An Inescapable Trap
Even if an individual attempts to eliminate all grains from her diet except for stone-ground grain, it’s too late. The high-gluten, refined grain that we have all eaten from infancy has created a ubiquitous problem, from the gut to the bloodstream to the brain…and sometimes the joints, cardiovascular system and endocrine system, as well. The food sensitivity that our culture has dropped on us has done the kind of damage that leaves no easily identifying marks. Bread inflicts wounds so subtly and gradually that most of us consider ourselves immune to any such damage.
The huge and complex gluten protein, especially its gliadin fraction, is thought to be the worst problem in the glutencontaining grains. The proportion of gluten in wheat has been enormously increased by hybridization since our distant ancestors first started making food from wild grasses. Gluten’s name comes from the Greek word for glue, and its adhesive, elastic property is the very thing that holds a loaf of bread or bite of cake together. But when that glue hits the intestines, it interferes with the breakdown and absorption of nutrients in the accompanying foods of the same meal. And because gluten is of almost no nutritional value itself—nutrients having been bred out in favor of its adhesive properties—little value is gained from that meal. At best, even the person who considers himself immune to wheat allergy is getting a worthless, glued-together, constipating lump in the gut from what was considered a nourishing meal. A run-down, mildly fatigued feeling is a constant symptom of adults with the most minor reaction to wheat. We actually ruin every meal of the day with one of the most antigenic foods on the planet.
At worst, such diseases as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis and lymphoma can result from severe celiac disease or extreme gluten sensitivity. Less severe reactions are experienced by many who may have occasional unexplained diarrhea or intestinal gas and bloating, vague joint pains, infertility or brain fog.
In order to effectively replace wheat in our lifestyle, we need to find a way to mimic some of the adhesive/elastic properties of wheat flour and bread products. A sandwich thus becomes a lettuce wrap, or its contents are placed on a plate or in a bowl. Meats, vegetables and fruits play a more prominent role. A spoon is ready to scoop up the last of the sauce on the dinner plate. Lunch goes into a thermos.
You can make a lot of extra work for yourself by going to the supermarket and attempting to replace all of the breads and desserts in a typical diet with gluten-free grains, but you’ll still be getting a nutritionally depleted meal—poor compensation for spending extra time reading processed food packages for gluten content. The whole-food solution is the simplest and most nourishing. Shop the produce aisle and the meat counter, and let those purchases alone comprise your diet. It will make you discover new and delicious vegetables that you have never tried before, and it will set you free from the bread trap.
About the Author:
Dr. Colleen Huber, NMD, is a naturopathic medical doctor and primary care physician currently practicing in the greater Phoenix, Arizona, area, where she resides with her husband and son. Dr. Huber’s practice focuses on intravenous therapies, nutrition, herbal medicine and environmental medicine. She received her Naturopathic Medical Doctor degree from Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine.