How many of your friends are trying out a Gluten-Free lifestyle because they heard that it is healthier, they suspect they have a gluten allergy, or they heard they will lose weight?
Most of us don’t really understand what gluten is and the role it plays on the body but decide to go with the trend and hope for the best. Then we start thinking things like McDonalds fries are healthy because they are gluten-free. Let’s just leave out the fact that the potatoes were grown from GMO seeds and sprayed with over 250 pesticides, then fried in hydrogenated soy oil, and sprinkled with bleached iodized salt. Some of you might be overwhelmed with the thought that things like that can be happening to our food but this should be a huge eye opener. Food is not what it used to be. There is no way that you can get a 79 cent burger and expect that it is real food. Our food industry has become big business and fallen under the category of make it bigger, faster, and cheaper. That results in additives, chemicals, preservatives, and substitutes.
This concept leads me into the question: “Can you be a bad gluten-free-atarian?” The answer is YES! Most gluten-free products are comprised of GMO corn which is as detrimental as inflammatory gluten. 96% of corn in the US is from a GMO source. When you eliminate a specific ingredient from the diet you do not want to inherit an unhealthy substitute for that ingredient. Let’s clarify, GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organism. The seed for a specific crop is being engineered in a lab to have an in-born genetic pesticide. In layman’s terms, a pest/bug takes a bite of the plant and dies. They have also made the seeds “Round-Up Ready” which means they can douse the crops with as much TOXIC round-up weed killer as they want and the crop will not be effected. Scary Stuff! So when you pick up a gluten free item, look for the NON-GMO certification to know that you are in the clear. You can also use different flours such as almond, quinoa, buckwheat, and garbanzo bean flour to avoid corn all together.
So what is gluten?
Gluten is the glue-like protein found most commonly in wheat, barley, and rye. Wheat is commonly found in breads, baked goods, soups, pasta, cereals, sauces, and salad dressings. Barley is commonly found in malt, food coloring, soups, malt vinegar, and beer. Rye is commonly found in rye bread, such as pumpernickel, rye beer, and cereals. More importantly, gluten has an inflammatory effect on the gut no matter if you are gluten sensitive, intolerant, celiac, or just have occasional gas or bloating. It has an inflammatory effect on everyone because gluten is not what it used to be. The gluten in the breads and pastas that grandma used to make had strains of wheat that have been in nature for centuries. In the past few years, a process called hybridization began which has created new strains of wheat that are foreign to nature and foreign to our bodies. With that being said, there is an increase in autoimmune conditions and leaky gut syndrome that is associated with this constant state of inflammation from these indigestible strains of wheat/gluten. Autoimmunity and leaky gut are very extensive topics which will be discussed in further detail in a future blog.
So should we be eating gluten? The answer is No. Gluten is processed and an irritant to the GI tract; the body perceives it as foreign and attacks it. This doesn’t mean belly aches, this means inflammation and inflammatory conditions like: pain, high blood pressure, arthritis, muscle aches, heart disease, irritable bowel disease, headaches, migraines, to name a few. This is when people become gluten sensitive and then intolerant. Gluten has little to no nutrient content and shuts off the receptors in the stomach that tell your brain that you are full. You over eat until you feel like you’re going to explode but then two hours later you are hungry again, specifically craving carbs. This is due to the blood sugar spike and crash.
My biggest point is don’t cut out gluten and then replace it with poor quality gluten free products. If you eliminate gluten, try a balanced diet or organic clean meats, organic fresh produce, and sprouted non-glutinous grains such as quinoa, buckwheat groats, millet, wild rice, black rice, and barley.