Lettuce Discuss… Gluten, what you should know!
Gluten consists of two proteins… gliadin and glutenin. It is the gliadin part that people react negatively to. Gluten is a name for a family of proteins found in wheat, barley and rye. It is also found in spelt, triticale, kamut, faro and einkorn these are close relatives of wheat. Sometimes the term is used to describe rice as in Glutenous, this is in fact totally wrong -rice protein has no gluten and is therefore safe to eat.
Here’s the dilemma, Oats do not contain Gluten. They are Gluten free. However, the way Oats are processed in the USA and Britain cross contaminates with Gluten and in some instances they add wheat flour to the Oats as a thickening agent. If they are really Gluey and stick elastic when cooked guess what, that’s the GLUten. The word itself is derived from Latin for GLUE.
So when you go to buy Oats, make sure it says “Gluten free”, that’s what we do!
Anyone who has tried to remove gluten from their diet will tell you that gluten is in almost everything. As a common additive it is found in thousands of processed foods, and that’s where the major problem is found.
Gluten can cause damaging health issues on its own, but processed gluten is even worse especially when its added to processed foods like pasta, bread, oatmeal, and cereal.
Gluten typically in its natural form is not harmful for people who are healthy, if taken in very small amounts, but off a factory conveyor belt somewhere after being processed, it becomes a substance that the body will not tolerate and in some instances is very toxic.
Wheat Gluten Can Cause the following…
When gluten is exposed to the cells of the immune system in the digestive tract, they believe it is coming from some sort of foreign body, like a bacteria. This then Causes the immune system to “mount an attack”, against it. The Gluten proteins are then attacked by the immune system, which also attacks “tissue transglutaminase”, this is an enzyme found in the cells of the digestive tract.
Therefore, Celiac disease is known as an autoimmune disorder because the system attacks both the Gluten and the body’s own cells in the intestinal wall.
Be warned this reaction can cause degeneration of the intestinal wall and also lead to various nutrient deficiencies and digestive issues such as anemia and fatigue. These can lead on to many more serious and life threatening diseases, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and multiple sclerosis.
Anotherdisorder called Gluten Sensitivity is much more common in the general population, this basically means having some sort of adverse reaction to gluten and an eradication of these symptoms is obtained through removing Gluten from your diet. If you have reaction to gluten but celiac disease is ruled out. The technical term is “non-Celiac gluten sensitivity”. There is no attack on the body’s own systems with Non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Many of the symptoms however mimic those in celiac disease, these include bloating, stomach pain, fatigue, diarrhea, also joints and bone pain.
Gluten Can Cause Adverse Effects In People Who Don’t Have Celiac Disease or Gluten Sensitivity
I know that this sounds contradictory but we are using examples from modern (chemical Medicine reports), which are often contradictory anyway. If for instance you have “Irritable Bowl Syndrome” or (IBS) which is very common affecting about 14% of US citizens and you eat a gluten diet the Gluten will have a negative effect on the function of the intestine as a barrier to the bloodstream. This is due to the fact that Gluten causes the intestine to become inflamed and degenerates the lining. This then allows leakage into the bloodstream. This is also true of anyone who suffers with Gastro intestinal problems, ulcers and lesions to name two.
Studies show that individuals (especially IBS patients) who have not been diagnosed with gluten sensitivity do have negative and adverse reactions to gluten. However, according to many doctors this isn’t happening! You just have IBS or Ulcers; it can’t possibly be Gluten Insensitivity.
Gluten May Be Addictive
Do you get unnatural cravings for bread? Doughnuts? These are common cravings right? Maybe not.
When you break gluten down in a test tube you will find peptides (small proteins) called exorphins. This is a peptide not formed in the body but they can activate *opioid receptors in the brain. The vicious circle is you eat gluten, the brain says, “I like gluten” then it sends signals saying “more gluten NOW”!
It is a well-known fact that sugar is the most addictive food item but, did you know that wheat is the second most addictive?
*(Opiods are the bit that says I NEEEEEED that again, it controls the addictive bit of your brain)
Some Brain Disorders Have Now Been Associated With Gluten And Sufferers Now See Dramatic Improvements On A Gluten-Free Diet
Lets get technical for a minute. The official name for this is “Gluten-Sensitive Idiopathic Neuropathy”, in 53 patients who were involved in a study 57% (30 patients) had antibodies in their blood attacking Gluten. The main neurological disorder that gluten has been attributed to is “Cerebellar Ataxia”; this condition in the brain affects the ability to coordinate balance, problems with speech and movements. It is now known that Ataxia is linked directly to Gluten Consumption. This causes irreversible damage to the brain and is called “Gluten Ataxia”. Patients have shown slight improvements to this condition when they completely remove Gluten from their diets.
Other brain disorders that respond really well to a Gluten Free diet are…
Autism: several studies show improvements in symptoms when they follow a Gluten free diet.
Epilepsy: there are many reports from epileptic patients saying that they have significant improvements by removing Gluten from their diet.
Schizophrenia: these patients see enormous improvements by having a Gluten Free Diet.
Autoimmune diseases are diseases in which the body’s immune system attacks organs and or anything found naturally within it.
Many statistics show a relationship between autoimmune diseases and Gluten. These include Celiac disease as mentioned above, Hashimotos Thyroiditis, Hyperthyroidism, Hypothyroidism, Graves disease, Type 1 Diabetes, and Multiple Sclerosis to name a few. Removing Gluten completely from the diet has seen many improvements in all of these diseases.
We are not saying it is a cure for any of these conditions, but what we are saying is “what have you got to lose”?
You will see the benefits of a gluten free diet pretty much within a week or two. For me the weight started to drop off. I was feeling more comfortable after eating. The permanent swelling and bloating that I had in my stomach disappeared!
Give it 1 month without Gluten and see if you feel better, I would wager that you do!
We both did and still do. We have no cravings for donuts or bread as most things we can find Vegan, Gluten and soy free. If we cant, we make it ourselves. See our pancake blog!
Mako and Hema