Gluten-free

Right after the new year I read this article and decided to try going gluten free.  I was persuaded in several ways by the article, but this point especially stood out for me:

” The question that remains is: Why are we so sensitive to this “staff of life,” the staple of our diet?  There are many reasons …They include our lack of genetic adaptation to grasses, and particularly gluten, in our diet. Wheat was introduced into Europe during the Middle Ages, and 30 percent of people of European descent carry the gene for celiac disease (HLA DQ2 or HLA DQ8), (xii) which increases susceptibility to health problems from eating gluten.

“American strains of wheat have a much higher gluten content (which is needed to make light, fluffy Wonder Bread and giant bagels) than those traditionally found in Europe. This super-gluten was recently introduced into our agricultural food supply and now has “infected” nearly all wheat strains in America.”

I decided to take the plunge and attempt to eliminate gluten from my diet for two weeks. because I’d already eliminated white flour from my diet as part of my protocol for lowering my A1C level, it was relatively easy for me to eliminate whole wheat, rye, and barley.  Since I don’t eat many processed foods, hidden gluten didn’t prove too hard to deal with (although miss soy sauce with sushi — and I do know there are some gluten free varieties). The weirdest place I’ve found gluten is in hair care products.  Who knew that wheat gluten keeps hair curly?

I’ve had a “delicate” stomach for most of my life. I feel like it started after the Appendectomy I had at ten-years old, but that might a trick of memory. In any case, after two weeks gluten-free a lot of the chronic problems I’d experienced with my stomach seemed to be gone.

I realized, on reflection, that I’d been telling myself a lot of “white lies” to explain the problems with my GI track:  getting older, stress, eating too much acid, not eating enough fiber, too much lactose, et cetera.  Pretty quickly, it became clear that my stomach has, to various degrees,  simply been gummed up with wheat paste for the past three decades. I won’t go so far as saying this is true for anyone else, but dropping gluten has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. And things have just gotten better as the months have progressed. I’ve also gotten a lot of energy back and my skin looks better — but that might be due to all of the raw fruit and vegetables I’m eating.  If you’re curious, you should try giving up gluten for a few weeks. If you’re like me, you’ll know whether you have trouble digesting it pretty quickly.

I’m not a big fan of eating things that are engineered to look like something they’re not — like tofu made to look like meat — so I’ve basically avoided a lot of gluten-free products that look like gluten-rich ones.  Logistically, while I hadn’t been eating too much bread for some time before I went gluten-free, I had been using whole grain tortillas as a vehicle for various foods.  I don’t like rice tortillas very much, but I’ve rediscovered rice cakes and  rice crackers. Rice noodles are different from pasta, but they operate in a similar way.

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