If you haven’t noticed yet pretty much everything I post is gluten-free. Why? To begin eating gluten-free is a personal choice. There are always a multitude of reasons going into any decision. For me it began with research and great books like Going Against the Grain and Wheat Belly. Add to that great information on Marks Daily Apple and the Weston A. Price. Wheat just isn’t the same as it was 100 years ago and we don’t handle it the same. After I started getting into the gluten grove, my grandfather got diagnosed with Celiac’s disease. Add to that an aunt. And a cousin with an intolerance here. It became obvious to me the easiest choice: cut out gluten. Preventative eating if you will. Plus I felt so much better not eating them. Making food gluten-free became a fun challenge. I like the adventure of morphing a traditional family meal into a new, improved, better for you/better tasting dinner. If I can get the approval of my four and six year old nephews I’ve struck gold in my food transformations. After not eating grains for so long I don’t crave them. People ask me that: don’t you want pizza or cookies? Honestly no. If I eat anything like that I’d rather have one of my own before some wheat-enriched store- bought treat. Gluten-free is my choice. If you’re on the gluten-free adventure too, join me here on this site for some yummy alternatives. Here is some of what I found in some of my research and some of my own beliefs.
To me insulin balance is a key component to longevity and health. The way to do this is to get rid of the problem children. You know grains, starches and sugars that lace all the processed foods that find their ways into most Americans’ mouths persistently more than grass-fed hamburgers and vegetables (for instance). But grains tasty so yummy right? From flours we get wonderful treats like pasta, bread, muffins, cookies, and so much more. What are these grains doing to our bodies, though? With the word Celiac becoming more widespread and a growing number of gluten intolerances, aren’t grains worth taking a further examination of? We didn’t consume grains that much before the wonderful coming of agriculture. Wheat doesn’t taste good on its own. Who enjoys pasta or bread without at least some butter, and cookies would not be nearly as good without some added sugar. Bread does not grown on trees, therefore we didn’t eat it. And as we’ll discover we (just like the livestock that we shovel grains down their throats) were not intended or designed to eat them either. The suspects? Gluten to begin. Gluten is a protein found in grains. Grains meaning wheat, rye, oats, barley, millet, rice, sorghum. There are these nasty little things called lectins that hang out in grains. They are proteins and a common example of one would be wheat germ agglutinin (or WGA for you fond of acronyms). These brats of course have to be difficult, because they are not broken down in normal digestion. This means these proteins are left large in charge, remaining in intact as they make their way through your gut. Protease inhibitors (surprise! Also found in grains) further block digestion of the lectins. How does the body respond to these large chunks of protein floating through your intestinal lining? Like its being bombarded with foreign invaders (such as bacteria, viruses or parasites). The immune system decides to bud in to try and help. It leads the charge against these foreign proteins and creates antibodies against them. Not only will they attack these masked proteins, but ones in your body as well. Attaching to pancreas proteins causing diabetes or myelin sheaths in the brain, leading to multiple sclerosis. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease caused by lectins. These pesky lectins don’t stop there. They affect enzymes like transglutaminase (TG). This doesn’t just affect some proteins, but TG modifies EVERY protein we make. Ones in the heart? Check. How about the brain, kidneys, reproductive organs? Yes, yes and of course. All of them are affected; therefore lectins are bad news for your WHOLE body. They don’t stop there, though. They’ll bind to the microvilli lining your intestines, causing the contents of your intestines to spread. This can lead to food allergies or exposure to chemicals, causing even more harm. They mess with your gall bladder and bile productions, so that fat and protein digestion is mucked up. Bile release can suffer causing gall stones to form. And of course instead of seeing this as a sign (hey maybe you shouldn’t eat grains), we cut it out and don’t try to make any lifestyle changes. But you want to stop eating grains right? Well they toy with your satiety. Because you cannot digest food the correct way, then you are supposedly ‘hungry’. You don’t crave eggs or steak, though; you yearn for more of those things that sent you on this path. You want the refined foods and sugary junk. Give me the pizza, the ice cream, the cake, better yet the heaping plate of spaghetti! More and more (so that, sequentially you’re getting fatter and fatter as well)! We’re not done. Devilish phytate (antinutrients), which are essential for grain growth and development, really do a number on us. They bind to calcium, zinc, iron and magnesium, making them unavailable for absorption. This effects things like bone development and integrity. You really want to stop eating grains, but you can’t. Not only because of the satiety thing, but because they have an opiate effect (basically they have a drug-like affect, so they are addictive. Food addiction may be a drug, but by all this you can tell it is an illness just like narcotics and alcohol, with even more damaging affects like cancers and other chronic diseases). To recap some of the problems coming from a now leaky gut or autoimmune response because of grains:
- Type I diabetes
- Multiple sclerosis
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma