What’s Wrong with Wheat?

What’s Wrong with Wheat?

What’s wrong with wheat? Gluten. Gluten intolerance is not an “allergy”. It’s a condition where gluten literally sandpapers your insides, leading to a leaky gut and autoimmune diseases. And these days, wheat is essentially a toxic compound…

Originally published 2007

Acknowledgement I am indebted to the health maintenance practitioners at Health Now Medical for alerting me to the nature of gluten, for giving my body the assistance it needed to restore itself to full health, and for inspiring this article.

Why Gluten is Bad for You

For many, gluten is an intestinal abrasive that effectively “sandpapers” your insides. Wheat, along with rye and barley, contain a family of gluten proteins that create long-term digestive problems for nearly everyone. And the problems don’t stop there. Allergies, light-sensitivity, and even auto-immune reactions can be traced to gluten, not to mention “beer belly” and chronic fatigue. Gluten-sensitivity is the most prevalent food reaction there is. To make matters worse, gluten tends to be addictive. A simple blood test is all you need to find out if you’re at risk. If you suffer from psoriasis, migraines, depression, or fatigue, you might want to get one.

Update: And if gluten isn’t a serious problem for you, it turns out that no one should be eating modern wheat — a toxic compound, which, while only mildly poisonous, accumulates its damage with every drop of food you eat if, like most, you include wheat-based products with every meal.

What is Gluten, Anyway

Gluten is a family of proteins, including gliaden and glutenin (which have been the most widely studied). They are thick, gooey proteins that make things stick together when baked, instead of falling apart. Since there is so much of it in wheat, wheat is practically the foundation of the baking industry. Good for them. Bad for you. The problem is, it can slowly wreaks havoc on your insides. Gluten causes problems for people who lack the genetic ability to break it down into smaller amino acids, so that can be absorbed. Most can’t, but that’s not a problem unless you also have an immune system that sees the molecule as a foreign invader. Because it doesn’t get broken down, the immune system recognizes it as a “foreign protein”, and attacks it. In the process, the intestinal wall is damaged. That’s why gluten acts as an intestinal abrasive.

How Many People are Affected?

In the latest study, one in three people were found to be gluten sensitive, even though they were showing no symptoms at all. They were pre-symptomatic. Of people with any kind of digestive disorder (gas, heart burn, diarrhea, constipation, or what have you) one in two were found to be gluten sensitive. And if any blood relative was gluten sensitive, the chances were a near certainty that they were, too. So let’s say that half the people in the country have some kind of digestive problem (a very conservative estimate). If the studies are accurate, then half of those folks are gluten sensitive (25%), as are a third of the remainder (17%). That would mean that something like 42% of the population has a problem with gluten. So as much as half the population could be affected — but we don’t know how big the problem really is, because doctors don’t typically test for it. But in the DVD, Unlocking the Mystery of Wheat and Gluten Intolerance, Dr. O’Bryan gives a lecture that consists entirely of quotes from medical journals. There is no excuse for the fact that doctors are by and large ignorant of this material, and no excuse for failing to test for gluten sensitivity in every medical checkup. If they did that, we would have precise numbers in very short order.

How Gluten Creates Problems

The changes it makes in your body eventually cause sometimes-violent food reactions. Note that I didn’t say “food allergies”. A true “allergy” doesn’t develop slowly, over time. And the severity of the symptoms don’t depend on how much you have, or on how long you have been exposed. When you have a true allergy, the smallest amounts create a severe response, immediately. The gluten grains aren’t that dramatic. They immune reactions they incite slowly erode the intestinal wall, creating increasingly severe problems over a long period of time. Because of that immune response, gluten acts as an “intestinal abrasive”. It sandpapers the intestinal wall it is so thin that it no longer functions properly. The glutens cause a variety of problems that collectively come under the heading, gluten sensitivity, or when severe, are said to cause a gluten reaction. The symptoms take so long to develop, in fact, that you get used to them. “That’s just the way things are”, you think, or: “That’s just what happens when you get older.”  But you can become so used to them that they feel “normal”. So large numbers of people take aspirin for their constant headaches, for example, never realizing that their diet is causing the problem. But it may very well be that you don’t have to live with the symptoms you’ve become accustomed to, and that you don’t have to take drugs to deal with them. As the weakening of the intestinal wall progresses, other “food allergies” develop. The first one to develop is typically a reaction to milk, for example, because the enzyme responsible for digesting lacose (lactase) is produced at the tips of the villi that line the intestines. As those villi erode, the body becomes incapable of digesting lactose. As time goes on, other such food sensitivities develop. Eventually, the intestinal wall thins to the point that it starts absorbing things that should have been blocked (leaky gut). That’s when the real problems start. In short, gluten reactions interfere with many bodily systems:

