Update: While I believe gluten sensitivities and intolerances are a real issue, I’ve also come to believe that not everyone needs to avoid gluten, and there are many people who do fine eating gluten. We have done a disservice by insisting that EVERYONE needs to avoid gluten, and putting a lot of fear into people. However, if you really believe you have issues with gluten, read on for how even contamination can be an issue for some people.
This past weekend I attended a Naturopathic gastroenterology seminar, and gluten and issues with gluten were a big part of it.
We continue to discover ways that gluten is damaging to the body, and it appears a completely separate mechanism than the one involved with celiac has been discovered. This is yet more bad news for gluten.
Previously we had thought if you didn’t possess the genetic predisposition to gluten you were largely in the clear, this doesn’t seem to be the case anymore.
This is not a pretty story, prepare yourself…
Excluding gluten from your diet is much easier said than done.
Here is how you go about it:
Even more. Depending on your sensitivity to gluten you must go further.
Unless the product says CERTIFIED gluten free, you cannot assume that it is gluten free. McCann’s steel cut oats for example, a staple many health conscious folks buy, was shown to be contaminated with wheat. This is not unusual, MANY foods either contain or are contaminated with wheat. It is everywhere in our society!
If wheat and gluten are used in your household you should have a separate set of pans, plates, bowels, and utensils that are kept strictly gluten free.
Does this sound utterly ridiculous? Yes it does. It sounds obsessive, and it is, but it can be necessary.
Even the tiny bit of contamination on a cutting board used to cut bread, wiped off and then used to prepare a gluten-free meal has been shown to activate immune reactions to gluten.
It is THAT significant.
Here are a few cases given at the conference.
A young woman had been vomiting for two weeks anytime she ate food. She was diagnosed with an eating disorder before seeking alternative care. After an extensive workup it was found that the gluten in her chewing gum (the white powder that is used to keep the gum sticking to its wrapper) was causing the reaction. She went completely gluten free and the vomiting stopped.
A young boy with autism was put on a gluten free, dairy free diet and had a remarkably positive reaction. Three months later the boy put on lip balm and had a strong return of symptoms. It was found the lip balm contained gluten (not listed anywhere on the label) and when he licked his lips the tiny bit he ingested was enough to trigger a return of symptoms. After going back to the gluten free, dairy free diet his symptoms disappeared.
An older man with ulcerative colitis had the disease in remission using a gluten free diet. Suddenly he started having 16 bowel movements per day. After a workup it was found that he had started eating non-breaded roasted chicken at Kentucky Fried Chicken. Some research found that although the chicken was unbreaded, it was marinated with soy sauce. Soy sauces are made with wheat and do contain gluten. When he discontinued the food and went back to a gluten free diet his symptoms disappeared.
Unfortunately, no good news for wheat and gluten. Gluten, yes, it CAN be that bad.
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