Focus On Health: Ditch gluten to improve your health

There are over 200 symptoms associated with gluten intolerance (GI), not to mention the worst symptom of all where the lining of the small intestines gets destroyed in celiac disease. Celiac affects one to three per cent of the population where glucose intolerance affects 10 per cent to 30 per cent or more of the population and can become quite debilitating destroying a person’s quality of life. Because of the myriad of symptoms and confusion on the topic, or even if it’s a real condition, it is often confusing to diagnose. Despite what naysayers may say, the condition of glucose intolerance is a real issue and worth the time to investigate further for yourself or a loved one.

It is often believed that GI affects only digestion. However, symptoms are wide spread and can include, but limited to depression, lack of ability to concentrate, brain fog, forgetfulness, poor digestion, feeling full after only several bites of the meal, inability to lose weight despite few calories or unexplained weight loss, dermatitis, bloating, gas, headache, fatigued, abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation, poor nutrient absorption, foul-smelling stools, alopecia, iron-deficiency anemia, thyroid disease and anxiety. Many disorders can be greatly improved by a gluten free diet such as schizophrenia, autism, ADHD, and obsessive compulsive disorder.

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, barley, kamut, spelt, and triticale. Sprouting these grains begins the process of breaking down gluten into amino acids and peptides, but remains gluten in smaller amounts until the grain becomes a blade of grass, in which there is no gluten. Normally, gluten protein is broken down by digestive enzymes, but in GI gluten remains long chains of amino acids and enters the system triggering an aggressive immune response treating it like a foreign invader. Opioid receptors are also activated in the brain creating a morphine type of response, making it difficult to remove breads and other baked goods from the diet. People often have strong and interesting responses when they are faced with the prospect of going off breads, pastas and baked goods because of its addicting nature.

Grains today are not what they used to be. They have been through multiple hybridizations between unnatural grasses and have a higher starch and gluten content. Herbicides are also used as a desiccant to aid in equal and quick maturity for modern convenience. The invention of the farming combine machine has modernized harvesting methods as well.

It is quite easy to test yourself if you are wondering if gluten might be affecting you. The solution is to simply stop eating gluten containing foods for six months, every crumb of it. Because dairy has similar affects, it is worth the effort to remove both simultaneously from the diet. Some foods contain hidden gluten or may be contaminated with gluten grains. This happens due to crops being grown close together, being transported in the same truck or be processed in the same facility. Oats and lentils are often contaminated, so purchase gluten free oats and sort through lentils well and give them a good rinse. Read labels carefully.

Replace gluten grains with quinoa, gluten free oats, brown rice, millet, corn and buckwheat. It is not advised to switch to gluten free breads, crackers, and other baked goods as many of them are not healthful themselves. Learn to eat more whole foods eaten whole without gluten and your body will love you.

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