You've heard that there are MANY people who are gluten-sensitive or gluten-intolerant. You may be among them or you may know a few of them personally. If you don't struggle with it personally, you might find yourself occasionally feeling gluten-intolerantintolerant! What is going on? Why is this a growing health concern?
First, a quick definition of "gluten." Gluten is the word for the naturally occurring proteins in wheat (and some other cereal grains.) Many are have issues digesting these proteins. Here are a few concepts to help clarify what's going on.
- It's for real. This is not some made-up phenomenon. Some who are gluten-intolerant have a full-blown disease called celiac, an auto-immune disorder. For those with celiac, ingesting even a crumb of gluten inflicts damage on their intestines, poking holes in the lining or causing inflammation and leading to a host of problems. People with celiac disease are not picky, difficult, or attention-seekers. They know that gluten can lead to vitamin and mineral deficiencies, inhibited nutrient absorption, migraines, anemia, fatigue, diarrhea, and more. Even more serious conditions can develop if celiac patients do not take care to avoid gluten completely. For celiac patients, avoiding gluten isn't "trendy," it's a serious matter related to protecting their health.
- It's okay to be self-diagnosed. I shake my head when people say "Most of those who claim to be gluten-sensitive or gluten-intolerant are self-diagnosed." I want to say (and loudly): "SOOOOO?" If you detect a pattern in your diet, that is to say, you eat something and it causes your stomach to hurt every. single. time, wouldn't it be smart to conclude that you should stay away from that particular food? So if you are self-diagnosed, as they say Down Under, "Good on you!" It might behoove all of us, actually, to watch our bodies for reactions--discomfort, a change in stools, headaches, etc.---after eating gluten. We may be among the two and one-half million Americans who are undiagnosed (self or otherwise!)
- It could be more than gluten-intolerance. If you are one of those who experiences discomfort or a reaction of some type to gluten, you need to be aware of another factor that could be at play here. I just interviewed an MIT research scientist, Stephanie Seneff, who said that glyphosate (the active ingredient in an herbicide used on wheat) wreaks havoc on our bodies. Glyphosate (the "other g" word) may be disturbing your gut, not just gluten! You can avoid glyphosate by buying organic bread (which, of course, I believe all of us should do, gluten-intolerant or no.) But beware, because glyphosate is used on an "increasingly massive scale" on many crops in the U.S. including sugar cane, corn, soy, etc. (Listen to the podcast for more on glyphosate and its effect on our bodies. Click on this link or look for Wise Traditions on Stitcher or the westonaprice.org website.)
Are you gluten-intolerant or gluten-sensitive? Post your comments below so that we can learn from you. We want to eliminate gluten-intolerance intolerance, once and for all!