Just to be transparent right up front, I’m not totally gluten-free (although Dr. Will is), but after what we’ve learned over time about it, I’m glad that we live in a gluten-free household and that I rarely eat it.
Gluten is found not just in wheat, but also in rye, barley, spelt and kamut. Oats are often contaminated as well, as they are grown in the same field and stored in the same areas. Rice is fine, quinoa is fine, etc. but you’d be surprised where wheat pops up: sauces, mealoaf, meatballs, and clearly in things deep-fried… although restaurants are getting better about gluten-free options. Anyway… onto the crazy stuff…
What are some things you haven’t heard about gluten? Try these:
Wheat has been bred in the last 25 years to have 4X more gluten in it. In case that wasn’t enough, we had an acquaintance tell us that when he was a baker, for every 40 lbs. of of flour they used, they added 10 pounds of gluten. Why? It makes the dough springier and easier to work with AND, in this case, because it increased the shelf life. Seriously.
Wheat in biblical times was a whole different type of wheat. What we have now is not the heirloom, Einkorn wheat from back then — it’s dwarf wheat, which has been genetically altered to be a higher yielding kind of wheat and higher in starch. That super-starch is called amylopectin-A and it’s super fattening. It’s what makes dough fluffy, like in those big loaves of bread and in pastries. Think Cinnabons. Unfortunately, this engineered dwarf wheat is not only there.
How is it making you fat? A few ways. That high starch now means that 2 slices of WHOLE WHEAT bread raises your blood sugar THE SAME AS 2 TABLESPOONS OF SUGAR. That’s right – I said “whole wheat”. There is little-to-no difference at this point between whole wheat and white bread — it would be better to avoid as much of both as you can.
How ELSE is it making you fat? Well, gluten is really inflammatory, especially in the amounts we’re eating it. You know those ads on TV, that say “Stressed? Have belly fat? Take this pill!” It’s because stressors (everything from life to food reactions) causes inflammation, and inflammation is the root cause of everything from heart disease to cancer. Oh, and inflammation raises cortisol levels, which makes you gain weight.
It’s like morphine, you say? Yes, this wheat also contains proteins that mimic morphine (they’re actually called gluteomorphins) to make you addicted, hungry, and crazy. You thought you just didn’t have will power and that it was all in your head, but it’s not.
But I don’t have digestive problems! You don’t have to — gluten has plenty of other places it causes damage. It has been linked to many autoimmune disorders (Hashimoto’s, for example, has a 100% correlation rate), many neurological disorders (long-term depression, anxiety, bi-polar, ADD, etc.) and many digestive disorders (heartburn, gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, IBS, etc.)
How can I find out if I’m gluten intolerant? I have some of these health problems. There are accurate tests now that can tell us if you have gluten intolerance or not, and if you have gut damage from gluten. If you want to do it yourself or find out if you have the gene for gluten intolerance (although this test is a bit more expensive) you can order it online at www.enterolab.com (saliva and stool sample). Or you can contact our office and we have a very accurate test that is only a saliva sample, and less expensive (about $160). Call us at 512-495-9015 and we’ll help you figure it out.