  • Lactase production: The tips of the villi produce the enzyme that digests the lactose in milk. Since they’re the first to go, the very first symptom of gluten intolerance you see may be a “milk allergy” that manifests itself as a stuffy nose and post-nasal drip (also known as sinusitis or rhinitis) that occurs whenever you consume dairy products.
  • Sucrase production: The enzyme that digests sugar (sucrose) is lower down. So the next symptom you experience could manifest themselves as sugar-digestion problems (e.g. hypoglycemia or glucose intolerance).
  • Absorption: As the intestinal wall degrades further, it thins, allowing larger proteins to be absorbed that should have been blocked (“leaky gut”). That can cause psoriasis and other skin problems, as well as an addiction-response to gluten.
  • Immune Function: The constant load on the immune system as it fights off foreign proteins in the digestive tract impairs its ability to do its job elsewhere. Meanwhile, clogged sinuses and unhealthy intestinal walls create a perfect home for harmful bacteria to multiply.
  • Adrenal Function: The constant adrenal load created by chronic inflammation of the intestines — a fire that typically has gasoline thrown on it with every meal — eventually leads to adrenal insufficiency or even adrenal exhaustion. As the adrenal become impaired, many other symptoms manifest themselves, including allergies, slow weight gain, and a loss off energy — all of which are discussed at greater length below.

Where Gluten is Found

The largest amounts of glutens are found in wheat, rye, and barley — a closely related trio of grains that contain, respectively, gliaden and glutenin.

Note: Gliadin is the worst of the offenders. Gliaden does not occur in oats, but other gluten proteins do, such as glutenin. So oats are a “borderline” grain. It may be that they don’t cause problems, or it may be that we just haven’t studied glutenin enough.

Then there is triticale (wheat and rye), kamut (Egyptian wheat) and wheat products like couscoous and semolina. Plus spelt, club, durum, bulgur, and einkorn — all wheat or wheat products, and all to be avoided by anyone who is gluten intolerant. The only grains or flour from which gluten proteins are completely absent are rice, corn, potato, buckwheat, and coconut flour, arrowroot, millet, tapioca, teff, amaranth, and quinoa. Those are the only realistic grains for anyone who is gluten sensitive.

Note:
Quinoa is actually a seed. That puts it high up on my dietary-goodness list, because of their terrific nutritional value.
Learn more: The Incredibly Healthy Foods of India: The Power of Seeds

Soy and corn are gluten-free, as well. But virtually all of the wheat, corn, and soy grown in the United States has been genetically modified. In addition, both corn oil and soy oil depress the thyroid, which lowers your energy levels and causes weight gain. So neither corn nor soy are highly recommended at this time.

Gluten’s Effects on the Body

You’ve already seen a fairly lengthy list of harmful effects. This section will dive a little deeper into the mechanisms that cause harm, and add to the list of undesirable effects, including:

  • Gluten addiction
  • Pot belly
  • Obesity & “Hunger Attacks”
  • “Allergies”
  • Adrenal Exhaustion
  • Celiac Disease and Other Problems

Gluten Addiction

Super Size Me describes the addictive nature of American fast foods. They incite feelings of euphoria, only to create feelings of misery a few hours later — producing the need for another “fix”. It is not surprising, therefore, to find that the hamburgers use a wheat filler, the fries are brushed with wheat to make them crispy. The process by which wheat becomes addictive works like this:

  1. Over time, gluten’s erosion of the intestinal wall produces a “leaky gut” which absorbs full proteins that should have been blocked until they’re broken down into amino acids.
  2. Glutens are opioid-like proteins that resist the digestive process, so they don’t easily break down into amino acids.
  3. When the damaged intestinal wall passes them through intact, they cause a “gluten high” that lasts for a few hours, followed by an energy crash and a craving for carbohydrates — your next “fix”.

