What’s the deal with Gluten?
By Victoria Bentley, NCTMB, CPI , LMT, HC
According to Robb Wolf, a former biochemist, and one of the world’s leading experts in Paleolithic nutrition, there is much documented evidence that gluten and other lectins (an anti-nutrient) destroy leptin (a hormone that tells the brain you’re full).
What? Too much science? Let’s just say that anything, such as gluten, that “messes” around with our hormone signaling is not particularly good for us. Gluten is a digestive toxin produced in the seeds of wheat. This toxin is produced in order to protect the seeds from consumption by predators such as fungus, insects, and yes, humans. Any grain has a protective coating that we’re not meant to digest.
What foods contain gluten? Anything made from wheat, kamut (a type of grain) triticale (a wheat/rye hybrid), rye, barley, spelt and malt. It’s even in beer.
What foods can I buy that are gluten-free?
Rice, corn, sorghum, quinoa, soybean, tapioca, amaranth, potatoes, millet beans and peas are all glutenfree, according to Cherry Hill, New Jersey-based Chris Sandy, who specializes in food allergies. Buckwheat and oat flour are somewhat gluten-free, but are difficult to find without the presence of wheat due to cross-contamination.
There are a wide variety of breads, crackers, pastas, pizza crusts, cookies and cakes specifically made without gluten. But none of these refined and processed foods are healthy choices; gluten-free not withstanding.
The better choices are whole foods that are nutrient-dense. Choose colorful fruits, vegetables, leafy greens, nuts and their butters, seeds, healthy fats and proteins from properly raised and handled fish, chicken, beef and pork. We live in Montana where the wild game meats are awesome options, too.
Remember, just because foods are gluten-free, that does not give us free reign in consuming them – they still may not have any nutritional value.
Can’t take the gluten
There’s a pretty good chance that we all suffer from gluten intolerance and aren’t aware of it, Wolfe says. Most of us have been eating a typical Western diet that includes many of the foods mentioned above. A little tummy distress here and there might not bother you, but I guarantee gluten and other anti-nutrients included are doing the harm.
Glutenfreejanuary.com stated that about 30 percent of us react to gluten. If that’s not serious enough to convince you to remove gluten from your diet then get a load of this: 1 percent of us have what’s called Celiac Sprue. It’s a hereditary digestive disease causing a severe immune reaction that over time destroys the digestive tract. It can be a life or death situation if someone with Celiac Sprue ingests gluten. Reactions include poor digestion, obesity, autoimmune disease and heart attacks.
Scary, right? In this case it’s important to see your doctor to have it properly diagnosed. If you think that none of this applies to you, I challenge you to remove gluten from your diet for one month and see how you feel. I know you’ll feel better then you ever have!
Victoria Bentley is the Owner and Director of Bentley Bodies, a premiere mind-body-wellness boutique committed to healthy lifestyle choices. Locations are in Big Sky and Bozeman. She will be attending the Ancestral Health Symposium in Los Angeles Aug. 5 and 6.