Hello, hello! If you’ve been here a while, you know I am against all things modern gluten, but I felt it was time to dive deeply into what that means, why I think that way, and everything else the topic may encompass. So first, let us talk about the big question, what even is gluten?
Gluten is a protein in the grain family found in wheat, barley, and rye. It is in bread (rolls, bagels, buns, biscuits, etc.), pasta, pastries, cereal, crackers, beer, flour, crackers, and whiskey – to list a few. Gluten appeared thousands of years ago as the “crop of life,” wheat being a catalyst for farming, population growth, and trade. Initially, gluten/ wheat was not bad. It began as a protein and nutrient-rich staple for many diets. Wheat crops that were easy to grow and nutritionally filling provided necessary nutrients for the rapidly growing world we now know. However, about fifty years ago or so, science changed the production of wheat. As farmers and scientists learned about growth specifications and gene splicing, wheat production in America started to change. We wanted more food, quicker, drought resistant, more shelf stable, and easier to grow. Consumers liked the fluffy, sugary loaves of white bread over the nutrient-dense, darker kinds of wheat. Somewhere through this process, we began finding the protein count in the wheat was dropping drastically, and the sugar content increased. The number of chromosomes changed, and our guts (and minds) began to react. Soon after this shift to the new wheat, the introduction of ADD, ADHD, OCD, depression, anxiety, joint pains, cancers, and both types of diabetes and other autoimmune diseases skyrocketed.
If that wasn’t enough, the 2000s also increased the use of pesticides and herbicides, the most prominent being RoundUp. In this case, RoundUp was spliced into the seed of corn, soy, wheat, and cotton (think tampons and the host of female hormonal issues and cancers we now have). Growers wanted to find the quickest, easiest, and most cost-effective way to mass grow, and they presented GMOs or genetically modified crops as the answer.
Without getting too scientific, RoundUp is a glyphosate-based herbicide specifically created to penetrate the plant leaves to kill bugs and other unwanted growth without killing the plant. The spraying of RoundUp was creating significant toxic runoff posing agricultural issues such as mass bumblebee deaths and water toxicity, so they designed a seed that contains the RoundUp INSIDE the plant itself!! What makes this interesting is that American farmers are the only ones who do this. In most European countries, the use of glyphosates is banned or exceedingly restricted. This is why you can travel to Europe and often have no issues with their wheat and dairy products! European studies have proven that they are just as toxic to mammals are they are to the rest of the environment – leading to immune and gut problems, among other disease processes. This study also showed that eating animals (beef, chicken, pork) that have ingested RoundUp products is no different than you eating RoundUp. Glyphosate also mimics amino acids in your body leading to the inability to break down the gluten proteins. And we are now finding out it acts like an antibiotic, but kills off the good bacteria in your gut, otherwise known as your second brain. Thus, the gluten sits in your intestines and rots, creating leaky gut issues. PubMed studies also state that RoundUp causes non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, making it impossible to have a healthy gut.
So why all this drama llama on the gut? Well, your gut makes up 90% of your brain chemistry, 80% of your immune system, and 100% of your ability to grow/ repair from day-to-day damage. So when we cause an inflammatory response in the gut or create a leaky gut issue, constipation, or diarrhea, it is almost impossible to have processed emotions, a healthy immune system, or to age gracefully without disease processes.
Let’s dive deeper! Regarding gluten reactions that modern medicine classifies, we have two primary diagnoses: celiac and non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Celiac Disease is an autoimmune disease in which the small intestine is hypersensitive to gluten, creating an immune response (basically – gluten is treated like a virus in your body). Celiacs can not have any gluten products, or they will develop colon cancer. Then there is non-celiac gluten sensitivity, which is when your body cannot break down the gluten leading to an overreaction of the gut. Your chances of colon cancer are low, but all the other cancers multiply. Both processes share an attack on the brain and an increase in cognitive decline, dementia, and Alzheimer’s.