The process is aided and abetted, of course, by the sugar and simple starches that are invariably present in baked goods. So when you’re coming down, you’ll have a craving for the thing that gets you high — something sugary and starchy, like a donut. If all that sugar and starch did was to make you fat, that wouldn’t be too bad. But the addictive nature of gluten means that you can’t help yourself from eating more and more. Making it even harder is the fact that most people don’t even know they’re fighting a real addiction. Of course, it takes a fair amount of gluten before the intestinal walls degrade to the point that the undigested proteins can pass. So it takes a long time. But bread and cereal are such a basic part of the American diet that folks who have a genetic inclination to gluten sensitivity will have begun to reflect those problems by the time they’re in their teens.

Pot Belly

Your intestines swell with water as your body fights off the damage done by gluten. That gives you a “pot belly” ot “beer gut” that magnifies the appearance of any fat you have. In reality, it’s a lot more water than fat. So regaining the flat stomach of your youth might be as simple as dropping gluten out of your diet.

Note: I was informed of that little fact in mid-March. By the end of March, the stomach was visibly flattening. By the end of April, I had dropped close to 20 lbs — almost all of it water weight around the intestines — and that stupid little pot belly was nearly gone. These days, it’s almost fully gone. I mean, I knew I was carrying some extra fat around the middle. But that belly was out of all proportion. So I looked a lot fatter than I really was. It’s terrific to have a flat stomach again. Update: After writing that bit, I discovered gluten-free breads. Oops. Pot belly is back. (But it is not as intense as it was.)

Obesity and “Hunger Attacks”

As the intestinal abrasions accumulate, one very observable effect is the slow accumulation of weight — in addition to a stomach size that seems out of all proportion to the weight you’ve gained. There’s a good chance you’re gluten sensitive if you’re experiencing a slow weight gain that seems unstoppable from month to month and year to year, regardless of how much you exercise. If it only stops when you starve yourself on some diet or another, only to come charging back with a vengeance when you finally stop, you should definitely get yourself tested for gluten sensitivity.. You keep adding fat for two reasons:

  • The addiction caused by gluten and MSG causes “hunger attacks” that cannot be denied with sheer will sheer power. You can try, but you’re fighting a survival instinct that goes back a lot longer than you do. So you overeat and add fat.
  • The adrenals are too busy dealing with inflammation in the intestines (or too exhausted from doing so) to release the hormone that lets you burn fat (progesterone). So what you gain, you keep.

If you wake up in the middle of the night because you’re hungry, you should be tested for gluten sensitivity. If you slowly gain weight from year to year, you should get tested for gluten sensitivity. If you gain it rapidly from month to month, you may not even need to test. There is a good chance you are suffering from adrenal exhaustion brought on by gluten intolerance. (More on that subject coming up.)

“Allergies”

As the function of the intestinal tract degrades, you can become to susceptible to many other “food allergies”, as well. In reality, you are experiencing a food-sensitivity reaction, but it feels just like an allergy. At first, you think it’s the flu. You have the aching muscles and massive fatigue you experience when you’re sick. And your nose is all stuffed up, too. But after a while, you begin to notice that you’re getting “sick” in the middle of summer and in the spring, when the flu season is long over. So you begin to suspect grasses and pollen and every natural thing in the environment, never realizing that as your intestinal lining erodes, you are reacting to more and more of the things you eat. You may even see a relationship to seasonal pollens, never realizing that main culprit is really gluten — especially if you were never allergic to those pollens before, and are now experiencing a reaction. It could be that they are a minor stress, well within your body’s normal capacity, but in the presence of the continuous stress created by gluten, they put you “over the edge”. As with obesity, the adrenals come into play here. The same cortico-steriods that are prescribed in nasal sprays are produced naturally by the adrenals. The amount the adrenals can produce determines your capacity for handling allergens. When the adrenals are otherwise preoccupied with dietary stresses, it can’t produce as much antihistamine as it otherwise might. So what looks like a seasonal allergy can very well have one or more dietary reactions at its core. Over time, a food-elimination diet will identify the culprits who have been causing you trouble. (A trained nutritionist can guide you through the process.) The usual suspects include:

  • dairy products
  • citrus
  • vinegar
  • tomatoes
  • corn
  • soy
  • chocolate
  • alcohol
  • beef, pork, eggs, shellfish
  • honey, sugar
  • peanuts

The good news is that once you’ve restored your intestines to full health, you’ll be able to add back many of the things that give you trouble. But until then, you need to avoid the ones that cause problems for a good two or three months, until the intestinal wall heals. For more on the dietary causes and treatment of allergies, see Conquering Allergies.

