Is Gluten Free a Wise Choice?
Poor little Gluten…
…it has been getting such a bad rap for some time now. But why? What has it done to deserve this? And what the hell is Gluten anyway, do you really know why everyone (and possibly you too) is against it?
What is it? It is basically two proteins (gliadin and glutenin) and is found in cereal grains such as wheat, barley, cous cous, rye etc.
So, what’s the problem with that? Well, for the majority of the population absolutely nothing. But if you have an abnormal immune response to the breakdown of these two proteins then you can suffer from a condition such as Celiac disease (a serious autoimmune disorder in genetically predisposed people where the ingestion of gluten leads to damage in the small intestine).
So , you’re probably thinking.. “I’m not Celiac, but if I eat bread, or anything with Gluten in it, I get abdominal bloating and pain – what’s up?”
Well, through extensive research on the subject, my conclusion is that Gluten itself is not the issue but rather the ‘digestive complaints’are actually from different causes.
1. The modern, Western-style diet contains a much larger proportion of processed foods, which are notorious for the amount of gluten they contain. Gluten is now used in salad dressings, soy sauce, soups, beer, pasta, biscuits, crackers, condiments etc. the list goes on. So (this is a basic example) rather than consuming 1 unit of gluten a day, or every few days, we are consuming over 10, 50 even a 100 times more than our gut can really break down. And we’re doing this day in and day out. Essentially, our digestive systems are being overloaded with a substance that only occurs in small amounts in nature – and should thus be consumed accordingly. Being bombarded by the excess gluten plus all the other non-food substances in these products slowly erodes your Gut health, which results in bloating, abdominal aches and pains, disrupted bowel movements and more.
2. The over-use of Roundup (Glyphosate) in Australia, and many countries around the world, along with other pesticides and herbicides. Used as a harvest aid and for weed control. A 2013 study published in the Journal of Interdisciplinary Toxicology examined the link of Glyphosate to autoimmune disease. It showed a steady increase in Celiac disease with the increased use of Glyphosate being sprayed on crops. It is believed that the toxic overload from substances such as glyphosates may be responsible disrupting how our beneficial intestinal bacteria function and thus cause the digestive symptoms that so many individuals experience.
Glyphosate residues are greatest in sugar, corn, soy and wheat but also other grains, beans, legumes.
- Glyphosate inhibits an enzyme called Cytochrome P450 (CYP).
- CYP’s are in the liver in intestines and one of their roles is to break down a large variety of xenobiotic (toxic) substances in the body so they can be eliminated.
- CYP enzymes are in charge of the majority of the liver’s phase I detoxification where it metabolises drugs into safer substances for elimination so that their extremely damaging make-up doesn’t damage the body.
- When you ingest Glyphosate – found on non-organic food stuffs, not only does it interfere with this important enzyme causing a cascade of inflammatory reactions, but the Glyphosate itself has the ability to disrupt the gut lining and thus can induce inflammation and disease.
3. Research is showing that it is actually — poor Gut Microbiome health — in the first place that creates a person’s reaction to gluten.It’s the health of your Gut Microbiome (your intestinal bacteria) that influence your body’s response to food. In fact, individuals who are Celiac have a different microbiome composition to those who don’t have the disease.
So what do I recommend?
Do NOT choose Gluten-Free products. They are generally full of additives that do more harm than poor little Gluten could ever do! Here’s an example of a Gluten-Free wrap – Water, Modified Tapioca Starch, Rice flour, Maize Starch, Soy flour, Maize Polenta, Rice bran oil, sugar, Vinegar, Dried Yeast, Egg white powder, Soy protein, Iodised Salt, Vegetable Gums, Anticaking agent, Emulsifier, Acidity regulator, Preservative.
Instead CHOOSE a Gluten (included) Organic Wrap – Organic Spelt Flour, Sea Salt, Dried Yeast and Olive oil. If you have time to make your own without the extra salt or oil, then great — but hey you don’t always have time right? So I always use the motto of Good, Better, Best when making choices.
Focus on a whole food diet. E.g. Clear the condiments from your cupboard and fridge. They are full of not just ‘gluten’ but all the rubbish that is compromising your Gut Health!! Check out my Creamy Mayonnaise Recipe below.
Eat a diet of fresh whole foods – fruits, veggies, beans, legumes, organic gluten free grains (buckwheat, amaranth, corn, quinoa, rice etc), nuts and seeds. This will allow the gut to repair and reduce the inflammatory response. However when repaired, you can slowly introduce gluten containing grains such as ORGANIC Spelt (easily digestible) in the form of Organic sourdough bread or Organic spelt pasta. Test the waters so to speak, then take it from there.
It is important to note that a Gluten Free diet can actually decrease populations of generally regarded healthy bacteria such as Bifidobacterium, B. longum and Lactobacillus and increase populations of potentially unhealthy bacteria such as “E. coli and total Enterobacteriaceae, which may include opportunistic pathogens”.
Wash all fresh produce well (glyphosate is highly soluble in water so washes off), but hey, if you can afford ALL produce to be Organic then go right ahead. But make sure that ALL your grains, beans and legumes ARE ORGANIC as pesticides/herbicides cannot be washed off.
If you want MORE than that, such as a step-by-step plan, then check out my Gut Rebalancing Protocol Let’s get you sorted once and for all. Nat xx
CREAMY MAYONNAISE RECIPE
Makes 175g (6oz)
Cashews, raw unsalted – 0.5 cup
Water, filtered – 0.25 cup
Lemon juice – 1 tbsp
Apple Cider Vinegar (with Mother) – 1 tsp
Dijon Mustard (Organic no preservatives) – 1/2 tsp
Maple syrup – 1/2 tsp
Tahini (hulled) – 1 tsp
Salt, Pink Himalayan – 1/2 tsp
- Soak cashews in warm, not boiling, water covering well for 15-30 mins or longer. When done, rinse and drain.
- Put soaked cashews in a blender/food processor with all other ingredients; blend on high until smooth and creamy, stop often to scrape down the sides.
- Put in fridge for 10-mins to thicken and for flavours to combine further.
- Store in an air-tight jar in the fridge for 5-7 days. Can be frozen.
. Sanz, Y. (2010). Effects of a gluten-free diet on gut microbiota and immune function in healthy adult humans.