There are many who find that moving to a gluten free pantry has a dynamic benefit on many aspects of their health and well-being. Gluten is a protein that gives bread its stretchy quality. Breads without gluten tend to be dense and crumbly. Potato starch will give to a gluten free bread some of the qualities that gluten in wheat gives to a wheat-based bread.
It was thought that some individuals lack the enzyme that will digest gluten. The current understanding is that gluten causes an immune response that destroys the villi in the small intestine. This results in poor absorption and bloating and all the outcomes of poor digestion and absorption. Principally the foods will ferment from poor breakdown and then the surface area that the villi give to the gut wall is lost. This will mean a significant reduction in nutrient uptake.
There is digestive enzyme support to assist those who lack this essential enzyme to digest gluten protein. 1 in 100 are said to be Celiac. Women outnumber men 2 to 1 and it is most common in West Ireland. Celiac men are more likely to pass the gene to their daughters.
There are observed links between Type 1 diabetes and IBS. It is not known whether the Celiac disease and the disruption of digestion and resulting inflammation cause the Type 1 diabetes or is just associated. In other research there is evidence that in some the significant impact of Celiac disease is neurological. Parkinson’s symptoms disappeared a year after coming off all foods containing gluten. Poor gait or ataxia is a known side effect of Celiac disease.
The research papers show a wide variety of conditions that are commonly found in Celiac patients. It is not clear whether the Celiac causes the conditions or is a concurrent disease. My belief is that the neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s, ADHD, Type 1 Diabetes, recurrent Guillain Barre Syndrome, Downs Syndrome, Graves Disease, Auto-immune Liver disease, are all the result of both high inflammation and neurological brain irritation from a damaged and distressed gut.
We can begin to draw some conclusions when we see the common threads in this information. The gut/brain relationship shows up as brain based diseases such as Parkinsons and ADHD along with Guillain Barre Syndrome. Also diseases that have an auto-immune factor such as Type 1 Diabetes and Graves Disease are likely amplified by the inflammation and deregulation of the immune system present in Celiac disease. The research which connects Celiac disease with a wide range of serious conditions shows the great power of a disrupted gut.
Foods Containing Gluten
The main foods containing gluten are:
Further foods and grains to avoid include:
- Durum wheat
- Einkorn wheat
- Brewer’s Yeast
- Wheat Starch
- Soy sauce.
When we work with individuals, it is noticeable that our individuality means that the old saying that “one man’s meat is another man’s poison” is so true. Good healthy foods are not equally good for all. Eating foods that have solved someone else’s problems or avoiding a food that was a poison for another will not necessarily do you as much good as you may think.
I will highlight 2 foods that have a lot of enemies currently.
Dairy and Wheat
Many are advised to remove these foods from their pantry. Often they do get a positive result. Apparently job done!
What we then experience is travelling to France and eating bread with every meal and not experiencing any of the problems that they do at home in Australia. So what is happening?
Is it holiday relaxation that improves the digestion? This can’t be discounted. I believe that there are 2 other factors that change our response to products made from wheat grown in Australia:
- is the wheat variety. The Australian wheat variety has been changed to grow better in our climate.
- it is well understood that the harvesting practice in Australia uses Roundup before harvest to improve crop yield. This accumulative toxicity and damage to the gut flora I believe is at the basis of the widespread wheat intolerance or sensitivity.
Dairy is one of the more tampered/processed foods we have in our food chain. In itself it is a beautifully balanced nutrient food. It should be easy to digest and benefit from. The 2 main processes that milk undergoes changes its digestibility. Homogenisation I believe changes the protein structure and that makes it harder for the body to break down the amino acid complexes. Then when we add rapid heating to above 70C during pasteurisation we further damage the protein structure which in turn makes the milk protein harder to digest. Some people are lactose intolerant, but most find that the milk protein itself is the indigestible element.
If you want to test if you are lactose intolerant, then take normal milk and make your own yoghurt. The lactose is used up by the bacteria, and the protein is partially digested. You should tolerate it better than pasteurised and homogenised milk.
I have recently found a new milk on the market that is “raw” and non-homogenised. It is called “Made by Cow” Jersey milk. They have developed a process that uses pressure to kill any microbes, without causing the same damage to the protein and killing all the heat sensitive nutrients that the pasteurisation process causes. It is available at IGA shops so far.
The Right Pantry for YOU
I believe that we all do best on a tailored diet or pantry program that is made for us. Eating a pantry that is based around the foods or our forebears will often give surprisingly good results. We can see the damage that eating a cross cultural diet when we look at how immigrants develop all the modern health problems the moment that they adopt a processed food diet with a focus on foods that were never part of their ancestors menu.
Here are some links to 2 articles that look at our genetic uniqueness and heritage to better understand which foods that we will thrive on.