Adrenal Exhaustion

Perhaps the most significant long-term effect of gluten sensitivity is adrenal exhaustion (inability of the adrenal glands to respond to the stress of daily life). It occurs because the adrenals are constantly reacting to the inflammation caused by gluten in the intestines. After doing that for long enough, they have no capacity left over to produce the other hormones they’re responsible for, including steroidal hormones that act as anti-histamines and the hormone that unlocks fat. Adrenal exhaustion can produce a number of symptoms:

  • Light sensitivity — especially at night, because the pupils stay dilated instead of narrowing
  • Noise sensitivity
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • “Allergies”
  • Insomnia
  • Chronic fatigue, where you can’t make it through the day, or you get through it only to crash the moment you get home
  • Lowered immune response
  • Inflammation, when it can no longer produce the body’s natural anti-inflammatory (cortisone)
  • Fast weight gain, no matter how much you exercise
  • Soreness that lasts for a couple of days after you exercise. (Your body can’t burn fat for energy, so it has to catabolize muscle. That’s why you can’t burn fat, and why you’re so sore from exercising.)
  • You get cold and sleepy a couple of hours after rising and after meals..

Celiac Disease and Other Problems

When the intestinal problems reach critical levels, the diagnosis is Celiac Disease, which just means “disease of the abdominal cavity”. (Informative, huh?) But long before that kind of intestinal atrophy is reached (or diagnosed), many other conditions may occur — conditions that may have gluten reactions as their underlying cause:

  • Arthritis
  • Cancer
  • Depression
  • Dermatitis herpetiformis (intensely itchy, blistering hives)
  • Lupus
  • Manic Depression
  • Migraine headaches
  • Neurological diseases (multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, …, others)
  • Osteoporosis
  • Schizophrenia

Diagnosing Gluten Sensitivity

Much of the population has the wrong genetic makeup to deal with gluten. If you have any of the severe symptoms described above, you should definitely get a gluten test. If you display any of these early warning signs, you may want to get yourself tested, as well:

  • psoriasis (dandruff)
  • lactose intolerance (“milk allergy”)
  • ringing in the ears
  • sinusitis
  • rhinitis
  • slow, constant weight gain
  • daily “hunger attacks”
  • body chill and drowsiness a couple of hours after arising, and/or a couple of hours after lunch
  • light-sensitivity (bright lights hurt your eyes)
  • noise sensitivity
  • insomnia
  • massive fatigue and soreness one or two days after vigorous exercise
  • chronic, low-level fatigue all the time

There is a very simple blood test that will tell you if gluten is the likely cause. (There’s also a saliva test.) All they have to do is take a sample of your blood and look for antibodies (markers on your white blood cells). Given that gluten-senstivity is the most prevalent food reaction on the planet, it is absolutely astonishing that this test isn’t part of the everone’s standard medical checkup. (I can only conclude that agribusiness supplies the funding for medical schools, along with drug companies.)

You may be Gluten-Intolerant If…

  1. You have a large belly, or you have a problem losing weight.
  2. You almost never eat a meal without bread.
  3. When you go to a restaurant, the bread they serve at the start of the meal is like, the best thing ever!
  4. When the noise level goes up in a restaurant, it sets you edge. And the sudden silences make you especially nervous.
  5. When you drink a beer, you find yourself getting nervous after the first one, alert to the sounds around you, and wanting to get away.
  6. When you come home after eating out, you immediately start eating something else.
  7. After eating a meal, if you have to walk any distance outside in the open, you find yourself getting anxious, or maybe even having a panic attack.

Explanations:

  1. You have a large belly, or you have a problem losing weight. The intestinal cells acquire water to combat the inflammation, while the gluten-addiction keeps you eating high-carb foods. (especially in combination with the addictive nature of the high fructose corn syrup found in so many soft drinks and dressings).
  2. You almost never eat a meal without bread. That’s addiction, pure and simple.
  3. The bread at the restaurant is the best! That is the adrenaline response, as your immune system gears up to fight the gluten.
  4. Noisy restaurants and sudden silences set you on edge. Adrenaline response.
  5. The first beer makes you nervous. Adrenaline response.
  6. When you come home after eating out, you immediately start eating something else This one could indicate a blood sugar imbalance. High insulin levels could be taking the blood sugar out of your system, threatening to make you light-headed. Aware of that a physical level (not yet consciously hungry) you may be eating to prevent that problem. Or you could be experiencing “withdrawal” symptoms, as the endorphin high created by the immune-system induced adrenaline-spike abates. Or both.
  7. Walking outside after eating makes you nervous. Adrenaline response.

