Gluten- we are hearing it so much nowadays- everything has to be gluten free. I even overheard someone in a salad place get the chef out to make sure there were no breadcrumbs in the quinoa and rice salad (there wasnt- just quinoa, red rice, sultanas, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds and apricots- oh and her forgot to mention parsley! It was delicious I had some!).
Is there a reason we should be so wary of gluten- sure it is in everything and it certainly will upset a number of people with digestive weakness. But are all grains so bad? I like to think that those naturally derived (from a heritage seed and organic) and used how they should be (soaked and sprouted) are completely different from the GMO derived, highly processed ones. Of course there is no black and white unless of course you have an actual allergy to the proteins- Celiac (5-10% of the population are) Then you must stay away from it full-stop. That you need to have a test for my preferred method is with an Elimination diet however you can do other tests (be it Bioresonance, with a kinesiologist or with a stool sample and at the very least a blood test- although make sure you are consuming gluten products before the test to ensure it will show up.)
It is quite an undertaking reducing and living Gluten free as it is in so much (see Ketchup and soy sauce) so here a a few reasons why you will see a big difference just reducing it!
I am a Naturopath and Nutritional therapist and I make recommendations based on each client as an individual. Please contact me or your own practitioner if you want some specific dietary advice.
1. Gluten is found in grains (wheat, rye, spelt, barley, kamut, semolina, durum) and can be present in oats through cross contamination. So when looking for a cracker or bread check out crackers made from Flax, sesame, or other seeds, Almond or Pumpkin (vegetables like sweet potato and courgette can also be used) bread, have a chia porridge for breakfast, use lettuce leaves instead of bread for sandwiches (good idea for kids is a banana cut in half for ‘bread’ and nut butter and jam on the inside!) Cauliflower crust pizza tastes just like the real thing and Quinoa flatbreads are delicious spread with sweet or savoury toppings. This way you will be increasing your fibre, vegetable, protein and fat intake while not feeling like you are missing too much. Otherwise bread, pasta and other grain dominant foods like cous cous are mainly fillers with little nutritional value especially if over processed. Homemade breads and pastas are completely different sometimes.
2. The proteins within the grains- Gliagin (secalin in rye or hordein in barley) portion of gluten may damage the lining of the small intestine where most of your food absorption takes place and create an immune response. It is this immune response and inflammation that is what causes the damage rather than the actual Gliagin. Inflammation will then impede the absorption of several nutrients and also cause some of the pain associated with Gluten intolerance. By reducing Gluten and repairing the digestive system a lot of this can be reversed. This also may be true if experiencing other intolerance’s. Other food intolerance’s may also be experienced because of gluten’s resulting inflammation increasing the permeability of the gut which results in a greater opening of food into the blood, which in turns triggers an immune response.
3. Most people seem to report a vast reduction in stomach bloating and I personally have seen a large effect on my blood sugar levels from reducing gluten and increasing fermented products such as Kefir. Other seemingly unrelated symptoms of a gluten intolerance are- achey limbs and joints, low grade inflammation seen in the skin ie patches of red through to eczema, arthritis especially Rheumatoid, IBS, headaches, anxiety, low moods, period pains, brain fog, fatigue and many other chronic illness can be eased by reducing Gluten.
4. Gluten can also be found in some cosmetics (it is largely used as a filler and thickener) so giving your body a cosmetics detox is a great way to learn who real foods can nourish you inside and out. Foods like avocado, coconut oil, honey, coffee, bicarbonate of soda, apple cider vinegar and even Kefir can do amazing things for your hair, teeth and skin. They can also be far more effective than what you used to buy. Not only saving you money but helping to save the environment by reducing chemicals and packaging.
5. Beer is generally made from malted wheat or malted barley, both of which contain gluten proteins. Wine, cider and distilled spirits are usually distilled from fruits or vegetables. So get creative with summer cocktails Try adding Kombucha or water kefir for an added health kick and to support your digestive system!
And then check out Gluten Friend or Foe on here and the other recipes linked above.
Please share your favourite way to reduce Gluten and any recipes you love more than ones with Gluten in them in the comments section
Wheat picture courtsy of Praisaeng on http://www.freedigitalphotos.net
Vegetables courtsey of Piyachok Thawornmat on http://www.freedigitalphotos.net