The local newspaper recently featured an article entitled, “Excluding gluten”.(1) It was a basic exposition about the abundance of choices now available in a gluten-free version. This article, like many I’ve read lately, leaned toward proclaiming the gluten-free diet as necessary for a few, but mostly a fad made popular by Hollywood.
Today, I received a newsletter from Isabel De Los Rios of Beyond Diet.(2) In an article describing how to eliminate inflammation, she states:
“If I had to choose just 1 thing to do right now to help reduce your inflammation it would be to greatly reduce your wheat and gluten intake.”
Eliminating wheat from your diet can have an astounding impact on how you look and feel.
Wheat wasn’t always so harmful like it is today. In the past, we had many different strains of wheat, but in modern times, in order to increase production, agricultural scientists created two hybrid strains. Right now more than 99% of the wheat grown worldwide comes from those two hybrid crops.
Genetically modified foods in any form can have an extremely negative impact on our health and weight. Dr. William Davis, a Wisconsin based cardiologist, points out that the hybrid wheat strain shows only 95% of the same proteins as its parent wheat strains: the other 5% are completely unique. This unique 5% of proteins is responsible for so many people’s wheat sensitivities. It’s becoming a huge epidemic and most everyone is allergic or sensitive to wheat in some form.
Which article is more accurate?
The rapid increase in the incidence of Celiac Disease, Autism Spectrum Disorder, and ADHD over the past 50 years seems to lend weight to the theory that we have a huge epidemic on our hands. Whether that’s because of a change in the amount of wheat we consume or in the wheat itself is not as critical to our health as is the recognition that for many of us, the need for a gluten-free diet is far from a fad.
It is interesting to note that the dietician quoted by our local newspaper predicts that “except for those who must absolutely maintain a GF regimen, the diet will come and go because ‘it’s really a hard diet’.” The different positions taken by this dietitian and Isabel De Los Rios (also a licensed dietitian) are striking, and common, making it difficult for some to discern whether or not sticking to a gluten-free regimen is truly important.
If you have had a physician or dietitian tell you that maintaining a gluten-free diet is hard, I hope you will take a moment to reflect on the fact that this is not a medical opinion. It is a personal belief held by the person who is telling you. Since it’s a personal opinion, there is no need to defer to it as the truth and dismiss the gluten-free diet as too difficult before you even try it. Chances are that if you are having this conversation with a health professional, the medical evidence points to a need for the diet.
Gluten may be the culprit when you have the following symptoms:
Fatigue or malaise – feeling tired and exhausted much of the time
Vague abdominal discomfort or significant abdominal pain
Recurring diarrhea or constipation, or one followed by the other
Steatorrhea – presence of excess fat in feces that may cause stools to have an oily appearance and float
Bacterial overgrowth of the small intestine
Gastric reflux – heartburn
Growth delay or failure to thrive
Unhappy with your weight
Eating problems – anorexia
Weakness or lack of energy
Poor coordination – unexplained falling
Peripheral neuropathy – tingling or burning in arms & legs, loss of sensation, or inability to control muscles
Coughing after every meal
Runny nose and sinus problems
Anemia – chronic iron deficiency
Osteoporosis or growing pains
Dermatitis, eczema, itchy or bad skin
Chronic dry eye
Nose bleeds or easy bruising
Alopecia – baldness or diffuse hair loss
Runny nose and sinus problems
Headaches or migraine
Depression, moodiness, behavioral changes
Can’t think clearly
Hyperactive or cranky
Failure to thrive
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Mental health problems
If you can eliminate these symptoms simply by avoiding wheat, rye, barley, malt, and oats (other than certified GF oats), isn’t it worth a try even if it were hard? If you can eliminate these symptoms, feel better than you’ve ever felt, and enjoy a more full and joyous life with your loved ones, isn’t it worth the small investment of time and energy it takes to change old habits?
With the myriad gluten-free choices now available from restaurants, grocery stores, drug stores, and online, living the lifestyle becomes easier every day whether or not you choose to cook. All it takes is a bit of education, support and commitment. When you need additional encouragement and support, Cooking2Thrive® is here to help.
Conflicting opinions may abound regarding the difficulty of complying with a gluten-free diet, but the preponderance of evidence suggests that this lifestyle is not a fad, but an increasing medical necessity. With this in mind, we hope you’ll trust your body’s signals, seek a second opinion, and be willing to invest in your own healing.
Feeling fantastic and loving every minute of it!
(1) Wolfe, Ron. “Excluding gluten.” Arkansas Democrat Gazette [Little Rock] 12 June 2012, Daily ed., Style sec.: 1E+.