Avoiding Gluten

Gluten can be difficult to avoid, because it turns up in so many places. But if you suffer from gluten sensitivity, once you find out how much energy you have and how much better you feel without it, you’ll have no difficulty convincing your self that it is worth the effort. Remember, gluten is addictive. So for a couple of weeks it will feel like you’re giving up the whole world. You may wonder, “What on earth will I eat?” But in a matter of weeks, the addiction will be gone. You’ll be less hungry, and you won’t go hungry. You especially won’t be having those hunger attacks that make you feel like you’re starving. After a while, as Dr. Rick Peterson says, “It’s just the way I eat”. It may not seem possible now, but you’ll look at cookies and cakes, bagels and donuts, pancakes and muffins, and find yourself thinking: “Yuck. Who needs it?” As mentioned earlier, a food elimination diet is the best way to identify the secondary food reactions that result from degraded intestinal operation. If you’re dealing with a severe problem that stems from gluten intolerance, that’s a good thing to do. But the most important thing is to avoid gluten in all its forms.

Absolutely Avoid

  • Wheat, rye, barley These are the major gluten grains, responsible for much dietary mischief.
  • Beer, pasta, bread Unless made from rice, nuts, coconut, or a gluten-free grain. (They do exist, and they taste great. My favorite is a gluten-free raisin bread.)
  • Gluten-based Additives
    • Fu — dried wheat gluten
    • HPP — hydrolyzed plant protein
    • HVP — hydrolyzed vegetable protein
    • MSG — monosodium glutamate
    • TPP — textured plant protein
    • TVP — textured vegetable protein
  • Ingredients of Unknown Origin Manufacturers make these from whatever is cheap. Most often, that’s wheat.
    • Vegetable starch
    • Food starch
    • Modified food starch
    • Natural flavors

Hidden Sources of Gluten

Also avoid these additional sources of gluten:

  • Soy Sauce (wheat is used as a filler)
  • Some versions of Tamari sauce — which is supposed to be soy only, but sometimes isn’t.
  • Some versions of Worcestershire sauce
  • Gravy (flour is a thickener)
  • Stew (flour, generally)
  • Creamy soups (flour often used as a thickener)
  • Noodle soups (unless they’re rice noodles)
  • Licorice candy (almost all are made with wheat)
  • French Fries
    • The French Fries served in the large fast food chains are shipped in frozen packages.
    • They’re dusted with a thin coating of wheat before they’re frozen, so they don’t stick together, and so they’re crisp when fried
    • If you’re in a local restaurant that makes their own fries from fresh potatoes, those particular fries may be gluten-free –but they are still being fried in partially hydrogenated soybean oil, which is further adulterated by high heat.
      • Partial hydrogenation and high heat of a liquid, unsaturated oil creates metabolic poisons known as trans fats, and soybean oil depresses the thyroid. To fatten cows for market, coconut oil, flax seed oil, and olive oil don’t work. They use corn oil and soybean oil.
      • Oddly enough, in the old days they used pig lard and beef tallow to fry things. That wasn’t so bad, because it’s hard to do much damage to a fully-saturated oil. Then the soybean industry started advertising the benefits of vegetable oils — which are beneficial, but only when they haven’t been hammered by hydrogenation and other high-heat processing.

See also:

Conditionally Avoid

  • Oats (If you haven’t become gluten sensitive, or have desensitized yourself over a period of time by avoiding gluten-based ingredients, you may find that you can tolerate oats fairly well. They haven’t proven to be completely safe, however, so tread lightly. They don’t contain gliadin, but they do contain glutenen and other gluten proteins.)
  • “Mimic” Grains These grains do not contain gluten. But the reactions they cause haven’t been studied as much, either. The folks at Health Now Medical feel that these grains mimic gluten’s effects, and should be avoided. Since it was they who alerted me to the problem, I’m listing them here. Once you have been gluten-free for a week or two, try them and see how you react for the next 3 days. If there are any problems, you can try again in 6 months:
    • Amaranth
    • Quinoa (“keen-wa”)
    • Teff

Note, too, that by avoiding grain products and baked goods, you will be drastically reducing your exposure to the trans fats found in partially hydrogenated oils. To find out how deadly those can be, read, What’s Wrong with Partially Hydrogenated Oils? But please note that you not have to live without baked goods entirely. There are plenty of gluten-free breads and even cookies these days, made from one or more of the “good grains” listed below.

