Gluten sensitivity, celiac disease and how to avoid their symptoms

We have been hearing a lot about Gluten and avoiding it, gluten sensitivity and celiac disease.

What is the issue and why do we need to pay attention to it?  More so now than ever before.

Gluten is the protein found in most grains that we eat.  Wheat, barley, rye, kamut, spelt and oats.  Oats themselves don’t have the protein, but are processed in the same mills as the other grains and that cross contamination makes them a no no if you are avoiding gluten.  There are gluten free oats available, just make sure they say on the package that they are gluten free.  Bulk bins cannot guarantee cross contamination as you are not sure if one used a scoop that carried some gluten containing material to the oats.

In the case of celiac disease, also known as sprue, the gluten is a form of allergy, where even a trace amount can make one sick.  Akin to a peanut allergy or any other.  It may not warrant an epi pen or a choking situation or hives, but the result can be intense cramping, uncontrollable diarrhea, total lethargy, skin issues, migraines, and more.  These are just as severe as any other allergic reaction.

Why is this become such a problem?  Gluten is now become a mainstay in the majority of the foods we consume.  Toast, cereal, bagels, muffins, sandwiches, quiches, breaded foods, deep fried anything, coated fries, wings, pizza, crackers, beer, medications, shampoos, skin care products, sour cream, sauces, dressings, candy bars, pretzels, seasonings, lasagne, fast food, cookies, danishes, croissant,toothpaste,sausages, cream cheese products, shall I go on?

I hear all the time, “|I eat well”…..chicken NOODLE soup, sandwich, spaghetti, etc. How much flour do we eat in a day and what about the hidden flours?  Icing sugar has flour added to it.  Medications have gluten.  A lot of flow agents are flours, to help move raw materials through tubes and shuts so it won’t clog the production in manufacturing.

Flours are used to extend the product.  If you add a binder to a product you get more for less money.  Much like making meat loaf with and without breadcrumbs.  The one with breadcrumbs, you get more meatloaf. Serves more individuals.

Now, getting to what the issue is. Gluten actually glues down the intestinal tract so absorption can be diminished.  Nutrients can’t reach the blood effectively and we become malnourished.  Gluten can also damage the villi in your intestinal tract where you develop inflammation and eventually celiac disease.

Gluten sensitivity is rampant in our society as hair loss, low iron, IBS, Colitis, Crohns, weight gain, bloating, cramping, skin issues, can affect fertility, low sperm count and a host of issues that one never looks at gluten being the problem.  We get a celiac test, it comes back negative and we continue on our merry way eating all the flour products we want, as we are clear.  For now….

Decades ago, we ate whole grains and not much of it.  One slice toast in the morning, not a bagel with cream cheese product, with an egg and a cup of coffee.  Often it was a hot lunch, not a bar, a muffin or a wrap and dinner was meat, potato and a veg.  Not a pizza we picked up along the way home.

I speak from experience.  I think my mother had gluten issues, she always was clearing her throat.  Not normal.  I did not know at the time, this is a classic symptom of the beginning.  She complained of  bloating and weight gain. My mother was not a big eater or ate sugar.  Bread was the mainstay of her diet.  Bread was life.  I developed a thyroid issue quite early in life, another gluten issue.  Anemia was constant and so were the nosebleeds.  Right out of the blue my nose would bleed.  I thought it was too dry, to cold, low blood pressure, you name it…Then the IBS started. Then it got bad.  I am in the health field and it was bad.  When I stopped eating and just subsided on juices, it went away.  Can’t live like that.  Finally decided to have a colonoscopy.  Yes, celiac. I had always suspected gluten was the issue, for years before, but like you, human. Not me, no issues.

Why am I writing this and you are reading it? Why is it important to tell you this?  I want you to eat less of it.  Read labels, concentrate on real food, real ingredients, real meals.  If you are not willing to change, then eat more gluten free breads, cakes, crackers, than the regular baked goods.  Damage is damage and can’t be undone once damaged.  As a celiac, trust me, travel can be challenging as well as eating out.  No trace of gluten can cross your path.  That means the toaster and the kitchen need to be cleaned in a way that has no traces from the products before.  Otherwise you are sick.  You tell your friends that you cannot eat their carrot cake for dessert and the meal they prepared will make you ill.  You won’t be invited very often or at all.

A customer who was a wheat farmer told me that the wheat he grew decades ago stood 6-8 feet tall.  Now it is less than 5 feet but the heads are heavier.  GMO’s have been the biggest problem.  The stalks hold more grain but are Genetically Modified to hold that abundance on the stalks.  Our bodies don’t adapt that quickly to GMOs. They react.  Swelling is the first reaction and that can manifest in the form of weight gain.  That is inflammation.

Try removing gluten from your diet and see if you feel better and if you have certain issues that I mentioned, what do you have to lose by trying?

I write this to give you some idea that might help you.  I have spoken to thousands of individuals who crossed my door complaining of an abundance of health issues, and believe it or not but gluten is the common denominator to these issues.

It has to be all or nothing.  It is like quitting smoking, you can’t have one or two and say you quit.  Doesn’t work that way.

Good luck and good health.

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