about it, the development of
agriculture was the greatest change in human nutrition up until the
age of industrialism.
Today, however, it is becoming increasingly
apparent that over consumption of wheat products is hugely
contributing to our unhealthy state (obesity, diabetes, heart
disease); highly processed wheat products are even worse, spiking
blood sugar, contributing to insulin resistance, and creating
Advanced Glycation End products (AGE’s).
What is the overall result? Inflammation. High
insulin levels in the blood activate enzymes that increase
arachidonic acid resulting in inflammation.
Arachidonic acid is a polyunsaturated fatty acid,
an omega-6 that is necessary for good health, until you have a
surplus, which leads to inflammation.
Now add to that food sensitivities, such as
gluten intolerance, and you’ve got another avenue to inflammation
under construction in your digestive system as proteins (gluten)
effect resulting in an
inflammatory response. In this
leaky gut syndrome (although they don’t call it that) is discussed.
Simply put, once an inflammation is established in the digestive
tract causing tissue damage through which these proteins can escape.
The body sees them as a foreign invader, attacks these proteins, and
establishes that from now on, this is the enemy. So when you again
eat that food, your body wants to reject it.
Now you might not be gluten intolerant, but the
number of people who are gluten sensitive, without knowing they are
gluten sensitive is giganitc. Even YOU can be sensitive to gluten
and not know it. You can find out by going gluten free for a period
(two weeks) and then trying it again. It’s amazing how many people
feel better just not eating gluten, and just as amazing how bad they
feel when they take it up again.
"Gluten is the new tobacco." Gavin Yamey
The difference between gluten sensitivity and
gluten intolerance is in the intensity of the symptoms.
Here are the symptoms of gluten “intolerance.”
Digestive issues: Gas, bloating, diarrhea, or even
Migraine headaches (after digestive problems, this is
probably the most common complaint).
Brain fog or fatigue, especially eating.
A diagnosis of an autoimmune disease such lupus, psoriasis,
scleroderma, rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, and even
Hashimoto’s disease or multiple sclerosis.
Chicken skin (Keratosis
Pilaris) on the back of your arms as result of a fatty acid and
vitamin A deficiency caused by gluten damaging the intestinal
tract, resulting in mal-absorption of essential fatty acids.
Mood and neurologic issues such anxiety, depression, mood
swings, and ADD. Severe mood swings have been reported by some,
as well as dizziness loss of balance.
Hormone imbalances: PMS, PCOS, or infertility. I have a
friend who was having a terrible time with menopause until she
went off gluten completely and her symptoms practically
Chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia.
Inflammation: swelling and pain in your joints.
Let me reiterate. To determine if you are
gluten sensitive, eliminate it from your diet for 2 to 3 weeks. This
is much harder than you think since gluten is added to so many
processed foods. Thus one way to avoid gluten is to avoid processed
foods. So here is a web site:
List Of Gluten Free
Foods and here is a
great book: Living Gluten-Free For Dummies.
Check your store for gluten free bread or visit
my latest favorite bakery, Julian Bakery online.
Then simply bring gluten back into your diet and
see what happens.
References and Further Reading:
Symptoms – How Do You Know If Gluten Is Making You Sick?
10 Signs You're Gluten Intolerant