Good Grains and Flours

Flours made from these foods do not contain gluten, and cause no “mimicry” reactions:

  • Arrowroot
  • Buckwheat
  • Coconut
  • Corn
  • Millet
  • Nuts
  • Potato
  • Rice
  • Sorghum
  • Soy
  • Tapioca

Notes:

Healing the Damage

If you are gluten-sensitive, the bad news is that gluten is everywhere in the American diet. But the good news is that there are many things you can do about it:

  • Avoid gluten like the plague it is. That means avoiding wheat, rye, and barley. Eat grain-based foods made from rice, breads made with nut flours (pecan and almond are my favorite), and Indian foods made with chickpea and lentil flour.
  • Be alert for food sensitivity reactions. Once intestinal function is impaired, a variety of things can cause food reactions, including acidic foods and dairy products. Eliminate foods that cause problems until your intestinal tract has healed enough to deal with them.
  • Grains like amaranth, quinoa, and teff may work for you, or may cause problems. Test them to see.
  • See how well you tolerate oats. If it causes problems, avoid it for a six months and try again. If it still causes problems, consider it a “gluten grain”, as far as you’re concerned.

Once gluten has been removed from your diet, there are a variety of ways to promote intestinal healing:

  • Drink Aloe Vera juice.
  • Take glutamine — an amino acid supplement that helps to repair intestinal damage.
  • Consider urine therapy. (It sounds distasteful, I know. And it can be, quite literally, distasteful. But it has an ancient tradition behind it, and there is a reasonable scientific basis for its effects. See Healing the Skin.)

(For a complete program designed to overcome damage to the intestines caused by gluten, see Healing the Intestines.) While your intestines heal, take supplements to offset the damage and give your body the extra ammunition it needs to function effectively:

  • Natural Antihistamines (nettle, vitamin C, quercitin, N-acetyl cysteine, MSM)
  • Adrenal Support (B-vitamins, zinc, copper, hesperidin) There are also adrenal hormones you can take, like DHEA and pregnenolone. But they should be taken under the guidance of a qualified practitioner. The idea is that you start with a dose that’s as large as you need to compensate for impaired adrenal function, and you taper it off gradually during the 3 months or so it takes for healing to occur, so that the adrenals take over the load as they grow stronger.Note, too, that healthy intestinal flora create all the B-vitamins you’ll ever need — way more than you can take in supplements — so find a dairy-free acidolpholus, practice intestinal cleansing, and eat fermented foods like Kimchi.

Healing Time

The body’s fastest growing cells are in the intestinal wall. They replace themselves every 4 months. So much healing can take place in that time, as long as you totally avoid gluten during that time. You also need to avoid triggers of “secondary allergies”–foods that cause problems because the compromised villi (tiny, hair-like projections in the intestines) can’t produce the enzymes necessary to digest them. The restoration of those villi takes additional time. Cell replacement in the intestines only takes 4 months, but cellular growth takes 6 to 12 months. The time you’ll need depends on the rate at which you heal — a rate which is affected by age, but which is primarily determined by the overall quality of your diet and the degree to which you can successfully avoid the dietary ingredients that trigger intestinal inflammation. Basically, intestinal healing is a process that can months or years, depending on how long gluten has been in your diet. Most importantly, it is a process which can only occur when gluten has been completely removed from the diet. Even a small amount can cause a major setback in healing, because the body reacts so vigorously to it. To determine which foods cause you problems, it’s a good idea to remove every possible suspect from the diet. Get down to a minimal diet that you know is healthy, and then try new things every three or four days. Give each one 3 days to manifest systems before you decide that it is okay, then either avoid it or add it back to your diet. (This “elimination diet” is best done under the supervision of qualified nutritionist, so you find out everything you should avoid.) As your intestinal wall regrows, foods that gave you problems before become easily tolerated once again. So every three months or so, you can re-test the foods that are on the not-OK list. The villi that produce lactase — the enzyme necessary to digest the lactose in milk — are at the very tips of the villi. So dairy is likely to be the last food you’ll be able to add back to your diet. (Even then, you may need to cycle it, having it every three or four days, instead of every day.) Because dairy is the last food that will come back to your diet, and because healing takes 6 to 12 months, there’s no point in testing dairy products until 6 months after you start the healing process. You might then test it once a month, until you find that it no longer gives you problems. At that point, you’ll know that you have fully healed. Of course, it’s also possible that dairy will always be a problem for you. But if you ever had a time in your life when it wasn’t, then the “dairy test” is good way to tell when you’re done.