Let’s examine why the brain (mood and immunity) takes the hit in both diseases. In short… Sugar = inflammation. Inflammation = Chronic disease. The amount of sugar in your blood is roughly equal to 1 teaspoon. The difference between a normal blood sugar reading and a diabetic reading is about 1/2 a teaspoon. Of course, we have plenty of hormones and processes that regulate this, but with our constant assault with sugar-based foods, these processes wear out or become resistant to the signals for help. A good gauge of healthy sugar is under 45g daily (or 11 teaspoons of sugar). If you look at the amount of sugar in two slices of new American wheat bread, it’s ten (10) teaspoons. The USDA recommends 6 ounces of grains daily, which is 28g of sugar (double the amount needed to prevent diabetes). If you want to know more about this process, I highly recommend reading the book Wheat Belly, which introduced me to how wheat destroyed the brain-gut connection.
Let’s take this to the next level… Recent PubMed studies show that the first sign of gluten intolerance (celiac and non-celiac) in ages 18 and under is typically psychiatric. Looking at the past 20 years, since wheat has drastically changed, you’ll see a massive increase in diagnoses of ADD/ADHD, OCD, depression, anxiety, anger management issues, and suicide. That doesn’t even touch on the physical reactions, which can involve bloating, lack of appetite, acne, headaches/ migraines, hormonal disruptions, joint issues, diabetes, weight gain, and more. Once the gut is destroyed and inflammation runs high, the body cannot create enough dopamine and serotonin…
To me, it is unforgivable of the medical profession not to address these crises of our youth with their diet. They’re not even offering food changes as an alternative to the drugs that come with a black box warning and often turn our brains directly to suicide or acts of aggression. To further add insult, many of the medications prescribed contain gluten. Most drugs and store supplements use gluten as a binding agent or filler, hiding under many different names. If you see artificial/ natural flavor, hydrolyzed vegetable/ plant protein, artificial colors, modified starch, ascorbic acid, or maltodextrin – throw it away.
A singular bite of gluten (or the good lovin’s of a partner who has eaten gluten) now inflames your gut for six months. That’s six months of symptoms, six months of gut rehab, and six months of mood swings. So when I tell you that there must be zero gluten in your diet, you must also enlist your partner. At this point, there is no way around it; a little bit of poison every once in a while is still poison! Over time it destroys the body; the how and when is different for each individual.
So, where do you go from here? The easiest way is to get back to eating whole, organic foods. Stop buying packaged crap. Read your labels. I taught my children that if you cannot pronounce the ingredient on the first try, do not bring it home. Doing so was the easiest way to ensure I was teaching my kids to be informed about food. I still tell people to do this. Explore other cultures’ food. Remove the rules of what you must eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Remember that pharmaceutical agencies are teaching registered dieticians and pushing most food recommendations at this point, including your medical doctors who have zero to fourteen hours of nutritional training, maybe. They are taught that diet plays no part in your health or healing. Plus, doctors are paid more per visit if you have more medications to manage! Unfortunately, this leaves little desire to explore ways to avoid or remove prescriptions from your life.
If the thought of going gluten-free just entirely stumps you, I highly suggest my 90 Days to Clean Eating course, specifically designed to help teach people what it means to get back to real food. Being organic and gluten-free gets easier every year! Now, this does not mean you only eat leafy greens and slabs of meat. You can still go to your favorite Mexican restaurant but opt for corn tortillas instead of flour. Lettuce wraps on your burgers instead of a bun. For those who are not celiac, you can try the ancient Einkorn grains. Young Living has excellent Einkorn products. This wheat is an original grain, still high in protein and untouched by the RoundUp and bleach, unlike other grains. You can also check out my recipe page, where I often post gluten-free recipes on my blog for ideas on how to eat while on this journey.
I hope this blog has answered your questions and helped push you more firmly in your commitment to health! I could talk for hours about this topic, so if you have any questions about gluten, cleaning up your diet, or finding safe supplements, please schedule a call with me.