2013 Update: Modern Wheat is Poisonous

If you’re of European descent, it’s highly likely that gluten is a problem, for you, and you should avoid it. But even if don’t have (or don’t think you have) a problem with gluten, you should still avoid wheat! The basis for that statement comes from a Discovery News article, Why You Should Stop Eating Wheat. (They added the word “probably”, as a journalistic defense against lawsuits. I took it out, for accuracy.) Here’s what that article had to say:

  • “Today’s wheat is a far cry from what it was 50 years ago.
  • “Back in the 1950s, scientists began cross-breeding wheat to make it hardier, shorter, and better-growing. This work, which won U.S. plant scientist Norman Borlaug the Nobel Prize, introduced some compounds to wheat that aren’t entirely human friendly.
  • “As cardiologist Dr. William Davis noted in his book, Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight and Find Your Path Back to Health, today’s hybridized wheat contains sodium azide, a known toxin.
  • “It also goes through a gamma irradiation process during manufacturing. (Which can produce nasty effects of its own. According to this eHow article, “Gamma rays change the molecular structure of the food, which can produce mutagens such as formaldehyde and benzene, chemicals suspected of causing cancer. Food irradiation also causes nutrients in the food to be destroyed. Vitamins A, C, E, K, the entire B group, amino acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids are all affected by irradiation.”)

IN OTHER WORDS:

  • In the 1950’s, someone got a Nobel Prize for poisoning our wheat. But corporations made a ton of money, so it’s ok, by the standards of the American legislature.

AND (more from the article)

  • “According to Alessio Fasano, the Medical Director for The University of Maryland’s Center for Celiac Research, no one can properly digest gluten
  • “We do not have the enzymes to break it down,” he said in a recent interview with TenderFoodie. “It all depends upon how well our intestinal walls close after we ingest it and how our immune system reacts to it.” His concern is that the gluten protein, which is abundant in the endosperm of barley, rye, and wheat kernels, is setting off an aberrant immune response.
  • “Grains…create an immunogenic response which increases intestinal permeability, thus triggering systemic inflammation by the immune system, what can lead to any number of autoimmune diseases, including celiac, rheumatoid arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome and so on. And this holds true for people who don’t have celiac disease.
  • “Davis also believes that gliadin degrades to a morphine-like compound after eating, what creates an appetite for more wheat; his claim, therefore, is that wheat actually has an addictive quality to it.

AND (even more)

  • “Wheat also raises blood sugar. Two slices of whole wheat bread increases blood sugar levels higher than a single candy bar.
  • “Lectins are a class of molecules, can be found in beans, cereal grains, nuts, and potatoes. When consumed in excess, or when not cooked properly, they can be harmful.
  • “The problem with the lectins found in whole grains, is that they bind to our insulin receptors and intestinal lining. This increases inflammation and contributes to autoimmune disease and insulin resistance. It also facilitates the symptoms of metabolic syndrome outside of obesity.
  • “A common argument in favor of continuing to eat whole grains is that they provide necessary fiber. This is actually a bit of a myth…” (My favorite sources of fiber are peas, lentils, and chickpeas — three ingredients that featured frequently in dishes from India.)

Bottom Line:

Gluten is a problem for most — especially those of European descent. Modern hybridized wheat is a problem for everyone.

Resources

Articles:

Books and Web Sites:

DVD

  • Unlocking the Mystery of Wheat and Gluten Intolerance Unbelievably informative and authoritative exposition of the problems that gluten can cause, most especially with respect to autoimmune diseases.
  • Super Size Me An expose that highlights the addictive nature of American fast foods — an addiction that is most likely the result of MSG and wheat.

Copyright © 2007-2017, TreeLight PenWorks

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